Steal of the Week: Save on Summer Cruises to Greenland

March 12, 2015 | By | 1 Comment

piggy bank sailing worldwide
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: Hurtigruten is offering three choices in savings from cabin upgrades and air credit to up to 38 percent off of fares.
WHAT WE LOVE: As expedition-style cruising increases in popularity, the demand for far-flung destinations (and deals) increases as well. Hurtigruten has had a presence in Norway for 122 years — first serving as something of a local ferry (which it’s still used for today), but also expanding into adventurous cruises for travelers not familiar with the region. Save on summer sailings to Greenland with a variety of offers from a free cabin upgrade to an outside stateroom category, a $250 air credit per person, or choose a guaranteed cabin for up to 38 percent off regular fares. Take an extended cruise vacation (12 nights) this June or July and explore the arctic with itineraries focused around national park expeditions or photography.
WHAT GIVES US PAUSE: Even with the deals, cruises onboard Hurtigruten are pricey, and the region is also expensive to experience in port. Expect to budget nearly $9,000 per person for cruise, spending money and flight. However, to explore this region of Greenland so thoroughly, you won’t find a much better cruise line, or price. Many consider these trips bucket-list adventures, so don’t fret if it’s not exactly in the cards for your next casual family vacation.
HOW TO BOOK IT: For all the nitty-gritty on these deals (including that pesky fine print), click here.
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* Looking for cruises for under $75 or even $50 a day? We’ve got ‘em listed on our Cheap Cruises page.
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    5 Tips for Saving Your Spring Break Cruise

    March 11, 2015 | By | No Comments

    young happy cruisers

    1. Book the right cruise line.

    Spring break with the family and spring break with your friends are two entirely different vacations; in most cases, they warrant entirely different cruise lines. It may not seem like picking the right cruise line or ship is that important when you’re just looking to get away on a quick trip, but doing a little research before you book may save partygoers unwanted screaming children, and parents, unwanted screaming partygoers. There’s likely to be a mix of families, couples and revel-rousers on any spring break cruise, but the ratio on a short Carnival sailing versus a week on Disney, may make a significant difference. A travel agent specializing in cruise can help you choose what sailing might be the best fit.

    4 more tips for Spring Break cruising

      Wanderlust Wednesday: Chowing Down in Princess Cays

      March 11, 2015 | By | No Comments

      Island BBQ at Princess Cays - photo courtesy of Bimmer09/Cruise Critic Forums

      Destination: Princess Cays

      Why Go?: If you cruise the Eastern or Western Caribbean with Princess Cruises, chances are you’ll visit the line’s private island and experience a quieter side of The Bahamas. Chow down on island barbecue in a private bungalow (available for rent), unwind in a beachside hammock or go deep-sea fishing off the coast.

      Member: Bimmer09

      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 photos@cruisecritic.com 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!

      Find interesting places to visit based on region.

      Everything you need to know about planning a cruise.

      Explore Trip Reports of unique itineraries.

        Towel Animals That Can’t Even

        March 10, 2015 | By | No Comments

        And you think YOU’RE having a bad day. Check out our gallery of towel animals who are over it.
        towel animal

        This towel animal is having an identity crisis with its clashing-color body. (unknown)

        towel animal

        This towel animal is not okay with being choked by its own legs. (Photo: HOTELCURLY)

        More towel animals that can’t even

          Member Review of the Week: Stepping Out of Your “Ship Size” Comfort Zone

          March 10, 2015 | By | No Comments

          Illusionarium

          Cruise Ship: Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Getaway

          Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

          Member: Still Dreaming

          Background: Big cruise ships can be intimidating, no matter how many times you’ve been on one. Like Cruise Critic member Still Dreaming, you can study deck plans and watch countless tour videos, but there’s nothing like exploring the ship on your own. Still Dreaming realized this on her recent cruise aboard the 4,028-passenger Norwegian Getaway. What began as nerves slowly turned into relief, and she realized size does matter, after falling in love with everything the ship had to offer.

          Onboard Highlight: Dinner at the Illusionarium, a for-fee restaurant inspired by an old-style magic show.

