Saturday, June 30, 2012

Crystal Cruises Offers Special Solo Discounts on European Sailings

Crystal Cruises Logo
Crystal Cruises already charges one of the lowest rates in the luxury cruise industry for sole occupancy of a double occupancy room, but with a new solo travelers’ sale on fall Mediterranean voyages, guests traveling alone can enjoy even lower fares to vacation in ease through one of the most beautiful cruising areas in the world.  A significantly-reduced solo supplement of just 10% can save individuals up to almost $900 off a private, deluxe outside stateroom (Category C) of their own. 
The savings are offered on eight 11- and 12-day Crystal Serenity sailings through the Black Sea, Middle East, Canary Islands, and entire Mediterranean.  The all-inclusive luxury cruises embark in Athens, Istanbul, Venice, Barcelona, and Lisbon from September through November, with overnight visits and more time in both smaller, off-the-beaten-path and favorite, large ports throughout Italy, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Montenegro, Israel, Croatia, Morocco and the Canary Islands.  Attractive air add-ons are offered from more than 200 North American ports.
“A Crystal cruise is a wonderful option for solo travelers who seek luxury and pampering while on vacation and also the fast, easy friendships that are made on board,” says Jack Anderson, senior vice president of marketing and sales.  “This is an ideal opportunity for cruisers indulging in a room all to themselves to realize significant savings and value with the World’s Best Cruise Line.”
Among the extraordinary care Crystal provides for solo travelers are Ambassador hosts on every sailing for those seeking a dance partner, assigned seating for dinner in the Crystal Dining Room, and “Table for 8,” which brings individuals together for friendly shared dining in the specialty restaurants at night.  Crystal Cruises’ ocean resort experience always includes fine wines, premium spirits, and gratuities with one’s vacation, as well as a host of other complimentary amenities, from enlightening enrichment speakers and fitness classes to pampering pillow menus and specialty restaurant dining, featuring the world-renowned cuisine of Nobu Matsuhisa.
Crystal’s passion for taking care of guests in an inviting environment of extraordinary space, quality and choices has earned the company more “World’s Best” awards than any other cruise line, resort, or hotel in history.  

Check Out Our Other Sites:
 Sign Up for our Free Cruise Newsletter

Friday, June 29, 2012

Norwegian Cruise Line Offers Kids Sail Free On New Reservations Made Now Through July 7th.

Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Sky
Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Sky
Norwegian Cruise Line is launching its popular Kids Sail Free limited time offer giving children (17 and younger), sailing in third and fourth berths, the opportunity to cruise for free when their parents make a new reservation on select fall sailings to Alaska, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada & New England, the Caribbean, Europe or Hawaii by July 7, 2012. In addition, select sailings are also eligible for up to $500 in air credits, Military and AARP discounts.

Families can enjoy the ultimate family vacation this fall to one of Norwegian’s exciting cruise destinations. Whether it’s inter-island hopping in Hawaii, with over 100 hours in port, sharing the rich history of Europe on one of Norwegian’s many European cruise itineraries, or soaking up the sun in the Caribbean, families can travel with ease knowing they will visit multiple destinations and only have to unpack once. In addition, only Norwegian offers Freestyle Cruising which gives families the flexibility to experience the vacation they’ve always dreamed of. 

Families who embark on a cruise through Hawaii between September 29 and December 15, 2012 will enjoy exploring four spectacular Hawaiian Islands on a seven-day cruise on board Pride of America, sailing round-trip from Honolulu, with fares starting at $1299*, including a scenic sail past the spectacular Na’Pali Coast. 

For the ultimate in Europe cruising, Norwegian Jade offers seven-day Greek Isles and Adriatic itineraries from Venice, Italy from September 1 through October 31, 2012, with fares starting at $479* for seven-day Europe cruises. For a longer vacation, families can embark on a Norwegian Spirit 12-day Grand Mediterranean cruise from either Barcelona or Venice from September 7 through October 13, 2012. This incredible itinerary offers the opportunity for parents and their children to experience five different countries. Norwegian Spirit also offers nine-day Canary Islands cruises from Barcelona from November 6 through December 12, 2012.  

Guests of all ages will enjoy exclusive Nickelodeon activities and shows as well as the array of on board activities, entertainment and dining options while cruising through Europe on board Norwegian’s newest ship, Norwegian Epic. Families can set sail on seven-day Western Mediterranean itineraries through October 14, 2012 from Barcelona, Spain. Or for those who prefer to sail to sun-drenched destinations, Norwegian Epic will sail seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruises from Miami beginning November 3, 2012. 

Families who are looking to sink their toes into one of Bermuda’s famous pink sand beaches can set sail on a seven-day cruise to King’s Wharf, Bermuda from New York City on board Norwegian Star from September 9 through October 14, 2012 or on board Norwegian Dawn from Boston on either September 7 or September 14, 2012, with fares starting at $449*. 

The entire family will enjoy cruising to tropical destinations on a cruise from New York City to the Bahamas & Florida on board Norwegian Jewel between September 16 and October 14, 2012 with fares starting at $449*, or on Norwegian Gem on a nine-day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean between October 20 and December 13, 2012. Families sailing on Norwegian Gem and Norwegian Jewel will also enjoy exclusive Nickelodeon programming. 

For a family cruise to the Western Caribbean, guests can sail a seven-day cruise from three different convenient departure ports, starting at $439. Norwegian Pearl sails from Miami between October 21 and November 25, 2012; Norwegian Star from Tampa between October 26 and December 9, 2012; and Norwegian Dawn from New Orleans between November 4 and December 30, 2012.  

