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.

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