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Cruise News and Information
January 13, 2014

Oceania Cruises is Offering 2 for 1 Fares in the Caribbean (With This Frigid Winter We All Need to Find Some Warm Weather), Princess Cruises Has Very Special Offers & Family Programs, Cunard Offers Royal Upgrades & All About Crystal Cruises 4.9 Out of 5 Rankings

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.

Here are some Time-Sensitive Offers Directly From the Cruise Lines we have found for you………We have compiled the latest amenities (cabin upgrades and cabin credits, plus more) and other special offers directly from the cruise lines for you to see here:

And here are some very recent examples:

Oceania: Experience the Far East with up to $9,000 Early Booking Savings and a Shipboard Credit worth up to $1,000 per stateroom. Click here for details and sailing dates.

Oceania is also offering Caribbean Adventures Sale 2 for 1 fares with free airfare! For details and sailing dates click here.

Holland America Line: Special Savings on Canada & New England and Europe Cruises with Holland America’s Above and Beyond promotion. Receive onboard credit, shore excursion discounts, reduced deposits and free or reduced fares for 3rd/4th guests. When you book a Europe cruise receive a Free Signature Beverage Package. For more information click here.

SeaDream Yacht Club: SeaDream Yacht Club is offering special pricing on Summer 2014 Northern Europe voyages. Click here for more information.

Princess Cruises: Princess Cruises is bringing back one of its most successful sales events just in time for Wave season. The “3 for Free Sales Event, The Next Wave” offer passengers up to $280 in benefits, including shore excursion spending money, a framed keepsake photo and a bottle of wine. The sale also offers passengers a reduced deposit of only $100 to secure their cruise. For more information on this deal, click here.

Cunard Line: Cunard’s Royal Upgrade Celebration Promotion Continues. Book your Cunard cruise during their Royal Upgrade Celebration Promotion and receive Free Upgrades, Free Gratuities and Reduced Deposits. Plus, receive a double upgrade on European voyages. For details, click here.

Seabourn: During their Signature Sailing Event Seabourn is offering great values. Book a select sailing and receive Extraordinary Savings, Complimentary Veranda Suite Upgrade, Up to 15% savings on select combination cruises and $1000 per suite shipboard credit for penthouse and premium suites. For more information, click here.

Windstar Cruises: Book a select 2014 Greek Isles and Turkey sailing with Windstar by February 28, 2014, and receive 2 for 1 Cruise Fares, plus 2 FREE hotel nights in Athens or Istanbul before or after your voyage so you can extend your vacation. For details click here.

Crystal Cruises: Book your Crystal Cruise vacation by February 28, 2014, to take advantage of their Book Now fares. Crystal’s entire collection of itineraries for 2014 is ready for booking. Click here for more information.

Read about more current cruise line deals by visiting Cruise Market Dossier at:

This month’s highlighted cruise line is Crystal Cruises!

About Crystal Cruises: 

From the moment you step on board, you will experience Crystal Cruises' dedication to making your cruise with us a perfect one. Our Six-Star Commitment means each instant must be memorable, every detail sublime. From the grand designs of our ships to the right vintage wine, a turned-down bed or even a simple smile, singular attention is paid to every detail of your cruise. 

People are the cornerstone of our commitment to quality, and Crystal Cruise line takes enormous pride in its crew and staff. Our Norwegian Captains and their staff of officers are among the finest at sea. Each member of the staff goes through Crystal Cruises' rigorous selection and training process, ensuring that they are uniquely qualified to serve you. With our people, as with everything else we do, compromise has no place: they are simply the best in the world.

Rankings from actual consumers: The Crystal Serenity ranks 4.9 of 5.00.

Reviewer dandukedad says: “The Serenity is a wonderful ship. The rooms are spacious and up to date. The service is incredible. The staff works hard to say yes to all of your requests. The food is great, particularly at the Silk Road restaurant. The entertainment is fabulous, and the sea days were some of the best days on the boat.

Wondering about other Crystal Cruises ships? Read all Crystal Cruises Reviews here…

Space dedicated to children is rare on luxury ships, yet Crystal has designed its ships to accommodate multiple generations. Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity offer spacious staterooms in a range of categories as well as suites, third berths, connecting staterooms, child-friendly cuisine and highly acclaimed children’s programs on select sailings with activities for children ages 3-17. Read more here…

Here’s a fantastic Crystal Cruises Deal!

Asia & Africa 2014/2015
10 to 21 days – From $150 up to $1,500 per couple shipboard spending credit Virtuoso Fares.
From $3,340 per person for one Outside Deluxe Stateroom on Deck 7.

Complimentary Luxuries include: Pre-paid port charges and Pre-paid gratuities for housekeeping, dining and bar staff; Fine wines, champagne, premium spirits and open bar service; All non-alcoholic beverages such as coffee drinks, bottled water, soft drinks and fresh juices; All meals, including 24-hour room service and specialty dining at Prego and innovative Asian menus from Nobu Matsuhisa; Shuttle service to town in port.