For a longer Southern Caribbean cruise vacation, families can embark on a 10 or 11-day cruise on board Norwegian Sun from Miami between October 14 and December 16, 2012. 

Fall foliage will delight the whole family on one of Norwegian’s Canada & New England Itineraries, with fares starting at $549*. Between September 21 and October 19, 2012, families can sail on a seven-day cruise from Boston on Norwegian Dawn to Quebec or from Quebec to Boston. For a longer Canada & New England experience, Norwegian Gem offers families the chance to cruise for 10-days, round trip from New York City. 

Families also have the opportunity to experience Alaska before the Alaska cruise season ends on board Norwegian Pearl or Norwegian Jewel, on a seven-day cruise from Seattle between September 1 and September 16, 2012, starting at $599*. 

For a quick family getaway, kids sail free on three and four-day Bahamas cruises on Norwegian Sky from Miami between September 3 and December 28, 2012, with fares starting at $179*. 

The line recently enhanced its fleet-wide youth and teen programs, Splash Academy and Entourage. Both Splash Academy and Entourage feature a different theme every day. Whether it’s ocean-related, pirates, space cowboys, jungle fever or circus, every day offers kids a new surprise - tailored to their specific age group - Guppies for ages up to 2; Turtles for ages 3 to 5; Seals for ages 6 to 9; and Dolphins for ages 10 to 12. The enhanced curriculum focuses on team building and assisting in developing children’s interpersonal and confidence-building skills. With activities that are tailored specifically to each age group, the new youth and teen programs focus on creative and unique activities, along with more sporting events, through a partnership with King’s Foundation and Camps. Another highlight of the program is a circus school in partnership with Hilario Productions’ Cirque du Jour, a New York-based company that specializes in teaching children real circus skills. Splash Academy also offers activities for cruisers under three and their parents who can enjoy sensory play classes which include baby art featuring “Wee Can Too” organic art products. 

*All cruise fares are per person, based on double occupancy. 


 Check Out Our Other Sites:
 Sign Up for our Free Cruise Newsletter

Princess Cruises Offer Discounts Through July 9th On Select Sailings

Princess Cruises Caribbean Princess
Princess Cruises Caribbean Princess
Princess Cruises is starting July with a bang with the “Red, White and Blue Sale” from July 2-9, featuring cruise deals on North American departure cruises. Travelers can save up to $1,000 per stateroom plus receive up to $100 stateroom credit on cruises to the Caribbean Panama Canal, Canada & New England, Hawaii, Mexico and West Coast.
The Red, White and Blue Sale includes more than 80 cruise options in 2012, departing between September and December.
In addition to fare savings, passengers booking interior or oceanview staterooms can receive an onboard credit of $25 (cruises up to 9 days) to $50 (cruises 10 days or longer), and in balcony staterooms or above can get credits of $50 (cruises up to 9 days) or $100 (for sailings 10 days or longer). All onboard credits are offered per stateroom.
Examples of cruise deals include:

  • Caribbean cruise – 7 days: $699 balcony (was $949); $499 interior (was $599)
  • British Colombia & West Coast cruise – 7 days: $649 balcony (was $1,149); $499 interior (was $899)
  • Canada & New England cruise – 7 days: $999 balcony (was $1,299); $549 interior (was $799)
  • Mexico cruise – 7 days: $899 balcony (was $1,149); $699 interior (was $799)
  • Roundtrip Panama Canal cruise – 10 days: $1,599 balcony (was $1,649); $999 interior (was $1,099)
  • Hawaiian Islands cruise – 14 days: $1,799 balcony (was $2,345); $1,099 interior (was $1,445)
  • Full Transit Panama Canal cruise – 14 days: $1,799 balcony (was $2,299); $1,099 interior (was $1,599)
All cruise prices are per person, based on double occupancy. The Red, White and Blue Sale begins at 12:01 a.m. PDT on July 2 through 11:59 p.m. PDT on July 9, 2012 and is available to residents of the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico. Reservations made during the sale require a non-refundable deposit.

Additional cruise sale information is available at


 Sign-up for our free newsletter.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

USC School Of Cinematic Arts Partners With Crystal Cruises to Teach Movie Making

In an industry first, Crystal Cruises has teamed up with the esteemed University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts – alma mater of Ron Howard, Robert Zemeckis, and George Lucas, among many other film and media-makers – to present “Digital Filmmaking: The iPad iMovie Video Course” through the line’s exclusive Creative Learning Institute.  Just launched aboard Crystal Symphony, the five-hour, complimentary course teaches professional filmmaking tools and techniques to create one’s own films, from pre-production to final cut.  Led by USC film professors, alumni and other film industry experts specially trained by curriculum creators Kerry Millerick and Dina Sterr, the course utilizes the iMovie app for iPad, but teaches basics that can be applied to any digital format.
“USC is one of the best film schools in the world,” says Bret Bullock, Crystal’s vice president of entertainment.  “We're thrilled to bring guests a curriculum of this caliber to expand our Creative Learning Institute and teach vacationers even more new skills that they can take home with them."
Using one’s own iPad, guests shoot one of five documentary-style genres while on board: Interview, Event, Commercial, Man on the Street or How-to.  They then edit the footage and add music, graphics, voiceover and effects.  Participants learn the importance of filmmaking theory in production -- considering the video’s purpose, intended audience, camera angle and shot composition -- and then how to create a trailer and digitally share their masterpiece with an “audience” of loved ones via social media.
USC School of Cinematic Arts’ Dean Elizabeth M. Daley, shares her enthusiasm about the partnership: "We are always delighted to have the opportunity to share some of our creative skills and our love of cinema and media with others. Crystal Cruises provides a special way to reach a very interesting and exciting group, and we are pleased that members of our faculty will be invited on board to provide lectures and workshops to their guests.”
The Digital Filmmaking course will expand to Crystal Serenity in January 2013, making the program available on all Crystal’s luxury cruises worldwide.
Crystal’s award-winning, luxurious offerings always include a diverse selection of thought-provoking, scholarly, and sophisticated enrichment activities that provide extensive on-board choices for cultured world travelers.

