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Carnival Corporation is having a rough week, from ship fires, to armed robberies, to barred ports of call. Coupled with the Costa Concordia disaster, it’s understandable that travelers may be a bit more reluctant to book a cruise for their vacation time. But despite the bad press, and perhaps to some extent because of it, this is a great time to find cruise deals; and scores of them are available right now.
January through March is what the cruise industry refers to as “wave season” and it’s the time of the year that the most aggressive deal and advertising campaigns are launched and, consequently, when most cruise reservations are made. Even so, demand for the season isn’t down and deals abound; the industry still wants to fill its cabins. What this means for you is that your cruise deal options are wide and varied. What you want to watch out for especially are flash sales and special offers and rates.
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.
Come January, Princess Cruises will enforce a fleet-wide ban on smoking in passenger staterooms and on private balconies. The announcement comes following company research results showing that smokers comprise just a small minority of the line’s passengers, and that the majority of cruisers value having a smoke-free environment onboard. These new regulations echo popular concerns and regulation changes in many public places and businesses on terra firma and follows suit for several other major cruise lines: Holland America and Royal Caribbean will put the same regulations into effect on the same date, while Disney has never allowed smoking in its staterooms. Carnival launched smoke-free rooms in January of this year, while Celebrity ended smoking in cabins back in late 2009. Norwegian Cruise Line is the only major holdout – while they have kept all public areas smoke-free, smokers can still indulge cigarettes in their designated staterooms or on their private verandahs.
What do you think Cruise News readers? Is this a welcomed change or an unwelcomed jab at vacation freedoms?
What could possibly improve the Disney cruise experience for a family with kids in tow? How about bringing the brood along for free on select Disney Cruise Lines’ sailings?! Kids 17 and under do indeed sail for free when traveling on promotional Mexican Riviera sailings in the accompaniment of two full-fare guests. The company does not limit the number of children, but does say that there are few suites available for more than 4 guests.
Itineraries incorporate day-long stops in Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas; additional stops are included in Mazatlán and Manzanillo with some 7- and 8-night trips. This offer applies to verandah cabins (starting rates on adult fares from $1,559 per person) on select embarkations between October 30 and December 18, 2011; be sure to indicate booking code “KFO” at time of booking.
Visit our Mexican Cruise Deals page for more offers to the region.
Sarah Palin isn’t the only one making waves in the 49th state. Thanks to a voter-enacted head tax and skyrocketing fuel costs, cruise ships have been unmooring from its ports for the past couple of years – but the tides are changing. Liners like Disney are newly bound for Alaskan waters, and a bevy of other boats are debuting new routes and intrepid Last Frontier excursions in 2011.
Oceania: The 684-passenger Regatta makes its inaugural voyage through the Inside Passage this May, with ports of call in Juneau and Ketchikan before slicing through Hoonah’s rugged terrain. Travelers can choose from four itineraries – Majestic Alaska, Alaskan Grandeur, Frontiers and Glaciers, and Glacial Wilderness – that depart from San Francisco or Vancouver. Ten-day trips from $3,299; www.oceaniacruises.com.
Cruises departing from New York will travel to the Bahamas, Canada and New England (a new Disney route), and around the New York area on a new, two-night trip. Passengers embarking in Galveston will visit the Caribbean, and ships leaving from Seattle will sail along the Alaskan and Pacific Coast.
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