Sydney Cruises – One of the Best Things in Life

The Sydney Harbour is one of the top preferred tourist destinations. And the best way to enjoy this famous sight is on board a luxury harbor cruise. It’s all about enjoying a beautiful moment on the cruise ship loaded with music, dance, yummy food, friendly people and much more.

The sightseeing is so romantic that one can’t stop praising the beautiful moment. These ships have high class accommodation arrangements which can challenge the top luxurious hotels of Sydney. It’s, all about passion and enjoyment in a royal style. Here are some of the top reasons to board a brilliance cruise vessel.

The memorable dining experience

A cruise vessel provides a stylish and most romantic set up to enjoy your dinner in astonishing ways. The whole environment is just like a normal Sydney hotel. The only difference is that you are moving and enjoying lots of beautiful sights all around you.

Though the dinner cruise doesn’t last more than a couple of hours, it is quite enough to enjoy the three-course a la carte feast. The floodlights of the Sydney Harbour Bridge simply dazzle the visitor’s eye and takes them to another world. The ‘cruising restaurants’ offer an excellent service, to enjoy on-board dinning on a cruise vessel. These vessels can be accessed either through the King Street Wharf or at Circular Quay.

Perfect place to enjoy sightseeing

Most of the hotels nearby Sydney Harbour can provide a beautiful view of the famous buildings but sight seeing on a luxury vessel has its own enthrallment. The picturesque view can be best captured in a camera while boarding the vessel. These cruises also provide a detailed commentary on the whole tour. Simply relax and enjoy the chilled beverages of your choice.

Enjoy the coffee

Coffee cruise services are provided by number of vessel operators at the Sydney Harbour. It’s a must do task, which you can’t afford to miss when you are in the beautiful city of Sydney. You’ll enjoy every sip of your coffee and it’s totally different from having coffee in a hotel room.

There are some waterfront establishments which can be seen only from the water. The coffee cruise journey usually last for two hours. But the enjoyment and experience gained in these two hours last life long. You can choose to go on a tour at any time, but the mornings and evenings are the best. Never go on an afternoon tour as the scorching sun would ruin it all.

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How To Compare and Evaluate Cruise Deals and Cruise Packages

When it comes to the fine art of evaluation, there is always the fear that a deal of some kind will be made hollow because of compromise. For those evaluating cruise deals and packages, the idea of having to compromise means one thing — you’re missing out on something. This could not be further from the truth. Being a smart consumer means looking at every aspect of a prospective product to be purchased. The same goes for cruises. You want to be sure to investigate all that goes into finding the right trip for you.

The question, though, becomes a matter of knowing how said evaluation will take place. Sure, there are cruise veterans that know the industry & its mannerisms fairly well, but there are many others who simply have little to no experience finding an ideal cruise package.

First, look at the prospective dates involved in the trip. The first step in finding the right trip for you involves finding dates that actually match your travel time. More often than not, you’re operating from a specific set of dates the denotes your “vacation” days. You may find a tremendous deal on a cruise, but if the dates don’t work with your days off, it’s not really a deal for you.

You next want to look for any packages that include bundle pricing. As is the case with things like cable and phone services, the more items/services you can bundle, the more money you can save in the long run. An example of a bundled cruise package could include the accommodations on the ship, your ticket, meals & drinks, and entertainment/excursions. Taken separately, these items would probably be still available, but you’d probably be paying a little more. Here’s where looking at the numbers pays.

Don’t necessarily be taken in by the new and shiny. There are a number of bigger and bolder ships offering a dizzying array of amenities for its guests, but you aren’t the only person checking things out. Rather than fight for a spot that may not actually be there, look at deals & packages on ships that aren’t as new. They still get stellar ratings, provide top-notch amenities and service to their guests, and operate under tremendous safety records.

Finally, the best thing you can do in evaluating various cruise packages and deals is know when to walk away. Evaluation, as noted earlier, is an art, one forged through experience and a willingness to cry, “Foul” when necessary. Pricing on cruises can fluctuate quite a bit. In fact, savvy cruise shoppers will tell you that pricing can change from one day to the next. It pays to know when something just doesn’t feel right. As you compare one deal to another but you aren’t satisfied with either, that would be a golden opportunity to wait for something better (and better-priced) to come along.

Cruise deals are not hard to find. With a bit of gumption and tenacity, you, too, can find & book the trip of a lifetime.

