During a Wave Season marked by economic downturn, we've become accustomed to bigger and better perks, from complimentary excursions to oodles of onboard credit. But Italy-based Costa Cruises is handing out freebies that are a bit more ... unusual. Throughout March 2009, guests who book a European cruise with Costa will automatically receive a free two-night stay at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino -- in Las Vegas.
If you're anything like us, you may be thinking, "Why Vegas?" Sin City is not exactly a convenient pre- or post-cruise option, considering it's landlocked. Costa spokeswoman Dana Dominici tells us that it's simply an added perk for travelers who book with Costa this month.
The ball initially got rolling via a synergetic relationship between members the two sales teams. "We ultimately decided to partner with Planet Hollywood because it's another venerable brand that offers great accommodations, fantastic entertainment, delicious culinary options and so much more," Dominici says.
Dominici also gave us a heads up today on another soon-to-be-announced promotion that's a little less "out there": Book a European cruise departing this spring or fall, and purchase air from Costa, and you'll get a free two-night hotel stay in your departure port as well as all transfers. This deal can actually be combined with the Vegas one, which means if you book a Costa Europe cruise this month, with air, you can actually get four free hotel nights -- two nights before your cruise, in Europe, and two at Planet Hollywood, to enjoy another time.
The Europe hotel stay offer applies to select European cruises departing from Civitavecchia, Savona or Venice from April through May and September through November. It's valid from select U.S. gateways, and must be booked at least 30 days prior to the sail date. This deal is available for booking now through 30 days prior to the last applicable November sailing.
The Planet Hollywood offer is valid on all non-group bookings placed during March 2009 on 7- to 14-night Europe sailings that depart in 2009; the hotel stay is redeemable, based on availability, from Sunday through Thursday. At this point, the deal only works in one direction (so vacationers who book a room at Planet Hollywood aren't being offered free or discounted Costa cruises).
We want to know: Would either of these promotions encourage you to book a cruise to Europe? Vote here!
--by Melissa Baldwin Paloti, Managing Editor
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March 9, 2009