Travel Deals 12.12.2008

Kinda slow off the mark this week. Sorry, it’s been a doozy and the pickings looked slim.

Cruise Pricing

Anyone out there interested in cruising?

Eewww, no, not that kind of cruising. The big boat kind.

Vacations To Go reports that all of the major cruise lines are doing away with their fuel surcharge for the 2009 sailings. Huzzah, I say! To look at their site, you do have to give an e-mail address and they will send you two weekly newsletters, one for cruises, one for resorts. I think it’s a great resource, or at least a good jumping-off point. And the deals available on cruises are staggering (not just on VTG). Unlike an airline, it is not in the cruise ship’s best interest to sail half-full because they depend on people signing up for excursions and tipping for the line and the crew to make money. So they will slash the price of a cabin as much as needed to get bodies on the boat. We found our cruise a good way to sample lots of different areas we had yet to visit.

Europa hin- und zurück

Lufthansa is running a special for roundtrip flights within Europe for 99€, inclusive of taxes and fees! Look for your home airport and see where the deals take you. Move fast on this one – the offer ends on Sunday, Dec. 14. But you can fly starting today and going all the way to Oct. 30, 2009! Blackout dates probably apply, but it doesn’t say so specifically (as far as I’ve looked, anyhoo).

That’s pretty much it. Like I said, slim pickings, but I expect a pickup in the next couple of weeks. Let me know if you’ve seen any killer deals.

cruising the Danube down to Kelheim and back

Today, on Tammy’s brother Mark’s last day in town, the five of us piled into their car, drove to Kelheim, hopped aboard a river cruise ship and cruised upstream to Weltenburg for lunch. We had to cut the trip short, unfortunately, because Matthias felt ill. But it was still fun and at least we managed to be under the awning for lunch while it was raining.

Notables counter-clockwise, from top left:

  • that’s the Befreiungshalle commemorating victory against Napoleon, as seen from around a bend in the river
  • I had a smoked salmon. This guy had a lemon wedge propping him up from the inside. Everyone else was seemed thoroughly disgusted, but I thought it was great.
  • Tammy discovered that pregnant women lunching at the Weltenburg Monastery get free booties when they visit the ladies’ room. Nice, huh?

Befreiungshalle Tammy and restroom lady booties Forelle

the cruise recap

Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

I am writing from somewhere off the coast of mainland Greece — I think. It’s hard to say, but I’d reckon that outside of the cruise ship staff, no one else knows, either. Pretty much everyone else on board is asleep, except for the septagenarians of course. It’s about 9:30 in the morning, but during the night we crossed into the next timezone, so it feels like it’s only 8:30. But I still get the impression that would make it an early morning for most people partying like it was 1979 last night at the disco before the Ice Sculptors got their craft on.

Read on for the recap and photos…. Continue reading the cruise recap

a week and a day, and then we’re away

We’re so ready.

It feels like we haven’t been anywhere since…May. Oh, right.

Here’s what we’re bringing — what’re we forgetting? Remember, this will be our first cruise.

  • Documents
    • Plane tickets
    • Train tickets
    • Passports
    • Travel Insurance documentation
  • Books
    • Frommer’s cruise book
    • Pleasure reading
    • wild release candidates
  • Formalwear (dagnabit…)
    • Sport coat
    • Two dress shirts
    • Slacks
    • Tie
  • Footwear
      Really, four pairs of shoes per person seems a bit excessive.

    • Sandals
    • Hiking boots (?)
    • wing tips / girlie shoes (dagnabit…)
    • gym shoes
  • Outerwear
    • Jacket
    • Sweatshirt / wind- and raingear
    • Gym clothes (gotta work off in the gym what we pack on at the buffet)
    • swimsuits
    • shorts (couple pairs each?)
    • jeans (1 pair each?)
    • Tieh-schörts and polos
  • Electronics
    • Camera & lenses
    • Tripod
    • Battery Charger
    • Mobile phone & charger
    • Lappy & charger
    • Card reader
    • MD recorder & disks & mic & charger
    • iPods & headphones
  • Miscellaneous
    • Sunscreen!
    • Cloth tote bag
    • trusty red/green backpacks

enough with the cruise teasing already

We actually intend to set sail this time (other times, [or here, or here], kind of petered out). We plunked down. We’re working out the logistics, but this looks doable. We were looking at at slightly longer and cheaper cruise out of Savona, Italy that touched land in Alexandria and came back, but getting to Savona without a car was going to be a major hassle (the usual: planes, trains, and automobiles) and we’d end up bookending the trip with overnight hotel stays on both ends in Genoa en route to Savona. No thanks. Going out of Venice, we’ll most likely train it down and back with less hassle.

another cruise?

Here’s a link to a rough Google Map I made of our route, and if you have Google Earth, you can check it out using that software, too.

Being cruise newbies, we are already learning from others’ experiences. For instance, our pal Kim convinced us to stick to the cable car when coming ashore at Skala and scaling the cliffs up to the town. You can hike it, but it’s the same route the donkeys take, and they smell pretty bad.

What Med-cruise tips can you offer us? We’ve already got “Frommer’s European Cruises & Ports of Call” to help us research our trip, but — as always — we value input from “real” people much more highly than from the contributors of these travel books. Help us out!

travel jonesin’ some more

So this is going to be a very travelly Fall for us. We’re looking forward to that after having not traveled pretty much at all since [our roadtrip in May]( “France isn’t such a stuck-up place after all”).

    We’ve got

  • Mikey in the headlightsa visit from Brian and Mikey from K.C. coming up at the end of the this month, in which we’ll do a small roadtrip down to Innsbruck, Austria and continue on to Lake Garda, Italy
  • click it for a big ol' imageNate and Carrie’s wedding to attend in Michigan in October
  • Carolyn and Max’s trip over Thanksgiving week, in which we’ll train it to Salzburg, catch the Sound of Music Tour, train it further on to Vienna, hang out there a couple of nights, and fly back to Nuremberg on AirBerlin.

But that’s not really enough, is it? There are **four** months left in this year, and we’ve only got trips planned for **three** of them. What a *Schande!* Plus, I got a mandate from my boss earlier this month to chop down my overtime hours as much as possible by end the end of the year.

Sounds like the perfect opportunity for a 10-day cruise in December. Check these details out:

Can you think of any reason not to do this? Price seems great, destinations seem nice. The only possible snag might be getting to and from Savona, Italy, but I figure we could train it (overnight) or fly to Genoa or maybe even fly it one way and train it the other way. Seems too good to pass up.