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THE DEAL: MSC Cruises is offering a seven-night Northern Europe cruise onboard MSC Magnifica, sailing roundtrip from Hamburg on September 28, 2014. Prices start from $599 per person, for an inside cabin. Special rates are available for cruisers 50 years and older.
WHAT WE LOVE: Hitting five countries in one sailing, from $86 per person per night, is not bad for a weeklong cruise. MSC has recently been cheapest on the market for Caribbean cruises, but this Northern Europe sailing proves that it can also provide port-intensive itineraries for relatively low cost — a balcony is $999 per person. Only one day at sea means time to experience Le Havre (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Southampton, Zeebrugge (a division of Belgium’s famous Bruges) and Hamburg, with two full days in Amsterdam. Discounts are available on this sailing for passengers 50 and older — an inside cabin starts at $579, with all cabin fares about $20 less. Kids under 18 are always free on MSC, so this makes planning easier and cheaper for a multi-generational cruise vacation.
WHAT GIVES US PAUSE: September could still hold out for mild weather in this part of Europe, but be prepared for potential wind and chill as well. Reviews of the Magnifica are hit and miss; some spaces dazzle while other elements fall a bit flat. That said, the experience is what you make of it and with so much time in port, this itinerary isn’t much for cruisers who want to stick to the ship. You’ll have to pay for a flight in and out of Germany, but rates in late September should be less than peak seasons.
HOW TO BOOK IT: For all the nitty-gritty on this deal (including that pesky fine print), click here.
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