Cruising in Europe: New Ships And Super Savings

From the Arctic Circle to North Africa, the Baltic to the Black Sea, Iberia to Istanbul, the member companies of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) have the entire length and breadth of Europe covered. With cruises offered in every length of voyage and in all price categories, there is no easier, more comfortable way to discover the pleasures of Provence, the treasures of St. Petersburg or Venice, the Greek islands, Scandinavian fjords, the Blue Danube, the Adriatic coast and much more.

Beginning this summer and continuing through the year and into 2010, cruisers in Europe will also have the choice of some of the newest ships in the CLIA fleet and, most important, can take advantage of super savings.

“On top of the already incredible value on offer throughout the industry, CLIA member lines are making Europe irresistible with phenomenal savings including two-for-one pricing, free airfare from North America, “kids sail free” plans and other incentives. Add in the opportunity to sail on some of the very newest ships and the choices for European cruising become truly exciting, whether it’s a luxurious trip on legendary rivers, exploring the antiquities of Rome, Greece and Turkey, and discovering the wonders of the Baltic,” said Terry Dale, CLIA’s president and CEO.

Here is a sampling of what CLIA member cruise lines are offering in Europe:

With Europe as its core product, AMAWATERWAYS is offering discounts of $500 per person on new bookings for several river cruises including their Legendary Danube, Blue Danube Discovery, Europe’s Heartland, Black Sea, Russian Waterways, Provence and Spain and Portugal and Spain itineraries. There is a $1,000 discount on longer voyages, including the Magnificent Europe, Ultimate River Cruise and Grand Danube itineraries. The savings apply to select sailings throughout 2009.

With both its 694-guest, deluxe ships in Europe this summer and next, Azamara Cruises is poised to offer travelers unique, off-the-beaten-path vacations. With Azamara butler service in every stateroom, complimentary specialty dining, concierge-style in-stateroom amenities, no formal nights, open seating in the main restaurant and incredibly warm and personalized service, guests who vacation with Azamara in Europe will cruise in rich yet relaxed style through the Greek Isles, Black Sea, Adriatic and Ionian Coast, Icelandic Fjords, Norwegian Fjords, Scandinavia, British Isles and other regions. Azamara’s Europe cruises mainly range from 12 to 18 nights in length; many of these feature at least one in-port overnight stay. In 2010, the line will visit 93 European ports throughout 39 sailings in the region. Azamara also offers cruisetours – a pre- or post-cruise, fully escorted, land-based tour combined with a cruise – in Europe.

The new 130,000-ton Carnival Dream, the largest “Fun Ship” ever constructed, will debut in Europe on September 21, with a series of three 12-day Grand Mediterranean voyages from Rome (Civitavecchia) featuring seven ports: Naples, Livorno and Venice, Dubrovnik, Messina, Monaco and Barcelona. The ship will then make a 16-day transatlantic crossing from Rome with stops in Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Malaga, the Canary Islands and Bermuda. The ship will feature Ocean Plaza, an indoor/outdoor cafe and entertainment venue, and numerous other innovations.

With Celebrity Cruises’ newest ship, Celebrity Equinox, set to debut later this summer in Southampton, England, the line will offer two of its highly-buzzed-about Solstice-class vessels in Europe for much of its 2009 season there. Celebrity Solstice, the 2,850-guest ship that Celebrity launched in late 2008, offers 10- and 11-night Eastern Mediterranean voyages this summer, roundtrip out of Rome. When Celebrity Equinox sets sail on July 31, she will offer two one-time voyages before presenting a remainder-of-season series of 13- and 14-night “Ancient Empires” cruises roundtrip out of Rome. The stylish new class of ships offers brand-defining, industry-first features, including a half-acre Lawn Club with real, growing grass; a glassblowing show and studio developed with The Corning Museum of Glass; 10 unrivalled dining venues; widely varied entertainment, including shows with breathtaking aerial acts; and a new, spa-inspired “AquaClass” category of staterooms.

Known for its European character and spirit, Costa Cruises inaugurated two new ships this year, the 2,260-guest Costa Luminosa and the 3,000-passenger Costa Pacifica. The company is offering several incentives to cruise in the Mediterranean this summer. Seven-night Mediterranean sailings begin at just $549 per person and discounted air offers of up to $300 off per person are also available. Additionally, Costa features “Kids Sail Free” specials.

