Our next Cruise Critic Live! chat takes place a week from today (Thursday, February 26) at 11 a.m. ET and looks at the world of luxury cruising. Although the base price of a luxury cruise can seem out of reach, when you look at what the fare encompasses – often drinks, tips and shore excursions – a luxury cruise can end up giving you more for your money.
Cruise Critic Live: Can You Afford a Luxury Cruise?
February 26, 2015, 11:00 AM ET
Think a luxury cruise is too expensive? Think again. Join luxury travel agent Scott Anderson as he talks about high style on the high seas!
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Our special guest is someone who knows a thing or two about the luxury cruise sector – Scott Anderson, general manager of the Luxury Cruise Company. We caught up with Scott to quiz him ahead of the chat and here’s what he had to say:
CC: What kind of trends are you seeing in the Luxury sector?
Scott: The luxury cruise lines are now offering a more inclusive experience than ever before onboard the ships. Regent has for a few years now included all tours, and we are seeing other lines starting to follow. Silversea has recently announced that on their Mediterranean sailings they are offering Silver Shore Select Excursions – which offers the guest two complimentary tours in every port. Also Silversea is offering complimentary Wi-Fi and other lines offer this in higher grades of accommodations. I don’t think it will be long before free Wi-Fi is standard on the luxury lines.
CC: What are good entry level points for luxury? How do you know you’re ready?
To celebrate the arrival of its third year-round cruise ship to the port of Galveston, Carnival Cruise Line hosted more than 1,000 members of the U.S. military and their families onboard Carnival Freedom to enjoy a concert by country superstar Martina McBride on Valentine’s Day 2015.
Though she has performed several times onboard a cruise ship as part of Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Live! concert series (read our concert review from Carnival Ecstasy), McBride has yet to set sail for a full cruise herself (performers are flown in for the gigs). Cruise Critic caught up with McBride for a brief chat before the concert to talk about cruising.
Why Go?: With no indigenous people, government or economy, Antarctica is one of the most mysterious destinations in the world. Its untouched lands are not only breathtaking, but also an ideal hangout for multiple species of penguins, seals and whales. In fact, it has the largest concentration of marine wildlife in the world.
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. Feel free to send us your Twitter or Instagram handle. Maybe you’ll get a shout-out next #WanderlustWednesday!
My first cruise on British cruise line Fred. Olsen was also my first sailing with so many intensive port stops in so many days.
I’m used to the traditional port day schedule — arrive at 9 a.m. and leave at 5:30 p.m. — but on a cruise around the Canary Islands, you can’t help but leave late and arrive early. And when I say leave late, I’m talking about next-day departures in the early morning — around 12:30 a.m.
For this particular cruise, I sailed on Boudicca, which initially departed Southampton in the U.K. (though I joined the ship at its first port of call). The itinerary included three days at sea and a visit to the gorgeous island of Madeira followed by five Canary Islands in five days: La Palma, La Gomera, Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote. The ship then pressed onto Lisbon before returning home, so a fortnight in all.
We left Funchal in Madeira at 5:30 p.m., but the rest of the stops (bar Gran Canaria) were 12:30 a.m. departures.
It also happened to be Carnaval — the weeklong fiesta when the Spanish really party — so the timing could not have been better, allowing passengers to (theoretically) party until the early hours.
But such late departures have pluses and minuses.
Cruise Ship: Princess Cruises’ Golden Princess
Itinerary: South America and Antarctica
Background: This Rio-to-Valparaiso cruise was two years in the making. So when solo cruiser ccastner finally decided to take the plunge, he knew exactly what he needed to plan the perfect vacation — which included a balcony cabin (see why, below). Between trivia and shows onboard to extensive tours off the ship, the cruise kept him busy with just enough time to relax and recharge.
Onboard Highlight: The service, especially in the Explorer’s Lounge. The crew had his favorite drink memorized and waiting for him.
Port Highlight: Punta Arenas, Chile, where ccastner toured a local ranch before setting out to Fort Bulnes near the Straight of Magellan.
Don’t Miss: The Mexican lunch at Horizon Court.
Watch Out For: Deck loungers are in high demand on sunny days, so ccastner recommends booking a balcony cabin to get your dose of vitamin D.
More: Read ccastner’s full review for details about the ship and exotic itinerary.
Each week, we choose five cruise reviews written by our members, and showcase one as the Member Review of the Week.
Read more reviews or write your own cruise review.
Editor’s Note: This chat has been postponed and will be rescheduled for a future date. We apologize for the inconvenience. Stay tuned.
Saving is important, but so is having the trip of a lifetime. Cruise Planners is an American Express Travel representative and the nation’s largest network of home-based travel agents. We spoke with CEO and co-founder Michelle Fee and COO and co-owner Vicky Garcia in advance of our upcoming chat this Wednesday, to tap their expertise about finding and booking the best possible cruise for you.
Want to know more? Tune in to Cruise Critic Live! Finding the Best Cruise Value on February 18 at 2 p.m. ET to pick the brains of Michelle, Vicky and the Cruise Critic editors during an hour-long live chat. You can post your own questions now.
What deals trends are you seeing this winter/wave season? How does it compare to previous years?
Cruise Planners: Wave season – from January through April – is a great time to book your next cruise! This wave season, we have seen a lot of great offers, which are more inclusive and add value for travelers.
Is there a good time to book a less expensive cabin on a brand-new ship?
CP: If you are traveling with a group, or a family, or want a specific stateroom – don’t wait – now is the best time to book your new stateroom. Booking as soon as you know you want to travel will allow you to lock in the rate and claim your stateroom, with connecting rooms, certain location or your desired view.
To seasoned seafarers it seems pretty obvious; and it doesn’t take long for first time cruisers to catch on. But I’m constantly surprised by the number of landlubber friends and acquaintances who ask me why I love cruising – often followed up with a quizzical: “But what do you do all day?”
From now on I’m going to point them in the direction of the thread started by Cruise Critic member funtime238 who simply asks: Why do you cruise?”
Five pages long, the thread is a great reminder of everything we personally love about cruising (in my case packing and unpacking only once, seeing a variety of places in a short space of time and the thrill of being at sea), coupled with reasons that might not have entered our radar.« go back — keep looking »