Sunday, December 29, 2013

Have Cruised? Will Be Cruising? Must Read This.


carnival cruise lines
Depending on perspective, a 950 foot long cruise ship that fits over 3,000 passengers and around 1,200 crew members can be both very large and very small. For a guest on board for a seven night itinerary with 3 or more port calls, the vessel almost always seems like a vast floating city. For a crew member that spends eight months at a time living out of a crawl space in the bowels of the ship, it can seem like floating on a rubber dingy. Joshua Kinser wants to tell you all about it.

Chronicles of a Cruise Ship Crew Member



The full title to Joshua Kinser’s tell-all about life as a cruise ship employee is Chronicles of a Cruise Ship Crew Member: Answers to All the Questions Every Passenger Wants to Ask. I think he does a pretty good job of it. If you’re a Kindle owner, you can find out for yourself at the ridiculous low price of just $2.99 for the 258 page book. That’s the total price, including taxes. It’s a little less than a bottle of water from a vending machine at the cruise port... Not a Kindle owner? Why the hell not?

Kinser worked for five years on cruise ships on the high seas as a drummer. He worked in the lounge bands. He worked in the show bands. Most importantly, Joshua lived the life of a cruise ship employee. His Kindle book came out in 2012 in the spirit of Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, although not quite as racy. Perhaps, Carnival Corporation has a few more high priced lawyers to keep ex-employees in check than Les Halles restaurant in New York City.

The story is unique in that it gives the straight story of the process Kinser endured to get his first job on a cruise ship. It also gives a pretty descriptive view of life below the waterline, as well as, above. Joshua really leaves his mark with what the cruise ship life does to a person in a philosophical way and how it changed him forever.

What you’ll see through Josh’s eyes when reading ‘Chronicles of a Cruise Ship Crew Member’:

·         Living conditions for the crew members (cramped living spaces and poor air quality).

·         Enduring Red Alerts when passengers start getting sick (Norovirus).

·         The crew bar, mess hall and crew deck – the best on-going party on any cruise ship.

·         The vast difference in pay and work hours depending on the job and nationality.

·         Rules. Rules. Rules. How life on a cruise ship resembles the strictest private school.

·         The love/hate relationship between crew and passengers.

Joshua Kinser


Kinser worked for Carnival Cruises Lines and Princess Cruises, both under Carnival Corporation. A talented drummer from Florida, Joshua first made his way onto a cruise ship as a replacement drummer for a lounge band. Unfortunately, that gig ended soon after with the band all getting fired because of the actions of the drummer that he had replaced.

He has now moved on to become an author, as well as a musician. A Travel Guide to Florida’s Gulf Coast is among his portfolio. Kinser has also written fiction books based on life aboard a, you guessed it, cruise ship.

My Take


This book is a must for anyone that has cruised and anyone who is thinking of cruising. Does it give an inside view on how to better enjoy your next cruise? No. What it will do is give you a new appreciation of your Filipino room steward that is working up to 16 hours each day without seeing the sun and getting paid a fraction of the minimum wage for a citizen of the United States or Canada. It will give you a sense of just how much effort is put forth to make the onboard service look effortless.

For me, Joshua went too deeply into the music industry for my liking, but that’s just personal. Others, including my son, would be still asking for more. Also, I felt that Kinser could have gone into some racier details of life down below. As I mentioned above, I felt he was trying for a ‘Kitchen Confidential’ feel but the story was a bit too clean cut for that. Perhaps, there’s more to come?

Seriously though, for $2.99 you’re getting a book that would sell for upwards of $30 in hard cover and at least $10 in paperback. This is a great book and it really does answer the questions that I’m sure everyone that has set foot on a cruise ship has wanted to ask.
 






 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

3 Night Celebrity Cruises Bahamas Primer From $119


We previously looked at a five night Celebrity Constellation Western Caribbean cruise. The ship takes a little break from the regular routine on January 13, 2014 to run a three night Bahamas itinerary out of Port Everglades at Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This is a short, quick journey but pricing is great and guest can easily turn around and get back on another cruise ship once the three days are over.

The Cruise

celebrity constellation 3 night bahamas cruise
 

Celebrity Constellation embarks from Port Everglades at Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on Monday, January 14, 2014 at 4:30pm. On Tuesday, the ship stops at Coco Cay in the Bahamas. Coco Cay is owned by Royal Caribbean and is historically known as Little Stirrup Cay. The tiny island that measures just 1000 metres by 200 metres is used exclusively by Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara Club. Coco Cay is in the Berry Islands and is between Freeport and Nassau.


On Wednesday, January 15, Constellation moves 55 miles south to Nassau, Bahamas. She stays in port from 8am until 5pm before setting sail for Ft. Lauderdale. The ship docks at Port Everglades at 7am on Thursday, January 16.

There are no ships heading back out to the high seas from Ft. Lauderdale on January 16. However, on January 17, Holland America has both the ms Maasdam and ms Noordam embarking on 10 night cruises to the Eastern and Southern Caribbean.