Crystal offers Europe-bound cruisers several ways to save this summer. An “All Inclusive-As You Wish” program provides up to $1,000 per person in spending credit to be used for everything from shore excursions to cocktails while “Celebrations Savings” features savings of up to $1,500 per person on most 2009 European itineraries. In addition, there are Business Class air add-on fares for Baltic, northern Europe and Mediterranean sailings starting at just $799. And, cruisers who sail in 2009 can save 20 percent on 2010 Crystal cruises.

Guests booking either of two upcoming European cruises on Queen Victoria can save at least $600 per stateroom, based on double occupancy. The November 7, 2009 “Wonders of the Mediterranean” is a 16-day roundtrip voyage from Southampton, visiting Malaga, Palermo, Dubrovnik, Venice, Split, Corfu and Gibraltar. The 10-day “Winter Wonderland” roundtrip voyage departs Southampton on December 9, 2009 and will call on Hamburg, Stavanger, Oslo, Copenhagen and Zeebrugge.

Responding to customer demand, Disney will return to Europe in 2010. Disney Magic will offer a five-month season of Northern European and Mediterranean cruises, including a 12-day “Northern European Capitals” voyage from Dover, England featuring an overnight in St. Petersburg and Scandinavia. An 11-night Mediterranean itinerary will feature Barcelona, Malta, Tunis, Naples, Rome, La Spezia, Corsica and Villefranche. A 10-night Mediterranean cruise also will be available.

Six Holland America vessels, including the newest, the Signature-class ms Eurodam, will cruise to 166 ports on 75 itineraries in Europe this year ranging from the Arctic Circle to the shores of North Africa and the Black Sea. From six to 47 days, the voyages will include 16 new ports for Holland America guests. As well as other features, guests may take advantage of free or reduced cruise fares for a third or fourth person in a stateroom, upgrade savings and 25 percent discounts on most pre-and post-cruise hotel packages.

Depending on the cruise, Hurtigruten offers numerous ways to save in Europe this summer and shoulder season. First, the “Norwegian Coastal Value Package” featuring air, hotel, cruise and transfers for one-stop shopping. Not only that, 2 can sail for the price of 1 on select Coastal voyages from Sept – Dec. from as little as $680 per person. In addition there’s the special Greenland to New York expedition aboard the luxurious MS Fram departing Sept. 22 for only $4,249. The kicker – pay off your cruise with the Layaway Getaway, a hassle-free, no interest monthly payment plan.

MSC’s newest ship, the 3,274-passenger MSC Splendida, debuts this summer in Europe, making seven-night “Splendid Mediterranean” cruises featuring Barcelona, La Goulette, Tunisia, Malta, Messina, Rome, Genoa and Marseille. Special savings include MSC’s Kids Sail Free program and a Boomer/Senior Saver in Europe. On select 2009 Mediterranean and northern Europe itineraries on nine ships, boomers and seniors can save at least 60 percent. One traveler must be at least 50 years of age.

This summer, Norwegian sails three of its newest Freestyle Cruising ships in Europe. Norwegian Gem sails a seven-day Western Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona; Norwegian Jade, which homeports in Europe year-round, sails a series of 12 and 14-day Mediterranean cruises; and Norwegian Jewel sails a 12-day Baltic Capitals itinerary from London (Dover), England. In 2010-2011, Norwegian will continue its largest ever deployment with three ships positioned there, but for the first time ever, NCL will homeport Norwegian Gem in Venice, sailing two different seven-day Adriatic, Greek Isles and Turkey cruises. Norwegian Jade will homeport in Barcelona sailing seven-day Western Mediterranean cruises and Norwegian Sun will sail a 12-day Baltic Capitals itinerary round-trip from London (Dover), England.

Oceania Cruises has announced its 2010 European Collection of cruises with free airfare from 20 North American gateway cities and $2,000 price reductions off of two-for-one cruise fares. Oceania will offer 34 different itineraries next year, three quarters of them brand new for the line. They include off-the-beaten path destinations in Russia, Greece, Syria, Iceland, Turkey and some of the most chic yacht harbors in France, Italy and Spain. In all, the European Collection will feature 137 ports of call stretching from the ancient sands of Egypt and Israel to the great white lands of Iceland and the Polar Ice Barrier.

