When it comes to itineraries, cruise lines up the ante every year, offering more ports, harder-to-reach locales and ever more creative themes. And when ships begin returning to service in earnest after the long pandemic pause, many cruise lines will debut some of their unique itineraries.
Here are a few of the most intriguing ones on offer over the next few years.
Atlas Ocean Voyages' 2022 Valentine's Day Antarctica itinerary will offer complimentary marriage ceremonies for couples seeking what the line is calling, "the most adventurous destination wedding on Earth."
The line's Happy Ever Atlas itinerary, which also offers vow renewals, will depart on Feb. 14 on the line's upcoming newbuild, the World Navigator, and offer ceremonies either on land -- with penguins, seals or other locals as witnesses -- or onboard, with the ship's bridge being an option.
Like all Atlas Antarctica trips, the sailings include complimentary roundtrip air travel on Atlas' private charter jet service direct to Ushuaia, Argentina, from Orlando.
The Happy Ever Atlas wedding package includes an officiant, a legal marriage license, a wedding coordinator, a wedding cake, a professional photographer and digital photo package and gifts such as custom penguin jackets.
History repeats itself on Cunard and Holland America
Cunard and Holland America will both celebrate their long cruising heritage with sailings that recreate historical voyages.
Cunard will celebrate 100 years of offering world cruises in 2023 with two Centenary Sailings that will trace part of the routes of its two ships that were the first passenger liners to do continuous circumnavigations of the globe, Cunard said.
The Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria will each sail a world cruise mirroring many of the port calls from the world sailings of the RMS Laconia and by RMS Samaria, in addition to other destinations. Stops on Queen Mary 2's 117-day Centenary World Voyage round-trip from New York will include Singapore, Hong Kong and Colombo, Sri Lanka, emulating RMS Samaria's 1923 world sailing. Queen Victoria's 92-day sailing, from New York to Southampton, England, will visit RMS Laconia's 1922-23 port calls with stops in Hong Kong; New York; Singapore; Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Colombo; San Francisco, Honolulu and Hilo, Hawaii; Manila, Philippines; and Naples, Italy. Sadly, Havana, which was on the Laconia itinerary, can't be visited.
Another slight difference will be the cost. The full word cruise on the Laconia's April 1922 departure was $1,500 -- including excursions. The Queen Victoria's fare starts at $18,499 per person.
"Cunard pioneered the World Voyage and a century later we're as passionate about these very special voyages as ever," said Simon Palethorpe, president of Cunard.
Holland America will recreate the maiden voyage of its first vessel, the Rotterdam 1, with a 12-day, 150th Anniversary Transatlantic on its upcoming Rotterdam, which will debut this summer.
The Oct. 15, 2022, departure from Rotterdam, the Netherlands mirrors the Rotterdam I's 1872 sailing, with a stop in Plymouth, England, except for an additional stop in Le Havre, France, before arriving in New York City. The original trip sailing took 21 days to complete, with one less port. The seventh Holland American ship to bear the Rotterdam name is currently under construction in Italy and is slated to be delivered on July 30.
Among Windstar Cruises' new itineraries for next year is Windstar Crew Hometowns: Philippines & Indonesia, which takes passengers on two-week sailings focused mostly on stops in the two countries, where most of the line's crew comes from.
"What better way to experience this lovely region than with the people who know it best, the Windstar crew who hail from the Philippines and Indonesia," Windstar says in the sailing's description.
The trip begins Oct. 14, 2022, in Hong Kong and includes stops in China and Malaysia, ending in Benoa, Bali. Guests onboard will get insider tips, such as where the best local eateries are, in addition to being able to share the crew's pride in being able to show off their homeland, and for some, their families: During Manila calls, Windstar plans to bring some of the crew members' families onboard to perform dances for passengers.
MSC Cruises will be the first Western cruise line to homeport in Saudi Arabia, when the MSC Magnifica launches a season of Red Sea cruises from Jeddah this fall.
The Magnifica will offer seven-day cruises from Nov. 13 through March calling at the Saudi ports of Al Wajh and Yanbu as well as at Aqaba, Jordan, for Petra and Safaga, Egypt, for Luxor before returning to Jeddah.
Saudi Arabia is home to five Unesco World Heritage Sites, including the historical center of Jeddah and the Al-Hijr Archaeological Site in Al-Ula, both of which will be accessible to Magnifica guests.
Passengers on the Magnifica's Dec. 5 sailing will have the added opportunity of experiencing the inaugural Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix auto race, being held in Jeddah this year.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises will launch a new collection of "Spotlight Voyages" this year and next, each based around a distinct cultural-enrichment program that include tailored shore excursions and onboard experiences, some purposefully tied to experiences people might have missed during the pandemic.
For those who missed the year without Broadway or West End shows, two of those sailings might help scratch that itch.
A Spotlight on Broadway themed cruise departing April 9 on the Seven Seas Splendor from Barcelona to Venice will feature Seth Rudetsky, the Sirius XM radio Broadway host and a few of his favorite Broadway stars. such as Audra McDonald, LaChanze and Celia Rose Gooding, who will perform hit songs and tell insider stories.
The 14-day New York to Miami sailing on the Seven Seas Navigator on Oct. 23, 2022, will be a Spotlight on the American Musical, with an array of performers who will share stories and insights into the Broadway musical via panel discussions, private dinners and cocktail receptions allowing for one-on-one interaction.