The good folks at US News & World Report are at it again. They recently published their “Best Cruise Lines for the Money” list, and it's a must-read if you're planning on hitting the high seas next. One of the surprises of this year's list is that for the first time, the “Best Cruise for the Money” award went to Celebrity Cruises.
Celebrity Cruises is well known as an industry leader, praised for providing modern cruise interiors and elevated dining experiences.
I cannot say enough about the friendliness of all of the staff- from the servers to housekeeping to the cruise director staff- (loved El and Kirsten on game days)- they always had a smile and couldn’t do enough to make your time on board carefree. Overall worth the price to cross this off the bucket list!! -Cathrn_12 on the Celebrity Inside Passage Cruise | Trip Advisor
Royal Caribbean International is known for driving innovation at sea and they continuously redefine cruise vacationing year-over-year. Each successive class of ships is an architectural marvel and they’re always pushing the envelope on what is possible!
Royal Caribbean operates one of cruising’s most intriguing fleets. Ships range from mid-sized and middle-aged to state-of-the-art and on-the-cusp mega-ships. The line continuously updates even its oldest ships, bringing onboard the most popular features from its newest vessels. The line boasts the three biggest ships in the world — Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas. – CruiseCritic.com
Norwegian Cruise Line recently revealed The Norwegian Edge Program – An innovative program that promises to introduce a new standard of excellence that encompasses the entire guest experience, (from ship hardware to culinary enhancements and exclusive private destination developments).
Norwegian Cruise Line is the proverbial underdog of the cruise world: not quite up among the Carnival/Royal Caribbean power elite, but scrappy and determined and lots of fun. You just can’t help but root for them. – AvidCruiser.com
Ever wonder how to find the best cruise deals? There are a lot of great resources out there, and we picked from some of our favorites to bring you a list of tips. According to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) between 2003 and 2013, demand for cruising worldwide increased 77 percent, from 12 million to 21.3 million passengers. The CLIA says that “Florida remains the center of cruising in the United States, with its five cruise ports accounting for nearly 62 percent of all U.S. embarkations.” Following Florida, are California, Texas, and New York (each had more than 600,000 embarkations).
NBC News.com says:
One thing to know before you meet with a local travel agent is that many charge consulting fees for their time with you. Like many independent travel agents, luxury cruise specialist Lucy Hirleman, president of Berkshire Travel in Newfoundland, N.J., charges new clients a $50 nonrefundable trip deposit fee. –NBC News.com
Access Military, Senior or Residency Rates. A number of lines have special programs for seniors, military personnel and even teachers. Norwegian Cruise Line provides discounts to U.S. and Canadian military vets on select sailings. And for AARP members, it offers a 5 percent discount on any cruise booked at least nine months in advance. Holland America even goes so far as to offer discounts on select sailings to teachers, EMTs, firefighters, police officers and active military. Erik Elvejord, Holland America's director of public relations, told us that, while fares vary, they've typically been $50 to $100 below going rates. — Cruise Critic.com
The number one rule right now about cruising is be flexible with your schedule. The week you go will control how much of your wallet you leave behind on the ship. The same exact cabin could cost you as little as a third one week what it might cost you the very next week. — Clark Howard.com
Norwegian Cruise Lines posted a great question on their Facebook Page today. They asked; “What's on your must-have cruise packing list?” Some of the answers are very funny, and some are very practical! Since many of you may be planning cruises this year or looking for other travel deals, we thought we'd post our favorites from that Norwegian Cruise Lines must-have list for a cruise. These items (not necessarily in this order) are important to remember when you take to the high seas! Are you planning a cruise this year?
Beau Prichard from USA Today published a list of safety tips for beginners that are preparing for an upcoming cruise. In the wake of the overturned Costa Concordia, and the crap-covered Carnival Triumph it's important to pay closer attention to emergency measures AND general safety precautions when getting ready for your “vacation aboard”. Remember these safety tips for your cruise and have smoother sailing on your next vacation!
There are so many more to mention that we'll be doing more of these lists in the future. (Here's a preview… “Make sure you use that sunscreen!”) If you have tips you'd like to share, please do so in the comments below.