Category: Cruising

Savings on Cheap Cruises

Shop Around

Nowadays the internet has been a good venue which offers different types of information such as directing people to sites where they can find cheap cruises. Do not jump into the first cheap cruise package you come across, instead bookmark it for further review and evaluation.

Apart from using the “cheap cruise” keyword when you run the search engine, why not try “affordable cruise.” You may also key-in other alternative words which are synonymous to the word “cheap”.

The internet is not the only option. You can also opt to look over the yellow pages and call travel companies within or nearby your area. Try to let them orient you of their different cheap cruise packages. Additionally, you can ask for friend’s referral, especially if they have been into a discounted cruise.

Type of Cheap Cruise Package

Most cheap cruise packages are being offered during the following circumstances:

  • Off-peak season. There are months which are less traveled. During these months, most travel companies reduce their traveling fees to draw people’s attention in considering cruising.
  • Cruises which are repositioned. Due to higher demand to a certain place, there are travel companies which reposition their destination. By doing so, they keep the prices low.
  • Introductory Cruises. Most travel companies which introduces their cruise ships give discounts to anyone who wish to go out for a cruise.

Getting Ahead: Ready to Pack

Once you are done and you have carefully chosen the most suitable cheap cruise package for you, it is time to consider the things you will need for your much-awaited vacation.

Most travelers go wrong when they try to pack, instead of saving money; they tend to overindulge on some unimportant things such as:

  • Clothes. A pair of new attire for your cruise is enough. You can use your existing clothes to use for your cruise. By doing so, you will be able to cut off your expenses. These days, the prices of clothes are getting expensive every time you visit the mall.
  • Other belongings. It is best to keep your belongings countable and easy to carry. Choose bags or shoes that most likely will be utilized. Check with your travel company the itinerary so you know what important belongings to pack.
  • Credit cards. You are in a budget cruise. Bringing credit cards will tempt you to splurge on unnecessary items. Hence, it is recommended that you bring cash instead of credit cards. By doing so, you will be able to properly allocate your funds depending on the available money on hand.

Tips To A Discounted Cruise

  • schedule your time even a few weeks before or after the peak season you’ll save substantially. For example, the Alaska Cruise will have it’s peak season during July and August. If you can sail before or after those dates you’ll save.
  • Decide which cruise line you want to sail on. Some travel agencies tend to push a specific cruise line for various reasons, one reason is the agency receives a higher commission. Norwegian Cruise Lines, for the most part, will yield a better savings. Do a little homework and check out the amenities on each vessel to make sure it meets your expectations.
  • Don’t be miss-led when you see advertised specials such as Discount Luxury Cruise”, $599″. These advertisements are usually for off-season and do not include port fees and taxes.
  • Get a cruise quote that includes port fees and taxes. If
    the agency is unable to give that information to you then find another agency. Your interest should be the bottom line, the total cost with NO Hidden Fees. Port fees can run a couple hundred dollars per passenger, just be aware.
  • Unless you plan on spending a lot of time in your cabin, get
    an inside cabin. An inside cabin, without a window, is by far the cheapest. The drawback to an inside cabin, you’ll never know what time of day it is sense no “day light” comes into your room. Make sure to have a clock.
  • Cabin rates are typically based on a 2-person occupancy.
    In other words, the first 2-people in the cabin will pay the full-fare, additional people will pay 1/2 the fare. If
    you plan on having more than 2-people in a cabin, make sure you are NOT paying full fare for the extra 2-people. If so, find another agency.
  • Cruise insurance is often recommended by the agency when booking your cruise. Don’t purchase cruise insurance from a travel agency, get it from an insurance company. You’ll not only save money but you’ll probably get a better policy too. We recommend the insurance because with the correct policy you are covered for trip cancellation either on your part or the cruise line, medical and luggage.
  • Cruising with a group does not always save you money on your cruise. If you are cruising with a group because you want to save money, think again, you may not be saving at all. The organizer of your group, if the group consists of 8-cabins, will usually
    get the cruise for free. They are the true savers.
  • Check out your Sunday paper’s travel section long before you cruise. It’ll give you an idea of what the market is like.