Check Out Our Other Sites:
 Sign Up for our Free Cruise Newsletter

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Swan Hellenic Reveals 2013 Cruise Brochures and Discounts Through August 31st.

Swan Hellenic's Minerva 2013 Cruises and Brochure
Swan Hellenic's Minerva 2013 Cruises and Brochure
Swan Hellenic’s newly-refurbished Minerva has added 16 new port calls to her 2013-14 schedule, including maiden calls in Spitsbergen, Norway; Bangor, Northern Ireland; Dingle, Ireland; Cartagena, Colombia; and the San Blas Islands, bringing the total to 184 ports that the ship will be visiting.

Swan Hellenic’s new 2013 brochure, which can be pre-ordered and viewed online at, features 11-to-21 day Summer 2013 itineraries to The British Isles, Northern Europe, The Baltic, Mediterranean and the Black Sea; and select Winter 2013 cruises to the Caribbean, Central and South America.  The brochure also features a new collection of Grand Voyages ranging from 27-to-30 days.   

Guests who book by August 31, 2012 receive 15% off the early booking fares for cruises departing May 21 through December 19, 2013.

Minerva’s enrichment itineraries will take guests to five continents, visiting hubs of culture, sites of ancient civilizations and inspirational landscapes.  With the limited time launch offer, fares for most of the itineraries are less than $200 per person per day (starting from $115 per day) and include iconic destinations, hidden gems, distinguished guest speakers, unparalleled shore excursions, gratuities and port fees.  All fares cited are cruise only, per person, based on double occupancy, subject to availability and reflect the 15 percent launch offer discount.

With a focus on British country elegance, the 350-guest Minerva recently completed a multi-million-dollar refurbishment that features expansive new public areas and an increased number of suites with balconies, representing 23% of all stateroom accommodation.  In addition, all 181 staterooms have been upgraded with new en-suite bathrooms.  The ship also boasts the new Orpheus Lounge & Bar, a wrap-around forward observation lounge with expansive panoramic views; an expanded Shackleton Bar; a new Livingstone Lounge for relaxing or reading; dedicated internet lounge and Wi-Fi accessibility throughout the ship; and an impressive outdoor “walk around” Promenade Deck.

As Swan Hellenic approaches its 60th anniversary year in 2014, the company continues to offer its hallmark qualities of intriguing destinations, all-inclusive value (with shore excursions, gratuities and port fees included in fares) and a roster of renowned Guest Speakers who provide in-depth talks on the history and culture of each destination.

New itineraries featured in Swan Hellenic’s Summer 2013 brochure include the following:
  • The 15-day Empires of the Black Sea (Sept. 26, 2013) sails from Athens to Istanbul, enabling guests to explore Batumi and enjoy an exclusive performance by the Adjara Company of Song and Dance, discover Yalta and the White Palace of Livadia (former home of the Russian Royal Family) and site of the 1945 Yalta Conference, encounter the ancient Greek settlements of Sevastopol, attend a performance at the baroque-styled Opera House in Odessa and visit Byzantine churches in the UNESCO-listed town of Nessebur.  Fares begin at $3,229.

  • Savor the Baltic Splendor (May 21, 2013) on a 16-day cruise that sails roundtrip from London (Portsmouth), stopping at the resort of Warnemunde, viewing the medieval gems of Tallinn, spending 2½ days enjoying the many treasures of St. Petersburg, viewing the Art Deco buildings and majestic cathedrals of Helsinki, cruising through an archipelago of 24,000 tiny rock islands to Stockholm, and calling in Elsinore to view Kronberg Castle, site of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and a World Heritage site.  Fares start at $3,484.

  • Minerva sails a 15-day Realms of the British Isles (June 20, 2013) round-trip cruise from London (Portsmouth), taking guests from the Scottish Highlands to the islands and valleys of the Southern English coast.  Port calls include Port of Tyne, Scrabster, Ullapool, Tobermory, Holyhead and St. Peter Port and an inaugural call in Bangor.  Fares begin at $2,974.

  • Experience Sagas of Iceland and the Faroes (July 24, 2013) on a 16-day roundtrip cruise from London (Portsmouth) as Minerva calls at Portrush on the rugged Antrim Coast, St. Kilda, Heimaey, Reykjavik, Isafjordhur and Akureyri as well as the remote Torshavn in the Faroe Islands.  Fares start at $3,144.

