Thursday, July 30, 2009

4th Quarter Celebrity Cruises Panama Canal

Celebrity Cruises
4th Quarter Panama Canal
Cruise Rates From ONLY $69 Per Person Per Day

I've talked about the Panama Canal cruise before and how this could be one of you most memorable cruise vacations. Celebrity cruises has some fantastic rates on 4th quarter Panama Canal cruises.

Have you been procrastinating on scheduling your vacation time this year? Many companies have tightened their "use it or lose it" vacation requirements in recent years. Have you figured out if you need to take a vacation in the 4th quarter so that you don't lose vacation time? Now is the time to check and take advantage of these great Panama Canal deals.

Here are a sample of Just a Few of our "Smoking HOT" 4th Quarter, 2009 Panama Canal Cruise Deals AND Some Incredible "Independent" Air Add-Ons!

November 22, 2009, Celebrity INFINITY (Thanksgiving Cruise!)
"Let Celebrity Do ALL The Cooking This Thanksgiving!"
13 Nights, San Diego to Ft. Lauderdale
(NOTE: Why not form a GROUP and take the entire extended family with you!)

From ONLY:
$69 Per Day! (Or) Just $899 Interior! (AND Just $1,798 For TWO!)$77 Per Day! (Or) Just $999 Ocean View! (AND Just $1,998 For TWO!)
$104 Per Day! (Or) Just $1,349 Veranda! (AND Just $2,698 For TWO!)

NOTE: Independent Air From ONLY $120! (On Delta, for Return Flight Home December 5, from Ft. Lauderdale to San Diego)

November 22, 2009, Celebrity CONSTELLATION...

"The # 1 Rated Large Ship In The World" - 4 Years in a Row (And Counting!)(Thanksgiving Cruise!) "Let Celebrity Do ALL The Cooking This Thanksgiving!"

14 Nights, Miami to San Diego
(NOTE: Why not form a GROUP and take the entire extended family with you!)
From ONLY:
$75 Per Day! (Or) Just $1,049 Interior! (AND Just $2,098 For TWO!)
$93 Per Day! (Or) Just $1,299 Ocean View! (AND Just $2,598 For TWO!)
$121 Per Day! (Or) Just $1,699 Veranda! (AND Just $3,398 For TWO!)
NOTE: Independent Air From ONLY $135! (On Airtran, for outbound flight, November 21, from LAX to Ft. Lauderdale)

December 6, 2009, Celebrity CONSTELLATION...
"The # 1 Rated Large Ship In The World" - 4 Years in a Row (And Counting!)

14 Nights, San Diego to Miami

(NOTE: Celebrate the holidays early - take your whole extended family group!)

From ONLY:
$69 Per Day! (Or) Just $949 Interior! (AND Just $1,898 For TWO!)
$85 Per Day! (Or) Just $1,199 Ocean View! (AND Just $2,398 For TWO!)
$115 Per Day! (Or) Just $1,599 Veranda! (AND Just $3,198 For TWO!)

NOTE: Independent Air From ONLY $256! (On Continental, for return flight, December 20, from Ft. Lauderdale to San Diego)

Make plans now to sail Celebrity Infinity or Celebrity Constellation. Let me help you plan your cruise vacation this 4th quarter to the Panama Canal.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Welcome to New Readers

Streamwood Summer Celebration
Princess Cruise Sale Thru August 1st

The Streamwood Summer Celebration is now over and I'm happy to report that we met with many people at the Business Expo that are interested in a cruise vacation. We really enjoy talking with new cruisers. With over 25 years of cruise industry experince we are able to answer just about any question a first-timer or even the seasoned-cruiser can think up.

Don't forget, the Princess Cruise Sale continues through the end of this week. Receive a reduced deposit of $100 per person and a coupon book valued at $325. That can be combined with most other offers to provide you with even more value. This is an exclusive cruise sale, so take advantage of it now.

I'd like to welcome new readers, many of which we met at the expo. Think of this blog as your source of information about cruise vacations. If you utilize all the information provided in this column, on our websites, and on our Facebook page, you will have a good foundation for keeping up to date on offers, changes in the industry, and reviews from our personal experiences.

The discussions during the expo weren't much different than those we have all the time. We share our personal experiences and knowledge of the various cruise lines that sail to the destinations that interest you. Since we represent all cruise lines, we can compare the various cruises and offer suggestions based on your requirements and interests. We take all the worry out of planning by being your interface with the cruise companies, sorting out all the requirements and finding the best available fare for the cruise you select.

Some questions that help us find the right cruise for you: What do you like to do when on vacation? What sort of accommodation are you looking for (inside, outside, balcony, suite, multiple cabins, handicap cabin, etc)? Do you want to fly or drive to the embarkation port? Where do you want to go and begin your cruise vacation from? When do you want to go and how long do you want to be on vacation?

These are just a few questions that help us to assist you in planning the perfect cruise vacation. Our value goes beyond booking your reservation. What's more important is finding the right cruise for you that will provide good value and a great vacation.

