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Paradise on Sale

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Paul Gauguin

French Polynesia is definitely on my list of must-see places.  It is said to be exquisitely beautiful, often cited by returning visitors as the most beautiful place they have ever been.  One of these days…

How about you?  Have you dreamed of sailing around the Society Islands, feeling the warm sun on your face, sinking your feet into the white powder sand, swimming in the clear, clean water?  Do you long to sit and watch a flaming sunset from your veranda, the cool soft blues and greens of the water gradually melding with the vibrant reds and oranges of the sky?

If so, there is no better way to do this than on the Paul Gauguin.  For a limited time, Paul Gauguin Cruises is offering last minute savings on its Fall/Early Winter sailings.

Receive the following Ship Board Credits on these select 2010 sailings:

*   $250 pp ($500 / stateroom) - Oct. 30 (7 nights)
*   $500 pp ($1000 / stateroom) - Nov. 6 (14 nights New Zealand,
    Tonga, Cook & Society Islands)
*   $500 pp ($1000 / stateroom) - Nov. 21 (14 nights New Zealand,
    Tonga, Cook & Society Islands)
*   $500 pp ($1000 / stateroom) - Dec. 4 (14 nights Marquesas,
    Tuamotus, & Society Islands)
*   BOOK BY AUGUST 31, 2010

*   $250 pp ($500 / stateroom - Dec. 18 (9 nights to Society &
    Tuamotus)
*   $250 pp ($500 / stateroom - Dec. 27 (9 nights to Society &
    Tuamotus)
*   BOOK BY SEPTEMBER 15, 2010

This is for NEW BOOKINGS ONLY and combinable with 2 for 1 or free
airfare from Los Angeles.

It is my custom to pass information of this sort on to my readers without
suggesting you book the cruise with me.  I will advise you, this time,
that my agency has a further amenity of $100 per person Ship Board
Credit ($200 per stateroom) in addition to the credits mentioned above.

If interested, you may contact me through the contact form on the sidebar.   

Technorati Tags: Cruise line, French Polynesia, Paul Gauguin Cruises, Polynesia, ship board credit, Tahiti

Legendary Journeys

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Seven Seas Voyager

Regent Seven Seas Cruises is offering some remarkable savings on segments of its 2011 World Cruise on Seven Seas Voyager.  Dubbed “Legendary Journeys”, these sailings offer remarkable ports of call for those with the necessary time and resources.

Guests will enjoy 2-for-1 cruise fares plus additional bonus savings of up to $3000 per person, in addition to the all-inclusive amenities always offered by Regent:

  • FREE Roundtrip Air
  • FREE Ground Transfers between airport and ship
  • FREE Unlimited Shore Excursions
  • FREE beverages including fine wines, beer and premium spirits, soft drinks, bottled water, specialty coffees and tea served throughout the ship
  • FREE in-suite mini-bar replenished daily with soft drinks, beer and bottled water
  • FREE 24-hour room service and no additional charge for specialty restaurants
  • FREE Pre-Paid Gratuities

Regent is also offering Business Class upgrades on international flights for $1499 per person each way.

Five World Cruise segments are included in the promotion:

San Francisco to Auckland, January 14, 2011, for 25 nights;

Sydney to Beijing, February 23, 2011, 25 nights;

Beijing to Bangkok, March 20, 2011, 20 nights;

Bangkok to Dubai, April 9, 2011, 25 nights;

Dubai to Rome, May 4, 2011, 20 nights.

With cruise fares starting at $12, 999 per person, these cruises will be available to a relative handful of people, but their appeal, I think, is far more universal.  Which fan of cruising doesn’t dream of the day when he or she can wander the world by ship, stopping in one exotic port after the other, unconstrained by time or money?

These cruises are aspirational.  Certainly not this year, probably not next year either, but one day I’d love to board a ship for a world cruise, slipping away from port, intent on seeing the world before I catch sight of home again.

Technorati Tags: cruise fare savings, Cruise line, Regent Seven Seas, Seven Seas Voyager, World Cruise

Celebrity’s August Promo Is In Full Swing

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Celebrity Eclipse

Celebrity is currently running a nice promotion for its Fall/Winter season in the Caribbean.  From now through August 14th, book a veranda, Concierge Class or AquaClass® stateroom, or a suite for a Caribbean vacation, and you’ll receive up to a $200 onboard credit per stateroom.  The credit can be used toward a large number of on board options.

