How many days in advance should you book a cruise to get the best price?
In part that depends on your destination, according to the website Cruisewatch.com, which uses artificial intelligence to study trends in worldwide cruising. In this case, says a Cruisewatch press release, they undertook a “massive study [that] examined 18,983 sailings by region with departures in 2017.”
They also conducted an “intensive analysis of over 18 million data points” (which are, of course, too numerous to detail in a press release or just about anywhere for that matter, but we are nonetheless grateful for modern technology).
Cruisewatch says the massive study found a “surprising trend: as the date of departure approaches, cruise prices fluctuate to a greater extent.” Some regions, they note, show as much as a 71… Continue reading
How you get to where you’re going can be just as crucial to the success of your trip as the destination itself.
And in some cases, the mode of transport is, in effect, the destination.
Ocean cruises are an obvious example of the latter.
When you choose to see the world by cruise ship, you’re committing yourself to spending most of your time at sea and limiting your sightseeing on land to ports or places that are within a few hours’ drive by tour bus, taxi, or rental car from the ports.
But ocean- and sea-going vessels come in many shapes and forms — from small sailing ships to floating behemoths — that can make for entirely different journeys themselves.
Or say you want to take the Trans-Siberian Express (train) from China to… Continue reading
While I prefer the term “Life List” to “Bucket List” — it just has a more positive ring to it — Bucket List has become the generally accepted phrase for delineating those often-challenging, mostly travel-related experiences you want to do before you, uh, can’t do them any more.
As a baby boomer, I’m acutely aware that I won’t have as much time or perhaps physical capacity as a millennial to, say, climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, which has recently slipped off my Bucket List until I can work myself into better shape. A few more years on the treadmill should do it, if my knees haven’t collapsed in the process.
The good news is, Bucket List items don’t have to involve super-strenuous exertion. In fact, according to a recent TotallyMoney.com survey of 1,000… Continue reading
I spent much of the fall of 2015 taking river cruises, in China and Europe. China’s Yangtze and Europe’s Danube, Rhine, Moselle, and Main rivers were all on the itineraries.
I’ve already blogged about the Yangtze cruise here and will write about the two European river cruises as time goes along (one was for a magazine, so I’ll have to wait for that article to appear in the spring of 2016 before writing about it here, but my Danube cruise accounts will appear in this space shortly).
I was already sold on river cruising before taking the last three — two of my past favorites were the Nile in Egypt and the Mississippi from Memphis to New Orleans — but with every new river cruise I take, the more I like them.
As much as… Continue reading
Sixth in a Series
When it comes to cruising, you can usually divide people into two camps: those who like big ships and those who like small ships.
On our recent “Magical Lake Michigan” cruise with Blount Small Ship Adventures, I don’t know how many times I heard other passengers say they would never take a big ship cruise.
The notion of traveling on a floating city of 2,000-6,000 people just didn’t interest them.
Small Ships Vs. Large
Cruising on a small ship — usually defined as one carrying 200 or fewer passengers (though often far less) — does have plenty of advantages:
* Getting on and off the ship takes virtually no time, while on a big ship, you often have to wait in long lines to do either.
Every fall and spring, a number of ocean-going cruise ships leave one area of the world — say, Europe, Canada, or Alaska in the fall — for another, such as the Caribbean, South America, or Hawaii, to take advantage of the warmer winter waters in the latter spots.
These are called repositioning cruises (repo cruises for short), and they tend to be longer — sometimes quite a bit longer — than a typical cruise.
The cruise lines don’t want to run the ships empty, of course, so they sell the cabins often at much-reduced rates, especially considering the length of the voyages. You might find a 17-day October repositioning cruise from Italy to Brazil, for example, for about the same price as a regular 10-day cruise.
In the spring, you might find a… Continue reading
Brenda Thomas, the hard-working but fun-loving captain of the historic Maine Windjammer Isaac H. Evans, may or may not think of herself as a travel marketer, but she’s a good one.
During the Evans’ four-month annual summer season, when it plies the Maine coast and scenic Penobscot Bay — anchoring in secluded coves, visiting small islands and offering views of lighthouses and marine life — Thomas offers a number of specialty cruises that seem tailor-made for baby boomers.
Chocolate Lovers Cruise? Check.
Knitting Cruise? Check.
Lighthouse cruise? Check.
Perseid Meteor Shower cruise? Check.
Puffin Cruise? Check.
“Old Salts” cruise? Well, maybe “Older Than We Once Were Salts” cruise. Check.
Music Cruise With Hank Cramer? I have no idea who Hank Cramer is, but what the heck…check.
Lobster Festival? Double check.
Even Thomas’ swashbuckling Pirate Adventure cruises… Continue reading