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Articles for ‘Cruise’ Category

7 breathtaking cruise ports around the world

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

It’s “wave season.” That means from January-March every year, cruise lines and cruise distributors offer their cheapest rates in an effort to get people to book their cruises early in the year. Cheap cruises–we’ll take it! Here are some cruise ports that will take your breath away from the deck of the ship as you glide into port.

Port of Venice, Italy

Venice's grand canal at night. Courtesy of Kosala Bandara.

Venice’s grand canal at night. Courtesy of Kosala Bandara.

By land or sea, Venice is one of the most beautiful cities you’ll ever see. People visit Venice to see the canals, to eat the food, to experience the culture and learn some history, before it all sinks beneath the Adriatic Sea. But what visitors don’t necessarily expect is how the water weaving between each and every block plays with the light. In the daytime, the blue of the canals contrasts the color of the architecture, making its orange hue even more vibrant. At night, the lights play on the water, dancing and illuminating the canals to the point that almost becomes a second light source. The best time of day, though, is twilight. That time of day when the sun has dipped below the horizon but it’s not quite dark yet. A purple hue falls over the city and envelopes everything in a way you can’t experience anywhere else. Plan a cruise that docks just as the sun sets to experience the magic.

Port Vell, Barcelona, Spain

A view of Port Vell in Barcelona from Montjuïc. Courtesy of David Merrett.

A view of Port Vell in Barcelona from Montjuïc. Courtesy of David Merrett.

Continuing around from Italy and through the Mediterranean, is Barcelona, the capital of the autonomous region of Catalonia. Barcelona is steeped in history that remains visible today and is evident as soon as your cruise ship begins making its approach toward Barcelona’s Port Vell (that means “old port” in Catalan). If you can peel your eyes away from the beautifully blue Mediterranean waters and palm trees gently blowing in the sea breeze (and maybe a few topless women on a beach nearby, because, well, this is Europe), you’ll be taken aback by Barcelona’s architecture. To your right as you approach the port, you’ll see the outlines of Antoin Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia, the famed yet unfinished church that’s been under construction for decades. To your left, you’ll see the ancient fort perched atop Montjuïc, which served as a lookout for invaders from the sea. The ship will dock at the base of La Rambla, one of the most vibrant and well-known boulevards in the city. When you step onto that Barcelona soil, your adventure really begins.

Port Santorini, Greece

Santorini port. Courtesy of Shane Gorski.

Santorini port. Courtesy of Shane Gorski.

The whitewashed buildings stand out starkly against the vibrant blue of the sky and sea as you approach the Grecian island by way of the Aegean Sea. Tales of Greek monsters are nowhere near your mind as you sail toward Santorini, but you wonder if maybe this is Mt. Olympus because only the gods could tread somewhere this beautiful. The crescent-shaped island is southeast of Greece’s mainland and is the remnants of a volcanic eruption that destroyed the earliest dwellers. As you approach the island’s main port, Athinias, you’ll see the remnants of the centuries-old eruption in the dark, steep cliffs holding up the white towns and villages.

Papeete port, Tahiti, French Polynesia

Tahitian palm with the island of Moorea in the background. Courtesy of Lori Branham.

Tahitian palm with the island of Moorea in the background. Courtesy of Lori Branham.

You may feel as though you’re a castaway finally washing ashore in Tahiti after the hundreds of remote miles you traveled through the South Pacific to arrive. But at least you’ve arrived to paradise. The largest in the Windward group of French Polynesian islands, Tahiti is an explosion of green among the vast blue, with mountains jutting upward and palm trees framing the port. Tiki huts line long docks jutting out into the pristine waters. The island is centered on volcanic mountains, and is famous for its black sand beaches, formed with bits of lava fragments. Much of Tahiti’s beauty also lies beneath its waters. Farming for the Tahitian black pearl is a huge part of the countries economy, and coral reefs surrounding the island teem with colorful wildlife.

Misty Fjords port of call, Alaska

Misty Fjords, Alaska. Courtesy of Andrew Malone.

Misty Fjords, Alaska. Courtesy of Andrew Malone.

Although there are dozens of ports of call in Alaska (and most Alaskan cruises hit several per trip), Misty Fjords is not to be missed. The cruise ship is dwarfed by the rising, snow-capped mountains seemingly enveloping the fjord on all sides. A fjord is a narrow inlet lined with steep cliffs that was formed by a glacier. And this one will take your breath away. There are 1,000-foot waterfalls, sheer granite cliffs, pristine lakes and low-hanging mist in this remote section of the Alaskan panhandle. While you are awe-inspired from the landscape, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as bald eagles, grizzly bears and moose peeking out toward the ship.

Kona Port, Kailua Kona, Hawaii

Kailua-Kona after sunset, with volcanic rocks on the beach in the foreground. Courtesy of Steve Dunleavy.

Kailua-Kona after sunset, with volcanic rocks on the beach in the foreground. Courtesy of Steve Dunleavy.