Holidays Afloat

Yachting means you aren’t confined to any one area, or even any one island; giving you the opportunity to visit various beaches, coves and beautiful coastlines on your travels. Alternatively, you can remain on your boat and watch the sun rises and the sun set over the clear horizon of the sea. Whether you are looking for an action packed vacation in the destinations of your dreams or a tranquil, even romantic getaway for you, your family and loved ones. The possibilities are endless.

Where you can go on your yachting vacation

Whether you choose to go bareboat, take a captain, or even an entire crew there is bound to be a destination to suit you. Many destinations offer the complete package for your vacation. Spend a couple of days in a secluded cove, exploring the beaches and seeing the beautiful plants and wildlife and then the rest of your vacation in the exotic harbour on the next island. Everything is possible on a yachting vacation.

Greece

Greece offers a number of popular destinations for mooring your yacht. Each island offering you a new surf washed beach combined with traditional Greek villages and exquisite countryside and mountains. The local restaurants and taverns are friendly and welcoming offering some fantastic Greek cuisine and drink.

A short distance away from the harbours you will be able to find a busy and popular nightlife, if required and historical excavations, museums and hospitable people always more than willing to idle away the time with you. For those not proficient in the local language there is no need to worry, a vast majority of the locals speak very fluent English and are usually only too happy to put it into practise.

Turkey

The mainland of Turkey offers a combination of quaint and quiet villages with the occasional large town for stocking up on provisions and some fantastic sight seeing. The whole country is awash with ancient ruins from the numerous cultures that have resided there, giving ruins and buildings to visit suiting everyone’s needs.

The larger towns have regular bazaars that bring Turkish crafts both ancient and modern and a sea of many different colours. The smells, sights and sounds are an experience you will never forget.

The Turkish people are friendly and outgoing and, while English is not the predominantly spoken language, the hospitality of the people means between you there will always be a way around the language barrier. Again, the local cuisine is exquisite and the fresh fish is a delicacy that everyone should try at least once in a lifetime. There are numerous small or large harbours and even deserted coves where you can moor your yacht.

The Caribbean

The Caribbean is a very popular destination for many sailors, and is perfect for a romantic break or a honeymoon. The bright blue seas and the clear skies make the Caribbean a picture perfect destination for a tranquil vacation. However, if you are after something a little more exciting the open seas offer an abundance of opportunity for scuba diving, snorkelling and water skiing. There are plenty of beach bars and places to try the local fish dishes and other cuisine and the weather is almost always perfect.

Numerous islands offering many beaches and coves means you will never get bored if you take your next yachting vacation in the Caribbean.

Why a yacht?

Imagine opening your eyes in the morning, pouring yourself a coffee and stepping out onto the deck of your yacht; the sun rising and not a sound to be heard apart from the occasional drift of the waves and the noise of the wildlife. Yachting provides one of the most tranquil vacations you can imagine. You don’t have loud neighbours and there is no danger of getting the room next to the toilets. Stock your yacht with enough provisions for the week and you don’t need to see a single person for your entire vacation.

Even the novices get a chance too; you can charter not only the vessel but also the crew or just the captain to go with you. There’s no need to worry about the invasion of privacy, as the crewmembers are usually very experienced in knowing when to make themselves scarce or when you may need an explanation of some of the surrounding beauty and sites.

Appeal of Taking a Honeymoon Cruise

Probably the greatest thing about a honeymoon cruise is the sense of utter isolation the newlyweds can experience. There is little chance of an intrusion from the outside world when the cruise ship is hundreds of miles offshore giving the newlyweds the opportunity for time alone. All of the stresses of life can be left behind with little chance of interruption by even the most well intentioned friends and family. Cruising the clear blue waters of the tropics is the perfect way for a newlywed couple to isolate themselves from the rest of the world. With little chance of even cell phones working the chances of the outside world intruding on their time is limited. Getting away from it all is definitely a plus on a honeymoon cruise.

During a honeymoon cruise the happy couple has the option of mingling with other people and making new friends or they can spend time to themselves enjoying the amenities and activities cruise ships are famous for. There’s an activity for just about everyone on board, from games on deck and pool side, to dancing, movies and nightly entertainment. In addition to all the onboard fun there are tropical ports of call where the couple can lose themselves in sightseeing and other tourist fare.

