Archive December 2015

The best cruise deals for 2016 to book now

Cruise holiday offers to book now for 2016, including last-minute deals for ocean and river cruises, free flight sales, UK cruises and fly-cruises, P&O cruises, all-inclusive deals to the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia Free flights from UK airports Set sail on a wine-themed Rhone & Provence cruise on March 25, 2016 on board AmaDagio and fly for free from London, Manchester, Birmingham or Glasgow. The price includes flights, non-UK transfers, wine, beer and soft drinks with meals, excursions, Wi-Fi and use of bicycles in port and port taxes. The cruise...

Crystal Esprit Christened in the Seychelles

(5:20 a.m. EST) — Crystal Cruises launched its newest ship — the 62-passenger yacht, Crystal Esprit — in the Seychelles yesterday. The debut marks a milestone for the line, as it expands from its longtime fleet of two luxury cruise ships into the yachting world (and to river cruising in 2016). The elegant ceremony took place at Eden Island Marina in Mahé, Victoria, and was attended by local dignitaries, travel partners and executives from the line’s new parent company, Genting Hong Kong (GHK). The yacht’s godmother, Lady Gaenor Anne Meakes, fiancée of Mark...

Carnival to Roll Out For-Fee Room Service Fleetwide

(4:42 p.m. EST) — Eight months after launching for-fee room service as a test on three of its ships, Carnival Cruise Line is rolling the menu out to its entire fleet, beginning next week. The menu — which still features free cold sandwiches, salads, desserts, drinks and breakfast selections — charges anywhere from $1.50 to $6 for items that include shrimp, quesadillas, chicken wings and tenders, cheesesteaks, pizza and sides of fries. In April, the line introduced the menu on Carnival Imagination, Carnival Conquest and Carnival Pride, saying it would use passenger feedback...

Norwegian Cruise Line Tightens Cancellation Policy

(4:05 p.m. EST) — Norwegian Cruise Line has adjusted its cancellation and final payment policies. Under the new policy, cruisers will incur penalties further from the sailing date when canceling, effective for bookings made on or after January 1, 2016. Currently, sailings six days or longer canceled 56 to 75 days in advance of embarkation guarantee passengers their full deposit back. Under the new policy, final payment for sailings six or more days is now due 90 days prior to sailing versus the current policy of 75 days. In conjunction with that, cancellation penalties will now begin...

Hot on the Forums: Celebrating Christmas on a Cruise

From bringing Christmas trees onboard to reassuring concerned children that Santa will still be able to find them, you can rely on Cruise Critic members to come up with all kinds of ways of transporting the festive spirit to sea. With the season of goodwill well underway, I was suitably cheered to find a new thread on the forums started by lovesteak who asks: “We are cruising for the holidays and would love to know what you bring extra for your cabin or for the crew for the holidays. We also have young kids so Santa has to make it on the ship for Xmas as well. Any ideas or...

In pictures: Geilo Ice Music Festival

Next month, Norway will host a festival dedicated to the dulcet sounds of ‘ice music’. Marie Peyre gives us a preview of what’s to come. Every January, the Norwegian town of Geilo brings a whole new meaning to the phrase chill-out music – for it hosts a festival dedicated to instruments made of ice. Ice guitars, harps, trumpets, you name it someone is coaxing music from it as part of the four-day jamboree known simply as the Geilo Ice Music Festival. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the festival was the brainchild of local ice music enthusiast, Terje Isungset, and...

The 16 Best Places to go in 2016

With 2015 nearly at an end, its that time of year to look at the best places to go in 2016 to help you plan your new year adventures. There are 16 hot spots that made the list and they’re some of the most incredible locations the world has to offer. Many of these places are best to travel to now before the crowds, as we predict them to be some of the world’s best destinations on the cusp of mass tourism. Here we go! 16. Jerusalem Jerusalem is considered a sacred and holy city to Jews, Muslims and Christians around the world. In the present day, the three monotheistic...

2015’s Holiday Travel Forecast

With the holidays and new year quickly approaching, here’s everything you need to know for the busiest travel season the U.S. has ever seen. Whether you’re hitting the slopes, warmer weather, or visiting family and friends, you’ll be on the road—along with a lot of other people. According to AAA this season will see a 1.4 percent increase in travelers from last year, bringing the total number of people traveling during the holiday period (defined as December 23 to January 3) to 100.5 million. Thanks to rising income and lower gas prices (expected to fall below $2...

MSC Cruises to Develop Private Island in the Bahamas

Ocean Cay MSC rendering (7:15 a.m. EST) — MSC Cruises has today announced that it will develop a private marine reserve island in the Bahamas called Ocean Cay MSC, with a view to open in November 2017. The project will be the biggest island development by any cruise company in the Caribbean and the only marine reserve island experience. The cruise line is working closely with the Bahamian government and ecologists to transform a 95-acre former sand extraction station which lies 20 miles south of Bimini and 65 miles east of Miami. Work is scheduled to start in March 2016. MSC Cruises...

Disney Is Raising Ticket Prices for the Military, Too

My husband is in the military, so for years now our little Army family has gleefully enjoyed the deal Disneyland has offered to active and retired U.S. service members and their spouses—we walk up to the ticket window, flash our armed-services ID cards, and they sell us special three-day Park Hoppers for $132. These Park Hoppers don’t have to be used on consecutive days (we can stretch their use over months) and if we bring five guests each, we can get them all that same sweet deal. But the last time we were at the parks, in early October, the person at the box office told me...

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