Written by 9:16 am Carnival, Ports

Cruise Guide: Quick cruise getaways, Alaska entice passengers

By Mike Coleman

Carnival has unveiled a series of short cruise getaways to attract vacation-challenged passengers in 2007 and Royal Caribbean will feature 130 shore excursions in Alaska, highlighting news this week from the cruise industry.

The line will offer 32 different short cruise itineraries from a host of  U.S. departure points, most of which leave from Florida ports. In fact, to cater to a growing trend of passengers who seek a getaway, but do so without much time, Carnival will deploy roughly half its fleet on short cruises, offering more voyages of five days or less in length than any other cruise operator. 

“Time is a precious commodity these days, and short cruises are perfectly suited to today’s lifestyles,” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. “In addition to meeting the needs of busy consumers, short cruises are very popular with families, as well as with first-time cruisers who want to experience our product, but with less investment in time and money.”

From Miami, look for year-round three-day Bahamas and four-day western Caribbean cruises aboard the 2,052-passenger Fascination and year-round four and five-day western Caribbean voyages aboard the 2,052-passenger Imagination. Additionally, the soon-to-be-launched 2,974-passenger Carnival Freedom will be offering a special one-time, four-day western Caribbean voyage from Miami departing Nov. 12.

From Port Canaveral, Carnival will feature year-round three and four-day Bahamas cruises aboard the 2,052-passenger Sensation and four and five-day Bahamas/eastern Caribbean cruises aboard the 2,052-passenger Elation (through April 28). The ship will then offer year-round four and five-day Mexico cruises from San Diego beginning June 2.

In Tampa, look for the 2,052-passenger Inspiration to host year-round four and five-day western Caribbean cruises while out of Jacksonville, the 1,486-passenger Celebration hosts year-round four-day Bahamas and five-day Key West/Bahamas cruises.

The line will also be offering short cruise getaways to the Caribbean, Mexico and Canada from Mobile, New Orleans, Charleston, Galveston, Long Beach and New York. Carnival’s short cruise options complement the line’s variety of six to 16-day departures to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, New England, Bermuda, Europe and the Greek Isles.

Meanwhile, if sledding with huskies in Juneau, exploring the wild Yukon in Skagway, and searching for bears in Ketchikan is how best you would like to spend your vacation time at sea – and on land – such thrill-seeking Alaskan journeys await guests aboard Royal Caribbean ships in 2007. “Our new Alaska shore excursions offer rich and scenic regional experiences on land, at sea and even in the sky,” said Craig Milan, senior vice president, land operations for Royal Caribbean.

The line will be offering some 135 tours in Southeast Alaska alone. Among them: dog sledding on the Mendenhall Glacier (Juneau); a photo safari by land and sea (Juneau); a Glacier Point wilderness safari (Skagway) and an Anan Creek bear watch (Ketchikan).

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