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Being a kid can be rough, but being the adults traveling with tykes can be difficult as well. Coordinating activities for youngsters of varying ages is a challenge (little Tommy wants to visit the petting zoo, while teen Tammy would rather go shopping), as is attempting to stay on a budget. For parents planning a trip for the whole clan, we have good news (and bad news).
Don’t let the Carnival Cruise Line’s recent newsworthy items deter you from hitting the high seas. There are millions of cruises that sail each year without making the news. They have great customer service, activities for families, couples, and seniors, onboard entertainment, and unique ports around the world. Today we’ve rounded up the best of the best, from exotic international cruises to the always-popular beach destinations. Read more
Carnival Cruise Lines and its passengers have not been having a great couple of months. First there was the news of Carnival Triumph, when the 4,000 people aboard were stranded in the Gulf of Mexico for five days. Passengers spent nearly a week at sea with no power, limited supplies, and extremely unsanitary bathroom conditions. The most recent disaster comes aboard the Carnival Dream, which is currently docked at the Caribbean island of St. Maarten.
A few years ago, a fake trailer for a sequel to James Cameron’s mega-movie Titanic made the internet rounds, and it was a pretty big hit. The video is fun and silly – the “movie” is about Jack Dawson surviving in a block of ice at the bottom of the ocean, and having to adjust to modern day. The main joke is the trailer itself. How wacky would it be to have a Titanic II? That’s just too crazy for the real world, right? Right?
Not quite. Australian billionaire Clive Palmer has unveiled construction plans for the Titanic II, a “full-scale re-creation” of the White Star Liner that tragically sank in April 1912, killing more than 1,500 passengers. Palmer said as Titanic was the ship of dreams, Titanic II will be, “the ship where dreams come true.” Read more
If you’ve ever been to a child’s birthday party, you know how hard it is to wrangle all the kids together once the activities have started. Forget to inform them of a rule? Realized you need to change the plan? Once they’re laser tagging/bowling/tumbling/rollerskating, it’s pretty hard to bring them back to sit down-and-listen position. Cruise passengers can be just as hard to corral once their ship sets sail. Now, I’m not calling cruise passengers childish. What I am implying, however, is that once that ship leaves port, everyone’s natural instinct is to relax, turn off their brains, and enter vacation mode. That’s why it never made much sense to conduct muster drills once the ship set sail. That’s all going to change, though, as the Cruise Lines International Association plans to require that ships conduct these vital safety drills before they ever untie their ropes. Read more
Looking for a 2013 cruise adventure that won’t break the bank? Set sail into the New Year and save with one of these five budget-friendly cruise picks. Cruising from close-to-home cities to popular ports in Mexico, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, and beyond, these great-value 3-, 4-, and 7-night cruises all ring in from under $409/person – and one from as little as $199.
Just hurry up and book – prices are sure to spike soon, so don’t miss the boat on these priced-to-go sailings. Read more
Real talk: traveling costs money. (Shock of all shocks!) No matter how many deals you wrangle together, a great trip requires dropping serious coin. Discounts and smart shopping help lower the price tag, of course, but even the thriftiest of globetrotters will cut corners to save a buck. Cruises, with many amenities included in the ticket price, are a safe bet. But travelers who wish to end their day with a chilled glass of wine will need to shell out more for the luxury, as alcohol is a separate cost on most cruises. While some ships offer unlimited alcohol packages for cruisers looking to save, the obvious solution is to cut out alcohol entirely. A new initiative from Royal Caribbean is great news for frugal passengers who would still like to wet their whistle.
Royal Caribbean International will allow guests to bring their own libations onboard, pivoting away from their long-standing policy. Previously, passengers were not permitted to embark with their own alcoholic beverages; those who attempted to do so would have their bottles seized and not returned at the cruise’s conclusion.
Even the most veteran of cruise lovers require some time to get their sea legs. The sea can be an unforgiving mistress to those who have trouble keeping their footing on solid ground. Throwing unlimited liquor into the mix seems like a recipe for disaster for the balance impaired. But for cruisers with steely spines and iron stomachs, Norwegian Cruise Line’s new package is a great way to make any vacation more intoxicating (pun intended).
Norwegian Cruise Line has recently introduced an all-you-can-drink alcohol package, offered on three of their 11 liners – the Norwegian Sun, Norwegian Gem and Norwegian Jade. Packages go for $49 per person per day plus gratuity, though further details of what the package includes have yet to be released. Though the line’s fare price encompasses a number of amenities such as room service, buffet, and fitness facility access (for after you carbo-load), alcoholic beverages cost a separate fee.
By now, you surely know all about the damage, chaos, and uncertainty created by Hurricane Sandy. This is more than a weather story, a travel story, or even a news story. It’s a massive event that has affected people in countless ways. At times like this, our thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones, seen their homes destroyed, or been forced to relocate. We certainly wish everyone the very best and hope that life can return to normal as soon as possible.
Of course, we are a travel company, so we tend to focus on that topic. As of today, nearly 20,000 flights have been cancelled because of the storm, leaving passengers stranded far from home or unable to begin their trips. Additionally, cruise ships have had to stay out at sea because of closed ports, with passengers forced to stay onboard for several extra days. With several bridges, tunnels, and highways closed, even car travel was nearly impossible.
It will take days, if not weeks, for the airlines and cruise operators to relocate all of their equipment to the necessary locations, so more cancellations, delays, and schedule changes are expected.
Have your plans been affected? Are you stuck somewhere hoping to get home before the weekend? Please share your travel stories with us in the comments.
Please be safe and patient out there!
Undoubtedly, cruisers used to bargain-basement fares on mass-market mega-ship cruises to Mexico or the Caribbean might experience some initial sticker shock when first considering a European river cruise vacation. Granted, sailing the storied waterways of the European heartland – from Lorelei’s Rhine to Strauss’s Blue Danube – does indeed require a bit more of an upfront investment (7-night sailings average high-season rates of around $3,000), but when breaking down the rates in more detail, these intimate trips (rarely carrying more than 200 guests) actually deliver some terrifically comprehensive value.
Most European river cruise lines offer a nearly all-inclusive vacation, meaning that along with cruising’s standard inclusions of room and full board, transportation from place to place, and onboard entertainment and lectures (though expect considerably less bells and whistles in this department than you’d find on the big ships), you’ll typically also get guided shore excursions, ground transfers, select beverages (including wine and beer), onboard Wi-Fi, and sometimes, even gratuities bundled into the rates. And anyone who’s been on an ocean-going vessel knows that those shore excursions and frothy cocktails can really add up fast.
Read on for five great tips for saving money on a European river cruise vacation, followed up by some exceptional cruise deals that are just ripe for the pickin’. Read more
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