advertisement

May 27, 2004 -- As usual, we've plumbed the depths to come up with a hefty roster of the best bargains for cruise vacations currently available. Surely you'll find something to suit your taste: you can head off to the wilds of Alaska, dive in the Caribbean, skirt along the coast of Europe and more!

Wild Card Cruising on Cruise West

Cruise West (800/-888/9378, www.cruisewest.com) is offering savings of up to 25% if you're willing to book a cruise within a select 30-day window and let Cruise West choose the exact day of departure. Savings range from $164 per person, double occupancy for a three-night California Wine Country Cruise to $2,550 for the exotic 13-night Bering Sea itinerary to Alaska and the Russian Far East in a Grand Titan suite aboard the Spirit of Oceanus. If you choose to "stowaway" on a cruise under these terms, Cruise West will notify you of the specific travel date and total fare at least 30 days in advance. Full payment is due within 24 hours of this notification and should the passenger decline, the deposit can be applied toward any future sailing. If Cruise West is unable to provide a departure date within the 30-day window the deposit is fully refunded. The line's fleet of eight 78- to 114-passenger soft-adventure-style ships cruise in regions ranging from Alaska to Panama, Costa Rica, Baja California, Northern California and British Columbia.

Diving for Discounts with Windjammer

December 2004 is "Dive Month" aboard all ships of Windjammer Barefoot Cruises (800/327-2601, www.windjammer.com). Throughout the entire month, PADI certified divers, or those looking to become certified, receive $100 off Windjammer's full cruise fare and a complementary two-tank dive in one of Windjammer's eastern Caribbean island destinations, which include Saba, Statia, Grand Turk, Nevis, St. Kitts, St. Vincent, Bequia, the British Virgin Islands, St. Lucia, Aruba, CuraƧao, and Bonaire. Fares begin at $700 per person for a six-day cruise and $1,800 for thirteen-day cruises. This discount cannot be combined with any other promotion or discount. Dives are offered through independent tour operators.

Glacier Bay Lures Adventure Seekers

Glacier Bay Cruiseline (www.glacierbaycruises.com or 800/451-5952) is offering discounts up to 30% off on 2004 Alaska cruises booked by June 25. They are the top choice in Alaska for hardcore adventure cruises, with most itineraries focused on kayaking, hiking, and wildlife-watching and naturalists on hand to help passengers get out there and experience Alaska at ground level. Small-scale and friendly, Glacier Bay's ships are also about as spartan as ships come. As is the case with all adventure lines, though, it's what's outside that counts. On Wilderness Adventurer itineraries, you can go a full week and hardly see another human besides the people on your ship, while trips aboard Wilderness Discoverer merge the outdoors with a more standard port-to-port itinerary. All prices are based on B cabin categories and apply to new bookings only (PROMO 4028-C).

  • June 13: 7-night, Wilderness Discoverer, starting at $1,967 for a savings of $843 per person.
  • July 3, 10, 31: 7-night, Wilderness Adventurer, starting at $2,422 for a savings of $1,038 per person.
  • July 18, 25: 7-night, Wilderness Discoverer, starting at $2,128 for a savings of $912 per person.
  • Aug 14, 21, 28: 7-night, Wilderness Adventurer, starting at $2,233 for a savings of $957 per person.
  • Aug 22: 7-night, Wilderness Discoverer, starting at $1,967 for a savings of $843 per person.
  • Sept 11: 9-night, Wilderness Adventurer, starting at $2,023 for a savings of $867 per person.
  • Sept 12: 9-night, Wilderness Discoverer, starting at $1,848 for a savings of $792 per person.

What Travel Agencies Are Offering

Here are 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.