There are about 150 distinct ecosystems throughout the Hawaiian islands, and you’ll be able to see a slew of them as you cruise into the port in Kona. Ships use the port at Kailua Kona, on the western side of the Hawaiian island. The Kona Coast has been distinguished by recent lava flows that continue to build on top of each other. Lush vegetation grows in over the flows as time goes by, making it possible to go from lush vegetation to a landscape of barren, hardened lava just by turning a corner. Some beaches also feature black sand. Whales are likely to be seen on cruises traveling now through April.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Downtown Reykjavik, Iceland. Courtesy of O Palsson.

Downtown Reykjavik, Iceland. Courtesy of O Palsson.

For being the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik offers some surprising small town charm. Nordic settlers founded the town that has grown up along the pristine Atlantic coastline in 874. Iceland seems to have a little bit of everything, as far as geologic formations go, and cruising into Reykjavik will give you an introductory taste. There are inlets and peninsulas, straits and islands, mountains and glaciers. There are volcanoes and hot springs, ice fields and thermal pools, all engulfed in a bubbling yet sophisticated culture gathered around fresh seafood. Iceland offers snapshots of landscapes that can’t be seen anywhere else in the world, and Reykjavik is the beautiful gateway. Make sure you look up at night for a potential glimpse of the Aurora Borealis.

Story by Ally Marotti

Date nights on the Disney Dream: Adults-only fun

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.
Disney Dream photos by Preston Mack, Kent Phillips and Mark Stroshane

By Deborah Bowen

The question comes up time and again: “Can I – should I? – take a Disney cruise when I’m not traveling with children?” The savvy traveler is well aware of Disney Cruise Line’s reputation for world-class service, and understands that while Disney certainly means character interactions and kids’ dining options, it offers “a whole new world” of incredible options for grownups as well. (more…)

Top 5 can’t-miss cruises

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

By Kim Windyka

Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and if you’re still hunting for the perfect present for that special lady in your life — be it your mom, sweetie, sister, or other great gal — what better gift than a relaxing cruise to a fabulous destination (or several fabulous destinations)? There are literally tons of cruise itineraries and vacations to choose from, but here’s a few show stoppers definitely worth a look.

Sulphur springs from St. Lucia's drive-in volcano. Credit: D.G. Brown

Sulphur springs from St. Lucia's drive-in volcano. Credit: D.G. Brown

(1) 6-Night Southern Caribbean: While many Caribbean cruises focus on the Eastern and Western portions, the Southern Caribbean has gorgeous islands with lots of historic charm. On this trip, you’ll stop first in sleepy St. Croix; take a scenic horseback ride or an exciting scuba dive. Then, beach it up in St. John’s, Antigua, before checking out the drive-up volcano (yes, you read that right) on St. Lucia. End your trip by exploring the amazing plant and animal life at the Nature Reserve on St. Kitts.


Royal Caribbean: special offers on cheap cruises

Friday, March 26th, 2010
cheap cruises

The Oasis of the Seas rock-climbing wall

Get onboard one of these cheap cruises for a fun-filled vacation. Right now Royal Caribbean cruises are an even better deal, with special offers and reduced rates. Check out their offers on cheap cruises:

  • Free casino credit, spa discount and more: Book an oceanview category room or above on select Royal Caribbean cruises departing between May 1 and Sept. 30, 2010, and you’ll get on onboard savings booklet with discounts on spa treatments, etc.
  • Reduced rates for families: Book a qualifying cheap cruise by April 15, 2010, and take advantage of reduced family rates.
  • Up to $200 in free spending: Book a qualifying May 2010 sailing on Voyager of the Seas by March 31 and get up to $200 in onboard spending.

Consider a cheap cruise on the brand new ship Oasis of the Seas for your vacation. The ship sails on a 7-Night Eastern Caribbean cruise to St. Thomas and St. Maarten in April and May, with rooms starting at $899.

CheapTickets resources:

Spring Cruise Blowout: special offers on cheap cruises

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Cheap CruiseAs cheap vacations go, cheap cruises are a fun and easy option. One price covers your room and most food and entertainment — not to mention the several destinations you visit. There are cheap cruises to just about any destination you’d like to travel — the Caribbean, Mexico, Alaska, Mediterranean and more. And during CheapTickets’ Spring Cruise Blowout, it’s easier than ever to plan a cheap vacation at sea. Just look at some of these special offers and deals on cheap cruises:

  • Norwegian Cruise Lines: Up to $300 in free onboard spending, plus the launch of Nickelodeon at Sea — cheap cruises with Nickelodeon characters and shows for families.

There are cheap cruises to fit just about every schedule and budget, from short 3-night trips to seven- and ten-night cruises. So pick your cheap vacation destination, and find a cheap cruise that fits during the Spring Cruise Blowout.