  • On the 15-day Adriatic Accolade (Sept. 12, 2013), Minerva sails from Rome to Athens.  In addition to cruising the Ionian and Adriatic Seas, along the Dalmatian Coast and through the Corinth Canal, the ship calls at Brindisi, Ravenna and Venice, Italy; Pula, Korcula and Dubrovnik; Croatia; Kotor, Montenegro; and Sarande, Albania.  Fares begin at $2,889.
  • Celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year while discovering the Mysteries of the Maya (Dec. 19, 2013) on an 18-day cruise from Jamaica that calls in Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Panama, Colombia and Barbados.  Among the many experiences are inaugural visit to Cartagena, Colombia and the cultural traditions of the San Blas Islands, the Mayan archaeological site in the Copan Valley, and Santa Marta, the first town founded by the Spanish in Colombia.  Fares start at $3,314, just under $185 per day!
Additional Links:

Nick's Cruise Corner Blog

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Top of the World Cruises - Hurtigruten Passenger Favorite

Nordnorge - Hurtigruten - Norway - North CapeCruises
Nordnorge - Hurtigruten
Award-winning Hurtigruten, which has run voyages along the Norwegian coast since 1893, reveals that once again, the North Cape – the northernmost point on the European continent – was the best-selling spot for shore excursions in 2011.  Last year, nearly 57,000 guests visited the site on Hurtigruten’s “North Cape” and “Breakfast at the North Cape” excursions, and the “North Cape” tour was officially the company’s top-seller. 

The Top 10 Excursions for 2011 were as follows:
  •     The North Cape – Hunningsvåg: A stop 1,000 feet above the Arctic Ocean
  •     Midnight Concert in Tromsø: A visit to the “Arctic Cathedral,” Tromsdalen Church
  •     The Arctic Capital Tromsø: A tour of the largest town above the Arctic Circle
  •     A Taste of Vesterålen: A sampling of Viking history accompanied by breathtaking scenery
  •     Lofoten Islands: An exploration of a region known for aquaculture, agriculture and art
  •     Geiranger Panorama 2: A journey up the “Eagle Road” and down the Trollstigen Road
  •     The Russian Border – Kirkenes: An excursion to the place where East meets West
  •     Breakfast at the North Cape: An early-morning adventure at the top of the world
  •     Glacier Adventure – Svartisen: A trip to Norway’s second largest glacier
  •     Trondheim and Nidaros Cathedral: A sightseeing experience in Norway’s first capital

    On the top-ranking “North Cape” tour, offered on Hurtigruten’s northbound Bergen-Kirkenes sailings, guests cross the 71st parallel – something few people can claim – and take in the sub-Arctic landscape as they make their way to the North Cape Plateau. This part of the world is known as “Finnmark,” and it combines Sami, Russian and Finnish cultures.  Summer visitors may see grazing reindeer and Sami camps, and winter visitors’ bus may follow a snow plow up the final eight miles to reach the plateau, which rises more than 1,000 feet above the Arctic Ocean.  Once there, guests eagerly brace themselves against the winds to stand beside the iconic North Cape globe for photographic evidence that they have literally stood at the top of the world.  Guests on the “Breakfast at the North Cape” tour, offered on Hurtigruten’s southbound travels, have the opportunity to greet the day in this beautiful setting.  On their way back to their ship, participants meet a Sami family and their reindeer, then ultimately rejoin the ship in Hammerfest, the world’s northernmost town.

    Tromsø, which is Norway’s biggest city north of the Arctic Circle, also offers excursions that are popular among voyage guests.  “The Midnight Concert in the Arctic Cathedral,” which drew nearly 20,000 guests to Tromsdalen Church in 2011, was Hurtigruten’s second best-selling excursion last year; the “Arctic Capital Tromsø”   excursion, which  attracted more than 18,000 participants last year, was the company’s third best-selling tour.  Hurtigruten guests must be on to something, as Tromsø was recently named the top cruise destination for 2012 by Frommer’s.  On the midnight concert tour, offered on southbound trips, guests enter an elegant church filled with candlelight and Norwegian folk music; on the capital tour, offered on the northbound route, guests get a grand tour of “The Paris of the North.”  A highlight of this excursion is a visit to the Polaria Centre, an educational facility that features an aquarium, displays and a panorama theater.  It’s a good place to learn about the Northern Lights and the polar bears and seals that are at home here in the tundra.  Other excursions in Tromsø offered by Hurtigruten include opportunities to ride a dog sled, visit with 250 huskies (without sledding) or gain a better understanding of the history of polar expeditions.

    Hurtigruten offers approximately 45 excursions in the 34 ports it visits on its sailings between Bergen and Kirkenes.  Guests can choose activities that suit their individual interests and taste for adventure – from embarking on a glacier adventure in Svartisen or participating in a Viking feast in Stamsund-Svolvaer on the northbound route, to taking a scooter expedition in Lapland or enjoying a day of sightseeing in Bergen on the southbound route.

    Hurtigruten is a world leader in expedition cruising, sailing to the most remote of destinations – including Antarctica, Greenland and the Arctic’s Spitsbergen – as well as year round along Norway's coast and Europe in the spring.  The company’s fleet of 14 intimate ships, which each carry 100 to 646 guests, allows travelers to enjoy unique destinations in a relaxed atmosphere.

