Oceania Cruises

The thought of sailing away overcomes me in weather like this. I can imagine myself sipping coffee on a balcony, scanning the horizon for dolphins and waiting for the next port.

A cruise is a wonderful way to cross off several destinations (like Caribbean Islands, or Greek Islands) without having the expense to fly to one island at a time.  This is definitely how I hope to do the ABC islands someday soon. (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao)

This week, Oceania (Cruise Line – The luxury division of Norwegian Cruise Lines) caught my eye. They are offering some outstanding deals.  The great thing about these ships is that they are small. 700 passengers or less, feels like a vacation, not like a floating city.

Oceania has just 4 ships in the fleet, and the “Riviera” often makes the top 8 list that Cruise Critic puts out for the Best Luxury Cruises.

The Riviera, does one cruise from Montreal to Miami in late October. It’s a 14 day voyage as shown here.  But, do look at all their European offerings and transatlantic voyages too. Maybe something will catch your eye. (I’m after the Miami to New York cruise that circles the southern Caribbean. I could get my ABCs and more!)

To avoid sticker shock from some of the brochure prices, do look for specials for Canadian Residents, or for particular cruises. Or ask your favourite travel agent for help. There are numerous offers that bring the prices right down, sometimes a 40% discount or more, you just need to know where to look.

Which cruise catches your eye?

 

Tip for finding great package deals

Doesn’t it seem like all the great package vacations are out of Toronto? Tired of “them” getting all the deals, but not us, fine, prairie folk?

So, here’s my tip: Do it….search those Toronto deals and find the one you like. Salivate, drool, dream and then write down the dates.

Next, take those dates and go to the search page of the package provider. (Example, Air Canada Vacations). NOW, search for that destination, and specific dates, but use your preferred airport. (Like Winnipeg, or Regina, etc) Chances are, your Toronto deal will be there with a minimal fee added for the connecting flight.

Bingo! It’s that easy to find a deal when there are none (shown) for Winnipeg.

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First step: Find a bargain from Toronto that you love
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Then, search from your local departure city. This search is from Winnipeg. Great deal and is just about $90 more than the Toronto search. I consider that a success. You can certainly not buy a separate (return) flight to Toronto for under $90.

But wait… there’s more!

The Winnipeg search actually reveals two additional hotel offerings (see below) at an even better rate! (But before you jump at ANY deal, make sure to read the recent reviews from Trip Advisor and see exactly what people are saying. Is it really the right hotel for you? The cheapest is not always the most suitable, but what if it IS?)

This looks like a bargain to me!
This looks like a bargain to me!

Deals for couples

Air Canada got my attention yesterday with some great deals on caribbean vacations.

I looked further and found that that the fine print excludes children in the discounts. Therefore these excellent deals are for couples, or friends, but not necessarily families or single parents.

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The fine print of the deal

If you search the site, you’ll see numerous packages available from Toronto. If you find something you like, then go to the main search page of Air Canada Vacations and search the same dates with your origin airport of YWG (Winnipeg). You will likely see the same deal, mere dollars more with a Winnipeg – Toronto connecting flight.

Travel dates for this sale are May thru October, but must be purchased by March 27th. You may also get a further discount by redeeming some of your aeroplan points. (26,500 points equals a $250 discount.)

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Sample deal

The best deal…. the one that really got my attention was Aruba. As low as $864 per adult. (Flights, hotel, transfers, taxes, breakfast). I would absolutely love to go to Aruba. And the following 3 hotels are either on or near Eagle Beach.

Well rated hotel
Tropicana hotel is well rated by Trip Advisor users who have been there

Eagle Beach in Aruba consistently makes the “best beaches” lists. It is known for its soft white sand.

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