White Travel of West Hartford, CT, is giving single travelers a big break by eliminating single supplements on the June 24 Celebrity Summit cruise to Bermuda. The seven night voyage sails round-trip from Bayonne, NJ (Cape Liberty) to Bermuda, where it stays three nights.
Single fares start at $1073 (inside); $1123 (outside) and $1573 for a balcony stateroom. Rates include taxes and port charges.
For reservations and additional information call White Travel, telephone (800) 547-5790.
Few items can run up the final tab of a cruise like shore excursions. A couple on a one-week Caribbean cruise spending an extra grand on activities they purchased from the cruise company? No problem. In Europe and Alaska you can spend three or four times the cost of the cruise ticket it.
Cruise lines impose a large markup in the tours they sell to passengers. Don’t be surprised if you find a tour for sale at a hotel or online that’s up to 50% lower than the identical excursion sold by the cruise line.
For example, on a NCL cruise in Hawaii the cruise line’s price for a one-day Budget car rental was $70. In the ship’s cyber cafe, savvy passengers booked the same Budget car for $30 per day.
Whenever possible, I try to set up my own shore excursions before departure. Enter “St. Thomas snorkeling” in Google and you’ll find a half-dozen companies with more affordable programs. Google brings up local ground operators and sightseeing services all over the world. In pre-Euro Europe touring with in a private car with guide was much less expensive than taking the ship’s motor-coach excursion.
State and country government web sites are a good source of local tour operators. For example, Travel Alaska offers dozens of Alaska sightseeing excursions that are more affordable than comparable cruise line shore excursions.
Several companies sell shore excursions for cruisers at a competitive price. I recommend cruise.com, Port Promotions and Shore Trips. They use smaller vehicles and four or more people can customize their own day ashore.
The most important part of getting good prices on shore excursions is advance research and planning because excursions must be booked before departure.
Tips For Cutting Costs in Europe & Hawaii:
Some European ports are savored best on foot. Barcelona, Venice, Florence and many of the smaller cities are delightful to explore at your own leisure and you can get maps/guide books before departure. I never buy a shore excursion in the Greek Isles with the exception of Delos, an island a few miles from Mykonos.
In Hawaii I purchased two tours from the cruise line but on other days rented a car directly from Budget which opened vistas of scenic sightseeing. Remember, you’re in the United States and traffic rules are the same.
But here’s a caveat: if the local company doesn’t get you back to the ship on time, it will sail without you. Getting to the next port to meet the ship is your responsibility. I recommend taking the name of the cruise line’s port agent, which is listed in the daily program delivered to your stateroom.
And some tours are virtually impossible to arrange on your own. For example, white water rafting in Costa Rica is a fabulous experience. Since local ground operators only sell to groups, count that experience out if you don’t take the ship’s tour.
And, with the U.S. $$$ low, Europe is now extremely expensive for Americans. I suggest a Google search to see how local prices stack up against the cruise line’s price. Of course, shore excursions in Europe will be more expensive as well since cruise companies purchase services from local tour operators in dollars.
Do you arrange your own sightseeing ashore or mainly rely on shore excursions? What experiences have you had?
Silversea Cruises has announced five 2012 Eastern Mediterranean Silver Spirit cruises that include round-trip business class airfare, authentic local experience such as a gondola ride along the Grand Canal in Venice, transfers, pre-cruise hotel stay and a choice of small-group shore excursions in every port. To participate in promotion, cruisers or their agents must mention “Shore Amore” at the time of booking.
Promotional rates start at $6299 per person, double occupancy, also include Silversea’s onboard features such as butler service in suite staterooms and all beverages (including alcohol). Ranging from eight to 12 days in duration, itineraries (below) include stops in Spain, Italy, Greece, Croatia
BARCELONA TO VENICE: 12 Days, July 22 – August 3. Before embarking Voyage 5221, guests will enjoy a one-night stay at the Casa Fuster Hotel and a “Tapas and Touring” shore experience in Barcelona. Ports of call include Palma de Mallorca, Cagliari (Sardinia), Trapani, Valletta, Siracusa (Sicily), Dubrovnik and Hvar. Ship overnights in Venice. Best available fares start at $9,299, including business class air.
VENICE TO ISTANBUL: 11 Days, August 2 – 13. Before embarking Voyage 5222, guests will enjoy a one-night stay at Venice’s Monaco and Grand Canal Hotel plus a gondola ride along the Grand Canal. Ports of call include Split, Kotor, Corfu, Rhodes, Santorini and Kusadasi. Ship overnights in Venice. Best available fares start at $8,999, including business class air.
