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Cruise Newsletter

Below is a copy of our current cruise newsletter. To subscribe to our weekly newsletter, absolutely free of charge, please click here. To send a copy of this newsletter to a friend or friends, click here. Please note that the FastDeals are subject to availability and sell out quickly.

Newsletter Dated July 28, 2014

Dear Vacations To Go Customer,

What's the ultimate splurge for people who love to travel? In my opinion, it's a voyage on one of the six-star ships of Silversea, Crystal, Regent or Seabourn.

I was in the business for 15 years before I was able to sample a six-star cruise, but I found that it was worth the wait. The level of luxury and service beats anything on land, and these small-to-midsize ships (they carry 208 to 1,080 passengers) sail to the most interesting and exotic locations on Earth.

Fortunately, the number of folks who can afford this experience has increased in the last few years, as six-star lines have begun to target certain sailings with much bigger discounts than ever before. In fact, there are discounts of up to 81% on six-star ships departing in the next 90 days; click here for a peek.

Frankly, I've felt I was splurging every time I've set foot on a ship, whether six stars or three. It's just so much better out there.

Alan Fox
Chairman & CEO



Today, I'm pleased to present these terrific deals from Holland America, Cunard, Regent and Windstar. They include shipboard credits, which are as good as cash on the ship and can be used toward onboard purchases not covered in the cruise fare, like boutique purchases and spa treatments.

Holland America is offering Vacations To Go customers deep discounts -- save up to 72% -- off a variety of cruises and cruise tours through 2015. Select sailings also qualify for a free beverage package that includes alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages (a value of $100 per day), a free dinner for two in the intimate Pinnacle Grill and reduced deposits. Past guests may see better rates on certain sailings. Click here for dates and prices.

Cunard is offering our customers this exclusive promotion: Receive shipboard credits of up to $800 per cabin, free gratuities on select voyages and a free upgrade from an inside cabin to a balcony cabin on select last-minute trans-Atlantic and Canada/New England sailings. Past guests may see additional discounts on some sailings. Click here for dates and prices.

Regent is offering our customers terrific discounts of up to 71% and shipboard credits of up to $800 per stateroom on applicable voyages. Plus, receive free unlimited shore excursions, free prepaid gratuities, free unlimited beverages including fine wines and premium spirits and free unlimited Internet on select sailings (valued at $30 a day). Customers paying with American Express Platinum or Centurion cards qualify for an additional $300 to $500 in shipboard credits per cabin. Click here for dates and prices.

Windstar is offering Vacations To Go customers big discounts and exclusive rates, resulting in savings of up to 78%. Book by August 10. Click here for dates and prices.

As always, these offers are for new bookings only and subject to availability. Restrictions may apply.



Once upon a time, cruise passengers had few choices when it came to their evening meal -- one could go at a certain time to a certain table in the ship's main dining room, head to the casual buffet restaurant or order room service. These options still exist on most ships today, but cruise lines now give passengers much more flexibility in when and where they dine. Alternative restaurants -- those available beyond the formal main dining room and the buffet restaurant -- can be found on virtually every large ship and many smaller ones, while open-seating options have been introduced on numerous vessels. Here's a quick look at today's shipboard dining scene.

In the "traditional" dining scenario, passengers are informed of their seating assignments for dinner upon boarding. Dining times and table size are based on requests made at the time of booking, but on most ships they are not guaranteed, no matter how far in advance the booking is made.

Guests are assigned to a specific table in either the early (around 6 or 6:30 p.m.) or the late (around 8 or 8:30 p.m.) seating. Passengers dine with the same tablemates and are served by the same wait staff each night of the cruise.

Many passengers prefer traditional dining because it gives them an opportunity to get to know a few of their fellow passengers and their wait staff, and it allows the wait staff to learn preferences and anticipate requests after a night or two, leading to more personalized service. On the other hand, assigned seating forces passengers to plan activities around their dinner time, which can be inconvenient on days when the ship is in port.

Cruise lines offering traditional assigned seating in the main dining room during dinner include Carnival, Celebrity, Costa, Croisières de France, Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Crystal, Disney, Fred. Olsen, Holland America, MSC, P&O, Princess, Pullmantur and Royal Caribbean. (On Disney ships, guests rotate through three themed main dining rooms during their sailing, and their wait staff goes with them.) Cunard offers assigned seating to passengers booking certain accommodations. Hurtigruten offers assigned seating from 6:30 to 7 p.m.; busier periods may have two seatings. Table reservations for Hurtigruten's assigned seating are made on board.

