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Monday
Mar032014

How to Choose a Cruise Ship

So you want to take a cruise…

Cruising can be a wonderful way to travel, but if you’ve never navigated the world of cruise offerings, you’ve got a lot to consider.  The destinations are important and will ultimately shape your selections, but vitally, so are the choice of cruise lines and more centrally, the ship you’ll actually travel on.

Don’t confuse a “good deal” with a good fit; cruises are NOT all the same.  Ask the right questions so that you don’t find yourself on a ship that doesn’t match your personality or travel style.  This is miserable for you, awful for the cruise staff and ultimately damages the industry because you’ll return home with a resolve to “never cruise again,” making sure to tell everyone you know.  This was my response after spending our honeymoon on a ship that held 2,390 passengers back in 1993.  We didn’t ask the right questions and it took 5 years to get me back on a ship, but 20 years and 32 cruises later, I can honestly say it’s one of the most enjoyable ways to travel, if you're on the right ship.

How do you choose a ship that actually meets YOUR needs?

A cruise line should be viewed the same way you would view hotel branding.  Take Starwood for instance, which offers Westin, Sheraton, Le Meridien, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W Hotels, Four Points, Aloft, etc.  These brands are not equal in service, accommodations, style, quality or price point.  The cruise lines also have that same product diversity.  For instance, Carnival Cruise Lines is the parent company for Carnival, Holland America Line, Cunard, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, P&O Cruises, P&O Cruises Australia, Aida, Costa Cruises and Ibero Cruceros.  Royal Caribbean International is the parent company for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Azamara Club Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Pullmantur and Croisieres de France. 

With hotels, it’s easier to understand the differences represented in the products offered.  Thanks to the TV series, “The Love Boat,” which ran from 1977 to 1987, there’s a novelty and romance associated with traveling by sea.  Additionally, Hollywood inspires us with films like “Titanic,” “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” “The Poseidon Adventure,” “The Imposters,” “Boat Trip” and many more.

As with hotels, individual cruise lines offer different levels of service, accommodations, style, quality and price point.  You wouldn’t necessarily select a hotel just because the price was the lowest and you shouldn’t base your cruise selection on price point either.  If you do, you might find yourself in less luxury than you’re used to and on a ship that doesn't meet your expectations.

With a cruise, there are a variety of things to consider.  First decide on a destination and from there, you'll likely find a long list of ships cruising that region.  Next, ask the right questions to help you narrow your selection to ships that fit your travel style.  Lastly, do the basics and you’ll be ahead of the game when it comes to choosing a ship and enjoying the vacation you’ve always dreamed of.

What are the right questions?

Q:  How large is the ship and how many passengers does it hold? 

Ships tend to call themselves “yacht like” if they have fewer than 400 passengers, “small” if they have fewer than 1,000 passengers, “medium” if they are between 1,000 to 1,800 passengers and “large” if they are 1,800 or more passengers.  Take passenger numbers in mind when looking at the length and beam of a ship. 

Small Ship Pros:  Fewer passengers’ means personal service.  Small ships tend to run with a higher crew to guest ratio.  This equals shorter lines, less crowding and easy embarkation / disembarkation.  Entertainment can be highly specialized with interesting guest lecturers, local cultural ensembles, naturalists and contract performers.  The bars, lounges and disco will be quieter as the evening grows late.  A small ship can pull into smaller ports and tendering is less likely.

Small Ship Cons:  Small ships tend to be more costly and staterooms can sometimes be smaller in scale than the same category stateroom on a larger ship.  The entertainment could be uninteresting leaving you with entertaining yourselves in the evening or watching movies on the ship television channels.  The bars, lounges and disco will be quieter as the evening grows late.  Dining for a smaller crowd can sometimes necessitate seating times in the evening, forcing you into either an early or late seating situation for dinner.

