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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

[captionid=”attachment_5580″ align=”aligncenter” width=”500″]Venice's grand canal at night. Courtesy of Kosala Bandara. Venice’s grand canal at night. Courtesy of Kosala Bandara.[/caption]

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

CTIXblog CTA _ cheap of the week

Tagged: Cruise, Family, Hawaii, International

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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.

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Tagged: Caribbean, Cruise, Events, International, Tips & advice

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Cheap cruises
If you’re wishing for a tropical getaway this winter, put one of these cheap Caribbean cruises on your list.

Cruises can be a great way to combine the ease and relaxation of an all-inclusive vacation with the excitement of visiting several different islands. And travel deals on a variety of Caribbean cruises mean that there’s an affordable option for everyone.

A Five-night Western Caribbean cruise on the Celebrity Century starts at just$199 for the January 26 and February 9 sailings. You’ll sail to Key West and Grand Cayman — all while enjoying the $55 million in new ship features from a recent renovation.

This Seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruise won’t feel like a cheap cruise, with ten restaurants, a spa, champagne bar and much more. But book an interior room for the February 14 sailing, and you’ll pay just $499. This cruise on the Norwegian Dawn includes stops in St. Thomas, the British Virgin Islands and a private island in the Bahamas.

On this Seven-night Western Caribbean cruise, you can dine at 12 restaurants, swim with dolphins in Roatan, Honduras; explore the coral reef off the coast of Cozumel and much more. All of that comes with a cheap cruise price tag of $479 for an interior room for the February 22 sailing. This cruise aboard the Norwegian Pearl also includes stops in Belize City and a private Bahamas island.

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Tagged: Cruise, FREE!, International

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Sail away to warmer weather with cheap cruises from CheapTickets and Carnival Cruise Lines.

You can save up to 80% on cheap cruises to Mexico, the Bahamas and the Caribbean, with four-night cruises starting at just $119. And for a limited time, Carnival is offering free upgrades and free onboard spending in addition to its already low prices.

Head to Cozumel, Mexico and Grand Cayman on a five-night Western Caribbean cruise aboard the Carnival Inspiration. Use your free onboard spending on cocktails at the Rhapsody in Blue Piano Bar. Interior rooms start at $279 for the December 6 sailing.

Or sail on the Carnival Glory for a seven-night Exotic Western Caribbean cruise with stops in Cozumel, Belize, Riviera Maya, Mexico and the Bahamas. With your free onboard spending, you could indulge in a massage or body treatment at the ship’s spa. Prices start at $449 for the January 10 sailing.

Free onboard spending can be used for shore excursions, cocktails, spa treatments and more, but the offer is only good if you book one of Carnival’s cheap cruises by November 26.

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Tagged: Cruise, FREE!, International, Limited-time Offers

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Cheap cruises
The holiday travel season is here, and CheapTickets has great deals for people who want to celebrate at sea.

Cheap cruises offer an easy and affordable way to combine holiday celebrations with vacation, and there are plenty of sailings over Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah. Here is a sample:

  • Seven-night Eastern Caribbean: Cruise to St. Maarten and St. Thomas aboard the Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas. Enjoy three pools, a rock-climbing wall, ice-skating rink and plenty of other activities. Cruise leaves November 23, and prices start at $499.
  • Four-night Bahamas: Sail to Nassau and a private Bahamas island aboard the Monarch of the Seas. Let the teens hang out in the ship’s special teen loungewhile you lounge at the spa. Rooms start at $389 for this November 24 sailing.
  • Ten-night Southern Caribbean: Leave the cold behind when you visit St. Lucia, Barbados, the British Virgin Islands and more. You’ll celebrate the holidays in style with four restaurants and a Champagne and Caviar Bar. The Celebrity Galaxy leaves December 19, and prices start at $649.

Four-night Thanksgiving cruises start at just $229, and four-night December cruises start at $319. With cheap cruises from CheapTickets, your holiday travel can be easy and affordable.

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Tagged: Cruise, FREE!, International

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Cheap cruises from CheapTickets make European vacations easy and affordable. With European cruises, your accommodations and meals are prepaid in U.S. dollars, so you don’t have to worry about the exchange rate. And you’ll visit multiple destinations without having to think about local transportation. Plus, CheapTickets has travel deals on a variety of cruises. Check out these trips:

The 12-night Western Mediterranean cruise on the Azamara Journey takes you to Monte Carlo, Florence, Cartagena, Spain and much more. Interior rooms start at just $799. Or choose a verandah room at get $400 in free onboard spending.

The Carnival Liberty takes you on a 12 Night Northern Europe cruise, with stops in Amsterdam, St. Petersburg and more. Enjoy an elegant dinner at Harry’s Supper Club, eat at the ship’s sushi bar or try one of the many other dining options. Interior rooms start at $1,149.

CheapTickets has cruises to Europe starting for as little as $399 for a seven night Western Mediterranean cruise from Norwegian Cruise Line. So explore Barcelona, Rome or the Greek Isles — all with the luxury and comfort of one of our cheap cruises.