Additional Links:

Nick's Cruise Corner Blog

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sea Voyager Expeditions Offers Fall Discounts in Central and South America

Sea Voyager - Sea Voyager Expeditions
Sea Voyager - Sea Voyager Expeditions
Travelers looking for a true adventure experience amongst four of the world’s most fauna- and wildlife-rich countries -- Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Ecuador -- are being offered a special incentive from Sea Voyager Expeditions – 25% to 35% savings on almost all of the September-December, 2012 departures.  A 2012 Special Edition brochure, available on the company’s website, details the itineraries.  The discounted fares on the 13 eight-, 11- and 12-night sailings range from $2,460 to $5,588 per person, double (normally $3,785 to $8,950) while unaccompanied single travelers guests booking a single cabin pay $3,785 to $5,195 (vs. $6,415 to $8,950).  Booking deadlines for special pricing is day of voyage; offers are capacity controlled and based on stateroom availability.

    The new cruise line sets itself apart from competitors by focusing attention on these underexplored regions and their untouched wilderness, rarely-visited small villages and Indigenous peoples.  All four of the specially-priced itineraries transit the Panama Canal – truly a unique experience from the perspective of a small ship.  Included are all meals, pre-post hotels, shore tours, admission to museums and parks, tax and port fees, and transfers when the SVE air program is used.

    Itineraries with savings are the 12-night “Pacific Wilds of Ecuador, Colombia & Panama” and its similar reverse sailing, “Last Frontier of Panama Colombia & Panama” visiting Colombia’s Malaga Bay and Gorgona Island NP and hike Panama’s Darien Jungle and Ecuador’s Cayapas-Mataje Ecological Reserve – and specially priced at $3,672 to $6,712; eight-night “Unspoiled Pacific of Panama & Costa Rica” where highlights include Las Perlas Islands, Coiba Island – the world’s 3rd largest marine park, and Osa Peninsula - named by National Geographic as “the most biologically intense place on Earth” - $2,567 to $4,762; and the eight-night “Treasures of Costa Rica & Panama” where guests explore the Secas Islands with hikes, by Zodiac and kayak, and snorkel the secluded bays, Marenco Biological Reserve with its monkeys, toucans, parrots, manta rays, dolphins and other exotic wildlife, and Panama’s Darien Jungle with a visit to the local Emberá village - $2,567 to $4,762.

    Accompanied by experienced naturalists and guides, guests participate as much or as little as they wish – hiking the near-virgin forest trails one day, relaxing in the warm waters of a secluded beach or kayaking the calm waters of a hidden bay the next.  Naturalists span the sciences - birds, marine mammals, plants, history/culture, etc. -- sharing their love and knowledge of the region’s tremendous offerings, while the friendly international crew ensures the onboard comfort and needs of the guests are met.  Meals are prepared by talented chefs making use of local ingredients, freshly caught seafood and, of course, locally grown coffee.

    Lead by former executive director of International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) and eco-tourism expert Denise Landau, Sea Voyager Expeditions offers true adventure cruises vs. the more commonly known soft-adventure sailings – where guides lead passengers along well-worn paths, amid groups of others visitors while pointing out the local animals and sights.  “We have chosen to specialize in this region and share its spectacular diversity as exploration from the sea floor to the rainforest canopy is possible,” states Denise Landau, CEO and president.  “Our itineraries are as varied as the noisy monkeys, the myriad of colorful butterflies, and the thousands of species of birds unique and endemic to this region.”  

    The M/V Sea Voyager is a versatile expedition ship designed for the tropics.  Its 60-passenger capacity allows for easy on/off access, a more personal experience, and close to nature feel.  All staterooms are air-conditioned with outside views through panoramic windows, ample storage, and private bath.  The ship has a roomy lounge with large windows, bar, fitness room, library with WiFi, massage room, dining room with 2-12 guests per table, buffet, deck space, fore, aft and covered decks, and a platform for getting on/off Zodiacs, kayaks, swimming and snorkeling.

Additional Links:

Nick's Cruise Corner Blog

Monday, June 18, 2012

SeaDream Yacht Club to Feature Panama Canal and Costa Rica Sailings in 2013

SeaDream Yacht Cruises - SeaDream II
SeaDream Yacht Club just released its 2013 year-end voyage schedule and for the first time the luxury, mega-yacht SeaDream I will be transiting the Panama Canal to spend several weeks sailing along the “rich coast” of Costa Rica. 
November 9, 2013, SeaDream I will sail from Barbados to Panama City, Panama. The 10-night voyage calls on Isla de Margarita and The Los Roques Islands of Venezuela; Curacao; Cartagena, Columbia; San Blas, Panama including a transit of the Panama Canal; all of which are “firsts” for SeaDream. From Panama, SeaDream sails to Caldera, Costa Rica, making it her home port for six consecutive voyages. The last of these voyages spends New Year’s Eve in vibrant Panama City, Panama.
SeaDream has arranged for a highly qualified Naturalist to sail aboard all Costa Rica voyages. This paradise of active volcanoes and beautiful beaches has abundant wildlife including 1,000 butterfly species and 1,200 varieties of orchids. The surfing, hiking, rafting, zip lines and deep sea fishing is among the best in the world.
SeaDream’s itineraries include:

  • Isla de Coiba, Panama - A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Coiba National Park is one of the last places in Central America the Scarlet Macaw lives in large numbers in the wild.
  • Golfito, Costa Rica - Remote and rugged, its home to the beautiful Wilson Botanical Gardens and the natural reserve and wildlife refuge of Piedras Blancas National Park.
  • Drake Bay, Costa Rica - One of the most secluded spots in Costa Rica. Its spectacular lagoons and coves are ideal for scuba and snorkeling; See humpback and killer whales as well as several species of dolphins.
  • Isla del Cano, Costa Rica - An amazing marine reserve with fantastic underwater visibility; See sea turtles, dolphins, stingrays, manta rays, moray eels and more.
  • ·Quepos, Costa Rica - One of the best places in the world for big game sport fishing. Manuel Antonio National Park is a main attraction along with canopy tours, horseback riding, kayaking, rafting and surfing.
  • Tortuga Islands, Costa Rica - White sand beaches and emerald waters invites absolute tranquility and make it the ideal spot for SeaDream’s Champagne and Caviar Splash™.
  • San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua - A quaint fishing village where thatch-roofed restaurants line the long, sandy beach. Visitors will want to see the nearby Masaya Volcano.
  • Playa el Coco, Costa Rica - Surrounded by steep hills, this horseshoe shaped bay is among the most well-known beaches in the country. offering great surfing & nightlife.
  • ·Playa Flamingo, Costa Rica - Perhaps Costa Rica’s most upscale beach destination, ideally situated near the Santa Rosa National Park and the Palo Verde natural reserve.
  With so much to see and do, SeaDream is offering a 2-night/3-day Pre or Post-Voyage land package which includes accommodations at the Real Intercontinental Hotel, meals (including lunch at the elegant, Villa Caletas Hotel), transfers, guided visits to Poás Volcano National Park, Sarchi Town and a city tour of San Jose with it’s opulent National Theatre and National Museum.
This month SeaDream Yacht Club landed on TRAVEL + LEISURE magazine’s “2012 World’s Best Service” for Cruises: Small-Ship. The magazines’ annual World’s Best Awards survey scored SeaDream a 94.82, placing it in the list’s top percentile. 

Additional Links:

Nick's Cruise Corner Blog

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Carnival Cruises New Carnival Breeze Boasts More Than 180 Shore Excursions in Europe

Carnival Cruise Line's New Carnival Breeze
Carnival Cruise Line's New Carnival Breeze
For the Carnival Breeze’s inaugural season in Europe, Carnival Cruise Lines has assembled a diverse array of shore excursions with more than 180 different choices, including several “select experiences” that allow guests to enjoy once-in-a-lifetime opportunities in a more personalized setting. 
            Carnival Breeze’s inaugural European season kicked off June 3 and runs through October 25, 2012, providing guests with myriad opportunities to experience and explore stunning and beautiful ports in Italy, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, France, Spain, and Monte Carlo. 
           The wide-ranging excursions provide Carnival Breeze guests with a seemingly endless variety of unforgettable landside experiences, from guided tours of famous museums and centuries-old architectural marvels to touring the lush European countryside and savoring local cuisine and wine. Guests can also enjoy more active pursuits such as exploring dormant volcanoes, cycling or kayaking along a beautiful coastline.
            Here’s a sampling of some of the many exciting tours available:

  • Three Island Yacht Cruise (Dubrovnik, Croatia) -- Island hopping has never been so much fun! On this five-hour excursion, guests can explore the stunning Elaphati Islands – Lokrum, Kolocep, and Lopud – while sipping chilled wine aboard a luxury yacht. The islands have a rich history – legend has it that Richard the Lion Heart was cast ashore here in 1192 after surviving a shipwreck while returning from the Crusades. The day begins with a visit to Lokrum Island, where guests can tour a 12th century monastery built by Benedictine monks, while Kolocep, the smallest of the Elaphiti islands, is distinguished by 15th century mansions, vineyards and olive groves. Concluding the tour is a stop at Lopud where guests can swim, stroll along the promenade, or savor local Croatian delicacies.
  • Essence of Tuscany (Livorno, Italy) -  Guests can create their own “Under the Tuscan Sun” experience visiting the magnificent town of San Gimignano, the stunning backdrop for the popular book and movie about the fabled city which is distinguished by the "Manhattan of Tuscany," a skyline dotted with towers dating back to the 11th to 13th  centuries.  After enjoying a traditional Italian meal in a nearby farmhouse, guests explore Siena, amazingly rich in masterpieces of art and nestled atop three hills with ancient structures such as the Torre del Mangia bell tower rising more than 300 feet high and Duomo of Siena and the Battistero, both adorned with a variety of frescoes, sculptures and painting masterpieces created by some of the country’s most famous artists.
  • Mt. Etna at 2,900 Feet (Messina, Italy) - On this seven-and-a-half-hour excursion, guests are taken to Europe's largest active volcano where they can tour Mt. Etna's famous Silvestri Crater located 2,000 feet above sea level.  From there, guests board a six-person cable car for the journey down into the crater before embarking on a 4 x 4 Mercedes ride to reach the ultimate peak at an awe-inspiring 2,900 feet above sea level.  Following an exhilarating off-road adventure, guests are taken on a guided tour where they are provided a detailed overview of Mt. Etna’s history followed by a delicious lunch at a local restaurant.
  • Secrets of Naples (Naples, Italy) – During this five-hour journey,  guests can stroll along the narrow streets of the Spacca-Napoli quarter, full of life with boutiques specializing in antiques and books, tiny grocery stores and fruit stands.  The day continues with a visit to San Domenico Square and its namesake church, and an exploration of the underground caves of Naples, home to the ancient Roman Aqueducts.  No visit to Naples is complete without a sampling of the city’s famous pizza and guests will learn how to prepare the delicious pies using traditional wood-burning ovens.
  • Vatican Gardens, St. Peter’s & Rome (Civitavecchia, Italy) -- The amazing Vatican Gardens and the beauty of Rome are on full display during this private 10-hour tour, which also includes a typical Italian lunch.  After arriving in breathtaking St. Peter’s Square, guests enter Vatican City through the gate of St. Uffizio Square where they enjoy panoramic views of its magnificent gardens and enchanting fountains before touring St. Peter’s Basilica. The day concludes with a tour of Roman highlights such as the Spanish Steps, Navona Square, the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain.
             These fascinating excursions – and dozens of others – are available in conjunction with Carnival Breeze’s inaugural European cruise season which kicked off with a special 12-day voyage that departed Venice on June 3, arriving in Barcelona June 15, 2012.  Ports of call on this one-time voyage include Dubrovnik, Croatia; Athens, Greece; Izmir, Turkey; Messina (Sicily), Olbia (Sardinia),  Rome (Civitavecchia), and Livorno (Florence & Pisa), Italy; Monaco, Monte Carlo; and Marseilles, France.

