Monday, December 29, 2008

Cruise West extends early booking deals for Alaska

Cruise West, which runs small expedition-style cruises to Alaska (among 0ther destinations), is extending its early booking discount for its 2009 Alaska cruises and waiving the fuel surcharge for passengers who book and pay in full by January 30, 2009.

You can save up to $1,210 per cabin, double occupancy, on a 2009 eight-night Alaska's Inside Passage cruise, including one night's hotel accommodations in Juneau. The itinerary starts at $3,999 per person. This promotion may be applied to existing bookings.

The company is also waiving the fuel surcharge on all its 2009 cruises for passengers who pay in full by the final early booking discount dates for those cruises. For instance, if you pay in full for fall Japan cruises by January 17, 2009, or by March 27, 2009 for Panama and Costa Rica, Mexico's Sea of Cortes, or Columbia and Snake River cruises, you can escape the fuel surcharge.

For more information or bookings, go to the Cruise West website or call 800/296-8307.

Photo from Cruise West.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays from Smarter Cruising

Wishing you all the best -- cruising and otherwise -- during the holiday season and throughout the New Year.
Clark Norton
The Smarter Cruiser

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hurry! Viking River Cruises sale ends tonight

In an effort to encourage more people to take a river cruise, Viking River Cruises is offering a special promotion for anyone who has taken an ocean cruise -- a $1,000 per couple discount on any 2009 Viking itinerary.

This is in addition to the early booking discount of up to $2,000 per couple that is also being offered. Cruise prices start at $1,449 per person.

In total, you can save up to $3,000 per couple on two itineraries: a 15-day Grand European Tour along the Rhine, Main, and Danube rivers, from Holland to Hungary; and the 16-day Eastern European Odyssey.

You can save up to $2,000 per stateroom on other Viking itineraries ranging from the 16-day Russian Rhapsody to the 17-day China's Cultural Delights tour, which includes a 10-day Yangtze cruise.

But you have to hurry -- the offer expires at 7 pm PST (10 pm EST) tonight, December 19, 2008. To take advantage of it, you have to pay in full by tonight. Be sure to request fare code 30W when you call. Viking can be reached at 866/200-5395 or 800/304-9616, or call a travel agent now.

Photo courtesy of Viking River Cruises.

Elegant Cruises offers discounts on 2009 Adriatic and other European voyages

Elegant Cruises and Tours is offering $300 per person discounts on a variety of 2009 small-ship cruises ranging from the Adriatic to the Azores to remote Scottish Isles.

Elegant Cruises is also waiving the singles supplement on three April 2009 departures of its week-long Venice and Dalmatian Coast cruises of Croatia -- its most popular itinerary -- and offering 30 percent savings on shore excursions for those trips.

The cruises aboard the m/s Monet or the m/s Andrea must be reserved by January 31, 2009, in order to take advantage of these offers.

Elegant is also offering $300 off per person on seven Red Sea cruises in January and February 2009 (with visits to Egypt and Jordan) if you reserve by December 31, 2008.

Having sailed down the Dalmatian coast on the m/s Monet, I can vouch for the quality of these cruises, from the excellent onboard accommodations and food to the historical and cultural lectures and friendly crew. The ships' intimate size provides an opportunity to get to know everyone on board.For more information or bookings, go to Elegant's website or call 800/683-6767 (e-mail

Photo courtesy of Elegant Cruises and Tours.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cruise lines ending fuel supplements

The sharp downward trend in oil prices is leading a number of cruise lines to drop the fuel supplements they implemented in the past year. Fuel supplements typically averaged $7-$9 per day, usually up to a maximum of $70 to $120 per passenger per cruise, depending on the cruise line. This is good news for cruise-goers, who can scratch at least one unexpected added fee to the cost of their voyage. Not having to pay a fuel supplement, for example, essentially cancels out the cost of tipping for many cruises.

Here are two of the most recent announcements:

**MSC Cruises eliminated fuel surcharges for all new bookings for 2009 beginning December 16, 2008. Passengers who have already booked for 2009 cruises will receive a shipboard credit equal to the amount of the fuel supplement. If fuel supplements are re-imposed in the future due to newly rising oil prices, anyone who books with a deposit prior to that decision will be protected from having to pay it.

**Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines eliminated fuel surcharges on all bookings made on or after December 17, 2008. Passengers who have already paid fuel surcharges will receive shipboard credits for the full amount of payment. (Bookings for Fred. Olsen in the U.S. are handled by Borton Overseas; call 800/843-0602 and press 6 at the prompt).

Photo of the Fred. Olsen ship Balmoral by Peter Knego.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Congratulations to President-Elect Obama

Smarter Cruising wishes President-Elect Barack Obama smooth sailing through what are bound to be some rough waters during the next four years.

Well done!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Cruise fares plummet -- deals galore!

According to R. Alan Fox, CEO of the discount cruise site Vacations to Go, cruise prices have plummeted in the past two weeks to levels not seen since immediately after 9-11.

A combination of bad economic news and tropical storms have scared off potential passengers, Fox says. The good news for those who do want to cruise, however, is that all cruise lines except super-luxury lines will slash prices to fill as many cabins as they can. Fox adds that you can expect to find discounts of 70 to 80 percent or even more on some sailings over the next two months.

Here are a few bargains Vacations to Go is listing on its 90-Day Ticker:

** A 19-day Princess cruise from Bangkok to Sydney via Vietnam and Malaysia, with departure November 23, for rates as low as $895 per person for an inside cabin -- 79 percent off the brochure price. (Ask for Fast Deal #29750.)

** A four-day Norwegian cruise roundtrip from Miami to The Bahamas, departing December 1, for rates starting at just $109 per person -- 88 percent off the brochure price. (Ask for Fast Deal 25260.)

** A 16-day Holland America cruise around Cape Horn from Argentina to Chile via Antarctica, departing January 8, 2009, for rates starting at $1,499 per person -- a 71 percent discount. (Ask for Fast Deal #10278.)

** a 17-day Fred Olsen cruise from Tahiti to Australia, departing February 5, 2009, for prices starting at $1,342 -- a 78 percent discount. (Ask for Fast Deal #17186.)

These deals are bound to go quickly, but if you go to the Vacations to Go website, you'll find many more like them.

For more information, call Vacations to Go at 800/338-4962.

Photo from Norwegian Cruise Lines.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

One more week to grab two-for-one Oceania fares to the Mediterranean

Oceania Cruises' early-bird specials on spring 2009 European voyages are nearing an end, so if you're interested, now is the time to act. Oceania -- a super premium line with some of the best cuisine at sea and a low-key atmosphere onboard -- is offering two-for-one cruise fares and free airfare on a number of western and eastern Mediterranean cruises for next year.

