Special deals offered for ‘World’s Largest Cruise Night’

Most cruise lines are offering some sort of special deal for the World's Largest Cruise Night on Oct. 13. Some offers are only good for deals booked that day and some last a bit longer. Pick your ship, see what sort of deal you can get and plan your next getaway. Photo by Matt Roseboom

By Jackie Roseboom

The Cruise Lines International Association is holding a special World’s Largest Cruise Night this Oct. 13. Travel agents across North America will be hosting a special events in partnership with several cruise lines. Some amazing deals are being offered. As the event gets closer, more deals will be offered. Here are the ones already showing up:

Carnival is enticing vacationers with cruise upgrades on virtually all “Fun Ship” departures through December 2011. To sweeten the deal, Carnival will offer up to a $200 onboard credit per stateroom for all Carnival Magic Europe voyages booked on Oct. 13. The Carnival Magic Europe offer includes best available upgrades and a $100 onboard credit per stateroom for seven-day Europe sailings and a $200 onboard credit per stateroom for nine- and 12-day sailings.

Celebrity is hosting a three-day sale beginning Oct. 13 for sailings departing April through December 2011 for select seven- to 14-night sailings. Look for onboard credits of $50 per stateroom for oceanview accommodations; $100 per stateroom for veranda accommodations; and $150 per stateroom for AquaClass (only on Solstice-class ships), suites, and Concierge Class.

Costa is offering a $50 onboard credit per stateroom on any sailing. The offer is valid only on Oct. 13.

Crystal Cruises is offering a $100 per person additional savings incentive on most 2010-2011 departures for new bookings made from Oct. 1 to 31.

Cunard is offering an onboard credit (per stateroom) of up to $300 for Queens & Princess Grill accommodation; up to $200 for Balcony staterooms; and up to $100 for Oceanview/Inside staterooms, depending on length of voyage. Bookings made during the Cruise Sale will receive a waiver of the deposit on the second guest.

Holland America Line is offering shipboard credits that can be combined with group amenities or cruise night offers. Plus deposits are only $100 per person for cruises of seven to 36 days.

For booking between Oct. 13 to 27, MSC will offer exclusive shipboard credits, such as $25 per passenger for inside cabin/oceanview bookings; $50 per passenger for standard balcony/superior balcony accommodations; and $100 per passenger for suites bookings.

Oceania Cruises is celebrating its maiden season in Alaska with two-for-one cruise fares, plus free round-trip air and bonus savings up to $1,000 per stateroom.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises is offering a $100 per person ($200 per suite) shipboard credit booking incentive. This offer is valid for any new reservation on a 2010 or 2011 departure of seven nights or longer booked between Oct. 1 and Nov. 15.

Silversea Cruises is offering a $100 per guest ($200 per suite) savings on any 2010, 2011 or 2012 cruise booked during the month of October.

Windstar is offering a $100 per person shipboard credit on any Wind Spirit, Wind Star or Wind Surf sailing in the Caribbean or Costa Rica between Jan. 2 and April 2, 2011. The offer is valid for new bookings made between Oct. 13 and Nov. 15, and the credits may be combined with all nationwide offers including two-for-one offers.

On the Web: visit cruising.org for more information or check with a CLIA-member travel agent.

Cruising offers the ultimate in romance

Whether your idea of romance is a nice dinner, playing games in the casino or relaxing on a beach, a cruise offers it all. Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises.

By Matt Roseboom

With breakfast in bed, dining under the stars and dancing until dawn, you can’t get much more romantic than a cruise. If you haven’t already made plans for your sweetie this Valentine’s Day, surprise them with a romantic cruise.

Here’s a sampling of Valentine’s Day-inspired offers, programs and activities:

Carnival Cruise Line

In addition to a huge number of balcony staterooms on its ships, Carnival offers tables for two in the main dining rooms. Try a couples massage in the spa.

Costa Cruises

Costa makes it affordable at $75 per day, or up to 60 percent off regular fares. An authentic Italian style of service sets the perfect backdrop for a romantic cruise.

