Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Viking River Cruises 2008 Sale Hits Final Day

You can save $1,000 per couple on Viking River Cruises' 2008 sailings by booking and paying in full for them by today (July 31, 2007).

Itineraries for this deal include the 10-day Tulips and Windmills river cruise roundtrip from Amsterdam (double occupancy prices start at $1,699 per person); the 12-day Berlin to Prague cruise (with prices starting at $2,499 per passenger); the 16-day Eastern European Odyssey from Bucharest to Nuremberg (with prices starting at $2,999); and the 16-day China's Cultural delights cruise from Shanghai to Beijing (with prices starting at $3,399).

Other itineraries include Burgundy and Provence, France; the Danube; the Rhine; Russia; and Switzerland to Belgium, among others.

To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-510-4002 for RiverCruise.com.

Monday, July 30, 2007

As Marco Polo bids farewell, a chance to sail at two-for-one rates

Orient Lines is offering some two-for-one specials during the next half year on its legendary cruise liner Marco Polo, which will leave the parent company NCL fleet in March 2008.

On nine departure dates in the Mediterranean and South America between September 2007 and February 2008, two passengers sharing a double cabin can cruise from rates starting at about $763 (549 euros) per cabin.

Among the Mediterranean itineraries are two seven-night cruises from Barcelona to Piraeus, Greece, on September 12 and October 10, 2007, starting at $763 per cabin. A South American coastal itinerary including Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, starts at around $1,041 (749 euros) per cabin.

Other specially priced sailings take passengers around Cape Horn and to the Antarctic Peninsula.

After the Marco Polo departs the NCL fleet, it will operate on charters run by Transocean Tours of Bremen, Germany. Passengers who have booked cruises on the ship after March 2, 2008, will be able to rebook on an earlier Orient Lines cruise if they choose, convert their bookings to an NCL cruise, or apply for refunds.

To book or for more information, click here or call 800-333-7300 or a travel agent.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Smarter Cruising secret

If you've been following the Smarter Cruising blog, you're well aware that great cruise deals pop up quite frequently. Just this month alone we've tipped you off to 15 or 20 fantastic deals.

But what if you've had your eye on a particular destination -- one we haven't covered much?

What if you need different sailing dates? An extra cabin for the kids?

How do you get the best deal on the cruise you've been dreaming about?

The answer is simple: read the Smarter Cruising guide "How to Book the Best Cruise Deal." Inside you'll find the answers to such common cruise-booking questions as:

  • Who your best friend -- or worst enemy -- in the cruise industry is
  • What to do to get free or low cost upgrades
  • When to book your cruise to get the best bargains
  • Where to go to find the hottest cruise deals online
  • Why you shouldn't believe everything you read in cruise line brochures
Obviously, booking a cruise is a significant investment in both time and money. Don't go into "battle" negotiating your cruise fare without first arming yourself with all the money-saving tips inside "How to Book the Best Cruise Deal!"

And with all the money you'll save, you'll be that much closer to booking your next cruise vacation!

To find out more about "How to Book the Best Cruise Deal," click here now.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Cruise from Spain to Brazil with a verandah and free air

Oceania Cruises is featuring a 15-day repositioning cruise from Barcelona to Rio de Janeiro departing November 24, 2007, in which you can land a verandah stateroom for as little as $2,699 per passenger.

The deal, based on double occupancy of a stateroom, excludes taxes and fees, but includes free airfare to and from the cruise from some 20 U.S. cities, which makes it much sweeter.

Because the cruise leaves from Europe and ends in South America, you would have to pay steep airfare if booking it on your own. (While I often counsel passengers to book their own airfare rather than accept a cruise line's offer of "free" air -- you can usually get a nice rebate from the cruise line if you turn it down, and often get better air connections to boot -- finding decent airfare for repositioning cruises covering two faraway continents can prove much trickier and more expensive.)

