The Pros and Cons of Small Ship Cruising

November 9th, 2011 - Posted by Destination Oceans in Cruise Deals, Cruise Info | No Comments »

European River Cruises

The more experienced independent traveler doesn’t usually see cruising as an option for numerous reasons. Most feel that in order to get a real sense for a location you need more then a day to take in a location. However there are many small cruises where this is not only possible, but can actually be very enjoyable. Independent travelers pride themselves on planning their trips themselves down to the last detail. However, even they could benefit from a European River Cruise vacation where everything is planned for them for once.

Not all cruises are like your typical mega-cruise with manufactured cruise ports and large crowds. A small cruise can be a very intimate experience with a focus on relaxation. The ports you normally stop in are smaller and are actually able to be enjoyed in the amount of time given without a feeling of being rushed. A smaller port doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to do, ships offer both guided tours as well as free time to roam depending on your mood or interests. Some of the best wine tours can be found on many of the leading European River Cruises as well as some amazing holiday cruises.

Pro – A small ship is just that, small. You won’t ever be at risk at getting lost on a small ship. This means that you won’t have to go far to get back to your cabin or to leave the ship for land excursions. Navigating the ship doesn’t require a map and having to double-check if you’re on the right deck.

Con – A small ship does have its drawbacks. There might be times when a small ship does feel a bit too small, but this is rare and many ships have become very creative with how they deal with these issues. If the ship happens to have a pool (many smaller ships don’t) it may only accommodate a few people at a time, however guests are mindful of this and tend to take notice if others are waiting.

Pro – Small means intimate. The activates offered tend to cater to the smaller groups which gives it a much more personal feel rather then just feeling like you’re a face in the crowd. This allows you to ask questions of your tour guides and really feel like a part of the tour.

Con – Sometimes it can feel too intimate. On a large ship there’s a bit of anonymity with such large groups. The people that you see on the first day will all be the same people you see each and every day, there’s no avoiding people on a ship you can walk around in under 10 minutes, but if you’re looking to avoid people perhaps a cruise isn’t for you.

Pro – Smaller ships can go where large cruise ships never could. European river cruise ships have flat bottoms that allow them to go pretty much anywhere on a river. You don’t need to deal with shuttles when the boat is tied right up in the port of a small town. This gives you the convenience of never being far from the  ship and your room.

Con – You might find yourself bored on a smaller ship while you’re not in port. Unlike mega-cruises the activities provided aren’t quite as extensive as what you might be used to. If you’re the type that likes to rock-climb, dining in a different restaurant each night and spending your nights in the casino, then a small ship might not be what you’re looking for.

Pro – Small ships are much more eco-friendly. They use a lot less fuel and make a much smaller impact on the environment then the mobile city type cruise ships. Even some smaller ships have sails so that on the right days no fuel is even needed. In this day and age this should be something that impacts your choice in vacation.

Con – Small ships tend to be a bit more expensive then the larger ships, but you are paying for a different experience and many deals can be found for any type of cruise you’re interested in. Many offer 2 for 1 specials that allow two people to travel for the price of one.

The biggest pro of the all is that once you’ve booked your cruise no other planning on your part is needed. Just relax and enjoy your faction.

Holiday Gift Idea: River Cruises

October 26th, 2011 - Posted by Destination Oceans in Cruise Deals, Cruise Info, Holiday Cruises | No Comments »

Trying to think of that perfect gift for your family or loved one? Something that will bring you closer and leave you with lasting memories for years to come? Why not escape on a European River Cruise with Destination Oceans. River cruise lines are offering great deals on a wide array of destinations. Combine that with two-for-one specials, large discounts and free air and hotels in many major European cities you can’t afford to not at least consider a holiday cruise.

All the things you are used to doing during the holiday season at home you can still do during a river cruise. You would be hard pressed to find a destination without a large Christmas market and a tree lighting festival. Imagine this year  leaving the Christmas dinner to someone else so you can just relax and enjoy the holiday.