Crystal Cruises

From special dinner requests to “Crystal Private Adventures” shore excursions to renewal ceremonies, couples can arrange pretty much anything they’d like for a romance package. In penthouse accommodations, guests can request dinner for two to be served by their personal butler on the verandah.

Cunard

Where better to follow in the footsteps of such starry-eyed couples as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor or Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, than aboard a Cunard ocean liner? Luxurious couples massages, ballroom dancing and elegant dining add to the intimate appeal.

Disney Cruise Line

Disney offers romantic dining experiences specifically for adults. High atop both ships, Palo, Disney’s signature restaurant at sea, treats adults to sweeping ocean views and northern Italian specialties.

Holland America

Some of the special romance packages offered include breakfast in bed, champagne and caviar, cuddly stuffed bears proclaiming “I Love You” and the Valentine’s Red and White Ball in the Crow’s Nest.

MSC Cruises

From elegant Italian ambiance to evenings filled with dancing and live entertainment throughout the ship, MSC sets the mood. They also offer a seven-course gourmet dinner and breakfast served on your private veranda.

Norwegian Cruise Line

NCL offers several “Romance” packages such as intimate dinners for two, customized “dream dates” ashore and couples massages.

Princess Cruises

Princess will be holding its first ever Romance Summit aboard Crown Princess during the Valentine’s week cruise, Feb. 13 to 20. Passengers will be treated to romance-themed events and activities, including a renewal of vows ceremony and a gala Valentine’s Ball.

Seaborne

A Seabourn yacht cruise offers gourmet dining, whether in the ship’s elegant restaurant or at a private candlelit table on your suite balcony.

Silversea

Silversea’s intimate ultra-luxury ships provide a uniquely appealing option for those seeking a truly indulgent, romantic getaway. Couples are welcomed onboard with a glass of champagne and then escorted to their richly appointed suite.

Windstar

Windstar offers unique romantic adventures in the Caribbean this winter – seven day voyages from Barbados or Saint Maarten  and seven-day explorations of Costa Rica. A variety of romance, honeymoon and wedding vow renewal packages are also available.

Cruise Guide: Luxury passengers eye Caribbean

caribbean cruises

By Michael Coleman

The premium and luxury cruise lines, like their mass-market counterparts, are preparing for another busy Caribbean season. Here’s what’s ahead for those who seek to be pampered under a hot Caribbean sun in 2010.

Azamara Cruises – Azamara Journey will sail a variety of Caribbean, Panama Canal and first-ever Sea of Cortez voyages beginning in November 2010. The season features 23 ports in 13 different countries. The 12-night Caribbean itineraries are roundtrip from Miami, visiting ports in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, St. Martin, St. Kitts, Guadeloupe, St. Barts, St. Lucia and Dominica. Sixteen-night Panama Canal voyages sail between Miami and San Diego.

Celebrity Cruises – The 2,850-passenger Celebrity Equinox, the company’s newest arrival, makes her debut in the Caribbean this winter with 10- and 11-night cruises from Port Everglades. Celebrity guests also have more East Coast ports to choose from, including Baltimore, Charleston and Bayonne (for Bermuda cruises) and can take advantage of lower airfares to San Juan where Celebrity Summit visits no fewer than five ports in a week. Celebrity Solstice will sail year-round in the Caribbean starting this winter.

Holland America Line – Offering diversity and a breadth of itinerary lengths from seven to 14 days, Holland America has nine ships sailing the Caribbean on 126 cruises from January to May and October to December. The line’s newest ship, Nieuw Amsterdam, will offer seven-day western and eastern itineraries. Homeports are Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa. Some cruises include the Panama Canal and nearly all include the line’s award-winning private island of Half Moon Cay, Bahamas.

