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Bigger and better – and more luxurious – ships sail to surprising destinations and offer every amenity you can imagine

Read more of The Globe’s guides to living well, from how to shop for wine to how to sleep better


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Coming soon: Bigger ships, better experiences and tattoos at sea

With record numbers of travellers opting to set sail, sweeping innovations are on the way. Cruisers can expect plenty of new ships (at least 18 in 2019) to set sail and can look forward to bold amenities, greater eco-consciousness, increased exclusivity and food as entertainment.

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Cruise lines ride the wellness-travel wave

Contrary to the stereotype of excess, cruise lines are enhancing their wellness offerings – from dedicated spa suites and specialized menus to enclosed running tracks and onshore biking itineraries.

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Roy Riley / sbw-photo

The craziest activities aboard the Symphony of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship

You’d be hard-pressed to get bored on Royal Caribbean’s 1,188-foot behemoth with its laser-tag arena, merry-go-round, original production of Hairspray, water park and bar with robot bartenders. Then there’s the 10-storey, 45-metre Ultimate Abyss slide.

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Heather Greenwood Davis/The Globe and Mail

How cruise lines are taking a savvier approach to kids’ clubs

Instead of just entertaining kids, cruise lines are offering opportunities for them to grow, with programs that encourage working through experiments and activities alongside staff.


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Jeff Topham/One Ocean Expeditions

On a golf cruise through Atlantic Canada, wild horses wow as much as the birdies

Golfing at four of Eastern Canada’s best courses is just one of the highlights of a golf cruise operated by One Ocean Expeditions, with time away from the courses filled by cycling, hiking, sea kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, bird watching, whale spotting, photography outings and Zodiac tours along rugged and spectacular shorelines.

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Suzanne Morphet

In Portugal’s Douro Valley, sleepy towns and storied wine estates await

Over seven leisurely days aboard the Viking Osfrid, passengers spend daily stops exploring sleepy towns with beautiful tiled mosaics, centuries-old churches and exquisite gardens. And tasting some of the world’s most storied wines.

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To see more of Iceland, explore it by cruise ship

Adventure Canada’s Ocean Endeavour, a 137-metre polar expedition vessel, takes the road less travelled with a fleet of zodiacs that ferry passengers to secluded fjords and fishing towns, avoiding the crowds and worry over overbooked rooms.

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Michel Verdure/Seabourn

Sharks and champagne: Onboard the Seabourn Encore, travellers explore Australia in luxury

The Ventures program brings the elements of adventurous trips on board an ultraluxe ship, allowing guests to get their boots a bit dirty during the day, while later dining and bedding down in a five-star environment.

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Paul Rushton/Getty Images/iStockphoto

How a cruise up the East China Sea can be a foodie’s dream trip

A one-week sailing aboard Windstar’s Star Legend departed from Hong Kong – where Cantonese dim sum, pick-your-own seafood and shrimp wontons in noodle soup are the clear draws – and continued through four more regions of China’s eight great regional cuisines.

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