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Tagged: Cruise, International

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cheap cruises
Cheap cruises are even cheaper with CheapTickets’ World’s Largest Cruise Sale. For three days only, take advantage of unbelievable discounts on top cruise lines. With up to 75% off this season’s most popular destinations, now is definitely the time the book one of these cheap cruises for your next vacation.

Whether you are looking to explore the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean, or gaze upon the banks of Egypt, Royal Caribbean has a cruise that is guaranteed to fit anyone’s needs. Consider Freedom of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, with a 40-foot wave pool, rock climbing wall, miniature golf course and a year-round ice skating rink. During CheapTickets’ World’s Largest Cruise Sale, Royal Caribbean is offering $100 in free onboard spending and a free spa treatment in addition to already discounted prices. And if you call to book your cruise on Thursday, October 16, you can save an extra $200.

The World’s Largest Cruise Sale means that there are plenty of offers on a variety of cruise lines. Check out these other cruise deals:

  • Norwegian Cruise Line: Up to $500 in onboard spending and a reduced deposit. As one of the world’s youngest fleets, Norwegian Cruise Line offers state-of-the-art facilities and "Freestyle Cruising," allowing travelers to dress, dine and play as they please.
  • Celebrity Cruises: Up to an extra $200 off oceanview rooms or higher. Plus, through October 18 only get up to $200 in free onboard spending and 50% off your deposit. Consider our exclusive two-night dinner and dance sailing aboard the brand new Celebrity Solstice, the first ship with a manicured half-acre lawn for onboard picnics and croquet.
  • MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises: Kids sail free with paying adult. Try MSC’s seven-night Western Caribbean cruise starting at $449 or Costa’s three-night Spain and Corsica cruise starting at $399.

If you’re looking for cheap cruises, you’ll find them during CheapTickets’ World’s Largest Cruise Sale. But hurry — sale ends at midnight October 18.

CheapTickets resources:

World’s Largest Cruise Sale

Tagged: Cruise, FREE!, Limited-time Offers

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Cheap cruises are a popular option for family travel. With entertainment, food and lodging all in one place, cruises take the hassle out of organizing family vacations. Now, thanks to CheapTickets, cheap cruises are getting even cheaper!

For a limited time, CheapTickets is partnering with Disney Cruise Line to offer more than 60% off your next family vacation aboard the Disney Wonder — plus up to $100 in free onboard spending. Set sail for a three- or four-night cruise to the Bahamas and get ready for a vacation the whole family will enjoy.

Kids of all ages can enjoy a variety of Disney-themed plays and comedy acts, spend time playing sports, or hang out at the Mickey Mouse pool. Although Disney cruises are kid-friendly, there are plenty of ways for adults to play. They can visit the luxury Vista Spa and Salon or take a dip in the adults-only pool while the kids are entertained at the Oceaneer Club, Lab or the Flounders Reef Nursery. And after a meal at Pinnochio’s Pizzeria, grown ups can have a drink at one of the many bars or clubs onboard.

Select fall sailings for Disney’s three-night Bahamas cruise start at $453, plus up to $100 in free onboard spending. So pick one of these cheap cruises and make your next family vacation the best one yet!

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Cruiseblog
CheapTickets
and Carnival Cruises have teamed up to offer travel deals on cruises this fall. You can find cheap cruises to the Caribbean, Mexico and the Mediterranean. And with this CheapTickets special offer, free stateroom upgrades are available on many cruises. Check out these Caribbean cruises:

The Carnival Liberty stops in Grand Cayman, Jamaica and Cozumel during its seven-nightWestern Caribbean cruise. Onboard you can take your pick of three swimming pools, plus a separate kids pool, watch movies outside at the Seaside Theatre, or enjoy live music at The Stage. The Gold and Silver Olympian restaurants feature steak and seafood, and low-carb and low-fat Spa Carnival selections. This cruise starts at $399 for September sailings.

The eight-night Exotic Southern Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Miracle goes to St. Maarten, St. Lucia and St. Kitts. The ship’s Nic & Nora’s Supper Club evokes a 1930s New York style. The casino has 15 gaming tables, including blackjack and Texas hold ’em, and travelers rave about the Las Vegas-style shows. Interior rooms start at $579 for the December 7 sailing.

There are plenty of cheap cruises to choose from, so pick one you like and get onboard.

CheapTickets resources:

Tagged: Cruise, FREE!, International

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CheapTickets and Holland America Line help you travel the world with cheap cruises that pamper you with service.

If you want to travel to Europe, consider the Mediterranean Romance, a 12-night cruise that includes stops in Italy, Greece and Spain. Aboard the ship, you can enjoy elegant meals in the two-tier Vista Dining Room and relax in the Greenhouse Spa, which features a heated ceramic lounge in the style of a Turkish bath. The September 29 sailing starts at $1,699.

Or, you can save up to 40% on the seven-night Mexican Riviera cruise, and travel to Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan. The ship features two pools, a state-of-the-art fitness room and entertainment options including a cigar bar, piano bar and casino. The November 1 cruise starts at just $449.

Holland America Line recently upgraded its ships with new programs and amenities, including cooking demonstrations and plush-top mattresses, so even cheap cruises feel luxurious.

CheapTickets resources:

Tagged: Cruise, International