Up to 69% Off SeaDream Yacht Club Cruises
By Kathryn Maier on Travel Deals
Did you read "Ultimate European Cruise" in Conde Nast Traveler's April issue and say to yourself, "That's nice, but no way can I afford such a splurge"? Well, now perhaps you can. The luxury small-ship cruise line SeaDream Yacht Club has dropped prices by up to 69% on ten Mediterranean and Caribbean sailings between now and December.
As Wendy has put it before, these are "cruises for people who hate cruises": The line's two ships are able to stop in smaller, less touristed ports than larger ships can, and each carries a maximum of only 112 passengers (who are nearly outnumbered by staff, allowing for personalized attention).
Here's an example of an itinerary we like: It's a 9-night sailing from Athens to Barcelona, stopping at Kefalonia, Sicily, Malta, Tunisia, and Menorca. The brochure rate is $9,493 per person, but with the discount the price is $3,987 per person, reflecting savings of 58%. The timing of this particular sailing is ideal: The tourists and backpackers are largely gone in October, and the oppressive summer heat is no longer an issue, says Richard Turen, one of the cruise experts on Wendy's annual list of top travel planners.
Book by: There is no book-by date. This deal is capacity-controlled, which means that the cruise line may revoke the discount once a certain capacity is reached on a given sailing.
For travel through: December 2009, although most sailings included in this deal are from late August through mid-October.
The catch: These discounts apply mainly to the lowest-category cabins, which have portholes rather than picture windows. In addition, when booking these cabins, you may not be able to select a specific cabin number--although using the right travel agent (see below) can possibly get you a "category 2 guarantee" (which, in the case of SeaDream, is usually the best available pricing offer).
Book through: Richard Turen, whom Wendy has recommended before for his savvy advice, unflinching honesty, and encyclopedic knowledge of cruising. Turen is good at negotiating extra perks for his clients from the cruise lines, and Perrin Post readers also receive the favored-client benefits of his "Royal Cruising Society."