New York Rivals Florida As Favorite Homeport for Cruise Lines

As one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, New York is a sought after vacation spot in its own right. In recent years, however, cruise lines have discovered the benefits – for their guests and themselves – of calling New York home.

Norwegian Cruise Line was one of the first cruise lines to temporarily homeport a ship (the Norwegian Dawn) in New York during winter. According to Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Executive Vice President of Marketing, Sales and Passenger Services, docking in New York started as a result of travel agent requests. What was then considered a wild card location soon became the permanent residence of the Dawn in 2003. What has resulted is a small fleet of ships from varying cruise lines that have chosen to move several of their vessels further up the Eastern Seaboard.

The Queen Mary 2 followed suit when it named New York as homeport on April 22, 2004. This distinctive vessel was received amid a huge fanfare including a Mayoral welcome complete with a U.S. Coastguard and Fire Department of New York escort. Bands, dignitaries and hordes of people attended the festivities.

Holland America has announced New York to be the homeport of its cruise ship, the Noordam, which will take up residence February 22, 2006. Norwegian moved the Spirit from Florida to her new home in New York, making a total of two year-round vessels in that port. Most recently, however, Princess Cruise Line joined the lineup with the positioning of their newest fleet member, Crown Princess, in New York starting June 14, 2006. But why move? And why to New York?

Ports in Florida have become almost full while cruise lines are continuing to build ships to add to their fleets. This supply and demand dilemma has all but forced cruise lines to look for alternative avenues of serving guests while maintaining costs. At the same time, cruise lines need to be able to continue providing viable access for vacationers to the most popular ports of call. Because of New York’s central location and popularity, it offers local attractions equal to or better than those of Florida. With three airports – JFK, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International – New York also provides more accessible travel accommodations for those flying in to meet their ship.

Vacationers benefit with exciting pre- or post-cruise holidays in a town that literally offers everything imaginable. From five-star, celebrity-owned restaurants to entertainment that sets a worldwide standard to a shopping experience unmatched in any other city, New York has a heavy draw with cruisers. Plus the presence of nearby hotels that fit every budget makes finding and booking accommodations simple.

Cruise lines appreciate the fact that they can now offer departures from a second desirable location. Plus, because of New York’s proximity, cruise lines are still able to offer competitively priced packages to the most popular destinations including the Caribbean and Mexico while, at the same time, offering added flexibility for their guests.

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Cruising – Five Quick Tips Before Taking A Cruise Ship Vacation

Cruising is a wonderful and relaxed way to see several countries while enjoying the sun. Today, cruise trips are extremely popular due to their low cost and luxury travel experience.

However, like all travelling, there are a few things you need to be aware of before you start to plan your cruise ship vacation.

Here are some cruise tips to help guide you on your journey.

1.All inclusive cruises are not available

Most all cruise lines do not offer an all inclusive cruise package. Alcohols, soft drinks and even water all needs to be paid for when on cruise ships. The only things included are the cruise itself, your cabin and generally at least 1-2 meals a day.

2.Shop around and consult different cruise travel agents

Cruise travel agents are like travel agents, but are experts in cruising. Be prepared to tell the cruise agent exactly what you are looking for. You could visit 5 different agencies and receive 5 different quotes for the same cruise. In addition, look for deals in off weeks. A fare may be $2000 one week and $800 the following week.

3.Be aware of added charges

If you are planning to cruise alone and don’t want to share your cabin, you can anticipate a single’s supplement charge of 10% to 100% of a per person’s rate (depending on cruise line). In addition, a lot of cruises require you to pay extra for any cruise shore excursions, or any special activities that are offered on board. Be prepared to spend an additional 30% of the cost to take part in any of these activities.

4.Knowing when the best time to cruise is

Cruising is usually a little cheaper during the spring or fall. Weather can be uncertain, especially in the fall given many Caribbean destinations could have hurricane seasons during this time. This is something to watch out for. The dry season for Caribbean cruises is during the summer where as the rainy season is during the winter. Other cruise lines have short cruising seasons, such as Alaska cruises which normally run from May to September.

5.Have fun!

One of the most important tips that I can give to you on your cruise ship vacation is to have a great time. Relax! After all it’s your vacation and you deserve to make the most out of it. There are many things for you to do, fancy dinners and dressing up, meeting new friends, visiting exotic locations, being on deck in the sun, doing cruise shore excursions, and much more! It’s important to have fun, so when you come back you feel better about yourself and that you got the most out of your time and money.

Remember, cruising is an absolutely exceptional way to spend your vacation. They are very relaxing and a very enjoyable way to spend some time away. However, like all vacations, you need to know what is required before purchasing your dream cruise ship vacation. Keep this in mind and I have no doubt your cruise trip will be a complete success!

Bargain Cruises Guide- Have fun on Bargain Cruises

Cruises are currently better interesting options for family vacations, single’s getaways and honeymoons. The joy of spending less than weekly salary for a vacation package at sea is known as bargain cruise. Bargain Cruises are the best way to travel.

You may consult a travel agent who has specialization in cruising. There are so many travel agents that are specializing in Caribbean, Alaska or Rhine etc. You’ve to just meet an experienced travel agent who has specialization in the area where you want to spend your vacations. Sometimes the agent has not any experience about that place so you should choose travel agent carefully.

Today Internet offers great information about bargain cruises. At present every cruise line has its own web site and they offers complete information about their cruise. You can book your seats in advance by getting information via Internet. You can also get discounts by reserving your seats in advance. Cruise lines updates their sites regularly to give latest information about cruise. You can also have a look of floor plan of ship and its cabins from their website that will help you in making right decision. You should search for unsold empty cabins for getting heavy discounts.

Generally last minute cruise bargains offers heavy discount because the cruise lines are trying to fill empty cabins at the departure time. So it is the best option to choose the cruise that is going to leave within next two weeks. Those people who can manage all the arrangements on a short notice can enjoy bargain cruises completely. The people who can’t travel on such short notice it is not good for them. Sometimes cruise lines offer discounts of 50% or more for the last minute reservations.

Repositioning cruise is also great option for bargain cruises. It will offer more time to enjoy ship’s facilities. You can also visit some odd ports where the cruise traffic is less. These cruises are also known as ‘repo cruises’. If you’re planning before several months it is the best for you. You should always keep in mind that the overall cost of repo cruises is more than ordinary cruises. They don’t require advertisements because they’ve standing reservation for every season. Cost of repo cruises is large because it offers amenities for three or more weeks.

Find Out The Right Cruise For You

Once up a time, it was only the older people who chose to spend their vacation by taking a cruise. This has changed now. No matter, whichever walk of life, one is, each and every one of us wants a break from the humdrum of every day life and the drudgery of work; a cruise offers a fantastic getaway from this, and now cruise lines offer a wide variety of options and programs which are suitable to one and all.

Celebrity Cruises are a new treat, which are offered by Cruise Lines. The time spent cruising on these luxury lines will surely make you feel like a celebrity. Plenty of time to indulge yourself by way of massages, or just lounge about or swim, maids and butlers waiting on you, and to top it, catering of a very high standard, all go to make this a trip you will completely enjoy.

Very often a cruise has been a turning point of one’s love life, for those who are single. Cruises which are customized for singles plan activities, which combine relaxation with socialization. They ensure that there is a balance of the number of men and women onboard. There is every possibility of meeting your dream partner, failing which you would anyway have made great friends with whom you can have a good time.

For those which children, a cruise is a great way to spend the vacation. Theme Cruises are available from Disney and other similar companies which offer fun with the cartoon characters and also a wide range of activities for you and your children far removed from just swimming. Your children will be having a good time while you will get some quality time with your spouse, without having to worry about them. At the end of the day, programs, which include the whole family, will be there before the perfectly enjoyable day ends.

While such theme cruises are great for people with smaller children, an adventure cruise would be ideal for those with older children. Visiting and exploring new regions and cultures will definitely be exciting for both you and your children, who could easily imagine themselves to be great adventurers. Such cruises can be taken to visit places anywhere in the world, be it in the wine country of California or the rainforests of Costa Rica or even the Antarctica. You could be hiking in a national park or exploring the ruins of the Incas in Mexico. After all these exciting adventures and outings, you can get back on board the ship and relax, for the cruises are tailored to have a balanced combination of adventure activities and relaxation.

