Steal of the Week: Cruise Week Deals

October 2, 2014 | By | No Comments

piggy bank cruising
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: The Cruise Lines International Association, or CLIA, hosts a Cruise Week each year featuring special deals available through travel professionals. This year a number of special Cruise Week deals are available October 6 through 13 from lines like Norwegian and Royal Caribbean. In addition, cruise lines like MSC, Princess and Holland America have promoted their own deals available through most of October.
WHAT WE LOVE: Bonuses and incentives are popping up left and right, with a number of major lines offering onboard credit, discounts, cabin upgrades and prepaid gratuities to make booking that cruise vacation all the more appealing. While sales are now common year-round, these Cruise Week offers are meant to create a solid push during a booking period that is typically slow.
Among the deals: Young kids (11 and under) sail free on MSC, which is great for families, and Royal Caribbean is offering half off a second cruise fare, which is nice for couples. Norwegian is touting 10 percent cash back on your cruise totaling a possible $2,000 in onboard credit per cabin. Wherever your destination, and whatever your cruising style, October has become a time to consider what your favorite line has to offer, or trying out a new line with a fabulous deal.
WHAT GIVES US PAUSE: Cruise Week is intended to give both the cruise lines and the travel professionals who book them an extra push during this booking period. Some of these promotions are riding on the coattails of Cruise Week, not participating in the official event. All of these deals are bookable through a travel agent participating in the event, however. Be sure to read through the fine print to make sure the ships and dates work for you before diving into a sailing.
HOW TO BOOK IT: For all the nitty-gritty on these deals (including that pesky fine print), click here for MSC, here for Princess, and here for Holland America.
Compare flight prices with our sister site TripAdvisor’s meta-search tool.
*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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    Norwegian Jade Crashes Clooney Wedding

    October 1, 2014 | By | No Comments

    Tweet from Norwegian Cruiselines

    Talk about your photobombs. During the hubbub last weekend on Venice’s canals for the George Clooney-Amul Alamuddin nuptials, Norwegian Jade sailed into the picture, its wild hull art clearly visible as the ship loomed above the water taxis ferrying wedding guests.

    @CruiseNorwegian, the official account for Norwegian Cruise Line, tweeted the photo out on Monday, with the following message. “Guess who snuck into the #GeorgeClooneyWedding? None other than #NorwegianJade! Congrats to the happy couple!”

    Continue to read the full story

      Wanderlust Wednesday: Caribbean Reflections

      October 1, 2014 | By | No Comments

      Caribbean Reflections - photo courtesy of Cruise Critic member Terryandpam75

      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.

      Williamsted, Curacao, is a pastel-painted, cosmopolitan port city that makes up the ABC islands with Aruba and Bonaire. At night (as shown in this photo submitted by Cruise Critic member Terryandpam75), a row of colors illuminates the sea, creating a beautiful light show cruisers can enjoy from the ship or in one of Williamsted’s many waterfront cafes.

      Find interesting places to visit based on region.
      Everything you need to know about planning a cruise.
      Explore Trip Reports of unique itineraries.

        October 2014 Calendar Desktop Wallpaper: Leaf Peeping Cruise in Maine

        September 30, 2014 | By | 1 Comment

        Cruise ship in Bar Harbor photo courtesy of Condor 36/Shutterstock

        Get your October 2014 Desktop Calendar Wallpaper! We hope that this photo of a cruise ship sailing through Bar Harbor, Maine, will inspire you to consider leaf-peeping cruises in Canada and New England.

        Here’s how to put this photo on your computer, tablet or cell phone:

        1. Click on the following links to get the size that you want. Each link will open a new window (or tab) displaying the wallpaper, in the appropriate format for your screen size.

        2. For the desktop versions, right-click on the image, and choose the option that says, "Set as Desktop Background", "Use as Desktop Picture," or something similar. The wording depends on your browser. Mac users should ctrl-click and save the photo on their computer in the "Pictures" folder.

        3. If the image does not fit your desktop background neatly, you may have to go to your preference panel (on a Mac: System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver > Desktop; on Windows: Control Panel > Display > Desktop) and choose"Fit to screen" as the display mode of your background image.

        4. For phone and tablet, open the link and center the photo on your phone so it fills the screen. Take a photo and save it on your device. Then go to your Settings and find your Wallpaper (on an iPhone, this is under "Wallpapers & Brightness." Set the saved calendar photo as your wallpaper.

        1920 x 1200 | 1280 x 800 | Tablet | Mobile

        Check back on October 31 for the November 2014 calendar.

          Member Review of the Week: “Me Time” On Norwegian Getaway

          September 30, 2014 | By | No Comments

          Mandara Spa - photo by Brittany Chrusciel

          Each week, we choose five cruise reviews written by our members, and showcase one as the Member Review of the Week. In the spotlight this week is Cruise Critic member bottomfeeder‘s recent cruise to the Eastern Caribbean on Norwegian Getaway.

          Overall Impression: The timing couldn’t have been more perfect: It was bottomfeeder’s birthday when she came across a deal she couldn’t pass up, onboard Norwegian’s newest ship. A solo traveler, bottomfeeder snagged a Mini Suite with no single supplement and upon boarding, treated herself to a weekly spa pass.  After seven days of "me time," bottomfeeder felt renewed, refreshed and reassured her money was well spent.

          Onboard Highlight: The spa, where bottomfeeder made the most of her weekly pass.
          Tip: The heated tile loungers offer 180-degree views and are perfect for sailaway.

