Windstar Last Minute Cruises | Cruise Deals

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Enjoy up to $1000 onboard credit

You deserve to do more than dream about your next cruise. With Windstar, embark on a voyage that takes you places you’ve longed to see and transforms your experience in ways you’d never expect. Book your cruise by October 15, 2022, to receive an onboard credit of up to $1,000 per stateroom. Term & Conditions apply. Taking Small Ship Cruising in a Different Direction, Windstar’s small cruise ships and personalized approach bring you closer to each destination and every port, so you can see the world from new perspectives. Share intimate moments away from the crowds, and immerse yourself in local, exotic cultures, all on a cruise ship where surprise and delight are constant companions.

American Queen | Mississippi River Cruising

American Queen Voyages has announced its most comprehensive voyage in its history with the Grand Ohio & Upper Mississippi Rivers.

On July 24, 2023, the ship will set sail from Minneapolis for a 23-day journey.  Including exploring the 1,772-mile route of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.

“Guests have made the 16-day Mighty Mississippi voyage between Minneapolis (Red Wing) and New Orleans one of our most popular itineraries. The sailing from Minneapolis to Pittsburgh will pass through ten states.  Marietta,

Premium and included shore excursion highlights of the itinerary include: “A Story of Cinema: The “Field of Dreams” Experience”, in Dubuque, IA, “The National Quilt Museum”, in Paducah, KY, as well as “Tracing the Trail of Tears”, in Cape Girardeau, MO.

American Queen Steamboat Company /

Royal Caribbean Continues to Upgrade Ships

Royal Caribbean has been upgrading their ships to make the cruise experience even better for passengers. We recently discussed the upcoming Oasis of the Seas ship updates, but more updates are coming for another ship! The Allure of the Seas ships will undergo $165 million enhancements. Check out the details below to learn more about what to expect with the new and improved Allure of the Seas cruise ships.

These upgrades will bring a lot of exciting changes; the best part is, there is something for everyone — both kids and adults. For starters, the Allure of the Seas will get the impressive 10-story slide known as the Ultimate Abyss! Additional waterslides will also be added for more water fun. Kids will enjoy spending time at the brand new Splashaway Bay kids aquapark.

The improved pool deck will feature The Lime and Coconut bars, cabana day beds and hammocks, swings, and new whirlpools.

Credit: Royal Caribbean

Hangout spaces for kids will include interactive games and activities and special workshops. Teens will have their own hang out areas as well. The Allure of the Seas planned teen updates include an exclusive teen lounge with gaming systems, movies, music, and an outdoor deck area.

There will also be plenty of dining improvements to the ship. A brand new Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar will be added to offer delicious Italian dishes, including pizzas and of course plenty of Italian drinks such as wines and limoncellos. Portside BBQ will also be part of the dining upgrades and will offer delicious barbecued eats and favorite comfort-food side dishes. For those who enjoy Mexican street fare dishes, the new El Loco Fresh will be a yummy addition. For the sweet tooth travelers, Sugar Beach will be the place to go to grab candy and ice cream!

Credit: Royal Caribbean

Passengers can also look forward to entertainment upgrades. Music Hall will offer a fun live music hangout space with lounge seats and a dance floor. Spotlight Karaoke will have a stage, private karaoke rooms, and special events like music trivia nights.

These are just some of the incredible upgrades that will happen. These exciting changes will be implemented by May 2020. Plan to book a 2020 Allure of the Seas cruise experience so you can see these new updates.

Disney Cruises 101

If you’re planning the most magical cruise on the sea, there are a few things you’ll need to know. Follow our top Disney Cruise tips, and you can expect smooth sailing with your favorite Disney characters.

Get the Disney Cruise Planning Tools.

Both the vacation planning video and e-brochure provide an excellent overview of destinations, ships, restaurants, activities and more.

Cruise During the Off Season

Disney rarely offers discounts on cruises, so if you’re looking to save money, journey during the offseason. Generally, January, early February, May, September, and October draw fewer crowds which mean better prices. Also, watch for “last minute restricted fares.” Available when regularly priced cruises don’t fill up, these fares are typically released 1-2 months before the sailing date. If you’re flexible with planning “restricted” are a great option, but book as soon as you see them as they often sell out quickly.

Ask About “Secret” Verandah Rooms

Certain rooms on Disney ships offer a little more bang for your buck. While not officially classified as verandah rooms due to obstructed views, these staterooms do feature balconies. Ask your Disney Cruise agent about these staterooms; Disney’s Magic & Wonder rooms 6134, 6634, 7120 and 7620; Disney’s Dream & Fantasy rooms 8022, 8164, 8520, 8662. There are even “secret” connecting staterooms on all ships.  Folding back the dividing panel in these rooms connects the verandahs.  And, while there are no guarantees, you can always ask for an upgrade at the port when you check in.