            Carnival Breeze then begins a summer schedule of 12-day Mediterranean voyages from Barcelona, one of Europe’s most stunning and historic cities. The program runs from June 15 through Oct. 25, 2012 (with the exception of the Aug. 26, 2012, voyage which sails from Venice).  The 12-day Mediterranean cruises include stops at Marseilles or Monaco; Livorno; Naples or Salerno, Italy; Dubrovnik; Venice; Civitavecchia (Rome), and Messina (the June 15 and Sept. 7 departures add a stop in Palma de Mallorca, Spain; while the Aug. 14 and 26 voyages also visit Olbia, Italy). Select voyages also overnight in Venice or Civitavecchia (Rome).  

            When they’re not exploring all the awe-inspiring wonders of the Mediterranean, guests can enjoy the Carnival Breeze’s wide range of on-board innovations, which include the line’s first Thrill Theater, an immersive multi-dimensional special effects experience that makes viewers feel as if they’re part of the movie, along with popular features such as WaterWorks, with fun water slides and attractions, and SportSquare, an expansive top-deck recreation area with a ropes course, mini-golf, an outdoor fitness area and more.  

            Exclusive to Carnival Breeze is Bonsai Sushi, the line’s first full-service sushi restaurant, and Fat Jimmy’s C-Side BBQ, an open-air dining venue featuring a variety of grilled barbecue favorites and traditional sides. Guests can also visit Guy’s Burger Joint, developed in tandem with Food Network personality Guy Fieri, or enjoy poolside libations at the RedFrog Rum Bar or BlueIguana Tequila Bar or Caribbean-inspired drinks and snacks at the RedFrog Pub.  

Additional Links:

Nick's Cruise Corner Blog

Saturday, June 16, 2012

MSC Cruises Offers Discounts Through June 30th.

MSC Cruises - MSC Fantasia
MSC Cruises - MSC Fantasia
MSC Cruises is making it possible to visit Europe during the height of the vacation season and into the fall on its elegant fleet of ships – including the new MSC Divina – with limited-time-only rates that begin at $449.

Available only for bookings made by June 30, 2012 on select sailings, these special cruise-only rates (per person, double occupancy; government fees and taxes are additional) begin at $449 for select 7-night summer cruises and at $499 for select 7-night fall itineraries.

While visiting some of Europe’s most beautiful and historic destinations in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, guests will also enjoy MSC Cruises’ rich Mediterranean heritage and international experience with world-class entertainment, the exotic MSC Aurea Spa and Mediterranean cuisine on the line’s elegant ships, including MSC Divina, which entered the fleet in May.

Like sister ships MSC Fantasia and MSC Splendida, MSC Divina features the exclusive MSC Yacht Club, 69-71 suites (depending on the ship) in a “ship-within-a-ship” oasis of tranquility where guests indulge in comfort and convenience, complete with 24/7 Butler and concierge services, complimentary wines and spirits, private restaurant, lounge, pool and relaxation area, private access to MSC Aurea Spa and more.

On all 12 of MSC Cruises’ ships, guests will discover what earned the line Porthole Cruise Magazine’s 2011 Readers’ Choice Award for “Best Onboard International Experience.” Surrounded by elegance and white-gloved service, guests can be pampered with a Balinese massage in the MSC Aurea Spa, dine in the many restaurants featuring international cuisine, sunbathe poolside, gamble in the casino or enjoy the highly acclaimed entertainment in the lounges or the magnificent theater. For guests seeking more activity, there is miniature golf, swimming, tennis, basketball, volleyball, and shuffleboard as well as a wide variety of excursions sure to satisfy the interests of all guests.

Among the roundtrip itineraries available this summer and fall at limited-time-only rates are:

  • MSC Divina’s 7-night “Divine Mediterranean” itineraries, sailing from Venice and calling at Bari, Katakolon, Izmir, Istanbul and Dubrovnik. Rates begin at $1,049 (select summer sailings) and $599 (select fall sailings).
  •  MSC Sinfonia’s 7-night “Sparkling Mediterranean Rivieras” departing Genoa and visiting Civitavecchia, Salerno, La Goulette, Ibiza and Marseille, beginning at $449.
  •  MSC Splendida’s 7-night “Splendid Mediterranean” cruises, sailing from Genoa and calling at Civitavecchia, Barcelona, La Goulette, Valletta and Messina. Rates begin at $499.
  •  MSC Magnifica’s 7-night “Baltic Castles & Russian Palaces,” calling at Kiel, Stockholm, Tallin, St. Petersburg and Copenhagen. Rates begin at $1,049.
  • MSC Musica’s 7-night “Greek Islands in the Sun,” sailing from Venice and calling at Bari, Katakolon, Santorini, Mykonos, Piraeus, Corfu and Dubrovnik. Rates begin at $499.

