PRINCESS OFFERING TWO SHIPS TO MEXICO THIS WINTER

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Enjoy memorable sunsets on a Princess cruise to Mexico

Princess Cruises will offer no less than sixteen seven and eight night Mexican Riviera cruises from Los Angeles over the coming winter season.

Beginning on November 21st, both Crown Princess and Ruby Princess will be making round trip right through until April 9th next year, and again from October 2016 onwards.

The far more numerous seven night sailings follow the traditional, three port round trip circuit, with calls at Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas. Two eight night seasonal sailings, departing on December 19th and 27th respectively, will also add on the port of Manzanillo.

All round trip itineraries allow for a minimum of three sea days.

The Princess commitment to the resurgent Mexico run matches recent redeployments to the area by ships from Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line. Holland America Line is also offering a series of similar sailings, departing from the port of San Diego.

Whether Royal Caribbean will return to the Mexican run remains to be seen; as of now, no sailings for the area are listed on the current UK website.

Of course, Princess are no strangers to the Mexican Riviera; back in the ‘Love Boat’ days of old, the weekly television series revolved around the fun and frolics happening aboard a Princess ship as she sailed these self same waters. The show became a television staple and, indeed, many people still credit it today for starting the great, ongoing cruise boom of the last three decades.

These current Princess ships sailing to Mexico are a lot more sassy, stylish and amenity laden than their dainty Seventies forebears, and the allure of the Mexican Riviera seems to have finally rebounded positively after a few years becalmed by rising crime rates. As a voyage, it provides a welcome, less frenetic option for winter sun seekers that might be jaded with the Caribbean.

Worth considering, especially with a few pre or post cruise hotel days at one of those sun splashed beach cities of LA.

BETTER FOR BERMUDA?- CRUISE SCHEDULE FOR 2014

Bermuda is a famous beauty

Bermuda is a famous beauty

Bermuda is looking forward to a bumper 2014 cruise season, according to a report in the Bermuda Sun newspaper.

Well, at least a part of it is.

The north western port of Kings Wharf, hugely and extensively developed for cruising since 2004, will play host to no less than 132 cruise ship calls, disgorging a total of 356,000 passengers onto the island in the peak season between May and October.

Meanwhile, the former landmark ports of Hamilton and St. George’s are practically barren all year round.

New to the island next year is Royal Caribbean International’s Vision Of The Seas. The recently refurbished ship will sail three ten night, round trip cruises from Fort Lauderdale on June 9th, August 18th and September 1st, 2014. Each will spend three days and two nights in Bermuda, as well as making calls at Charleston, Nassau, and the company’s private island at Coco Cay.

From New York, the Explorer Of The Seas is scheduled to make twenty-seven calls and, from Baltimore, the Grandeur Of The Seas is slated for some fourteen Bermuda landfalls.

Sister company, Celebrity Cruises also offers nineteen round trips from New York on the Summit, the line’s Bermuda stalwart of several years past.

Meanwhile, the ground breaking Norwegian Breakaway returns from New York for some twenty-two calls over the course of 2014. The new ship had a hugely successful first season in 2013, during which she brought some ninety thousand passengers to the island, making a net contribution of some $26 million to the Bermuda economy.

Rounding out the roster of Bermuda round trip ‘regulars’ over 2014 is the Boston based Norwegian Dawn, with some twenty-two round trips on sale.

Side streets of St. George's, Bermuda

Side streets of St. George’s, Bermuda

The island is also expecting a one off call from Carnival Splendor in June, and there will be three calls from Princess, with Emerald, Ocean and Ruby Princess making one visit each.

The Bermuda government is also said to be courting Germany’s Aida cruises with a view to future business. Over the last year, the government has made key concessions to cruise lines, including allowing them to open their casinos while docked in Bermuda for the first time ever. The move was widely seen as a response to the exodus of lines like Holland America, the last bastion of the typical ‘Bermuda run’.

The 2014 roster of Bermuda arrivals is expected to contribute something like $90 million in total to the Bermuda economy in all. As well as disposable income coming from passengers in terms of shore excursion sales, meals and drinks and taxi fares, these figures also take into account the spending patterns of off duty cruise members, taking time out ashore at the end of their working days and nights.

PETITE PRINCESSES- SHORT CARIBBEAN BREAKS IN A LOVE BOAT STYLE

Grand Turk is one of the offerings on the Princess winter menu

Grand Turk is one of the offerings on the Princess winter menu

In Florida over the winter, and in need of a short little add on cruise to charge up the batteries? Princess Cruises have introduced some great little, fun filled four and five day itineraries out of their Fort Lauderdale home port that are certainly worth a look.

These are unusual in and of themselves; traditionally, Princess has always stuck more or less rigidly to the seven night round trip sailings to the eastern and western Caribbean. It left these types of short, four and five night itineraries to Carnival, Royal Caribbean and- at one time- Norwegian. But now the line, famous as the operator of the recently deceased Love Boat, is hoping that the travelling public will fall under the spell of their unique brand of style and service.

Why now? Partly as a result of increased tonnage becoming available, in the shape of the pioneering new Royal Princess. This allowed some deft reshuffling of the Princess pack, and the creation of these new itineraries.

Plus, with the economy on both sides of the Atlantic still critical to flat lining, more and more people are looking out for short, good value breaks that are both price and time sensitive. In that respect, Princess is playing catch up with the opposition.

Still, they have come up with some excellent deals. Here’s a look at what’s on offer.

Royal Princess: The aforementioned, groundbreaking new flagship makes her Caribbean debut on October 29th this year, with a five night round trip sailing from Fort Lauderdale to Grand Turk and the company’s private island, Princess Cays. Prices start at £387. 

Ruby Princess: Another recent, state of the art megaship. A four night, western Caribbean itinerary calling at Cozumel sails on December 14th. Fares are from £299.

Winter? Where?

Winter? Where?

She also offers a four night eastern Caribbean cruise on December 18th, calling at Grand Turk. Fares from £299. A similar, four night Christmas Cruise sails on December 22nd, and calls at Princess Cays.  The prices are from £519.

Another, four night cruise to the western Caribbean, calling at Grand Cayman, sails on December 26th, and is priced from £519.

The New Years Eve cruise aboard Ruby Princess is a five night, festive fling, sailing from Fort Lauderdale on December 30th, and heads out to the eastern Caribbean staples of Grand Turk and Princess Cays. Fares for this voyage start from £589.

Should you be looking more in terms of options for early 2014, Ruby Princess has you covered again, with a total of twenty four different four and five night sailings, running through until April 22nd, and featuring all the ports mentioned above.

Sister ship, Caribbean Princess will then take over the Fort Lauderdale run, with some sizzling options on offer running right through into the early spring.

Princess has an on board product that offers the experience and amenities of big ship cruising in a series of more intimate scaled venues, plus signature activities such as the lines famous Movies Under The Stars programme. The product is an excellent, well balanced choice overall, and equally suited to the novice cruiser looking for a first time experience, to the veteran cruise traveller in need of a short break.

Your escape capsule awaits...

Your escape capsule awaits…

It’s a well thought through and deft little programme, and one definitely worth a look.

Please note: All prices quoted here are based on inside cabins. For fares on outside and balcony cabins, please contact your travel agent.