Carpe Diem,seize the day! Carpe Deal,seize the deal!
The Scout and I were on our back deck enjoying our Friday afternoon ‘coffee break’ (a carry over from our 8–to–5 work-world; now just a relaxed time of sipping Starbucks and a bit of conversation) he off-handedly mentioned,
“I found a cruise you should take a look at.” (You know how The Scout is always scouting for deals and destinations).
|Athen's Acropolis from the Electra Palace Hotel|
Now admittedly it ends in Athens because Celebrity has pulled out of Istanbul as result of recent unrest there and it does have three days and nights in Israel and one in Turkey (Kusadasi). Each of those stops could still be could be changed on a moment’s notice as result of safety concerns, but then any port can be pulled for a variety of reasons on cruise itineraries, even weather. If so, some other interesting port would be substituted or we’d spend another day at sea. Not tough duty anyway you look at it.
|A balcony room on the Constellation|
|Sunsets at Sea can't be beat|
|Hora Sfakia, southern coast of Crete|
Then we talked about that pizza we’d eaten in Naples on our last cruise visit there several years ago. “Oh, there’s that wine bar near the Spanish Steps in Rome. We could go back there,” I suggested. The Scout noted that we’d have time in Crete to rent a car and drive down to the village of Hora Sfakia on the island’s southern coast and visit Greek friends there. Israel, with an overnight stay in the port of Ashdod puts us near Tel Aviv and all the attractions it offers visitors. Kusadasi is the gateway to Ephesus. . .
|Sea Days are among my favorites|
Before You ‘Carpe Cruise Deals’
There are deals to be had in Europe (land and sea) now. I checked and the deals are still available for this cruise if anyone is interested. We use a few filters before jumping on a deal - just to make sure we aren't blind-sided later. Here are some of our considerations:
|Basking in the Mediterranean Sun - Celebrity Constellation|
-- Cost of hotels? It is best to schedule your arrival for a cruise one day early as it gives you time to get over jet lag if coming a long distance, retrieve luggage that might have been delayed and simply enjoy the port city and not view it from the back of a cab racing to the ship. It does mean you’ll need to add the cost of a hotel stay to your projections. We've decided to stay two nights in Rome because of low hotel rates.
-- What is the real cruise cost? Does the price quoted include port charges and taxes? These can be significant additional costs. What are the terms of cancellation? (That's important if you change your mind as frequently as we do.)
-- What are the onboard benefits? We are receiving a $450 on-board ship credit (which can be used to purchase excursions, beverages, internet, for example), and had our choice of a beverage package for two, prepaid gratuities, or free internet. The on-board benefits represent significant cost savings.
-- Is a better deal available through a different agency? Now some of you are loyal to ‘your’ travel agent and would never change and we understand that. However we have found deals vary between on line agencies that specialize in cruises. We have used Cruise Compete to compare prices (as everyone can do) and we’ve seen differences of several hundred dollars in costs or on-board benefit packages. We routinely use Vacations To Go and Cru Con on-line agencies.
|Cabin location on a ship can afford interesting views - here we watched the refueling operation|
-- What is the category of the cabin and where is that group located on the ship? An ocean view room that is at the waterline won’t provide much view nor is a ‘view obstructed balcony/veranda’ going to be much fun either. Find out the category of the room, then go to a layout of the ship (found on the cruise line’s web site) and check for that category’s location and deck. Often times the agency has particular rooms on hold, so get the numbers, look up the location and then request a specific room.
-- Will you feel safe in the ports of call? A number of you’ve responded to recent posts, saying you aren’t comfortable with travel to certain destinations right now. So before booking a ‘deal’ make sure you really want to visit the places on the itinerary. If you aren’t going to get off the cruise ship, do you really want to take the cruise?
-- On your own or cruise ship excursions? Check the price of the excursions offered by the cruise ship – they are generally expensive and can add significantly to the total trip cost. You don’t need to participate in those groups, you can tour independently or find smaller groups being organized by fellow cruisers who participate in the on-line, Cruise Critic, a cruiser user-group.
|Lazy days at Sea|
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This week we are linking up with:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Travel Photo Thursday –
Weekend Travel Inspiration