Port stops include Gibraltar and the UK. The offer expires August 31, but space is limited. Call a travel agent or Oceania at 800-531-5619.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Exotic destinations: hot, but pricey

This is the fourth in a four-part series on finding bargain destinations for 2007. 2007 is proving to be a bust-out year for exotic cruise destinations.

Whether you want to voyage to Greenland or the Amazon, China or Dubai, you can find a cruise ship ready to take you there. Asia, South America, the Arctic, and Antarctica are all in demand, as cruise passengers seek out variety in far-flung locales.

Alas, like personal computers in the 1980s and wide-screen high-definition TV sets today, cruises to remote destinations are still unusual enough that prices remain relatively high.

One exception, however, seems to be Australia and the Pacific. If you're looking to cruise off the beaten path at discount prices, these areas are probably your best bet this year. (On the other hand, getting to your far-flung cruise by air is never going to be cheap.)

But stay tuned -- as cruise lines send more ships into ever more exotic waters, chances are that competition will send prices dropping a bit. And I'll keep you posted when they do.

China cruise photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Europe: wait till fall for bargains?

This is the third in a four-part series on finding bargain destinations for 2007. Demand has risen faster for European cruises than any other destination this year.

The Mediterranean, the Adriatic, the Baltic, and river cruising throughout Europe have all ballooned in popularity over the past few years, and last-minute bargains and cut-rate deals for this summer in Europe are much tougher to find.

But, if you're willing to wait till this fall -- after the summer high season (but when the weather can still be very pleasant) -- you can find some excellent deals.

Most important, keep in mind that cruising may be the most economical way of seeing Europe these days, short of donning a backpack.

The key is that when you book a cruise in the U.S., you can pay in dollars. But when you travel by land through most countries in Europe, you have to change your dollars into euros -- and right now, the dollar is getting clobbered by the euro in exchange rates. (One dollar will only get you .72 Euros, while one Euro is worth 1.38 dollars.) So Europe -- which is already a very expensive destination -- has become much more so for Americans.

Unless, that is, you go by cruise ship and pre-pay most of your expenses in dollars. Yes, the initial cruise rates will be higher for Europe than they are for the Caribbean or Hawaii. But if the Continent is on your agenda this year, cruising is the way to see it -- without having to mortgage your house before you go.

Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Hawaii and Alaska: surprising cruise bargains

This is the second part in this week's Smarter Cruising series looking at bargain cruise destinations for 2007.

Alaska -- traditionally one of the more expensive cruise destinations because of its relatively short season (May to September) -- has been in a bit of a downturn this year.

Again, like this year's Caribbean slump, no one knows the exact reason, though the 49th state's tremendous popularity over the past decade or so may be catching up to it -- the "been there, done that" crowd may be searching for new destinations and adventures.

That means that even in mid-July, you can still find space on a good many ships for August and September -- and at discount prices, too. According to Travel Weekly magazine, basic fares have dropped about 20 percent this year.

Hawaii (pictured above right) is another place to land terrific bargains -- but maybe only for this year. Norwegian Cruise Line, which has dominated the Hawaii market, announced earlier this year that it's pulling two ships out of Hawaii by early 2008, an admission that it had created too much supply for the demand.

In all likelihood, with fewer cabins available next year, prices will rise. But for now, Hawaii cruises are going at bargain prices similar to those in the Caribbean. (It may well cost you more to fly to Hawaii, however, than to an embarkation city for the Caribbean. And unlike Miami, Houston, New Orleans or other mainland starting points for Caribbean cruises, not many of us can drive to Hawaii!)

Tomorrow: Europe.

Monday, July 23, 2007

2007: a banner year for cruise bargains

2007 is proving to be a banner year for cruise bargains -- especially in the Caribbean, where demand has been soft since last fall.

It's not unusual this year to see week-long Caribbean cruises going for just a few hundred dollars, around $70 per day per passenger -- and sometimes as low as $50, even $40 per day per passenger.

Think about that: you can get your accommodations, food (as much as six meals per day!), entertainment, and of course transportation for the cost of a motel room or one nice dinner out in the U.S.