When talking about taking a honeymoon cruise we cannot let the subject of food to be left out. After all, food is what cruises are most famous for. And all that food, whether it’s fine dining, a burger pool side, a quick snack, or even room service is included in the price of the cruise. The newlywed couple can eat whatever they want whenever they feel like it. And for the newlyweds who spend a lot of time in their stateroom getting food at odd hours is a big plus.

Taking a honeymoon cruise can be the perfect getaway after the craziness of a wedding. Finding a cruise package that fits your budget is as easy as using the power of the internet to check the offerings of the many cruise lines in the world today.

Have the Perfect Wedding Cruise

  • Decide where and what you want to do on your wedding cruise. Do you want to see the Alaskan glaciers, or is the sun setting over water in the distant horizon more your style? Are you and your partner active, so you want to include some shore excursions like snorkeling or sight seeing, or would you rather take advantage of the activities on board, like sunning, the casino, and the many restaurants? Is it important for you to have a lot of on board activities like art fairs, ice-skating, water activities, shopping, mini golf, lectures or movies?
  • Make sure you have proper documentation. This means passports, marriage license, and medical records if needed.
  • Plan on arriving a day early if you are going to get married at the port of call before the ship leaves for the cruise. If there are plane delays, or other unexpected events you will have a cushion of time built in.
  • Be aware of any immunizations you need before going to a foreign port of call on your wedding cruise. Your health department or infectious disease doctor can help you with this. Plan ahead, if you require immunizations they may take several months.
  • Educate yourself about health risks such as traveler’s diarrhea. Although many places now have safe water, you need to be aware of risk factors. Some areas of high risk are Asia, the Middle East, South Africa, Central and South America. Southern Europe and the Caribbean are considered intermediate risk, and the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Japan are considered low risk. Avoid untreated water, uncooked food, ice, and food washed in water such as lettuce. Bismuth subsalicylate or Pepto-Bismol can be used preventively, but you need to be aware if it is safe for you and any health conditions you have, so consult your health care provider.
  • Be aware of airline restrictions that limit what you are able to carry on the plane, if you are flying to your port of call. These restrictions change often
  • Book early. Not all cruise lines offer wedding cruise packages. It depends on international law whether you can get married on the ship at sea, or in the homeport, or along the cruise at a port of call. Cruise lines can only book so many wedding per cruise, so it may pay to book early and get what you are looking for.
  • Shop around. An online travel agency can give you access to multiple cruise lines and what they each have to offer. Look to see who has a wedding coordinator to help with the details.

Finally, make sure you plan on having fun. This is your magic moment and you want to enjoy it. Be prepared as you can for your wedding cruise, and then just let the dream come true.

Forgotten Dangers of Boating

Proper Equipment

When planning for a boating trip it is incredibly important to prepare your safety equipment properly. This includes but is not limited to a flares, horn, water bailer and lifejackets. A trip plan is also an essential part of safe boating. A trip plan is basically contains information about where you plan to go boating. It should be filed with someone responsible that can take the proper steps should an emergency occur.

Lifejackets

Lifejackets are essential for people of all ages. The misconception largely exists that if a child falls in the water an adult in decent physical condition will be able to save them. This is a very dangerous assumption as it is not always the case. Often a child that falls into the water will go below the surface of the water which means they may be hard to spot. Also, sometimes it is not immediately apparent that a child has fallen into the water. You may not even realize until it is already too late.

Man Overboard

When someone falls overboard it is important to not immediately jump in after them to try to save them. Someone who is struggling to stay above water may unwittingly pull their potential rescuer under water with them. Instead, you should use the proper safety equipment such as safety buoys and rope which will float on the surface.

Hypothermia

Hypothermia remains a large risk when boating in cooler waters. Someone who falls overboard could succumb to hypothermia thus limited their physical abilities and mental decisions. Their risk of survival drastically drops the longer they are in the water. Again, it is important not to jump in after them in an attempt to save them as the rescuer could themselves succumb to the cold waters.

Electrocution

Power lines are the most common cause of electrocution while boating. Proper care is rarely taken in ensuring that a metal part of the boat such as the mast touches a power line. This carelessness has led to many deaths or serious injuries over the years.

Weather

Careful consideration must be taken when determining the amount of effect the weather will have on your boating experience. Pay attention to the forecast ahead of time to make sure that bad weather is not approaching. Even while out on the water it is extremely important to pay attention to the marine forecast for your area as well as the colors and activity in the sky.