I've been writing this blog now for a couple years and there is quite a lot of content. To make it easier to find that tidbit of information from one of my past blog posts, I've added Blogger's Search capability to the right-hand navigation. You don't even have to leave the blog to narrow your search.

For the first-time readers, I'd suggest you take a look at the Archive to see some of my past posts. One of the most popular topics are my reviews of the various dining options onboard the ships. I've talked about our past trips to places like the Galapagos, Caribbean, Europe, Canada, Mexico, Hawaii, and many other destinations. I've talked about new ships like the Norwegian Epic, Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas, and Celebrity Solstice.

Visit my website to sign up for my weekly eSavers newsletter (you can also sign up right here on the blog). I list Hot deals here and on my website. You can learn about what's new in the industry here and also on the front page of my website. If you want to see pictures from our cruises, I often have links in the blog posts, but you can also visit Our Shutterfly Page .

Become a Fan on my Facebook Page

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tahiti On Sale - Paul Gauguin

Summer on "Sail" by Paul Gauguin
Regent Seven Seas has announced two special offers for sailings to Tahiti aboard Paul Gauguin.

This is the final season that the ship will be sailing under the Regent flag. In January, 2010, Paul Gauguin Cruises will begin sailing in Tahiti.

See my previous posts for more details about Paul Gauguin Cruises: Luxury Tahiti Cruises at Special Savings and Paul Gauguin Cruises Joins CLIA

Speical Offers Available
Bookings by August 15, 2009

French Polynesia is made up of several series of islands, atolls, and archipelagos, independently surrounded by lagoons and barrier reefs that create unique eco-systems and divine respites for the traveler weary of the usual getaway.

Explore the Society Islands aboard Paul Gauguin this summer with up to 74% savings, third guest sails FREE; BOOK by August 15, 2009.

7 Nights Roundtrip Papeete
Fares from $1,995 per guest: September 12, September 19 and September 26

Itinerary: Papeete, French Polynesia * Raiatea, French Polynesia * Taha'a (Motu Mahana)French Polynesia * Bora Bora, French Polynesia (Overnight) * Moorea, French Polynesia(Overnight) * Papeete, French Polynesia (Overnight)

Society & Cook Islands
14 Nights Roundtrip Papeete
Fares from $4,995 per guest & FREE AIR from LAX August 29

Itinerary: Papeete, French Polynesia * Huahine, French Polynesia * Cruise the Pacific Ocean, Int' Waters * Aitutaki, Cook Islands * Rarotonga, Cook Islands * Cruise the Pacific Ocean, Int'l Waters * Tubuai, Tuamotu Archipelago * Cruise the Pacific Ocean, Int'l Waters * Taha'a (Motu Mahana), French Polynesia * Bora Bora, French Polynesia * Rangiroa, French Polynesia (Overnight) * Moorea, French Polynesia (Overnight) * Papeete, French Polynesia (Overnight)

Special One Week Sale by Paul Gauguin
July 27 - August 2, 2009

Explore the Society Islands aboard Paul Gauguin this fall with up to 67% savings, Select Balcony & upper suite categories only; Valid from July 27, 2009 to August 2, 2009.

7 Nights Roundtrip Papeete
Balcony & Upper Suite Fares from $2,995 per guest: October 24, October 31

Itinerary: Papeete, French Polynesia Raiatea, French Polynesia Taha'a (Motu Mahana), French Polynesia Bora Bora, French Polynesia (Overnight) Moorea, French Polynesia (Overnight) Papeete, French Polynesia (Overnight)

Society & Marquesas Islands
14 Nights Roundtrip Papeete
Fares from $3,195 per guest Cruise Only December 5

Itinerary: Papeete, French Polynesia * Cruise the Pacific Ocean, Int' Waters * Fakarava, French Polynesia * Cruise the Pacific Ocean, Int' Waters * Fatu Hiva/Hanavave, Marquesas * Atuona, French Polynesia * Vaipaee, French Polynesia * Taiohae, French Polynesia * Cruise the Pacific Ocean, Int' Waters * Cruise the Pacific Ocean, Int' Waters * Huahine, French Polynesia * Bora Bora, French Polynesia * Taha'a (Motu Mahana), French Polynesia * Moorea, French Polynesia * Papeete, French Polynesia (Overnight)

For more information about Paul Gauguin or these French Polynesian itineraries, call or email me. You can also visit my website.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Princess Cruises Exclusive Offers

Plan a wonderful Princess® escape today —
with great savings and exciting extras!

In preparation for my participation at the Streamwood Summer Celebration, I checked my inventory and found some fantastic offers on Princess Cruises that I wanted to share with my readers.

Receive up to $100 Onboard Credit
May also Include Wine and Photo Credit

Valid on Select Sailings

Have I perked your interest a little? You are probably wondering what destinations are included and what ships. What sail dates are included?

As you might imagine, the list is a little long for me to include all the details here, but I'll give you a sample of what I have to offer you as readers of my blog.