Yes, in all likelihood, you'll pay more than that by the time your cruise is over, especially for options such as organized shore excursions, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments, casino gambling and the like -- should you choose to indulge. And if you opt for more expensive cabins or suites than the more modest ones, you'll pay more as well.

But that's entirely your decision -- incredible bargains are there if you want them.

Industry observers have cited a number of theories why the demand for Caribbean cruises (and along with it, prices) has dropped.

One is that frequent cruisers are tiring of the Caribbean and are looking for more far-flung, less crowded ports. Another is that recent changes in passport regulations have convinced U.S. passengers they need passports to cruise the Caribbean -- even though the passport requirement for sea travel has been postponed till next year. And perhaps the lingering fear of hurricanes from fall 2005 kept passengers from booking Caribbean cruises last fall (though that doesn't explain the continuing slump this year).

With lots of "last-minute" deals available, though, bargain-conscious cruisers have been snapping up cabins for Caribbean voyages at prices up to 80 percent off brochure rates. Ironically, that means prices have been leveling off a bit recently and may even start going up again, due to the increased demand.

Tomorrow we'll examine more of this year's bargain cruising destinations. Some of them may surprise you.

St. Maarten photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Free balcony upgrades on Queen Mary 2 sailings

You can cross the Atlantic between Southampton, England, and New York via the Queen Mary 2 this October for rates starting at $999 (for an inside cabin) or -- with complimentary upgrade -- $1,199 for a balcony cabin at an oceanview price.

The six-day voyages depart on October 13, 19, and 25 -- the sailing on the 19th is eastbound from New York.

Or sail 12 days roundtrip from New York on October 19 starting at $1,899 for an inside cabin and $2,199 for a premium balcony, with the complimentary upgrade from oceanview.

Amenities include the largest ballroom at sea, the only planetarium at sea, and lots of atmosphere and tradition.

Rates are per passenger based on double occupancy. To book, call a travel agent or Cunard at 800/7-CUNARD. For more information on the Queen Mary 2, visit Cunard's website.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Sail the Med for a week for about $700 on Costa

Costa Cruises is offering a variety of week-long eastern and western Mediterranean cruises in 2007 from rates starting at $699 per passenger, double occupancy. Some sailings in October and November are priced at $599 on Costa's website.

Sailing dates range from July 30 until the end of November. You can choose among itineraries visiting various combinations of Italian, Greek, Turkish, and Croatian ports in the eastern Mediterranean, or various combinations of Italy, Spain, Tunisia, Malta, France, and Portugal in the western Mediterranean.

The $599 sailings are on Costa Victoria's itinerary from Italy to Turkey via Greece.

Booking deadline is August 15, but the rates aren't guaranteed until then. To book, visit Costa's website or call 800/462-6782 or a travel agent; ask for discount code ES.

Photo of Costa Serena in Istanbul by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Friday, July 20, 2007

Carnival offers military specials

Carnival Cruise Lines has announced some special rates for members of the U.S. armed forces, including a $549 rate for a week-long southbound Alaska cruise out of Anchorage on August 29, a $569 eight-day western Caribbean itinerary out of Fort Lauderdale on October 27, and a $339 four-day Baja Mexico sailing out of San Diego on August 30.

Rates are based on double occupancy and government fees and taxes are additional, and they could be withdrawn at any time depending on the number of bookings. To book or for more information, call a travel agent or Carnival at 800-327-9501 and request fare code CPM1.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

With dollar plummeting, cruising to Europe makes sense (and cents)

According to a report in today's New York Times, the dollar is now at an all-time low against both the euro (which has climbed to 1.38 against the dollar) and the British pound (which has climbed to 2.05 against the dollar).

This means that every time you spend a U.S. dollar in Europe, it will only buy you about 72 U.S. cents worth of services -- or, when you spend a pound in England, just under 50 cents worth.

