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.

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.

How a Luxury Cruise Differs From a Regular Cruise

Which do you prefer? Do you like the larger cruise ships that hold over 4,000 passengers or the smaller ships that hold under 1,000? Some ports don’t handle the larger vessels and the attention to the passenger is better on the smaller ships. So, check out the possibilities with these luxury cruise lines.

Some of the luxury cruise lines have smaller ships. I’m talking Azamara Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Seabourn Cruises. This means you get more choices of ports. Yes, they may cost more but the benefits may just make it worth it. These luxury cruise lines give you travel at its best, most are even all-inclusive. That means no extra drink packages, no extras that are unexpected.

Azamara Cruises

Azamara Cruises focuses on Destination Immersion where longer stays, more overnights and night touring are included on 100% of their voyages. You get to explore everything from nightlife in Stockholm and morning walks in the French Riviera to all-day adventures in Costa Rica’s rain forests. You’ll experience boutique-style ships with a maximum of 686 guests, staff and crew can quickly learn your name, tastes, and preferences. All of this with lots of inclusive amenities like standard spirits, international beers and wines, gratuities, and an AzAmazing Evenings event (on most voyages) – all with their compliments. Also included for all guests are bottled water, soft drinks, specialty coffees and teas, English butler service for suite guests, self-service laundry, shuttle service to and from port communities (where available) and concierge services for personal guidance and reservations.

Visit ports like Marseille, Amalfi, Crete or even to the doorstep of Bangkok (while other large cruise lines dock a few hours away), the heart of Seville, and the city center of Bordeaux. Experience the culture, cuisine, scenery and people of your destinations. The crew really like to mingle with the guests and are pleased to point out special things at sea and onshore and go above and beyond your expectations.

Crystal Cruises/Crystal River Cruises/Crystal Yachts

Another all-inclusive cruise line. this includes complimentary gratuities, unparalleled choices of dining options including specialty restaurants, complimentary fine wines and premium spirits, open bar service in all lounges, and all non-alcoholic beverages. Also, you get 24-hour room service, high tea, golf lessons, computer/technology classes and a technology concierge, Crystal Visions Enrichment Program, entertainment and complimentary launderettes. One shore excursion is included on every voyage as part of your “We Care/You Care” program. And, you can bring your own wine/liquor with no corkage fees!

Predominantly non-smoking indoors (except the Connoisseur Club Cigar bar) this is a great and elegant alternative to the large ships. They now offer river cruises, yacht cruises, luxury air and residences. Booking is open for 2017 and 2018. The yacht is an all-inclusive super-yacht with 31 luxury suites and two complimentary Crystal Adventures shore excursions in most every port, depending on the destination. Water sports from the yacht’s marina platform is also available and don’t forget the state-of-the-art deep-sea submersible accommodating two passengers and certified pilot. The river cruises will be home based in Paris and will have various length cruises, all suites and will have its first sailing in July, 2016 with 2-for-1 fares and overnights in popular ports.

Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises lets you see a spectacular selection of diverse and exotic destinations with elegance. They are unique itineraries specifically designed to showcase the most fascinating destinations. They are intimate and luxurious, visiting historic cities to modern meccas to charming seaside villages nestled along sparking coastlines. Each day offers exciting opportunities to experience the history, art and cuisine of a wondrous new destination. Enjoy dining inspired by Master Chef Jacques P├ępin. Lavish complimentary amenities abound, and there are never supplemental charges in any of the onboard restaurants. Value packages ensure that sipping vintage wine, surfing the internet or enjoying a shore excursion is both convenient and affordable.

Oceania offers catering to its passengers as it holds just 684 to 1,250 guests, depending on the ship. It is country club casual ambiance with personalized service. It offers port-intensive voyages featuring overnight visits and extended evening port stays. Experience epicurean enrichment programs, including immersive Culinary Discovery Tours in the world’s most fascinating destinations. The spa is an acclaimed Canyon Ranch SpaClub.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Regent Seven Seas offers a truly sumptuous and very personal experience. You can anticipate an unforgettable journey to the world’s greatest destinations where everything is included, without exception and without compromise. Regent’s fares include 2-for-1 All-Inclusive fares, early booking savings, free unlimited shore excursions, free luxury hotel package in Concierge Suites and higher, free specialty restaurants, free unlimited beverages including fine wines and premium spirits, free open bars and lounges PLUS in suite mini bar replenished daily, free pre-paid gratuities, free 24-hour room service, free transfers between airport and ship and many other amenities. The dress code is elegant casual dress. An enriching onboard experience is brought to life through The Smithsonian Collection by Smithsonian Journeys. There are Broadway shows, virtuoso performances, culinary demonstrations and wine tastings and the spectacular Canyon Ranch SpaClub wellness programs.

