The Danube. (Photo: Sollymonster/Thinkstock)
Summer is here—and summer cruise deals are still out there. How about an Alaska sail starting at $749? That’s the price on many Anchorage to Vancouver seven-day cruises. Picture yourself, glued to the railing, waiting for a house-sized ice chunk to rip from a glacier. Or watching for a whale shoot upward in a magnificent breach.
Just don’t count on getting everything you want. Example: Balcony cabins are sold out on many Alaska cruises, but could you go for an obstructed view? Hey, for $749, who needs a cabin window, anyway?
Check out these great (and affordable!) last-minute cruises.
(Courtesy: Norwegian Cruise Line)
Families love Holland America Line and Princess Cruises for their on-board naturalists and shore excursions, including daring glacier walks—but 20-to-40-somethings seek the night action of Norwegian Cruise Line. Why waste the midnight sun? In the northerly latitudes, it stays light all night, so you can enjoy Norwegian’s entertainment such as Blue Man Group, Second City, and the Tony-award-winning Broadway musical, “Rock of Ages.” Norwegian’s rates on seven-day cruises start at $749 for June 23 and July 7 NCL departures to Alaska from Vancouver.
The Explorer of the Seas. (Photo: kansasphoto / Flickr)
Royal Caribbean sets eight ships a-sailing in the Caribbean this summer. Good times are built in, with themed bars like Rita’s Cantina and retro-milkshake-and-burger joint Johnny Rockets. Just try to pry waterlogged kids from the H2O Zone kids’ waterpark Current hot deals rock the grin scale with sizzling prices and availability of cabins in many categories. Departing from Cape Liberty, New Jersey, Explorer of the Seas ships out on five-day Bermuda getaways. Interior cabins start at $499 and a balcony cabin runs $999 on the June 14 sail. Prices edge up as summer rolls on. Explorer of the Seas boasts an ice-skating rink and six pools. If the idea of six pools of shrieking kids doesn’t appeal, you can head for the adults-only solarium. There are also nine-night voyages from Cape Liberty, with additional Caribbean ports and prices that are just as appealing.
That said, you could sail the Caribbean all summer and never set foot on the same ship twice. Sounds like a pleasant summer, actually. Norwegian’s seven-day sail on the Norwegian Breakaway embarks from New York to Bermuda. There are dates in June and July, with ocean-view cabins on sale for $549 to $799. There are even mini-suites (good for families) for $1,039 to $1,299. Breakaway is family reunion-friendly with something for everyone—splashy Aqua Park, three Broadway shows, and 27 restaurants.
The Royal Princess. (Courtesy: Princess Cruises)
Rock-bottom prices in Europe are harder to find. But how about an 11-day Baltic cruise on Princess Cruises’ newest ship, the Royal Princess, which was christened last year by none other than Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge (aka Kate Middleton). The ship is full of innovations—like the terrifying SeaWalk, a 60-foot-long glass-bottomed walkway that hovers 128 feet above the ocean, and the SeaView Bar, which also juts out over the water. Inside cabin are on sale for $1,799, which is more than a 50-percent reduction. Balcony and mini-suites run $2,699 and $2,799, lopping off nearly a grand each. And the Baltic sail can’t be beat, between the art-packed Hermitage in St. Petersburg and cities such as Copenhagen and Berlin.
You can also sail around the British Isles for 11 days on Ruby Princess, kissing the Blarney Stone and waving at the Loch Ness monster, plus a quick pop over to Paris. Interior cabins start at $1,099 (which averages out about $100 a night); sailing June 4.
The Blarney Castle in Ireland. (Photo: Anne Chalfant)
Windstar’s brand new 212-person elegant power yacht, the Star Pride, has berths left on its August 30 sail from Athens to Istanbul, including the iconic Greek island of Santorini and the beloved antiquity sites of Rhodes, Greece. and Kusadasi, Turkey. Priced at $3,699 for nine-day cruise; book by June 27 (but seriously, don’t dawdle that long).
Viking River Cruises’ Freya Longship on the Danube. (Courtesy: Viking River Cruises)
The Danube is another hot spot for river cruises. Viking commands a hefty price, yet there’s a two-for-one sale going right now, ending May 31. Mention “Offer Nine” when booking, and two people can cruise for the one price: $2,656. Viking’s longships have lots of windows for river gazing, and shore excursions are included in every port. In Vienna, just imagine those musical notes wafting out to the river. Sounds like summertime!