Archive for the ‘travel’ tag
Cruise Ship Guide 2009
With the credit crunch hitting us hard, it seems difficult to comprehend how many millions of pounds is being invested into the cruise industry. With new ships still being ordered by the cruise lines, we can only expect bigger and better things for the future. Looking ahead to 2009, we can see a mixture of new ships ready to be launched, from smaller luxury vessels, to huge super liners.
Here is your guide to the new cruise ships for 2009:
Ready to hit our shores in May 2009, Costa Luminosa sister ship to Costa Serena is currently under construction at Fincantieri Marghera shipyard, Mantimo. The 13th ship in the Costa fleet has a GRT of 92,600. There are 1130 cabins onboard, 56 of these have direct access to the ships innovative and exclusive Samsara spa, 718 have private balconies, 44 suites have private balconies, and 4 suites have direct access to the Samsara spa. The ship will accommodate over 2,260 passengers, and with its theme of light and elegance, we can ensure the latest addition to the Costa family is going to be a real jewel.
The ship boasts 4 restaurants, 11 bars, 2 swimming pools, 4 Jacuzzis, the Samsara Spa, and for the more adventurous, the ship even contains a Grand Prix simulator.
Costa Luminosa will set sail from Venice on its inaugural voyage on the 5th May 2009. The 10 night Vernissage Cruise around Greece and Turkey, will visit Bari, Katakolon/Olympia, Rhodes, Izmir, Istanbul, Mykonos, and Piraeus. After the ships initial voyages in May, it will take mini Vernissage cruises from Venice, before heading to Amsterdam to visit Northern Europe and the Norwegian Fjords throughout the summer.
The ships christening on the 5th of June, will be an extraordinary event, taking place in Genoa. This unique event will display both Costa Luminosa, and Costa Pacifica, as a double celebration, with both of MSC’s new additions to the fleet being christened together.
Costa Pacifica, the fleets 14th ship in the fleet, will be the 3rd sister ship in the Concordia class, making the Costa Pacifica, the newest and largest of the Costa fleet. Currently under construction at Fincantieri’s Genoa Sestri Ponente shipyard in Italy. The Italian lines newest addition is an impressive 114,000 tonnage, with 1540 cabins, the ship can take up to 3780 passengers. The ship will share many features with the other Costa Concordia and Costa Serena, its sister ships including the Samsara spa, 5 restaurants, 13 bars, 4 swimming pools, and 5 Jacuzzis.
The ships design and styling has been inspired by the musical theme onboard. Each area has been characterised by a different type of music, you will see this in the My Way restaurant, Ipanema Lounge, Route 66 Sports Bar, La Bamba pool deck and other areas around the ship.
The Grand Inaugural cruise will be sailing from Savona on the 6th June, the 9-night cruise will visit Marseille, Barcelona, Palma, Tunis, Valetta, Palermo, and Civitacheccia/Rome. After this, the ship will be based in Barcelona, for the summer taking 7 night Mediterranean cruises.
Ready to launch in July 2009 is MSC Splendida. The second in the new design style from MSC and sister ship to the recently launched MSC Fantasia, you can expect ‘cutting edge technology and luxurious comfort’. The 133,500-tonnage ship currently under construction at the STX Europe, St Nazaire, France, will take up to 3,300 passengers.
To ensure pure luxury, MSC are offering six star service in the form of the MSC Yacht Club, with 99 suites, a special VIP area as well as 24-hour butler service. Onboard MSC Splendida you can also experience the Aurea Spa, a wellness centre offering amazing treatments, including Balinese massage, Turkish baths, solariums, relaxation rooms and much more.
After the christening of MSC Splendida in Barcelona, the maiden voyage will visit La Goulette, Valletta, Messina, Civitacheccia, Genoa, and Marseille. Throughout the summer, the ship will be based in Barcelona, visiting the Mediterranean.
The Seabourn Odyssey will be launched in June 2009, the 32,000 tonne, 450-passenger ship is the first new build ship for The Yachts of Seabourn for over 15 years, and the first new build luxury ship for 6 years. Under construction at Italy’s T Mariotti’s shipyard, the ships christening had been scheduled for June 24th 2009 in Genoa, Italy.