Rates from: $3,340. Read more here.

See more Crystal Cruises Deals here:

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:

To see shore excursions by port, click here:

Frequently asked question about CruiseCompete Shore Excursions:

Are children's prices available?

Yes. Many of our tours offer children's prices for children under the age of 12 years. Toddlers aged 2 and younger sitting on a parent's lap (not occupying a seat) are not charged for most tours. Please see the individual tour descriptions for specifics on pricing.

For the ultra-luxury lover in you

As part of the company’s 20th anniversary celebration in 2014, Silversea has given its documentation package a complete makeover, with the goal of making travel easier. The result is a versatile new Travel Journal that consolidates the traditional assortment of loose documents of booklets, wallets and luggage tag holders. More…

If you’re planning a luxury cruise in Europe, now is the time to take a look at SeaDream Yacht Club. Their mega-yacht is the ultimate way to experience the history, beautiful landscapes and breathtaking waterways of Northern Europe. SeaDream will be visiting this region June through August 2014 on seven to 14-day voyages. Starting the season from Hamburg, Germany, on May 31, 2014, SeaDream I will travel through the Kiel Canal, with stops in Helsinki, Stockholm and St. Petersburg, Russia. While in port, multiple-night stays will allow a thorough exploration of the cities, including sites like the world-famous Hermitage museum or the renowned Jacobson Ballet School. More…

If you’ve ever considered a World Cruise aboard luxury line Cunard, now is the time to book. In 2015, Cunard will celebrate 175 years of sailing and is offering a choice of three World Voyages on its ships the Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria. These itineraries will visit stunning and iconic destinations around the globe from Japan and Bangkok to Cape Town…and beyond. 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
To see more of what’s included on the lines, please click here:

Fun things happening on the cruise lines:
It doesn’t look all that scary. But when you are up there standing on a thin rope with the vast sky overhead and the deep sea beneath, it can be quite exhilarating. And a bit frightening, I must admit. A first for cruise ships when it was unveiled on the Carnival Magic, the ropes SkyCourse offers outdoor adventure suspended above deck with spectacular views. Hooked to a safety harness, passengers can participate in different rope activities of varying fitness levels – easy, moderate and challenging – while enjoying awesome sights of the sea nearly 150 feet below.
Traverse rope bridges, swinging steps and beams. It is worth a trip to the top just to see the ocean scenes. More…

River Cruising

River cruise line AmaWaterways is commemorating the 70th Anniversary of D-Day, and providing its passengers with the opportunity to explore history, culture and the story that captures the struggles of WWII. Begin your journey in magical Paris, embarking on a luxurious AmaWaterways ship. Travel to the village of Giverny, where Monet lived and worked, and Honfleur, a harbor town celebrated by generations of artists. Wander through Rouen, and then take an unforgettable excursion to the famous Normandy beaches of WWII. More…

Family travel tips

MSC’s Divina now calls PortMiami home, providing travelers with a new option in cruising from the port – very good news for the family vacation. Here’s why: On MSC, children ages 11 and under sail free and children ages 12-17 sail at a reduced rate. No special promotion, no short term deal; it’s just their policy. The line clearly wants that family demographic: they offer an outstanding children’s program that’s divided by age, the Mini Club (ages 3-6), Junior Club (ages 7-11), Y-Team (ages 12-14) and MSC Generation Teen Club (ages 15-17). Kids will also have a water park, basketball and soccer tournaments, volleyball, bowling in the Sports Bar, a kids’ newspaper, video games, a 4D Cinema and a Formula 1 Simulator, among other amenities. More…

Again, 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.

Cruise line charity:

Did you know that Royal Caribbean has a national partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation? For those of you not familiar with the program, these two companies work together to we help make dreams come true for children with life-threatening illnesses. Wishes at Sea (established in 2000) is a program whereby every year Royal Caribbean commits a number of cruise packages specifically to children whose wish it is to have an unforgettable dream-come-true vacation with his or her family. More…

Latest diaries of the AllThingsCruise writers

David Molyneaux invites you to: View Vietnam and Cambodia in a larger map. As luck would have it, I didn’t get to Da Nang, Vietnam, in 1968. I arrived 45 years later. In neither case did I have a say about the matter. In 1968, Vietnam was the last place I wanted to land. After four years of college at Miami University, I went to work in the summer of 1967 at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland as a newspaper reporter. Nine months later I was drafted — these were the days before a national lottery called civilians to battle based on a number associated with their birthdays. On April 4, 1968, after my last night shift as a reporter on the city police beat, I left my newspaper job and joined the Army for what turned out to be two years of active duty. Read his full diary here.

Jackie Finch sails on the Carnival Magic from Galveston, escaping the frigid weather in the Midwest. Read her reports here.

Barbara Orr is experiencing the Christmas Markets in Europe aboard the ultra-luxurious Scenic Crystal river ship. Read her reports here.