Most small-ship cruise lines, plus several large-ship ones, offer open seating in their main dining rooms. Ships with open seating operate their main dining rooms much like shoreside restaurants -- the dining room is open for dinner during set hours, and guests may dine when and with whom they please during those hours.

This dining style allows guests to choose their tablemates (or dine alone) and vary their schedules as desired. On the other hand, some feel they do not receive the same personalized service since their wait staff changes each night. And, as with busy restaurants on shore, guests on larger ships who choose this option may have to wait to be seated, and service may be a bit slower during the most popular dining times.

Cruise lines that offer open seating in the main dining room include American Cruise Lines, Azamara, Blount Small Ship Adventures, Carnival, Celebrity, Crystal, Hebridean Island Cruises, Holland America, Lindblad Expeditions, Norwegian, Oceania, Paul Gauguin Cruises, Ponant Yacht Cruises, Princess, Quark Expeditions, Regent, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn, SeaDream, Silversea, Star Clippers, Swan Hellenic, Viking Ocean Cruises, Voyages to Antiquity, Voyages of Discovery and Windstar.

Certain accommodations on Cunard ships allow passengers to dine when they wish, but they are assigned to a particular table throughout the course of the cruise.

Several cruise lines -- Carnival, Celebrity, Crystal, Holland America, Princess and Royal Caribbean -- are listed above as offering both traditional assigned seating and open seating. Several of these lines have at least two main dining rooms on most of their ships. At the time of booking, guests choose assigned (early or late) or open seating.

Note: The following ships offer assigned seating only -- Dawn Princess, Ocean Princess, Pacific Princess, Sea Princess and Sun Princess. Celebrity Xpedition offers only open seating.

The great majority of ships offer one or more "alternative" restaurants in addition to their main dining rooms, ranging from 24-hour buffets and poolside grills to celebrity chef venues and high-end gourmet restaurants. These alternative restaurants typically have open seating regardless of the main dining room's guidelines, though many require reservations (which are made on board the ship). There may be a per-person surcharge for specialty restaurants ranging from about $10 to $45.

For detailed information about the dining venues on any cruise line, click any link above or click here. Our cruise counselors also will be happy to verify dining options available for any cruise.



Here are today's Top 10 Cruises, brand-new specials from the world's best cruise lines. Click the FastDeal # for details.

1) Caribbean, 7 nights on Carnival, departs Miami Sep 27, starting at $289, save 84%, FastDeal # 15179

2) Bahamas, 3 nights on Royal Caribbean, departs Miami Oct 17, starting at $219, FastDeal # 24412 (Royal Caribbean does not provide brochure rates for this cruise, so we are unable to show a savings percentage.)

3) Caribbean, 9 nights on Princess, departs Fort Lauderdale Nov 6, starting at $499, save 74%, FastDeal # 17103

4) Bermuda, 7 nights on Norwegian, departs Boston Oct 31, starting at $579, save 68%, FastDeal # 20578

5) Caribbean, 7 nights on Celebrity, departs Miami Nov 1, starting at $669, save 54%, FastDeal # 10822

6) Alaska, 7 nights on Holland America, departs Vancouver Aug 24, starting at $549, save 70%, FastDeal # 31476

7) Caribbean, 5 nights on Royal Caribbean, departs Fort Lauderdale Sep 29, starting at $349, FastDeal # 23258 (Royal Caribbean does not provide brochure rates for this cruise, so we are unable to show a savings percentage.)

8) Baltic, 9 nights on Norwegian, departs Copenhagen Aug 8, starting at $899, save 57%, FastDeal # 17524

9) Transatlantic, 14 nights on Celebrity, departs London Oct 13, balcony starting at $1,249, save 60%, FastDeal # 35599

10) Mediterranean, 7 nights on Oceania Cruises, departs Venice Oct 21, starting at $1,649, save 73%, FastDeal # 19328

For the best last-minute cruise specials in the next 90 days, please visit our world-famous 90-Day Ticker.
To search for discounts of up to 82% on cruises departing more than 90 days from now, click here.

To save up to 40% with escorted and independent tours, click here.
For river cruises up to 50% off, click here.
For discounts of up to 50% at hotels and all-inclusive resorts, click here.
For the lowest rates on Africa safaris from budget to luxury in quality, click here.

Once you've found a FASTDEAL, call us toll free at 800-338-4962 (US and Canada) and a cruise counselor will attend to your needs. Customers from the UK, please call toll free 0-800-098-8546. All other international customers, please email or call us at +1-713-974-2121.

Please email me your comments, suggestions and questions at alanfox@vacationstogo.com and I will respond the same day.

To send a copy of this newsletter to a friend or friends, click here.

Sincerely,

Alan Fox
Chairman & CEO
Vacations To Go


800-338-4962