          Port Highlight: The Golden Eagle Sailaway and Swim in St. Maarten — an excursion offered by the cruise line.

          Don’t Miss: Martini tasting at Sugarcane Mojito Bar, which Still Dreaming felt was well worth the $15.

          Watch Out For: Smoking is allowed in the casino, so be mindful of it when playing or passing through.

          More: Read Still Dreaming’s full review to get a better feel for Norwegian Getaway.

          For their efforts, Still Dreaming, OceanDevotion55, crcaldwellattilamom1217 and nalakitty receive Cruise Critic logo items.

          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.

            Cruising Q & A with Samantha Brown

            March 9, 2015 | By | 2 Comments

            Samantha Brown

            Samantha Brown’s enthusiasm for travel is contagious. It’s no doubt a big reason the noted expert has enjoyed a long career inspiring viewers of the Travel Channel. Fans of her shows are familiar with her positive personality and willingness to try just about anything — traits that could spark wanderlust in anyone.

            Brown, who said she believes travel should be accessible to anyone who chooses to do so, recently joined forces with Carnival Cruise Line. A long-time fan of cruising, Brown is hosting a video series, called “How to Cruise With Travel Pro Samantha Brown” on the line’s YouTube channel.

            The first series takes a “cruise 101″ approach, tackling topics like, “What will I eat” and “What’s there to do?” All videos are short — around 1 minute — and are designed to educate new cruisers and debunk common myths. Brown said the project will take place over a two-year period. Up next? Cruise excursions.

            We caught up with Brown on March 7 at the Washington, D.C., Travel and Adventure Show to talk about our favorite topic — cruising.  Here are her thoughts:

            On Carnival Cruise Line…

            “Probably five years ago, I went on my first Carnival Cruise, and like many people I had a little trepidation. It had the reputation, probably six or seven years ago, of being the party line, being the booze cruise. … I was so pleasantly surprised by the level of service that you got, especially from the crewmembers, who were outstanding, the families that were having a wonderful time, and this was all being done at the most affordable level. And for me, my goal, has always been to show how accessible travel is.

            Full interview with Samantha Brown

              Just Back from…Costa Diadema: Hits and Misses

              March 9, 2015 | By | No Comments

              Ship art on Costa Diadema

              When you think of Italy do you picture strolling along the Italian Riviera? Perhaps you’re in a seaside bar sipping a bubbly Prosecco or — only if it’s breakfast time — a cappuccino.

              It’s that kind of Italian style that Costa Cruises works to capture in the line’s new flagship, Costa Diadema. The idea behind the 3,724-passenger ship, launched in October 2014, is to showcase the best of Italy with an array of new features.

              How does the ship shape up? After a late February Mediterranean cruise, here are the Hits, Misses and Mehs among the international innovations to mix it up.

              Hits

              Country Rock Club. Of Costa Diadema’s new theme bars, this one pulls it off best. The decor has a vinyl record (the carpet) and guitar (tabletops and ceiling) motif. The live rock and country music is a hit with passengers of all ages. In true Italian style, families bring their kids to the bars — even at midnight! Bumping into toddlers on the dance floor may or may not be your idea of a grand night out.

              Full recap of my Costa Diadema cruise

                Hot on the Forums: Do you Need Clean Sheets Every Day on a Cruise?

                March 6, 2015 | By | 12 Comments

                fresh sheets

                One of the many joys of cruising is taking time out for an afternoon nap, being rocked to sleep with the motion of the ocean and waking up somewhere new. And although I’ve never gone down the route of breakfast in bed (too many crumbs for my liking), I know that for many it’s a special treat.

                But what about the bed, or to be precise the bed linen? A thread (or should that be thread count?) on ship sheets caught my eye on the Cruise Critic forums, and revealed quite a hotbed of contention.

                Member ICANTWAITTOCRUISE wants to know if is acceptable to request clean sheets every day on a seven-day cruise. ” I don’t believe that the stewards change the sheets daily, but am not sure? I personally ask every couple of days because I love brand new clean sheets. However, I feel sort of bad when I do this because I worry it is taking up their time. Maybe relevant, maybe not, but we do compensate our room steward more than the required amount.”

                Veteran cruisers chime in

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