Cruises to

November 14, 2008

Here's our top recommendations for cruises to Alaska, Bermuda, Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii and Mexico.

Cruises to Hawaii The definitive "cruises to Hawaii" still belong to NCL-America's Pride of America. As the only U.S.-flagged cruise line it is exempted from an obscure U.S. law that restricts passengers cruising directly between U.S. ports. This means the ship can offer seven-day cruises to solely the Hawaiian Islands, sailing roundtrip from Honolulu and visiting all of the major islands.

The ship stays in port on Hawaii, Oahu, Kawai and Maui for most of the daylight hours each day of the cruise. There are no days at sea. This cruise is a great way to see the best of what the entire state of Hawaii has to offer in the span of a week.

The price is a bit steep for a seven-day cruise on NCL, beginning at about $839 per person and $1209 balcony for a close-in December cruise. You pay the premium because you see all the best Hawaii has to offer while only taking seven days (five days off from work).

If you have anywhere from 14 to 15 days then this is the first year where you have the option of three different ships offering roundtrip cruises to Hawaii from the mainland. The upside is that they do not cost much more than the 7-day option from NCL-America, so you get almost twice as much cruise time for just a little more money. The downside is that unless you are retired most people do not have that much leisure time. The schedule is also a bit odd, with four days at sea while the ship cruises to the islands followed by six or seven days in port in a row. The ship then cruises to the mainland again, ending with another four days at sea.

The advantage is that you get some of the best premium ships in the market: Holland America Zaandam, Golden Princess and Celebrity Mercury. Given a choice I would take Golden Princess because it is a 110,000-ton megaship with plenty of onboard attractions for everyone; miniature golf, a cool nightclub, plenty of sports facilities, a big movie screen by the pool, an onboard movie theater, etc. Zaandam is my second choice as a beautiful mid-size Holland America ship at a cozy 63,000-tons and 1440 passengers brought into service in 2000. My last choice is still a good contender, Celebrity Mercury, at 77,000-tons for 1870 passengers, she is a classic "liner-style" ship.

Continue Article >> Cruises to Mexico (Part 6)

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