That's a decline of about nine to 10 percent for the dollar in the past year alone (and it was already bad last year).

As the Times points out, Americans traveling in Europe are facing astronomical bills for everything from hotel rooms to soft drinks.

Now, consider an American cruise ship passenger, who has already prepaid in dollars for European transportation, lodging, meals, and very possibly a fair amount of entertainment and other activities onboard. Conversion rates become far less important, and you're also likely to face far fewer surprises when the credit card bills come in for your vacation.

Sure, you'll still no doubt spend some money on land, but (unless you go overboard on the shopping) you won't face the necessity of hitting an ATM machine three times a day, either.

More than ever, it makes financial sense to see Europe by cruise ship.

Taormina, Sicilty photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Cruising Greenland: an unusual treat

I've just returned from four days in Greenland, the world's largest island and a remarkable repository of natural wonders: huge glaciers and icebergs, deep blue waters, whales and musk ox (but no trees whatsoever) -- it's like no other place on earth.

It's also one of the least populated places on earth -- just 56,000 people inhabit a territory nearly 14 times the size of England. Those who do live there are a fascinating mix of Inuits (who migrated from the Canadian Arctic) and Europeans who've come over mostly from Denmark and Norway (dating back to Viking days).

But as remote as Greenland is, you can find plenty of creature comforts there, including four-star hotels, wonderful seafood dinners, and some fine shops specializing in locally made handicrafts and garments.

Getting there has just become considerably easier for North Americans, who previously had to fly via Iceland or Denmark (while close to regions of far northeastern Canada, Greenland has long been part of Denmark). This summer, Air Greenland has started flying from Baltimore, Maryland, to Greenland twice a week, until late August. The flights take only four to five hours -- just enough time to take you to another world.

Once there, you have several options for taking a cruise along the Greenland coast.

I was there on a short fact-finding trip, but enjoyed a half day cruise in Disko Bay, sailing among some of the world's biggest icebergs -- it's really the only place on earth where you can get so close to these magnificent behemoths, all of which have broken off from a huge inland glacier and sailed down an icefjord before reaching the bay. We even got close-up looks at a humpback whale, a species that feeds in these waters during the summer before migrating to the Caribbean for winter breeding season.

That cruise and others are available from Maya Boat Adventures, based in Ilulissat on the west coast of Greenland. You can reach them by e-mail at wgoutfitter@greennet.gl.

Earlier, when I landed at Greenland's international airport at Kangerlussuaq just north of the Arctic Circle, I met a number of people who were preparing to board the ms Fram, the newest ship belonging to the Norwegian Coastal Voyage line, which would soon set out on a one-week cruise along Greenland's west coast.

In all, some 33 cruise ships carrying 22,000 passengers made 116 port calls in Greenland last year -- a 33 percent increase over 2005 -- making it one of the industry's "hot" new destinations. (Actually, the weather can be remarkably mild in summer: 70 degrees isn't uncommon, as I discovered.) And don't forget the extra daylight: in Ilulissat and points north, you'll see the midnight sun -- in fact, it stays light for 24 hours a day in June and July.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Smarter Cruising: Cruise Vacation ... Inspiration!

Did you enjoy this week's special "mini-series" of blog posts about mini-cruises?

Smarter Cruisers received the whole article, along with tons of additional top-notch money-saving cruise info (including links to the hottest deals!), through their FREE subscriptions to the SC newsletter.

Curious what all the fuss is about? Why not sneak a peek at the newsletter for yourself by clicking here?

By the way, if you'd like to receive your FREE edition of the Smarter Cruising Newsletter in your email inbox next month ... all you have to do is click here now to sign up!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Mini-cruises to Baja California

Both Royal Caribbean and Carnival offer three-night cruises from Los Angeles to lively Ensenada, Mexico, on the Baja Peninsula. Both cruises leave L.A. on Friday afternoons throughout the year and return Monday mornings, so you can complete either trip over a long weekend.