The amazing capacity of the Port Everglades cruise port is evident on January 18 with seven different large cruise ships filling up with anywhere from 2000 to 5000 passengers each. Princess Cruise Line has the Crown Princess, Emerald Princess and Ruby Princess setting out. Royal Caribbean sends out the massive Oasis of the Seas, Independence of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas. Holland America puts out the ms Westerdam. In other words, if you wanted to extend your three days at sea, there are lots of opportunities.

The Price


The lowest rate for this three night cruise is $119 per person for an inside stateroom. With the additional $83 in government fees and taxes, the total price for two would be $404. Ocean View staterooms can be had for as low as $159 per person and a balcony runs a still reasonable $209 per person.

The Ship

celebrity constellation
Celebrity Cruises is the premium line of Royal Caribbean International. Celebrity Constellation is the youngest of the four Millennium Class ships in Celebrity’s fleet. Millennium came in 2000, Infinity was put in service in 2001 while Summit and Constellation came last in 2002. All have identical gross tonnage of 91,000 and all are 965 feet or 294 metres long.

The Constellation has eleven decks accessible to passengers. It has a capacity for 2,170 guests and has around 1,000 crew members on board for a nearly 1 to 1 ratio.

The ship was built by Chantiers de L’Atlantique in St. Nazaire, France. After this Bahamas cruise, she returns to her four and five night Western Caribbean rotation until late April, 2014. On April 24, 2014, Constellation embarks on a 15 night Transatlantic Repositioning Cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

The Small Print


·Because of the nature of last minute deals, the pricing printed here is fleeting and could change at any time.

·Prices are in Canadian dollars.

·Most meals are included in a typical cruise price but DRINKS ARE NOT!

·Also not included are gratuities.

·Cruise pricing does not include air fare, ground transfers and hotel accommodations before and after the cruise.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

From $169 For 3 Port Calls In The Bahamas Aboard Norwegian Sky


It might be just a four night cruise but it packs a punch. On January 20, 2014, Norwegian Sky embarks from Miami, Florida for a four night journey around the Bahamas. Over the short cruise, the ports of call are packed in with three stops on the three full days between leaving and arriving back at Miami. Pricing may still have room to drop but even just under a month out, the rates are quite affordable.

The Cruise

norwegian sky bahamas cruise itinerary
 

This four night Bahamas cruise on board the Norwegian Sky embarks from Miami, Florida at 5pm on Monday, January 20, 2014. She arrives back in Miami at 7am on Friday, January 24. Sky crams in three port calls along the way with no full days at sea.


On Tuesday, Norwegian Sky spends the day at Great Stirrup Cay. The small island is located in the Berry Islands of the Bahamas and is owned by Norwegian Cruise Line. She stays at this location from 8am to 5pm before moving on.

Next up is Nassau, Bahamas on Wednesday. Sky is docked at the largest city in the Bahamas from 8am until 6pm. Nassau has a population of around 250,000 and accounts for a good portion of the overall population of the Bahamas. January is a great time to visit Nassau with the average daytime high around 26 Celsius or 80 Fahrenheit. January is the city’s driest month.

The final stop is at Freeport on Grand Bahama Island. Norwegian Sky stops at the ‘second city’ of the Bahamas on Thursday from 8am to 5pm. Freeport is quite a bit smaller than Nassau with a population of around 60,000. Located a little further north, the average daytime high is three degrees Celsius less than Nassau but still an enjoyable 23 or 74 Fahrenheit. As with Nassau, January is one of Freeport’s driest months.

The Price


Currently, an inside stateroom on board Norwegian Sky can be had for as low as $169 per person. That equates to $42.25 per person per night. Added to that price is $101.07 in government taxes and fees. The total for two in an interior stateroom starts from $540.14. This deal is eligible for a $15 on board credit per stateroom.

Claustrophobic? Ocean View staterooms start from $229 per person. Balcony prices are decently priced from $349 per person.

The Ship


Norwegian Sky has had a bit of a broken life. She was originally ordered in 1993 and was to be the Costa Olympia for Costa Cruises. Construction on the ship was started by Bremer Vulkan in Germany. However, the company went out of business in 1997. Bremer Vulkan had been around since 1893 in the ship building biz, mostly cargo ships with just a few passenger cruise ships on the resume.

The ship that would become Norwegian Sky was then towed to Lloyd Werft in Germany where it was completed in 1999. The ship never sailed for Costa and was the Norwegian Sky from 1999 to 2004. She then became the Pride of Hawaii, still under Norwegian Cruise Line. In 2008, she returned to the Norwegian Sky name.

Back in September, 1999, on her inaugural cruise, Sky was at the mouth of the Saguenay River at the St. Lawrence River in Quebec, Canada when she ran aground. The ship was evacuated as a precaution and there were no injuries.

