Cruise

Spotting Late Sept & Early Oct ’09 Travel Deals

October is an odd time for travel booking. It is low season for cruises (check out our review of luxury cruise lines currently offering discounts) and for Europe and for Southeast Asia. The northern hemisphere ski season hasn’t started yet and the Caribbean is at the tail end of hurricane season. But all this means there are more travel bargains for you.

As always, you can stay updated on our latest travel deal posts by . . .

• going directly to our travel hot deals page;

• or, getting a Kindle subscription to our travel blog;

• or, perhaps best of all, subscribing to our RSS feed and getting 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.

Please note that most of the offers below are for a limited time. And with that, here’s to happy, high-value travel!

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Three Cool, Affordable, Luxurious Cruise Lines

Close your eyes and picture this: You’re on the Christina O(nassis) with Jackie-O and Ari sailing the Greek Isles. Oh Jackie-O this is marvelous. So cool. Cocktail hour and then a fabulous dinner of the freshest daily catch followed by great conversation. Ari did what! And laughter. Next a rousing game of charades with J & A. She’s so funny—who knew! Please don’t wake me.

That exact scenario may be a dream but your ability to afford a luxury cruise may not be. Some of the best cruise promotions being offered today are in the premium market. Premium sailings serve up the good life and a whole lot more. Luxury cruises are capturing a younger, more sophisticated yet less stuffy crowd. While mass market cruise lines carry 2000+ passengers, making it hard from them to indulge passengers with fine dining and highly personalized service, luxury cruises offer a more upscale and intimate environment. And who doesn’t want a little more luxury and a little more pampering on their vacation?

A year ago we would not have been able to say premium cruising is affordable. Now we can say: Luxury is affordable and you can go on a luxury cruise. I can, yes I can! And I will!

Here are our three luxury cruise lines of choice. Each are currently offering outstanding promotions:

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An American Werewolf in . . . Cozumel?

All work and no play makes Dracula a dull vampire

This January the Carnival Liberty will set sail on a special Fangs and Fur Cruise. But if you imagine this is an opportunity for you and your four-legged companion to take to the high seas—a sort of Rover + You + the Love Boat—you are off. Way off.

The fangs in question belong to a vampire. The fur belongs to a werewolf. And the cruise’s target audience is literally literary—it is for aspiring authors of the gothic genre.

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Spotting September & Labor Day Travel Bargains

Fall is coming to the Northern hemisphere, spring to the Southern, and travel bargains abound. Here’s a selection of some September travel deals that caught our eye.

As always, you can stay updated on our latest travel deal posts by . . .

• going directly to our travel hot deals page;

• or, getting a Kindle subscription to our travel blog;

• or, perhaps best of all, subscribing to our RSS feed and getting 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.

Please note that most of the offers below are for a limited time. And with that, here’s to happy, high-value travel!

Continue →


Spotting a Selection of August Travel Bargains

Welcome to the first in an ongoing series of posts Spot Cool Stuff is launching on cool travel deals. Awesome airfare discounts, spectacular cruise sales, reduced resort rates, guidebook bargains, high-value all-inclusive vacations—we keep an eye out for current deals on them all, aggregating the best into a single “travel bargains” post.

Look for new travel bargains, with the latest deals & discounts, to be published once or twice a month. Oh, man! How can I stay updated on the latest deals? you are surely asking yourself now. Well, you could . . .

• go directly to our travel hot deals page;

• or, get a Kindle subscription to our travel blog;

• or, perhaps best of all, 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.

Please note that all of the offers below are for a limited time. And with that, here’s to happy, high-value travel!

Continue →


Tips For Finding Cool,
Yet Inexpensive, Cruises

Spot Cool Stuff’s single favorite piece of travel writing, the David Foster Wallace essay A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, is a humorous accounting of the absurd side of taking a cruise—that part of cruising in which overweight Hawaiian shirt-wearing passengers are herded between crowded shuffleboard tables, bad buffets and overpriced tourist-trap shore excursions.

Your next cruise needn’t be like that. Your cruise can (and should!) be a fun thing you’ll want to do again. And that fun, interesting cruise can also represent an excellent travel value. Our tips for finding cool, yet affordable, cruises:

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The Wailua River Cruise & The Fern Grotto

The Wailua meanders all the way to Mt. Wai’ale’ale, which is famous for being the single wettest spot on earth

Almost everyone knows you can take a cruise to Hawaii. Less well known is the cruise that goes into Hawaii.

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5 Cool Cargo Ship Cruises

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. This is as “real” as travel gets.

Of course, cargo ship cruising is not for everyone. Cargo ships don’t have swimming pools, evening entertainment, rock climbing walls or organized mixers on Lido decks. Go on a cargo ship cruise and there might be as many as four or five other paying passengers like yourself. Or, you may be the only one. And while cargo ships often have comfortable sleeping quarters they’re unlikely to be luxurious.

To book passage on a cargo ship you can go directly through some shipping lines. But we recommend working through a travel agent that can vouch for the quality of the food and accommodations and can make sure your itinerary includes sufficient shore leave time. One of the best agents for cargo ship cruises is Intrepid Travel. Here’s a look at their five cool cargo cruise ship itineraries:

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