ISTANBUL TO ATHENS: 8 Days, August 12 – 20. Before embarking Voyage 5223, guests will enjoy a one-night stay at the Ceylon Intercontinental Hotel in Istanbul plus a cruise along the Bosphorus. Ports of call include Kusadasi, Rhodes, Aghios Nikolaos, Santorini and Mykonos. Best available fares start at $7,199, including business class air.
ATHENS TO VENICE: 8 Days, August 19 – 27. Before embarking Voyage 5224, guests will enjoy a one-night stay at the Grande Bretagne Hotel in Athens plus “Dinner with Acropolis View” shore experience. Ports of call include Monemvasia, Corfu, Kotor and Split. Ship overnights in Venice. Best available fares start at $6,299, including business class air.
VENICE TO MONTE CARLO: 8 Days, August 26 – September 3. Before embarking Voyage 5225, guests will enjoy a one-night stay at Venice’s Monaco and Grand Canal Hotel plus a gondola ride along the Grand Canal. Ports of call include Dubrovnik, Messina, Sorrento and Bonifacio (Corsica). Ship overnights in Venice. Best available fares start at $6,299, including business class air.
Guests or their travel agents must mention promotion name “Shore Amore” at the time of booking to receive this special offer. For complete details, click here or visit Silversea.com/ShoreAmore.
If you’re watching the Tony Awards to learn which Broadway plays are the hottest, you’ll also see live entertainment broadcast from Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas. As the only cruise line to feature fully-licensed Broadway productions, Royal Caribbean is partnering with the Tony Awards to include a live broadcast from the middle of the Caribbean Sea, where the line’s Oasis of the Seas’ cast of Hairspray will perform in the ship’s Opal Theater as part of the Tony Awards program.
With the launching of sister ships Oasis/Allure of the Seas Royal Caribbean has invested in beefing up its onboard entertainment. In addition to live Broadway products such as Saturday Night Fever, Hairspray and Chicago: The Musical, DreamWorks characters are a staple on Royal Caribbean’s ships.
The 66th Annual Tony Awards, which are presented by the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, will be broadcast in a live three-hour ceremony from the Beacon Theatre on the CBS television network on Sunday, June 10, 2012.
Carnival Cruise Lines will increase capacity on one week Southern Caribbean itineraries from San Juan, as well as on its four- and five-day cruises from Miami, deploying newer, larger ships in both markets.
Carnival Valor will replace the 2,758-passenger Carnival Victory, which will reposition from San Juan to Miami to assume the Carnival Destiny’s four- and five-day cruises beginning Feb. 4, 2013. Carnival Victory will be the newest and largest ship to operate year-round four- and five-day voyages from South Florida.
Additionally, Carnival Destiny will offer a 16-day transatlantic crossing departing Miami Feb. 4 and arriving Civitavecchia (Rome) on Feb. 20, 2013. Featured ports on the crossing include Ponta Delgada (Azores), Portugal; Malaga, Spain; Monte Carlo, Monaco; and Genoa and Livorno, Italy.
Beginning Feb. 10, 2013, Carnival Valor will launch seven-day Southern Caribbean sailings from San Juan becoming the port’s newest and largest year-round ship. The itinerary features extended calls at five tropical islands – St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.; Bridgetown, Barbados; St. Lucia, West Indies; St. Kitts, West Indies; and St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles. In addition to featuring some of the Caribbean’s most beautiful beaches, these seaside destinations are known for their world-class snorkeling and scuba diving, as well as water sports opportunities.
Carnival Victory will become the newest and largest ship to offer year-round four- and five-day cruises from Miami when it launches service on Feb. 4, 2013. Carnival Victory’s Miami-based schedule features three distinctly different itineraries, providing consumers with a variety of convenient and affordable cruise options departing from one of America’s top tourist destinations.
Four-day “long weekend” cruises departing Thursdays call at Key West, Fla., and Cozumel, Mexico; five-day cruises departing Mondays include stops at Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands; the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay; and Nassau, The Bahamas. Five-day voyages departing Saturdays feature George Town, Grand Cayman; and Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Each of these destinations offers a truly unique vacation experience, with miles of gorgeous white-sand beaches and an interesting array of shore excursion choices such as zip-lining, horseback riding, kayaking, and more.
For additional information visit www.carnival.com or contact any travel agent.