Here's a round-up of some of the best deals available this week, from Carnival's support-the-troops discount to Chinese river trips and beyond.
Soldiers Become Sailors with Carnival Military Discounts
Through a new month-long promotion from Carnival Cruise Lines (tel. 800/CARNIVAL; www.carnival.com), both active and retired military personnel can book up to three staterooms on 3- to 8-night cruises, with special discounted rates starting at $209 per person, based on double occupancy.
Reservations must be made during the month of July for cruises departing between Sept. 15, 2005, and March 31, 2006. Per-person rates for 3-night cruises start at $209, 4-night cruises start at $229, 5-nights from $289, 7-nights from $349, and 8-nights from $499.
Military personnel must be a member of the traveling party to qualify for the special rate. Proof of active military service required, and restrictions apply. Promotion is capacity controlled and not applicable with any other discount offer.
Cheap Seats for Harmony's Last Chorus
As noted here in April, Crystal Cruises (tel. 888/799-4625; www.crystalcruises.com) has decided to retire the 940-passenger Crystal Harmony -- the luxe line's first ship, launched in 1990 -- at the end of this year. In the meantime, though, passengers who book by August 15 can get 15% off all stateroom categories for Harmony's 12-night Alaska cruise, departing round-trip from San Francisco September 3 and calling at Victoria, Juneau, Skagway, Sitka, and Ketchikan, plus Glacier Bay and other natural sites along the Inside Passage. Fares start at $2,232 per person.
What next for Harmony? Following her scheduled dry-dock at year's end, she'll transfer to Japan for service with the cruise division of Crystal's parent company, Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK), who will operate her as the Asuka II. Crystal has hinted at future construction of a replacement vessel, though it hasn't yet provided details.
Clipper Puts Small Ships, Small Fares in South America for Fall
Small-ship line Clipper Cruises (tel. 800/325-0010; www.clippercruise.com) initially earned its rep offering coastal cruises that mixed a casual onboard atmosphere with an in-depth port experience, with historians and naturalists along for edification. Its acquisition of the deep-water ships Clipper Adventurer and Clipper Odyssey in 1997 and 1999, though, let the line branch out into worldwide cruise itineraries.
Clipper Adventurer in particular has long been a Frommer's favorite. Built in 1975 in the former Yugoslavia, she was acquired by Clipper in 1997 and sent to Denmark's Fredericia Skibsvaerft A.S. Shipyard for a $13 million refit that turned her into one of the most appealing vessels in the small-ship market, combining an interior that has the feel of an old-time passenger ship with an A-1 ice-hardened hull that allows her to sail practically anywhere. This fall, "practically anywhere" translates as South America and Antarctica, on the former of which Clipper is currently offering 25% savings.
- The 12-night Exploring the Route of the Conquistadors cruise, departing October 6, follows the route of 16th century Spanish explorers from ColÂ¿n, Panama, to Callao, Peru. After transiting the Panama Canal, Clipper Adventurer visits the Darien Jungle, with passengers using its fleet of Zodiac landing craft to explore the wildlife-rich islands and coastal ports. Discounted rates start at $3,653 per person, double occupancy.
- The 15-night Treasures of Western South America cruise, departing October 18, sails from Callao, Peru, to Puerto Montt, Chile, highlighting the scenery and sights of the two countries' gorgeous coastline, plus Incan ruins and a huge variety of flora and fauna. Discounted fares start at $4,185 per person, double occupancy.
Passengers who book both cruises back-to-back are eligible for a special 40%-off rate, bringing the total cost for 27 nights down to $6,180 per person for a Category 1 cabin -- a savings of more than $4,100 off the full fare for both trips. Passengers traveling solo can get a full double cabin for each trip by paying an extra $500 supplement.
Viking River Cruises Dangles 2006 Deals in Europe, Russia & China
Like to plan ahead? If so, Viking River Cruises (tel. 877/668-4546; www.vikingrivercruises.com) has a deal for you: Passengers who book any 2006 European river cruise or China Yangtze River cruise by July 20, 2005, can fly round-trip to Europe, Russia, or China from only $499. Additionally, Viking River Cruises Early-Booking Discounts give passengers an extra $350 per person savings (up to $700 per cabin).