Make Reservations In Advance

To ensure you get your preferred times and activities, book spa treatments, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, popular character breakfasts, babysitting, and the adult-only restaurants in advance. Don’t forget to register for the kid’s club online as well, but remember your cruise does need to be paid in full to take advantage of advanced reservations.

Download the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App

Let the countdown begin. The newly redesigned app lets you access vacation information, send messages to your party once on the ship and even count down the days to your Disney Cruise with the built-in cruise countdown.

Stay in the Port City Before Your Cruise

Avoid any unforeseen delays and stress by arriving the day before your cruise and staying in a hotel near the port. This is also a great way to add on a few Disney days. Often less expensive than booking separately, combining park days with a Disney Cruise cuts down on costs. Ground transportation is available for an additional fee. Speak to your Disney cruise representative for details.

Request a Call from Mickey or Minnie

Get the kids excited about their upcoming cruise by requesting a call from their favorite characters. From the Disney cruise website, login to your reservation and just choose the date and time you want your child to receive the call.

Become A Castaway Club Member

Become a Castaway Club Member from the moment you sail on your first Disney Cruise. Silver membership begins with your first Disney Cruise.  Complete five cruises and become a Gold Member, while 10 or more Disney cruise vacations earn you Platinum status. Membership entitles you to exclusive offers, reservations for port adventures and dining, a dedicated Castaway Club phone line, welcome aboard gifts and much more.

Beverage Options

Soft drinks are available at meals and the beverage stations on each included at no extra charge. While Disney Cruise Lines does not offer daily alcoholic beverage packages, they do provide discounts for bottles of wine during dinner. If you do not finish the bottle, your server corks the wine for your meal the next evening.

Check Out Inside Tips For Your Next Disney Cruise

These tips should get you started on planning your Disney Cruise, but for even more great pointers, check out our post Tips For Your Next Disney Cruise.

Our Favorite Pools on Cruises to the Mediterranean

Whether you’re sailing off to Italy and Greece or taking a tour of Western Europe, several major cruise lines are worth splurging on just for the onboard pool experience. A few ships have taken extra steps to build amazing pools on the main deck and even some private, dedicated pools for adults on different areas of the ship. Here are some of our favorite pools on cruises to the Mediterranean.

Celebrity Edge

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It’s been named the “Best New Ship” by the Cruise Critic’s U.S. Editors Picks Awards and will take you to several destinations around the Mediterranean in 2019. The world-class ship took its maiden voyage in December and boasts 29 restaurants, bars, and lounges, as well as a cantilevered Magic Carpet floating above the sea. Head to the pool deck to enjoy high-ceilinged cabanas that face the sea, two-story martini hot tubs, a 25-yard lap pool and in-pool loungers to make the most of your experience.

Crystal Serenity

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Whether you’re heading to Florence or Monaco on your Mediterranean adventure, the Crystal Serenity is the perfect place to escape and relax. The Wellness Seahorse Pool and Jacuzzi area is surrounded by white deck furniture and cushy sun beds. Plus, you can enjoy six-star service and gracious hospitality every step of the way.

Norwegian Breakaway

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One of the recently refurbished ships in the Norwegian cruise line fleet, the Norwegian Breakaway offers a wealth of fun activities to enjoy as you travel around Europe. It was named the Best Cruise Ship for Families by USA Today and stands out from the rest with its Aqua Park & Sports Complex. You can enjoy action-packed activities on board, two swimming pools, four hot tubs, and five water slides. There’s also a dedicated Kids’ Aqua Park with a shallow pool for younger kids.

Insider Tips for Your Next Disney Cruise

From unadvertised pin trading nights to Mickey ice cream bars delivered right to your room, we are bringing you the magic with top-secret tips for sailing on the Disney Cruise.

Disney Cruise Lines
Credit: Disney Cruise Lines / David Roark

Prior to the cruise, purchase a plush toy or pillowcase. Upon boarding, give your item to the concierge for the characters to sign. Your autographed item will be delivered to your suite the night before you cruise ends. Bonus, bring a gift bag filled with Disney goodies to have the concierge put the signed merchandise in. The “unexpected” surprise makes for a great departure gift.

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Check the Personal Navigator, the daily cruise newsletter, for the Officer Pin Trading. On one surprise night, every officer comes to the main lobby with a new lanyard and a collection of pins, some very rare, to trade with collectors.

Download the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App. Rather than using the provided portable phones for getting in touch with family members on the ship or buying the pricy wireless package, the Navigator app allows for free in-app texting and group chats with fellow passengers.