Large Ship Pros:  A larger ship will have more outlets for shopping and entertainment and more areas for things like ice-skating, rock climbing and even giant water slides.  The bars, lounges and disco will offer entertainment until the wee hours with multiple venues to choose from in addition to movie channels on your stateroom television.

Large Ship Cons:  More passengers’ mean longer lines.  The embarkation / disembarkation process takes longer and there will be times when you’ll wait in long lines for the buffet, the passenger services desk, the excursions desk, etc.  A large ship cannot get into smaller ports and tendering from the ship becomes necessary in those ports.  Dining rooms are busier making it more difficult to dine when and where you’d like.

Q:  What are the different stateroom sizes?

While the stateroom square footage might be shockingly smaller than a typical hotel room, storage has been maximized and you'll find you've got room enough for all of your things.  Some important differences to note are bed sizes and weather you've been provided with a tub and shower or a shower only.  Additionally, many ships include the square footage of the balcony when quoting stateroom sizes.

Q:  What is the crew to guest ratio? 

More crew for each guest means a higher level of service. 

Q:  Why is the same stateroom category priced differently?

Staterooms vary in price depending on location and view within the same category.  Make sure your view isn’t obstructed and that you’ve not got a connecting door unless that’s what you’re looking for.

Q:  What star rating has been awarded to the ship?

Ships are rated from 1 to 6 stars and those ratings are based on quality, service, crew to guest ration, recent renovations, etc.

Q:  When was the ship built and when was the last renovation?

Ships need maintenance.  You want to know the ship you’ll be traveling on has been well maintained and is comfortable.

Q:  Is this a party ship or is it quiet? 

Whether you are looking for quiet romance with your special someone or looking for someone special, it’s a good question to get an answer to.

Q:  Is the ship formal or more casual? 

Will you feel out of place if you are required to wear cocktail attire or a jacket and tie every evening?  Do you look forward to dressing up?  Find out what the etiquette on board is before making your decision.

Q:  Is this ship appropriate for children and are there things for my kids to do? 

If it’s a family vacation, make sure the kids have options so that you can have time with your spouse and / or your own thoughts. 

Q:  What is included? 

Some ships charge extra for Specialty restaurants, excursions, alcohol, espresso drinks, soda, bottled water, etc. and some include many or all of those things.  Find out what you’ll need to budget extra for.  Most ships do not include airport transfers.

Q:  Are extra fees charged onboard and if so what do they cover? 

Many ships charge an onboard fee for gratuities which are shared amongst wait staff, stateroom stewards, buffet stewards, galley staff, laundry and others who support your cruise experience.

Q:  What are the dining options and when is dinner served?

Find out how many dining rooms you’ll have to choose from and if dinner is serviced with two seating’s (early & late) or if anytime dining OK?

Q:  What is the deposit requirement and what is the cancellation schedule?

Cancellation fees typically begin 90 days prior to departure, though some cruise lines begin imposing penalty fees as early as 120 days prior.  Each cruise line operates with different deposit and cancellation schedules.  It’s always recommended that with your cruise you also purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance so that you are covered in the event of an emergency.  Most cruise lines offer insurance and private options are also readily available through companies like Travelex Travel Insurance.

Before finalizing anything, peruse websites to investigate what people are saying about cruise lines and cruise ships you’re most interested in.  A good resource is Cruise Critic.  Better yet, visit a travel professional who is a cruise specialist, they will have the most recent information on things happening in the cruise world. 

However you decide to travel, spend some time on research before spending your time and money.  You can always make more money but you can’t make more time.

Sunday
Feb162014

The Island Shangri-La Hong Kong

The Island Shangri-La Hotel on Hong Kong Island is the flagship property for Shangri-La Hotels. This means extraordinary service and attention to detail, done flawlessly, 24-7.  The staff seamlessly sees to your every need with grace and care.  Views are of Victoria Harbour and the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, in Wan Chai, only one MTR (metro) stop away.  Their welcome amenity of beautifully presented hot tea, cool towels, and chocolate and fruit welcomes weary guests.  The turn down service features Evian water, slippers, replacement fruit and sometimes a plate of cookies.  The toiletry products are from L'Occitane plus they provide a multitude of bath amenities of the highest quality.  The swimming pool, spa and gym are an oasis amid the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong and finally, the Island Shangri-La lobby flowers, which change with unbelievable frequency, are as stunning as they are exotic.