Select Alaska Sailings now thru September 2009 on Coral, Diamond, Golden, Island, and Pacific Princess

Select Australia/Circle Pacific on Dawn Princess in March/April 2010 and Diamond Princess in November 2009

Africa on Tahitian Princess October 18, 2009

Select Amazon Sailings December 2009 thru March 2010 on Royal Princess

Select Antarctica Sailings January - February 2010 on Star Princess

Additional destinations: British Isles, Canada/New England, Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, Holy Land, Mediterranean, Mexico, New Zealand, North Cape/Scandinavia, Orient/Asia/Africa/Egypt, Pacific Coastal, Pacific/Sydney/Auckland, South America/Andes, Tahiti, Transatlantic

Did I hit on one or more of the destinations on your bucket list? I would imagine that I did. What's the catch you ask? Only two, there is limited availability as the cabins are part of block space in my inventory. You have to be flexible in your schedule to match up with one or more of the select sailings.

I encourage you to take advantage of these special offers. My only regret is that I can't go on all of them myself as the itineraries are really amazing.

Book by August 1st to also take advantage of my Summer Celebration One Week Sale

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Streamwood Summer Celebration - Exclusive Princess Sale

Streamwood Summer Celebration
Princess Cruise Sale Thru August 1st

If you are in the Greater Chicagoland area, the village of Streamwood is holding their annual Summer Celebration this coming weekend. The festival starts Friday, July 24th and runs through Sunday, July 26th.

We will have a booth in the Expo Tent. Expo hours are different from the fair, so be sure to check the schedule. The fair grounds are located at Hoosier Grove Park, 700 W. Irving Park Road, Streamwood. More details about the Streamwood Summer Celebration.

We have setup an Exclusive One Week Princess Cruise Sale in conjunction with the celebration. This sale offers great savings and exciting extras including reduced $100 pp deposits and onboard coupon book worth up to $325 in onboard services. More information about the coupon book (click here).

Besides the coupon book, we still have block space on several Princess Cruise itineraries to popular destinations. If you book one of those select sailings, you'll also receive an onboard credit and other exciting offers.

Book between July 25 - August 1st
to take advantage of this Exclusive Cruise Sale. Visit us at the Expo, email, or call for more details. I hope to meet those of you who are in the area at the Summer Celebration.

Monday, July 20, 2009

One Small Step - July 20, 1969

One Small Step for Man,

One Giant Leap for Mankind

July 20, 1969, another one of those days that will be remembered for years to come. Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the lunar surface fulfilling a challenge put forth by President John F. Kennedy.

If you were alive in 1969, odds are you were glued to your radio or television set waiting to hear those first words, "The Eagle has landed." Unlike other days that we remember, this wasn't a tragic day, but rather a triumphant day. Man had entered the new frontier and successfully landed on new unexplored shores, much like the explorers who sailed the oceans in search of new land centuries before.

What does this have to do with cruise vacations you ask? The event itself isn't directly related to cruising, but Port Canaveral, home of NASA, is one of the popular ports of embarkation. That means you can extend your cruise vacation either before or after your cruise and visit the Kennedy Space Center and learn more about the space program.

Several cruise lines depart from Port Canaveral. You can select from Carnival Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line or Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. The cruises include 3, 4 or 5 night Bahama cruises, 7 or 9 night Eastern/Western Caribbean, 11 night Southern Caribbean, and even 14 night cruises to Eastern/Western Caribbean or even a Transatlantic.

Since 2009 is the 40th anniversary of the landing on the moon, this would be a good time to visit Port Canaveral, Florida. What better way to begin or end a cruise vacation than by visiting the space center to add some enrichment to your pleasure trip?
You too can make one small step by learning more about our history in space and those that have explored the new frontier. Let me help you take that step.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Princess Cruisetour to Oberammergau Passion Play

See Famed German Production, Only Performed Every 10 Years

Princess Cruises has announced a rare opportunity for 2010 European Cruisetour guests to see the famed Oberammergau Passion Play, which is performed only once each decade in this small Bavarian village in Germany.

The new 18-day “Oberammergau & Highlights of Germany” tour features two nights in the southern German town of Oberammergau, and includes tickets to the event. Passengers will also visit a variety of other top German destinations during the eight-day land tour, including Frankfurt, the Black Forest, Munich, Nuremberg and Berlin. In addition, the tour will connect seamlessly with a 10-day Scandinavia/Russia cruise aboard Star Princess. Two departures are offered on August 2 and August 12, 2010.

The Oberammergau Passion Play has been held every ten years since 1634 in thanksgiving for deliverance from the Black Death in 1633. The play is now performed in years ending with a zero (except 1984 which was the 350th anniversary), and involves more than 2000 actors, singers, instrumentalists and technicians, all of whom are residents of the village. All cast members have lived in the village at least 20 years and must be amateurs of high moral and ethical principles. Villagers also make all the costumes for the production and, as no wigs are used, participants must grow their hair and beards for several months prior to the performances.

Fares for the 18-day Oberammergau cruisetour begin at $5,319 per person, based on double occupancy. Capacity is limited on these special tours, and could fill quickly. If you are interested in this historic event, I strongly encourage you to contact me immediately to book this cruisetour.

