Fall cruise deals: 8 for less than $800
Autumn will soon be upon us, and with it comes the least expensive time to take a cruise. Summer vacations are memories, the kids are back in school and parents are back to work, so cruise lines offer discounted fares and other incentives to fill their ships.
Many lines drop their fares below $100 a day and some add free upgrades and onboard credits, except for holiday periods. Other factors also enter into fall pricing.
"Each year there are new ships, so this fall there are more ships competing for passengers," says Stewart Chiron, CEO of cruiseguy.com. "Also, airfares are lower in fall."
Another plus: Destinations are less crowded. "Since families aren't traveling, there are fewer people in ports," said Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor in chief of Cruise Critic, an independent online resource. "And Europe is lovely in fall."
Many cruise lines are just starting now to come up with special deals for fall cruises, with more to come this month.
The examples listed below are starting rates for an inside cabin, per person double occupancy, that were offered for fall cruises in late July. Port charges, government fees and fuel surcharges are additional in most cases, as are gratuities. All offers and fares are subject to availability and to change without notice. Prices tend to rise as ships fill up.
Best advice is to work with a travel agent, who has access to bargains, fares and fare restrictions on all cruise lines.
Caribbean Princess(Credit: Princess Cruises)
A nine-night sailing on Princess Cruises' Caribbean Princess starts at $519, or just $58 a person per night. The ship sails round-trip from Fort Lauderdale Nov. 1, with port calls at Princess Cays (the line's private island in the Bahamas), Grand Turk, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Deal includes a $25-$50 onboard credit. Info: 800-733-2048, cruises-n-more.com.
Carnival Splendor(Credit: Dreamstime)
Fall colors will be on view in New England and Canada on a seven-night round-trip cruise on Carnival's Carnival Splendor. Calling at Boston; Portland, Maine; Saint John and Halifax, Canada; the Sept. 27 cruise starts at $409 a person. For a shorter cruise deeper into the fall color season, the same ship does a five-day round-trip on Oct. 11, calling at Saint John and Halifax. Fares start at $259. Details and booking information: 800-227-6482, carnival.com. Pictured: Peggy's Cove lighthouse, outside of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Holland America(Credit: Holland America)
HAL's Statendam sails from Seward, Alaska, on Aug. 31 on a seven-night voyage ending in Vancouver, Canada. Port calls include Glacier Bay, Haines, Juneau and Ketchikan. Fares start at $549 and fares for third and fourth passengers in the same cabin may be free or reduced. Info: 877-932-4259, hollandamerica.com. Pictured: Ketchikan, Alaska, one of the seven stops on a Holland America cruise from Vancouver.
Carnival Conquest(Credit: Carnival Cruise Lines / Radu Ursu)
A seven-night round-trip cruise from Miami on Carnival's Carnival Conquest departing Dec. 14 calls at Cozumel, Belize, Mahogany Bay and Grand Cayman. Prices start at $389, which is $56 a night. Onboard credits also may apply. Info: 877-283-1114, crowncruisevacations.com.
Celebrity Infinity(Credit: Celebrity Cruises / Troy House)
From Europe, Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Infinity departs from Harwich, England, on a 14-night trans-Atlantic cruise to Fort Lauderdale. Ports of call are Lisbon, Bermuda and Nassau with, of course, many days at sea. Fares begin at $699. 800-647-2251, celebritycruises.com..
Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas(Credit: Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines)
Round-trip from Port Canaveral, Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas will make a four-night cruise to the Bahamas Dec. 15. Ports of call are CocoCay (the line's private island) and Nassau. Fares start at $399. Info: 866-562-7625, royalcaribbean.com.
Norwegian Breakaway(Credit: Norwegian Cruise Line)
Starting Oct. 5, Norwegian Cruise Line will run seven-night round-trip cruises to the Bahamas and the Florida coast on its New York-themed Norwegian Breakaway. Ports of call are Port Canaveral, Florida (for Orlando); Great Stirrup Cay (the line's private island in the Bahamas); and Nassau, the Bahamian capital. Fares vary by date of cruise, with the least expensive at $499. Info: 888-625-2784, ncl.com. Pictured: Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas, the Norwegian Cruise Lines private island.
Costa Cruise Best of the Rest Now(Credit: Dreamstime)
Costa Cruises offers three seven-night Best of the Rest Now Western Mediterranean sailings in November on its Costa Serena out of Savona, Italy, starting at $499 a person. The ship will call at La Spezia, Civitavecchia (Rome) and Naples in Italy, Barcelona (Spain), and Marseille (France). Sailings depart on Nov. 2, 9 and 16. Other Best of the Rest Now sailings are available on other Costa ships as well in both the western and eastern Mediterranean, with prices starting at $549 to $649. Kids 17 and younger sail free in a cabin with two adults under the line's Fall Kids Free Promotion, which also is available on other Costa ships sailing in the Mediterranean. Info: 800-462-6782, costacruise.com. Pictured: Naples, Italy.