The Solstice, the Eclipse, and the Summit will all be offering cruises in the region this year.  With veranda cabins starting at $799 per person for a 7 night cruise, based on double occupancy, and with onboard credits of $100 for veranda cabins, $150 for Concierge and Aqua Class cabins, and $200 for suites, the time to act is now.

This is a great opportunity, to paraphrase Celebrity, to put some sunshine in your life, and some green in your pocket.  As always, this offer is based on availability and is limited.  The prices are good, the ships are excellent, and if you were considering a winter Caribbean cruise anyway, the extra on board credit is a very nice little perk.

Technorati Tags: Caribbean cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Cruise line, on board credit

May I Take Your Order?

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It is being reported in USA Today that Cunard Line is considering the introduction of a la carte, by the plate pricing for one of the dining venues on Queen Elizabeth, scheduled to make her debut in Southampton on October 11, 2010.

The Veranda, a much-loved restaurant on the original Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary, will be the top of the line dining room on the new ship.  It replaces the Todd English Restaurant, which currently fills that position on both Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria.

One scenario under consideration, according to the report, is to charge $6 to $7 for appetizers, $16 to $18 for entrees, and $6 to $7 for desserts.  This pricing structure is very rare on main-line cruise ships, where the custom is to charge a supplement, perhaps $25, to dine in the specialty restaurant.

I reacted quite negatively when first reading this news.  It seems to me to run counter to the experience one wishes to enjoy on a sailing, where most components are prepaid and need not be a concern.

And yet, at the same time, it has been a trend in the industry recently to offer all manner of additional items and services and charge for them separately.  Even in the main dining rooms, it is common to pay for drinks, alcoholic or not, which are not on a very limited list of included beverages.

Perhaps Cunard’s rationale is that charging by the plate is merely an extension of the beverage policy.  After all, if a guest is willing to pay separately for a glass of wine or a cappuccino,  then why not the porterhouse as well?

Whatever the rationale, it’s the impact on the overall experience that gives me pause.  Perhaps it will work, and passengers will adapt without any difficulty.  It will be interesting to watch.

Technorati Tags: Cruise line, Cunard Cruise Line, Cunard Line, Queen Elizabeth, The Veranda

Azamara’s Hot Offers for Cool Times

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Azamara Club Cruises, which bills itself  as “a destination-immersive cruise

Azamara Journey

line for up-market travelers who want to not only see the places and cultures they visit, but to live them”, has announced a sale on winter voyages.  Bookings must be made by August 31, 2010.

Azamara Journey

For voyages departing between November 29, 2010 and February 27, 2011, on Journey’s winter voyages in the West Indies/Caribbean Sea and the Sea of Cortez, Azamara is offering 2 for 1 fares on Oceanview category staterooms or higher, Veranda staterooms for the price of Oceanviews based on availability, and $1000 onboard credits per stateroom.

Azamara Quest

On select Azamara Quest voyages sailing eastward from the Mediterranean to Southeast Asia, departing between November 27, 2010 and January 22, 2011, and on March 17, 2011, Azamara is offering 2 for 1 cruise fares, $500 onboard spending credits per stateroom, and ChoiceAir credits of $2000 per couple, for new bookings made in Oceanview or higher category staterooms.

Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest are sister ships, originally built for Renaissance Cruise Lines.  They offer 347 suites and staterooms and have a passenger capacity of 694.  The Line’s new president, Larry Pimental, is taking Azamara in a more destination-intensive, amenity-inclusive direction.  Capitalizing on the ships’ smaller size, itineraries are being re-structured to offer less visited destinations and more overnights, as well as later departures from many ports.  Many items previously offered at additional expense are now included in the cruise fare, such as gratuities for housekeeping, dining and bar staff; complimentary bottled water, sodas, specialty coffees and teas; complimentary boutique red and white wines with lunch and dinner; and shuttle bus to/from port communities when available.

I sailed on Azamara Journey to the Baltic last summer before the upgraded services and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  The product has only gotten better.  If you are able to take advantage of this sale and book by August 31st, you won’t regret it.

Technorati Tags: Azamara Club Cruises, Azamara Journey, Azamara Quest, Cruise line, cruise sale

International Expeditions Waives Single Supplement Fee on Select 2011 Galapagos Vacations

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In another welcome announcement for single travelers, solo travelers will save $1,250 on select International Expeditions cruises to the Galapagos Islands.  The company distributed a press release today with details of the promotion.