  • MSC Opera’s 8-night “Majestic Medieval Europe” itinerary, sailing from Southampton and calling at Ijmuiden, St. Peter Port, La Coruna, Bilbao and La Rochele. Rates begin at $799.

Check Out the MSC Cruises Website for more info.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Royal Caribbean's Madagascar 3 Sweepstakes

Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas - Dreamworks
Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas
In conjunction with the arrival of DreamWorks Animation’s 3-D feature film “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” in theatres this week, Royal Caribbean International is offering consumers a chance to sail with Alex, Gloria, King Julien and the Penguins on select ships featuring the DreamWorks Experience offered exclusively on Royal Caribbean!  Consumers can visit through June 20 to enter the “Madagascar at Sea” sweepstakes for a chance to win one of two grand prizes of either a seven-night cruise for four to Europe or the Caribbean, while one daily winner will earn a $25 gift card for correctly answering trivia about the cruise line and the “Madagascar” franchise. 

To celebrate the release of “Madagascar 3” Royal Caribbean ships featuring the DreamWorks Experience, Allure of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas, will host special screenings of the movie in 3-D throughout the summer, plus offer exclusive content – including movie trailers and behind the scenes videos – as well as the chance to win prizes, such as movie posters, DVDs, character photos and more during daily trivia and other onboard activities.

As part of its commitment to provide cruisers with unparalleled vacation experiences, Royal Caribbean continues its strategic alliance with DreamWorks Animation, the world class animated film studio powerhouse, to bring the next generation of entertainment to the high seas.  The DreamWorks Experience – which offers cruisers exclusive character breakfasts, meet and greets, photo opportunities, parades, live and filmed entertainment and more – first debuted onboard Allure of the Seas in 2010 and was subsequently introduced on Oasis of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas in 2011, highlighted by the star-studded at-sea premiere of “Puss in Boots” onboard Allure of the Seas.  The partnership also will expand to Voyager of the Seas later this year. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Norwegian Cruise Line Offers Discounts Through June 17, 2012

Norwegian Cruise Line's - Norwegian Jewel - Cruise Discounts
Norwegian Cruise Line's - Norwegian Jewel - Cruise Discounts
It’s smooth sailing this summer with Norwegian Cruise Line’s Resident Sale starting Sunday, June 10, 2012, and offering up to $1,000 off (depending on the stateroom category booked) on select sailings, based on state of residency. Residents will enjoy savings on many popular summer cruise destinations, including Alaska, Bermuda, Europe, Hawaii and the Bahamas, when they make a new cruise reservation by June 17, 2012. 

Those residing in the Northeastern states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia and District of Colombia, will find excellent savings on a variety of exciting itineraries to Europe, Alaska, Hawaii or Bermuda this summer.

Residents of Southeastern states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, will save on cruises through Europe and on three and four-day cruises to the Bahamas from Miami, Florida. 

Those living in the Western states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, California, Nevada,  Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Hawaii, have the opportunity to save on cruises to two of Norwegian’s most popular and scenic destinations: Alaska and Hawaii. 

For an unparalleled cruise experience, guests living in the Midwestern states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio can embark on a cruise vacation in Hawaii. Sailing round-trip from Honolulu, Pride of America offers seven-day cruises to four beautiful islands of Hawaii. This incredible itinerary also includes a scenic sail by the breathtaking Napali Coast.  

Additional Links:

Nick's Cruise Corner Blog

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Princess Cruises Father's Day Sale

Princess Cruises Diamond Princess
Princess Cruises Diamond Princess

Princess Cruises is celebrating Father’s Day with a special five-day cruise sale from June 14-18. Passengers will find cruise deals perfect for Dad to destinations such as Asia, Australia & New Zealand, Europe, the Caribbean and Hawaii.

The Father’s Day Sale offers passengers savings up to 60 percent off of launch fares per stateroom, plus up to $100 onboard credit. The sale includes more than 80 cruise options in 2012, departing between August and December.

In addition to fare savings, passengers booking interior or oceanview staterooms can receive an onboard credit of $25 (cruises up to 9 days) to $50 (cruises 10 days or longer), and in balcony staterooms or above can get credits of $50 (cruises up to 9 days) or $100 (for sailings 10 days or longer). All onboard credits are offered per stateroom.
Examples of cruise deals include:

  • Caribbean cruise – 7 days: $799 balcony (was $949); $549 interior (was $599)
  • Grand Mediterranean cruise – 12 days: $1,299 balcony (was $3,290); $799 interior (was $2,190)
  • Greek Isles cruise – 12 days: $1,299 balcony (was $3,240); $799 interior (was $2,140)
  • Hawaii cruise – 14 days: $1,899 balcony (was $2,345); $1,199 interior (was $1,445)
  • Southeast Asia cruise – 16 days: $2,199 balcony (was $3,185); $1,499 interior (was $1,995)
All cruise prices are per person, based on double occupancy. The Father’s Day Sale begins at 12:01 a.m. PDT on June 14 through 11:59 p.m. PDT on June 18, 2012 and is available to residents of the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico. Reservations made during the sale require a non-refundable deposit.

 Additional cruise sale information is available at

Additional Links:

Nick's Cruise Corner Blog