With 225 ocean view suites on offer, 90% with private balconies, luxury is guaranteed. With great onboard facilities including a spa, it will be a treat to be onboard the newest luxury liner in the cruise industry’s offerings. The maiden voyage from Venice will see you sail 14 nights around the Eastern Mediterranean, visiting Dubrovnik, Kotor (Montenerago), Mylos, Aghios Nikolaos, Rhodes, Santorini, Navplion (Mycanae), Piraeus (Athens), Mykonos, Kusadasi (Ephesus), and Istanbul. Before spending the summer cruising these islands, visiting some amazing locations.
The latest addition to the fleet of Celebrity Cruise line is the Celebrity Equinox. Set for its launch in August 2009, the Celebrity Solstice class ship is 122,000 tonnages with the accommodation taking up to 2850 passengers. Under construction at Germanys Meyer Werft, Papenburg, the ship has incredible features and has been designed to exceed your expectations, from start to finish.
Onboard the Celebrity Equinox, you will find some familiar features from the Solstice class. The Lawn Club, a freshly manicured lawn area onboard that features real grass, for passengers to play sports including golf and croquet. You will also find the Aqua Class staterooms, which are cabins sharing a deck with the Aqua Spa, a relaxation room, incorporating spa elements into the staterooms.
The Maiden voyage from Southampton is set for 8th August 2009. The 10-night “Best of Europe” cruise will visit Paris, Cherbourg, Vigo, Lisbon, Gibralter, Cartagena, Barcelona and Rome. It will then sail 13-14 night itineraries “Ancient Empires” these are based from Rome, on these voyages two brand new ports Haifa and Ashdod, Israel will be visited. After this, the ship will cruise the transatlantic to Fort Lauderdale, before starting the 10 and 11 night “Ultimate Caribbean” itineraries.
In September 2009, we will see the arrival of Carnival Dream. The 130,000-tonnage ship will be accommodating around 3562 passengers. Currently under construction at the Fincanteri shipyard in Italy. The ship boasts the largest outdoor deck space, more stateroom categories, the largest spa Carnival have ever built, Carnival Waterworks, and a new indoor/outdoor entertainment area called the Ocean Plaza.
The ships maiden voyage ‘The 12-night Grand Mediterranean’ cruise from Rome is scheduled in September. Before heading across the Transatlantic to New York, where it will start 8 night Port Canaveral and Bahamas cruise, before operating year round 7 night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises itineraries.
Late in 2009, we will see the arrival of the much-anticipated Oasis of the Seas. The latest creation and addition to the Royal Caribbean fleet. Oasis of the Seas, comes in at a massive 220,000 tonnage, and will accommodate an incredible 5400 guests in 2700 staterooms. The ship was originally ordered in February 2006, and had been constructed at the STX Europe, formerly Aker Yards.
With seven different neighbourhoods onboard, we can see a new concept by the cruise line introducing different areas similar to those found at a theme park. Each neighbourhood will have distinct characteristics, and will be themed and named; examples of these are the Youth Zone and the Boardwalk.
The Boardwalk will feature a unique Aqua Theatre, the first ever Carousel at sea, and games and amusements to entertain the whole family. Amongst the new additions, you will also find Madame Zamara’s – a psychic and tattoo parlour.
Based out of Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale. The ship will be visiting the Caribbean, alternating seven night Western and Eastern Caribbean itineraries.
Finally, in late 2009, the Silver Spirit will be debuting. Currently at the Fincantieri Ancona Shipyard, the 36,000 tonne, 540-passenger vessel will feature more balcony cabins, more dining choices, more facilities onboard and more luxury.
The ships debut voyage features an 11 night maiden voyage from Barcelona to Lisbon, before the 16 night transatlantic to Fort Lauderdale where the naming ceremony will take place. In January 21st 2010, the Silver Spirit will commence its 91-day South American voyage from Fort Lauderdale to La and back to New York. It will then spend the summer in the Mediterranean, before spending the Winter/Autumn in the Caribbean.
