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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
Truth be told, my only experience with a repositioning cruise was as a precocious 6-year-old sailing Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth 2 instead of flying when my family moved back to the U.S. from Paris. Our week at sea was spent watching the newly released Beauty and the Beast and splashing in salt water swimming pools. Even our poor cat, Fuzzy, came along for the ride, although I think she had significantly less fun than we did. (Apparently this trip made quite the impression on me, as the parent volunteers from my first grade class still to this day remember how I regaled them with tales of the QE2.)
Fond childhood memories aside, these types of cruises generally offer the best deals around, since cruise lines need to move their ships from one place to another and offer significant discounts on “one-way” passages. The itineraries can cost as little as $42/night – though note since you spend less time in port you’re more apt (so the cruise lines hope) to open your wallet for the ship’s onboard activities and specialty restaurants.
It’s just about the most wonderful time of the year for cruisers in search of jaw-dropping value, when summering cruise ships from Alaska, Europe, and other northerly locales point their hulls south toward the warmer waters and their winter bases in the Caribbean, Florida, Mexican Riviera, and more. And the direction of these sailings is not the only thing headed south – rates on these “repositioning” sailings are slashed as much as a whopping 80 percent off, as cruise lines look to woo vacationers with discounted rates on these relocation runs, while offering passengers access to off-the-path ports and plenty of extra time at sea for some quality R&R. Read our Repositioning Cruises 101 Guide for our expert advice on planning your next repositioning cruise vacation, and then make it happen with one of the exceptional deals outlined below – we’ve rounded up four cruise deal steals with radically reduced rates that are sure to have you hitting the high seas with financial ease this fall: Read more
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?
In honor of Earth Day this past April 22, Holland America Line unveiled their new environmentally sustainable seafood program, an extension of their 3-year-long environmental conservation project dubbed “Our Marvelous Oceans.” The sustainability program is the cruise line’s way of ensuring responsibility for the health of the seas they sail upon. Partnered with Marine Conservation Institute, a Washington-based aquatic environmental group, Holland America’s new strides help secure an onboard seafood selection that is more environmentally conscious. The company predicts that the new menu will satisfy their customers by offering the same quality gourmet fish, while allowing those fish species to be present and prolific in their biologically natural environment. Read more
During a luncheon aboard the MS Veendam, the Holland America Line showed off its Signature of Excellence enhancements, a makeover program costing $525 million that will take place on a total of five of the fleet’s midsize ships, with enhancements ranging from subtle touch-ups to extraordinary additions.
The most apparent enhancement is the Retreat, a new resort-style pool on the aft portion of the ship. Here, shallow, eight-inch waters encompass a series of lounge chairs so guests may soak their feet while catching rays ? a new standard in relaxation. In addition, the Retreat offers a new pool bar, the pizzeria Slice, and a massive LED screen used specifically for nightly movie showings.
The bars and casino have also been rearranged into a multi-themed area known as Mix, where three separate bars will serve their namesake libation: martinis, champagne, and spirits and ales. The Showroom at Sea, the main show lounge, has been remodeled with a new elegance and aura of a Las Vegas theater.
The public areas are not the only spaces receiving renovations. A new category of rooms, the Lanai staterooms, has also been added by replacing the former stateroom windows with new Lanai doors that open directly onto the walk-around promenade. Additionally, all staterooms received new décor and carpeting as well as new bathroom cabinetry and vanities. Each ship will see between 44 and 46 new staterooms, 38 of which will be of the Lanai category.
The ms Veendam and Rotterdam have already completed the two-phase enhancement process, however, the Statendam will not be completed until December of 2012, while the Ryndam and Maasdam will be completed in the spring and fall of 2013, respectively.
For more Holland America news and information, visit www.hollandamerica.com.
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