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Cruise Newsletter

Below is a copy of our current cruise newsletter. To subscribe to our weekly newsletter, absolutely free of charge, please click here. To email this newsletter to friends or family, click here. Please note that the FastDeals are subject to availability and sell out quickly.

Dear Vacations To Go Customer,

At Vacations To Go, we like to help our customers stay on top of the best times to book certain destinations. Today's newsletter is for my readers who want to experience the incomparable natural beauty and majesty of Alaska on a cruise next summer.

In past years, I've generally recommended waiting until 90 days in advance of departure to book Alaska. That's frequently the time when unsold cabins are marked down for quick sale. Over these last few weeks, however, we've seen that Alaska cruises and cruise tours are selling out much earlier this year.

If an Alaska cruise is on your travel list for 2018, I recommend that you call us as soon as possible to get the itinerary, ship and departure date you desire -- especially if you require a cabin that accommodates three or more people or a passenger with special needs, or if you need two adjacent or adjoining cabins or more than four cabins on a single sailing.

We want to be sure you get the best possible deal on your Alaska cruise, so we've negotiated the following money-saving offers with leading cruise lines in the region. Many offers include shipboard credits, which are as good as cash on the ship and can be used toward onboard purchases not included in the cruise fare, like shore excursions and spa treatments.

Click the cruise line name to see departures and rates.

Save up to 72% with Holland America and receive shipboard credits of up to $200 per cabin.

Save up to 55% with Celebrity and get shipboard credits of up to $200 per cabin, plus pick one amenity like free drinks, free gratuities or up to an additional $200 in shipboard credits.

Save up to 53% with Royal Caribbean and receive shipboard credits of up to $150 per cabin.

Save up to 29% with Princess and enjoy shipboard credits of up to $60 per cabin.

Save up to 68% with Norwegian and receive shipboard credits of up to $100 per cabin, plus receive an additional perk like free drinks or free Internet minutes.

Save up to 66% with Regent and receive shipboard credits of up to $500 per cabin.

Save up to 65% with Crystal and get shipboard credits of up to $250 per cabin.

Save up to 75% with Oceania and get shipboard credits of up to $400 per cabin.

Save up to 80% with Silversea and enjoy shipboard credits of up to $400 per cabin.

Save up to 80% with Windstar and receive shipboard credits of up to $1,200 per cabin.

Save up to 85% with Seabourn and receive shipboard credits of up to $500 per cabin.

Save up to 67% with Carnival.

Save up to 50% with Azamara and receive shipboard credits of up to $500 per cabin when the line sails Alaska in 2019.

Save up to 75% with Cunard when it sails Alaska in 2019.

Save up to 50% with Viking when it sails Alaska in 2019.

Get shipboard credits of up to $500 per cabin on Ponant departures.

Vacations To Go is offering our customers exclusive discounts of up to $700 per cabin off Disney cruises.

Below, I've organized our Alaska cruise and cruise tour departures by month. For a full list of prices and dates, click any month:

May cruises in Alaska
May cruise tours in Alaska

June cruises in Alaska
June cruise tours in Alaska

July cruises in Alaska
July cruise tours in Alaska

August cruises in Alaska
August cruise tours in Alaska

September cruises in Alaska
September cruise tours in Alaska

Next, I'll cover four key factors to keep in mind when planning a visit to America's last frontier: itinerary, weather, wildlife and passports.

Itinerary
There are two types of itineraries for Alaska cruises: Inside Passage cruises that sail round trip from Vancouver, Seattle or San Francisco; and Gulf of Alaska cruises that sail one way between Vancouver and Seward or Whittier (gateways to Anchorage and the interior city of Fairbanks). The Gulf of Alaska cruises include several days in the Inside Passage.

The round-trip cruises offer two advantages: 1) There are many flights daily into, and out of, Vancouver, Seattle and San Francisco, and 2) They require less expensive airfare because no long flight to (or from) Anchorage or Fairbanks is involved.

Air into (and out of) Anchorage and Fairbanks is quite limited and flights fill early with cruise and cruise tour passengers, which makes it more risky to wait for a last-minute deal on a one-way Gulf of Alaska cruise.

The biggest advantage of one-way cruises is that they allow the opportunity to explore the interior of Alaska on a pre- or post-cruise land tour. Between one-third and one-half of all Alaska cruisers extend their cruise with a tour of inland Alaska (out of Anchorage or Fairbanks) or British Columbia or the Canadian Rockies (out of Vancouver).

