NCL Epic to Debut in May 2010
Cruise Bookings Pick Up
Carnival Cruise Lines just announced its strongest week of bookings in its history. This is despite a global recession. At the same time, Carnival Corp. UK also announced that British Isles cruise lines; P&O Cruises, Cunard Line, Ocean Village and Princess Cruises are also showing unexpectedly strong demand for ships that sail out of Britain.
Cruise bookings are picking up because the prices are so low. A stateroom is a limited commodity, once it is sold it is off the market. With cruise sales picking up the selection of better sail dates and cabins will only get slimmer.
We are really banging the drum on this right now, in addition the major airlines just announced sales on airfare to Europe and other world destinations including Asia, South America, Mexico, the Caribbean and more. Seats on planes are just as "perishable" as ship staterooms - once a plane flies an empty seat is lost revenue. Therefore, the reason for the current sales is to fill planes as quickly as possible.
When air carriers have sales they often have limited amounts of cheap seats, even more reason for you to call right away. The idea is to get the cruise of your choice and the best airfare as well. The longer you wait the lower the chances that you will be able to pair them up.
Now, why should you even choose to cruise this year? Obviously, these suggestions are only for those people who can justify spending the money without having to miss a mortgage payment. But if you have the discretionary income the chances are very low that you will ever again see cruise fares this low, combined with airfare this low, a strong dollar which buys about 30% more this year in Europe and Mexico than it did last year and also plenty of bargains on hotels out there.
Europe is an especially good deal this year, but if you are looking for cruise deals anywhere I suggest you book right away. The strongest booking week ever by Carnival simultaneously with the major air carriers dropping their prices is an indication that cruise buyers these days a very sophisticated. They know how to shop for travel.
Here are some of the best cruise deals available right now - just call your travel agent or the cruise line directly. But first I have to be honest with you and tell you I am seeing fewer amazing bargains than I did two weeks ago. That means cruises are starting to sell fast, and you had better scoop up a bargain while you still can.
Holland America - 4-night cruise up the West Coast: Sail May 1st from San Diego to Vancouver, Canada, with a stops at Catalina Island. This cruise starts at $195 and balcony cabins are available for just $390 pp.
Celebrity Century - 5-nights to the Western caribbean out of Miami. Stops in Key West and Grand Cayman with two days at sea. Starts $349 with only $569 for balcony cabins.
Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas - 7-nights from Tampa to Cozumel, Ocho Rios Jamaica and Samana, Dominican Republic. Inside cabins are just $439 with balcony cabins available for $699.
Hawaii Cruise on Pride of America - 7-nights from Honolulu with stops in Maui, Hilo, Kona, Kauai. The ship is in prt every day so you really see Hawaii. You stay overnight on each island, although the ship relocates when visiting the big island. Balcony cabins are just $999 per person. This is a great way to see Hawaii, especially if air and hotel discounts are available.
New Ships Getting Closer
We got our first peek at the profile of the new NCL Epic, their newest class of ship, bigger and more extensive in onboard facilities than anything NCL has ever built. At 153,000-gross tons and 4200 passengers, this ship features all-new cabin designs with modular bathrooms, curved walls and mood lighting. The ship will be 19 decks tall, 1,068 feet long, 133 feet wide and have a draft of 28.5 feet when completed in May 2010.
Cruises will be on sale for this ship within the next two months if not sooner. A picture of the ship is above.
Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, arguably the most anticipated ship of the new millennium, and possibly ever, will arrive in November, 2009. This ship is already starting to create a stir, it seems no one is ambivalent about it. She will be the largest cruise ship ever, by far. At 220,000-gross tons she is about 1/3 third larger than the current largest ship in the world. But it isn't sheer size that impresses, it is the ship's design.
Oasis will have unprecedented aspects - two level staterooms with two full decks of windows looking out to the sea. It will have three entertainment venues; a traditional proscenium theater, an ice-rink theater and the first AquaTheater at sea for water acrobatic shows at night with high dives, trampolines and hydraulic stage effects.
The ship will have a full time jazz nightclub, a comedy club, a grand ballroom with a live orchestra and outdoor areas just for people watching such as "Central Park" with real grass and trees, the Royal Promenade one-third bigger than the ones on the Freedom-class ships and a bar that is also an elevator moving between the Royal Promenade and Central Park above. Finally, there is "The Boardwalk" which is a carnival-like outdoor area with a merry-go-round, fortune teller, hotdog and cotton candy stands, ice cream parlor and more.
Both Central Park and the Boardwalk are open-sky areas with inward facing balcony cabins looking down on them. This is the first ship with inward facing balcony cabins. You can already book Oasis of the Seas starting at $889 pp, but there are so many categories of cabins on the ship we highly recommend you contact a cruise agent to help you make the booking.
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Book that European Cruise Now
2009 Airfare to Europe is predicted to be below 2008 levels. Cruise bargain fares and a strong dollar mean Europe is the best value in years.
Flying for Cruises
The hassles of air travel have gotten worse in recent years; here's how to minimize them on the way to your next cruise.
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