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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 email this newsletter to friends or family, click here. Please note that the FastDeals are subject to availability and sell out quickly.

Dear Vacations To Go Customer,

I'm pleased to start today's newsletter with fantastic offers that we've arranged with Celebrity, MSC, Regent, Azamara and Paul Gauguin Cruises.

They include deep discounts in a variety of cruising regions, such as the Caribbean, Bahamas, Alaska, Mediterranean, Northern Europe and Tahiti. (After these offers, you'll find more deals specifically for Alaska voyages, along with my advice for booking a cruise or cruise tour in the Last Frontier.)

Today's offers may include free amenities or 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 spa treatments, shore excursions and items bought in the ship's boutiques. Please note that some rates on our site may not be eligible for free amenities or shipboard credits.

Celebrity is offering our customers discounts of up to 80% and exclusive shipboard credits of up to $200 per cabin. Book an ocean-view cabin or higher at eligible rates and receive up to three of the following amenities: 1) a shipboard credit of up to $300 per cabin, 2) free gratuities, 3) a free beverage package, which includes a variety of alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages or 4) unlimited Internet. Book a suite and get all four perks. Book by January 31. See dates and prices.

MSC is offering our customers discounts of up to 75% on a variety of sailings. Plus, receive exclusive rates, free drinks and free Wi-Fi for up to two devices on select Caribbean departures. See dates and prices.

Regent has provided newly reduced, exclusive rates on select sailings for our customers -- save up to 85%. In addition, receive shipboard credits of up to $1,900 per cabin on select cruises. The upfront price of a luxury Regent cruise includes unlimited shore excursions, gratuities, unlimited beverages including fine wines and premium spirits and unlimited Wi-Fi. Book by February 15. See dates and prices.

Azamara is offering Vacations To Go customers discounts of up to 84%. Get exclusive shipboard credits of up to $500 per cabin plus unlimited Internet for one device on select sailings. Azamara schedules longer stays and overnights in port so guests can experience more of the destination. Rates include gratuities, drinks and, on most cruises, a nighttime shore excursion called "AzAmazing Evening." Book by January 31. See dates and prices.
 
Paul Gauguin Cruises is offering our customers reduced rates on its Tahiti sailings -- save up to 50%. Receive exclusive shipboard credits of up to $700 per cabin on select voyages. See dates and prices.

Read on for more great deals on Alaska cruises. As always, all offers in today's newsletter are for new bookings only and subject to availability. Restrictions may apply, and some free amenities and shipboard credits may apply only to eligible rates. Past guests of some cruise lines may see better rates on select sailings.



At Vacations To Go, we like to help our customers stay on top of the best times to book certain destinations. With record capacity in Alaska and berths to fill, right now cruise lines are offering some of the best deals ever on Alaska cruises and cruise tours.

If you want to experience the incomparable natural beauty and majesty of Alaska on a cruise, I recommend that you call us as soon as possible to get the itinerary, ship and departure date you desire -- especially if you require a cabin that accommodates three or more people or a passenger with special needs, or if you need two adjacent or adjoining cabins or more than four cabins on a single sailing.

We want to be sure you get the best possible deal on your Alaska cruise, so we've negotiated the following money-saving offers with leading cruise lines in the region. Please note that some rates on our site may not be eligible for free amenities or shipboard credits.

Click the cruise line name to see departures and rates.

Save up to 81% with Cunard and get shipboard credits of up to $1,200 per cabin, plus a specialty restaurant dinner for two. Book by January 21.

Save up to 79% with Seabourn and receive shipboard credits of up to $800 per cabin, plus free Wi-Fi and a 50% reduced deposit.

Save up to 79% with Silversea and get shipboard credits of up to $600 per cabin.

Save up to 76% with Oceania and enjoy shipboard credits of up to $600 per cabin.

Save up to 71% with Azamara and receive shipboard credits of up to $500 per cabin, plus unlimited Internet for one device on select departures. Book by January 31.
 
Save up to 70% with Celebrity, plus receive shipboard credits of up to $200 per cabin. Book an ocean-view cabin or higher at eligible rates and receive up to three of these perks: 1) a shipboard credit of up to $300 per cabin, 2) free gratuities, 3) a free beverage package or 4) unlimited Internet. Book a suite and get all four perks. Book by January 31.

Save up to 70% with Royal Caribbean and receive shipboard credits of up to $250 per cabin.

Save up to 69% with Carnival.

Save up to 68% with Regent and receive shipboard credits of up to $1,900 per cabin. Book by February 15.