One of two Sky Class Norwegian Cruise Line ships, Norwegian Sky is a smaller ship with a gross tonnage of 77,104. She is 260 metres or 853 feet in length and has nine decks accessible to passengers. Capacity on the vessel is for 2,004 guests with 934 crew members.

The other Sky Class ship is the Norwegian Sun. Sun is younger and slightly larger. She was put in service for NCL in 2001.

The Small Print


·Because of the nature of last minute deals, the pricing printed here is fleeting and could change at any time.

·Prices are in Canadian dollars.

·Most meals are included in a typical cruise price but DRINKS ARE NOT!

·Also not included are gratuities.

·Cruise pricing does not include air fare, ground transfers and hotel accommodations before and after the cruise.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Holland America Luxury Transatlantic Cruise From Just $700!


In April, 2014, the classic Holland America ship ms Ryndam crosses the Atlantic Ocean, switching from her winter home to her summer home. After calling Tampa, Florida her home port for the winter months, Ryndam moves east to spend most of the summer out of Dover in the U.K.

Ryndam’s Transatlantic Repositioning Cruise does not go from Tampa to Dover but from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to Barcelona, Spain. Holland America Line has special pricing on this 15 night cruise right now with an inside stateroom going for as low as just $700 per person, or just under $47 per night per person before government taxes and fees.

The Cruise

holland america ms ryndam transatlantic repositioning cruise
 

Ryndam embarks from Port Everglades at Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on Sunday, April 6, 2014 at 4pm sharp. She arrives at Barcelona on Monday, April 21, 2014 at 7am. Along the way, the does a bit of an island tour with three of her five ports of call located off the mainland. All port calls are either in Portugal or Spain.


After several days at sea, guests on ms Ryndam can get out and stretch their legs and minds at Ponta Delgado on the island of Sao Miguel in the Azores. The ship docks on Monday, April 14 and is in port from 10am to 6pm. Ponta Delgado is the capital of the Azores Islands and has a population somewhere around 70,000.

On Thursday, April 17, Ryndam makes a stop on the mainland of Spain. From 8am to 6pm, she will be docked at Malaga on the southern coast. This is a large tourist area on the Mediterranean and has a metro population over one million.

The following day, ms Ryndam moves east along the coast to Cartagena, Spain. She is docked from 8am to 5pm at this city with a population about a fifth that of Malaga.

The final two stops are out in the Mediterranean Sea. Ibiza is a small island with a population of around 135,000. It is the third largest of the Balearic Islands, belonging to Spain. Ryndam will be at Ibiza from 8am to 5pm on Saturday, April 19.

The final stop is Palma de Mallorca, the capital of the Balearic Islands region. Ryndam docks at Palma from 8am to 5pm on Sunday, April 20.

The Price


For the moment, Holland America Line has reduced some inside staterooms to as low as $700 per person. Typical of any flash sale, the choice of stateroom is limited and will be assigned at the time of check-in.

Additional government fees and taxes come to $115.24 per person. This means an inside stateroom for two can be had for as low as $1,630.48 with the fees and taxes added in.

Just to give an idea of what a great deal this is, let’s look at Ryndam’s return to Tampa from Barcelona in November, 2014. The lowest price for that cruise is currently $1,500 per person! The price for two, including government taxes and fees, would be $3,236.64. The itinerary is nearly identical, except the ship goes straight to Tampa, not stopping in Ft. Lauderdale.

The Ship


A Statendam Class (S Class) ship, ms Ryndam has been in service for Holland America since 1994. She is the third of the four Statendam Class ships. Statendam and ms Maasdam both came into service in 1993 and ms Veendam came along in 1996.

Ryndam is a smaller ship with a gross tonnage of 55,819. She is 220 metres or 720 feet in length and has ten decks accessible to the capacity 1,258 passengers. 602 crew members are also on board.

As mentioned, her home port in the winter is Tampa, Florida with her summer home mainly in Dover. She makes the return Transatlantic voyage from Barcelona to Tampa on November 1, 2014.

The Small Print


·Because of the nature of last minute deals, the pricing printed here is fleeting and could change at any time.

·Prices are in Canadian dollars.

·Most meals are included in a typical cruise price but DRINKS ARE NOT!

·Also not included are gratuities.

·Cruise pricing does not include air fare, ground transfers and hotel accommodations before and after the cruise.

Friday, December 20, 2013

That's Right! A Luxury Cruise Up The Amazon River


Think the Amazon can only be cruised by black smoke-sputtering, rusted out diesel ships with no air conditioning and pirates following close-by? Think again. In 2014, six different luxury cruise lines will make the journey from the Atlantic Ocean, up the Amazon River, to Manaus, Brazil, and back. These cruises are not cheap but Holland America Line is doing their best with a ‘Flash Rate’ on their cruise in March, 2014.