There are enticing voyages to more than 250 ports around the world in the comfort of a smoke free environment throughout almost the entirety of their ships. These ports are some of the more intimate ports that larger vessels cannot reach on a vessel that is all suites with 97% of them with a private balcony. There are only 490 or 700 guests, resulting in stellar service, no lines and no waiting.

Seabourn Cruises

With Seabourn you sail with your own private club, where members share expansive open decks, inviting social spaces, and the personalized attention of an exceptional crew. There are unique itineraries to must-see cities and hidden gems where larger ships cannot go. These are intimate ships with no more than 300 spacious suites with sweeping ocean views, most with verandas. The intuitive staff is passionate about pleasing their guests. Gourmet dining experiences that rival the finest restaurants anywhere, complimentary welcome champagne and in-suite bar stocked with your preferences, complimentary dining venues where you dine where you wish, when you wish and with whom you wish. This is an all-inclusive experience with open bars throughout the ship and fine wines poured at lunch and dinner. Tipping is neither required nor expected.

Seabourn visits bucket wish destinations and small ports like Saint-Tropez, France and Palarmo, Spain. Visit the lesser traveled Caribbean islands of Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, the Grenadines, Guadeloupe and Saint Barthelemy and St. Kitts. Shore excursions are available for purchase with lots of time to explore each port of call.

Carnival Cruise Lines Fun Ships

Traveling means seeking for fun and relaxation. And it can be best achieve by riding a first-class cruise line whose primary services about bringing fun to its customers. Ride The Fun Ship with an atmosphere of all-day fun and party.

Carnival Cruise Lines define the word fun. They are built to cater fun and excitement among younger passengers. Their pride is about creating memorable vacations for the guests and offering a wide array of quality cruises that present outstanding value for the money. This is the home for many entertainers and other cruise ship jobs that can give every passengers the delight that they wanted.

Brief History

CCL has a large number of cruise ships that travels to different parts of the world. The founder is Ted Arison, who started everything in 1972, with just one ship bought for only $1. Carnival was on its worst but Ted came up with a good idea of combining fun and travel. In 1989 its first acquisition was made with the premium operator Holland America Line (this included Windstar Cruises and Holland America Tours) and its second in 1992, of the operator Seabourn Cruise Line. Following this acquisition is the changing of the name from Carnival Cruise Line to Carnival Corporation. Carnival Corporation and P&O Princess Cruises plc. merged on 17 April 2003 creating one of the world’s largest leisure travel companies: at the time P&O Princess Cruises was renamed Carnival plc.

Ships, Capacity, Destinations and Services

Carnival cruise line is one of the world’s richest. Their specialty is to create shorter and less expensive ships. The ships are known for their Las Vegas-style decorations and entertainment. They are called “The Fun Ships” obviously because they provide fun to passengers. With the wide range of activities on board, people will surely find their stay worthwhile. The cruise line is focused more on fun services, wanting to make every people’s travel like a carnival visit wherein spectators came mainly for enjoyment. Carnival ships are recognized through a funnel with the colors of the American Flag. They’ve got a mascot named “Fun Ship Freddy”, a character in the shape of the ship’s distinctive funnel.

Since 1972, Carnival Cruise Line has produced about 24 ships, with two more under construction. They have names with the word Carnival on it. Ships travel along the coasts of North and South America, Europe and other 60 countries all over the world finding the bests destinations. Travel starts on close-to-home ports found on the cities of Florida.

If you are undecided where to go, you can choose their tour called “Cruise to Nowhere”. A couple of days exploring the sea will make you witness the best of the world. Cruises to nowhere is a fantastic opportunity to taste the superb of services that includes delicious dining options, luxurious spas, exciting entertainment like the seaside theater and shopping friendly-casinos. There are no other cruise line that will bring you nowhere this fun and exciting.

Each day that you will wake up in a Carnival Cruise ship is another day of fun. Party with over 3,500 people along with the crews and staffs. Everyone in the ship will make sure that you will go back home with a smile. Look for a vacation packed with good times and laughter. So come and enjoy that Carnival difference on the The Fun Ship, experience a tour draped with amusement and joy. Ride a cruise ship where fun comes in waves.