Can't Decide Where to Go on Your Cruise Vacation? Consider These Options
By Suzana Dos Santos1
If someone told you that for less than $100 a day, you could take a vacation where your meals were completely paid for and you would be seeing the world, you would probably jump at the chance. That's the nature of many cruise vacations. For often less than $100 a day, you can stay aboard a world-class ocean liner, eat all the fabulous food you want for no additional cost, enjoy all the onboard entertainment and activities, all while seeing the world.
Any way you slice it, cruise vacations are growing in popularity. In 2010, passenger capacity grew by almost 7 percent over 2009. Altogether, more than 18.4 million passengers have cruised the world's seas. It is a $26.8 billion industry that grows year after year. It's time for you to get on board and see what those other 18 million people are doing on their vacations.
Take a look at some of the great deals that are available for booking:
* Five-night Western Caribbean Cruise
This six-day and five-night cruise leaves out of Miami, Florida, and has stops scheduled in Roatan, Honduras, on day three; Cozumel, Mexico, on day four, and back to Miami on day six. You will also spend two days at sea, lapping up all there is to do aboard the Celebrity Century. This revitalized ship offers accommodations with 314 private verandas, 14 Sky Suites and 174 concierge class staterooms that come with fresh-cut flowers and upgraded bathroom facilities - all for prices starting at around $299 per person.
If you're looking for entertainment in the evenings, consider the two-story Celebrity Theatre for first-run movies and stage shows. Looking for something more intimate? Stop by Rendez-Vous Square with its cabaret acts and rising stars. For dancing, there is the Crystal Room, and for piano music and nighttime disco, find your way to the Hemisphere Lounge. If you're looking to try your luck, check out Fortunes Casino, which offers blackjack, roulette, craps, Caribbean stud poker and the ever-popular slot machines.
* Three-night Bahamas Cruise
Leaving from Miami, this cruise takes four days and three nights to cruise to Nassau, Bahamas, and then Great Stirrup Cay, a small private island in the Bahamas purchased by Norwegian Cruise Line. Prices start at around $199 a person, based on adult double occupancy.
Aboard the Norwegian Sky, you will get to try out the flexibility of what this cruise line calls Freestyle Cruising, which means you can dine when and where you want. You are not stuck with one table and the same people for every meal.
The Norwegian Sky is a young ship that boasts the most balcony staterooms. If you are bringing the kids, relax and know that they will enjoy the "Kids Crew." The adults can enjoy any of 10 bars and lounges, take in a comedy show, or just relax on one of the balcony staterooms.
* Seven-day Mexico Cruise
Starting at an amazing $484 per person, you can take a seven-day, six night cruise to Mexico. Leaving out of Los Angeles, the trip includes stops in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Mazatlan, Mexico; Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; and then back home to California.
Aboard the Sapphire Princess, you can shop the boutiques, dine elegantly or casually, and enjoy any of its four swimming pools. Check out the conservatory, which has a swimming pool and a bar, or an Asian-themed Lotus spa with its fitness center and outdoor sunken pool. If you want to exercise your mind instead, stop by the art gallery, library or writing room.
As a special touch, the Sapphire Princess is home to the Hearts and Minds wedding chapel with the only wedding-at-sea program available.
* Seven-night Australian and New Zealand Cruise
Cruises at such fabulously low prices are not just local trips. Starting at $765 per person, double occupancy, you can take an eight-day visit that starts in Sydney, Australia, and then moves on to Noumea, New Caledonia; Isle of Pines, New Caledonia; and back to Sydney. There are four days at sea that give you the chance to take in all the activities, such as its two swimming pools, an Egyptian-themed solarium spa and pool, and eight theaters and lounges. For the family, you will find the Club Ocean Children's Room and the FantaSEAS Teen Center.
Taxes, Fees and Restrictions
Remember that space is limited on some ships and may not be available on all sailings. There are some blackout dates, travel restrictions, and advance purchase requirements on some packages. And when calculating your costs, remember that the cost of getting to the port is not included in the cost of the cruise. All cruise prices are based on double occupancy. As you probably know, there are some expenses that are not included in your ticket price - such as tips, alcoholic beverages and some special excursions at the ports of call.
Cruising has never been easier or more exciting. Find out what all the fuss is about and book your first cruise today!
Suzana Dos Santos is a freelance writer who writes about several topics including discount cruises.
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Views expressed in the article are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of CaribbeanChoice, its staff or members.