Princess Cruises will offer its most extensive European season ever this year. In total, the program will feature a six-ship fleet sailing on 90 voyages of 36 different itineraries to 132 ports and destinations. Sailing choices range from seven to 31days during a season that runs through November 30 and encompasses the entire Mediterranean and Adriatic, and western and northern Europe. Among the eleven new ports of call are Sochi, on the Black Sea; Murmansk, the largest city north of the Arctic Circle; Klaipeda in Lithuania; Barrow, for visits to England’s Lake District; Ceuta, in Morocco and others.

Regent Seven Seas is making the Baltic a bargain this July and August. On select sailings of the Seven Seas Voyager, guests can take advantage of free shore excursions; free roundtrip airfare in business or economy class; 35 percent Extended Early Booking savings for voyages departing July 17 and July 24; and two-for-one pricing on cruises departing July 31, August 7, August 14 and August 21. Seven Seas Voyager offers all-suite, all-balcony accommodations for 700 guests, single seating dining in four venues, complimentary beverages, including wine and spirits and more. Pricing includes all onboard gratuities.

Royal Caribbean has announced that what is currently the world’s largest ship, the Independence of the Seas, will be based year-round in Europe in 2010, sailing from a home port of Southampton, England. Independence of the Seas will lose its title to RCI’s even larger ship, Oasis of the Seas arriving later this year, but will remain the largest ship sailing in Europe. It will be one of eight Royal Caribbean ships in Europe next year. Itineraries will range from four to 14 nights, with three- to five-night cruisetour vacation extensions.

The Yachts of Seabourn now includes the first new ultra-luxury cruise ship to enter the market in over six years. Seabourn Odyssey has been hailed as “a game-changer for the luxury segment.” The new 450-passenger vessel sails in the eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea for the rest of the summer and autumn on itineraries of seven to more than 30 days in length departing from several ports. The ship features ocean-view suites with private verandas, fine dining, the Spa at Seabourn and all the inclusive amenities and services travelers have come to expect. Seabourn Odyssey cruises are currently offered at savings of up to 65 percent off brochure fares.

In Europe through October, the 50-couple SeaDream I and SeaDream II will sail seven- to ten-day itineraries in the Mediterranean, the Adriatic Sea, the Aegean Sea, even down to Tunisia. Embarkation ports include Barcelona, Seville, Tenerife, Lisbon, Nice, Monte Carlo, Rome, Venice, Athens and Dubrovnik. Specializing in visiting some of Europe’s most elegant yacht harbors, SeaDream has added numerous new ports of call in France, Spain, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Greece and the Azores to the 2009 schedule. Travelers can currently take advantage of all-inclusive fares representing as much as 58 percent savings.

Silversea Cruises has added 37 voyages that qualify for its $1,000 per suite “Onboard Spending Credit” promotion. Valid without limitation for spending onboard the ship or for shore excursions, the credit may also be combined with other discount programs including the Early Booking Incentive, an Advance Payment Bonus, Silver Sailing cruises, and free air programs. Silversea’s European schedule includes a new offering: a seven-day cruise on Silver Whisper departing September 12 from Istanbul to Athens. Silver Sailing fares feature a savings of 50 percent, plus free or reduced roundtrip economy air transportation from select North American cities.

Offering river cruises throughout Europe and in Africa and Asia, Uniworld introduces two new ships in 2009 – the River Beatrice arrived in March and sails the Danube River and the River Tosca will debut in late September to make voyages along the historic Nile in Egypt. The company has added several new European itineraries, many combining Paris with river travel to Germany, Austria, even Romania. Uniworld is currently offering exceptional savings on many of their 2009 cruises, including 2 for 1 specials, single supplement waived, and special end of the season savings. Uniworld has also introduced a generous Pay-In-Full Savings program with up to $2000 per stateroom savings on their 2010 Europe river cruises.

Windstar Cruises is offering inclusive air from New York on select 2009 Europe sailings booked by July 31 and is also offering a $500 per couple shipboard credit for guests who book a 2010 cruise by September 30, 2009. Sailing April through October and into early November, the seven-day voyages on three ships – Wind Surf, Wind Star and Wind Spirit – depart from several ports including Venice, Rome, Barcelona, Athens, or Istanbul and encompass most of the Mediterranean. Windstar offers a luxurious sailing experience carrying no more than 312 guests, making it easy to visit some of Europe’s most intimate harbors

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