If you are lucky enough to be a part of their Golden Circle Membership and have been invited to their concierge lounge or Restaurant Petrus for breakfast, it might just become the favorite part of your Hong Kong day.  Breakfast is a lavish spread with white glove service, 56 floors high.  The view from the 56th floor at Restaurant Petrus is mesmerizing and if you'd like to join them for dinner, Restaurant Petrus offers some of the finest French dining found in Hong Kong and has been awarded a coveted Michelin Star.

If you've spent time in Hong Kong, you know that the Hong Kong Metro or “MTR” is world class.  It's one of the best ways to get around to explore this cosmopolitan city.  If you've never traveled the MTR, the system is super easy to navigate!  The first thing you'll need to recognize and remember is the MTR symbol which can be difficult to locate among the signs and billboards littering your vision.

Before your journey, purchase an Octopus Card and research which MTR exit puts you closest to your destination.  Each MTR stop has several exit choices.  Note:  The Octopus Card can only be purchased with CASH and requires a deposit, currently 50HKD before you fill it with currency.  When you return your card, you receive a refund for your deposit.  The Octopus Card can be purchased and returned to any MTR booth.

The MTR stop for Island Shangri-La is Admiralty, located in the neighborhood known as Central.  Though technically in Central, it is actually one MTR stop from "Central," a lively, vivid, bustling and seemingly always-awake part of the city.  This has its merits... or may not be what you're looking for...  In addition to shopping and dining, Central has a very busy nightclub and bar scene in the Lan Kwai Fong area.  The Island Shangri-La, To/From Central, is a 15-20 minute walk through above the city walkways or is a quick MTR ride.  If you enjoy the nightclub and bar scene, you might want to choose a hotel who's metro stop "IS" Central, putting you closer to the action.

Adjacent to The Island Shangri-La is Hong Kong Park, which offers a lovely ambiance for strolling, bird watching, and turtle gazing and dining.  If you're looking for shopping, the hotel elevator banks drop you right into Pacific Place, which offers unparalleled choices for your every shopping need.  Note:  While Pacific Place offers several options for dining, you're better off selecting something outside of the mall.  Mall dining is, after all, mall dining...and there are far better options elsewhere.

Speaking of dining, the hotel is a top rated spot for high tea and should NOT be missed.  Tea takes place in their extraordinary lobby on the finest of patterned china and heavy silver service.  Tea is a top rated Hong Kong pastime and it's served here particularly well.

The hotel is thoughtfully considering a room’s renovation by gathering feedback on 2 rooms, which they’ve renovated, in contrasting styles.  Though their guest accommodations could use a renovation, the service standards are so high that one stops noticing the dated colors and furnishings of their current standard.  Once The Island Shangri-La completes this renovation, their place as one of the top hotels in the world will be hard to challenge.

Sunday
Feb092014

Panama Canal - 2014 V/S 2015

For those ready to go now, there are still some great options for a spring 2014 Panama Canal voyage. 

Historically, cruise bookings made 90 days or less prior to departure are considered a last minute booking, resulting in drastic price adjustments that typically save a last minute booker, a lot of money.  Looking at these “last minute” offers, it’s interesting to see that Panama Canal pricing for spring 2014 isn’t that different from spring 2015 and in some cases actually costs more.

As this seems to be a destination that holds its own, my suggestion is to book as soon as you know you can go, securing the best cabin options by booking early. 

The good news, whenever you do decide to book, there seem to be enough ships to accommodate whatever traveler and travel planner mold you fit. 

