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Cruise Ship Review
Short Cruises

Let's Get Away From it All

by Toni & Jack White

Let's take a ship to Bermuda
Let's take a boat to St. Paul
Let's take a kyack to Quincy or Nyack
Let's get away from it all

Frank Sinatra's 1940 hit says it all. Busy people are looking for a quick diversion from the hectic pace of the modern world. Many of them are getting away from it all on two to five-day cruises, some just wanting to test the cruise waters for the first time.

Midnight Buffet Dessert TableThe most popular short get-away destinations are the islands in the Caribbean and Bahamas. Some cruise lines operate short cruises from west coast ports to Mexico, and from east coast ports to New England and Canada. You can cruise from Honolulu to other Hawaiian islands. These floating fun cities supply a taste of shipboard living comparable to that available on longer cruises - the kind you may wistfully remember from old movies filled with glamorous people dining, dancing and romancing. Additionally, these short jaunts offer contemporary pleasures such as casino gambling, the latest movies, flashy floor shows, and shopping and sightseeing at exotic ports of call. Best of all, their price tag compares favorably with that of traditional resort vacations, offering comparable travel, convenience, services, and security. Dress is mostly informal, with only one formal evening, if that, and the emphasis is on relaxation, having a good time, and EATING! (Check out Jack's photo of typical dessert fare at the midnight buffet.) You can leave your worries behind and enjoy the fun of a continuous party, or find a deck chair and simply chill out.

The price of your cruise depends largely on cabin selection. On each ship, except for the suites, the cabins are generally about the same size. The cost increases for an outside cabin with a private balcony, which adds to the cruise experience, or a higher deck location. If you don't mind waking up in the dark, an inside cabin is less expensive and may be quieter. Further savings can be realized if three or four persons share a cabin. The basic cost of your cruise includes everything except shore excursions, wine and bar drinks, photographs and tips. Frequently, the premium cost of a cruise on the smaller, luxury liners is all-inclusive.

Short cruises are easy to schedule. This overcomes many obstacles for families with busy calendars. A short cruise is a perfect place to celebrate a special event or business meeting. A getaway cruise can be a romantic, spontaneous vacation. Many two-to-five-day cruises are good bargains, starting at $125-$150 per person, per day. A better vacation is hard to find. Just ask any passenger after their first cruise. The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) states "once aboard, first-timers are likely to join the 90 percent who say they will cruise again, and the 82 percent who say a cruise is a good value for the money." As the song goes, most will be excitedly planning their next "Let's Get Away From it All" escape at sea.

The following cruise lines offer regularly scheduled short getaway cruises from ports listed below:

THE PORT OF MIAMI

Typical Carnival Lido DeckCARNIVAL CRUISE LINES shows how important they view the short cruise market, by sailing their newer and larger superliners on three, four and five-day fun ship cruises. Carnival had such huge success on one night special cruises, we may even see more of these in the future.

The CARNIVAL ECSTASY currently sails from Miami every Friday on a three-day cruise to Nassau. The Monday four-day cruise visits Key West and Cozumel. The CARNIVAL FASCINATION will take over these routes beginning Mary 4, 2001. The CARNIVAL IMAGINATIONsails 4 & 5-day cruises from Miami with the four-day cruise sailing to Key West and Cozumel, and the five-day cruise visiting Grand Cayman and Calica/Cancun or Ocho Rios.

 

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINES NORWEGIAN SEA began sailing 3 & 4 day Bahamarama cruises on January 15 and will continue thru April 27, 2001. The 3-day cruise calls at Nassau and NCL's private island, Grand Stirrup Cay, while the 4-day adds Key West. After a Summer series of 7 day cruises to New England from New York, the NORWEGIAN SEA will return to the Port of Miami in the fall sailing on the 3 day Bahamarama cruises above, and debuting a new 4 day Key West & Cozumel route.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN's MAJESTY OF THE SEAS sails every Friday from Miami on a three-day cruise to Nassau, with a stop at RCCL's own private out island, Coco Cay, for fun and games. The Monday four-day trip adds Key West.

THE PORT OF FT. LAUDERDALE (PORT EVERGLADES)

ROYAL CARIBBEAN's MONARCH OF THE SEAS will set sail from Ft. Lauderdale on October 6, 2001 on alternating four- and five-day cruises to the Western Caribbean. The four-day trip visits Key West and Cozumel, Mexico. The five-day cruises to Cozumel and Grand Cayman.

THE PORT OF ORLANDO (PORT CANAVERAL)

Stern of the Disney WonderAll the cruises leaving from this port have optional three or four-day Orlando vacation packages, featuring Disney World or Universal Studios/Sea World vacations. These make perfect family vacations. The CARNIVAL FANTASY, a sister ship to the ECSTASY, sails Thursday on a three-day cruise to Nassau. The Sunday four-day cruise adds Freeport.