Oceania Cruises – Three of Oceania’s seven Caribbean itineraries for 2010/2011 will be new, including a 10-day “Mayan Mystique” voyage of the western Caribbean; a 14-day “Southern Treasures” cruise featuring overnights in Bermuda and Charleston; and a new springtime Panama Canal sailing. In addition, there will be two departures —November 27 and March 19 — for the 24-day “Amazon Adventure” and a 12-day holiday voyage. An introductory offer expiring March 31 includes free air and two-for-one pricing.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises — Ultra-luxury Regent will be offering a full season of Caribbean cruises from December to April this winter aboard the newly-refurbished Seven Seas Navigator. The ship is presently in dry dock receiving two brand new restaurants (Prime 7 and La Veranda) as well as a Canyon Ranch SpaClub. All roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale, the cruises feature 2-for-1 fares, free air from 22 North American gateways and free unlimited shore excursions.

Windstar Cruises — The line will be introducing a new 7-day St. Martin roundtrip itinerary this winter on the 148-guest Wind Spirit. Each week from December through March, look for port calls to include St. Kitts, Tortola, Jost Van Dyke, Virgin Gorda and St. Barts. The 312-guest Wind Surf will be offering 7-day roundtrip sailings from Barbados.

Cruise Guide: New-look Windstar unveils overhaul

By Mike Coleman

Fleet-wide enhancements are nothing new in the cruise industry, it happens all the time to keep pace with passenger trends, but it’s the product overhaul at Windstar Cruises that caught my eye this week. ¨¨The line is adding a host of amenities and enhancements through 2007 to its three motor sailing yachts – the 308-guest Wind Surf and 148-guest Wind Star and Wind Spirit.

“This initiative will enhance the key areas important to our guests – cuisine, accommodations, service, destinations and activities,” said Diane Moore, Windstar’s vice president, marketing and sales. “We will be adding cutting edge amenities all the while retaining a casual elegance relevant to today’s traveler.”

Look for the high seas to become high-tech at Windstar with the addition of the new Apple iPod Nanos, Bose SoundDocks and personal laptop computers plus wireless connectivity in public areas on all three ships. The Wind Surf also features an onboard Internet center complete with desktop computers.

The line will be introducing 100 new menu items in collaboration with acclaimed celebrity chef Joachim Splichal. New menu items include spicy tomato soup and fried crab beignets, lamb rack with short-rib-mushroom-risotto stuffed onion, minted zucchini and roasted carrots; and seared snapper with oven dried tomatoes, caperberries, nicoise olives, roasted fennel and rice.

Other dining enhancements include the addition of an “Amuse Bouche” (little bite) at dinner, compliments of the chef; Riedel stemware to grace the tabletops aboard each ship; Rosenthal china; a new wine list featuring more boutique labels; a selection of exotic fine cheeses served tableside from a specially designed cheese cart, and Petit-fours, trays of delicate sweet treats, to be served with coffee at the end of dinner.

Complimentary 24-hour room service, said Moore, will also rise to a new level. Guests may elect to dine, course-by-course, in the privacy of their own stateroom.

The overhaul doesn’t stop there.

The menu in the Wind Surf’s Bistro will change. Splichal has created a steak house with entrees such as grilled marinated hanger steak, crispy half chicken rubbed with French mustard and grilled herb marinated Atlantic salmon. In addition, the Bistro will offer Italian, French and Indonesian menus on rotating nights. The Bistro will be redecorated with a new burgundy color scheme including new carpet, curtains, and re-upholstered chairs. Dishes and glassware will also be new featuring Rosenthal china and Schott Zwiesel stemware.

The line features outside staterooms, custom Sealy Posturepedic premium plush Euro-top mattresses, luxurious cotton bed linens and duvets, Egyptian-cotton towels and waffle terry spa bathrobes. Guests will be treated to Shea Butter bathroom amenities from L’Occitane.

Staterooms feature flat screen TVs and DVD/CD players. Other new elements include sheer curtains, throw pillows, luggage mats and new deck hammocks.

Active cruisers often take advantage of Windstar’s complimentary water sports activities – kayaking, sailing, wind surfing, water skiing and snorkeling – as the line features itineraries that typically sail off the beaten path in the Mediterranean, Amalfi Coast and Greek Isles to the Aegean Sea, the Caribbean and Costa Rica.

In keeping with the overhaul, look for Windstar to also adjust itineraries for later departures and more overnight port stays.