Sunday, April 13, 2014

Travelore Tips: Five Great-Value Cruises From U.S. Ports This Spring And Summer

spring cruise deals
Even better than the unusual cruise values for this summer are a few cruise deals that have popped up this spring. These April and May voyages set sail from U.S. ports—which means many of you can drive to the ship. You can even "take a cruise from the U.S. to Europe for cheaper than airfare," says USA Today, suggesting these 10 transatlantic bargain voyages. Personally, though, I've seen more interesting voyages on offer for this spring. Here are my top picks when it comes to that hard-to-find combo of good itinerary and good price:
A 16-day voyage from New York to London on Oceania Cruises' Marina for $4,299 per person in an inside stateroom. The cruise leaves New York on May 22, hits Maine, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Newfoundland, spends only three days on the Atlantic Ocean, then calls at both Cork and Dublin in Ireland, and Cornwall in England, before ending in London (well, Dover, actually) on June 7. I've sailed on this ship myself and can assure you that the food is phenomenal.
A 15-day cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Montreal on Holland America's Maasdam for $1,435 per person in an oceanview cabin. The cruise leaves Fort Lauderdale on May 2and stops in Charleston, South Carolina; Newport, Rhode Island; Bar Harbor, Maine; and a series of ports in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec, ending in Montreal on May 17. These places may not be exotic, but they're certainly charming—and you avoid the packs of tourists that descend in peak season.
A 7-day jaunt from Los Angeles to Vancouver on Princess Cruises' Crown Princessfor $919 in a balconied cabin. The ship leaves L.A. on May 3 and sails up the West Coast to Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Oregon, and Victoria, British Columbia, before ending in Vancouver on May 10. It's a way to see coastline that you can't always see from the Pacific Coast Highway.
And here are two more options. The itineraries aren't as good, but the pricing is pretty sweet, considering the quality of the ships:
A 7-day getaway out of Los Angeles on Celebrity Cruises' Century. The ship sails to Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Monterey, Catalina Island, and Ensenada, Mexico, before returning to Los Angeles. On the April 5 cruise there are concierge cabins available for $1,028 and on the April 12 cruise there are veranda cabins for $1,078. This cruise may make sense for people who live within driving distance of L.A. and just need a no-brainer vacation at sea.
A 12-day transatlantic voyage on the Disney Magic for $1,421.45 in an inside stateroom. The ship leaves Port Canaveral on May 19 and hits Disney's private island in the Bahamas, Madeira (the Portuguese archipelago off the coast of Spain), and Malaga, Spain, before ending in Barcelona on May 31. There isn't much port time, however—you have only five hours to see Madeira, for instance—and the ship spends eight full days at sea. But if you love Disney's mind-bending variety of shipboard activities or you've got kids who don't need to be in school, it could be what the doctor ordered.
The prices above are per person, based on double occupancy, and include taxes and fees. They were furnished by one of my recommended top cruise travel specialists,Linda Allen of Brownell Travel. Linda has booked several of my own family's cruises and will help you get the most for your dollar.
Contributed by Wendy Perrin

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