About the Author
Website editor and experienced cruiser who writes articles for www.insidecruise.co.uk and on occasions for www.idealcruising.co.uk magazine.
Hoteloogle.com – Hotel Concordia Venice
Venice is the most romantic and beautiful place on the earth
Venice is the most beautiful and romantic place you will get in the earth. Venice is just lives on water and many times it has to face flood and still the life is going on in Venice. Most Venice hotels have to face the trouble at the time of flood and have to apply some unusual ways to stop the water to enter in the hotel.
Venice is the city which is made by God for tourist only. If you have seen Venice then you can easily imagine why this sentence comes here. It’s true that Venice has some low resources for travel in Venice due to water. Venice is the place where you will get more tourists as compare the local resident people. The local people survive on the tourist trade only and there is no other resource to generate income for survives. Venice is the city which captures the most tourists.
Venice was developed in fifth century and later it developed into maritime empire. Venice is the most popular for its acqua alta feature. The city is surrounded by water and it is the most attraction point for the visitors. Local people have to tolerate this happening because tourist is the only way to survive in Venice. You can get the raised sidewalks in the most affected areas so that you can freely walk without getting your feet wet and can reach to Venice Italy Hotels.
The good thing about aqua alta is that it is quit predictable and you can find the exact time and date on many websites that when it will be come and which area will be most affected because of it. So you can easily plan your vacations to stay In Venice Hotels and to get full entertainment there.
It has never happened that anyone gone to Venice and not gets a ride on Gondola. It is the especial boat which is used in Venice to travel in the city. Your visit cannot complete without riding on Gondola. It will be expensive if you hire a private Gondola to travel so if it is out of budget then you should get ride on a common Gondola. You should not hesitate to do bargain for hire a private Gondola to get rich on any hotel or to travel the City.
You should not miss this historical place which has lot of monuments of lasted centuries. So just visit Venice and have a great fun with most beautiful and romantic sites. You should stay in Luxury Venice hotels because it is also an attractive thing which you will never get at other place. So just think about a vacation plan to Venice and add some great monuments in your life.
About the Author
Visit on venicehotelsnear.com and find a lot of information about all Venice hotels. See the real pictures, location and service charges. Get instant booking of rooms from anywhere for Venice Italy Hotels .
Hotels in Venice: Hotel Acca – Venice Italy
Mystery Hotels – How to Cheat and Maybe Get a Bargain
We have spent some time looking at lastminute.com’s ‘Mystery Hotel’ range and the new mystery offers from wotif.com. In some cases, LastMinute’s descriptions of its mystery hotels make it pretty easy to pinpoint the actual hotel. Wotif’s mystery hotels are a little harder to fathom but there are some clues, for instance they might be selling ‘Comfort’ and ‘Grand Comfort’ rooms at a mystery hotel so you just go through the list of other Wotif hotels in the same city and see which hotel uses that description for its rooms. The US company Priceline was the originator of the mystery hotel deal and we have always had serious misgivings about using them.
The main objection is that instead of seeing a discounted price (20% off the usual agent’s price is fairly normal for both LastMinute and Wotif) at a specific hotel, Priceline gives you no clue as to the actual hotel and you have to bid the price you are prepared to pay. Priceline does give a little help – it breaks cities down into areas and shows the normal retail price of hotels in different star categories and suggests a likely discount you should apply when bidding. Nonetheless, there is a huge danger that you will end up paying more than you need to. Priceline might have set a secret minimum bid of $80 a night but if someone bids $95 the company will happily accept the bid. Also, in recent years, business has been very good for the hotel industry and we suspect that Priceline was selling rooms at some hotels that would otherwise have difficulty in attracting guests. In other words, you could end up paying over the odds for an inferior hotel.
However, now the game has changed a little. Quite a few hotels have empty rooms and are willing to sell them at low rates through Priceline, on condition of anonymity to avoid destroying their normal rating. And, we have found a rather handy guide that should help you avoid some of the Priceline pitfalls.
