Cruise Tracker: 100 Free Days, Waived Supplements, and Dream Destinations

by  Donna Tunney | Nov 25, 2014
Anguilla / daniloforcellini/iStock

Which cruise lines are making headlines this week? Travel journalist Donna Tunney -- ShermansTravel’s cruise expert -- has all the latest news. Check back every Tuesday for trends, new amenities, and money-saving ideas that help you plan a perfect vacation at sea. 

Want to win 100 days of free cruises? We sure do. And that's exactly the grand prize in a new campaign from Carnival Corp., the parent company of 10 well-known cruise lines. Here's all you need to do: Visit and choose the advertising concept that you think does the best job of  debunking cruising myths and bringing the cruise experience to life. The winner will be selected at random, and the free cruises can be taken on any of the company's lines -- including Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, and Holland America Line. The campaign kicked off just yesterday (along with a Twitter contest encouraging past cruisers to share what they love about vacations at sea).

Good news for solo sailors: It's the season of giving, and in celebration, tall ship cruise line Star Clippers is waiving single-supplement fees on holiday cruises aboard its Royal Clipper and Star Clipper ships. In other words, you won't have to pay extra for using a double cabin all by yourself -- a huge savings considering these supplement fees often run up to 100 percent of the fare. The no-extra-cost deal, which is an unusual move for this upscale line, is available on three seven-night itineraries: Royal Clipper's and Star Clipper's Christmas sailings, both departing December 20; and Royal Clipper’s New Year's sailing, departing December 27. Royal Clipper sails from Bridgetown, Barbados, with fares from $1,932, while Star Clipper departs from St. Maarten with prices from $1,872.

Who says you can't sail around the Caribbean in luxury? SeaDream Yacht Club is as far as it gets from the spring breaker stereotype, and the line has launched its winter cruises to such exotic islands as Anguilla, St. Barts, the Grenadines, the British Virgin Islands, and more. SeaDream has two yachts, each carrying just 112 guests. Both have their own retractable watersports marina that's deployed between port calls, from which guests can enjoy water toys like personal watercraft, kayaks, stand up paddleboards, small sailboats, and water skis. SeaDream I sails from Barbados, and SeaDream II sails from St. Thomas. Cruise fares begin at $3,499, based on double occupancy.

Let's talk bucket lists. Cruising the South Pacific from Tahiti is a lifelong dream for many travelers, including longtime cruisers like myself. Which is why I was tickled to learn that Windstar Cruises -- one of my favorite luxury lines -- has a new year-round deployment sailing the Society and Tuamotu islands starting next May, on what will be a newly renovated, 148-passenger Wind Spirit. This comes after Windstar's return to the South Pacific with a seasonal schedule earlier this year, and looks like from the longterm commitment it was a success. Weeklong cruise fares start at $2,799 per person, depending on departure date. With six sails, the French-built Wind Spirit sailing yacht is ideal for cruising the French Polynesian islands under the power of warm breezes and billowing sails.

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