Tips For Deep Discounts on Cruises

Cruise travel agencies sometimes reduce the cost of your ticket by reducing their commissions … Here is how it works – cruise travel agencies get a commission from the cruise line for every ticket they sell. And some cruise travel agencies pass on a part of their commissions to their customers. But this may not happen always – especially if the cruise lines want to prevent a price war and request the cruise agencies not to do so.

In any case, booking through a cruise travel agency might be a good thing to do because in addition to a possible discount that you may be getting on your cruise ticket, cruise agencies might also be able to help you choose a cruise ship that is right for you because they know about the amenities aboard the ships and the on board and on shore activities.

And Here is something that seems to fly in the face of “conventional wisdom” …

A few years ago, it used to be that last minute buyers would most possibly end up with the biggest discounts … but this may not be true anymore.

Booking early – about three to four months in advance is generally considered to result in better deals. But even this may not be an iron clad rule as many large cruise ships are being launched. And with increasing capacity, there is a higher possibility of unsold inventory at the last minute on several cruise ships. And these tickets can be discounted tickets. But even if such last minute unsold inventory exists, not everyone may be able to take time off from work and travel on a very short notice.

And Here is another tip that can save quite a bit of money …

Some cruise lines offer 2 for 1 cruise deals on select cruises. But it is also possible that airfare may not be included in the 2 for 1 deal.

Well, if that sounded great then this one might be even better …

Booking your cruise tickets as part of a group can be a great thing to do because group cruise tickets are usually discounted … and if you are planning a family reunion, a wedding or more then group cruise travel can be a great option.

To qualify as a group you may need eight double occupancy staterooms, but you might want to check with your cruise travel agency about what constitutes a group.

And Here is yet another tip that may result in lots of savings …

Cruisers over fifty five years may be entitled to senior discounts. Here is what may be the best part – only one passenger in a stateroom is required to be aged fifty five and over, and all the other passengers in the same state room get their tickets at the same discounted price !

Also, seniors may also qualify for a senior discount on the air tickets too.

Crossing Paths With a Legend

Lefakinis, chairman of Valef Yachts, had an opportunity to visit the now-famous Aristotle Onassis yacht due to a family invitation extended to Spyros Skouras, by the owner. Skouras, chairman of 20th Century Fox, was invited to the yacht, with Winston Churchill and Maria Callas in attendance. This was heady stuff for a young lad, but it also instilled in Lefakinis a love of yachts in general and yachting in particular.

As a result, the Lefakinis love of yachting has led to his stewardship of a yacht chartering business, Valef Yachts.

He fondly relates how Valef Yachts and the Christina O share a joint tradition and history that is remarkable. The “M/Y Christina O” story actually originated in 1943 in Canada. Back then, the ship was known as the frigate Stormont, a convoy escort. Aristotle Onassis bought it in 1954, turning the frigate into the history’s most famous yacht. The Onassis concept for “Christina O” was to convert the vessel into a powerful symbol of his business empire with unique and total elegance.

Onassis’ guests on board “Christina O” were truly the world’s most famous, powerful and influential people of the time, including Sir Winston Churchill, The Aga Khan, King Farouk, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Eva Peron, Greta Garbo and countless other famous personalities. “Christina O” was also the scene of the world’s most celebrated love affair when Onassis courted Jackie Kennedy. Three years after Onassis’ death, his daughter Christina, the yacht’s namesake, donated the yacht to the Greek Government for the President to entertain visiting Heads of State. Unfortunately, the Christina O was used less often and eventually went through a long period of neglect.

Then in 1998, she was purchased by a family friend of Onassis who spent over 60 million dollars to bring it back to the original Onassis’ condition. Ironically, Bill Lefakinis and has now come full circle with the Christina O.

See Alaska as Never Before

From the waterway of the passage, one can look upon some of the most magnificent natural scenery to be found such as coastal rainforests, deep blue fjords and tidewater glaciers. Also to be found in the passage are numerous species of wildlife including humpback whales, sea lions and seabirds.
Because of the awe-inspiring beauty of the passage and since many destinations along the Alaska inside passage are only accessible by plane or boat, inside passage cruises have become one of the most popular tourist attractions of the state.