AMA Waterways offers a cruise and land package starting as low as $2,459 per person. They simply refer to this cruise as the Christmas Time Cruise. The cruise begins with a 2 night hotel stay in Prague followed by a 8 night Nuremberg to Amsterdam cruise. This cruise is especially inexpensive for couples traveling because if you book and pay in advance you can take advantage of their two for one deal. That’s 2 cruise tickets for the price of just one. Certain dates are also eligible for free airfare and instant room upgrades.

Avalon Waterways offers two holiday cruises. The first is Christmastime on the Danube which has a starting price as low as $2,019 per person. This 9 day 8 night cruise begins with a two night stay in Prague followed by a 6 night cruise from Nuremberg to Vienna. Enjoy guided sightseeing in each city along the way and sample local delicacies to your hearts content. The second is Christmas in the Heart of Germany, which starts as low as $1,719 per person. This cruise starts with a 6 night cruise from Frankfurt to Nuremberg and ends with a complimentary 2 night stay in Prague. Germany is a great place to spend your holidays because they really get into the spirit. Many of the ports you will stop in will have amazing Christmas markets and numerous holiday inspired events. You won’t want to miss this cruise.

Uniworld has the longest holiday cruise with their 14 day Grand Christmas & New Year’s Cruise at a start price of $3,699 per person. This 14 day cruise begins in Nuremberg and ends in Budapest. You will be treated to walking tours in Regensberg, Passau, Vienna and Budapest to name a few. Each city is rich in culture and holiday cheer. Go on a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the Bavarian Forest or if you feel up to it waltz to the famous tunes of Johann Strauss in his home city of Vienna, Austria. These captivating countries and the enchanting river will provide you with the perfect backdrop for celebrating the holidays in style.

British Invasion – Queen Elizabeth Comes to Portland Maine

September 23rd, 2011 - Posted by Destination Oceans in Cruise Info | No Comments »
Queen Elizabeth Cruise Ship

The MS Queen Elizabeth in Portland, Maine

Queen Elizabeth has made an appearance in Portland, Maine, however due to the fog you may just have to take our word on it. Cunard’s newest cruise ship The MS Queen Elizabeth is quite a sight. Weighing in at a staggering 92,000 gross tons and capable of carrying up to 2,092 passengers she is only slightly smaller than Cunard’s largest cruise ship, the Queen Mary II. As of September 1st she has officially turned 1. At the launch ceremony she was named by Her Majesty herself, Queen Elizabeth II in Southampton.

This is no ordinary cruise ship; this is a luxury ocean liner. Every inch of this ship is beautiful and extravagant. The décor evokes the era of the 1930s giving homage to the original RMS Queen Elizabeth which was built in 1938 and retired in 1968. You will be quick to notice many art deco touches all over the ship which give it a very high class look and feel. There are 6 Master and Grand Suites, all named after past Cunard Commodores who have since received knighthoods. No expenses were spared when creating these unique and luxurious rooms. Each room is covered in light woods and extravagant upholstery which creates a new level of elegance.

Queen Elizabeth Cruise Ship 2

Photos courtesy of Zwickerhill Photography

While staying on the QE passengers have a choice of many different restaurants, from an elegant two tier dining room to a quaint pub depending on your mood. For entertainment there is Deck 9 with its Garden Lounge and Games Deck. There is also a choice of fitness classes, sports courts, swimming pools and many traditional deck sports, like croquet. Passengers can also check out the extensive library, state of the art spa, or take in a film from the golden era in cinema.

Her presence in Portland marks her maiden visit to New England. This transatlantic cruise began its journey in Southampton, England. After six days on the Atlantic Ocean she arrived in New York City for a two night stay. Then she headed to Newport, Rhode Island. After a short trip north, she spent a day docked in Boston at the Black Falcon Cruise port in Massachusetts. This was followed by a day in Portland harbor and then a day in Bar Harbor. Afterwards it’s off to Canada to visit Halifax, Nova Scotia, Quebec and then Corner Brook before heading back home to England.