Caribbean Cruise: Choosing The Line That Fits You

A longed for retreat is shared in the bright days of Caribbean. The beaches, the foods and all! What more would you ask?

The Caribbean is among the most in demand tourist spots in the world. So it is not surprising to see millions of vacationers flocking the Caribbean Islands.

Caribbean cruises are very popular as well. Cruising along the islands give vacationers the rare chance of exploring the entire wonders of this top class destination. Added to it are the fun that cruising entails; leisure at ones fingertips and luxury on the other.

Planning to go aboard a Caribbean Cruise is much easier compared to the hassles back then. Most Caribbean cruises have online portals, which make them easier to reach. Tour planners are sure to help you in your schemes with just a click of the button. They provide help that would be more than welcome especially on vacation periods when tourists abound.

While there may be a number of Caribbean cruises available at any time of the year, vacation periods are expected to be booked much earlier than normal. This then can make accommodations a challenge. You can access their web portals online and book instantly. However, you also must be choosy in the Caribbean cruise that you would want to book into.

The competition for taking the most number of passengers seems to be the ultimate motto for all cruise liners. In here, don’t get trapped with the confusion of the game. Evaluate your purpose.

First, are you traveling with the family? Then it wise that you take a Caribbean cruise that will accommodate the youngest member up to the oldest of your party.

Check the facilities available. There are cruises that have equipments for childcare while there are those that does not have any.

Check also their programs for young adults and elders. With this, it would be a great idea to go on deck a Disney Cruise line where especially designed activities are made for both toddlers and teenagers. There are also themed presentations that focus on family.

Traveling on a budget? Caribbean cruises can also accommodate you with lines of medium-priced ships. However for those traveling without their minds on spending money, you will be amazed by the selections of cruises that will give you the best of everything, except only the entire sea! Take note of liners, which give high-end accommodations like the Queen Mary II or the Silversea.

Yet, prior to any decision it is wise to get as much information as you would prefer to really know the differences of each cruise.

Each one in the lines of Caribbean cruises are made to cater individual needs while providing you options for ideal combinations of activities and prices and destination stops. Whether you are traveling on extravagance, touring with your family or simply would want to get away with the one you love, Caribbean cruises are sure to provide you with whatever you require.

There are basically two types of Caribbean cruises: the contemporary or value class and the Supreme or Luxury class.

The most popular among the contemporary class are the Royal Caribbean and Carnival, which cover almost the full section of the industry. These are especially created for the vacationers who are on the budget and for famous holidays.

Premium cruise lines on the other hand, offer superiority of service that is incomparable elsewhere however, they are considerably smaller in size. These include cruise lines such as Cunard and Seabourn that are among the most well known members of the industry.

For people who have the idea of making a Caribbean trip unique, there are cruises that cover especial tours in spots that are not normally reached by other cruise lines.

Fear Not! You Can Book Your Own Cruise Of A Lifetime!

Many people are simply overwhelmed when it comes time to book the cruise vacation of their dreams. There are so many options, so many cruise lines, so many destinations, and so many considerations. The list just continues on and on until one feels like they will never be able to sort through the jumble to find the perfect vacation package. But you can book the cruise vacation that you’ve always dreamed of. And while you can use a travel agent to do it, you can do it just as easily on your own if you know how.

The first step to booking your cruise vacation is to research and gather all of the cruise information you can find. Doing a keyword search online is a great place to start. You can also visit your local travel agent for brochures and catalogues printed by Princess Cruise Lines and various other cruise lines. Compare prices, destinations, and overall service of each vacation package offered to get a basic idea of what type of package you would like to purchase.

Next you will need to choose your destination. Again, the internet is a great tool. Online you will find tourist information, pictures, and testimonials for all of the top cruise destinations in the world. Your local travel agent may also be able to give you some insight into which ports are most popular among which types of travelers. Another great source of information are friends and acquaintances that have traveled with a cruise line. They can give you a unique perspective and advice on which destinations to avoid and which ones to include in your itinerary.

