West Coast Cruising 2013-14

| Monday, 30 Sept. 2013

New Princess 3 and 4-day cruises start at $179. Norwegian 14-day from $599. 

Cabo San Lucas

West Coast people – now is the time to take a cruise from Los Angeles, especially if you are new to cruising and just want to try it out. For you, Princess has incredible bargains on “taste test” cruises. But trust me; once you get settled in you will not want to leave the ship. Here are the brand new offerings that Princess just announced:

3-Day West Coast Sampler – Both Golden Princess and Sapphire Princess sail roundtrip from Los Angeles on this three-day sailing with a call in Ensenada. Golden Princess begins these cruises right away beginning 2013 with departures on October 4, 7, 18, 21, November 1, 4, 15, 18, 21, 24 and December 1. Sapphire Princess sails on January 13 and March 11, 14, 21, 24 and 31, 2014.

4-Day West Coast Sampler – These getaways offer a choice of ports, with options to visit Catalina Island, Santa Barbara or San Diego in addition to Ensenada. In 2013, Golden Princess will sail to Catalina on September 26, October 14 and November 7; Santa Barbara on September 30, October 24 and November 11; and San Diego on October 10, 28 and November 27. In 2014 Sapphire Princess takes over, sailing to Catalina on Jan 5 and 20; Santa Barbara on January 16 and 28, March 17 and 27; and San Diego on January 9 and 24.

If you are looking for another alternative, Carnival Miracle is now sailing out of Long beach with 3-night Baja cruises that stop in Ensenada, and add Catalina Island on the 4-day cruise. Miracle also offers a 6-night cruise to Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta for just $469 (inside) or $619 (balcony). Make it a seven day cruise with an extra day in Cabo for about $50 more per person. For Carnival, take note that the older ship, Inspiration, also sails these routes, but I highly recommend Miracle as the newer and nicer ship.

If you want to try the Disney Wonder there is a two-night sampler from San Diego on May 17, 2014, but it starts at $786 (inside) – those are typical Disney prices. You might as well take the 5-night cruise to San Francisco and Vancouver starting at $975.

Longer West Coast Cruises

So, consider a 15-day cruise from Los Angeles and back to Hawaii for just $899. That would be the price for two people to fly to Honolulu and stay for one night in a hotel (Honolulu was recently named as the world’s most expensive city). Carnival Miracle also offers this route from Long Beach, but I recommend the Princess ships instead. From San Diego you can also catch Hawaii cruises on Holland America’s Veendam for $999.

Another option is a 14-day trans-canal (Panama Canal, that is) cruise on Norwegian Star (Norwegian Cruise Line) for just $599 per person (inside stateroom) or $979 balcony. Or take the Island Princess on through the canal starting at $899 per person. You have your choice of three different Princess ships making that itinerary; Sapphire, Golden or Star Princess. Or catch the Celebrity Infinity from San Diego on a 15-night Panama Canal cruise from $1349. But the best bargain (in terms of ship selection) is the 14-night Disney Wonder Panama Canal cruise on September 12, 2014 from San Diego starting at $1400 per person.

Seven Day Cruises

Looking for a Mexican Riviera cruise? Take note that Mazatlan is once again on the itineraries of some cruise lines. The city went to great lengths to create a new cobble stone walkway from the cruise terminal to the old town city center shopping district.  Norwegian Star offers a cruise starting at just $499 per person (inside) or $799 (balcony). If you sail on Princess you do not get Mazatlan, however. The ship stops in Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada.

For a different type of Mexico cruise, consider the Sea of Cortez on Princess for 10 nights starting at just $999 per person (inside) or $1499 (balcony). The cruise sails from Los Angeles to San Diego, then to these ports in Mexico: Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, Loreto and Puerto Vallarta. This is a very tranquil cruise to quiet Mexican towns where the climate is warm and breezy and the pace is slow and steady. This cruise is available on Sapphire, Grand or Golden Princess.

Another interesting seven day cruise on Princess is the Coastal series that leaves from Los Angeles and visits Santa Barbara, San Diego and Ensenada on either Sapphire or Crown Princess. Celebrity Century is also offering a coastal cruise stopping in Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Monterey (California), Catalina Island and Ensenada, Mexico, from $719 (inside) or $1199 (balcony).

The 8-night Princess Wine Country Cruise on Golden Princess will visit Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Astoria Oregon, Victoria and Vancouver, B.C. starting at $849 (inside) or $1299 (balcony).

More Exotic Voyages

For a bargain on something truly exotic consider a 17-night Princess cruise from Los Angeles to the Andes and ending in Valparaiso, Chile; starting at just $999 (inside) or $1699 balcony. That cruise includes an overnight stay in Callao, Peru, offering you a chance to see Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Or consider the 28-day Princess cruise from Los Angeles all the way to Rio Di Janeiro, the “hard way” – around Cape Horn. This cruise on Golden Princess sails from Los Angeles to stops in Cabo San Lucas,  Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Callao and General San Martin, Peru; Coquimbo, Valparaiso and Punta Arenas, Chile; Ushuaia and Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina. You then continue the cruise through Cape Horn to Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands; Buenos Aires, Montevideo (Uruguay) and finally Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Be sure to get your visa for Brazil, or they won’t let you off the ship.

Another exotic voyage is the 28-day Princess cruise from Los Angeles to Tahiti, by way of Hawaii (of course). This cruise leaves Los Angeles and arrives in Hilo four days later. Next you visit Honolulu, Kauai, Maui, Pago Pago, (American Samoa), cross the international dateline and then visit Samoa, Bora Bora, Moorea, and finally end in Tahiti. The cruise starts at $3499. Similar itineraries are available on luxury lines Silversea (12 nights $5950) and Regent Seven Seas (18 nights from $7799).

For a different cruise line – there is the one-time repositioning of Carnival Legend from Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia, sailing August 30, 2014. 23-nights starting as low as $1629 (inside) or $2449 (balcony) with stops in Puerto Vallarta, Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Fiji, New Caledonia and finally Sydney, Australia.

Note that San Diego also has plenty of west coast cruise options – mostly Holland America ships. If San Diego is handy for you I recommend it highly not only as a convenient port city but also as a wonderful destination to allocate some extra time.

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