Gerry Barker and wife, Pam, are sailing on the new Royal Princess. Here are their reports.

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 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.

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:

Private Jets, All-Inclusive Resorts, Tahiti and the South Pacific – if this is what you want for your vacation, try the new Vacation Compete

Recent destination review from an AllThingsCruise site member:
Stingray City was AWESOME! - January 6, 2014
Reviewer: centex_mojo

We went with Captain Marvin...they took great care of us. There were two snorkeling stops as well...but interacting with the stingrays was the absolute best. For only $50, we got a DVD of 65 pictures (I have 4 kids) and individual of us with the stingrays - during the excursion. WORTH EVERY PENNY!

We also snorkeled twice - water was crystal clear blue everywhere we went. It was GREAT. I had a disposable underwater camera -- but the ones from Captain Marvin's guy are my favorite pictures of the entire cruise.
Read more…

Shore excursion of the week:
Exclusive Santorini, Oia and Winery Tour

Departing from the tender pier at Fira port, you will be lead to your transportation. From here, in groups of never more than 30 people, you will begin your exploration of this wonderful island.

Your tour will take you to the major must see sites on the island. Depending on traffic the day of your tour, the order you see the sites may vary from the tour description order. One of your stops will be at the village of Oia, located at the northern tip of the island. As you travel along, you will see the different layers of lava the volcano had produced making a time line of the island's history. Oia offers magnificent views of the caldera and the rest of the other islands. Depending on the time of day, the sun paints the cliffs with different shades of color and light like an ever-changing landscape painting. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that Oia attracts so many artists. With its cobble stone streets, beautiful old mansions and houses perched on the cliff side, you can admire the traditional Cycladic architecture for which Santorini is so well known.

From Oia, you will travel across the terraced island, through Pyrgos village and make your way up to the highest peak of Santorini, Mt. Profitis Ilias.(883 feet) Here a monastery of the same name was built in 1712. Although you cannot enter the monastery, you can enjoy its magnificent view of the entire island from the south end of Perissa Beach to the north part of the island were Oia village is situated.

After the photo stop, you will drive to one of the local wineries on the island. Here you can learn about how wines were once produced on the island, as well as learning of the unique way in which grapes are grown and harvested on Santorini. You will be able to sample three of the most famous wines of Santorini.

From the winery, you will make their way back to the town of Fira, the picturesque capital town of the island built on the rim of the caldera wall. Your guide will lead you to the major pedestrian street where they will give you a brief orientation of how to navigate the town, before you begin your free time. Wander the endless maze of whitewashed streets looking for jewelry, gifts or the perfect view of the caldera while you enjoy a coffee or wine. When you are ready to return to your ship, use your included cable car ticket to return to the tender pier in Fira.

Our Price (after savings): $80


Also check out the “Deals” section on AllThingsCruise … there are some fantastic opportunities in cruising here:


With close to five million consumers expected to pass through PortMiami – the Cruise Capital of the World in 2014, the Greater Miami and the Beaches is offering a wealth of pre- and post- cruise options for cruise passengers to extend their travel or vacation with stays in the destination. This January 1-31, consumers can prepare for wave season, the most popular time to book cruises, as the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) introduces Miami Cruise Month, sponsored by MasterCard’s Priceless Miami program.

Miami Cruise Month features enticing offers to book cruises departing from PortMiami and special pre- and post-cruise hotel stays, attraction visits and Heritage Neighborhood Tours.
“Greater Miami and The Beaches has been welcoming increasing numbers of visitors for many years, resulting in record-breaking tourism and further growth and traffic at PortMiami,” said GMCVB President & CEO William D. Talbert, III, CDME. “More than ever before, cruise passengers are taking advantage of pre-and-post cruise stays to explore the destination’s many attractions, culturally rich heritage neighborhoods and pristine beaches that continue to attract visitors from around the world.” More…

The original Master of the Steamboat NATCHEZ, Captain Clarke C. (Doc) Hawley, was awarded the River Legend Award as part of the Seamen’s Church Institute’s (SCI) 2013 River Bell Awards. The award presented on December 12 celebrated Captain Hawley as the “Pied Piper” of the French Quarter. During the course of his long river career, Captain Hawley has served as master of three out of five remaining Mississippi River steamboats, including the Steamboat NATCHEZ – the last authentic steamboat on the Mississippi River. Although Captain Hawley retired in 1995, he continues to serve the Steamboat NATCHEZ as a substitute calliope player. More…

Special offerings we found on the Web

Here’s a great quote about travel:
“Imagine that you are stuck on a long train ride and must choose one of two books to read in order to pass the time: the first is a novel whose main character is an office worker who is essentially working to pay his monthly cable bill; the second is about someone who decides to travel in South America (and of course encounters various setbacks in the process), but who pushes beyond the boundaries of conventional American life. Which... book would you pick up to read? Indeed, which of the two characters would you rather be?”  ― Mark Thompson

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:

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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