2014 Super Luxury Ships: 

Crystal Cruises - Symphony (6 Stars) http://www.crystalcruises.com/

17 Nights / 8 Days at Sea + Canal Day

The Facts: May 15-June 1, 2014 Los Angeles to New York

$5,630 Oceanview / $7,585 Balcony

Per Night Cost:  $332 Oceanview / $447 Balcony

Year Built:  1995 / Refurbished:  2012 / 922 passengers / 566 crew  

Length 781Ft. / Beam 99Ft.

 

2015 Super Luxury Ships:

Crystal Cruises - Symphony (6 Stars) http://www.crystalcruises.com/

18 Nights / 8 Days at Sea + Canal Day

The Facts: May 25 - June 12, 2015 Los Angeles to New York

$6,454 Oceanview / $8,969 Balcony

Per Night Cost:  $359 Oceanview / $499 Balcony

Year Built:  1995 / Refurbished:  2012 / 922 passengers / 566 crew  

Length 781Ft. / Beam 99Ft.

 

2014 Luxury Ships:

Oceania Cruises - Regatta (5 1/2 Stars) http://www.oceaniacruises.com/

16 Nights / 7 Days at Sea + Canal Day

The Facts: May 1-17, 2014 Miami to San Francisco

$3,299 Oceanview / $4,999 Balcony

Per Night Cost:  $207 Oceanview / $313 Balcony

Year Built:  1998 / Refurbished:  2011 / 684 passengers / 400 crew  

Length 594Ft. / Beam 84Ft.

 

2015 Luxury Ships:

Oceania Cruises - Regatta (5 1/2 Stars) http://www.oceaniacruises.com/

16 Nights / 7 Days at Sea + Canal Day 

The Facts: April 23-May 9, 2015 Miami to San Francisco

$3,199 Oceanview / $4,799 Balcony

Per Night Cost:  $200 Oceanview / $300 Balcony

Year Built:  1998 / Refurbished:  2011 / 684 passengers / 400 crew  

Length 594Ft. / Beam 84Ft.

 

2014 Mid-Size Ships:

Holland America - Veendam (4 ½ Stars) http://www.hollandamerica.com/main/Main.action 

15 Nights / 6 Days at Sea + Canal Day

The Facts: March 30 – April 14, 2014 San Diego to Ft. Lauderdale

$1,599 Oceanview / $3,299 Lanai / $4,199 Balcony

Per Night Cost:  $107 Oceanview / $220 Lanai  / $280 Balcony

Year Built: 1996 / Refurbished:  2011 / 1,266 passengers / 602 crew

Length 720Ft. / Beam 101Ft.

 

2015 Mid-Size Ships:

Holland America - Veendam (4 1/2 Stars) http://www.hollandamerica.com/main/Main.action 

14 Nights / 6 Days at Sea + Canal Day

The Facts: Feb. 7-21, 2015 San Diego to Ft. Lauderdale

$2,099 Oceanview / $2,999 Lanai / $3,699 Balcony

Per Night Cost:  $150 Oceanview / $215 Lanai / $265 Balcony

Year Built: 1996 / Refurbished:  2011 / 1,266 passengers / 602 crew

Length 720Ft. / Beam 101Ft.

Prices are per person and are always subject to change.  Prices reflected are based on the time and date of this posting.  Items NOT INCLUDED are as follows:

Airfare & Port Transfers 

Govt. Fees & Taxes

Spa Services, Excursions, *Alcohol, *Sodas, *Espresso Drinks, On board service fees (**gratuities) which may be charged nightly to your stateroom account. 

*Some cruise lines include one or more of these items as part of their cruise experience.

**Charged gratuities are shared amongst wait staff, stateroom stewards, buffet stewards, galley staff, laundry and others who support your cruise experience.

