You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Every other Friday we will bring you a piece of reader feedback and our response. Have a question about cruising? Notice an error on our site? Want to just drop a comment for our consideration? Submit your own feedback by e-mailing email@example.com, and maybe we’ll select your submission for our next Feedback Blog.
This Week’s Feedback: Does having a Carnival credit card give you credits that can be used on a cruise?
Our Response: In short, no. Points accumulated from a cruise line credit card may be used toward future cruises, not onboard as credit. Most cruise line credit cards offer a points system (typically two for every dollar spent onboard and one for every other dollar spent) that equate to future cruise credit. The official lingo on the Carnival Barclay card site is “Cardmembers may redeem points for a statement credit toward a Carnival Cruise Lines, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises or The Yachts of Seabourn or an airline or hotel that posts to their account that is equal to or greater than $50 and made within the last 180 days.”
So is having a credit card loyal to your favorite cruise line a good way to earn free cruises? We ponder that question here, but mainly, you have to be determined to charge your heart out in order to reap any rewards.
On the plus side, these cards tend not to have annual fees (Disney is the exception). But points do expire and, well, it’s a credit card, so you have to be willing to balance your current finances versus the possibility of a free cruise in the future.
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If you’ve ever thought about a river cruise, you’ve never had more choice than you will this year. Lines are adding ships left and right; 34 new vessels will join the world’s rivers in 2014.
Here at Cruise Critic, we’ve been covering river cruising for the past decade (check out our comprehensive section that focuses solely on these type of sailings). Today at 3 p.m. EST, our editor in chef Carolyn Spencer Brown will be joined by special guest Patrick Clark, managing director of Avalon Waterways, for our Cruise Critic Live RIVER CRUISING chat.
Avalon has three new ships, Impression, Illumination and Poetry II, coming to Europe’s rivers this year. But the two of them will take on any questions you have about river cruising, destinations and trends, regardless of line.
*Follow along on Twitter at #CruiseCriticLive.
*Read the transcript from last week’s chat about dining.
Everyone is looking for the deal of the century. So how do you choose the one that’s right for you? Check the Lido Deck each week to get the scoop on our favorite deals — then grab the phone and pack your bags.
THE DEAL: Norwegian Cruise Line is offering free cruise fare for kids when booked as the third (through eighth) passenger in a cabin by March 31.
Every Wednesday, we’ll be taking you on a journey around the world to some of the most interesting places our members have trekked, swum or merely witnessed from afar while cruising.
Whether these photos inspire you to plan a relaxing escape or walk on the wild side, we hope they ignite your senses and give you ideas for your next cruising adventure. If you have a photo you’d love to share, send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or post it in our member photo gallery.
Thanks to member barbara32 who captured this photo of a First Nation community in Quebec during her last cruise.
Find interesting places to visit based on region.
Everything you need to know about planning a cruise.
Explore Trip Reports of unique itineraries.
The cruise industry is awash with rumors that Sir Richard Branson is planning to launch a Virgin cruise line. The Virgin Atlantic boss has hired a US-based advisory firm to scout around for investors in the two-ship venture, which is, according to media reports, expected to launch in 2019 in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.
So far, so not particularly surprising. In fact, it sounds like a perfectly sensible business idea if Branson can raise the money. Virgin is a respected brand and it’s highly active in the travel sector with airlines, trains, a new hotel chain and its tour-operating arm, Virgin Holidays Cruises. The cruise market is growing and the customers are getting younger and a bit more hip, which matches the Virgin image.
The question is, will Virgin Cruises be ‘different’ enough to attract this sought-after younger customer?
It’s a banner year for the Northern Lights – and some of our members are taking advantage of winter cruises to chase them.
With such Arctic adventures in mind, we are delighted to welcome Hurtigruten‘s UK managing director, Kathryn Beadle, onto the Cruise Critic Message Boards for a Q&A session with members.
Kathryn will be answering your questions live on the message boards next Thursday, March 6, from 1 p.m. – but you can post your questions now.
From the Galapagos Islands and Amazon River to the Seychelles and African plains, member Mary Denis and her husband have fascinating stories from their expedition cruising adventures. And after a recent cruise aboard Hurtigruten Fram, Antarctica has become one of her favorites.
All-inclusive cruising, which upscale lines have been touting in recent years, sounds fantastic. No chits to sign. No tips to pay. It’s the hassle-free way to go. But what’s really included—and what’s not? The answer depends on the cruise line.
Azamara Club Cruises went the all-inclusive route last year, adding “select standard spirits” to their growing list of complimentary amenities. Yet, when I sailed aboard Azamara Quest in February, I discovered it pays to read the fine print — even on a ship billed as all-inclusive.
No doubt, the most confusing feature on all-inclusive cruises concerns beverages, all types of beverages. Azamara includes wine, beer and cocktails at any time in any bar or restaurant, but not if ordered from room service. Included drinks, however, come from a select list that can be a little tricky to decipher.
Smirnoff vodka is included, for example, while Grey Goose costs extra. Excellent wines are poured freely during meals, but a glass of Markham merlot is $13. Bottled water is included, as long as it’s the ordinary still variety; a liter of sparkling San Pellegrino will set you back $4. Then there are the coffees. Cappuccinos and lattes are included, except for the $5.50 Nespresso brand served in Azamara’s cozy Mosaic Café.
How to navigate this? Thanks to a tip from a fellow passenger, I learned to simply ask for the “included” beer, martini or cappuccino.keep looking »