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December 2, 2013

Extreme Thrill Seekers,” Theme Cruise Where Guests Hunt Crocodiles, Meet “Great Whites” and Sail in an Around-the-World Yacht Race; Soar Above the Spectacular City of Melbourne in a Hot Air Balloon; and a Review of the Lovely Oceania Cruises Line

The CruiseCompete Blog

Have you seen the new CruiseCompete blog yet? We have compiled the latest amenities (cabin upgrades and cabin credits, plus more) and other offers directly from the cruise lines for you to see here: https://blog.cruisecompete.com/

Special deal offerings
Celebrity Cruises is having a great promotion from November 29, 2013, to February 28, 2014. Book your cruise for cruise tour that departs between February 2014 and March 2015 during this sale and choose from the following three amenities:
  • Free classic beverage package for 2 people;
  • Free gratuities for 2 people; or
  • Onboard credit up to $300 ($100 credit for -3 to 5-night sailings, $200 credit for 6- to 9-night sailing, and $300 for 10-night sailing More…
Read about more current cruise line deals by visiting the CruiseCompete blog at: https://blog.cruisecompete.com/

This month’s highlighted cruise line is Oceania Cruises!

Many of my friends have sailed on Oceania Cruises, thus far I have not had that pleasure. What is memorable is that not even one of them has told me of the tiniest little thing they did not like about Oceania Cruises. Rave reviews are all I have ever heard. The finest cuisine at sea, award-winning itineraries and outstanding value define Oceania Cruises' five-star product and have positioned the company as the cruise line of choice for travelers seeking a truly refined and casually elegant travel experience. My friend seemed to comment the ambiance is that of a country club. Relaxed and casual, yet very elegant.

This line offers five intimate and luxurious ships that allow guests to explore the world in unequalled style and comfort. Elegant and mid-size, the onboard atmosphere is extremely convivial, and with more than 400 staff members, guests will experience a level of personalized service that is unrivaled.
 
We’ve never heard a single complaint about Oceania Cruises. The country club atmosphere is upscale and comfortable at the same time. Once you cruise on an Oceania ship, you keep going back and back again. The staff, the service, the food, the ships and the entire experience is one that you’ll never forget.

Rankings from actual consumers: The Oceania Insignia ranks 4.6 out of 5.

Reviewer morplorp says: “This ship is excellent. The food was delicious and the staff exhibited a great spirit. They seem to enjoy working on this ship. The executive chef is quite approachable, the cellar master is a master sommelier, the workout director is excellent and the purser's desk is into customer service.”

See more Insignia reviews here https://allthingscruise.com/cruise-reviews/reviews/Cruise-Ships/Oceania-Cruises/sbr/date_desc/176/oceania-insignia.htm

Wondering about other Oceania ships? Read all Oceania Reviews here…

Oceania Cruises voyages are geared toward adults and they do not provide for the care, entertainment or supervision of children. Read more about their children’s policies here: https://allthingscruise.com/cruise-planning/cruise-lines-childrens-programs/oceania-cruises-childrens-programs/

16 Night Sydney to Auckland cruise starting from $5949 per person
16 Nights - Adventures Down Under - Sydney Australia to Auckland New Zealand - 16 Days - Starting in Sydney with cruising the Tasman Sea, stops in Melbourne and Tasmania, Cruising the Fjords of Milford Sound, stops in Dunedin, Akaroa, Wellington, Napier, Cruising by White Island, stops in Tauranga and Auckland. 2014 Sails: Feb. 23

See more Oceania Cruises Deals here…
https://www.cruisecompete.com/specials/lines/oceania_cruises/1

CruiseCompete is partnered with Shore Excursions Group – the largest shore excursions company in the world which features more than 2,000 excursions in cruise ports all over the world. These excursions provide an excellent alternative to cruise line excursions – they have fewer people, better prices and an unbeatable series of guarantees.
  1. Guaranteed Better Prices
  2. Guaranteed Fewer Guests
  3. Guaranteed Return-to-Ship on Time
  4. Guaranteed Satisfaction or Your Money Back
  5. Guaranteed Tour Departures
To see all of the shore excursions by ship simply click here:
https://www.cruisecompete.com/shore_excursions/

To see shore excursions by port, click here:
https://www.cruisecompete.com/shore_excursions_by_port.php

Frequently asked question about CruiseCompete Shore Excursions:
Why book with us?
We know that your time in port is one of the most important parts of your vacation, so we take our commitment to deliver great shore excursions very seriously. That's why shore excursions are our only business. We carefully select only the best tour operators in each port and, because we are not trying to reserve excursions for thousands of people at a time, in many cases we are able to choose tour providers who carry much smaller groups of travelers on more intimate, personalized experiences. Because we know that it can be confusing to choose the best tour in each port, we have a staff of shore excursion experts available to answer your questions and provide suggestions on the best tour options to meet your individual needs. And we stand behind the tours we deliver.

