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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
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
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.
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
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.
Family-friendly cruising is nothing new to Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), which was the first line to introduce a kids program in 1999. What is new are NCL’s “Splash Academy” youth program and “Entourage” teen zone, which have been introduced on the Norwegian Gem and eventually will be offered fleet-wide.
What’s newer still is that when she sets sail from New York City to Bermuda during her inaugural summer season next year, the Norwegian Breakaway (a 4,000-passenger ship that will also sail from NYC to ports of call in Florida, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean) will be equipped with the largest dedicated kid zones in the fleet.
How decked out are we talking about? Well, Splash Academy will span two decks (12 and 13, if you want to start mastering the ship’s layout) that will be adjacent to the Breakaway’s “family-friendly staterooms.”
Escape the rat race with a cruise to the sunny, pink-sand beaches of Bermuda via Norwegian Cruise Line. This 7-night cruise aboard the Norwegian Star departs from New York City on May 6 and sails across the Atlantic to Bermuda. Rates start at $499 (just $71 per night) for an inside cabin, saving you 33% compared to the same itinerary in 2013.
You’re also eligible for a cabin upgrade, from an inside cabin to an ocean-view cabin, or an ocean-view cabin to a balcony cabin. When you’re not soaking in the sun on deck or on the beach, indulge in 14 different dining options and catch a performance by the Second City comedy improv troupe. Or just enjoy the sunset at the open-air Bier Garten.
Miami’s LGBT scene will be sizzling come spring. First up on the docket, the Miami Beach Pride, held on April 15 this year, will be bringing buzz back to the Deco District. Last year’s event saw 40,000 people march down Ocean Drive, making it the largest single-day event in South Beach’s history, and with the addition of the post-Pride party cruise, one of the most unique.
Setting sail Monday, April 16, through Friday, April 20, onboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Sky, the Miami Beach Pride Cruise offers a chance to extend the party with a 4-night voyage to the Bahamas with stops in Grand Bahamas, Nassau, and Great Stirrup Cay, the cruise line’s private island. A portion of the proceeds will be donated back to Miami Beach Gay Pride’s charitable causes. Read more
Take a last-minute, 7-night cruise to Bermuda this October for just $299! The Norwegian Dawn sets sails from Boston on September 30, October 7, and 14, for a last chance to lounge and enjoy perfect beach weather in Bermuda. The ship calls to port in King’s Wharf for three nights where guests have easy access to Bermuda’s pink-sand beaches, luxurious resorts, and the islands eight golf courses. With four nights at sea, guests will have plenty to do on board the Dawn which offers freestyle cruising, a concept that lets guests decide what they want to do and when. With 10 restaurants, over 10 bars and lounges, four pools, a full service spa, and a 24 hour fitness center, guests will be immersed in activity and relaxation. Price based on interior cabin.
THE VALUE: These three sailings at $299 come out to just $43 per person, per night! Or for $549, upgrade to a balcony cabin.
THE CATCH: You only have a couple weeks to plan and take advantage of this rate.
THE DETAILS: Visit www.cruisesonly.com to book your cabin now.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Need to get to Boston? Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find low rates on flights.
Use our Bermuda Travel Guide to help plan our trip.
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