M/V Evolution

“International Expeditions is waiving the single supplement fee on its January 7, May 27 and September 30, 2011 Galapagos Islands cruises.  On the 10-day Galapagos cruise, International Expeditions’ 32-guest yacht M/V Evolution navigates to nine captivating islands, and unlike larger vessels, is small enough to access outlying Genovesa (Tower) Island.  Genovesa features thousands of red-footed boobies, short-eared owls and storm petrels.  The ship’s pangas (landing craft) are used several times a day to go easily ashore.  Onboard, guests sail in comfort with spacious accommodations, fine cuisine and a host of amenities including an observation deck (perfect for whale watching) and canopied bar, plus complimentary snorkeling equipment, wetsuits and kayaks.

While touring, travelers visit Fernandina Island and Tagus Cove on Isabela Island.  Here, guests snorkel in crystal waters with green sea turtles, see marine iguanas and hike uphill for a stunning view of volcanic craters.  Guests also enjoy leisure time in Puerto Ayora, the largest human settlement, with ample time to browse in colorful art galleries and boutiques.

In addition to daily snorkeling and hiking through deserts, rainforests and volcanic terrain, other highlights include visiting the Charles Darwin Research Center, famous for its tortoise breeding programs; an exploration of Santiago Island, a haven for finches, doves and Galapagos hawks; and a sailing to iconic Kicker Rock.

Highly trained Galapagos naturalist guides enhance travelers’ experiences by sharing their in-depth knowledge and bringing them within inches of giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, sea lions, penguins and other animals.

Prices for the Galapagos Islands vacations start at $4,998, and include accommodations, Galapagos tax and transit fees, all excursions, 23 meals, transfers and tips to porters and waiters for included meals.”

For information or a Galapagos Islands Cruise brochure, contact International Expeditions at 1-800-633-4734 or nature@ietravel.com

Technorati Tags: Cruise line, cruise ship, Galapagos cruise, International Expeditions, single supplement

And The Good News For Singles Continues

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Uniworld River Cruises adds its overture to singles, joining Azamara Club Cruises and Silversea Cruises in greatly reducing or eliminating single supplements on select sailings.  Unfortunately, you need to act very quickly, as Uniworld’s offer is valid only until June 30th.

“Uniworld Boutique River Cruises has announced it will waive its single supplement charge on a selection of popular 2010 European river cruises allowing solo travellers to cruise at no additional charge.

John Molinaro, general manager, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection said, ‘We know that luxury European river cruising is a popular holiday option for people who wish to travel on their own. To continue to grow this market, we have decided to waive single supplement charges on many of our 2010 cruises.’

This offer is available on a range of dates on the following popular itineraries:

  • Eight-day Castles Along the Rhine travelling from Basel and Amsterdam priced from $2,577
  • Eight-day Enchanting Danube travelling from Budapest to Passau priced from $2,452
  • 10-day Paris & European River Romance travelling from Paris to Vienna priced from $4,177
  • 10-days Rhine & Main Holiday Markets from Nuremberg to Cologne from $3,214
  • 11-day Portugal, Spain & the Douro River Valley travelling from Lisbon to Porto priced from $3,952
  • 13-day European Serenade travelling from Vienna to Amsterdam priced from $4,743
  • 15-day Grand European Discovery travelling from Basel to Vienna priced from $5,304

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises are an intimate holiday experience where your elegant floating hotel actually travels with you!  Your magnificent stateroom is adorned with the finest Egyptian cotton sheets, luxurious towels and plush robes, European toiletries, individual air conditioning and a flat screen television.  From beauty salon to sauna, the exquisitely appointed ships are decked out for your every comfort.  You’ll enjoy world-class cuisine prepared by chefs using fresh ingredients sourced from local markets along the way.  Altogether, it’s a hypnotic blend of history and culture with award-winning hospitality.

Conditions apply.”

Technorati Tags: Cruise line, single supplement, Uniworld River Cruises

Silversea Announces Lower Single Supplements

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Following Azamara Club Cruises’ announcement detailed in yesterday’s post, Silversea announces new, discounted single supplements that range from only 10% to 25% of the per person double occupancy fare on select 2010 sailings in select stateroom categories.

“Silversea’s new solo traveller fares are among the most generous at sea – now only 10% – 25% above the double occupancy fares on select 2010 voyages. These special rates allow single guests the freedom to travel independently without the inconvenience of finding a travel companion to keep costs down.

With savings of up to 60% plus the value of these low single supplements, this is the perfect time to treat yourself to a luxurious Silversea cruise. All-inclusive fares include a spacious, ocean-view suite – most with private veranda, personalised butler service, complimentary wines and spirits, fine dining, sophisticated enrichment and entertainment programmes, a full-service spa and all onboard gratuities.”