          Port Highlight: Since bottomfeeder never got off the ship in port, the quiet time onboard made for even more time to relax and indulge.

          Don’t Miss: The Legally Blonde and Burn the Floor production shows, even if you’re skeptical.

          Watch Out For: The Mini Suite balconies. Bottomfeeder found them comfortable for herself, but warns they may be too narrow for more than one person.

          More: Read bottomfeeder’s full review for more details, tips and tricks to make the most of your Norwegian Getaway cruise.

          For their efforts, bottomfeeder, PureMI, DocF, avidreaderatl and Englk003 receive Cruise Critic logo items.

          Read more reviews or write your own cruise review.

            A Closer Look: What Is Cruise Week?

            September 29, 2014 | By | No Comments

            Cruise Ship - photo courtesy of Rawpixel/Shutterstock

            Every year, Cruise Lines National Association (CLIA) hosts a week of cruise deals and promotions known as Cruise Week. Held in the fall — a typically quiet booking period for cruising — Cruise Week aims to bolster cruise sales with special deals available exclusively through travel agents who have registered for the event through CLIA.

            This year, Cruise Week takes place October 6 through October 13. Deals range from buy one get one half on Royal Caribbean to 10 percent off Hurtigruten, a small line based in Norway. With prices spiking for the holidays, and wave season months away in January, Cruise Week does offer some incentive to book now for warmer weather, or next year. To book, contact your travel agent or find one on cruising.org and ask about Cruise Week specials for select sailings.

            Avalon River Cruises

            Savings of up to $1,300 per couple on river cruises in Europe.

            Carnival Cruise Lines

            Reduced deposits of 50 percent, cabin upgrades (two categories) and $50 in onboard credit per cabin.

            Cunard

            Up to $175 in onboard credit per cabin on Queen Mary 2 transatlantic crossings.

            Disney Cruises

            Up to $100 in onboard credit on select seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries.

            Hurtigruten

            Ten percent off current pricing on Norway Costal Voyage itineraries for new 2014 and 2015 bookings.

            Norwegian Cruise Line

            Up to $300 in onboard credit on select sailings and up to $100 per person for specialty sailings.

            Royal Caribbean International

            Buy one cruise fare, receive the second at half price plus 5 percent off ChoiceAir bookings.

            Check out more cruise deals!

              Where in the World is Cruise Critic?

              September 29, 2014 | By | No Comments

               Carolyn Spencer Brown and Jamey Bergman on map
              Cruise Critic staffers set sail every week, traveling the globe to bring you the latest cruise ship trends, port sneak peeks and onboard observations. Here’s where we are this week.
              (Got questions about any of the ships we’re boarding or ports we are visiting? Ask us in the comments!)
              Ship: American Queen Steamboat Company’s American Empress
              Where: The Pacific Northwest’s Columbia and Snake Rivers
              Who: Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief
              Why There? If river cruising in Europe tends to attract the most attention on Cruise Critic, we discovered that perhaps the best-kept secret of all is America’s own tributaries. American Queen, which made us huge fans of the Mississippi River after a wonderful voyage there last summer, has this year launched its new Pacific Northwest itinerary aboard the massively revamped American Empress, and we’re keen to check it out.
              We Can’t Wait: Most of our time in the Pacific Northwest has been spent in the (admittedly) fantastic cities of Seattle and Portland and we’re excited to get out into the countryside, follow in the intrepid path of explorers Lewis & Clark, and check out the critically acclaimed wine and food scenes in the region.
              Panoramic view of Old World town along the ocean with mountains in background
              Ship: Thomson Majesty
              Where: Departing from Corfu, Greece, we’re heading up the Adriatic coast, stopping in Koper, Slovenia and finishing in Venice.
              Who: Jamey Bergman, Production Editor
              Why There? Thomson Majesty — like all Thomson ships, a firm favourite with both British cruisers and package tour travellers — has undergone refurbishment to add 28 balcony cabins. And we want to take a look!
              We Can’t Wait: In spite of having worked for Cruise Critic UK for three years, I still have no experience with one of the most popular cruise brands in the UK and on our site, so I’m anxious to get onboard. What Thomson cruise devotees talk about most is the friendliness of the staff, the good food, the included gratuities and an overall pleasant onboard experience. Sounds great to me. Another reason I’m looking forward to the trip is the itinerary. A sea day in the Adriatic is likely to offer spectacular views and a stop in the slightly off-the-beaten-path Koper, Slovenia, should be intriguing.

                A Cruise in 3 Minutes: Time-Lapse Video from Norwegian Jade

                September 26, 2014 | By | 6 Comments

                One of our technically gifted Cruise Critic members has made it possible for you to take a cruise of the Eastern Mediterranean in just three minutes through the use of time-lapse video.
                Member hdarby took his Sony GoPro video camera onboard Norwegian Jade as the ship sailed round-trip from Venice — well-known as one of the most scenic spots to see from a cruise ship. Your virtual itinerary also includes visually stunning stops in Dubrovnik, Croatia; Athens, Greece; Kusadasi, Turkey and Split, Croatia.
                The video is perfect if you’re between cruises and need to get your cruise fix or if you’re considering the Eastern Mediterranean and want to get a preview. And for you techies, hdarby said the video was mostly shot with two seconds between frames at a speed of 30 frames per second.
                And if you just can’t get enough, our videographer extraordinaire has created a separate episode from a Norwegian Epic cruise out of Miami. Enjoy!
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