Friday, July 17, 2009

MSC Cruises Welcomes Big Band Lovers

Swing and sway to a Big Band
aboard MSC Poesia

Turn the clocks back to the 1930's and 1940's. Times were tough, much like they are today. The Great Depression was in full swing and the world was about to go to war once again. It was during these dismal times that the Swing Era began and became an important part of musical history.

Enter the Big Band, a type of musical ensemble associated with playing jazz music. Big bands evolved with the times and continue today. A big band typically consists of approximately 12 to 25 musicians and contains saxophones, trumpets, trombones, singers, and a rhythm section.

Teenagers and young adults were the principal fans of the Big Bands in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. They danced to recordings and the radio, and attended live concerts whenever they could. You'll probably remember greats like Glenn Miller and Duke Ellington.

Big Bands played a major role in lifting morale during World War II. Many band members served in the military and toured with USO troupes at the front, with Glenn Miller losing his life while traveling between troop shows.

MSC Cruises rekindles the music of the 30's with two Big Band themed cruises aboard MSC Poesia. Whether you want to hear Big Band music for the first time, or if you are a lover of this era gone by, you will enjoy this special themed cruise.

Featured Musicians:

The 15-piece Les DeMerle Orchestra, featuring vocalist Bonnie Eisele, is sure to have toes tapping, bodies swaying and guests singing along to the sounds of Ellington, Basie, James and Miller, plus the biggest Broadway hits, rock ‘n’ roll classics, hot Latin grooves and show-stoppers from the 40s through today. In addition to their regular appearances, the band will perform a Big Band Jazz Concert and conduct a lecture on the Big Band Era.

Chose one of the following cruises:

DECEMBER 10, 2009 11 days 10 nights
Fort Lauderdale • Grand Cayman • Cartagena • Cristóbal • Puerto Limón • Playa del Carmen • Fort Lauderdale

FEBRUARY 27, 2010 8 days 7 nights
Fort Lauderdale • Key West • Playa del Carmen • Grand Cayman • Montego Bay • Nassau • Fort Lauderdale

For more information about MSC Poesia and these cruises, see my website or give me a call. Don't forget that Kids 17 and under Sail Free (in same cabin).

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Celebrity Cruises Revamps Captain's Club

Celebrity Cruises
"Become the Center of Our Attention"

Loyalty has its rewards. I'm sure you've heard that from many of the businesses you frequent. Whether it's the local grocery store, restaurant, airline, or other business, you are rewarded for repeat business in various ways. The same holds true in the cruise line industry.

Celebrity Cruises has launched the new Captain’s Club, a redesigned recognition and rewards program that delivers brand new benefits and an unparalleled cruise experience to their most loyal guests. Celebrity indicated that joining the new Captain’s Club will "make you the center of our attention".

Celebrity believes that their most loyal guests deserve more. More recognition, more service, more benefits and, quite simply, more reasons to cruise with them. They have added several exciting new features and benefits to everything members have come to expect from the existing program.

The Captain's Club is made up of three tiers currently: Classic (1-4 tier credits), Select (5-9), and Elite (10+). Celebrity plans to add an additional higher tier with additional benefits.
Depending on your tier, the following benefits have been added:

  • Invitation to the all new Captain’s Club Celebration event (All)
  • Upgraded benefits for onboard internet usage (Select, Elite)
  • Upgraded onboard laundry service benefits (Select, Elite)
  • Access to the Captain’s Club Lounge at Michael’s Club (Elite)

It's Easy to Earn Tier Credits
Unlike other cruise loyalty programs, the Captain's Club uses their tier credits rather than cruises to determine your benefits. Celebrity currently offers up to three ways to earn tier credits on a single cruise. This makes it easier for members to qualify for higher tiers and receive more exclusive benefits quickly. Earn 1 tier credit for each of the following (up to a maximum of 3 tier credits per cruise):

  • Sailing with Celebrity or Azamara Cruises®
  • Sailing on an itinerary of 12 nights or more
  • Sailing in a Concierge Class, AquaClass SM, or Suite Stateroom

Of the added benefits, the premier change is the Captains' Club Lounge:

For those interested in a quiet haven of their own, Celebrity introduced the Captain's Club Lounge at Michael's Club, exclusively for Elite members and their stateroom/suite companions each morning and early evening. This new lounge will offer a casual coffeehouse-style experience from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., with complimentary espressos, teas and other menu items, a variety of reading materials and, on Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Equinox, wi-fi access. Every evening from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Captain's Club Elite members and their stateroom/suite companions can return to the Lounge to enjoy socializing with fellow members, participate in a wine tasting event, or simply relax and enjoy a quiet, complimentary drink before dinner.

Celebrity plans to expand the program throughout 2009, adding additional benefits and a new tier. If you haven't tried Celebrity Cruises before, now is the time to start. Celebrity has always provided exceptional service, food, and entertainment to all guests, with rewards for their loyal customers. This revamped program leverages their award-winning ships, dining, and service to set a new standard for the industry for loyalty programs.