Cruise Line Loyalty

To keep their customers coming back, the majority of cruise lines now offer some kind of customer loyalty scheme. These vary from each cruise operator and can include future booking discounts, invites to VIP parties, and onboard privileges such as priority embarkation. But is this enough to keep your loyalty? Or are you really looking for cabin upgrades and onboard credit?

Here is a summary of each cruise lines membership club and benefits to tempt you to come back time and time again…

Royal Caribbean International – Crown and Anchor Society

Membership to the Crown and Anchor Society is automatically granted after your first sailing. The club offers discounts and benefits according to the number of “cruise credits” obtained. These are calculated by the number of days at sea and the cabin grade you sail in. As their sister company, you will also receive equivalent recognition in Celebrities membership club. There are 4 tiers within the club escalating from gold to platinum, diamond and diamond plus. As a gold member, you can expect onboard bonuses such as complimentary wine tasting and a small commemorative gift, as well as online booking discounts. As your membership level increases you can look forward to priorities over other customers with check in, and waitlisted services such as spa treatments or shore excursions.

Celebrity Cruises – Captains Club

Celebrity’s 3 tier Captains Club offers a slightly more generous loyalty scheme which involves a one category upgrade at the most basic membership level, which is also applicable when booking your cruise through a travel agent.

The tiers range from Classic, Select and Elite, and loyal customers can expect invitations to onboard parties, behind the scenes tours and at the highest level, guests can take advantage complimentary use of the Thalassotherapy Pool, where available, and also a private departure lounge.

Norwegian Cruise Lines – Latitudes Program

As a past guest, NCL do offer some pretty good reductions when rebooking with them, aside from this, many of the benefits of their club, which ranges from bronze, silver, gold and platinum levels, are nothing to get too excited about! Whilst they offer the standard past guest party, plus priorities over other guests with check in, disembarkation, and reservation only restaurants, having completed 14 cruises, and earned your platinum status, all you really get is complimentary dining inthe “Le Bistro” restaurant, which would usually incur an additional charge. Oh and you get a latitudes ship pin…

Princess Cruises – Captains Circle

The Captains Circle club features gold, platinum and elite levels of membership with all levels receiving preferential pricing offers on selected itineraries throughout the year. Further standard membership benefits include, “exclusive events”, no doubt that will be another captain’s party then, and also a Princess Passport, a scheme whereby guests receive stamps, depicting the cruise destination which are then signed by the captain and displayed in a Princess Passport.

As membership increases to platinum status, guests are entitled to priority boarding, free internet minutes and upgraded travel insurance. (If the basic level is purchased) Guests that reach their 16th cruise, or their 150th cruise day with Princess will be members of the elite club, where extras such as a complimentary mini bar, upgraded bathroom amenities and a 10% discount in certain onboard shops will be applicable.

Costa Cruises – Costa Club

Loyal customers will be pleased to hear that Costa offer one of the most rewarding loyalty schemes at sea. Whether you are a basic aquamarine member, coral member or their highest pearl member, you can receive a 5% discount on any of their cruises. In addition, guests at aquamarine level will receive a generous 20% discount on wine packages, mini bar drinks and laundry service, 10% off Costa merchandise, and a cocktail with the captain complete with a souvenir photo.

Membership to the club is achieved through earning points; these are accumulated through cruise days with Costa as well as onboard spending. At higher levels of membership, guests will qualify for priority boarding and disembarkation, a complimentary meal in the a la carte restaurant, a bottle of wine and welcome gift.

P&O Cruises – Portunus Club

Membership to the Portunus club is automatic after completing your very first sailing with P&O Cruises. Throughout the year, there will be selected Portunus sailings, which give members reductions on standard cruise prices.

At a basic level, ruby members are entitled to a 5% discount on onboard spend, this increases to 7.5% when you reach sapphire level of membership, and gold members can take off an extra 10%. At the highest level, gold members will also get a dedicated check in service and priority disembarkation.

Members of the Portunus club can also gain points from sailing on Ocean Village, Princess Cruises or Swan Hellenic.

Cunard – World Club

World Club has 4 levels of membership; silver, gold, platinum and diamond. Automatic membership is granted after your first sailing with Cunard. After this, members are entitled to a 5% discount of further sailings.