Saturday
Feb082014

Panama Canal 2015 Top Choices

Now that I’ve tempted you with the best 2015 Panama Canal voyages to keep watch on, the overwhelming question is which of these to take advantage of…  One key element to consider is departure port.  The Florida embarkation ports put those of us on the west coast and mountain states at a disadvantage; we lose precious daylight hours when flying east and must therefore overnight prior to embarkation.

The following are my top choices within the categories of Super Luxury, Luxury, Mid-Size and Big Ships, all offering a full Panama Canal transit with at least half of the itinerary spent visiting ports along the way.  :  

Super Luxury Ships:

Crystal Cruises - Symphony (6 Stars) http://www.crystalcruises.com/

18 Nights / 8 Days at Sea + Canal Day

The Facts: May 25 - June 12, 2015 Los Angeles to New York

$6,454 Oceanview / $8,969 Balcony

Per Night Cost:  $359 Oceanview / $499 Balcony

Year Built:  1995 / Refurbished:  2012 / 922 passengers / 566 crew  

Length 781Ft. / Beam 99Ft.

 

Luxury Ships:

Oceania Cruises - Regatta (5 1/2 Stars) http://www.oceaniacruises.com/

16 Nights / 7 Days at Sea + Canal Day

The Facts: April 23-May 9, 2015 Miami to San Francisco

$3,199 Oceanview / $4,799 Balcony

Per Night Cost:  $200 Oceanview / $300 Balcony

Year Built:  1998 / Refurbished:  2011 / 684 passengers / 400 crew  

Length 594Ft. / Beam 84Ft.

 

Mid-Size Ships:

Holland America - Veendam (4 1/2 Stars) http://www.hollandamerica.com/main/Main.action 

14 Nights / 6 Days at Sea + Canal Day)

The Facts: Feb. 7-21, 2015 San Diego to Ft. Lauderdale

$2,099 Oceanview / $2,058 Balcony

Per Night Cost:  $150 Oceanview / $258 Balcony

Built in 1996, Refurbished in 2011, space for 1,266 passengers and 602 crew.  Length 720Ft. / Beam 101Ft.

 

Big Ships:

Celebrity Cruises - Infinity (5 Stars) http://www.celebritycruises.com/

15 Nights / 7 Days at Sea + Canal Day)

The Facts: April 13 - 28, 2015 San Diego to Ft. Lauderdale

$1,844 Oceanview / $2,449 Balcony

Per Night Cost:  $123 Oceanview / $164 Balcony

Built in 2001, Refurbished in 2011, space for 1,950 passengers and 999 crew.  Length 965Ft. / Beam 105Ft.

 

Prices are per person and are always subject to change.  Prices reflected are based on the time and date of this posting.  Items NOT INCLUDED are as follows:

Airfare & Port Transfers 

Govt. Fees & Taxes

Spa Services, Excursions, *Alcohol, *Sodas, Espresso DrinksOn board service fees  (*gratuities) which may be charged nightly to your stateroom account. 

*Some cruise lines include one or more of these items as part of their cruise experience.

**Charged gratuities are shared amongst wait staff, stateroom stewards, buffet stewards, galley staff, laundry and others who support your cruise experience.

Friday
Feb072014

Panama Canal Cruising - 2015

Yes, 2015!  I know we've just entered 2014 and some of us are still having trouble typing 14 instead of 13 but...if you've been thinking Panama Canal and have not found compelling itineraries, I've posted some transits worth watching.  

If you've looked into these voyages as I have, you've probably noticed that many offer only a partial transit and others spend half the time, if not more, on days at sea.  

If you'd like to get more out of your Panama Canal experience, check out the cruises listed below.  These are the best 2015 voyages by price point per category, lowest price first.  All of these offer a full Panama Canal transit with at least half of the itinerary spent visiting ports along the way. 

Super Luxury Ships:

Crystal Cruises - Symphony (6 Stars)  http://www.crystalcruises.com/

$359 Oceanview / $499 Balcony (per person / per night)

18 Nights / 8 Days at Sea + Canal Day)

May 25 - June 12, 2015 - $6,454 Oceanview / $8,969 Balcony)

The Facts: Los Angeles to  New York

Built in 1995, Refurbished in 2012, space for 922 passengers and 566 crew.  Length 781Ft. / Beam 99Ft.