More information about Celebrity Cruises and itineraries

More information about Azamara Cruises and itineraries

Celebrity Cruises is one of my favorite cruise lines. I'm an Elite member so I am definitely excited about the expanded program. I highly recommend you include Celebrity or Azamara Cruises in your future travel plans. I'll be happy to discuss the additional benefits or provide any information about upcoming cruises. Call or email me today for more information.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It's Polka Time on MSC

It's Polka Time Aboard MSC Poesia

Sunny Caribbean ports and two well-known polka bands will keep guests dancing and swaying to chase those winter blues as the MSC Poesia sets sail in January 2010 for a polka theme cruise.
Featured Performers:
Joe Stanky and the Cadets have been performing classic polka sounds for more than 25 years. The group also features a range of styles, including honky, country, Slovenian with both English and Polish vocals.

John Stevens DoubleShot, a popular Pennsylvania-based group that plays its contemporary polka rhythms at numerous festivals throughout the country.

Roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale
January 9, 2010 Departure

San Juan, Puerto Rico Philipsburg, St. Maarten Tortola, British Virgin Islands Nassau, Bahamas Fort Lauderdale, Florida
For more information about MSC Poesia and this cruise, see my website or give me a call.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Holland America 3 Day Sale (July 15-17)

Holland America 3-Day Sale
July 15-17, 2009
If you missed the Holland America 3-Day Sale in June, it's not too late to cash in on savings to Alaska and other Destinations.
This is a great year to travel to Alaska and what better way to do so than on a Holland America Cruise ship. This sale features new special fares on verandahs and suites as well as upgrades available for as little as $50.
Alaska Sailings Included in this Promotion:
7-Day Alaskan Explorer Cruises (Select departures late August / September)
Get an outside for the price of an inside, or Upgrade from an ocean-view to a verandah for $100 on select sailings!
Other Offers:
Asia & Pacific Rim
Australia & New Zealand
Get an outside stateroom for the price of an inside or upgrade from only $100 on select sailings!
Canada & New England
Upgrade to an outside stateroom from $200-$300 on select sailings
Mediterranean & Western Europe
Transatlantic Voyages
Get an outside stateroom for the price of an inside—or upgrade to a Verandah from an Ocean View from only $50 on select sailings! Plus enjoy limited-time savings on Verandah Suites!
Hawaii Cruises
Upgrade to an outside stateroom from only $100 on select sailings!
Mexico Cruises
Get an outside stateroom for the price of an inside or upgrade from only $50 or $100 on select sailings!
South America & Amazon
Get an outside stateroom for the price of an inside or upgrade from only $100 on select sailings!
Caribbean & Panama Canal
Get an outside stateroom for the price of an inside on select sailings!
Holiday Cruises
Get an outside stateroom for the price of an inside!

The list of ships and special cruises are just too numerous to list. Contact me for complete details, but don't wait too long as these deals will go fast. You can also check my web site for a list of Holland America sailings.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Yachts of Seabourn - One Week Sale

Yachts of Seabourn

One Week Sale

Book one of the below cruises aboard The Yachts of Seabourn with extraordinary savings of up to 65%. You will sail aboard an intimate yacht and enjoy all-suite accommodations, personalized service and an atmosphere of sophisticated ease. With special fares from just $1,349, don't miss this exceptional value. It's the perfect opportunity for you to experience the winner of the World's Best Small-Ship Cruise Line*.

But hurry, the sale begins today, Monday, July 13 and lasts just one week

Caribbean Getaway • Seabourn Spirit
DEC 16, 2009 • 5 days Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas to Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Atlantic Sunsets • Seabourn Spirit
NOV 15, 2009 • 12 days Lisbon, Portugal to Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Belize, Panama & Costa Rica • Seabourn Legend
NOV 23, 2009 • 14 days Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica

Caribbean Tapestry • Seabourn Odyssey
NOV 28, 2009 • 12 days Round-trip Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Costa Rica, Panama & Belize • Seabourn Legend
DEC 7, 2009 • 14 days Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica to Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Asian Capitals & Vietnam • Seabourn Pride
FEB 13 or MAR 13, 2010 • 14 days Singapore to Hong Kong, China

Asian Capitals & Vietnam II • Seabourn Pride
FEB 27, 2010 • 14 days Hong Kong, China to Singapore

Caribbean Gems • Seabourn Legend
MAR 20, 2010 • 5 days Round-trip Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

Caribbean Gems • Seabourn Legend
MAR 25, 2010 • 7 days Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas to Fort Lauderdale, Florida

To learn more about the Yachts of Seabourn, consult the overview on my website.

Friday, July 10, 2009

NCL Freestyle Dining - Secret Announcement

NCL Freestyle Cruising®
Shh! Program Changes Coming Soon

I've spoken about Freestyle Dining in several past articles. You can search this blog to read them if you need additional details. As a quick refresher, guests have several dining options which range from the traditional dining room setting to specialty restaurants that offer a more intimite setting with personalized attention and additional cost.