CruisesOnly (tel. 800/278-4737, www.cruisesonly.com)

  • Royal Caribbean Majesty of the Seas: 3-night Bahamas, roundtrip from Miami. From $214, Dec 10
  • Carnival Inspiration: 4-night western Caribbean, roundtrip from Tampa. From $299, Nov 18; Dec 2 & 16
  • NCL Norwegian Spirit: 7-night Alaska, from Seattle to Vancouver. From $549, Sept 18
  • Carnival Miracle: 7-night Florida and Bahamas cruise, roundtrip from New York. From $799, June 12 & 19
  • Celebrity Galaxy: 10-night Mediterranean, roundtrip from Rome. From $1,250, July 23

Cruise Value Center (tel. 800/231-7447, www.cruisevalue.com)

  • Carnival Fascination: 3-night Bahamas, roundtrip from Miami. From $229, Sept. 24
  • Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Seas: 5-night Caribbean, roundtrip from Galveston. From $376, Oct. 31
  • NCL Norwegian Sun: 5-night Pacific Coastal, roundtrip from Vancouver. From $199, Sept. 26
  • Royal Caribbean Sovereign of the Seas: 4-night Bahamas, roundtrip from Port Canaveral. From $254, Nov. 11
  • Carnival Paradise: 4-night Mexico, roundtrip from Long Beach. From $209, Dec. 6
  • NCL Norwegian Spirit: 5-night western Caribbean, roundtrip from Miami. From $299, Nov. 28
  • Carnival Inspiration: 6-night western Caribbean, roundtrip from Tampa. From $499, Oct. 24
  • NCL Norwegian Dawn: 7-night Florida and Bahamas, roundtrip from New York. From $434, Oct. 10
  • NCL Norwegian Majesty: 7-night Bermuda, roundtrip from Boston. From $364, Oct. 3
  • Carnival Victory: 7-night eastern Caribbean, roundtrip from Miami. From $449, Nov. 28
  • NCL Pride of Aloha: 7-night Hawaii, roundtrip from Honolulu. From $809, Nov. 28
  • Royal Caribbean Splendour of the Seas: 7-night Mediterranean, roundtrip from Barcelona. From $719, Nov. 6
  • Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas: 7-night Mexico, roundtrip from Los Angeles. From $499, Nov. 28
  • Royal Caribbean Empress of the Seas: 9-night eastern Caribbean, roundtrip from Bayonne. From $571, Oct. 16
  • NCL Norwegian Wind: 10-night Hawaii, roundtrip from Honolulu. From $719, Nov. 3

Mann Travel & Cruises (tel. 800/835-9828, www.123travel.com)

  • Carnival Glory: 7-night eastern Caribbean, roundtrip from Port Canaveral. From $699, Sept 18
  • Carnival Paradise: 7-night eastern Caribbean, roundtrip from Miami. From $499, Aug 29
  • Celebrity Century: 7-night eastern Caribbean, roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. From $569, Sept 4
  • Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas: 7-night eastern Caribbean, roundtrip from Miami. From $499, Sept 5
  • Celebrity Constellation: 7-night southern Caribbean, roundtrip from San Juan. From $499, Nov 27
  • Carnival Miracle: 7-night western Caribbean, roundtrip Tampa. From $499, Nov 7
  • Celebrity Galaxy: 10-night Europe, roundtrip from Rome. From $1,139, July 23
  • Holland America Noordam: 10- night Europe, roundtrip from Copenhagen. From $899, July 2
  • Holland America Noordam: 14-night Europe, Copenhagen to Rome. From $1,149, Sept 10
  • Carnival Victory: 7-night New England/Canada, roundtrip from New York. From $549, Sept 18

Vacation Outlet (tel. 800/690-2210, www.vacationoutlet.com)

  • Carnival Celebration: 4-night Bahamas roundtrip from Jacksonville. From $279, Dec 9
  • NCL Pride of Aloha: 7-night Hawaii roundtrip from Honolulu. From $799, Dec 12
  • Carnival Legend: 8-night eastern Caribbean roundtrip from New York. From $799, Sept 4, 12, 20, 28; Oct 6 & 14
  • Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas: 9-night western Caribbean roundtrip from Bayonne, NJ. From $871, Sept 24
  • Holland America Noordam: 10-night northern Europe, roundtrip from Copenhagen. From $1,199, July 2

Do you have a question or a comment about these deals? Do you have a cruise story to share? Head over to our Cruise Message Boards to air your opinion.