Fares start at $3,499 per person for a 14-day Barcelona to Istanbul cruise embarking April 4 on the Regatta with stops en route in France, Monaco, Italy, and Greece. Or you could choose a 12-day Rome to Istanbul itinerary for fares starting at $3,299, embarking May 31 aboard the Insignia.
Other itineraries available include a 12-day Istanbul to Athens, a 12-day Rome to Venice, and a 14-day Istanbul to Venice, all ranging from $3,499 to $3,999 per person, double occupancy.
If you don't want to take the free airfare offer, you should be able to land a further discount of several hundred dollars per passenger. Be sure to ask when booking.
The fine print: Government taxes and fees, and fuel supplement charges are extra. The free airfare deal is available from 20 major U.S. gateways; other gateways require an additional charge.
For more information or bookings, go to the Oceania website or call 800/404-8652 or a travel agent.
Photo courtesy of Oceania.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ready to sail? Take off to Canada and Colonial America with Princess in a week

Princess Cruises has another last-minute offer working: this one is

a 17-day voyage aboard the Royal Princess to Canada and Colonial
America. Fares start from $1,295 per person in double occupancy for inside cabins, and $1,495 for obstructed oceanview.
Embarkation date from Montreal is October 29 -- one week from today.
The cruise features 12 ports of call, including Quebec City; Sydney (Nova Scotia); Halifax; Portland, Maine; Boston; New York City; Philadelphia; Norfolk; Baltimore; and Charleston before finishing up in Ft. Lauderdale.
$99 air add-ons are available one-way between Ft. Lauderdale and Montreal, plus fees and taxes up to $50 per person. Government fees and taxes of up to $360 per person are additional to the cruise fare, though fuel supplements are included in the base price. This offer is for new bookings only.
For more information or to book passage, visit the Princess website or call 800/774-6237 or a travel agent, and ask for promo code UES.
Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Last-minute Panama Canal cruise deal from Princess

The ship sails October 22, so if you can leave on a two-week Panama Canal cruise on just a bit over a moment's notice, this one could be for you.

Princess is putting inside, obstructed oceanview, and balcony cabins on sale for its Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles cruise in two weeks (via Colombia, the Panama Canal, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Mexico) aboard the Coral Princess, but you'll need to act fast. Inside fares start at $995 per passenger in double occupancy, while obstructed oceanview cabins are $1,095 per passenger and balconies are $1,395 per passenger.

A $9 a day fuel supplement (up to $126) is included in these fares, though government taxes and fees of $202 per passenger are not, so you'll come up about $77 short on that exchange. Residents of the U.S. and Canada are eligible for the fares.

Air add-ons are available to or from Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, or Los Angeles for $199 plus government taxes and fees of up to $110 per person.

For more information or bookings, call Princess at 800/774-6237 or a travel agent, and ask for promo code UES. You can also go to the Princess website here.

Friday, September 26, 2008

MSC holds contest for free group Caribbean cruise

MSC Cruises is holding a new Family and Friends Group Contest in honor of the upcoming arrival of its ship MSC Orchestra in North America.

The winner will receive up to four staterooms (each holding up to four passengers) on a seven-night Caribbean sailing -- either in the Eastern or Western Caribbean -- during the 2008-2009 winter season.

To win, you must write a maximum 150-word essay describing what you "envision a fantasy cruise for you and your family onboard the Orchestra would be like," as the cruise line puts it. Essays will be judged on creativity, enthusiasm, knowledge of the Orchestra's features as well as Caribbean destinations, and fit with the theme "the Orchestra is coming to town."

Weekly voting on the best essays will be followed by weekly prizes. The grand prize winner will be announced December 5.

To enter, log onto this web page. And good luck!

Photos from MSC Cruises.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Save up to $2,000 per couple on Uniworld European river cruises

Uniworld is offering savings on selected 2009 European river cruises of up to $2,000 per couple ($1,000 per person) if you book and pay in full by September 30.

The offer applies to category 2 and above cabins on a number of different European river itineraries for 2009. For example, you could choose the "Eastern European Explorer," a 16-day itinerary from Vienna to Bucharest (or vice-versa) that runs from early April through mid-October next year.

For lower-price cabin categories, you could save between $1,000 and $1,200 per couple. Rates for lower-priced cabins for "Eastern European Explorer" voyages start at around $4,000 per person, depending on which month you sail. You'll need to request an exact quote from Uniworld to see exactly how much you save on the cruise you want.

If you book and pay in full by November 30, 2008, you can still save up to $500 per couple on selected 2009 itineraries.

For more information or bookings, go to the Uniworld website or call 800/733-7820 or a travel agent.

Photo from Uniworld.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

General Tours offers big savings on Danube cruise this November

General Tours is offering more than $1,000 per couple savings on Main Deck outside staterooms aboard the MV Mozart -- a five-star Peter Deilmann river vessel -- on its eight-day "Treasures of the Danube" voyage embarking November 2, 2008.

A Main Deck outside stateroom now starts at $1,599 per passenger, double occupancy, down from $2,149 previously -- an $1,100 savings per couple.

The MV Mozart sails roundtrip from Passau, Germany, an easy transfer from Munich Airport, and visits Vienna, Austria, and Budapest, Hungary, among other stops (with overnights in both those ports). Here's one of the best parts of the deal: seven escorted sightseeing excursions are included, as are port charges.

For more information, click here or call General Tours at 800/221-2216.

Photo of MV Mozart from Peter Deilmann.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Last-minute Alaska deal from Princess

Princess Cruises has a truly last-minute special on a seven-day Alaska voyage aboard the Coral Princess on September 8, with fares as low as $489 for inside cabins, and obstructed oceanview fares from $589.

This "Voyage of the Glaciers" cruise sails between Anchorage (Whittier) and Vancouver, BC, and features two glacier viewings -- one in Glacier Bay National Park and one in College Fjord.

Air add-ons from $399 to $599 roundtrip are available from West Coast, Central, and East Coast gateways.

A fuel supplement of $9 per person per day up is included in the fares; government taxes and fees are additional.

To book call Princess at 800/PRINCESS or a travel agent and ask for promo code UEC/UED.

Photo from Princess Cruises.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Carnival one-day sale today on a year's worth of cruises

Carnival Cruise Lines has a one-day sale today offering savings and free upgrades on almost all its cruises -- ranging from three to 12 days -- between now and August 31, 2009.