The other aspect of Freestyle Dining is the ability to select the time that you wish to dine. As you might imagine you don't always get your first choice since you are competing with your fellow passengers for that time slot. Currently it is possible to make reservations but only 24 - 48 hours in advance. For those that truly want to make last minute decisions, you can check availability with the various restaurants or on some ships, you can check a status board to determine what choices are currently available (much like you would do at an amusement park).

Having cruised for over 25 years, I'm used to the traditional dining where I request either early or late seating and the table size. Usually, I request early seating and a large table size so that I have the opportunity to meet new people.

In 2001, when aboard the Norwegian Sun for it's inaugural, I was dragged kicking and screaming into the new world of Freestyle Dining. To be honest, I didn't like it. But to be fair, the program was in its infancy. It has grown up quite a bit since that time. I still prefer traditional dining, but there are times when Freestyle Dining has worked out very well for our evening plans.

It seems you either love Freestlye or hate it. Those that are used to traditional dining may be like me, kicking and screaming about the new dining methods. There are others that will object to the extra cost. They will ask, isn't food included in the price of the cruise? Why do I have to pay an additional charge to go to the steakhouse, for example?

My answer, to all that ask, is "you have a choice". In fact on most NCL ships you have around 13 choices or so. All I can suggest is try it some time and see if you like it.

Norwegian Cruise Line took a risk when they broke from the traditional dinner pattern and it has paid off for them. Other cruise lines have added additional dining options. You know what they say about imitation...

NCL is about to make yet another tweak to their Freestyle Dining program. The change is in response to passenger suggestions over the years. Remember those comment cards that you fill out every cruise? This change proves that NCL does listen to their passengers and are willing to try different things.

The change that is about to be implemented will be welcomed by all those past guests that have made the suggestion. NCL has not officially announced the program, but they have leaked advance notice to their elite agencies. I cannot share the information publicly, but I can provide details if you send me an email or give me a call. Watch this column for the official announcement - I expect it within the next couple of weeks.

Note: As of August 27th, NCL has still not publicly announced this program change. There are some technical aspects of the program that still need to be resolved before it can be implemented. Stay tuned for further updates.

For the inside scoop - call or email me

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Luxury Tahiti Cruises at Special Savings

Paul Gauguin Cruises
Announces Savings

Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the highest-rated and longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, has announced 2-for-1 limited-time savings on an alluring collection of 7- and 10- night itineraries aboard the luxurious m/s Paul Gauguin throughout 2010.

With 2-for-1 cruise fares and free or 2-for-1 airfare, the opportunity to cruise the South Pacific aboard the deluxe m/s Paul Gauguin has never been better! Having been to this magical land, I can attest that the pictures above don't even do justice to the beauty you will enjoy.

The 2010 sailing season will include just sixteen 7-night sailings and just six 10-night voyages in on the following dream itineraries:

7-night Tahiti & the Society Islands
You can explore the spectacular islands of Tahiti, Raiatea, Taha'a, Bora Bora, and Moorea, whose verdant peaks, crystalline waters, and pristine beaches have enticed artists, mutineers, and vacationers for centuries.

10-night Society Islands & Tuamotus
This itinerary adds the Tuamotus, the largest chain of coral atolls in the world-boasting some of the most renowned snorkeling and diving on Earth.

10-night President's Cruise
On the January 6, 2010, sailing, you'll enjoy a special cruise with President and CEO David A. Giersdorf onboard. This voyage marks not only the year's first cruise, but also the m/s Paul Gauguin's first sailing under the Paul Gauguin Cruises flag. The cruise will be accented by special Polynesian-themed events complete with local dancers and dignitaries, a premium wine-tasting night, and a sunset cocktail party to toast the first members of the Paul Gauguin Society.

These dream vacations are available at a value unheard of for such paradise:
  • 2-for-1 Savings on January - March 2010 sailings when booked by September 30, 2009
  • 2-for-1 roundtrip airfare from Los Angeles — an additional value of up to $1,250 per couple — when booked by September 30, 2009
  • Early Booking Savings of up to 45% on April - June 2010 sailings (deadlines apply)
To take advantage of these unprecedented savings, you must reserve no later than September 30, 2009. To enjoy the best cabin selection, call me today!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Carnival Cruises Cash Back Sale Extended

Carnival Cruises
Summer Savings Continues

Carnival Cruises announced that it was extending the Summer Cash Back Sale through July 31, 2009. Guests can receive up to $240 per cabin depending on the length of the cruise.

Just book by July 31st, 2009 and Carnival will load up your Sail & Sign® Card with up to $50 per guest for 3–4 day cruises, up to $75 per guest for 5 day cruises, or up to $120 per guest for 6–8 day cruises.

But here's the coolest part. You can use the cash anywhere on board or on a shore excursion. And at the end of your cruise, you’ll get back whatever credit you haven't used. How great is that?

NCL’s Pity the Procrastinator Sales Event - On Now

Norwegian Cruise Line
Pity the Procrastinator

Sales Event: 7/6/09 - 8/2/09
Offer available on all 2010 & 2011 cruises

Good things come to those
that don't wait !

It's all about fast thinking with Norwegian Cruise Line's Pity the Procrastinator Sales Event. NCL will reward you with instant gratification when you snap up these deals immediately.