Prices start at $189 for the Royal Caribbean cruise, $199 for Carnival's. Royal Caribbean has its 2,700-passenger Monarch of the Seas ship in service on this route, while Carnival uses its 2,050-passenger Paradise. Besides a full day at sea, each cruise features a day in port in Ensenada. Various shore excursions are available there at additional cost.

All regular meals and many onboard activities are included in the base price, though, such as a rock-climbing wall on the Royal Caribbean ship and a jungle-themed disco on the Carnival vessel. Note: Carnival also runs four-night cruises from Tampa, Florida, to Cozumel, Mexico (in the Yucatan), with prices starting at $299.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Mini-cruises to The Bahamas

The year-round, three-day two-night Imperial Majesty cruises from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Nassau in The Bahamas provide an ideal introduction to cruising for first timers, and a fun getaway for anyone at bargain prices.

With adult rates starting at just $129 for the two nights -- including plenty of shipboard food and entertainment -- it makes for a nice deal. Rates for kids aged 3 to 12 in the same cabin as two adults are just $89, with kids' programs available on board. Passengers get a full day in port in Nassau, too (at their own expense, to be sure).

The cruises embark 15 or 16 times a month from Fort Lauderdale, sailing at 5 p.m. and docking the next morning at 9 in Nassau. After a day in port, the ship leaves Nassau at 5:30 p.m. and arrives back in Fort Lauderdale at 9 the next morning. Then they start over again at 5 that evening.

One of the prime selling points is that the cruises are aboard a grand old ship, a vintage wood-paneled 1,200-passenger ocean liner called the MV Regal Empress. Yes, like the dowager she is, the 1950s-era Empress is showing some wrinkles -- and is likely to be retired by the year 2010 (all the more reason to go now).

Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Disney also all run year-round mini-cruises to Nassau from different ports in south Florida. And Holland America Line will be offering three three-day cruises from Fort Lauderdale to The Bahamas in April 2008.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A long weekend's cruise to Atlantic Canada

I recently returned from a voyage aboard the Carnival Victory from New York City to Saint John, New Brunswick, and back.

The 2,750-passenger-capacity ship sailed past the Statue of Liberty on its way out of New York Harbor just after 6 p.m. on a Thursday evening in late June. After spending all day Friday at sea, we docked in Saint John at 8 a.m. Saturday, where we stayed until 6 p.m. that day. We then spent Saturday evening and all day Sunday sailing back to New York City, arriving back in the Big Apple by 8 a.m. Monday. Some area residents were back in their offices that morning (ouch!).

Yet in one long weekend, those of us aboard the Victory had time to spend nearly ten hours in a historic, scenic city and region of Canada, highlighted by Saint John's Bay of Fundy, site of the world's highest tides. Back on board, we could watch whales migrating in the Atlantic from the comfort of our deck chairs, eat a dozen meals and (in perhaps too many cases) copious snacks in between, take in various stage entertainments, swim in pools and soak in hot tubs, stretch out in the sun with a book, and enjoy any number of other ways to amuse ourselves.

The ship was loaded with families and kids from tot to teenage, many taking advantage of the offerings of Camp Carnival, the complimentary supervised children's activity program. Among the passengers were big family reunion groups, a contingent of women in purple T-shirts proclaiming their "Wild Women Cruise", a large number of passengers from various Asian countries, plenty of married couples both young and old -- a real cross-section of travelers. And most of them seemed to be having a great time.

All this for prices starting at $429 per passenger. Of course, you can spend considerably more if you opt for balcony staterooms and lengthy shore excursions, buy a lot of drinks and photos,linger in the casino, purchase art at the shipboard auctions, and splurge on pricey spa treatments.

But those are optional expenses. Except for staff tips, which Carnival automatically adds to your bill, you could go the entire voyage without racking up any additional expenses at all. Carnival is operating four more such cruises through August 2007, and six more in the summer of 2008.

