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15-night Grand Princess: $1349
If you follow cruising, you know this is the hottest year for cruises in Europe yet. And for good reason, not only is it the most convenient way to see Europe ever invented, but the selection of ports and itineraries is unprecedented. Many ships, such as the new Emerald Princess sailing in the Mediterranean, have been completely sold out for months now, but we are just now beginning to see other ships offering European discounts for those of you who were hoping for late season bargains.
Cruises-N-More is offering a 15-night sailing on Grand Princess from Rome to Southampton, with stops in Naples, Livorno (port for Florence and Pisa), Cannes, Barcelona, Gibraltar, Casablanca, Cadiz, Lisbon, Vigo, Le Havre, Rotterdam, and Zeebrugge. The rate for a best available inside cabin is under $100/day; $1349 per person.
These ports are wonderful. This is the first year I have noticed many ships making stops in Morocco (Casablanca, which is inland will require a shore excursion). Other ships are stopping in Alexandria Egypt for a chance to visit the Great Pyramids of Giza. Royal Princess, which is one of the smaller Princess ships, has an itinerary that includes Rome, Capri, Alexandria (Egypt), Port Said (Egypt), Ashdod (Jerusalem), Haifa (Israel), Kusadasi, Santorini, Patmos & Athens. If ever there was a cruise for people who love to explore antiquity, this is it. A small ship like Royal Princess is arguably the best way to see Europe, because you get on and off faster and there there is less competition for shore excursions. That itinerary, however, is priced at $3799 balcony.
But, if you are looking for a bargain on Royal Princess, check out Cruise Locator's 12-night Classic Eastern Mediterranean with oceanview cabins starting at $1589. Sailing from Rome to Venice, you visit beautiful Portofino on the Amalfi Coast, Monte Carlo, Corsica, Sorrento (Isle of Capri), Messina, Valleta (Malta - an extraordinary port), Corfu, Kotor, Split, Ravenna and Venice. Those last ports are on the Dalmation coast which is new territory for many Americans as it was formerly part of the Eastern Bloc.
Getting back to bigger ships, which also have their place, Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas is offering one-week cruises from Barcelona. We see America's Vacation Center offering this cruise as low as $709 per person including up to a 2-category upgrade, or $1099 per person for a balcony cabin. The ship stops in Nice, France; Civitavecchia (the port for Rome); Naples and Palermo.
Why would you want to take a larger ship in Europe? One good reason is if you have offspring. A bigger ship gives you plenty of baby-sitting and alternative activities for kids of all ages, up to 18, all day and through most of the night. Want to take a tour on your own, or have a romantic dinner? No problem, the ship's staff is there to watch your brood while you enjoy your vacation.
New York Cruise Bargains
A few weeks ago we looked at quick New York getaways. This week we are seeing longer New York-based cruises, nine and 10-day, that are real bargains.
We are really excited about the 9-night Eastern Caribbean Cruise from New York on Crown Princess. Starting at $761 per person at CruiseDeals.com, you can opt for a balcony for $949, that's just over $100/day for a balcony cabin on a great ship. Sail roundtrip New York to San Juan, St Maarten, St Thomas and Grand Turk, with two sea days each way to let your hair down.
Cruise Value Center has a 10-night Holland America cruise, roundtrip New York City, selling for as low as $83/day per person for an oceanview. These are sold out until well into the fall season, but if you are thinking ahead here is your chance to pick up a real bargain.
If you are looking for a quick getaway from the East coast there are always plenty of Bermuda cruises to select from. These cruises are more of a chance to just relax onboard, read a book, catch a show and enjoy a bit of sunshine. For a fun ship at a great price, sailing conveniently out of New Jersey, we like Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas, one of the activity-filled Voyager-class vessels. You can get away for five days with a balcony cabin for as low as $749 per person at CruiseDeals.com.
Royal Caribbean/Celebrity One-Day Sale
Many of our sponsors are highlighting a one-day sale on Royal caribbean and Celebrity Cruises for today only. Vacations to Go and Cruises-N-More have links on their front pages, but a sale like this means the prices will be available to any of the top cruise sellers. Vacations to go shows a 7-night Alaska cruise on Celebrity Summit for $449.
VacationsToGo also shows a 12-night Mediaterranean cruise on Celebrity Millennium where starting price is just $1349 per person, and balconies are marked down from $3299 to $2399 per person. Nice itinerary, too, featuring Barcelona, Nice, Livorno, Rome, Naples, Santorini, Athens, Dubrovnik, and two days in Venice. A hard deal to beat, and if you read down this far, you deserve it!