 

SilverSea - Spirit (6 Stars)  http://www.silversea.com/

$456 Oceanview Suite / $492 Balcony Suite (per person / per night)

17 Nights / 7 Days at Sea + Canal Day)

March 27 - April 13, 2015 - $7,750 Oceanview Suite / $8,350 Balcony Suite)

The Facts:  Los Angeles to Ft. Lauderdale

Built in 2009, space for 540 passengers and 376 crew.  Length 642Ft. / Beam 86Ft.

 

Regent Seven Seas Cruises - Navigator (6 Stars)  http://www.rssc.com/ 

$474 Oceanview Suite / $527 Balcony Suite (per person / per night)

17 Nights / 7 Days at Sea + Canal Day) 

April 14 - May 1, 2015 - $8049 Oceanview Suite / $8,949 Balcony Suite)

The Facts:  Miami to San Francisco

Built in 1999, Refurbished in 2012, space for 490 passengers and 324 crew.  Length 560Ft. / Beam 81Ft.

 

Luxury Ships:

Oceania Cruises - Regatta (5 1/2 Stars)  http://www.oceaniacruises.com/

$200 Oceanview / $300 Balcony (per person / per night)

16 Nights / 7 Days at Sea + Canal Day)

April 23-May 9, 2015 - $3,199 Oceanview / $4,799 Balcony)

The Facts:  Miami to San Francisco

Built in 1998, Refurbished in 2011, space for 684 passengers and 400 crew.  Length 594Ft. / Beam 84Ft.

 

Oceania Cruises - Marina (5 1/2 Stars)  http://www.oceaniacruises.com/ 

$272 Balcony (per person / per night)

33 Nights / 13 Days at Sea + Canal Day)

April 4 - May 7, 2015 - $8,949 Balcony)

The Facts:  Papeete, Tahiti to New York

Built in 2011, space for 1,258 passengers and 800 crew.  Length 774Ft. / Beam 105Ft.

 

Mid-Size Ships:

Holland America - Zaandam (4 1/2 Stars)  http://www.hollandamerica.com/main/Main.action 

$132 Oceanview / $213 Balcony (per person / per night)

16 Nights / 6 Days at Sea + Canal Day)

May 2-18, 2015 - $2,099 Oceanview / $3,399 Balcony)

The Facts:  Ft. Lauderdale to San Diego

Built in 2000, Refurbished in 2010, space for 1,440 passengers and 647 crew.  Length 780Ft. / Beam 106Ft.

 

Holland America - Amsterdam (5 Stars)  http://www.hollandamerica.com/main/Main.action 

$132 Oceanview / $213 Balcony (per person / per night)

16 Nights / 5 Days at Sea + Canal Day)

May 10-26, 2015 - $2,099 Oceanview / $3,399 Balcony)

The Facts:  Ft. Lauderdale to San Diego

Built in 2000, Refurbished in 2010, space for 1,380 passengers and 647 crew.  Length 780Ft. / Beam 106Ft.

 

Holland America - Veendam (4 1/2 Stars)  http://www.hollandamerica.com/main/Main.action 

$143 Oceanview / $179 Balcony ( per person / per night)

14 Nights / 6 Days at Sea + Canal Day)

April 15-29, 2015 - $1,999 Oceanview / $2,499 Balcony)

The Facts:  San Diego to Ft. Lauderdale

Built in 1996, Refurbished in 2011, space for 1,266 passengers and 602 crew.  Length 720Ft. / Beam 101Ft.