The Cruise

 

HAL’s ms Maasdam departs Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Sunday, March 2 on a 26 night repositioning cruise to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Along the way, Maasdam makes several port calls along the Brazilian coast and in the Caribbean. As well, she takes seven days to travel up the Amazon and back. This is considered a repositioning cruise but the Amazon River cruise is definitely the highlight.


After stopping at Buzios, Salvador and Fortaleza up the Atlantic Coast, Maasdam enters the Amazon River on Thursday, March 13. Before reaching Manaus, nearly 1,500 kilometres up the river in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest, the ship makes two stops along the way. Maasdam stops at Santarem and Boca da Valeria before an overnight at Manaus.

On her way back to the Atlantic, the ship makes port calls at Parintins and Alter do Chao, along the Amazon. Maasdam returns to the Atlantic Ocean on Thusday, March 20.

Before arriving at Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on Friday, March 28, the ship makes stops at Bridgetown, Barbados; Roseau, Dominica and Philipsburg, Sint Maarten.

The Price


Typically, a cruise that involves the Amazon starts in price from no less than $8,000 per person. For a limited time, an inside stateroom on the ms Maasdam can be had for as low as $3,493.89 per person. Keep in mind, this is a 26 night cruise. Additional government fees and taxes of $441.06 per person need to be added to total. All-in, a inside stateroom for two can be had for $7,869.90.

This is ‘Flash Rate’ sale pricing. This means that you don’t have a lot of choice on the location of your inside stateroom and that room is not assigned until the time of checkin. This also means that the full amount is due at the time of booking.

The Ship


Ms Maasdam of Holland America Line has been in service since 1993. She is an S Class ship built by Fincantieri on the north shores of the Adriatic Sea in Italy. Maasdam is a small ship with a gross tonnage of just 55,575. She is 220 metres or 722 feet long and has nine decks accessible to passengers. The Capacity on board is for 1,258 guest and 580 crew members.

The Small Print


·Because of the nature of last minute deals, the pricing printed here is fleeting and could change at any time.

·Prices are in Canadian dollars.

·Most meals are included in a typical cruise price but DRINKS ARE NOT!

·Also not included are gratuities.

·Cruise pricing does not include air fare, ground transfers and hotel accommodations before and after the cruise.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Breakaway For A 12 Night Southern Caribbean Cruise From Just $749!


One of the newest cruise ships on the high seas. An amazing Southern Caribbean itinerary out of New York City. Now, an amazing price to go with it! Norwegian Breakaway embarks from the New York Passenger Ship Terminal in Manhattan on a 12 night journey with six port calls in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean. Norwegian Cruise Lines has just come out with a hot deal with prices as low as $745 per person to be on this cruise.

The Cruise

norwegian breakaway southern caribbean cruise
 

Breakaway breaks away from New York City at 4pm on Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 4pm. Right off the bat, it will be worth braving the January cold to watch the Manhattan skyline shrink away as the ship makes her way down the Hudson River, past the Statue of Liberty and Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, into the Atlantic Ocean.

You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the features of this latest arrival in the Norwegian fleet with two days at sea before the first of six ports of call. The first stop isn’t until Wednesday, January 8 at San Juan, Puerto Rico from 3pm to 10pm.

The following day, Breakaway stops at Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas Harbour in the U.S. Virgin Islands. She will be docked at this shopping mecca from 8am until 6pm, giving plenty of time to cross the island and spend time at the famous Magens Bay Beach.


More shopping and tropical beaches are in store on Thursday, January 9 as Breakaway stops at Philipsburg on the island of Sint Maarten. She stays from 8am to 6pm before departing for an overnight journey to Castries, Saint Lucia. This is another ten hour stop from 9am to 7pm.

On Sunday, January 12, Breakaway drifts over to Bridgetown, Barbados for an eight hour stay from 8am to 4pm. Her final port call comes the next day at Basseterre, St. Kitts, a nine hour stop from 9am to 6pm. Then comes plenty of time to relax and enjoy the open seas on the three day journey back to New York City. Norwegian Breakaway arrives back in Manhattan at 8am on Friday, January 17, 2014.

The Price



Right now, Norwegian Cruise Line has a ‘Hot Deal’ rate on this cruise from $749 per person, based on double occupancy, for an inside stateroom. There is an additional $163.16 per person in government taxes and fees, bringing the total price for two to $1,824.32.

For an Ocean View stateroom, add $200 per person. For a balcony, the hot deal is $1,099 per person before fees and taxes.

Because this is a ‘Hot Deal’, the full fee is due at the time of booking. Rooms are not assigned until the time of check in. This cruise qualifies for NCL’s latest bonus of a coupon book per stateroom valued at $300 for onboard services.

The Ship


Built by Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany, Norwegian Breakaway made her maiden voyage on April 30, 2013. She calls New York City her full-time home and is the first of four planned Breakaway Class ships for Norwegian.

Breakaway’s gross tonnage of 145,655 makes her the eighth largest cruise ship on the high seas. The vessel is 324 metres or 1,063 feet in length, nearly the length of three full NFL football fields. She has a passenger capacity for 3,969 with 1,651 crew members on board. There are 14 decks accessible to guests.