Disney Cruise Line's DISNEY WONDER sails every Thursday for the three-day cruise and Sunday for the four-day cruise to the Bahamas with stops at Nassau and Disney's private island, Castaway Cay. ROYAL CARIBBEAN's SOVEREIGN OF THE SEAS sails on Thursday for three-day cruises with visits to Nassau and its own exclusive Coco Cay for sunning, sailboating or snorkeling. The Sunday four-day cruise adds a day at sea.

THE PORT OF TAMPA

The CARNIVAL JUBILEE sails on four-day cruises and visits Key West and Cozumel. The five-day cruise visits Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

THE PORTS OF NEWPORT NEWS, VA AND CHARLESTON, SC

The new CARNIVAL VICTORY on a series of 2 Night Cruises to Nowhere and 5 Night Cruises to the Bahamas from these two ports. The 2 Night cruises for 2001 sail on 3 Fridays from Newport News - May 18, October 12 & October 26. A unique feature of these 2 day cruises is that the cruise fare INCLUDES an open bar (that's FREE DRINKS, folks) and complimentary wine with dinner. The 5 Night cruises sail to Nassau & Freeport, Bahamas from Charleston on May 7 & October 29, 2001 and from Newport News on May 13 & October 7, 2001.

THE PORT OF GALVESTON

The CARNIVAL CELEBRATION began sailing last October on year-round four and five-day cruises from Galveston, TX. The four-day cruise visits Playa del Carmen and Cozmel. The five-day cruise stops at Cozumel and Calica/Cancun.

THE PORT OF SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO

ROYAL CARIBBEAN's NORDIC EMPRESS three-day cruise sets sail every Friday for St. Thomas and St. Maarten. The Monday four-day cruise adds St. Croix. RADISSON SEVEN SEAS RADISSON DIAMOND will be cruising the Caribbean on four and five-day cruises in March and April. The 354 passengers will be pampered to the tune of $525 per person, per day, on this luxury ship.

THE PORT OF LOS ANGELES

Currently, the CARNIVAL HOLIDAY sails on three and four-day cruises to Ensenada and Santa Catalina Island (4-day only) from eith the port of San Pedro or the new cruise terminal, near the QUEEN MARY, in Long Beach. The CARNIVAL ECSTASY will take over these cruises beginning in May, 2001. ROYAL CARIBBEAN's VIKING SERENADE sails Fridays on three-day cruises to Ensenada, Mexico. The Monday four-day cruise adds Catalina Island and San Diego.

PORTS OF NEW YORK & BOSTON

REGAL CRUISES' REGAL EMPRESS features two-day to five-day cruises in the summer months. The five-day cruise stops at Newport, Portland, St. John in New Brunswick, Canada, and Martha's Vineyard. Some of the cruises feature "Margarita Madness" with two hours of free Margaritas at pool-side each afternoon. Many passengers enjoy the character of this older ship.

Carnival Victory SlideIn the summer months, the CARNIVAL VICTORY sails round trip from New York on mostly 4- and 5-day cruises to Eastern Canada. The 4-day cruise calls in Halifax, Nova Scotia while the 5-day cruise adds Saint John, New Brunswick. She sails on a series of 4 7-day cruises in September, adding port calls in Boston MA, Portland ME, and substituting Sydney, Nova Scotia for Saint John.

During the month of May, the CARNIVAL VICTORY sets sail on 3 short cruises round trip from BOSTON. A 3-day cruise departs on Friday, May 25, 2001 for a Memorial Day Weekend cruise to Halifax, while 2 4-day cruises depart on Mondays, May 21 & May 28 to Halifax and Saint John.

THE PORT OF HONOLULU

SS Independence

 

AMERICAN HAWAII CRUISES' INDEPENDENCE offers year-round three-and four-day sailings (segments of the standard seven-day four-island Hawaiian cruise) with optional three-and four-day land packages on Hawaii, Oahu, Maui or Kauai. This romantic cruise is a great way to sample the islands. Passengers gather on deck at night to view the volcanic mountain Pele's lava flow. This is a memorable sight.

 

Photos courtesy of Jack White.

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Toni & Jack WhiteJack and Toni White of Rancho Mirage, California have, for many years, been freelance travel writers specializing in cruise travel. Their articles have appeared in newspapers throughout the United States and Canada, including the Chicago Tribune, Dallas Morning News, and Vancouver Sun. Prestigious Palm Springs Life magazine published their article on filming the movie Out to Sea on the Holland America Line Westerdam. They also write regularly for Mature Living and Plus, formerly Senior Life.

Jack graduated from USC as an architect. His background in architecture allows him to review, write, and produce photographs from a unique perspective. Toni attended UCLA after graduating from Hollywood High School where she had been the Feature Editor of the Hollywood High School News, where one of the writers was comedienne Carole Burnett. Toni lived abroad for many years in South America and in the UK and has a familiarity with different cultures that influences her writing. The Whites love to travel and especially want to share their passion for cruising with you.

Toni & Jack White may be reached at: JACNTONI@aol.com.


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