Before you visit your travel agent or book online, you should have a good idea of how much money you can spend and how long of a cruise you would like to take. Keep in mind that the time of year that you book your cruise can have a huge impact on the price you will pay. This means that you may be able to book a longer cruise with more ports of call for the same price of a shorter cruise if you book during the off season.

Once you have gathered and researched all of the information, you can begin booking your cruise. You can do this through a respected and well-known travel agent of your choosing or you can book your cruise yourself online or directly through the cruise line itself. No matter which method you choose, you will have to make several decisions about your vacation at this point in the planning process. Here are just a few:

1. Choose your point of departure and the travel method that you will use to get there.

2. Decide on ports of call and any extra activities that you may wish to take advantage of.

3. Choose your stateroom. Keep in mind that staterooms vary in price, amenities, size, and services available.

4. Become familiar with cancellation policies and restrictions.

5. Find out if you will be required to put down a deposit and how much it will be. Some cruise lines will require you to pay the full amount due up front.

Travel Agent or Book Yourself?

While finding a cheap price used to be the motivation that kept people glued to their computer well into the night looking for the perfect deal on a cruise, the popularity of cruises has led to the equalization of cruise prices all across the board. This means that you will probably pay the same price for a cruise that you book yourself as you would for one that you book through a travel agency. So which method should you choose? Take a quick look at the following advantages of each before you make your decision.

Booking with a travel agent has many advantages over booking online, and since the cruise line pays the agent a commission for booking the trip with its line, there is virtually no cost to you when you use an agent. Here are just a few of the advantages of booking your vacation through an agent:

1. An agent is quite familiar with all of the cruise lines available and the packages that they offer. This helps them to quickly narrow in on a package of your choice without having to do a lot of unnecessary research.

2. Since agents are familiar with popular cruise lines but are not employed by them, they can give you unbiased advice concerning your vacation and which cruise line you should travel with.

3. Most travel agents are certified or licensed through the Cruise Line International Association and the Travel Institute.

4. A travel agent will look for reduced pricing for your trip even after it has been booked and rebook your sea voyage for you at a lower price if and when it becomes available.

5. In the unfortunate even that something goes awry during your trip, your travel agent will act as a mediatory between you and the offending cruise line.

Booking online also has many advantages. Although a rare occurrence, searching for last minute deals online can still yield results. But even if you can’t find a last minute cruise bargain, you may choose to book online for one of the following reasons:

1. Online cruise websites contain most of the information that is available to travel agents. This puts the control of your vacation directly into your hands. You may also be able to browse inside information that would not have come up during a normal meeting with your travel agent.

2. You can access online travel agencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This allows for a lot of convenience and flexibility, which is perfect for people who have a hard time keeping and making appointments.

3. When it comes to researching your vacation, there is no better place to do it than online. Here you will find numerous research tools as well as photos, diagrams, reviews, schedules, and videos just to name a few.

4. Using an online calendar, you can search for the most inexpensive package available through the cruise line of your choosing. Sometimes you can save a few hundred dollars by leaving a week earlier or later than your scheduled time frame.

5. Since your travel agent narrows in on certain lines, ships, and destinations according to your wants and needs, you may not be able to browse all of the options available. Booking online will allow you to do this and more.

As you can see, there are many advantages of each, so it may be hard to make a decision. If you’re finding this to be true, you may want to book your vacation through an agent and perform additional research online yourself. Whatever your decision, once you have looked at all the details, go for it!

Explore Exotic Ports Of Call In The North And South Pacific To Choose Your Cruise

With all of the decisions that you have to make before taking a cruise, you may think that picking a cruise destination is the least of your worries. Four, seven, twenty-nine days on a luxurious cruise ship with nothing to do but while away the hours and absorb the scenery, who cares when and where you port? It’s all bound to be good, right?

Not necessarily. Many popular ports of call are visited by numerous cruise ships belonging to different cruise lines each and every day. These ports are often crowded and so touristy in nature that it is hard to enjoy or even discern the cultural allure that made these ports popular in the first place. For this reason, you should always research the ports of call offered in your cruise package as well as the ship that you book passage on.