Few people have visited Alaska without experiencing once in a lifetime moments. Towering tidewater glaciers offer natural beauty that usually is only fully appreciated with an up close and personal view that only a cruise through the inland waterways can afford. From this vantage point you will stand in awe of these mighty glaciers that reach several hundred feet in height and enjoy plentiful wildlife viewing such as humpback whales, orcas, sea lions, mountain goats, brown bears and bald eagles. You will also be stricken speechless by the sheer beauty of the inside passage’s botanical gardens, spectacular waterfalls, and the Alaskan sunrise as seen from the cruise ship.

Alaska inside passage cruises are also popular for their exotic port destinations. Some of the most popular ports of call on the inside passage are Juneau, Skagway, Haines, Ketchikan and Victoria. Certain cruises even give passengers the opportunity to land on Annette Island and to be greeted by the Tsimshian elders of Metlakatla.

Best of all, Alaska inside passage cruises are affordable. You can choose from one-day inland glacier cruise packages which are as priced as low as $69 per person to a luxurious six night cruise on a deluxe designer yacht for as little as $4,000 per person. Of course there is a wide range of cruise options that fall between these two extremes.

As you can see, there is a little bit of something for everybody aboard one of Alaska’s inside passage cruise ships: a change of pace, exquisite scenery, and memories to last a lifetime.

Take Cruise On Wild Side

This ship caters to everyone and I mean everyone. Children love the kids programs put on by Camp Carnival where they will entertain your little ones so you can have grown up time alone. After hours babysitting is also available to a small fee until 3am. Teens have their own alcohol and parent free party place called Club O2. The pizzeria is open 24 hours a day and what kid wouldn’t be in heaven with that.

Adults can enjoy a drink and dancing in the Jazz club on the Valor called the Paris Hot Jazz Club. Don’t miss the rotating piano in the Lindy Hop Piano Bar. In fact there is no lack of venues to partake in your favorite beverage or music on board. The Valor has 22 bars and lounges in all. You can dance into the wee hours if that is your choice at the disco. It is called One Small Step Dance Club and plays homage to the first steps made by Neil Armstrong on the surface of the moon.

I was a tad concerned about the reputation Carnival has before I sailed on my first Carnival Cruise ship. I am a very light sleeper and somewhat of an introvert so am not the least bit interested in being loud and boisterous or running about. I was sure I would not have a moments peace the whole trip. I was mistaken. I have discovered there is nothing quite like sitting in a quiet spot overlooking the ocean and reading a paperback novel. Through the week I found many wonderful locations to sit and gaze at the passing sea. My cabin was as quiet as a library. I slept like a baby in a cradle with the gentle motion of the ship rocking me into a rejuvenating sleep.

The Spa experience is to die for. They offer all sorts of massages and exfoliating scrubs. Their hot stone massage is said to draw toxins from your body. I am not sure if it does that but it definitely makes you feel like a sparkling new person. The Spa is connected to the gym area where you can rid yourself of all those extra calories you put in going to the chocolate buffet.

The three swimming pools are filled with sea water and use a salt water chlorinator so your skin feels smooth as silk when you get out and it will not change the color of chemically processed hair. The main pool has one of Carnival’s signature 214 ft spiral water slides. A total of 7 hot tubs await your tense and tired body for a soak.

If food is the pleasure you desire you will not be disappointed. There are casual and more formal eateries to choose from. There are two elegant dining rooms used for dinner every night, the Washington and the Lincoln. Everyone is assigned one of these but are not obligated to eat there at all. There is a upscale supper club called Scarlett’s on board that requires reservations and where you will be charged a nominal extra fee. There is a fish and chips station inside the buffet restaurant, Rosie’s, where oysters are also served. There is an Asian station if you’ve got a hankering for fried rice or noodles. The New York style deli will perk up your taste buds in no time when you see your sandwich piled higher than your jaws can open. Outside near the main pool burgers and hot dogs and fried are prepared on the grilled for those who prefer to dine in their swimsuits.

Your cruise on the Carnival Valor can be as wild or sedate as you want it to be. Try it, you will like it. Do not be afraid to bring Grandma and Grandpa for their anniversary or the children for spring break. A good time will be had by all. Indeed Carnival has got the fun.

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