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When is the Best Time to Book a Cruise?

While airports continue to experience cancelations, delays and air-rage this season, maybe it’s time to consider a cruise? Larger ships got a bad rap at the beginning of the pandemic but with new safety measures in place, bucket-list routes, programming and Michelin-star chefs on-board, it’s hard to beat some of the current itineraries – but you will need to plan ahead. Here are a few expert tips from some of the top brands in the industry, along with a new smaller European charter launching in 2022.

Cornelius Gallagher of Celebrity Cruises and Chef Daniel Boulud

Celebrity Cruises was one of the first to enlist world-renown chefs in their kitchens at sea to raise the vacation experience bar. Their most recent collaborations, include joining forces with two legendary names in the entertainment and culinary worlds—the iconic American Ballet Theatre and Michelin-starred Chef Daniel Boulud. As part of their Celebrity Beyond offerings, Le Voyage by Daniel Boulud was inspired by travel wanderlust and celebrity interior designer Nate Berkus has created a supersized internationally-inspired venue dubbed the Sunset Bar as well.

Top Itineraries

According to a celebrity spokesperson, some of the most popular routes to book include, any of the Alaska options: 7-Night Hubbard Glacier, 7-Night Dawes Glacier and 7-Night Northbound/Southbound Glacier; followed by the Caribbean: 7-Night Eastern and Western are popular (which are offered on Edge and Apex ships) but the 7-Night Southern Caribbean on Equinox is also a great itinerary. And, Europe is still going strong for: 12-Night Scandinavia & Russia and 7-Night Italy, France & Spain.

Best Time to Book

Again, we asked Celebrity and were told that Wave Season (Jan. thru March) is the best time to book a cruise as most of the cruise lines have the best offers out there. However, it really depends on the itinerary, but for the popular ones mentioned above about a year out is when the bookings start to really come in. Exotic cruises tend to book more than a year out, while short sailings are booked usually more like under six months.

Majestic Princess Sydney

Longest World Cruise from Australia

Travelers have the opportunity to see the best of Australia and New Zealand with the newly announced 2022-2024 season from Princess Cruises, including the longest ever World Cruise from Australia. Four MedallionClass ships—Majestic Princess, Royal Princess, Grand Princess and Coral Princess—will sail to 117 destinations in 43 countries across Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific, Southeast Asia, Europe and South America.

Planning Ahead

Just imagine checking off 32 countries from the travel bucket list – all in 110 days, from the comfort of a beautiful cruise ship where they take care of all the planning, local connections in port, meals, entertainment and more – it’s tempting. This cruise of a lifetime departs on April 30, 2024 from Sydney and May 2, 2024 from Brisbane. Ashore stays include Tahiti, Auckland, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Vancouver and San Francisco. And, there is access to over 14 UNESCO World Heritage Sites including The Gondwana Rainforests of Australia and The Tasmanian Wilderness. Voyages recently went on sale in December 2021, and guests booking the 110-day World Cruise by April 30, 2022 will receive AUD$1,000 onboard credit per person.

Holiday Cruising

With the holiday upon us, and vaccines available for kids ages five and older, and travel back on the rise, Princess Cruises has put together family getaways over the winter break or ringing in the New Year. The decks are decked-out with holiday décor, lighting ceremonies, ugly sweater competitions, and gingerbread house making to name a few fun pursuits on board the ship.

Atrium of the QM2

The Queens Return to Sea

As for the grand dame, Cunard bookings for 2022 and 2023 are looking strong as guests clearly have the desire to take a Cunard voyage again, according to a spokesperson for the brand.

Currently, two of the brands three Queens – Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary 2 – have returned to service, and they look forward to Queen Victoria sailing again this Spring, followed by the Alaska season beginning in early June. Queen Mary 2 will return to NYC on Dec 20, 2021 after sailing her first crossing from Southampton, England since the Pandemic. She will then sail a winter season of alternating Caribbean cruises and Transatlantic Crossings between NYC and Southampton and visa-versa.

Special Event Voyages in 2022 include The Beatles and Beyond – Celebrating the Best of British voyage, and a new Art & Design week. Cunard just announced a partnership with Orange County’s Pacific Symphony and The Greatest Generations Foundation will return again in June of 2022 honoring the heroes of World War II.

Anjelica at Sea

Smaller Vessel Option

If a large cruise ship is not for you, Croatia’s stunning 3,625 miles of coastline is the perfect backdrop for a luxury sail adventure of a lifetime aboard a more intimate vessel.

Sail Dalmatia is a private yacht charter specializing in bespoke Croatia charters ranging from two to 30 guests. Based in London and Split, the fleet is run by a team of avid sailors who share a passion for the Adriatic Sea and are local specialists. All itineraries are tailor-made such as a twin-center week with a tour of Kotor and Dubrovnik, a visit to the heart-shaped island of Galesnjak, (aka ‘The Island of Love,’) and a private, gourmet dinner for ten in the vaults of Palaca Sponza, a 500-year-old palace complex in Dubrovnik.

All Sail Dalmatia crewed yachts are staffed with accomplished professional chefs who use fresh produce from local markets every morning and offer a traditional Mediterranean menu. There is also a private concierge service based in Split.

Carpe Diem 7 Sunbathing in the Bay

Group Travel

Founder, Dora Vulic, is a London-based Croatian with a life-long love for sailing. She has seen the business picking up rapidly in 2021. “And, we expect 2022 to be an even better year,” she said. “And for the moment we are not seeing any cancellations or postponements.” One of the emerging trends Vulic is seeing for 2022 is traveling with a larger group. “For nearly two years people were not seeing their friends, parents, grandparents and other family members so there is demand for larger yachts that sleep 12 to 14 guests,” she said.

The company is adding the brand new “Life is Good” modern eco yachts to its fleet in May of 2022 which would be perfect for family to rent for a cruise.

On deck with Anjelica

Eco Sailing

Delivered by the prestigious shipyard Brodotrogir and featuring custom-made, hand-crafted interior styling by BG Interijeri and Ximar, Life Is Good can comfortably accommodate up to 14 guests in 7 plush cabins that include 2 large master cabins. With zero carbon electrical power, delivered from her solar panels to harness the solar power from the Adriatic’s 3,500 hours of sunshine, its hull and superstructure was built to reduce fuel consumption and lower emissions, and the advanced water purification system reduces the use of plastic bottles.  Clients can stay at sea much longer, without the need to head into marinas and ports to re-fuel and re-fill.

Your Own on-Board Bubble

“Some of these yachts are already 60% to 70% booked for 2022 so we would advise people to consider their choices now if they want to travel with the family/friends in 2022,” added Vulic. “We have also noticed that we are having more ‘first-time charterers’ people who have never been on the yachts before. I suppose the ability to have your own ‘bubble’ appeals to many, people can relax and truly enjoy their holiday,” she said. The Dalmatian Island itineraries are also fully flexible. “It is a complete sense of freedom which I think many of us appreciate a lot these days.”

Angelica al fresco dining

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