Sapphire Princess: Ports of Call North And South Pacific

In this article we will look at just one of Princess Cruise Line’s ships, the Sapphire Princess, which visits numerous ports of call each year. In the summer months, she tours the waters of Alaska bypassing scenic glacier formations and during the rest of the year she can be found touring Mexico, Australia, and the South Pacific. Below is a brief review of two of the most popular cruises offered aboard the Sapphire Princess and just a few of her ports of call.

Hawaii, Tahiti, and the South Pacific

This amazing 29-day cruise begins in Sydney, Australia and takes a leisurely tour of the South Pacific making numerous stops before landing at Los Angeles nearly a full month later. The pricing for this cruise starts at $3,499 for an inside stateroom but is well worth the cost. On day 17 of this cruise, passengers are able to enjoy a full day in Bora Bora, French Polynesia. On day 23, the ship ports at Honolulu, Hawaii.

Bora Bora

Bora Bora’s main attraction is its multi-colored crystal clear lagoon and the many water-based activities that it offers. Some of the most popular activities include shark feeding, snorkeling, and scuba diving. If you need to get away from the ocean for a little while and test your sea legs on dry ground, Bora Bora offers scenic tours to see WWII cannons and breathtaking views of the lagoon from the hills above.

In addition to these attractions, there are numerous fine restaurants and shops to be found in Bora Bora. Unfortunately, transportation is a bit complicated on the island with only one public bus. Bicycles are the recommended mode of transportation for tourists to this area.

Honolulu

Honolulu is the most popular destination in Hawaii and for good reason. No matter what you desire to do, Honolulu can deliver. Its premier beach, Waikiki, is reputedly one of the best beaches in the world. Aside from lounging on the beach, you can also enjoy scuba diving, deep sea fishing, and snorkeling. Land-based attractions include numerous golf courses, the Honolulu Botanical Gardens, the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, the Honolulu Zoo, and the Waikiki Aquarium.

If you’re a history buff, you might want to visit Pearl Harbor while you are in Honolulu. Here you will find the USS Arizona Memorial which is dedicated to those who gave their lives at Pearl Harbor during World War II.

Voyage of the Glaciers, Alaska

This seven-day cruise is quite a deal with pricing starting at $599 for an inside stateroom. Guests are treated to leisurely days filled with scenic glacier cruising as well as several stops as the ship travels from Whittier to Vancouver. On day three of this excursion, the cruise passes through Glacier Bay National Park. On day six, the Sapphire Princess makes port at Ketchikan, Alaska.

Glacier Bay National Park

Some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world can be seen from the rails of a cruise ship on a leisurely trek through the Glacier Bay National Park. For a full day, passengers aboard the Sapphire Princess’s Voyage of the Glacier Cruise can sit spellbound as awe-inspiring images of ice shelves and beautiful glaciers pass slowly by.

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve features 16 tidewater glaciers and 12 icebergs. Here you can also catch a glimpse of the abundant wildlife that calls the glaciers home. Creatures that call this region home include bears, deer, mountain goats, whales, and numerous types of waterfowl.

Ketchikan

More than 800,000 cruise passengers make port at Ketchikan, Alaska each year. What they find is a mind-boggling array of activities that makes this back-woods, sparsely-populated wilderness one of the most adventurous ports of call in the world.

While many activities in Ketchikan require more time than an average cruise port will allow, there are several activities that can be done during a short stay. Some of these activities include exploring the historic downtown area; visiting Saxman Totem Park, Totem Bight State Historical Park, or the Totem Heritage Center and Tribal Fish Hatchery to look at totem poles; going hiking in the Tongass National Forest; going kayaking; taking one of the many boat or air tours offered in the area; visiting historical exhibits; or chartering a fishing boat to test your skills against the teeming population of halibut and salmon.

Remember; this is only a glimpse at a couple of ports of call on two of the Sapphire Princess’s cruises. All the major cruise lines will have many different cruise packages and that will make multiple ports of call on each voyage. So be sure to research the cruise thoroughly before you make your final destination decision.