If you are leaning toward one of these cruise tours, keep in mind that tour buses, railcars and lodges in Alaska are very limited in supply and can sell out early. I recommend booking soon to ensure availability.

Weather
Alaska weather is delightfully unpredictable, but in general, you'll find the warmest temperatures in July and August, when average highs are in the low to mid-60s. Precipitation can rise a bit in late August and early September, but I personally would not avoid that time for that reason.

One of my fondest Alaska memories is of sipping coffee on the cabin balcony as the scenery melted away and the ship slowed to a crawl in dense fog in the Inside Passage, its foghorn echoing off the mountains on either side, warning fishermen of our approach. On another day, we hiked a trail to an alpine lake for a canoe ride to the face of a glacier, in a driving rain. Invigorating does not begin to describe it. Weather is part of the experience in Alaska.

Click here for a list of Alaska ports, and then click a port name to see the weather details for that location.

Wildlife
Wildlife is one of the big attractions of Alaska, and different species are active at various times during the cruising season. Humpback and killer whales are seen throughout the summer in large sounds and straits along the coast as they migrate between their winter homes in the south and their summer homes in the north. Brown and black bears can be spotted in grassy tidal flats starting in May and near salmon streams and berry patches in July and August. Moose and caribou begin calving in May, so look for cow moose and their young near thickets along roadsides and rivers in May and June.

Bald eagles are plentiful and can be viewed at the water's edge through the summer, particularly near salmon-spawning streams. Tufted puffins and other seabirds begin nesting colonies on coastal islands in May. Shorebird-watching is popular in August and September as various species begin their migrations south for the winter.

Harbor seals are visible throughout the season and can be seen with their pups on and around the icebergs of Tracy Arm and Glacier Bay during the month of June. Sea lions start to become visible in September.

Fishermen will be happy to know that at least one variety of salmon -- the prized king salmon -- runs from May through August. Late May through June is the best time for saltwater king salmon fishing, and July through August is best for freshwater king salmon fishing. Sockeye (red) salmon fill freshwater streams and rivers on their spawning run from late June through July.

Saltwater fishing for chum and pink salmon is best in July and August, and freshwater fishing for these species is at its peak in August. Coho (silver) salmon can be found in saltwater areas from late July through early September and are abundant in freshwater areas during September and October. Halibut is most plentiful in saltwater areas from late June through August.

Passports
Passports are required for all travelers who enter or re-enter the U.S. by air from any other country, which means that U.S. citizens and residents who fly back to the U.S. from Vancouver or any other Canadian city after an Alaska cruise or cruise tour are required to have a valid passport.

Passports also are required for anyone who enters or re-enters the U.S. by land or by sea. There are a few exceptions to the passport requirement pertaining to land and sea border crossings.

First, U.S. citizens on cruises that begin and end in the same U.S. port and travel to destinations in Canada (and select other countries) are able to re-enter the U.S. with proof of citizenship other than a passport, such as a birth certificate and government-issued photo ID. Passports are required for cruises that begin in one U.S. port and end in another.

So, U.S. citizens on cruises that sail round trip from Seattle or San Francisco are not required to have a passport. U.S. citizens who drive to Vancouver for a round-trip Alaska cruise or who cruise one way between Vancouver and an Alaskan port (such as Whittier or Seward) do need a passport.

Next, children under the age of 16 who are citizens of the U.S. or Canada are exempt from the passport requirement for land and sea border crossings. In lieu of a passport, children are able to use a birth certificate as proof of citizenship for entry into the U.S. by land or by sea. Children entering or re-entering the U.S. by air still are required to have a valid passport.

Finally, a lower-cost alternative to the passport, called a passport card, is acceptable for entries into the U.S. by land or sea. Compared to passports, which cost $135 for first-time applicants ($105 for children), passport cards cost just $55 ($40 for children). The passport card is not acceptable for air travel.

Several cruise lines require a passport for all sailings, regardless of destination or port of departure. They include these companies that offer Alaska cruises: Azamara, Crystal, Cunard, Oceania, Regent, Seabourn, Silversea and Windstar.

Even in cases where a passport is not required, Vacations To Go recommends that passengers have them anyway. This is because, while highly unlikely, an emergency could arise in which a U.S citizen needed to disembark early and fly home from Canada, and a passport would be required for that flight.