Carnival Cruise Lines is currently setting the pace in the shorter cruising trend, deploying nearly half its fleet on cruises of five days or less during 2007, with 32 different itineraries leaving from a dozen domestic departure points.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Mini-Cruises: a hot trend

Having recently returned from a four-night Carnival cruise to Canada, I've got mini-cruises on my mind. For the next few days, I'll be running a mini-series of postings on mini-cruises you can take from the U.S. to three different foreign countries.

For my money, mini-cruises -- voyages of two, three, or four days -- offer some of the best values in cruising, and are certainly among the best ways for novice cruisers to "get their feet wet" in sea-going travel.

Worried that your youngsters might be bored on board? Try a mini-cruise. If for some reason anyone in your family doesn't take to cruising, you won't have invested that much time and money in it.

But chances are the kids will be clamoring for more come next summer!

For these reasons and more, mini-cruises are one of the hottest trends in ship travel, mirroring the general travel trend toward shorter trips. But while departure ports are closer to home and the voyages can often be completed in a three-day weekend, mini-cruise destinations can also offer up a taste of the exotic: The Bahamas, Mexico, and Canada are all on the itineraries.

Photo of port of Miami by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

MSC extends its kids cruise free to Caribbean offer

MSC Cruises is extending its booking deadline to August 31 for its "Children Cruise Free" offer on some Caribbean cruises during 2007 and 2008.

Kids aged 17 and under sharing a cabin with two full-fare paying adults will sail free on selected MSC Lirica voyages roundtrip out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Adult rates begin at $579 per passenger for the ship's seven-night western Caribbean sailing December 14 and $849 per passenger for a variety of ten-night Caribbean and Panama cruises dating from December 4 to March 19, 2008.

One thing to keep in mind is that this discount may not be as good as others you can find since two adults have to pay full fare in order to take advantage of it. If you can find these same cruises discounted more than 50 percent for all passengers, that would be a better deal than this one. (Those deals would likely come within a few weeks of sailing.)

But if you have a couple of kids in tow and want to lock in your rate this summer -- not a bad idea since cabins big enough for a family of four aren't all that abundant -- you may want to grab this one while you can.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Alaska cruises on sale from Holland America

Holland America is putting a whole raft of 2007 Alaska cruises on sale.

How about a week-long Glacier Discovery Cruise starting at $399? These one-way cruises explore both the Inside Passage and either Glacier Bay or the Hubbard Glacier in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Departures are July 22 and September 2. Or combine back-to-back Glacier Discovery Cruises roundtrip from Vancouver, Canada, embarking August 31 and starting at $749 for an inside cabin, double occupancy.

You can also choose among 11- to 12-day sailings that explore the Inside Passage, then travel the Pacific Coast down to San Diego or Los Angeles, starting at $799.

Third and fourth passengers in some cabins are free or travel for just $99, $199 or other greatly reduced fares on these and other Alaska sailings this summer and early fall.

Taxes ranging from $92 to $191 are additional, so the fares aren't quite as low as they first appear, but still come in well under $100 a day.

Call a travel agent or Holland America at 800/391-6258 for more information.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

$50 a day for a Hawaii to Mexico cruise on NCL

Norwegian Cruise Line is offering a "Hot Deal" on a 10-day Hawaii to Ensenada, Mexico, cruise aboard the Norwegian Sun on September 29, 2007, starting at just $499 per passenger, double occupancy, for an inside cabin. That's about $50 a day! (Cheaper than staying home?)

Other current Hot Deals -- which must be booked between July 9 and July 13 -- include a six-day Canada and New England cruise roundtrip from New York on September 23, 2007, starting at $449 per passenger; and a week-long Bermuda cruise roundtrip from New York on September 30 starting at $469.

And how about this one: a 14-day South America cruise from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Valparaiso, Chile, embarking December 9, 2007, and starting at just $899 inside, or -- even better -- $949 per passenger in an oceanview cabin.