CheapTickets resources:

Cheap cruises on Holland America: last day to save

Friday, March 5th, 2010

cheap cruiseIf you’ve been thinking about taking a cheap cruise, today is your lucky day: it’s the last day to take advantage of savings on Holland America Line cruises.

With 7-night cruises starting at $499, you’ll find great value, but you won’t feel like you’re on a cheap cruise. Holland America Line’s recent “Signature of Excellence” upgrades offer travelers even more luxury amenities, like new enrichment programs, plush-top mattresses in every room, cooking demonstrations and more. And these special offers make already cheap cruises an even better deal:

Reduced prices for third and fourth guests: Bring kids, other family members or friends and save with lower costs for the third and fourth person per stateroom.

  • Consider a 7-Night Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Eurodam. This new ship features three gourmet restaurants, an expanded spa and the largest gym on any Holland America ship. This cheap cruise includes stops on Grand Turk Island, St. Thomas, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas.

40% off Alaska cruisetours: Save up to 40% when you book qualifying sea and land cruisetours in Alaska.

  • The 7-Night Alaska Explorer cruise takes travelers to Juneau, Alaska, along the Hubbard Glacier to Ketchican, and on to Victoria, British Columbia. This cheap cruise starts at $649.

CheapTickets resources:

Cheap cruises: Free spending, upgrades on Celebrity

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

cheap cruiseswidth=If you want to vacation on the cheap, cruises are an easy way to go. Cheap cruises on Celebrity give you stunning scenery, great dining and entertainment, exciting excursions — all in one all-inclusive vacation. Now Celebrity Cruise Lines has several offers that make their cheap cruises an even better deal:

  • Oceanview upgrades from $99: Book an oceanview stateroom for just $99/person more than an interior room on select cheap cruises to Alaska or Bermuda departing April 25-Aug.29.
  • Up to $100 in free onboard spending: Get $50 for 7- to 10-night cruises and $100 for 11+night cruises departing April 10-Jan. 15, 2011.
  • Third and fourth guests from $299/person for qualifying stateroom categories on select cruises
cheap cruises

AquaSpa thalassotherapy pool on the Celebrity Summit

Here are some cheap cruises on Celebrity that you may want to consider:

7-Night Bermuda Celebrity cruise: Leave from New Jersey for three full days in Bermuda. The Celebrity Summit features a waterfall pool with pool bar, onboard golf pro, Champagne and caviar bar and more. The April 25 sailing for this cheap cruise starts at $549.

7-Night Southern Caribbean Celebrity cruise: Sail from Puerto Rico to St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Antigua and St. Lucia. Onboard, relax in the spa with seawater jacuzzi, enjoy weekly afternoon tea service and take advantage of Celebrity Select Dining, Celebrity Cruise Line’s flexible dining program.

Special offers on cheap cruises like these end Feb. 28.

CheapTickets resources:

Cheap cruises: free upgrades, up to 20% off

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Cheap CruiseHow do cheap cruises get even cheaper? When you plan ahead.

Take advantage of Carnival Cruise Lines Early Saver prices and save up to 20% when you book your cheap cruise in advance — 3+ months ahead for 3- to 5-night cruises; 5+ months ahead for 6+-night cruises.

Plus, get a free upgrade (an up to $120 value)  when you book select staterooms on select cheap cruises. Here are a few Carnival cruises you may want to consider:

CheapTickets resources:

Winter cruise Blowout: hundreds of cheap cruises on sale

Monday, January 11th, 2010

cheap cruiseHuge savings and valuable bonus offers during our Winter Cruise Blowout make cheap cruises an even better travel deal. With your accommodations and meals included, a cheap cruise is like a traveling all-inclusive resort. Here is just a sample of the deals available during this sale:

  • Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines: Save up to $200 on cheap cruises in the Caribbean and Mediterranean. Three-night Bahamas cruises start at just $169.

CheapTickets resources:

Cheap last-minute cruises starting at $159

Monday, December 28th, 2009

cheap-cruisesIf you need a vacation — soon — cheap last-minute cruises can take you away in no time. Pack your bags fast to take advantage of deals like these on cheap cruises:

4-Night Western Caribbean: Leave Feb. 4 on this cheap cruise from Miami to Cozumel, Mexico. The Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas features a rock-climbing wall, ice-skating rink and activities for kids ages six months to 17 years. The Feb. 4 sailing starts at $219.

7-Night Southern Caribbean: This cheap cruise includes stops in St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Antigua and St. Lucia. The Jan. 16 sailing starts at $399.

If you can leave as soon as January 8, you can choose from two cheap cruises starting at just $159:

  • 3-Night Baja Mexico: The Carnival Elation takes travelers from San Diego to bustling Ensenada, Mexico, where they can enjoy shopping at the markets, exploring the beaches and eating local specialties from street vendors or cantinas.
  • 3-Night Bahamas: The Norwegian Sky heads from Miami to Nassau and a private island in the Bahamas.

CheapTickets resources: