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Let’s say it outright--last year and the beginning of 2013 saw a struggle for good cruise news, making many leery of sailing in light of the Carnival Triumph debacle, another ship being stranded at sea, and the announcement of a new Titanic II ship scheduled for 2016 (this has us utterly dumbfounded).
But, the industry has rebounded in spades and it's probably safer (and cheaper) now to cruise than ever, according to a study at Deal News. That’s because companies have become super stringent with rules and regs after incidents, leaving little room for error. They've also dropped their rates to entice passengers. So if you've been thinking about making a switch from the standard hotel vacation to a cruising one, here are some Cruise Clues to help you pick the right ship. And if you decide you like hotels better than cruises, well, we'll be ready to welcome you back with open arms.
Keep reading for HotelChatter's Cruise Clues!
Next week we'll be debuting our HotelChatter 2013 Cruise Guide. It might seem like a funny time to release this as, to put it lightly, the cruise ship industry has been in the spotlight over the past year. And few flowers have been thrown on stage.
There have been some dramas. Costa Concordia sank off the coast of Italy. The disabled Carnival Triumph had its feces run down the walls. Food-related illness continues to be a problem. And now cities are starting to debate whether or not they should welcome ships, whether they do more harm than good. Charleston is having an internal debate about it currently, and it isn't pretty.
One resident described cruise ships as "sardine cans" that are "susceptible to horrific accidents that instantly can put thousands at risk for their lives.” Another saw the ships as a detriment to the city's ambiance. “I can’t believe they are doing this to Charleston,” she said. “I can hear the announcements from my house. And that black smoke. It just tumbles out of that smokestack. You should see the dust in my car.”
While a reasonable person could understand that side of the coin -- the resident's viewpoint -- we can't forget about the other side -- the business side. And also a strong consumer force that continues to love cruising.
Tons of hotels have amenities like fitness rooms and pools. But the Bahia Resort Hotel in San Diego offers an unusual perk: free cruises in lovely Mission Bay.
Located on a secluded 14-acre peninsula, the hotel is in a prime spot for a cruise. The Bahia takes advantage of the location with its Bahia Belle, a turn-of-the-century, Mississippi-style sternwheeler that circles the bay in a 45-minute to one-hour cruise.
The boat makes stops at the hotel and its sister property the Catamaran Resort Hotel, whose guests also get a complimentary cruise. You can disembark and head into Catamaran's Moray's Lounge for some free live jazz piano on Fridays and Saturdays. But there's no need to leave the ship to hear some tunes, as the cruise offers live swinging blues, DJs and dancing.
Monica Guy, our own younger, blonder, more attractive but still curmudgeonly version of Andy Rooney has returned to us once more. After finding hotel satisfaction in Lisbon, she's moved onto a new type of hotel, a floating one. Once again, her bolded words are left in for Rooney-esque emphasis. Enjoy.
Here's a novelty extra - what do you think of a hotel deal that includes all transport?
Not transport from the airport. Not even transport to the city centre or for day trips. I mean your whole hotel room's transported. You wake up every morning at a new destination, without even realising you've gone anywhere, or having to waste time and effort getting there yourself.
Bargain, no? Especially when the room rate is as low as 10 euros a night. Cheaper than living at home.