Save up to 67% with Holland America and receive shipboard credits of up to $300 per cabin.

Save up to 67% with Windstar and receive shipboard credits of up to $400 per cabin.

Save up to 57% with Norwegian and receive shipboard credits of up to $100 per cabin.

Save up to 51% with Princess and get shipboard credits of up to $60 per cabin.

Save up to 51% with Crystal and get shipboard credits of up to $650 per cabin. Book by January 21.

Save up to 47% with Viking and enjoy shipboard credits of up to $100 per cabin. Pay reduced airfare from select gateways, from $499 on select Alaska departures. Book by January 31.

Below, I've organized our Alaska cruise and cruise tour departures by month. For a full list of prices and dates, click any month:

May cruises in Alaska
May cruise tours in Alaska

June cruises in Alaska
June cruise tours in Alaska

July cruises in Alaska
July cruise tours in Alaska

August cruises in Alaska
August cruise tours in Alaska

September cruises in Alaska
September cruise tours in Alaska

Next, I'll cover four key factors to keep in mind when planning a visit to America's last frontier: itinerary, weather, wildlife and passports.

Itinerary
There are two types of itineraries for Alaska cruises: Inside Passage cruises that sail round trip from Vancouver, Seattle or San Francisco; and Gulf of Alaska cruises that sail one way between Vancouver and Seward or Whittier (gateways to Anchorage and the interior city of Fairbanks). The Gulf of Alaska cruises include several days in the Inside Passage.

The round-trip cruises offer two advantages: 1) There are many flights daily into, and out of, Vancouver, Seattle and San Francisco, and 2) They require less expensive airfare because no long flight to (or from) Anchorage or Fairbanks is involved.

Air into (and out of) Anchorage and Fairbanks is quite limited and flights fill early with cruise and cruise tour passengers, which makes it more risky to wait for a last-minute deal on a one-way Gulf of Alaska cruise.

The biggest advantage of one-way cruises is that they allow the opportunity to explore the interior of Alaska on a pre- or post-cruise land tour. Between one-third and one-half of all Alaska cruisers extend their cruise with a tour of inland Alaska (out of Anchorage or Fairbanks) or British Columbia or the Canadian Rockies (out of Vancouver).

If you are leaning toward one of these cruise tours, keep in mind that tour buses, railcars and lodges in Alaska are very limited in supply and can sell out early. I recommend booking soon to ensure availability.

Weather
Alaska weather is delightfully unpredictable, but in general, you'll find the warmest temperatures in July and August, when average highs are in the low to mid-60s. Precipitation can rise a bit in late August and early September, but I personally would not avoid that time for that reason.

One of my fondest Alaska memories is of sipping coffee on the cabin balcony as the scenery melted away and the ship slowed to a crawl in dense fog in the Inside Passage, its foghorn echoing off the mountains on either side, warning fishermen of our approach. On another day, we hiked a trail to an alpine lake for a canoe ride to the face of a glacier, in a driving rain. Invigorating does not begin to describe it. Weather is part of the experience in Alaska.

Click here for a list of Alaska ports, and then click a port name to see the weather details for that location.

Wildlife
Wildlife is one of the big attractions of Alaska, and different species are active at various times during the cruising season. Humpback and killer whales are seen throughout the summer in large sounds and straits along the coast as they migrate between their winter homes in the south and their summer homes in the north. Brown and black bears can be spotted in grassy tidal flats starting in May and near salmon streams and berry patches in July and August. Moose and caribou begin calving in May, so look for cow moose and their young near thickets along roadsides and rivers in May and June.

Bald eagles are plentiful and can be viewed at the water's edge through the summer, particularly near salmon-spawning streams. Tufted puffins and other seabirds begin nesting colonies on coastal islands in May. Shorebird-watching is popular in August and September as various species begin their migrations south for the winter.

Harbor seals are visible throughout the season and can be seen with their pups on and around the icebergs of Tracy Arm and Glacier Bay during the month of June. Sea lions start to become visible in September.

Fishermen will be happy to know that at least one variety of salmon -- the prized king salmon -- runs from May through August. Late May through June is the best time for saltwater king salmon fishing, and July through August is best for freshwater king salmon fishing. Sockeye (red) salmon fill freshwater streams and rivers on their spawning run from late June through July.

Saltwater fishing for chum and pink salmon is best in July and August, and freshwater fishing for these species is at its peak in August. Coho (silver) salmon can be found in saltwater areas from late July through early September and are abundant in freshwater areas during September and October. Halibut is most plentiful in saltwater areas from late June through August.

