Cruising Into Spring

Hey Friend,

Just wanted to let you know that I have relaunched my blog at a whole new site, with a whole new look! Check it out, re-bookmark the new site, and follow me over there. Lots of new posts to read, like this post, Hipmunk – Your Travel Booking Partner.

Hope to see you there!

Link to the new and improved Let’s Get Deals Today Home Page.

Link to Cruising Into Spring‘s new and improved look.

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Ahoy Matey! Have you always dreamed of taking a cruise? Are you a seasoned cruiser, just waiting for that next ship to sail? Either way, you’ll be happy to hear that now might just be THE time to book a cruise.

Celebrity Cruises

Why? Well, it’s simple supply and demand. Lots of ship setting sail into the sunset. Not enough cruisers to fill them up. Cha-ching! Deals all around for the savvy sailor. And that sailor could be you!

Here’s five examples of cruise deals you can take advantage of right now:

  • Royal Caribbean Hot Deals: These sizzling Spring savings will have you cooling off on the sea in no time.
  • Cunard Feel Famous Fares: Feel famous without paying fancy fares. Save as much as $2000 per stateroom on cruises well into the summer.
  • Norwegian Specials and Promotions: Too many to list! Check out their Last Minute Deals and let Norwegian sail you away in April or May.
  • Carnival Quick Getaways: Short on time but long on escape plans? These prices will have you sailing into the sunset for a long weekend getaway.
  • Princess Top Cruise Deals: With deals on cruises from Rome to Vancouver, the Caribbean to the Mediterranean, there’s something to please most every budget minded cruiser.

Princess Cruise

And one bonus deal! Check out Celebrity Cruises! From transatlantic to Bermuda, Alaska and the Caribbean, whether you are looking for a hot or cold adventure, there’s a cool/hot deal at Celebrity.

New to cruising? Here’s five tips to help you set sail in no time:

1. Choose a destination. Where do you want to go? One suggestion is that you have more than one destination. This will give you more choices for finding the best deals. The wider you cast your net, the better your chances are of finding a great cruise price.

Flexible travel plans? Then consider first looking for the best cruise prices, then pick your cruise destination. But be prepared. There are so many cruises to so many destinations that it can be overwhelming for a rookie cruiser to put “the deal” first. But hey, travel is all about the adventure, isn’t it?

2. Establish a realistic budget. Be aware that most cruise lines include all the food you can eat, and various types of entertainment, but not everything is included. Keep a portion of your travel budget set aside for extras such as wine with dinner, shore excursions, and souvenirs. And, if you are flying to your port city, you will need to factor this in as well as a possible hotel night.

On that note: if you are flying to the port city, you should consider arriving a day ahead of your cruise departure date. Ships don’t typically wait for airline delays, especially if you did not book your flights through the cruise line.

3. Determine your ideal travel time. With a little bit of “insider knowledge” you can set sail with a great cruise price. Most cruise destinations have what’s called the shoulder season, and often offer discounts on these dates. So, with your destination and budget in hand, take a look at your travel window and see what lines up with a cruise line’s shoulder season.

Got flexibility? Can travel at the last minute? If so, then pack your bags and sail off with a last minute cruise deal. The ship will sail regardless, and it would rather sail full of people, even if it means selling those remaining cabins at a discount. But it is a bit risky to wait until the last minute as you may not get your preferred cabin or destination. Either way, it could still be a great way to sail away.

4. Pick a cruise line that suits your personality. Huh? Ships have personality? Yes, yes they do! A family with younger kids might prefer a Disney Cruise, but a family with older kids might prefer Royal Caribbean. Princess Cruises are known to be child-friendly. Norwegian Cruise Line tends to be more casual. Upscale your preference? Oceania, Crystal and Regent may be for you.

Choosing your cruise line can be overwhelming, especially if booking it yourself. Consider doing some research before you book. Cruise line forums abound, but one favorite is www.Cruisecritic.com. Take the time to see what others are saying about the cruise line you are considering.