To take advantage of one of these, call your travel agent and ask for Promo Code PGSD1.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Vantage Travel drops singles supplement for November river cruises

Vantage Deluxe World Travel is charging no singles supplement (normally 25 to 50 percent of the double occupancy fare) on selected staterooms for its 11-day German Holiday Markets cruises on the Rhine and Main rivers in November.

Singles can travel in these staterooms for either $1,999 or $2,199, depending on departure date of November 22, 23, or 24. Prices include roundtrip airfare from Boston, New York, or Newark, New Jersey; low-cost supplements are available from a number of other U.S. cities. Vantage also includes a number of sightseeing excursions in the base price.

These cruises tend to sell out, so it's best to book soon if you're interested. Click here for more information or call 800/322-6677 and ask for promotional code EM1298.

Friday, July 6, 2007

One-week Alaska cruises under $500

If you act fast, you can snag a week-long Alaska cruise later this summer on either Princess' Island Princess or Holland America's Volendam. Both are available from Vacations to Go, an Internet discounter, but either deal could evaporate at any time.

The Princess cruise departs from Whittier, Alaska, near Anchorage on August 27 and visits Glacier Bay National Park and the Inside Passage en route to Vancouver, Canada. Inside cabins start at $499 per passenger, double occupancy. Click here for Vacations to Go Fast Deal #10971.

The Holland America cruise embarks September 7 at Seward, Alaska, also near Anchorage, and visits Hubbard Glacier before cruising the Inside Passage to Vancouver. Inside cabins start at $449 and oceanview cabins at only $489, a real bargain (you won't regret having a window on an Alaska cruise). Click here for Vacations to Go Fast Deal #23597.

Deals like this won't last long, so if you're interested, book now.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Go Mini-Cruising with Smarter Cruising

The Smarter Cruising Newsletter has just been released to Smarter Cruising subscribers. Right now they're reading about a mini-cruise I took to Canada recently.

For my money, mini-cruises -- voyages of two to four days -- offer some of the best values in cruising, and are among the best ways for first-timers to "get their feet wet."

For these reasons and more, mini-cruises are one of the hottest trends in ship travel, mirroring the general travel trend toward shorter trips.

Curious about mini-cruises? Why not take a peek at this month's newsletter by clicking here to read about my experience?

By the way, if you'd like to receive your FREE edition of the Smarter Cruising Newsletter in your email inbox next month ...

... all you have to do is click here now to sign up!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Early booking discounts for Viking River Cruises

You can save $500 per passenger in a double occupancy stateroom if you take advantage of early booking on any one of Viking River Cruises' 2008 itineraries, which include Europe, Russia, and China.

You need to book and pay in full for your river cruise by July 31, 2007. Click here for more information.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Win a free cruise to The Bahamas

Imperial Majesty, a one-ship cruise line that runs two-night cruises from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Nassau in The Bahamas, is offering a free cruise each week to one visitor to its website. All you have to do is sign up once with your name and e-mail address and wait for the potential good news by e-mail.

While these aren't expensive cruises -- you can get a stateroom for as little as $129 per adult passenger, though you can also pay up to $718 for a suite -- they are fun and entertaining, and include seven meals over parts of three days. They also take place aboard a grand old wood-paneled ocean liner, the MV Regal Empress, which is worth the trip in itself.

To try your luck at winning a cruise, click here.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Fourth of July sale from Royal Caribbean

From now through July 4th, Royal Caribbean is offering up some 30 summertime cruises on sale at savings up to $400 per stateroom. The cruises range from three-day mini-voyages to the Bahamas to 12-night Mediterranean cruises; destinations also include Alaska, the eastern and western Caribbean, Baja Mexico, Bermuda, Canada/New England, and the Aegean Sea.

You can book a stateroom for as little as $229 per passenger on a September 7 three-day Bahamas cruise, or $599 for a seven-night western Caribbean cruise departing August 26.

Remember, these prices are only good until 11:59 pm on July 4th. Click here for more information or call Royal Caribbean at 800/529-6918.