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.