5. Inside view or outside view? Most cruisers don’t spend a lot of time in their cabins, therefore prefer to book the cheapest cabin possible. But be aware that the lowest priced cabins tend to be smaller inside rooms with no view. Need space for the family? Then you might consider splurging for a larger, more expensive cabin. Want to watch sunrises from the privacy of your cabin? Then consider higher deck, outside cabins. But remember: these types of cabins come at a premium.

Also consider your destination when choosing a cabin. Is there something worth splurging on to have that outside view? Some cruises are all about the view, like Alaskan and Mediterranean cruises. Others spend lots of time at sea, where your outside view will often be large expanses of blue.

Time to book it! Now it’s time to pick your cruise! But how? There are so many cruise booking sites to choose from! You can book directly with the cruise lines, book through specialized cruise line travel agents, or book via cruise discounters. Where to book your cruise can be as overwhelming as choosing a cruise line! If you have chosen a specific cruise line, you may want to check their site first for any specific deals, such as those sites discussed at the beginning of this blog post. Otherwise, here are several industry respected sites to get you sailing away:

  • Cruising.org: This easy to use site can help you determine which cruise best suits your style.
  • CruiseVacationGuide.com: This site is chock-full of useful tips to help you pinpoint your “best-fit” cruise.
  • CruiseCritic.com: Not only is this a great site for cruise reviews, it also helps you find your cruise.
  • CaribbeanCruiseDiscounts.com: A Caribbean experience your desire? Find the deals here!
  • CruiseDeals.com: Their motto is ” Better Prices – Exceptional People” to help you find a great cruise price.

CruiseDeals.com

Not looking to cruise right now, but plan to in the future? Some of the best deals are are given to those who book far in advance. Meaning in some cases, a year or more out. It’s all about supply and demand again! As more people book, the prices go up. At least until the month before sailing.

Are you considering a cruise in 2012? Are you an experienced cruiser? Share your plans and tips with us in the Comments section below.

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Leaping Leprechauns, It’s March!

Dreams of leprechauns, rainbows, and pots o’ gold, dancing in your head? Then it must be March! And with St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, now’s the time to channel your inner Irish. No shenanigans here! These deals are sure to have you chasing rainbows.

IrishTourism.com

Irish Inspired Tee-Shirts: What better way to show off your inner leprechaun than with a fun St. Patrick’s Day inspired T-shirt! Check out these deals sure to please any leprechaun.

  • Zazzle.com: Make your inner leprachaun proud with a Zazzle St. Patrick’s Day T-shirt. Use promo code STPATTEESALE through March 8th for an additional 5% off your Irish attire. If your order is $50 or more, it ships free. Purchase through Mr. Rebates for a pot o’ gold worthy 15% cash rebate. Now that’s a deal fit for the end of the rainbow!

Zazzle.com

  • CafePress: Get your green on with CafePress’s $17 t-shirt sale. From the tiniest leprechaun to the biggest, CafePress has the whole family covered in green. Want more green for your own pot o’ gold? Purchase through Mr. Rebates for another 12% cash back. Gotta love the green saved here!

CafePress.com

  • 80sTees.com: The 80’s are calling and they’ve got your lucky shirt! Get your own “luck o’ the Irish” with a vintage 80’s styled t-shirt. And with prices starting at $9.99, you’re already on the way to a lucky day!

80sTees.com

Lucky Charms: Need some “luck o’ the Irish?” Then it’s time to get your Lucky Charms. From Irish and Celtic bling, to leprechauns for the garden, to handmade Irish craftiness, find your own special Lucky Charm at one of these sites.

  • ShopIrish.com:From jewelry to home goods, food and drink to clothing, you can find “all things Irish” here. Be inspired! Gift your sweetheart a beautiful Celtic ring. Tip your Irish hat at your local pub. Protect your garden with a Solar Leprechaun. And now through March 5th, take advantage of their St. Patrick’s Day free shipping special.

