By PAUL MOTTER
It is pretty hard not to write about financial matters when the economy is testing our wills and endurance. If you think things are tough for the average worker these days, think how tough they are for business owners; Like a cruise line, for example.
Silversea, a top luxury cruise line, is as wonderful as ever but is availabl for 50% off right now. They are making this offer on 39 different voyages in 2009 alone in all stateroom categories, and all staterooms on Silversea are suites. This is in addition to free or reduced airfare and up to $1000 in shipboard credit.
I don't know how much better it can get. Silversea already includes all gratuities and beverages - they will stock your suite refrigerator with you favorite champagne - in your cruise fare. With the onboard credit there is hardly anything left to spend money on during your cruise.
Here is a sample Silversea cruise with costs - because frankly with all these incentives it is hard to determine where the bottom line is: Silver Shadow's July 20, 12-day Alaska cruise (#3917) sailing roundtrip from San Francisco to explore Sawyer Glacier and the port cities of Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Wrangell and Victoria (British Columbia).
Fares start at $4,747 per person, but you can get a savings of 50% in all categories. Plus you get free roundtrip economy airfare (from over 70 U.S. and Canadian gateway cities) and the $1000 shipboard credit. Remember, drinks and gratuities are included. Basically, you get a cruise for two, including airfare, in a suite with almost no onboard expenses for under $10,000 total. No worries about the shore tours (up to $1000 credit), the airfare, the onboard enjoyment of fine wine, champagne and after-dinner aperitifs or gratuities for the amazing European staff onboard.
By the way - CruiseMates' Kuki is on Silversea's Silver Shadow right now - sending back daily reports from the lap of luxury. Treat yourself to a Silversea Luxury Virtual Cruise right now.
Windjammer - Further Legal Options
For the people who got caught up in the Windjammer debacle of 2007 - sort of the cruise industry's version of Bernie Madoff - here is an update for some possible relief. In this day of financial struggles, what could be better than relief, or in this case, possibly revenge...?
CruiseMates has learned that the federal government investigation of Windjammer Barefoot Cruises has moved to the Department of Homeland Security, specifically the Bureau of Immigration and Customs in Mirimar, FL. The bureau is looking for people who were defrauded by Windjammer, especially in the LaMer Timeshare fiasco or the Sail5 or Sail10 programs.
The customs agent I spoke to did not want me to post his phone number online, but I can forward your information to him. Please do not email me, I will not forward it. We ask that you post what you bought from Windjammer (timeshare, sail5, etc) and the amount that you lost in the transaction in our Windjammer Message Boards. Do not post your name or contact information, once you register with CruiseMates we will be able to contact you by email - and we will when we are ready to forward all the information.