For an adult escape, head to the Meridian Bar. While it’s not public knowledge, the Meridian bar, intended for Palo & Remy guests, is open to the public. Anyone can enjoy craft cocktails and fine wine on the private deck of the bar, but proper attire is required.

Credit: Disney Cruise Line

Join a Fish Extender group online and be part of a gift exchange on the cruise. Purchase small items for everyone in your group prior to the cruise. On the cruise, place your gifts in the fish extender pockets hanging on cabin doors. Everyone in the group returns the gesture.

Disney allows each guest, 21 and older, to bring two bottles of unopened wine and six beers in their carry on. Don’t forget to bring a corkscrew. If you chose to drink your bottle at a restaurant, there is a $25 corkage fee.

The nightly buffet begins around 10:30 P.M. It’s a great place to grab chocolate covered strawberries, cheese and crackers, and other goodies to bring back to your cabin.

Credit: Disney Cruise Line

Each Disney cruise ship has secret suites with ocean views and in some cases verandas. These suites are available for the same price as a standard room. Book early and ask about your options.

Disney Cruise Line
Credit: Disney Cruise Line

Book the concierge room and score some great swag! Besides access to the concierge lounge with complimentary beer wine cocktails and snacks, as well a champagne send-off and private wine tastings, concierge suite guests receive a special gift.

Disney Cruise Line
Credit: Disney Cruise Line

Room service is available free of charge (gratuity isn’t included). There are secret items available that are not shown on the menu; Mickey ice cream bars, the cake of the day and Uncrustables.

Regardless of which restaurant you are dining in, if there is a menu item from another restaurant on the ship that you simply must have again, you can order it! Just ask your server.

Disney Cruise Line
Credit:Disney Cruise Line

Remy and Palo are worth the splurge, but if you can’t fit in a dinner opt for the champagne brunch at Remy. For only $50 per person, it’s an epicurean wonderland.

Disney Cruise Line
Credit: Disney Cruise Line

Suitcases must be left in the hall the night before departure. Be sure to pack a carry on with everything you need for the next day.

Bring small bottles of water on your carry on. The bottled water on board is pricy, and you’re going to want some in your ports.

Our Favorite Family-Friendly Cruises

Family-Friendly Cruise

Every family deserves a getaway, but where do you find an all-ages vacation? These three cruise lines have mastered the art of family time and are ready to take you away.

Disney Cruise Lines

Disney Cruise
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Disney cruises offer fun for the entire family on their unique interactive ships; these “theme parks at sea” offer entertainment and activities on all levels. Children of all ages will find fun in the Kid’s Clubs which are divided into age-specific groups for optimum interaction. Each ship has themed play areas resembling movie sets like Andy’s room in Toy Story, Monsters Academy from Monsters Inc., and Marvel’s Avengers Academy complete with a S.H.I.E.L.D. command post where kids can virtually interact with Avengers. Kids Club Labs feature animation and sound studios along with karaoke, computers, and video games. Children can transform into their favorite princesses, knights, sea captains, and pirates at the onboard Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique. As for the adults, there are nursery and babysitting services available, and adult-only lounges, pools, and restaurants. The entire family can enjoy a Pirates of the Caribbean deck party and movie theaters. Cabins are spacious and offer a bath and a half to accommodate everyone, and dining onboard includes staff to entertain the youngsters and even cut their food if necessary so mom and dad can relax and enjoy their meals.

Carnival Cruise Lines

Carnival Cruises
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Carnival cruises offer a wide variety of children and teenage friendly activities. The Camp Ocean kids club for ages two to eleven specializes in marine-themed games and activities while the Circle C and Club 02 provide entertainment for ages twelve to seventeen including dance and pool parties, PlayStation and Xbox consoles. There is an onboard Build-A-Bear Workshop which offers a complimentary stuffed animal experience. A game show is hosted onboard, The Hasbro Game, for passengers to compete against one another. Several family options are available for daily activities like the twenty-two-foot jumbo outdoor movie screen, three-story IMAX theater, adventure ropes course, mini-golf, basketball, and foosball. The onboard waterpark is home to multiple slides, pools, and splash areas to accommodate all ages.

Norwegian Cruise Lines

Norwegian Cruise Lines
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Norwegian cruises accommodate every family member from age six months up. The Splash Academy kids club has an arts and crafts option along with karaoke and video games. Play areas onboard include a small cinema and a circus school where kids learn juggling and other talents. For teens, the ships offer the Entourage space consisting of air hockey, couches, TVs, and video games. At night the Entourage turns into a teen-only night club. The whole family can participate in rock climbing, repelling, ropes courses, bowling, and water park activities. When parents are ready for adult time they can leave the kids in safe hands at the nursery, port play, or late night fun zone.

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