Many cruisers have been left disappointed since Carnival recently cancelled Carnival Liberty's U.K.-based season of Baltic cruises from Dover next summer. Clearly, however, other cruise lines offering Baltic itineraries in 2009 are revelling in Carnival's retreat and hoping to entice the former Carnival customers away from rebooking on Carnival sister lines like Holland America, P&O and Princess.
In an effort worthy of wariness, Norwegian Cruise Line, which will base its Norwegian Jewel in the U.K., sent out a “we'll match your price” offer last week but refused to divulge specifics as the offer is based on a case-by-case basis. Even so, travellers who have lost out on their already-booked Carnival Liberty cruise do have some good replacement options:
NCL, which shares Carnival's electric, ultra-casual vibe, but is a stand-out with its flexibility-inspired “Freestyle” options for dining and entertainment, will be offering 12-night Baltic Capitals cruises from April to September. The itinerary will take you to Copenhagen, Berlin, Tallinn, St. Petersburg (overnight), Helsinki and then Stockholm before heading back to Dover. If you're considering a family trip, don't miss our new Come Aboard My Baltic Family Cruise on Norwegian Jewel .
If an Italian-inspired onboard ambience appeals, MSC Cruises' Lirica will be sailing a mix of Northern Europe cruises from Dover in 2009. An 11-night Baltic Cities cruise calls at Amsterdam, Bremerhaven, Gothenburg, Tallinn, St. Petersburg (overnight) and Copenhagen before returning to Dover. Lirica also is cruising to Norway's fjords; an 11-night North Cape cruise will visit Amsterdam, Bremerhaven, Alesund, Honningsvag, Tromso and Bergen before arriving back in Dover.
Celebrity is offering a very similar itinerary to the one Carnival Liberty had been due to sail, except the cruise sails from Amsterdam instead of Dover, meaning you would have to take a flight over to Holland. Celebrity Century will embark on 12-night trips from Amsterdam, visiting Warnemunde for Berlin, Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg (overnight), Tallinn and Copenhagen before arriving back in Amsterdam.
Homegrown line P&O Cruises is a member of the Carnival family of cruise lines, and it has plenty of options on offer. Arcadia, Aurora, Artemis and Oriana will be sailing a number of 14-night Baltic cruises from May to September. There is a variety of sailings, taking in pretty much all of the Baltic ports -- it just depends on your ship and date preferences.
--by Kelly Ranson, U.K. Editor
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Bumped Off Carnival Liberty? We Offer Options
November 10, 2008