Passports
Passports are required for all travelers who enter or re-enter the U.S. by air from any other country, which means that U.S. citizens and residents who fly back to the U.S. from Vancouver or any other Canadian city after an Alaska cruise or cruise tour are required to have a valid passport.

Passports also are required for anyone who enters or re-enters the U.S. by land or by sea. There are a few exceptions to the passport requirement pertaining to land and sea border crossings.

First, U.S. citizens on cruises that begin and end in the same U.S. port and travel to destinations in Canada (and select other countries) are able to re-enter the U.S. with proof of citizenship other than a passport, such as a birth certificate and government-issued photo ID. Passports are required for cruises that begin in one U.S. port and end in another.

So, U.S. citizens on cruises that sail round trip from Seattle or San Francisco are not required to have a passport. U.S. citizens who drive to Vancouver for a round-trip Alaska cruise or who cruise one way between Vancouver and an Alaskan port (such as Whittier or Seward) do need a passport.

Next, children under the age of 16 who are citizens of the U.S. or Canada are exempt from the passport requirement for land and sea border crossings. In lieu of a passport, children are able to use a birth certificate as proof of citizenship for entry into the U.S. by land or by sea. Children entering or re-entering the U.S. by air still are required to have a valid passport.

Finally, a lower-cost alternative to the passport, called a passport card, is acceptable for entries into the U.S. by land or sea. Compared to passports, which cost $145 for first-time applicants ($115 for children), passport cards cost $65 ($50 for children). The passport card is not acceptable for air travel.

Several cruise lines require a passport for all sailings, regardless of destination or port of departure. They include these companies that offer Alaska cruises: Azamara, Crystal, Cunard, Hurtigruten, Oceania, Regent, Seabourn, Silversea and Windstar.

Even in cases where a passport is not required, Vacations To Go recommends that passengers have them anyway. This is because, while highly unlikely, an emergency could arise in which a U.S citizen needed to disembark early and fly home from Canada, and a passport would be required for that flight.

Passports are required for citizens of all other countries for any Alaska cruise or cruise tour.



Here's a list of specialty cruises, discounts and resources we offer. Some are available only to certain types of travelers, and others are available to all Vacations To Go customers. Click the links below for more information:

Age 55+ Rates
EMT Discounts
Firefighter Discounts
Grand Voyages
Hosted Singles Cruises
Interline Rates
Military Rates (U.S. and Canadian)
Past Passenger Rates
Police Discounts
Teachers' Rates
Travelers with Special Needs

Discount programs like these can be issued or withdrawn at any time by the cruise line, and are not normally combinable with one another. Always tell your Vacations To Go cruise counselor if you qualify for a military or interline discount, are a past passenger of the line you are calling about, or if anyone in the cabin will be 55+, so that he or she can make sure to check for any additional discounts to which you may be entitled.



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 San Juan Feb 24, starting at $409, save 68%, FastDeal # 14799

2) Bermuda, 7 nights on Royal Caribbean, departs Bayonne Apr 27, starting at $662, save 57%, FastDeal # 39265

3) Caribbean, 7 nights on Norwegian, departs New Orleans Feb 17, starting at $579, save 50%, FastDeal # 19499

4) Pacific Northwest, 9 nights on Celebrity, departs San Diego Apr 8, starting at $799, save 68%, FastDeal # 10116

5) Caribbean, 7 nights on MSC Cruises, departs Miami Apr 27, starting at $449, save 65%, FastDeal # 22822

6) Mexico, 7 nights on Norwegian, departs Los Angeles Mar 23, starting at $599, save 59%, FastDeal # 37103

7) Caribbean, 7 nights on Royal Caribbean, departs Fort Lauderdale Feb 9, starting at $581, save 55%, FastDeal # 39206

8) South America, 12 nights on Oceania Cruises, departs Buenos Aires Apr 6, starting at $2,299, save 77%, FastDeal # 20097

9) Mediterranean, 7 nights on Crystal, departs Athens Apr 27, balcony starting at $3,310, save 37%, FastDeal # 18202

10) Transatlantic, 14 nights on Regent, departs Miami Mar 22, suite starting at $4,480, save 76%, FastDeal # 38883

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 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.

If you enjoy our newsletter, please forward this email to family and friends.

Sincerely,

Alan Fox
Executive Chairman
Vacations To Go



800-338-4962

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