 

Holland America - Veendam (4 1/2 Stars)  http://www.hollandamerica.com/main/Main.action 

$150 Oceanview / $258 Balcony (per person / per night)

14 Nights / 6 Days at Sea + Canal Day)

Feb. 7-21, 2015 - $2,099 Oceanview / $2,058 Balcony)

The Facts:  San Diego to Ft. Lauderdale

Built in 1996, Refurbished in 2011, space for 1,266 passengers and 602 crew.  Length 720Ft. / Beam 101Ft.

 

Big Ships:

Royal Caribbean - Legend of the Seas (4 Stars)  http://www.royalcaribbean.com/ 

$98 Oceanview / $174 Balcony (per person / per night)

15 Nights / 7 Days at Sea + Canal Day)

March 30 - April 14, 2015 - $1,894 Oceanview / $2,499 Balcony)

The Facts:  Ft. Lauderdale to San Diego

Built in 1995, Refurbished in 2013, space for 2,076 passengers and 720 crew.  Length 867Ft. / Beam 105Ft.

 

Royal Caribbean - Legend of the Seas (4 Stars)  http://www.royalcaribbean.com/ 

$104 Oceanview / $174 Balcony (per person / per night)

15 Nights / 7 Days at Sea + Canal Day)

April 14 - 29, 2015 - $1,549 Oceanview / $2,599 Balcony)

The Facts:  San Diego to Ft. Lauderdale

Built in 1995, Refurbished in 2013, space for 2,076 passengers and 720 crew.  Length 867Ft. / Beam 105Ft.

 

Celebrity Cruises - Infinity (5 Stars)  http://www.celebritycruises.com/

$123 Oceanview / $164 Balcony (per person / per night)

15 Nights / 7 Days at Sea + Canal Day)

April 13 - 28, 2015 - $1,844 Oceanview / $2,449 Balcony)

The Facts:  San Diego to Ft. Lauderdale

Built in 2001, Refurbished in 2011, space for 1,950 passengers and 999 crew.  Length 965Ft. / Beam 105Ft.

 

Celebrity Cruises - Infinity (5 Stars)  http://www.celebritycruises.com/

$127 Oceanview / $167 Balcony (per person / per night)

15 Nights / 7 Days at Sea + Canal Day)

March 29 - April 12, 2015 - $1,894 Oceanview / $2,499 Balcony)

The Facts:  Ft. Lauderdale to San Diego

Built in 2001, Refurbished in 2011, space for 1,950 passengers and 999 crew.  Length 965Ft. / Beam 105Ft.

 

Holland America - Westerdam (5 Stars)  http://www.hollandamerica.com/main/Main.action 

$138 Oceanview / $169 Balcony (per person / per night)

16 Nights / 5 Days at Sea + Canal Day)

April 11-27, 2015 - $2,199 Oceanview / $2,699 Balcony)

The Facts:  Ft. Lauderdale to San Diego

Built in 2004, Refurbished in 2010, space for 1,916 passengers and 800 crew.  Length 950Ft. / Beam 106Ft.

 

Holland America - Noordam (5 Stars)  http://www.hollandamerica.com/main/Main.action 

$147 Oceanview / $180 Balcony (per person / per night)

15 Nights / 6 Days at Sea + Canal Day)

April 20-May 5, 2015 - $2,199 Oceanview / $2,699 Balcony)

The Facts:  Ft. Lauderdale to San Diego

Built in 2006, Refurbished in 2010, space for 1,918 passengers and 800 crew.  Length 950Ft. / Beam 106Ft.

Prices reflected are based on the time and date of this posting.  Prices are per person and are always subject to change.  Items NOT INCLUDED are as follows:

Airfare & Port Transfers 

Govt. Fees & Taxes

Spa Services, Excursions, *Alcohol, *Sodas, *Espresso DrinksOn board service fees (gratuities) which may be charged nightly to your stateroom account.  Charged gratuities are shared amongst waitstaff, stateroom stewards, buffet stewards, galley staff, laundry and others who support your cruise experience.

*Some cruise lines include one or more of these items as part of their cruise experience.