Hold your nerve and pounce – that’s the view of the experts we consulted to compile our list of last-minute Christmas deals and cruises.
Cruise Passenger has put together this list of cabins still available for the season – some with up to 25% off. That’s sleigh them!
APT is offering free return flights to Europe, including taxes, and a free cabin upgrade for those who book the 15-day Magnificent Europe White Christmas and New Year’s Eve Cruise, departing 20 December 2014. Sailing aboard the AmaVerde, the luxury all-inclusive cruise is priced from $7,445 per person, twin share (category E cabin), and takes in 16 towns, showing guests festive Europe in all its glory, and also includes APT’s Royal Invitation Signature Experiences: the chance to explore Germany’s Namedy Castle followed by a royal banquet; and a private performance and cocktail reception at Vienna’s City Palace. Included in the price is 40 meals, complimentary beverages, lavish Christmas and New Year’s Eve dinners on board, APT Cruise Director, all sightseeing, transfers, port charges and tipping. To book call APT on 1300 196 420.
Avalon has only 16 cabins left in the run-up to Christmas on its suite ship, Avalon Vista. As bookings are pretty tight, the line does not offer any discounts. However, if you are keen to have a early Christmas cruise in Alsace and Germany, then the five day cruise from Frankfurt to Basel departing December 10 may just be the right one for you at $1672 per person twin share. Stops include Speyer, Germany, for an excursion to Heidelberg, where you can marvel at the red sandstone castle and bask in the holiday atmosphere; Strasbourg, France, for guided sightseeing and time to explore one of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe and Breisach for an excursion into Germany’s legendary Black Forest. Try some festive Glühwein, smell the aromas of the Christmas markets, shop for local Christmas ornaments, and delight in the holiday cheer. To book, click here.
Pandaw River Expeditions
Pandaw has a last minute 20 per cent discount on its river cruises in Myanmar and Vietnam. The 10-night cruise from Mandalay to Yangon on Pandaw II is now priced at US$3112 per person for a cabin on the main deck. It leaves on December 11. The ship will sail through the heart of middle Myanmar from the lush teak plantations around Prome to the desert country south of Pagan. Guests will visit remote villages, monasteries and temples offering a glimpse of a timeless, lost Myanmar far from the usual tourist track. Pandaw is also offering a 20 per cent discount on a seven-night classic cruise from Ho Chi Minh to Siem Reap on the Mekong Pandaw priced at US$3144 per person which leaves on December 6. The cruise offers a sharp contrast between the bustling Vietnam delta to the tranquility of Cambodia. Highlight of the cruise is a visit to the ancient monuments of Angkor Wat. To book, click here.
Norwegian Cruise Lines
The line still has availability on several of its Christmas cruises but prices are not discounted. There is a seven-night cruise on Pride of America to Maui, the Big Island and Kauai spending two nights on each island and prices start from $1565 per person for an inside cabin. It leaves on December 20. The Norwegian Jade has an 11-night cruise from Rome calling at Livorno, Florence, Pisa on Italy, Toulon in France, Barcelona and Valencia in Spain, Cagliari in Sardinia, Palermo, Sicily and Naples in Italy. Priced from $1520 pp for an inside cabin which departs on December 23. The line’s new ship, Norwegian Getaway has a seven-night cruise from Miami to the Bahamas calling at Phillipsburg, St Martin, St Thomas, Virgin Islands and Nassau from $1100 per person for an inside cabin. It leaves on December 20. For bookings contact your travel agent.
Lindblad has availability on its 19-day adventure cruise on National Geographic Orion ship from Tahiti to Easter Island priced from $17,410 – but with no discounts. The ship leaves on December 3 and disembark just before Christmas. The National Geographic Orion voyage takes you to the farthest reaches of Oceania. From Tahiti, through the “low islands” of the Tuamotu Archipelago to the historically significant Pitcairn Islands, plus remote Easter Island, you’ll visit islands that are virtually inaccessible and untouched. Drift dive or snorkel through an atoll pass, meet the descendants of H.M.S. Bounty mutineers, and walk the length of untouched tropical beaches. The voyage finale is at one of the most isolated landfalls of Polynesia: Easter Island.