You could start with a $199 per person rate on an inside cabin on a four-day Western Caribbean cruise departing Miami September 8, 2008, aboard the Carnival Fascination. That's $50 a day for a voyage to Key West, Cozumel, and back. Or you could pay a bit more ($249) for a similar cruise aboard the Imagination on December 15, 2008.

Or, how about a 12-day Northern Europe/Baltic cruise aboard the Liberty out of London with stops in Copenhagen, Berlin, Helsinki, Talinn, St. Petersburg, and Amsterdam on June 2 or 14, 2009, for prices starting at $1,549 per person?

Free upgrades are available within like categories and not all categories are available for upgrade.

More fine print: Government taxes, fees, and a $9 per day fuel surcharge per passenger are additional. The offers expire midnight tonight (August 28, 2008) and are for new bookings only.

To book, call Carnival at 888/CARNIVAL, call a travel agent, or go to the Carnival website here. Be sure to ask for fare code P1S.

Photo from Carnival Cruise Lines.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Last-minute Princess special: Iceland and Greenland transatlantic cruise for $60 a day

Princess Cruises is offering up a last-minute special on an 18-day Copenhagen to Ft. Lauderdale transatlantic crossing aboard the Crown Princess for double-occupancy fares starting from $1,075 for an inside cabin, and $1,775 for a balcony stateroom.

That's as low as $60 a day for the inside cabin and less than $100 a day for the balcony.

The cruise embarks on September 17 -- that's only about three weeks from now, making this what we call a boom-boom special. So if you have some free time next month, grab it now.

The sailing encompasses nine port stops, including London, Dublin, Reykjavik, Qaqortoq (Greenland), St. John's (Newfoundland), and New York City. The Crown Princess is considered the jewel of the Princess fleet.

You can also land an air add-on for as low as $599 if you're flying to Copenhagen one-way from Ft. Lauderdale or Miami, or $699 to $899 additional if you're flying from most East Coast, Central, or West Coast gateways.

Government taxes and fees of up to around $200 per person are additional to the basic fares, but a daily fuel supplement of $9 a day, up to a maximum of $126 per person, is included in the fares listed.

For more information or bookings, call Princess at 800/774-6237 or a travel agent, and ask for promo code UEC. You can also click here for the Princess website.

Crown Princess photo from Princess Cruises.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Oceania offers free air, two for one fares on winter 2009-2010 cruises

The premium cruise line Oceania is offering free roundtrip economy airfare from more than 100 gateways and two-for-one fares on its 24 cruises for the winter season of 2009-2010.

The cruises aboard Oceania's fleet Regatta, Insignia, and Nautica -- all mid-size ships -- range from 10 to 40 days and span the warmer areas of the globe from Asia and Australia to South America, the Caribbean, and Mexico.

One particularly interesting itinerary aboard the Nautica spends 40 days traversing Asia, from Istanbul to Singapore, with stops in Israel, Egypt, Muscat, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and India.

Fares begin at $1,499 per passenger, though most are somewhat or considerably more than that. If you don't want or need the airfare, you can ask for the appropriate amount (usually several hundred dollars) to be deducted from your cruise fare.

This special offer expires on December 31, 2008, so you have some time, though Oceania cruises tend to fill up early -- a word of warning to procrastinators. To book, go to the Oceania website or call 800/531-5658 or a travel agent.

Photo from Oceania Cruises.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Cruise News: Orient Lines announces new flagship Marco Polo II

Orient Lines, whose previous flagship Marco Polo was sold off earlier this year, has announced that its new flagship -- Marco Polo II -- will make her maiden voyage for the line in April 2009. The ship, which previously sailed as the Maxim Gorkiy and earlier as the Hamburg, will carry 650 passengers in 325 staterooms.

The ship will embark from Barcelona April 15, 2009, and sail a series of Mediterranean and Northern European cruises throughout spring, summer and fall of next year, before setting off on a transatlantic crossing to Rio de Janeiro and points south in late October, 2009.

The ship originally dates from 1969, and was rebuilt and refurbished in 1988 and 1995, serving mostly German and Russian passengers over the years. It will be undergoing enhancements this year before next year's cruising season. The new flagship is larger than the Marco Polo but will carry 200 fewer passengers.

The Marco Polo II will have four restaurants and cafes, seven bars and lounges, a theater, a casino, a spa with indoor pool and saunas, and other public rooms.

For more information and bookings, go to the Orient Lines website or call 800/333-7300. Stay tuned to the Smarter Cruising Blog for any upcoming deals.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Special offer on 2009 European cruises from Azamara

Azamara Cruises, Celebrity's deluxe line, is offering onboard credits and complimentary gratuities if you book one of its 2009 European cruises by the end of this month.

Azamara will give you a $150 credit for each oceanview or verandah stateroom, or a $300 credit for each suite that you book. The comped gratuities are for the standard recommended amount per cruise for the first or second passengers in a cabin only.
The cruise line has a wide variety of European sailings, ranging from April to November 2009, and visiting 91 ports in 36 countries altogether. Departures are from Athens, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Rome, or Venice.
The line has two 700-passenger ships, the Azamara Journey and the Azamara Quest. Two seven-night Mediterranean cruises -- one departing April 25 and another departing May 2, 2009, both have starting prices of around $1,500 per passenger for an oceanview cabin. Inside cabins are a couple of hundred dollars cheaper per passenger, but you wouldn't be eligible for the special offer by booking one of those. Verandahs, meanwhile, start at $2,100 per person and suites at $2,800 per person for the sailings mentioned above. There are also a wide variety of other Mediterranean and northern European cruises.
The fine print: this promotional offer is not combinable with any others. Azamara adds a fuel supplement of $15 per person per day for all North American bookings. You must book by August 31, 2008.
For more information or bookings, click here for the Azamara website or call 877/999-9553.
Question of the day: Readers, can anyone tell me where the name "Azamara" comes from? The first reader who gets it right will receive my eBook, "Saving Money Onboard," absolutely free!
Photo courtesy of Azamara Cruises.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

MSC now taking early discount bookings on two new ships for 2009-10 Caribbean sailings

MSC's two new Musica class ships, MSC Magnifica and
MSC Poesia, will arrive in Fort Lauderdale in late 2009 for their inaugural 2009-10 Caribbean sailing seasons, and the line is offering early-booking rates beginning at $499 per person for seven-day cruises and $749 per person for 10-day cruises, both in double occupancy.

