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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
Like snowbirds, cruise ships migrate south for the winter, repositioning from San Francisco to Sydney or Vancouver to Miami, among other seasonal switch-ups. In search of aquamarine water and swaying palms, these cities at sea ply the open ocean offering sun seekers a taste of the good life, complete with Broadway-style entertainment, umbrella drinks, chocolate fountains, and a bevy of stops along the way.
Working on a cruise ship, and then cruising on a variety of vessels as a passenger, I’d say I’ve earned my stripes at sea. Not only do I suggest packing Breton stripes and boat shoes, I’ve assembled a fleet of other fashion-meets-function essentials worth stuffing into your suitcase.
Here’s how to make the gangway your runway: Read more
Taking a toddler on a Norwegian Cruise Line vacation just got more expensive. The operator announced that it will now charge the same fare for children under two years of age that it does for all children. Previously, toddlers were charged only a portion of that fare plus taxes and fees. The change brings Norwegian in line with the practices of Royal Caribbean International and Carnival Cruise Lines, but it stills seems like a cash grab and a deterrent to parents of young children. Norwegian had a chance to differentiate itself in the cruise market, but instead chose to alienate a segment of its customers. Read more
Your family is packed. After an early morning drive to the airport, a flight, a cab ride, and a few temper tantrums, you’ve finally made it to the dock. Now all if you have to do is wait in line for your cruise ship to board and hope that your cabin is ready for you. What if you could skip that last step and board early? What if you could guarantee that your room would be ready the moment that you boarded? Would you pay for that privilege? Well, Carnival Cruise Lines is testing a program that will allow you to do just that. For $49.95, you and anyone else sharing your stateroom can skip the line, board early, and have your bags waiting for you when you arrive at your cabin. Read more
We’d love if every cruise we took could be aboard a luxury liner like the Queen Elizabeth, but budget constraints normally keep us from splurging on all that opulence and personal service. However, these amazing, limited time fares – up to 60 percent off – on Cunard’s fall Mediterranean sailings mean you don’t have to sacrifice savings for style.
The best value is the 10-day Mediterranean Moments, where inside cabins start at $699, or about $70/day; the cruise goes from Rome to Southampton and makes calls in Italy, Monaco, and Spain. Other itineraries we love range from the 12-day Holy Land Explorer (Rome to Venice, with stops in Turkey, Cyprus, Israel, and Egypt) from $899, to the 12-day Pearls of the Black Sea (Venice to Athens, with stops in the Greek Islands, Turkey, and Ukraine) from $1,299. Even better: all sale fares also include an onboard credit of $100-$300, depending on cabin class.
To give you some perspective, these fares are comparable to similar itineraries currently on offer from Royal Caribbean, which don’t include Cunard’s luxury perks like white-glove service and formal evenings. Just be warned that all sailings with the exception of the 12-day Greek Isles and Turkish Splendours start and end in different ports, and buying two one-way flights may increase the cost of your airfare. You’ll also have to hurry, as the sale ends August 6! Find all the details at www.cunard.com/sale.
Passengers of a transatlantic cruise from the United Kingdom to New York are suing the cruise operator for injuries that they sustained during a storm that created rough conditions on their ship. In 2006, the Athena left England for a 24-day journey to New York, New England, and Atlantic Canada. En route to North America, the ship encountered severe storms that tossed passengers violently, with one man dying after falling down a flight of stairs. Seventeen other passengers sustained injuries caused by the rough seas and are now seeking damages from the ship’s owners and operators, Classic International Cruises S.A and Arcalia Shipping Company Limited. It all leads to the logical question: Is anyone liable for these injuries? Read more
The idea of famous bands hosting cruises is not a new thing. Typically, though, it’s been big name acts, classic bands, or Kenny G. The idea of an entire music festival hitting the high seas is a bit more unusual. That’s exactly what’s happening this December, however, as famed California music festival Coachella has partnered with Celebrity Cruises to offer two S.S Coachella cruises. While Coachella is known for sweltering desert heat, camping, and throngs of young people swaying to hipper-than-hip beats, having the festival on a cruise ship does make some sense.
As The New York Times points out, festival goers at sea won’t have to worry about late night drives back to hotels when they can just wobble back to their cabins. The bathroom facilities are sure to be cleaner. And a midnight buffet might just be a better end to a long day of partying than collapsing inside a tent.
Guests on the ship will also have a chance to mingle with some of the performers at events like a wine tasting with James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem.
The cruises are set for December, with a three-day offering to the Bahamas and a four-day festival at sea bound for Jamaica. If you’re willing to share a cabin with three other music lovers, prices start at $500 per person. Prices include food, lodging, and entertainment, but not alcoholic beverages. Just like at any concert, that’s where they get ya.
Continuing a trend in upscale cruising, luxury yacht cruise line Compagnie du Ponant has ditched the pay-as-you-go model for onboard amenities in favor of a single price tag for the entire cruise. Effective immediately, pricing for all new bookings will now include meals, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages (both from the in-room mini-bars and onboard restaurants), welcome cocktail party, 24-hour room service, scheduled onboard entertainment, gratuities, port charges, and taxes and fees.
All-inclusive pricing has become the standard on luxury small ship lines like Seabourn, Silversea, and Regent Seven Seas, where the base price also includes shore excursions, round-trip airfare, and ground transfers. Crystal Cruises also began the transition to all-inclusive earlier this year with free alcoholic beverages and pre-paid gratuities.
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