You can receive a free up-to-6-category upgrade, big discounts, and more when you book today. What's the catch? The best available staterooms and suites will go first, so if you snooze, you lose.

Don't procrastinate and you could get a 6-category upgrade today. Wait until tomorrow, and it could be a 4-category upgrade. By next week, it may be gone. Staterooms will go fast. Pity the procrastinator who waits because he or she will lose out on the best deals.

Don't procrastinate, Book Now.
Sale ends 8/2/2009

For information about NCL itineraries, CLICK HERE. Better yet, give me a call today so that you don't miss out. I will be able to give you up to the minute availability.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July

Independence Day 2009
Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, political speeches and ceremonies, and various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. Independence Day is the national day of the United States

I hope that you are enjoying a wonderful Fourth of July with family and friends. Across the globe, there are many families that are apart from loved ones. Those are the men and women of the Armed Forces who are serving to protect those freedoms that we celebrate today. Let us salute those men and women who sacrifice so that we can enjoy this holiday.

The photo in this article was not taken on the Fourth of July, but rather when I was onboard Disney Wonder for a Southern Caribbean voyage. Across America today, you'll see similar displays in the night skies (weather permitting). Enjoy your freedom today.

I'd like to thank all the military personnel, past and present, for serving their country. Many of the cruise lines offer military discounts. If you know someone who has served, make sure they are aware of these discounts - it's the least we can do for them that have made this day possible.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Construction of Queen Elizabeth Begins

Photo Courtesy Cunard Line

Queen Elizabeth's Keel Laid

A ceremony was held today, at the Monfalcone shipyard of Fincantieri near Trieste, Italy, to mark the keel laying of Cunard Line’s new Queen Elizabeth. The second largest Cunarder ever built, Queen Elizabeth’s keel is the third Cunard has lain in the space of seven years. When she enters service in October 2010, she will join Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria as not only the most famous ocean liners in the world but also the youngest fleet in passenger travel.

The keel laying involves the placement in the dry dock of the first section of the ship’s hull. This section is made up of six pre-manufactured blocks, weighs 364 tons and is fitted with 104 tons of pipes, cables, insulation and other equipment. Fifty-three sections will be used in the construction of Queen Elizabeth and she will take to the water for the first time at her float out in December.

The new ship is named after the first Queen Elizabeth, one of Cunard’s greatest ships. The exterior design will be like her sister ships with the distinctive black and red design. The interior of the ship will consist of elegant double and triple height public rooms on a grand scale, luxuriously endowed with rich wood panelling, intricate mosaics, gleaming chandeliers and cool marbles. Art Deco features will pay homage to the original Queen Elizabeth and will allow the new ship to reflect a more civilized era of travel.

Queen Elizabeth's maiden voyage will be October 12, 2010. That voyage sold out in just over 29 minutes back in April this year. Her Maiden Season will run from October 2010 to January 2011 and include voyages to the Western and Central Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Fares start from just $1,195 per person for the five-night 26 November 2010 Gallic Debut voyage with ports of call at Amsterdam, Zeebrugge and Le Havre; while the 13-night Iberian Discovery voyage departing 1 December 2010 features fares from $2,395 per person, with ports of call at Vigo, Lisbon, Seville, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, La Palma and Madeira.

The world’s newest ocean liner will depart Southampton on January 5, 2011, on her 103-night epic Maiden World Voyage, which has just been released for sale. This will see her make 35 maiden calls, including Cunard’s first call ever at Port Denarau (Fiji). In total, Queen Elizabeth will call at 38 ports in 24 countries as she makes her way west around the globe, with maiden transits of both the Panama and Suez Canals and calls at Los Angeles, Auckland, Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai and Lisbon.

Summer Cruise Specials


Those that follow my column on a regular basis know that I try to keep you posted on special savings so that you can enjoy the destinations I write about yourself. As the 4th of July holiday weekend approaches, I've received several offers in my inbox that I wanted to share with you.Some of the offers are only available through the holiday weekend, while others last longer.

Royal Caribbean 4th of July Sale

Book a balcony or above and receive a $100 Onboard Credit per stateroom on select sailings. The select sailings include Vision of the Seas Holy Land and Mediterranean; Brilliance of the Seas Egypt & Mediterranean; Navigator of the Seas Eastern & Westerrn Mediterranean; Navigator of the Seas Mediterranean & Egypt; Splendour of the Seas Greek Isles & Turkey and Mediterranean; and Voyager of the Seas Mediterranean. OFFER DETAILS Book July 1 - 5.

Celebrity Cruises Beat The Heat Summer Cruise Sale

Book an Ocean View stateroom or higher on any of the mentioned departures and receive up to $100 Onboard Credit per stateroom plus a pair of Exceptional Offer Booklets. The select sailings include Celebrity Century Mediterranean and Transatlantic; Constellation Bermuda; Mercury Caribbean; Millennium Southern Caribbean and Panama Canal; Solstice Mediterranean; Summit Caribbean; and Infitity Panama Canal. OFFER DETAILS Book by July 15.