Both ships feature 1,275 staterooms, 80 percent of them outside, and 65 percent with balconies. The Magnifica (pictured, above right) will be christened on December 5, 2009, in Germany and soon start sailing seven-night Caribbean itineraries through early April 2010, then return to Europe later that month. The Poesia will arrive in Fort Lauderdale in November 2009 after crossing the Atlantic to begin her inaugural Caribbean season, with seven- and ten-night itineraries including ports such as Curacao, Bonaire, Aruba, and Panama, before departing for Europe again in March 2010.

Seven-night cruises will include both Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, while 10-day cruises will feature four different itineraries focusing on the Southern Caribbean.

The fine print: Government taxes and fees and a fuel surcharge are additional to the fares listed above. Children aged 17 and under sail free when sharing a stateroom with two full-fare paying adults.

For more information click here for the MSC website or call 800/666-9333 or a travel agent.

Photo from MSC Cruises.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Savings offered on first two Crystal World Cruise segments for 2009

Luxurious Crystal Cruises is offering free airfare back to the U.S. and special savings if you book the first two back-to-back segments of its 2009 World Cruise aboard the Crystal Serenity, departing Los Angeles in January of next year for Tahiti, New Zealand, and other Pacific stops.

Besides the free air back to some 20 U.S. cities, the perks include a five-percent combination-fare discount (ordinarily applied only to non-World Cruise back-to-back bookings), a full payment discount (if paid in full by October 27, 2008), and no fuel surcharge. Total savings could range up to around $6650 per couple.

The airfare is valued at $600 per passenger (or you could take an air credit in its place); the five percent combination-fare discount could save up to $2,900 per couple; the 3.5 percent full-payment discount could save up to $1,924 per couple; and the fuel surcharge rollback would save $624 per couple.

Additionally, you would receive a $200 shipboard credit for taking two segments and complimentary shore excursions in Cabo San Lica, Mexico, and Noumea, New Caledonia.

Besides those ports, the first two segments of the World Cruise -- one 12 days from Los Angeles to Tahiti, the next 14 days from Tahiti to New Zealand -- will call in the Marquesas Islands, several ports in French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, Fiji, and the Bay of Islands, New Zealand, before finishing in Auckland. (The entire World Cruise visits 46 ports in 17 countries throughout the South Pacific, Asia, Africa, and Europe, and has seven distinctive segments.)

Cruise fares for the two segments start at $12,910 per passenger (including the five percent combination savings, but not including the other discounts or airfare savings).

For more information or reservations, call a travel agent or Crystal at 888/799-4625, or go to the Crystal website here.

Photo of Crystal Serenity from Crystal Cruises.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Cruise Norwegian to Canada and New England for half fare

Orbitz has a deal for a seven-night cruise to Eastern Canada and New England aboard the Norwegian Dream for prices starting at $549 per passenger in double occupancy, a savings of about 50 percent off the brochure price.

Even better, you can land an oceanview cabin for just $30 more per person.

The deal is available on four sailings from late August to late September this year, so you'll need to act quickly. Departure dates are August 31, September 7, September 14, and September 21, all embarking from Boston and making calls at Saint John, New Brunswick; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Bar Harbor, Maine, before returning to Boston.

Along with the discount, you may be eligible for some additional special offers from Orbitz. You can save 15 percent off any qualifying hotel booking at Orbitz if you book your cruise by August 31 and travel by the end of October. And, for the three September departures only, you can get up to $400 in onboard spending free on the Norwegian Dream. The amount of free spending varies by the cruise and cabin category you choose, and the cruises must be booked through Orbitz by August 13. The latter offer is only good if you call Orbitz at 888/656-8184.

Government fees and taxes ranging from $5 to $150 per passenger are not inluded in the package. You can find out more about the itinerary and offer by going to the Orbitz website.

Photo from Norwegian Cruise Line.

Viking River Cruises extends early-booking discount deadline

Viking River Cruises is extending its deadline for early-booking discounts on many of its 2009 cruises for one week, until August 7, 2008.

Click here to read our earlier blog post providing the details. Briefly, you can save $1,000 per couple by booking your 2009 cruise in the next week.

Call Viking at 800/304-9616 or a travel agent to book; click here for the Viking website.

Photo from Viking River Cruises.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Princess has special on 9-day October Caribbean sailing

Princess Cruises has a nine-day Southern Caribbean cruise on the Sea Princess out of New York City on October 23 with inside cabins starting from $679 per person, double occupancy. That's about $75 per day, a nice price for a premium line.

The itinerary includes six port stops, including St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Dominica, St. Vincent, and Grenada before finishing in Barbados. (Dominica, St. Vincent, and Grenada are three of my favorite Caribbean ports.) There are also three days at sea.
One-way air add-ons from Barbados back to New York are available for $299 per passenger, or you can ask for roundtrip air add-ons ranging from $399 to $599 per passenger, depending on whether you're flying from the East Coast, Midwest, or West Coast. Government fees and taxes are not included in these prices, so you may be able to do better on your own.
The base cruise price includes an $81 fuel supplement but not fees and taxes that may add up to $59 per person.
One thing to be aware of during fall Caribbean sailings: it's hurricane season there. However, cruise ships generally get plenty of advance warning if a storm is forming to the east, and can change itineraries as needed, so the risk of a cruise being cancelled mid-voyage is very slim.
If you're interested in booking, click here for the Princess website or call Princess at 800/774-6237 or a travel agent. Be sure to request Promo Code UEA.
Photo from Princess Cruises.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines offers 8 nights in Caribbean for $72 per night in deluxe cabins

British-owned Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has a special deal on its eight-night Braemar cruise from Barbados to Miami departing November 5, 2008.

The line is putting a limited number of deluxe "B" category outside cabins on sale for just $576 per person in double occupancy, or $72 per person per night. Fares include taxes and port charges but not a $96 fuel surcharge.

After leaving Barbados, the 850-passenger Braemar will call at Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, and Tortola before the ship makes her maiden call in Miami on November 13. The ship will then depart later that day on the first of a season of Caribbean cruises out of Miami through April 2009. The Braemar was lengthened earlier this year by 102 feet.

Fred. Olsen is known for its mid-sized classic ships, English Country House atmosphere, and onboard friendliness. Having cruised the Caribbean aboard the Fred. Olsen ship Balmoral this spring, I can attest to the line's outstanding value, considering the high level of comfort and amenities you receive.

North American residents should call the line's booking agents, Borton Overseas, at 612/822-4640 or 800/843-0602 ext. 6, e-mail them at, or go to their website here.