Silversea listed well over 20 cruises on which the reduced single supplements are being offered.  While numerous, it is important to remember the usual caveats.  Inventory is limited. Savings may vary by category, and may not be available in all categories.

This is welcome news.  As the population ages, and the number of singles increases, I think this will be a growing trend.  I selfishly hope so.

Technorati Tags: Cruise line, reduced single suppplement, Silversea Cruises

Princess Cruises Announces Their Art Connoisseur Cruises

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Interested in art?  Do you think you might be interested in purchasing a new work or, perhaps, meeting some artists?  Princess Cruises has a number of art-themed cruises coming up that might intrigue you.  According to their press release issued today:

“Some of today’s top contemporary artists will be making appearances aboard nine upcoming Princess Cruises sailings as part of the line’s Art Connoisseur Cruises.  Featuring as many as 10 contemporary artists in a single voyage, these special sailings offer activities for both avid collectors and art newcomers.

A wide range of internationally acclaimed artists will join the ship for Art Connoisseur cruises, including names such as painter Howard Behrens, bas relief sculptor Bill Mack, pop artist Allison Lefcort, and marine life artist Wyland.  The voyages offer a variety of events with the artists, such as meet-and-greet sessions or demonstrations.  Some artists, including pop fusion painter Eric Waugh even entertain crowds with live painting sessions set to music.  Other famous names onboard will include young phenomenon Alexandra Nechita and “rock star of the art world” Michael Godard.

Art Connoisseur cruises are part of Princess’ Fine Arts program, an onboard program that offers passengers the opportunity to see and learn about some of the notable artwork produced in the last century.  Each ship features artwork from collectable artists for sale on board with art auctions during each cruise.

“These special sailings offer our passengers the opportunity to go behind the art by meeting the artists and learning more about what inspires their work,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president.  “Passengers often find a new artist whose work they enjoy, or learn more about one they’ve admired.  Others simply like exploring the world of art and the work of an artist.”

Princess’ upcoming Art Connoisseur cruises include:

July 4 – 16                              Ruby Princess – 12 days Grand Mediterranean

Howard Behrens, Michael Godard, Dorit Levi, Aldo Luongo, Sharie Hatchett Bohlmann, Allison Lefcort,      Alexandra Nechita, Bill Mack, Manoukian Martiros

July 16 – 28                            Ruby Princess – 12 days Grand Mediterranean

Bill Mack, Howard Behrens, Michael Godard, Eric Waugh, Sharie Hatchett Bohlmann, Dorit Levi, Alexandra     Nechita, Aldo Luongo, Manoukian Martiros, Alexandre Renior

Sept 17 – 27                           Crown Princess – 10 days Classic Canada New England

Wyland, Walfrido Garcia, James Warren

Oct 4 – 20                              Diamond Princess – 16 days Southeast Asia & China

Alina Eydel, Sharie Hatchett Bohlmann, Bill Mack

Oct 17 – 29                            Star Princess – 12 days Egypt & Aegean

Allison Lefcort, Nobuaki Haihara, Michael Godard, Nicola Berardino, Des Brophy

Nov 3 – 19                             Diamond Princess –16 days Southeast Asia & China

Eric Waugh, Nobu Haihara, Sharie Hatchett Bohlmann, David Schluss, Bill Mack

Nov 11 – 13                           Pacific Princess – 12 days Holy Land

Allison Lefcort, Dorit Levi

Nov 19 – Dec 5                      Diamond Princess – 16 days Southeast Asia & China

Dorit Levi, Sharie Hatchett Bohlmann, Aldo Luongo

Dec 28 – Jan 7, 2011             Emerald Princess – 10 days Caribbean

Bill Mack, Allison Lefcort, Martiros

In addition to presenting works from collectable contemporary artists, Princess also offers a special ScholarShip@Sea presentation for those who would like to learn more about the world of art.  The free course, Art History@Sea: Botticelli to Warhol, The Evolution of Art, was developed in conjunction with Dr. Thomai Serdari, Professor of Art History and Director of Research Collections for New York University. Presented by the onboard art director, this course makes 500 years of art come to life in a one-hour session.  This course is available on Art Connoisseur Cruises and most other Princess sailings.”

In light of the news yesterday that 2 dozen litigants sued Park West, the biggest player in on board art auctions, it is, I think, worth noting that Princess does not use their services and is not in any way involved in the litigation.

Technorati Tags: art auctions at sea, art on cruise ships, Cruise line, Princess Cruises