The Small Print


·Because of the nature of last minute deals, the pricing printed here is fleeting and could change at any time.

·Prices are in Canadian dollars.

·Most meals are included in a typical cruise price but DRINKS ARE NOT!

·Also not included are gratuities.

·Cruise pricing does not include air fare, ground transfers and hotel accommodations before and after the cruise.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Southern Caribbean Cruise From Just $753 For 2, Taxes and Fees Included!


Looking for a cruise that’s a bit unique and also a hell of a deal? A seven night Southern Caribbean cruise out of Colon, Panama in March, 2014 might be just what you’re looking for. Why? Colon is typically a port of call for ships passing through the Panama Canal. Royal Caribbean is the only major cruise line to be using Colon as a home port in 2014.

To sweeten the deal, right now, Royal Caribbean has a Panama BOGO promotion, meaning a couple can get on the Vision of the Seas for a very low price. Starting from Colon also gives you a chance to spend time before or after at a great Panama beach resort, exploring the Panama Canal or visiting the rainforest.

The Cruise

royal caribbean vision of the seas colon southern caribbean
 

Everyone longs for a Southern Caribbean cruise and what better home port than a Central American city right in the thick of things. Embarking from Colon, Panama means there is no long, at sea, journey from Florida. This means more destinations in a much shorter time.


Vision of the Seas embarks from Colon for this seven night journey at 5:30pm on Saturday, March 29, 2014. She makes four port calls before arriving back at Colon on Saturday, April 5 at 6:30am. This could be subtitled the ABC Cruise as the ship makes a stop at all of the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao), along with Cartegena, Colombia.

Cartegena is the first stop and a good long one. Vision of the Seas reaches the Panamanian neighbour at 10:30am on Sunday, March 30 and doesn’t depart until 9:30 at night. After a day at sea, she arrives at Kralendijk, Bonaire on Tuesday, April 1 and stays from 10am to 6pm.

Vision continues her journey eastward and arrives at Oranjestad, Aruba on Wednesday, April 2. A ten hour stop, the ship is docked in Aruba from 8am to 6pm. The final port call is on Thursday, April 3 from 7am until 4pm at Willemstad, Curacao. Vision of the Seas arrives back at Colon at 6:30am on Saturday, April 5.

The Price


As mentioned, this is a Royal Caribbean Panama BOGO (buy one, get one free) promotion so staterooms can’t be expected to stay empty for long. This deal is only available on inside staterooms and is similar to Carnival’s Super Saver fares, in that the room is not assigned until the time of check-in.

An interior stateroom for 2 can be had for as low as $753 CAD, government taxes and fees included! This is equates to just over $53 per person per night – a rate tough to find on other cruises with taxes not included.

The Ship


royal caribbean vision of the seas
Vision of the Seas has been in service since 1998 and is one of six Royal Caribbean Vision Class ships. Vision Class includes Legend of the Seas, Splendour of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas, all built between 1995 and 1998 by Chantiers de l’Atlantique in Saint-Nazaire, France.

Vision is in the smaller range by today’s standards with a gross tonnage of 78,340. She is 279 metres or 915 feet in length and has eleven decks accessible to passengers. The ship has a capacity for 2,435 guests with 765 crew members on board.

The Small Print


·Because of the nature of last minute deals, the pricing printed here is fleeting and could change at any time.

·Prices are in Canadian dollars.

·Most meals are included in a typical cruise price but DRINKS ARE NOT!

·Also not included are gratuities.

·Cruise pricing does not include air fare, ground transfers and hotel accommodations before and after the cruise.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Euro Experience in the Caribbean With MSC Divina From Just $451


Not a new player to the world of high seas cruising but a relative newcomer to the Caribbean, MSC Cruises offers a Euro style experience while cruising on this side of the Atlantic. Cruisers can experience a six night Western Caribbean journey on board the MSC Divina from a taxes included price of just $451.04 USD per person. This is an extreme hot deal and you have to act quick.

The Cruise

msc divina western caribbean
 

MSC Divina embarks from Miami,Florida at 7pm on Sunday, January 12, 2014 for a six night Western Caribbean cruise. She makes three port calls along the way before arriving back at Miami at 7am on Saturday, January 18, 2014.


The first port call is at Georgetown on Grand Cayman Island. The ship makes this stop on Tuesday, January 14 from 7am until 4pm. The following day, it’s off to Cozumel, Mexico where Divina will dock from 8am to 5pm.

The final stop is at Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas. Great Stirrup Cay is a small island in the Berry Islands of the Bahamas. This is a private island that is owned by Norwegian Cruise Lines.

The Price (note: prices for MSC in American currency)


For as low as $451.04 per person, including taxes and fees, an interior stateroom can be had on this cruise, based on double occupancy. This means, a couple can be on board the MSC Divina for just over $900 USD.