Braemar photo from Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Early booking deadline near for 2009 Viking River Cruises

Viking River Cruises is offering savings of $1,000 per couple for many of its 2009 river cruises in Europe, Russia, and China. The only catch is that you have to book and pay in full by the end of this month -- that's Thursday, July 31, 2008.

Itineraries for 2009 eligible for the discount include Eastern European Odyssey and Treasures of the Rhine in Europe, Waterways of the Czars and Footsteps of the Cossacks in Russia and the Ukraine, and Imperial Jewels of China and Roof of the World in China.

To book, call Viking at 800/304-9616 and ask for offer code EBD. Reservation hours are up to 8 p.m. Pacific time on weekdays. You can combine the offer with a Past Guest Travel Credit if you're eligible.

Viking also has some special promotions on fast-upcoming 2008 river cruises; you can save up to $2,000 per couple on most October departures and $1,000 per couple on September departures of Waterways of the Czars, for example, or $2,000 per couple on October-November departures of the Grand European Tour cruises, among other deals. When you call Viking, ask for offer code 60W.

Go to the Viking website for more details on all these itineraries and discounts.

Photo courtesy of Viking River Cruises.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Free airfare deal sweetens Holland America's Eurodam inaugural sailing in northern Europe

Holland America is offering a free-airfare special on the Inaugural Voyage of the ms Eurodam, the line's new Signature-class ship. The cruise departs Copenhagen for the Norwegian fjords and Scotland on July 5, 2008, with port stops in Alesund, Vik, Flam, and Stavanger, Norway, as well as three stops in the UK before returning to Copenhagen.

If you act quickly, you can land an inside stateroom on the 10-day cruise -- including free roundtrip airfare from five U.S. midwest and eastern gateway cities -- for fares starting at $2,299 per person in double occupancy. Oceanview cabins are going for $2,599 per person and up, while verandahs are starting as low as $2,899 per passenger.

The roundtrip airfare deal to Copenhagen is good from Chicago, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. Cruise-only fares are only marginally ($100-$300) lower, if you've priced summer flights to Europe lately. The special fares also include fuel supplements.

To book or for more information, call Holland America at 877/724-5425 or a travel agent and request promo code RX.

Photo of ms Eurodam from Holland America.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

One-day Carnival sale features cruises through March 2009

Carnival Cruise Lines is having one of its periodic one-day sales this Thursday, May 1, with a preview day tomorrow, April 30.

Savings and free upgrades are available on many of its cruises through March 31, 2009.

A number of three- and four-day sailings are on sale for prices as low as $279 per passenger in double occupancy. These include three-day Bahamas cruises aboard the Carnival Imagination on December 5, 2008, and January 9, 2009; four-day Baja Mexico cruises aboard the Carnival Paradise departing November 3 and 10, 2008; and four-day Western Caribbean cruises aboard the Carnival Holiday and Imagination on December 1, 2008, and January 8, 2009.

Five-, seven-, eight-, and 12-day cruises are also on sale for starting prices ranging from $349 for a five-day Baja Mexico cruise on November 15, 2008, aboard the Carnival Elation to $1,199 for a 12-day European cruise aboard the Carnival Freedom October 25, 2008.

The fine print: Prices do not include $7 per day per passenger fuel supplements, nor do they include government taxes and fees. Upgrades are available within certain categories only and may be limited.

For more information or bookings, go to the Carnival website or call 888/CARNIVAL or a travel agent and request fare code CP1S.

Photo from Carnival Cruise Lines.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Act quickly for Norwegian coastal voyage specials on Hurtigruten

Hurtigruten (formerly known as Norwegian Coastal Voyage in the U.S.) has a number of specials on its sailings along the Norwegian coast from Bergen to Kirkenes -- one of the world's most beautiful cruising itineraries -- that are expiring Wednesday, April 30.

* Free air offer: Book a selected 12-day Norwegian coastal voyage in October, November, or December 2008 and receive free roundtrip air from either JFK in New York or Newark International Airport in New Jersey.

* Two-for-one air fare offer: Book a selected six- or seven-day Norwegian coastal voyage during the same three months and receive two-for-one priced airfare from the same two gateway airports.

* Two-for-one cruise fare offer: Book a selected six-, seven-, or 12-day Norwegian coastal voyage departing in October-December 2008 and receive free companion cruise fare. (Offer is not valid for suites.)

* 50 percent off second guest offer: Book a selected six-, seven-, or 12-day Norwegian coastal voyage departing in May or September 2008 and receive 50 percent off for the second guest.

* Cruise-only offer: Book a selected six-, seven-, or 12-day Norwegian coastal voyage departing from May 20, 2008 to September 14, 2008, and save up to $1,000 per stateroom.

Please note that these offers cannot be combined with any other discounts or promotions and that they're valid for new bookings only, made by April 30, 2008.

They're valid only for certain departure dates, and other restrictions may apply, so call Hurtigruten at 866/257-6104 for sailing dates and other details.

Photo from Hurtigruten.

Friday, April 25, 2008

12-day Holland America Mediterranean cruise for $999

Vacations to Go is offering a 12-day Holland America Mediterranean cruise aboard the Zuiderdam next month for prices starting at $999 per person for an inside cabin, 70 percent off the brochure rates.

Oceanview and balcony rates both start at $1,599 for the cruise, while suites start at just $2,299 per person, all based on double occupancy. Savings on balcony staterooms and suites also approach 70 percent off brochure rates.

The cruise departs Barcelona on May 20, 2008, and ends in Venice on June 1, with stops in Monaco, Italy, Greece, and Croatia along the way. Highlights include chances to explore Florence, Rome, Olympia and Corfu Greece, and Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Rates quoted include port charges but not fuel surcharges or government taxes or fees.

The only way to get this deal is by calling Vacations to Go at 800/338-4962 and asking for Fast Deal #10584. For a cruise itinerary, click here.

Photo of Zuiderdam from Vacations to Go.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Win a free European river cruise from Vantage Travel

By referring a friend or family member to Vantage Deluxe World Travel, you could win a free European river cruise for two with roundtrip airfare -- an $8,000 value per couple.

The prospective travelers you refer must be new to the Vantage mailing list, and each time one of them actually travels with Vantage, you'll receive a $150 per person credit toward your next Vantage trip, while the person you refer will receive a $50 to $100 credit off their trip.

Better yet, when you fill out this referral form, you'll automatically be entered in the drawing to win a "Castles Along the Rhine and Danube River Cruise" for two.

You need to fill out the form by May 5, 2008, to be eligible to win. Winners will be drawn at random on July 15, 2008.