Disney Cruise Verandah Cruise Sale

Receive up to $700 Onboard Credit per stateroom for new Verandah bookings this summer. This includes most 3 night, 4 night, and 7 night sailings. OFFER DETAILS.
This is only a sampling of special offers available right now. As always, these offers are capacity controlled and subject to restrictions set forth by the respective cruise line, so "the early bird gets the worm" as they say. See my website or give me a call to learn more.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Celebrity Cruises Announces 2010 / 2011 Panama Canal Deployment

Celebrity Cruises 2010 / 2011 Panama Canal & Pacific Coastal Wine Cruises

Exotic. Historic. The Panama Canal is a voyage that has no equal. And the adventures that it offers are simply unforgettable: lush rainforests, unique wildlife, volcanic springs, living coral reefs, and the incomparable experience of sailing one of man's greatest achievements—the Canal itself.

What's more, your experience promises to be every bit as spectacular aboard these top-rated ships, with amenities such as award-winning cuisine, one of the finest spas at sea, and Celebrity's Star Treatment.®

Make plans now to sail Celebrity Infinity or Celebrity Constellation this winter or be among the first to book 2010/2011 sailings, as these new itineraries are now open for booking.

Choose from the following 2010/2011 itineraries:

Celebrity Infinity

16-Night Eastbound Panama Canal
September 24, 2010

Seattle, Washington • San Diego, California • Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Acapulco, Mexico • Huatulco, Mexico • Puntarenas, Costa Rica • Panama Canal
(Cruising) • Cristobal Pier, Panama • Cartagena, Colombia • Fort Lauderdale, Florida

14-Night Eastbound Panama Canal
October 24; November 21, 2010

Los Angeles, California • Cabo San Lucas, Mexico • Acapulco, Mexico
Huatulco, Mexico • Puntarenas, Costa Rica • Panama Canal (Cruising)
Cristobal Pier, Panama • Cartagena, Colombia • Fort Lauderdale, Florida

14-Night Eastbound Panama Canal
April 10, 2011

San Diego, California • Cabo San Lucas, Mexico • Acapulco, Mexico
Huatulco, Mexico • Puntarenas, Costa Rica • Panama Canal (Cruising)
Cristobal Pier, Panama • Cartagena, Colombia • Fort Lauderdale, Florida

14-Night Westbound Panama Canal
October 10; November 7, 2010

Fort Lauderdale, Florida • George Town, Grand Cayman • Cartagena, Colombia
Panama Canal (Cruising) • Puntarenas, Costa Rica • Huatulco, Mexico
Acapulco, Mexico • Cabo San Lucas, Mexico • Los Angeles, California

14-Night Westbound Panama Canal
March 27, 2011

Fort Lauderdale, Florida • George Town, Grand Cayman • Cartagena, Colombia
Panama Canal (Cruising) • Puntarenas, Costa Rica • Huatulco, Mexico
Acapulco, Mexico • Cabo San Lucas, Mexico • San Diego, California

16-Night Westbound Panama Canal
April 24, 2011

Fort Lauderdale, Florida • Cartagena, Colombia • Panama Canal (Cruising)
Puntarenas, Costa Rica • Acapulco, Mexico • Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
San Diego, California • Seattle, Washington

14-Night Canal & South America
December 5, 2010

Fort Lauderdale, Florida • Cartagena, Colombia • Panama Canal (Cruising)
Manta, Ecuador • Lima (Callao), Peru • Arica, Chile
La Serena (Coquimbo), Chile • Valparaiso, Chile

14-Night South America & Canal
March 13, 2011

Valparaiso, Chile • La Serena (Coquimbo), Chile • Arica, Chile • Lima (Callao), Peru
Manta, Ecuador • Panama Canal (Cruising) • Cristobal Pier, Panama
Cartagena, Colombia • Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Celebrity Mercury

16-Night Westbound Panama Canal
April 19, 2010

Charleston, South Carolina • Cartagena, Colombia • Panama Canal (Cruising)
Puntarenas, Costa Rica • Huatulco, Mexico • Acapulco, Mexico
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico • Los Angeles, California

17-Night Eastbound Panama Canal
October 1, 2010

San Diego, California • Cabo San Lucas, Mexico • Acapulco, Mexico
Huatulco, Mexico • Puntarenas, Costa Rica (overnight) • Panama Canal (Cruising)
Cartagena, Colombia • Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic • Baltimore, Maryland

Celebrity Millennium

10-Night Pacific Coastal Wine Cruise
September 17, 2010

Vancouver, British Columbia • Nanaimo, British Columbia • Victoria, British Columbia
Seattle, Washington • San Francisco, California (overnight) • Monterey, California
Catalina Island, California • San Diego, California

14-Night Eastbound Panama Canal
September 27, 2010

San Diego, California • Cabo San Lucas, Mexico • Acapulco, Mexico
Huatulco, Mexico • Puntarenas, Costa Rica • Panama Canal (Cruising) • Cristobal
Pier, Panama • Oranjestad, Aruba • Willemstad, Curacao • San Juan, Puerto Rico