This is a hot deal which is already mostly sold out. If the price tickles your fancy, you’ve got to act fast.

The Ship



msc divina cruise ship
MSC Divina is a new ship, making her maiden voyage on May 27, 2012. She was named in honour of Sophia Loren. Divina is one of four MSCCruises Fantasia Class ships, along with MSC Fantasia, MSC Splendida and MSC Preziosa.

Divina is a large ship. With a gross tonnage of 139,072, she is the tenth heaviest cruise ship on the high seas today. Her length of 333 metres or 1,093 feet currently ranks her ninth in the world. The ship has 18 decks with 14 accessible to passengers. Divina has a capacity for 3,502 passengers with around 1,388 crew members also on board.

For 2014, Divina is the only one of the 12 ships belonging to MSC Cruises to be full-time in the Caribbean. MSC Musica is the only one of the 12 to spend at least some time in the Caribbean. MSC Cruises is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and was founded in 1987.
 

The Small Print


·Because of the nature of last minute deals, the pricing printed here is fleeting and could change at any time.

·Prices are in Canadian dollars.

·Most meals are included in a typical cruise price but DRINKS ARE NOT!

·Also not included are gratuities.

·Cruise pricing does not include air fare, ground transfers and hotel accommodations before and after the cruise.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Cross the Atlantic on Norwegian Epic From Just $499!


Not a last minute deal, but a great chance at sailing across the Atlantic on the world’s third largest cruise ship. As far as gross tonnage is concerned, Norwegian Epic is behind only the Royal Caribbean twins, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas. In April, 2014, Epic repositions from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean. You can be on that cruise for as low as $499 per person!

The Cruise

norwegian epic transatlantic repositioning cruise
 

On Sunday, April 27, 2014, Norwegian Epic leaves her winter home in Miami, Florida to make the eleven night journey to Barcelona, Spain. Epic arrives in Barcelona at 5am on Thursday, May 8, making just one port call along the way.


Her one stop? Funchal, a city on the Portuguese island of Madeira. Epic stops at Funchal on Monday, May 5 from 10am to 6pm. Funchal is the largest city in the Maderan Archipelago of Portugal with a population around 112,000.

In May, the average day time high on Madeira is around 22 celcius, or 71 fahrenheit. Tourism is fast becoming the island’s biggest industry. The port of Madeira now only handles cruise ships and ferry boats. All industrial shipping traffic has been moved to a different port around 20 kilometres away. For soccer fans, Funchal is the birth place of Cristiano Ronaldo, star of Real Madrid and the Portugal national team.

The Price


An interior stateroom, located on deck 11, for this cruise can be had for as low as $499 per person. The ‘normal’ rate for one of these rooms is around $899. Additional government fees and taxes are considerably less than a Caribbean or Mediterranean cruise at just $63.88 per person. This all means that an interior stateroom for two can right now be had for as low as $1,125.76, taxes included.

Norwegian Cruise Line has recently sweetened the deal on their cruises, offering an additional coupon book with each cruise booked before April, 2014. The coupon book offers up to $300 in onboard savings (not on the price of the cruise..).

The Ship


norwegian epic
Norwegian Epic is a destination in itself. The flagship of Norwegian Cruise Line is the third heaviest cruise ship on the high seas, behind Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas from Royal Caribbean.

Built by STX France (Chantiers de l’Atlantique at Saint-Nazaire, France), Epic entered service in 2010. She was to have a twin sister but the second ship was cancelled in 2008. Epic has a gross tonnage of 155,873 and is 329 metres or 1,081 feet long. She is just 14th in the world when it comes to length.

Passenger capacity is 4,100 with a crew of 1,753. There are 19 decks on the ship with 15 accessible to passengers. With just one port call over eleven nights, Norwegian Epic has to have endless entertainment, and it does. Highlights on the ship include rock climbing, 10 pin bowling, the biggest spa at sea, an aqua park and live entertainment featuring the Blue Man Group at the head of the list.

The Small Print


·Because of the nature of last minute deals, the pricing printed here is fleeting and could change at any time.

·Prices are in Canadian dollars.

·Most meals are included in a typical cruise price but DRINKS ARE NOT!

·Also not included are gratuities.

·Cruise pricing does not include air fare, ground transfers and hotel accommodations before and after the cruise.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cruise On The Royal Princess From Just $549


Put in service in 2013 and one of the top ten largest cruise ships on the high seas, Royal Princess is the latest big thing in cruising and the new flag ship of the Princess Cruises fleet. Because of the novelty of the new ship and the big to-do that Kate Middleton christened her, pricing is set at a higher level than the rest of the Princess ships.

Typically, her Eastern Caribbean itinerary starts at anywhere from $699 to $1,200 per person. For a limited time, an interior stateroom can be had for as low as from $549 per person.