Further benefits for guests who have completed 20 days onboard include; a souvenir gold membership Cunarder pin, complimentary internet minutes, and cocktail party invitation. As guests reach platinum level, they can expect, in addition to lower level benefits, a 20% discount on dry cleaning and laundry service, 10% off White Star Luggage Delivery service, additional internet minutes and a platinum member Cunarder pin. Diamond members will also receive priority luggage delivery.

MSC Cruises – MSC Club

MSC’s loyalty club consists of 3 tiers; classic, silver and gold. Membership is awarded by a points system which accumulates with the number of cruise days taken with MSC.

At each level, members will receive a welcome cocktail, a 5% discount on excursions and 5% discount in onboard boutiques. As a classic member, you are entitled to a 5% discount on most cruises, silver members will receive 8% and gold can take off an additional 10% off their cruise cost.

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines – Oceans

Each night spent onboard a Fred Olsen cruise will earn you 1 point. Once you reach 30 points, you will qualify for their first level of membership. At this “blue” level, guests will receive 5% off both onboard spending and shore excursions booked prior to departure. As you reach 31 points you enter the silver level where members will receive a 2% cruise discount, Oceans cocktail party and usually priority embarkation. Once you have exceeded 100 days onboard a Fred Olsen cruise, you will be rewarded with a 4% cruise cost discount, personalized luggage labels, a welcome aboard gift plus a complimentary shuttle bus pass.

Carnival – Concierge Club

After your 10th cruise with Carnival, you will enter their membership club at the platinum level, then, those members who complete their 25th, 50th and 75th sailings will receive a shipboard credit representing 25, 50 or 75% of their cruise fare. Those who reach an impressive 100th sailing will earn a complimentary cruise of up to 8 days.

In addition, all platinum members are eligible for priority check in, disembarkation and dining waitlists.

Cruising the French Riviera on a Shoestring Budget: Cannes to Menton

When you find an area you like and you feel relaxed in, it’s hard to imagine moving on to explore further afield. The Iles de Lerins just off Cannes are one of those places. With so much to do – visit and attend a service in the monastery on Saint Honorat, sample the famous wine made by the monks from grapes grown on the island, climb the ancient tower for spectacular views over all the islands and across to Cannes, stroll along the tree-covered paths of each island, take a dip in a private cove, watch the boats coming and going, explore the fort on Sainte Marguerite where the man in the iron mask was locked up for many years, try some wild blackberries – it really is hard to leave! But the time will come, usually with a strong wind forecast or a big swell, and you’ll decide to move on. So here’s the east Riviera on a shoestring…

Best Value Marinas (prices based on a 15 metre sailing yacht)

  • Nice Port – reservations available by email, excellent shelter, friendly service, shower facilities, wifi, excellent provisions, daily market, restaurants surrounding the port and in the old town, beach clubs, easy access to the old town of Nice and further afield by bus and train, about £50 per night in peak season.
  • Villefranche-sur-Mer – reservations available by email and telephone, very helpful and friendy staff, excellent shelter, some provisions, lots of restaurants, pretty town with access to cliff walks, about £60 per night in peak season.
  • Port de Beaulieu – an excellent alternative to the exceptionally expensive port in St-Jean, reservations by email and telephone, helpful and friendly staff, excellent shelter, good provisions in town, easy access to trains to Monaco, buses to Eze, about £55 per night in peak season.
  • Fontvieille – although cheaper than Monaco Port, it is still expensive but one that provides excellent service and value for money. Explore Monaco and Monte Carlo on foot from the marina, enjoy the hustle and bustle of the Principality but know that you have a peaceful marina for the night. Very friendly and helpful staff, reservations available, heliport, roughly £80 per night in peak season.
  • Menton Old Port – very friendly and helpful, provisions in town, willing to help in bad weather although the visitor quay has poor shelter from the swell. Wifi, water and electricity all available for about £50 per night in peak season.

