How's this for a deal?
MSC Cruises is offering a balcony lottery of sorts. Passengers who book a basic interior stateroom will be eligible to get an upgrade to a balcony stateroom -- all based on the luck of the draw.
Rates on seven-day sailings from Miami to the Caribbean are priced at $299, $349 and $379, based on itinerary, and cruisers will be assigned their cabins at random at least 14 days before the sail date. Eligible cruises start August 23 and run on sailings that depart through October 25. Bookings must be made by the end of July. You could get anything from an interior to a balcony stateroom. The prices start at less than $50 a day to sail on MSC Divina (a spectacularly low price that is sure to tempt avid cruisers to find time for a bonus adventure). And the chance at a balcony is a great sweetener, too. Balconies are awesome! Nothing beats the view as you sail the open waters and can have breakfast outside in your robe. But the prices often are prohibitive for us frugalistas.
Got $20,000 burning a hole in your pocket? Of course not. But have you been considering a hiatus to go off and see the world? Holland America Line features a 114-day world voyage that starts at $19,999 and leaves out of Fort Lauderdale on January 15, 2015 bound for 45 ports in 25 countries on six continents.
Let's break this down. That's about $175 per person, per day. That ranges a bit higher than the great deal level I tend to set around $100 per day.
On HAL cruises, you are offered a bit of luxury among an older crowd. But this might not be a bad way to see a vast portion of the world with your hotel room, meals and transportation all included at that one price. It helps a lot with the logistics of this type of ambitious trip.
Also, if you can book and pay in full by July 31, you get 3 percent off the cruise fare. HAL's Amsterdam ship will transit the Panama Canal and stop in Australia, the Polynesian islands, Cambodia, India, Turkey, Egypt, Greece, Italy and Spain among many other destinations.
Now, to find that money and get the time off from work.
Rainforest Cruises, an Amazon River specialist, has launched a new cruise and lodge package in Peru. Ever wanted to explore the Amazon? Me too. That's still on my list. Check this out. It might be a little pricy, but it sounds way cool. The Peruvian Amazon adventure tour includes a four-day riverboat cruise and a tree-top "hotel" stay.
Tours begin with two-nights in the Amazon's Treehouse Lodge, a collection of eight en-suite bungalows set from 25 feet to a dizzying 65 feet in the air, all joined by secure walkways and platforms perfect for spotting the abundant tree-top wildlife.
After the stay, join the Cattleya Amazon riverboat to embark on a four-day adventure cruise into the little visited Pacaya-Samiria Reserve, the largest protected wetland in the world and recognized as one of the areas of highest biodiversity on the planet.
The eight-person riverboat is sleeker and has a smaller engine than other vessels in the region, allowing the Cattleya to quietly navigate farther along narrow tributaries and channels for more chances to spot wildlife.
Prices for the six-day tour start from about $2,600 per person, with all accommodations and meals included.
The documentary looks at Takei's personal journey from his childhood in U.S. internment camps for Japanese Americans during World War II, through his iconic and groundbreaking role as Sulu on "Star Trek" to his rise as an Internet phenomenon. Takei also will speak twice during the cruise as part of the line's Insights program.