The Cruise


royal princess eastern caribbean cruise

The Royal Princess embarks on this seven night Eastern Caribbean cruise from Port Everglades at Ft. Lauderdale, Florida at 4pm on Sunday, January 5, 2014. Because of the size of the ship, the typical Princess Eastern Caribbean itinerary is reduced to three port calls from four. The ship is unable to dock at Grand Turk.

On Monday, January 6, 2014, Royal stops at Princess Cays from 9am to 5pm. Princess Cays is a private beach at the southern tip of the Bahamas island of Eleuthera. There is no pier for ships to dock at so they must moor a ways away from shore and tender guests to the island on board smaller boats.


Royal Princess then travels south overnight and the following day to reach Charlotte Amalie on the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Royal docks in St. Thomas harbour on Wednesday, January 8 from 8am to 6pm. The highlights of the island include shopping and a trip to other side of the island to visit the famous Magens Bay Beach. Have you seen ‘Weekend at Bernie’s 2’? If yes, you will recognize Magens Bay immediately.

Her final port call is at Philipsburg on the Dutch side of the island of Sint Maarten. Another shopping mecca, Sint Maarten is also home to Princess Juliana International Airport. The airport is famous for jumbo jets flying mere feet above the beach before landing.

The Price


Currently, Princess has a flash fare sale on this cruise with interior staterooms starting at $549 per person. This equates to $78.43 per person per night. Once she heads to Europe for the summer, the lowest price on Royal Princess starts at between $200 to $400 per person per night. One of her 10 to 11 night cruises on the other side of the Atlantic cannot be had for less the $2,300 per person before taxes are added.

With the $95 per person in government fees and taxes added, an interior stateroom for two can be had for $1,288 total. Normally, Eastern Caribbean cruises on Royal Princess start from $699 to $1,200 for the same interior stateroom. It should also be noted that the flash fare rate is available on all of Royal’s January cruises while still available.

The Ship


royal princess cruise ship
Royal Princess made her maiden voyage on June 16, 2013 after being christened by a pregnant Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge. Royal is the first of two Royal Class ships in the Princess Cruises fleet. Regal Princess is coming sometime in 2014 and will be nearly identical.

Built by Fincantieri on the northern Adriatic shores of Italy, Royal Princess has a gross tonnage of 141,000, making her the ninth largest cruise ship by weight on the high seas today. She is 330 metres or 1,083 feet long, making her the 13th longest cruise ship.

Passenger capacity on Royal is 3,560. There are 19 decks on the ship with 15 accessible to passengers.

The Small Print


·Because of the nature of last minute deals, the pricing printed here is fleeting and could change at any time.

·Prices are in Canadian dollars.

·Most meals are included in a typical cruise price but DRINKS ARE NOT!

·Also not included are gratuities.

·Cruise pricing does not include air fare, ground transfers and hotel accommodations before and after the cruise.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Carnival Loves Canada On This 8 Night Bahamas Cruise From NYC!


*** I guess this was a popular deal - the cruise sold out shortly after this article was published ***

The Canadian dollar is down a bit against the Greenback. Carnival Cruise Lines has taken notice. Time is of the essence but there Carnival has added a Canadian Resident discount to their eight night Bahamas cruise out of New York City, embarking Wednesday, December 11, 2014 at 4pm. Folks from Canada can be on this cruise from as low as $299 per person.

The Cruise

carnival splendor bahamas cruise new york city
 

Embarking from the New York City cruise port at 4pm on Wednesday, December 11, 2013, you won’t want to not be on deck for the view of the Manhattan skyline. The Carnival Splendor makes three port calls on this itinerary with four full days at sea.


Splendor makes her first port call on U.S. soil. On Saturday, December 14, she is docked at Port Canaveral in Florida from 7am until 6pm. Day trips to Disney World or Universal Studios in Orlando might be out of the question but Kennedy NASA Space Center at Cape Canaveral is a timeless wonder.

The following day, Splendor reaches Nassau, Bahamas at 11am and stays in port until 8pm. She doesn’t go far, reaching Freeport on Grand Bahama Island at 7am on the morning of December 16. Splendor leaves Freeport at 3:30 in the afternoon for a two day journey back to New York City.

Where is the New York City cruise port in Manhattan? It is easily located at the point where West 52nd Street meets the Hudson River. Within walking distance is Central Park and Times Square.

The Pricing (note: all Carnival pricing is in USD)


Canadian Residents can pay as low as $299 per person for an interior stateroom, which equates to $37.38. This price is $40 per person lower than the Carnival Super Saver rate of $339. Added to the individual price is $109.15 per person in government taxes and fees. A couple can have an interior stateroom on this Bahamas cruise for a total, taxes included, price of $816.30.

The Canadian Residents sale price might beat out the Super Saver but present and former Military personnel from the United States and Canada still can have the best deal. The Carnival Military discount reduces the price of an interior stateroom to just $254 per person!

