Lots of cruise industry buzz this week, but how does that affect your life as a planning professional?  Here are our top five picks for:

Best Cruise News this Week for Meeting & Incentive Travel Planners

Viking Goes to Cuba!

Viking Sun Lanai (rendering)

Viking Sun Lanai (rendering)

Viking Ocean Cruises has announced that their newest ultra-premium ship, Viking Sun, will visit Cuba in 2017. The 7-night voyage sails roundtrip from Miami in December 2017 and features two days in Havana before continuing to Cozumel, Belize City, and Key West. Viking Sun will accommodate 930 in veranda staterooms, and offers an intimate, sophisticate ambiance with focus on enrichment and destination experiences.

The ship features modern Scandinavian decor; elegant meeting spaces; multiple dining venues with no fees (including a Chef’s Table). Included in your cruise fare: free Wifi, an excursion in every port, and house wines served with lunch and dinner.

Best cruise news for meeting & incentive travel planners: An all-inclusive, upscale ship sailing to Cuba – the hottest “must-see” destination – is the ultimate incentive.

More Short Cruises to Cuba, Great Lakes

Victory 1 offers short cruises to Cuba

Victory 1 offers short cruises to Cuba

A new cruise line, Victory Cruise Lines, will offer small ship sailings on the Great Lakes this summer, as well as Cuba in the fall and winter. The former 202-passenger Saint Laurent has undergone extensive renovations and is named Victory 1. A seven-night voyage departing  Port Canaveral, Florida Oct. 28, 2016  will be the first cruise ever to depart from a Central Florida port to Cuba.

The ship will then move to Miami for a  series of three to 14-night Cuba cruises before beginning summer/fall three to 14-night Great Lakes sailings. Cruise fares include shore excursions in every port as well as complimentary wine and beer at lunch and dinner. 

Best cruise news for meeting & incentive travel planners: An intimate ship offering short cruises to Cuba or the Great Lakes from drive-to ports is ideal for small groups or ship charter.

Lindblad’s New Expedition Ship Offers Unique & Wild Adventures

Lindblad's new National Geographic Quest deck

Lindblad’s new National Geographic Quest deck

Lindblad’s newest expedition vessel,  National Geographic Quest,  will begin sailing 7-nights in Alaska and British Columbia in June 2017 and head south in the winter to navigate Baja California and the Sea of Cortez as well as Costa Rica and Panama.

The ship will have 50 cabins – 22 with balconies, and is designed to navigate narrow inlets and wildlife-rich passageways inaccessible to larger ships.

Unique adventure opportunities are guaranteed, as the ship will be outfitted 24 sea kayaks, paddle boards, snorkeling equipment and Zodiacs, the latest expedition technology, including a remotely operated vehicle, video microscope and a hydrophone and bow-cam to hear and film wildlife beneath the sea. 

Best cruise news for planners: A new Lindblad-National Geographic ship is great news for meeting & incentive travel planners with active groups seeking immersive destination experiences- and it’s the perfect size for charter!

The Largest Ship is in the World Now Sailing!

Harmony of the Seas Rendering 3.jpg

Harmony of the Seas Rendering 3.jpg

Harmony of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, has 2,739 guests room, spans 16 guest decks, boasts unparalleled entertainment choices and 20 dining venues. Guests will find the popular seven-neighborhood concept introduced on Oasis class ships, as well as innovative features like The Ultimate Abyss – a thrilling slide 10 stories high –  robot bartenders, interior rooms with virtual balconies, and VOOM – the fastest internet at sea. 

Harmony of the Seas is sailing seven-nights in the Western Mediterranean during the summer season before repositioning to her homeport of Port Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale to begin year-round eastern and western Caribbean cruises.

Best news for planners: A new  ship that offers phenomenal entertainment, unique “neighborhoods” available for group events, plenty of dining options and innovative thrills is sure to motivate attendees of any age!

Broadway Goes to Sea: Born to Dance, Exclusively on Princess

Princess Cruises' exclusive new show, Born to Dance

Princess Cruises’ exclusive new show, Born to Dance

Princess Cruises just raised the bar (and the curtain!) on entertainment-at-sea to unveil a glimpse of Born to Dance, the second show created exclusively for Princess by Broadway Legend Stephen Schwartz. Born to Dance features memorable songs from West Side Story, A Chorus Line, Chicago and other shows and also pays tribute to many of Broadway’s trail-blazing choreographers.

Some of today’s hottest choreographers and dancers also make virtual appearances through video and multimedia projection. Born to Dance premieres aboard Star Princess this fall, followed by Grand Princess and Golden Princess in early 2017.

Best cruise news for meeting & incentive travel planners: No ticket prices or transportation worries – your entertainment budget & planning just got easier!