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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
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.
Traverse the Atlantic Ocean from Southampton to New York City this holiday season aboard Cunard’s luxurious Queen Mary 2, one of the world’s most famous ocean liners, for $649 per person. This offer saves $650 (or 50 percent) on rates later in the season. Book now as this sale ends on Monday, September 10.
Set sail on December 5 at this rate. For $100 more, stay in an ocean view or balcony cabin. For $699, travel on November 20 from Southampton, or November 27 from New York City. Other eastbound and westbound sail dates are available at slightly higher rates.
Spend seven-nights aboard the fourteen-deck Queen Mary 2 — the largest vessel of its kind. The vessel’s detailed decor and elaborate furnishings recall the golden age of travel, while the ship’s amenities provide unparalleled, modern luxury. Feast upon gourmet cuisine from the ship’s restaurants and grills, then indulge in decadent cocktails from twelve bars and lounges. Catch a live show in the theater, or dance the night away in the largest ballroom at sea. Other common cruise amenities, such as five swimming pools, a fitness center, tennis courts, a casino, and a movie theater, are also available, but with Cunard’s signature, upscale touch.
To book this cruise visit Cunard’s website by clicking here, then select December 5 for the lowest rates. Book by September 10 at midnight.
See our New York City and England destination guides for more trip planning information, then use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on return flights, packages, and more travel deals.
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
As a writer specializing in honeymoons and romantic travel, I have been lucky enough to visit Tahiti five times (go ahead and hate me) and these magical South Pacific islands never get old – but cruise ships do. So I was happy to hear that the m/s Paul Gauguin (shown at left in Moorea), the 332-passenger ship that has been sailing the South Pacific for 14 years, underwent a $7 million refurbishment in January. And when I went aboard in late February for a seven-night Tahiti & Society Islands cruise, the renovations looked great. The new color scheme – muted neutrals and pale blues instead of the old red and dark navy – gives the ship a renewed elegance and sense of place. And the all-inclusive (with the exception of shore excursions and spa treatments) pricing makes the Paul Gauguin, while still a splurge, a great value in a region where overwater bungalows run upwards of $800 per night and food alone can tack on another $500 a day for two. Plus, book in 2012 and cruise fares include free round-trip airfare from Los Angeles. Here’s what you need to know if you’re thinking of booking a romantic sail through the islands of French Polynesia.
Disney Cruise Line has recently announced itineraries and ports for 2013, which include the exciting return of European cruises and a new home port in Miami. And although the news for 2012 is not quite as recent, this year is nevertheless a big year for Disney Cruise Line as well, from the March debut of the Disney Fantasy (one of our 2012 best cruise picks) to the introduction of three new home ports – some of which will no longer be used in 2013. As such, here’s a breakdown of what’s to come in 2013, and a reminder list of 2012’s options, so you can be sure to join Disney at the port-of-call that strikes your fancy.
New in 2012
New York City, New York: Starting this year, you can choose from several cruise itineraries that call NYC their home port: The 8-night Bahamian cruise (with Walt Disney World day trip included), the 5-night New England and Canadian coastal cruise, or the 2-night get-away-from-it-all New York Weekend Getaway Cruise. Note, though, that none of the New York City itineraries are available in 2013.
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