Photo from Vantage Travel.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Uniworld has sale on November river cruises in Europe

Uniworld Grand River Cruises has announced a "November to Remember" sale of several of its upcoming European river cruises this November. Cruises must be booked and deposits paid by April 30, 2008.

Passengers sailing in double occupancy can save up to $1,000 each on selected 12- to 14-night cruises and up to $500 each on selected seven-night cruises.

You can cruise the rivers Seine (from Paris through northern France), Danube (between Budapest and Vienna), or Rhine to Amsterdam through this offer. The longer cruises are combinations of two one-week cruises, so that you can sail both the Danube and Rhine, for instance.

For more information or bookings, go to the Uniworld website or call 800/868-7905 or a travel agent.

Photo from Uniworld.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

easyCruise offers springtime special on Ionian Islands, Albania cruises

easyCruise, the British-based Greek Islands cruising specialist, has announced discounts on its first cruises of the spring season on easyCruiseOne's new Ionian Sea itinerary, which visits a mix of Greek islands and includes a day in Albania to see Butrint, a World Heritage Site.

The cruises on April 29, May 12, and May 26, 2008, offer nine-, ten-, and 11-day itineraries, and start at 299 British pounds per person, or about $600 U.S. The per-person prices include accommodation in a twin outside cabin, five guided tours, and half-board meal plans with continental breakfast and either lunch or dinner.

Departures are from Marina Zea, near Athens, and make at least eight port stops; longer itineraries add two more.

Scheduling is different from the typical cruise ship. easyCruiseOne arrives at a new destination each day by lunchtime and doesn't leave again until early the following morning, so there's plenty of time to explore ports both by day and night.

The ship itself has a spa, sauna, hot tub, bar, restaurant, and sundeck.

For more information, visit the easyCruise website. For bookings, call a travel agent or easyCruise in the UK at 0871 210 0001 and quote "Ionian Offer." You can also call internationally at 30 211 211 6211.

easyCruiseOne photo from easyCruise.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Last-Minute Specials on Viking River Cruises

May is just around the corner, and you could be spending part of it on a Viking River Cruises voyage in Europe or Russia, enjoying two-for-one discounts along the way. You can save up to $5,500 per stateroom, depending on your selection.

The offer applies to a number of Viking voyages during the month of May, and you must book and pay in full by one week from today, April 18. Prices are per person, double occupancy, and include port charges and surcharges as well as guided tours on land.

The two-for-one deals are being offered for the eight-day "Paris & the Heart of Normandy" cruise (Paris to Le Havre), the 13-day "Waterways of the Czars" cruise (Moscow to St. Petersburg), the 16-day "Eastern European Odyssey" (Bucharest to Nuremburg), the eight-day "Burgundy and Provence" cruise, and the 15-day "European Adventure" (Vienna to Amsterdam).

To take two examples: The eight-day "Paris & the Heart of Normandy" cruise has a May 4 departure with rates starting at $1,365, and a May 11 departure with rates starting at $1,615 for available cabins. The 13-day "Waterways of the Czars" cruise has a May 4 departure with rates starting at $1,648 for available cabins and $1,948 on its May 28 and May 31 departures.

A number of cabin categories are already sold out, so it's best to act ASAP to avoid being shut out.

For more information or bookings, go to the Viking website or call 877/668-4546 or a travel agent and ask for offer 22Echo.

Photo from Viking River Cruises.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Three days only: $1,000 shipboard credits on Regent

Vacations To Go is offering $1,000 shipboard credits per cabin on a number of Regent cruises if you book between April 9-11 (some may be booked up to April 15). This is in addition to discounts ranging up to more than 40 percent off brochure prices on this luxury line.

You can choose among cruises in the Mediterranean and Tahiti, among others.

For instance, there's a one-week cruise departing June 7 from Athens to Monaco (Via Kusadasi, Turkey; Santorini, Greece; Taormina, Sicily; and two other stops in Italy aboard the Seven Seas Navigator. Suites start at $3,925 per person, 43 percent off the brochure rates; you'll also get the $1,000 per stateroom shipboard credit, which can be used for shore excursions, spa treatments, or other onboard purchases. Call 800/338-4962 by Friday April 11 and ask for Fast Deal #12619.

Or you might opt for a one-week cruise from Istanbul to Athens departing October 18 and stopping at several Greek islands as well as Kusadasi, aboard the Seven Seas Voyager. Prices for a suite or balcony stateroom start at $4,225 for this one, or 47 percent off brochure rates. To get the $1,000 shipboard credit, call 800/338-4962 by Friday April 11 and ask for Fast Deal #23342.

Prices are based on double occupancy and include port charges but not airfare or government taxes or fees.

Photo of Seven Seas Voyager from Regent Seven Seas cruises.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Win a "free cruise for life" on Imperial Majesty -- with conditions

Imperial Majesty Cruise Line is offering a "free cruise for life" on the Regal Empress every six months to any passenger booking an Imperial Majesty cruise through the cruise line this month and sailing in April or May 2008.

Now, before you rush to book a cruise, consider this: the Regal Empress is expected to be retired within two years, so you might have time to take three or four more cruises "for life" at most. Some sailing dates are not eligible for this promotion. And -- this is a big "and" -- the passenger getting the free cruise(s) will have to sail with a full-fare paying passenger in a double occupancy cabin (two "free passengers" cannot sail together in the same cabin). Taxes, gratuities and possible fuel surcharges will be extra for both.

Also keep in mind that these are two-night cruises, traveling roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Nassau, Bahamas, and normally cost from $129 to $469 per person, depending on cabin type. If you qualify for a free cruise "for life," the additional cruises would be in the same type of cabin you pay for originally.

If you're still interested, you can get more information or bookings through the line's website, or call 954/453-4625.

Photo from Imperial Majesty Cruise Line.

Monday, April 7, 2008

MSC offers free oceanview upgrades on Lirica sailings to Caribbean

MSC Cruises is offering free upgrades from interior cabins to oceanview cabins for all its 2008-2009 sailings to the Caribbean aboard the MSC Lirica.

The free upgrades represent a savings of up to 52 percent over brochure rates. Prices for seven-night roundtrip Caribbean itineraries from Fort Lauderdale start at $629 per passenger, double occupancy, while rates for 10-night Caribbean voyages start at $879.

You must make reservations by June 10, 2008, by placing a deposit of $100 per person.

Children aged 17 and younger sail free when sharing a room with two full-paying adults. Government taxes and fees are additional for all persons, however, as are fuel surcharges for the first two passengers in a cabin.