Safe Anchorages

  • Juan les Pins – known in its heyday for its hedonisitc tendencies, this lively town with beautiful beaches has long attracted the rich and famous. The whole bay between Cannes and Juan les Pins is the anchorage of choice for many huge superyachts but the more modest-sized yachts head to the east of the bay and tuck in under the Cap d’Antibes between the Hotel Eden Roc and the small Port du Crouton. You’ll hold well and will be very well sheltered from any wind and swell with east in it. You can leave the dinghy on the visitor quay at Port du Crouton and wander into the town for excellent provisions, restaurants and the Petit Train to Antibes.
  • Cap d’Antibes – a number of small anchorages provide pretty lunch stops but are not particularly well protected. Try Anse de l’Aregnt Faux on the southerly tip of the Cap, the bay off La Garoupe for beach clubs and beach restaurants and the large anchorage east of Antibes for lovely views of the old town.
  • Rade de Villefranche-sur-Mer – anchor at the head of the bay outside the yellow buoys, take care to stay out of the no anchor zone as there can be up to 3 cruise ships a day anchored here. Take the dinghy onto the town quay and tie up with the others. A lovely anchorage, very popular in the summer during the day, quiet at night, but you may need to make use of a stern anchor to keep the boat into the prevalent swell which comes straight in from the sea.
  • Anse de la Scaletta – tucked into the Cap Ferrat and well protected from anything with south in it, this shallow anchorage is another one of those places you can stay for days. Paloma Beach on the shore provides watersports in the day time and romantic summer beach-side evening meals. Easy dinghy access to the port of St-Jean for provisions and a variety of restaurants as well as access to the popular walk along the coast between Villefranche and Beaulieu.
  • Baie de Roquebrune – anchor in good holding under the town of Roquebrune. Good shelter from east but open to the sea swells from the south. Good walk up to the ancient town, stunning views across the riviera and sandy beach with good snorkelling.
  • Cap Martin – the east side of the Cap is a good anchorage for lunch and can be used in very settled weather for overnight stays. Sandy bottom with good holding although quite deep as restricted by protected swimming area.

Helpful Hints:

  • Stock up on provisions at the big supermarkets when you can as small town supermarkets can be extremely expensive. Local bakeries however are excellent value for morning croissants and afternoon pastries!
  • Keep your eye on the weather, check it every day on the radio and again with a local port as local winds can be missed by national forecasts.
  • Book ahead in bad weather. If bad weather is on the way, plan ahead and get yourself into a good harbour. Remember, the less pricey ones fill up first so make sure you’ve got your space.
  • Be safe in the sun. Always wear a hat and suncream and drink plenty of water to keep hydrated and energy levels up.

The French Riviera is truly beautiful all year round. Although the best weather is during the summer months, May and October can be the perfect time to cruise, with lower marina fees, quieter anchorages and warm sun.

Book Your Luxury Cruise Travel With a Travel Agency

Luxury cruise travel means a vacation package which is a combination of cruising and land tours. On this type of vacation you can see everything. You will enjoy fabulous ports which are situated on the coast or beautiful cities. On your luxury cruise vacation, the land tours offer you the best accommodations in five star hotels and your tours will be escorted by experienced travel agents. Organizing a luxury cruise vacation through an agent will give you a lifetime of great memories.

Luxury cruise travel is sophisticated and offers an endless array of activities and entertainment. It is a dream-come-true for everyone because this type of travel offers special activities for kids and at the same time provides spa services, spectacular nighttime entertainment and countless adventure for adults. With cruise travel, usually families get to spend quality time together and can make the most of their vacation.

The most important part is that to make your Luxury cruise travel memorable you need a travel agent who will help you get information about destinations, maps, airport diagrams, and a worldwide time chart and currency conversion rates. On the whole, it can be said that these agents play a very important role in organizing your cruise vacation because they plan the best possible tours for you and help travelers with the necessary schedules, vacation packages, and food facilities. Depending on your budget you can ask your agent to plan an exclusive vacation or a themed one.

Travel agents are always there to help you with the best available travel arrangements. It is true that popular five star hotels, luxury resorts and Luxury cruise agencies use travel agents to highlight their exciting packages. These agents help in offering guidance and recommendations regarding many tourist destinations. For foreign trips, agents offer important information about passports, visas and foreign currencies. Travel and tourism is developing like never before and travel agents have a key role in helping you organize a well planned vacation.

Finding a travel agent for your cruise may be a tough job. When you book Luxury cruise travel through a travel agent, they offer you the best deals and discounts. A knowledgeable cruise specialist can help you find the best deals and also efficiently deal with essential queries regarding luggage and other rules and regulations.

Travel agents also help you to cancel your cruise if the need arises. Good agents will help if you are facing any problems and they will help you solve it and negotiate for you with the cruise authority. Travel agents are playing three important roles as advisers, planners and negotiators. Simply take their help to make the perfect vacation plan within your budget.