When it comes to contemporary cruise line comparisons, sometimes you have dig a bit deeper to see the essential differences. If you’re looking at the big three, you’ll find they have a lot in common. . .ships sailing from the same ports to the same destinations. But that’s not universal —there are some really big differences to be found between them and today we want to share what makes Norwegian Cruise Line unique.
Is Hawaii on your Bucket List?
If so, then Norwegian’s Pride of America is truly unique in that she’s the only cruise ship based in Hawaii and offers 7-night inter-island cruises. While there are other ships that visit Hawaii they’re all going to require a five-day sea crossing (at least) and then one-way air to return to the mainland.
Pride of America departs every week from Honolulu (on Oahu) and sails to The Big Island of Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui. Try to see these islands any other way, and you’ll be packing, flying, shuttling and unpacking when you should be enjoying! And all that air and surface travel comes at a cost too! Contrast that to the cruise where you maximize your awake hours in ports and travel while you sleep. . .what could be more convenient.
If you’re thinking about a Hawaii cruise, you should strongly consider extending your visit with a pre- or post-resort stay in Honolulu. Sights there of course include the famous Waikiki Beach, Diamondhead, Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial to name just a few. Since you have to get to Honolulu anyway to board the ship it would be a shame not to spend some time enjoying it.
Buyers Tip: As much as cruises in general (and especially the Caribbean and Europe) are a buyer’s market, Pride of America’s Hawaii cruises are the exception—prices almost always increase over time. And if you’re looking for a stateroom that will accommodate more than two guests, they’re in even scarcer supply, so we strongly urge you to book Hawaii cruises a year in advance if possible. But we do have a great handpicked deal for this fall:
The Haven: A Ship within a Ship
Here’s a dilemma that some cruisers face. . . they’re looking for an upscale and exclusive cruise experience, but they want to travel with their kids or other family members that are new to cruising. This traveler wants the small, luxury ship experience for themselves, but they just know their kids will be bored to tears. So usually they compromise their own needs and take a contemporary cruise. The Haven concept does away with that compromise.
The Haven is literally a “ship-within-a ship” concept, and features a private complex of suites and villas that rival any high-end luxury cruise experience. While in The Haven, you’re provided the finest amenities, and the expert services of a concierge and 24-hour butlers. Just outside your suite or villa is a secluded Courtyard where you can spend your sea days relaxing, dining and enjoying privacy. A private pool, hot tub, and fitness are part of the experience. Click to see: The Haven Photos
There’s a private restaurant reserved exclusively for guests in The Haven, and room service of course, but you’re always welcome to dine in any of the other restaurants onboard as well. Your concierge can help you with your daily dining plans and make reservations for you in the specialty restaurants. The Haven is available on Gem, Jade, Jewel, Pearl and Epic—and will also be available on the Breakaway (2013) and Getaway (2014).
First-Hand View: I had the opportunity to stay in a Haven suite with my wife and three children onboard the Norwegian Epic, and it exceeded my expectations in every way. We had a two-bedroom suite that comfortably accommodated us, and was loaded with details—from an espresso machine to pre-programmed lighting scenes available on a touch-screen display. The bathroom was, well, Epic, with a tub and separate shower both offering sea views. We had most of our dinners in the private restaurant—the cuisine was as good as any we’ve ever had, and the service was over-the-top attentive and friendly without being overbearing. Of course, that would have been totally lost on my kids if it weren’t for the Epic’s waterslides, kids program and the Blue Man Group show. . .we all came away feeling like we’d had the vacation we wanted without compromising. The Haven isn’t a cheap vacation by any means, and it shouldn’t be—after all, it’s a high-end luxury experience with all the fun and choice of a contemporary cruise. If you’re ready to give it a try, here’s a hand-picked deal to get you going:
7 Night Bermuda from New York City | Norwegian Breakaway on May 26, 2013
The newest ship in Norwegian’s fleet will be sailing from mid-town Manhattan to Bermuda–you can see images of the Family Villa with Balcony by visiting this link, but give us a call to book as we are offering up to $300 airfare credit and onboard credit. American Express cardmembers may qualify for up to $500 Onboard Credit for a Haven or Suite purchase made at least nine months prior to departure.
Coming up Next Week
Don’t forget that we always have one-day specials on both Celebrity and Royal Caribbean each Tuesday. I’d say the pick of the week is this one:
Celebrity Solstice 12 Night Med departing August 3, 2012. Right now, an Veranda guarantee (unassigned cabin) is priced at $1299 but on Tuesday, that price drops to $899 for one day only. That’s $75 bucks a day in a veranda on a premium cruise from Barcelona with two ports in Croatia, four in Italy (with an overnight in Venice), and one stop in France. Learn about it out here and then check with us Tuesday to book.