For more information or bookings, go to the MSC website or call 800/666-9333 or a travel agent.

MSC Lirica photo from MSC Cruises.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Cross the Atlantic ten days from now with Fred. Olsen for 75 percent off

Vacations to Go is offering cabins on Fred. Olsen Cruise Line's Balmoral 17-day transatlantic crossing departing April 14 from Miami to Rome for prices starting at $1,065 per person, double occupancy -- 75 percent off the brochure price.

Or, you could opt for an oceanview cabin for $1,325 per person or a balcony cabin or suite for just $1,700 per person -- all are 75 percent off the brochure prices.

And if you book right away, you may be eligible for a shipboard credit of $360 for the suite and balcony categories, $270 for the oceanview categories, or $180 for inside categories.

The Balmoral will make port stops in Port Canaveral, Florida, and Nassau, Bahamas, before beginning its ocean voyage; it will then stop in the Azores and Madeira before making two stops in Spain and terminating in Civitavecchia, the port of Rome, on May 1.

I was on the Balmoral in the Caribbean last month and found this British ship to have a most enjoyable and comfortable low-key atmosphere, with excellent food, roomy cabins, and well equipped public spaces -- a nice venue for a leisurely repositioning cruise.

The above prices include port charges and government taxes; airfare is extra. All passengers are required to purchase travel insurance, either from the cruise line or an independent vendor. Prices require payment in fall within 24 hours of booking.

For bookings or more information, click here or call 800/338-4962; ask for Fast Deal #17683.

Photo by Peter Knego.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

French Country Waterways offers special on Burgundy barge cruises

On March 11, we posted an item about French Country Waterways' 30 percent discounts on its luxury Princess barge cruises through Alsace-Lorraine this summer.

Now, French Country Waterways has announced 43 percent savings on its six-night luxury barge cruises aboard the 18-passenger Esprit through the Burgundy wine region in July and August. Rates are now $2,995 per person, compared to the brochure rate of $5,295. The Esprit's route follows narrow canals and the Saone river between St. Leger-sur-Dheune and Dijon.

The barge line is also offering 30 percent off its Champagne region six-night barge cruise aboard the 12-passenger Adrienne on July 6, which is now priced at $4,495 per passenger; the rate includes a night's stay at Paris' Hotel Raphael. The Adrienne's route follows the River Marne and Canal de l'Aisne a la Marne.

Rates include meals aboard as well as at Michelin-starred restaurants, and wine and cheese tastings along the way. They also include sightseeing excursions along the route.

For more information or bookings, visit the French Country Waterways website or call 800/222-1236.

Photo from French Country Waterways.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Holland America's three-day sale includes $59 cruise

OK, that got your attention!

The $59 cruise is, admittedly, for an inside cabin on a one-day cruise from Vancouver to Seattle, but if you're looking to test the waters as a first-time cruiser, or maybe check out the Holland America experience, it could be just the thing.

You can try this cruise either April 22, aboard the Zaandam, or May 15, aboard the Amsterdam. You might even want to splurge on a verandah suite starting at $99 per person, to see how the upper crust lives if you've never tried it.

The Holland America three-day sale (from April 2-4) applies to HAL's destinations around the world, from Alaska to the Caribbean, Australia/NewZealand to the Panama Canal, the Mexican Riviera to Europe. Alaska cruises for 2008 start at $649 during the sale and Europe cruises at $1,199.

Here's a sale item that caught my eye, for those who can leave in just three weeks: an 18-day Japan, Eastern Russia and Alaska Statendam cruise from Kobe, Japan, to Vancouver embarking on April 23, for a starting price of $1,299.

A fuel supplement of $5 per passenger per day (maximum $70) applies to all offers, and some taxes are additional.

For more information or bookings, go to the Holland Amerca website or call 877/724-5425 or a travel agent.

Photo from Holland America.

Last-minute 16-day Transatlantic cruise on Princess from $799

Princess Cruises has just announced a boom-boom special on a 16-day Transatlantic-Mediterranean cruise departing Fort Lauderdale on April 14 for prices starting at $799 for an inside cabin, double occupancy. Balcony fares start at $1,399, and there's an optional air add-on of $999 from a number of U.S. gateways.

Yes, that's $50 per person per day for the cruise itself if you take an inside cabin.

Not only will you enjoy several days at sea crossing the Atlantic, but this Emerald Princess repositioning cruise has an excellent selection of ports of call, stopping in Funchal, Madeira; Cadiz (Seville), Spain; Gibraltar; Cagliari, Sardinia; Civitavecchia (Rome) and Livorno (Florence, Pisa), Italy; Marseilles, France; and ending in Barcelona, Spain.

A bonus: Princess is including the $70 per passenger fuel supplement in the fare. However, government taxes and fees of $146 per person are extra. The offer is for new bookings only, and for residents of the U.S. and Canada.

For more information or bookings, call 800/774-6237 or a travel agent and ask for promo code UEC. With departure less than two weeks away, you'll need to call ASAP.

Emerald Princess photo from Princess Cruises.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Free air and early-booking discounts on two Voyages of Discovery Antarctic cruises

You can get free roundtrip airfare from any of six North American gateways (or greatly reduced airfare from several others) as well as up to 35 percent early-booking discounts for two lengthy Voyages of Discovery Antarctic cruises this coming November and December.

The first is the November 13, 2008, 38-night "Voyage to Antarctica" from Lisbon to Buenos Aires, which starts at $8,395 per person in double occupancy. The second is the December 3, 2008, 18-night "Antarctica and the Falkland Islands," roundtrip from Buenos Aires, which starts at $5,550 per person. These trips include landings and Zodiac expeditions in Antarctica.

The cruise line is also offering free air and two-for-one fares on a 24-night transatlantic repositioning cruise tour from Lisbon to Buenos Aires in November (the first part of the November Antarctic cruise, without the Antarctic). Fares on this one start at $6,995 for the first passenger; the second passenger in double occupancy pays only $295 port charges. That's $3645 per person, or a little over $150 per day per passenger, including airfare.

All cruises are on the line's Discovery expedition-style ship; Antarctic cruises include a staff of scientists and researchers who present lectures and lead shore excursions.

For more information or bookings, go to the Voyages of Discovery website or call 866/623-2689.
Photo from Voyages of Discovery.

Friday, March 28, 2008

18-night S. America-Panama Canal cruise for $400? It's a Norwegian Dream price

This sounds like a typo, but Cruises Only is advertising an 18-night cruise from Santiago, Chile, to Boston next month for the ridiculously low starting prices of $399 and $449 per passenger double occupancy in an interior or oceanview cabin, respectively, aboard NCL's Norwegian Dream.