For the ultra-luxury lover in you

“Extreme Thrill Seekers,” a Theme Cruise Where Guests Hunt Crocodiles, Meet “Great Whites” and Sail in an Around-the-World Yacht Race

For those who seek adventure, Crystal Cruises presents “Extreme Thrill Seekers,” Experiences of Discovery, a theme cruise where guests will hunt crocodiles, meet “great whites” and sail in an around-the-world yacht race—figuratively—with stories from renowned experts speaking onboard. More…

Oceania Cruises announced details of the largest refurbishment program in the company’s history. The award-winning trio of R-Class ships, Regatta, Insignia, and Nautica will undergo a combined $50 million dollar transformation during next year’s second quarter. Retaining the warmth, intimacy and charm Oceania Cruises’ guests have come to cherish, all public rooms, suites, and staterooms will feature elegant new furnishings and décor. Many of the amenities and design elements that debuted on the line’s newest ships – including Baristas, Oceania Cruises’ signature specialty coffee bar, and the state-of-the-art grill in the Terrace Café – are being added during the refits. More…

Private Jets, All-Inclusive Resorts, Tahiti and the South Pacific – If this is what you dream about for your vacation, try the new VacationCompete http://www.vacationcompete.com/

New in All-Inclusive
Royal Caribbean introduced its unlimited drink packages in 2012, and now, nearly a year later, they’ve made some changes and added some new offerings. You can find details below, and one other change of note: when it comes to unlimited alcohol packages, any eligible guest in a stateroom may choose whether or not to purchase a package. The previous policy required that all eligible guests in a stateroom purchase a package. More…
To see more of what’s included on the lines, please click here: http://www.allthingscruise.com/all-inclusive.

Fun things happening on the cruise ships
Shortly after entering my luxurious suite with its marvelous ocean view – all guest rooms aboard the Seabourn Odyssey are suites and all have marvelous ocean views – I was greeted by a knock on the door from my room attendant Timea. She was carrying a tray with caviar hors d’ouevres, a glass of champagne and some special bath soaps. Gifts from her to welcome me aboard. More…

In a fun and unusual display in Miami, MSC’s Divinia was escorted into the port by a fleet of high-powered FIAT personal watercraft. The Divinia arrived after completing an 18-night Atlantic crossing, departing from Venice, and becomes the MSC Cruises ship to sail year-round from North America. More…

River Cruising
The American Queen Steamboat Company, will launch its newly  refurbished the American Empress on her maiden voyage departing Portland, Ore., on April 5, 2014. The nine-day journey aboard the largest and most elegant riverboat west of the Mississippi River will immerse guests in the splendor of the Columbia and Snake Rivers featuring stops to some of the region’s most celebrated ports including Astoria, Ore.; Stevenson, Wash.; The Dalles, Ore.; Sacajawea State Park, Wash.; and finally Clarkston, Wash. Limited space remains on the American Empress inaugural voyage and will offer an unforgettable experience for even the most seasoned of travelers. More…

There is a new riverboat on the Mississippi and Uncommon Journeys, the leader in North American rail and cruise travel, is proud to announce its 2014 Riverboat and Train schedule featuring American Cruise Lines’ Queen of the Mississippi. With three different cruises that showcase the first paddlewheel riverboat built for overnight travel in a decade, the itineraries combine the golden era of travel with today’s modern technology and personalized service. More…

Family travel tips
Cynthia Boal Janssens took an Antarctic cruise with her grandchildren this summer, (Read the diary here) and provides a report straight from the children on their impressions of the experience. More…
When you’re planning a family cruise, you often have to play by a different set of rules than, say, singles, couples without children or the retired set. There’s a certain obligation to demands and schedules that’s unique to families, and it generally requires more planning and research to get the best possible deal. More…
The cruise experts at CruiseCompete have compiled a list of the best cruise line children’s programs and detailed their highlights. For a comprehensive listing of the lines and their full children’s program information, including the minimum ages accepted by each line, please click here.