One community forum for users of Priceline (and HotWire, a division of Expedia, which is designed more for US customers) is http://www.betterbidding.com. The front page is a bit messy, but all you need do is scroll down to find the forum dedicated to the area you want to visit. Pick Boston and the first post will be a list of hotels that forum members have purchased through Priceline. There is no guarantee that this list is completely accurate – hotels will come and go, depending on season and occupancy – but at least you have an idea of the sort of hotel you will get in each star category. Then you go through the most recent posts where members have listed deals they have actually obtained from Priceline. You may see that someone was able to bid $80 for a room at the Omni Parker two days ago and a bid of $85 got a room at the Hyatt Regency a week earlier. You need to take careful note of when the reservations were for (weekdays or weekends) and how far in advance the reservations were made because this is bound to have an effect on the price.
This site works best with Priceline’s US hotels. Postings for international reservations are far sparser. If you want to Stay In Venice in May, it is of little use to know that someone was able to bid $90 for a room at the Hilton Molino in February.
All prices on Priceline are before the dreaded ‘taxes and charges’, which can add a sizeable sum to the total and clearly include a generous service charge. We could not see how they came up with charges of £28 on a basic hotel cost of £92. At least you see this figure before your bid is submitted.
Once you are ready to go ahead, you have to submit your payment details. If the bid is accepted, your money is taken immediately and there is no possibility of cancellation or alteration. If the bid is not accepted, no money is taken and you are only allowed to rebid if you alter some of the terms of the original bid. Betterbidding suggests a way around this. Let’s say you want to stay in a five-star hotel in one area of Paris. Your initial bid is turned down so you alter your bid to include another area of Paris but an area which you can see from Betterbidding does not have a Priceline five-star hotel. Assuming Priceline has not suddenly added a new hotel (which is a very real possibility) then your increased bid on the hotel you want should be accepted.
Betterbidding also gives the same range of information for HotWire. This is part of the same group that owns Expedia and Hotels.com but it is designed principally for US customers and payment is taken in dollars – effectively adding to the cost for UK customers.
HotWire’s system is similar to Priceline with the bidding aspect removed. You know the star rating in advance, the area of the city involved and the full cost (plus taxes and charges). A quick look at Betterbidding should give you an idea of which hotels it is selling in the various categories and cities. The site is not as strong on hotels outside North America as Priceline.
With both these sites, we recommend you attempt to cross-check prices with the hotels direct or Hotels Of a similar category. Neither Booking.com, nor Expedia/Hotels.com (the companies behind these mystery sites) is noted for selling hotels cheaply. In some cases, a 20% discount off their rates will only equate to a 10% discount off rates available elsewhere. If you think you can get a room at the Luxor in Las Vegas for $65, you might find it better to take away the guesswork and book direct with the hotel for $72.
We certainly cannot recommend Priceline and the Betterbidding site to everyone. It can be very time-consuming and dangerous. There is a huge potential for error: you can easily pay quite a lot of money for a hotel you do not want. Another significant danger is that you can get carried away with the whole game and concentrate too much on trying to ‘win’ rather than on finding a hotel that is suitable for you! However, there are some genuine bargains around, particularly in the US, where Priceline is stronger, and there is plenty of information on Betterbidding. If you are looking for a couple of nights in a hotel in New York, and you have the time and patience, you might just get a good deal.
Will I get the worst room in the hotel if I have booked a mystery deal at a special price?
There is a possibility that a few hotels will use these mystery deals to sell a handful of less desirable rooms they would not normally sell unless the hotel was full. Most hotels will give you a standard room but, as is common for rooms booked at special rates through agents, it is likely to be the lowest-category room available. The better rooms may be on higher floors, have more modern furnishings or better views and these are likely to be allocated to clients who have booked direct with the hotel.
If you have booked a standard room through an agent (whether it be Priceline or not), there is no reason why you cannot upgrade the room when you arrive. Many hotels are more than happy to upgrade agency customers to executive-floor rooms (maybe for an extra £30 a night) or give them a larger room or one with a better view. Hotels are looking for extra revenue at every opportunity and if someone offers them money, and they have a better room available, they are unlikely to turn them down. Interestingly, this method can quite often lead to a free u
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Venice, Italy: Hotel Santa Marina