Not all bad news as cruise lines look ahead

cruise lines look aheadRecently it seems the news is full of doom and gloom for some of the major cruise lines. One ship catches fire, another gets tossed around by a freak weather event and the topic of cruise safety comes up front and center. But good news is on the horizon as ships sail into 2011 and an evolving cruise industry gives us exactly what we want.

On board, ships like new Norwegian Epic and Royal Caribbeans Oasis-class ships offer top-shelf entertainment options from Broadway musicals to dining experiences like Epic’s Cirque Dreams and Dinner show. Activities go far beyond bingo and shuffleboard to include high-energy surfing on a bunch of Royal Caribbean ships to a tranquil day away from it all in Princess Cruises Sanctuary where “Solitude seekers will be able to escape completely” the line says on its interactive website.

The cruise lines hear the call for transparency and responsibility in what they do too. Princess Cruises and Holland America continue the drive to plug in to shore-side power at an increasing rate. Celebrity Cruises now has solar technology mounted on all Solstice-class ships along with a new hull design that reduces fuel usage.

On pricing, it’s a buyers market with AOL Travel reporting special offers like Norwegian Cruise Line offering free upgrades through March 27Th adding “A swell of other promotions from other lines is likely to be announced in the coming weeks.” Indeed, value-leader Carnival Cruise Lines has fares starting at $70 a day and even luxury lines are offering special incentives like sailing a Seabourn yacht for up to 50% off.

As cruise lines look ahead, Cruise Lines International Association, celebrating their 35 years of cruise vacations, sums it up nicely saying “The cruise industry has evolved to be a leader in innovation and technological advancement. Cruise vacations are fun, safe and offer a wide variety of amenities and recreational activities that appeal to all vacationers”

Flickr photo by Port of San Diego

Cruise lines slash prices, buyers cash in

Cruise lines slash pricesMaybe its a bad news spotlight or maybe just some last-minute bargains but cruise lines are slashing prices on everything from short 2-night sailings to longer 7, 10, and even 16-night cruises . Make it a quick getaway or long, relaxing escape, cruise lines have some of the best vacation values around right now.

“With a bit of flexibility, you’ll likely be able to snag a good rate, and maybe even a few added bonuses, such as onboard credits, prepaid gratuities and cabin upgrades” reports

Short sailings to the Bahamas like 2 nights on Celebrity Century from Miami on January 15th go for as low as $115 per person or do 4-nights January 21 starting at $279. In the Caribbean, 7 nights on Crown Princess from Fort Lauderdale January 15 start at $379 per person and Ruby Princess starts at $449 on the January 16th sailing.

Longer sailings are available too like Princess Cruises Ocean Princess 16-day South China Sea Holiday sailing December 22nd with prices starting at $899 per per person or a 10-day sailing to the Mexican Riviera on Sapphire Princess from Los Angeles for $599 per person on January 5th.

Check with your travel agent for additional savings which might include discounts for residents of certain states, active or retired military members, seniors, past guests, Canadians, or other special promotions which could get you reduced airfare, onboard credit, complementary upgrades or special gifts.

Flickr photo by Tom Mascardo