Latest diaries of the AllThingsCruise writers
Jackie Sheckler Finch reports that the lovely MSC Divinia arrived in Miami to begin sailing to the Caribbean. Read her reports here.
Barbara Orr enjoyed a gastronomic cruise on a Turkish gulet. Follow her adventure in real small ship cruising here.

Kimberly Button brings us an up-close look at the much-anticipated Royal Princess. See her reports here.

Marcia Levin traveled to London with her grandson Jakob, 13, and then she sailed home on the Queen Mary 2. Follow them here.

Cindy Boal Janssens sails to Alaska with grandchildren on HAL's Oosterdam. Read their adventures here.

Jackie Finch traveled on the Seabourn Odyssey on a 7-day Adriatic Odyssey out of Venice. Follow her here.

Heidi Allison-Shane sailed across the Atlantic on the Cunard Queen Mary 2. Read her diary here.

An airline booking tool, cars, hotels and vacation packages that you might find of interest. Visit this new section here: https://allthingscruise.com/land-deals/

Private Jets, All-Inclusive Resorts, Tahiti and the South Pacific – if this is what you want for your vacation, try the new Vacation Compete http://www.vacationcompete.com/

Recent ship review from an AllThingsCruise site member:
Oceania Riveria
High quality cruise line with excellent staff
Reviewer: sancarlosdoc
Date of cruise: 5/15/13
Departure port: Athens
Region visited: Mediterranean

Room was lovely--bathroom amazing for a ship-tub with shower plus a walk in shower. Would definitely sail with Oceania in the future. Read the full review here.

Shore excursion of the week:
Melbourne Balloon Flight with Breakfast
Soar above the spectacular city of Melbourne and enjoy a delicious breakfast on this unique tour. A Melbourne hot air balloon ride is a great way to spend your morning away from the city. The views from the hot air balloon in Melbourne will be more than scenic; they will be magnificent.
In the morning you and your pilot will be transported to the launch site after a short introductory and safety briefing. Take a moment to snap some pre-flight photos and admire the views. Just as Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz" floats gracefully into the air, you will too, as you soar above the city of Melbourne. The flight will last about an hour, and as you drift back down to land, you'll have a morning full of memories that will last a lifetime. Enjoy a deliciously filling breakfast to complete your morning. This high flying Melbourne city tour is a perfect way to see the beautiful sights from above. More…
Adult Price: $401

Child Price:
 $381 (Ages 7 - 12)

Also check out the “Deals” section on AllThingsCruise… there are some fantastic opportunities in cruising here: https://allthingscruise.com/deal/

Newsworthy
National Geographic has created the ultimate expedition for immersion in wildlife, South Georgia and the Falklands. Unanimously rated “the most spectacular place I’ve ever been” by travelers, and often compared to the Serengeti for the sheer mass of wildlife,  the voyage takes place as South Georgia and the Falklands bursts with life after a fruitful summer, and includes  time in Buenos Aires. The one-time 19-day wildlife-focused voyage is set aboard the 148-guest National Geographic Explorer and departs on March 7, 2014 – a fitting kick off to the 100th Anniversary celebration of Shackelton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914-1917). More…

As more people take to traveling ‘solo’ these days, enjoying their quiet time as well as the opportunity to make new friends, Hurtigruten continues to offer a long held policy of sailings without penalty. Guests traveling alone and booking a double-occupancy cabin will pay the same per person rate as if they were traveling as a couple on select departures of the six to 12-day itineraries along Norway’s fjord-filled west coast – including the holiday sailings. The route, named the “world’s most beautiful voyage” by Lonely Planet, runs between the UNESCO-listed harbor city of Bergen and the Norway/Russia border town of Kirkenes, with 34 ports of call in both directions. More…

Special offerings we found on the Web
Here’s a great quote about travel:
“Every dreamer knows that it is entirely possible to be homesick for a place you've never been to, perhaps more homesick than for familiar ground.” ―Judith Thurman

If you’d love a book of some of the very best travel quotes, take a look at:
No Foreign Lands – 100 of the Most Inspirational Travel Quotes of All Time
Click here to purchase this book: https://www.createspace.com/3653050

A valuable unique feature of AllThingsCruise is a complimentary e-card with vital cruise line and cruise ship contact information travelers can send to family members and others prior to departure.

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