Written by 8:36 pm Deals

Cruise Guide: Cruise lines catch big wave

By Michael Coleman

Wave Season may mean little to the average consumer but chances are youve recently noticed a host of cruise-related advertising extolling the virtues of a high seas adventure in 2008.

This is the time of year when cruise lines, eager to fill berths, pump up the advertising volume to attract your vacation dollar. More Alaska, Caribbean and Mediterranean voyages are purchased now through the end of February – Wave Season – than at any time of the year.

As such, the incentives for cruise-savvy consumers – like many of the catchy print ads, TV images and jingles – could not be better.

Up first, the luxury lines.  

Crystal Cruises features 10 percent savings on new bookings of all verandah and non-verandah staterooms and five percent savings for penthouse accommodations on virtually all of Crystal Serenity’s Mediterranean cruises this summer. 

Cunard Line is offering onboard credits of up to $300, plus a waiver of deposits for second guests on select Queen Mary 2 sailings and Queen Victoria maiden European voyages. Regent Seven Seas Cruises is offering shipboard credits of up to $500 per suite in addition to normal published offers for new guests of Regent. The offer applies to sailings in Europe, the Mediterranean, Alaska and Tahiti.

Rounding out the luxury category are Seabourn and Silversea. Seabourn is offering two-for-one business class airfare from 38 North American gateways, plus savings of up to 40 per cent for cruises of nine to 15 days in Europe aboard Seabourn Pride, Spirit and Legend. Silversea is offering 40 per cent savings on cruise-only fares for a host of voyages worldwide as part of the line’s “Silver Sailings” program.

Premium/deluxe lines Celebrity, Holland America and Azamara are into the act. Celebrity is offering onboard credits of $50 to $200 per stateroom, based on the length of voyage, on cruises in Alaska, the Caribbean and Europe. Holland America features savings of up to $450 off brochure rates plus upgrades for as little as $100 depending on the sailing. The promotion applies to the company’s eight ships offering select 2008 Alaska departures. Azamara features onboard credits valued at $300 to $800 on any 2008 Europe sailings booked at an ocean view or higher stateroom category.

The mass-market lines are also offering discounts to entice consumers and typically spend the most on advertising to attract both first-time and repeat cruisers. Carnival has unveiled special rates of $249 to $339 per person on select departure dates for three- to five-day voyages on Carnival Imagination and Carnival Inspiration, both with new Serenity adults-only decks and Carnival Waterworks aqua parks.

Princess has unveiled a special “Alaska Wilderness Sale” with savings of $200 per couple plus a $200 onboard credit on Princess cruise tours. And, Royal Caribbean is offering onboard credits of up to $200 per stateroom on select 2008 Alaska sailings/tours.

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