The line has a 15-day cruise on the luxury Crystal Symphony from Singapore to Hong Kong departing on December 21. Prices starts from $7880 with the voyage calling at Sihanoukville in Cambodia, Ho Chi Minh and Nha Trang in Vietnam and Hong Kong. The ship’s arrival has been timed to watch the spectacular fireworks on Hong Kong’s harbour. To book call Wiltrans International (02) 9265 7100, 1800 251 174 (Australia) or your travel agent.
Regent Seven Seas
There is still availability on Regent’s Seven Seas Mariner 18-night cruise departing on December 18 from Papeete in Tahiti to Auckland with prices starting from US$6499 per person. The cruise will call at Moorea French Polynesia, Raiatea French Polynesia, Bora Bora French Polynesia, Pago Pago Samoa, Suva Fiji, Lautoka Fiji, Chapagne Bay Vanuatu, Norfolk Island, Bay of Islands New Zealand, Rotorua New Zealand, Auckland. While prices are not discounted, they include shore excursions, unlimited beverages including wine and spirits. There is also a 28-night cruise on Seven Seas Voyager from Cape Town to Singapore leaving on December 21. The cruise cost US$17,099 per person. The ship will call at East London, Durban and Richard’s Bay in South Africa, Maputo Mozambique, Nosy Be/Nosy Komba, Dar Es Salaam and Zanzibar in Tanzania, Mombasa Kenya, Mahé Seychelles, Male Maldives, Colombo Sri Lanka, Sabang Indonesia, Phuket Thailand, Penang Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia and Singapore. To book call Wiltrans International (02) 9265 7100, 1800 251 174 (Australia) or your travel agent.
If you fancy spending Christmas in the southern hemisphere with long sunny days relaxing by the pool or on the beach without slaving over a hot stove or cleaning up, then Pacific Jewel has a 10-night roundtrip cruise from Sydney to Vanuatu and New Caledonia departing on December 18. Prices from $1149 per person twin share. This includes a special Christmas lunch and dinner with all the trimmings. And Santa Claus will be on board.
Holland America Line
The company is offering 25 per cent discount off the brochure price on several of its Christmas cruise. There’s the 14-day Asian adventure holiday on board ms Volendam on a roundtrip from Singapore departing on December 22. The cruise will call at Malacca, Phuket and Thilawa in Myanmar. Prices from $1,498.78 per person for an interior stateroom. The ms Rotterdam has a 17-day voyage departing on December 21 from Canary Island calling at ports in the UK, Portugal and Canary Islands, Morocco and Spain. Guests will be able to experience the wonders of Casablanca, Seville and Lisbon. Fares from $2,798 per person for an interior stateroom. On the ms Noordam, there is a 14-day roundtrip Fort Lauderdale sailing on December 15. The itinerary showcases many of the Caribbean’s stunning destinations including the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. The jewel in the crown is when the ship calls at Holland America Line’s private island, Half Moon Cay located in the Bahamas. Fares from $1,551 per person for an interior stateroom. The ms Zaandam has availability on its 20-day South America & Antarctica cruise which departs on December 22. The voyage offers guests an exploration of this picturesque corner of the world. Sailing out of Valparaiso (Santiago) the ship will call at Chile, Uruguay and Argentina. A highlight will be the scenic cruising through Chilean Fjords, the Strait of Magellan and Glacier Alley before passengers disembark at the exciting city of Buenos Aires. Fares from $2,199 per person for an interior stateroom.To book call 1300 987 322.
The small luxury cruise ship, L’Austral has a 15-night voyage from Bali to Cairns departing on December 12 with fares from $7920 per person for a deluxe stateroom with balcony. This is a 15 per cent discount. Starting from Benoa in Bali, passengers will visit Pero Beach in Sumba, the remote island of Komodo, home to the largest lizards on earth, Larentuka, Alor, Banda Neira, Triton Bay, Bitsyari Bay before reaching Creech Reef in Australia, Lizard Island and Cairns. To book call Ponant on 1300 737 178