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Notable Cruise Deals of the Week: Tahitian Tours, European Excursions and More

May 16, 2003 -- We've rounded up the best deals on waves for the coming months including Europe and the South Pacific with a sprinkling of the Caribbean and South America as well.

Baltic Summer

Do you think summer and immediately think "Baltic Sea"? Maybe you don't, but the cruise lines obviously do, since between June and September no fewer than 26 ships will be visiting ports in the region, including Copenhagen and Stockholm (the two primary departure cities) as well as Oslo, Helsinki, Tallinn (Estonia), and most significantly St. Petersburg, Russia, which is celebrating its tricentennial this year with a huge international extravaganza, for which the city has been polished to a high gloss.

Following are some of the better deals currently being offered in the region.

  • The CostaRomantica sails the Baltic every other week from June through September, offering 7-night cruises starting at $780; from Costa Cruises, 800/462-6782,
  • The older Noordam sails eight 10-night Baltic cruises June-Aug, with per-person rates starting at just over $1,100. Additionally, the new Oosterdam, scheduled to debut in June, sails four 12-night itineraries in August and September between Harwich, England, and Copenhagen, with prices starting at just over $2,100; from Holland America, 877/724-5425,

  • Regal Princess offers 10-night Baltic cruises in July and August, currently starting at $999; from Princess Cruises, 800/PRINCESS;
  • The new, all-suite, all-luxe Seven Seas Voyager sails 7-night Baltic cruises July-Aug between Copenhagen and Stockholm, starting from $3,500 per person; from Radisson Seven Seas 800/285-1835,
  • Grandeur of the Seas offers 12-night itineraries round-trip from Harwich every other week, June through August, with prices starting at $1,300; from Royal Caribbean, 800/327-6700,

One of the most outstanding Baltic cruises being offered this year isn't in any way cheap, but it's just so cool that I have to mention it. On July 7, Silversea Cruises' Silver Whisper will host a 7-night "Romanovs Remembered" cruise that sails from Stockholm to Copenhagen and pulls out all the imperial stops. The cruise will be hosted by Theo Faberge, heir to the family that created jewelry and the famous Faberge eggs for the Russian royal family. Guests will spend three days in St. Petersburg, with guided tours of Yusupov Palace, Grand Duke Vladimir's Palace, Catherine the Great's Palace at Tsarkoe Selo, and the Peterhof Grand Palace, where they'll attend the Theo Faberge Ball. As if that (plus caviar and vodka tastings) isn't enough, each guest will go home with a crystal Faberge egg created exclusively for this cruise. Now for the price tag: Rates for the cruise start at $5,514 per person. (See below for somewhat more affordable Silversea deals.) Call 800/722-9955,

Tahiti on the Cheap(ish)

Now, Tahiti is a place you probably think of for the ultimate vacation getaway, but you have to think fast to get these last-minute deals.

  • For sailing ship Wind Star's 7-night June 6 sailing from Papeete, Tahiti, Windstar is offering cabins for $2,795 and $2,895, including round-trip air from any of 78 gateway cities in the U.S. and Canada. Ports visited include Raiatea, Huahine, Taha'a, Bora Bora, and Moorea; from Windstar Cruises, 800/258-7245,
  • A similar deal applies to the June 14, June 28, July 5, and July 12 sailings of Radisson's small, luxurious Paul Gauguin, sailing round-trip from Papeete and visiting Raiatea, Taha'a, Bora Bora, and Moorea. Rates begin at $3,145 per person, including air from any of 84 North American gateway cities; from Radisson Seven Seas, 800/285-1835,

Silversea's Silver Savings: Cheap at Half the Price

Ultra-luxe line Silversea has just announced a spate of exceptional 50%-off cruise deals in Europe and South America this summer and fall. Granted, they don't look cheap when compared to the $400 Caribbean cruises that are flooding the market these days, but when you consider that cruises don't get any more luxe than Silversea, these are real bargains: Think all the champagne you can drink, tables set with the best china and crystal, incredible service, bathrooms stocked with Bulgari products, and no additional onboard expenses (except excursions and gambling).

A full schedule of discounted cruises is available on Silversea's website, but here are some of the best per-person deals:

  • August 17: 8-night Lisbon to Barcelona aboard Silver Cloud, from $2,997

  • August 21: 7-night Venice to Rome aboard Silver Wind, from $2,535
  • August 25: 8-night Barcelona to Athens aboard Silver Cloud, from $2,947
  • September 1: 7-night Barcelona to Lisbon aboard Silver Shadow, from $2,735
  • September 12: 9-night Valletta (Malta) to Nice aboard Silver Cloud, from $3,310
  • October 11: 7-night Lisbon to Barcelona aboard Silver Cloud, from $2,085
  • October 23: 12-night Tenerife (Canary Islands) to Barbados, transatlantic, aboard Silver Wind, from $2,822
  • December 3: 8-night Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires aboard Silver Wind, from $2,722