That's at least 75 percent off brochure prices and an unbelievable $22-$25 per night -- cheaper than staying home! And no, you don't have to ride in a lifeboat (though that may have an ocean view), nor will you have to eat in the kitchen or wash dishes. It includes all the usual cabin, meals, ocean transport, onboard entertainment, and port charges.

It does not include airfare, shore excursions, or government taxes and fees ranging from $5 to $150 per person (at these prices, you can probably spring for that).

The itinerary stretches from April 13 to May 1, 2008, and includes several port stops in Chile before stopping in Peru and crossing through the Panama Canal on its way to Costa Rica, Key West, and Boston.

For more information or bookings, click here or call 800/278-4737, ASAP.

Photo from Norwegian Cruise Line.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Short-time worldwide sale from Viking River Cruises

Viking River Cruises is offering specials until the end of this month on upcoming river cruises in Europe, China, and Russia.

Here are some of the deals:

* Choose between $199 roundtrip airfare from the U.S. or $1,000 per stateroom savings on two China cruisetours.

* Choose between $495 roundtrip airfare from the U.S. or up to $1,000 per cabin on three Russia itineraries.

* Discounts of up to $1,000 per cabin on a variety of European river cruises (including Vienna to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Basel, Paris to Prague, Amsterdam to Budapest, and eight more).

The fine print: You must book by 8 pm PST Monday March 31, and you must pay in full at time of booking. A "foreign currency surcharge" ranging from $35 to $100 will be added depending on length of the cruise; however, prices include port charges and fuel surcharges.

To book or for more information, click here or call 800/304-9616 or a travel agent. It's a good idea to ask for the specific offer code you're interested in, so go to the Viking website and look for it under "Specials and Promotions."

Photo from Viking River Cruises.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Final Carnival "Funtennial" offers: free upgrades, reduced rates

Carnival's month-long "Funtennial" is coming to an end on March 31, but you can still capitalize over the next few days.

The current offer is a free cabin upgrade for virtually any 2008 Carnival cruise that you book by the end of this month; just exactly what upgrade you receive depends on current availability and which sailing you choose.

And there's a bonus offer as well: reduced rates (as low as $99) for the third and fourth passengers in a cabin on cruises from September-December 15, 2008.

These offers expire at midnight EST on Monday, March 31. For the free upgrade, ask for fare code CPF4; for the third and fourth passenger deals, ask for fare code CP45.

To book or for more information on Carnival, click here for the Carnival website or call 888/CARNIVAL or a travel agent.

For our earlier item on how to win a free Carnival cruise this month, click here.

Photo from Carnival Cruise Lines.

Cruise the Americas with Holland America for $115 a day, including air

Holland America Line has a special offer on a 22-day cruise from San Diego, California, to Santiago, Chile, for prices starting at $2,499 per passenger for an inside cabin -- including airfare to and from a number of U.S. gateways.

The ms Amsterdam cruise departs from San Diego on November 23, 2008, and visits several ports in Mexico as well as Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, and Peru before making three stops in Chile.

While I don't usually recommend getting airfare from your cruise line, it can make sense on a one-way cruise since flying one way to San Diego and then flying home from Santiago could get very pricey. Without the airfare included, Holland America is pricing the same cruise on its website for $1,708 and up. If you can match or beat an $800 airfare expenditure by arranging it on your own -- for example, if you live in or near San Diego -- go for it, because you'll be able to make your own choices of schedules.

The cruise and air option does have one additional advantage: the $70 per passenger fuel supplement is included in the price, whereas it's extra if you book the cruise only. Some taxes, however, are additional for both.

For more information or bookings, click here for Holland America's website or call 877/724-5425 or a travel agent.

Photo of ms Amsterdam from Holland America.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Cruise Fiji with Blue Lagoon's two-cabin family specials

Fiji's Blue Lagoon Cruises is offering special rates for families -- two adults and up to three children 15 years and under sharing their own cabin -- for various three-, four-, and seven-day cruises through these magical Pacific islands.

Family prices for two cabins start at around $1375 U.S. ($1515 AUD) for the three-day Yasawa Islands 'Club' Cruise, which goes roundtrip from Lautoka, Fiji, to the Yasawas, where you can swim, snorkel over a coral reef, visit a traditional Fijian village, and enjoy traditional island cuisine and entertainment onboard or on the beach. Cruising time averages four hours per day.

The special prices are available from now through March 31, 2009, and include all school holiday periods. Prices do not include international airfare or most beverages, but do include cabins, all meals, and cruise and cultural activities (scuba diving is extra).

For more information or bookings, click here for the Blue Lagoon website. In North America, you can call toll free 877/252-3454; or e-mail the Australian office ( or in Fiji.

Photo from Blue Lagoon Cruises.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Live it up on Regent in Tahiti with $1,000 shipboard credit

Vacations To Go, the online cruise discounter, is offering an 11-day luxury Regent Seven Seas cruise through French Polynesia for $3,680 per passenger for an oceanview cabin on the Paul Gauguin. That's a 33 percent discount from the brochure price. And if you book by March 31, you'll get a $1,000 onboard credit.

The cruise departs from Papeete, Tahiti, on August 16, 2008, and stops at Rangiroa, Bora Bora, and two stops in the Marquesas, among others.

For more information or to book, call Vacations To Go at 800/338-4962 and ask for Fast Deal #23239 or click here.

Another thing to note for Regent cruisers: If you book a 2009 cruise by March 31, you can avoid the line's planned fuel surcharge of $7.50 per passenger per day next year.

Photo courtesy of Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Prices slashed by a third on special Danube river cruise

General Tours World Traveler has just announced price reductions of $2,500 to $2,700 per couple on a special eight-day Danube sailing this September aboard the luxury river cruise ship MV Mozart, a Peter Deilmann ship.

The September 14-21, 2008, itinerary takes passengers from Passau, Germany, into Austria, Hungary, and Slovakia. The cruise includes specially arranged shore excursions in every port, private receptions, exclusive concerts -- including a private concert by the Vienna Boys Choir --and specially arranged shipboard parties.

Cruise fares have been cut from $3,999 to $2,749 per person, double occupancy for Main Deck outside staterooms, while Upper Deck staterooms have been reduced from $4,899 to $3,549. Fares include meals, unlimited wine with dinner, transfers, shore excursions, private events, and port and fuel charges.

For more information, click here or call 800/221-2216.

MV Mozart photo from Peter Deilmann Cruises.