The Ship


carnival splendor bahamas cruise
Carnival Splendor, like most Carnival ships, was built by Fincantieri on the Adriatic in Italy. Her maiden voyage was on August 18, 2008 and she is the only Splendor Class ship in the Carnival fleet. Originally, she was designed as a Concordia Class ship for sister company Costa Cruises. Yes, she’s nearly identical in dimension to the Costa Concordia that sank off the coast of Italy.

Splendor is large with a gross tonnage of 113,323. She is 952 feet or 290 metres long and has 13 decks accessible to passengers. Guest capacity is 3,006 and there are 1,150 crew members on board.

Since a December cruise out of New York City may not see tropical weather until arriving in the Bahamas, or not at all, plan on spending a lot of time inside. Carnival Splendor has much to offer and guests would be hard-pressed to get bored.

The onboard casino is pretty much full service with card games, slots, roulette, craps and more, along with tournament play. There is a nightclub, sports bar, comedy club and many restaurants. Wellness facilities include a fitness centre and spa. Like most cruise ships, there is an art gallery. Kids are neglected as there are kids programs for toddlers, all the way up to teens. Of course, there is more than enough live entertainment.

The Small Print


·Because of the nature of last minute deals, the pricing printed here is fleeting and could change at any time.

·Prices are in Canadian dollars.

·Most meals are included in a typical cruise price but DRINKS ARE NOT!

·Also not included are gratuities.

·Cruise pricing does not include air fare, ground transfers and hotel accommodations before and after the cruise.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Norwegian Jade 10 Night Mediterranean From $349! (Overnight at Istanbul)


*** NCL has now dropped the lowest price of this cruise to $299! *** (update Dec. 6, 2013)

This isn’t a blistering hot and tropical Mediterranean journey when taken in January. The highlight of the ten night Mediterranean cruise onboard the Norwegian Jade, embarking January 8, 2014, is an overnight at Istanbul, Turkey. The average daytime high in Istanbul in January is around ten degrees celcius, with night time lows of around four degrees. Perhaps that is why this ten night classic Mediterranean cruise can be had for as low as $349 per person.

The Cruise


norwegian jade ncl 10 night mediterranean cruise

The ten night Mediterranean itinerary embarks from Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy at 5pm on Wednesday, January 8, 2014. Norwegian Jade doesn’t stop at Messina, Italy on the island of Sicily. However, she does squeak through the Strait of Messina on her way from Rome to her first stop at Katakolon, Greece. The Strait of Messina is just 3.1 kilometres or 1.9 miles wide at the narrowest point. If the day is clear, the volcano known as Mount Etna is visible from the ship, as is the town of Messina in Sicily.

Katakolon and Piraeus are Jade’s two stops in Greece. She stops for eight hours at Katakolon in Friday, January 10 and stays another eight hours at the dock in Piraeus the following day. The following day, Sunday, Jade makes her first of two stops in Turkey at Izmir (Smyrna). There’s a little more time at Izmir with a full ten hours at port.

Norwegian Jade pulls into the dock at Istanbul at 1pm on Monday, January, 13. After staying overnight, the ship departs the city located on two continents at 8pm on Tuesday. After two full days at sea, Jade makes her last stop at Naples in Italy. This is another ten hour port call.

The Pricing


Currently, an interior stateroom can be had for as low as $349 per person, based on double occupancy. The government taxes and fees are quite low at just $70.08 per person. This means a room for two can be yours for a total price, taxes included, of just $836.16. This amount would be due in full at the time of booking.

Pricing is decent for other levels of staterooms, as well. An ocean view room goes as low as $399 per person, a balcony from $479 per person and a mini-suite from $849 per person. Military personnel should note that they receive $30 per person off their booking, regardless of what stateroom they choose.

Got a few extra bucks kicking around? Why not try one of two three bedroom Garden Villa Suites on the Norwegian Jade? Dubbed ‘The Haven’, these suites are located on Deck 14 and have 4,719 square feet of living space. Each sleeps up to eight people. For a couple, this home away from home (or, if you’re like me, four homes away from home) is still available for this cruise at a total cost of $11,738.16!

The Ship


norwegian jade cruise ship
Norwegian Jade rolled off the line at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany in 2006 as the Pride of Hawaii. She was changed to the Norwegian Jade in 2008. Jade is one of four Norwegian Jewel Class ships in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet. Each is nearly identical and were built between 2005 and 2007. Her sisters are the Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Gem.

Jade has a gross tonnage of 93,558 and is 965 feet or 294 metres in length. She has 15 decks, of which 12 are accessible to passengers. The guest capacity is for 2,402 at double occupancy. On board, there are typically 1,078 crew members.

The Small Print


·Because of the nature of last minute deals, the pricing printed here is fleeting and could change at any time.

·Prices are in Canadian dollars.

·Most meals are included in a typical cruise price but DRINKS ARE NOT!

·Also not included are gratuities.

·Cruise pricing does not include air fare, ground transfers and hotel accommodations before and after the cruise.