Both new and existing clients may take advantage of the Early-Bird Bonus offer, and the deal is combinable with Viking's Past Passenger Discount. Interested travelers should contact their travel agent or contact Viking directly and reference offer code "EBD."
Cruise the Norwegian Fjords in Fall, Save 10-20%
Norwegian Coastal Voyage (tel. 800/323-7436; www.norwegiancoastalvoyage.us), the company that operates combined ferry, cargo, and cruise service up the long, gorgeous coast of Norway, has just announced a sale on coastal cruises sailing September 1 through December 31, applicable to new bookings in outside cabin categories U and P. Regular published fares for those categories start at $1,118 for 6-night voyages, $1,361 for 7 nights, and $2,032 for the 12-night round-trip. The fall savings amount to a reduction of 10% on round-trip sailings and 20% on 6- and 7-night one-way itineraries, and apply to the cruise price only (not to additional land tours). These lower fares can be combined with senior savings of $95 to $170 for travelers age 67 and up as well as AARP member discounts of $70 to $100 per cabin.
What the Travel Agencies Are Offering
Here are some of the best deals a handful of major travel agencies are advertising this week. Cruises are capacity-controlled and offers may be withdrawn at any time. Similar deals may be available from competing online and brick-and-mortar agencies. All rates are per person and include port charges. Rates for the ultra-luxe lines may also include gratuities and some or all beverages.
Just Cruisin' Plus (tel. 800/888-0922; www.justcruisinplus.com)
- Princess Caribbean Princess: 7-night Eastern Caribbean, round-trip from Fort Lauderdale. From $599, Aug. 20, Oct. 29, Nov. 12, Nov. 26 and Dec. 10 sailings
- NCL Pride of Aloha: 7-night Hawaii, round-trip from Honolulu. From $799, Aug. 28, Sep. 4 and Sept. 11 sailings.
- Carnival Elation: 7-night Western Caribbean, round-trip from Galveston, TX. From $499, Aug. 28 thru Nov. 8 sailings.
- Princess Golden Princess: 7-night Canada/New England, round-trip from New York City. From $747, Sept. 17 and 24 sailings.
- NCL Norwegian Crown: 7-night Bermuda, round-trip from Philadelphia. From $599, Sept. 25 and Oct. 2 sailings.
- Carnival Conquest: 7-night Western Caribbean, round-trip from New Orleans. From $549, Oct. 2 thru Nov. 13 sailings.
- Oceania Insignia: 10-night Western Mediterranean, Rome to Barcelona. From $2,299, Oct. 28 sailing
- Oceania Insignia: 12-night Transatlantic, Barcelona to Rio de Janeiro. From $1,199 including free air, Nov. 27 sailing.
- NCL Norwegian Crown: 14-night Chilean Fjords & Straits of Magellan, Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Valparaiso, Chile. From $1,499, Dec. 4 sailing.
Cruise Value Center (tel. 800/231-7447; www.cruisevaluecenter.com)
- Holland America Westerdam: 7-night Eastern Caribbean, round-trip from Fort Lauderdale. From $674, Nov. 20 sailing.
- Holland America Volendam: 7-night Western Caribbean, round-trip from Fort Lauderdale. From $899, Dec. 19 holiday sailing.
- Carnival Victory: 7-night Eastern Caribbean, round-trip from Miami. From $499, Oct. 30 sailing.
- Carnival Glory: 7-night Eastern Caribbean, round-trip from Port Canaveral. From $449, Dec. 10 sailing.
- Celebrity Constellation: 9-night Caribbean, from Cape Liberty, NJ, to San Juan, Puerto Rico. From $850, Nov. 10 sailing.
- Celebrity Century: 7-night Western Caribbean, Round-trip from Fort Lauderdale. From $650, Jan. 28, 2006, sailing.
- Princess Star Princess: 7-night Western Caribbean, round-trip from Fort Lauderdale. From $553, Oct. 9 sailing.
- Princess Crown Princess: 9-night Caribbean, round-trip from New York City. From $999, Sept. 21, 2006, sailing.
- Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas: 7-night Eastern Caribbean, round-trip from Miami. From $899, Aug. 21 sailing.
- Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas: 7-night Alaska, round-trip Seattle. From $849, July 14, 2006, sailing.
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