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.