Passports are required for citizens of all other countries for any Alaska cruise or cruise tour.



Here are the best cruise deals in the next 90 days, organized by port of departure.

Click below for best cruise deals departing US ports:

Baltimore, MD
Bayonne, NJ
Charleston, SC
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Galveston, TX
Honolulu, Oahu, HI
Jacksonville, FL
Los Angeles (Long Beach), CA
Los Angeles (San Pedro), CA
Miami, FL
Mobile, AL
New Orleans, LA
New York City, NY (All ports serving...)
Port Canaveral, FL
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA
San Juan, Puerto Rico
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Tampa, FL

Click below for best cruise deals departing major ports worldwide:

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Amsterdam, Holland
Antigua
Auckland, New Zealand
Barbados
Barcelona, Spain
Bergen, Norway
Bombay (Mumbai), India
Brisbane, Australia
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Cape Town, South Africa
Cartagena, Colombia
Colon, Panama
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Durban, South Africa
Fort-de-France, Martinique
Genoa, Italy
Hong Kong
Kirkenes, Norway
La Romana (Casa de Campo), Dominican Republic
Las Palmas, Grand Canary Island, Canary Islands
Lima (Callao), Peru
London, England (All ports serving...)
Malaga, Spain
Male, Maldives
Marseille, France
Mauritius (Port Louis)
Melbourne, Australia
Montevideo, Uruguay
Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Papeete, Tahiti, Society Islands
Perth (Fremantle), Australia
Phuket, Thailand
Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica
Punta Arenas, Chile
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy
Santiago (San Antonio), Chile
Santiago (Valparaiso), Chile
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Sao Paulo (Santos), Brazil
Savona, Italy
Shanghai, China
Singapore
St. Lucia
St. Maarten
St. Martin
Sydney, Australia
Tenerife, Canary Islands
Tokyo (Yokohama), Japan
Ushuaia, Argentina



Here are today's Top 10 Cruises, brand-new specials from the world's best cruise lines. Click the FastDeal # for details.

1) Caribbean, 4 nights on Royal Caribbean, departs Galveston Jan 8, starting at $199, save 67%, FastDeal # 11301

2) Mexico, 7 nights on Carnival, departs Los Angeles Feb 24, starting at $479, save 71%, FastDeal # 24487

3) Caribbean, 7 nights on Celebrity, departs San Juan Jan 6, starting at $399, save 71%, FastDeal # 25775

4) Bahamas, 7 nights on Norwegian, departs New York Feb 25, starting at $549, save 73%, FastDeal # 13596

5) Caribbean, 7 nights on Holland America, departs Fort Lauderdale Jan 10, starting at $399, save 65%, FastDeal # 13098

6) Mediterranean, 7 nights on MSC Cruises, departs Rome Jan 15, starting at $539, save 36%, FastDeal # 33008

7) Asia, 7 nights on Costa Cruises, departs Singapore Jan 20, starting at $589, save 50%, FastDeal # 13139

8) Panama Canal, 10 nights on Princess, departs Fort Lauderdale Feb 6, starting at $899, save 60%, FastDeal # 11264

9) Transatlantic, 14 nights on P&O Cruises, departs Barbados Mar 9, starting at $1,341, save 23%, FastDeal # 30202

10) Caribbean, 10 nights on Oceania Cruises, departs Miami Mar 18, starting at $2,099, save 72%, FastDeal # 17520

For the best last-minute cruise specials in the next 90 days, please visit our world-famous 90-Day Ticker.
To search for discounts of up to 82% on cruises departing more than 90 days from now, click here.

To save up to 40% with escorted and independent tours, click here.
For river cruises up to 50% off, click here.
For discounts of up to 50% at hotels and all-inclusive resorts, click here.
For the lowest rates on Africa safaris from budget to luxury in quality, click here.

Once you've found a FASTDEAL, call us toll free at 800-338-4962 (US and Canada) and a cruise counselor will attend to your needs. Customers from the UK, please call toll free 0-800-098-8546. All other international customers, please email or call us at +1-713-974-2121.

Please email me your comments, suggestions and questions at alanfox@vacationstogo.com and I will respond the same day.

If you enjoy our newsletter, please forward this email to family and friends.

Sincerely,

Alan Fox
Chairman & CEO
Vacations To Go



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