Conjure an image of what’s it is like to go on a cruise. Are you picturing buffet dinners? On-deck spinning classes? Retirees playing shuffleboard? Many cruises really are like that. But if you’re looking for a different sort of cruise scene consider traveling by cargo ship.
Cargo ship travel is the un-cruise. There’s nothing fabricated about it. Every day thousands of freighters ply the high seas. Some of them have extra state rooms and accept passengers to tag along for the ride. It is as “real” as travel gets.
You’re on a cruise ship that features an outdoor jacuzzi and exercise room. Your meals are cooked by a gourmet chef. And your cabin is the equivalent of a five-star hotel room. But you aren’t sailing the Mediterranean. And you aren’t cruising the Caribbean. You are in Peru, on the Amazon River, deep in the heart of darkness, aboard the M/V Aria, on a luxury experience from Aqua Expeditions.
There’s something amazing—and perhaps a little unsettling — about being able to experience this much luxury in such a remote location.
Titanic, the movie, was an enormous success. Titanic, the ship, not so much.
Though it set sail on its half voyage more than a century ago, the RMS Titanic is still infamous for having provided its passengers with a rather suboptimal travel experience. So it seems peculiar that anyone would want to recreate it. Especially since, today, there’s a huge variety of cruises that offer more luxury and cheaper travel insurance rates than a recreated Titanic would — without the, you know, stigma of having previously drowned hundreds of passengers.
Yet recreating the Titanic cruise ship is exactly what one billionaire plans to do. Clive Palmer, a mining magnate and founder of the Blue Star Line company, is currently constructing the Titanic II.
It’s “The World’s Largest Cruise Sale!” Or, at least it’s billed so by the Cruise Lines International Association. For the past six years CLIA, the cruise line’s trade association, has organized 24 hours of cruise discounts and promotions on one day in October. This year, they decided to do seven times better by launching National Cruise Vacation Week.
Looking for an unusual cruise destination? Are the fjords of Scandinavia, the beaches of the Caribbean and the ports of Greece too beautiful or colorful for you? Then consider a cruise to a reclusive communist state instead.
North Korea’s state tourism bureau recently inaugurated its first ever regularly scheduled cruise.
This is not the Hermit Kingdom’s first attempt to woo vacationers; Spot Cool Stuff readers may remember our post about North Korea’s inaugural golf international golf tournament. Those efforts did not exactly turn the country into a tourist mecca. So might this new cruise offering?
Time was, you used to be able to get ultra-cheap air fares if you flew standby. You’d buy a special standby ticket and show up at the airport. If there were room on the plane you’d get on; if there wasn’t you didn’t. The idea being that an airline would rather get a little bit of money for a seat than fly with it empty and get none at all.
Though some airlines still sell full-fare standby tickets, the days of them being deeply discounted are no more, sadly.
Happily, the standby concept might be taking hold in another travel industry: cruises. Luxury operator Crystal Cruises is now offering deals to those willing to be a bit spontaneous with their vacation.
If you are longing to get away from the heat — or to find it — Spot Cool Stuff has a collection of awesome airfare discounts, holiday deals and high-value all-inclusive vacations.
To see the latest:
• go directly to our vacation deals page;
• or get a Kindle subscription to our travel blog;
• or subscribe to our RSS feed and get all of our travel posts delivered directly to your email inbox or to your RSS aggregator;
or — why not? — act on all three of those options.
Most of these sales are good for the whole of July 2010 but all expire at some point. So act quickly if you see a deal that matches your travel desires.
It seems there are always cruise deals of some sort to be found. But with the industry trying to jumpstart travel as the world economy rebounds, there are some especially good cruise deals to be found right now.
Here’s our selection of a few sales on cruises to the Bahamas, to the Caribbean and to Europe. As always, you can see our latest collection of discounts by visiting our travel deals archive or subscribing to our RSS feed.
Please note: All of the offers below are valid for a limited time only. In fact, all require booking before the end of March 2010 at the latest, though most allow for travel after that.