ShopIrish.com

  • Glencara.com: Direct from Galway, Ireland, Glencara has one of the largest selections of Irish and Celtic jewelry in the world. Pick out your own lucky charm, and with Glencara’s “Best Price” guarantee, you can rest assured you got the best price. What’s not lucky about that! Four-day shipments to the U.S. and Canada ensure a St. Patrick’s Day delivery.

Glencara.com

  • CelticJewelry.com: Lucky is finding jewelry on sale, and Celtic Jewelry has a sale just in time for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration. These jewelry pieces might be discountinued at Celtic, but that just means a lucky deal for you. Better still, get a $10 gift certificate for every order of $100 or more. Oh, and more luck your way! There’s also free shipping on orders of $60 or more.

CelticJewelry.com

Etsy.com

Travel Deals To The Emerald Isle: Searching for Leprechauns and Rainbows? Don’t let skyrocketing airfare keep you grounded. If you can travel between now and May, you can cash in on a fab trip to Ireland without costing your pot o’ gold. Each travel special below includes round trip airfare from major U.S. cities, and with current round trip airfare to Dublin as high as $1000, these packages are a deal. So go on, see for yourself what’s at the end of the rainbow. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find that pot o’ gold!

  • Go-Today St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin: Always dreamed of being in Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations? It’s not too late with this deal from Go-Today. For as little as $799, find yourself hefting a pint to the sounds of Celtic music and Irish dance in the streets and pubs of Dublin. This deal also includes four nights’ accommodations and a full Irish breakfast each morning.

Go-Today

  • Aer Lingus Vacations: Who knows Ireland better than their national airline, Aer Lingus? And they have just the package to have you chasing rainbows and leprachauns in no time! With prices as low as $599, Aer Lingus has travel deals to the Emerald Isle that will leave your friends green with envy But you want to act fast. These prices end March 9th.

Aer Lingus Vacations

  • Sceptre Tours 6-Night Castle Hotels of Ireland: Dreaming of a by-gone era? Why not fulfill that dream and spend a week exploring Ireland’s country-side, complete with six nights spent in castle hotels! And with Sceptre’s Castle Hotel package priced at $999, it will seem like prices from a by-gone era too. This deal also includes 5 and 4-star castle hotel accomodations and car rental.

Sceptre Tours

Got a hankering for a pot o’ gold now? Are you ready to celebrate your inner Irish? Tell us in the Comments Section below how you might celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Spring Away with a Groupon Getaway!

Hey Friend,

Just wanted to let you know that I have relaunched my blog at a whole new site, with a whole new look! Check it out, re-bookmark the new site, and follow me over there. Lots of new posts to read, like this post, Is AirfareWatchdog Your Low Airfare Dealhound?

Hope to see you there!

Link to the new and improved Let’s Get Deals Today Home Page.

Link to the Spring Away with a Groupon Getaway! new and improved look.

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Want to escape for Spring Break? Looking for a bargain on a quick getaway? Then you need Groupon Getaway!

What’s Groupon Getaway? It’s a partnership with Expedia.com to bring consumers the best possible deals on a wide variety of vacations for nearly every vacation budget. Find travel deals around your town, or around the world.

How do you get access to Groupon Getaways? Simply sign up for their free membership so you don’t miss the latest escape plan. Here’s how: Click on this link to Groupon Getaways, then follow these three steps:

  1. Choose a city that is closest to you.
  2. Enter your e-mail address.
  3. You’re in!

That’s all it takes to get the latest and greatest travel deals. Best of all: you can access deals from anywhere within the Groupon Getaways system. Simply change the city and you might find deals that are not posted under your chosen city. You can purchase a Getaway from any city offering, not just your own.

Here’s a selection of six hot deals you can buy right now, and escape as early as next month:

Best Western Plus Agate Beach Inn, Newport Oregon: Who doesn’t like a beach getaway, and this one’s a great escape for the whole family. Watch the kids hunt for agates and jump the surf while you sit back and sip your glass of Oregon merlot. Then wander back to your ocean view room at this family-friendly hotel Now that’s relaxing! What you get:

  • The Deal: Rooms for $110. That’s a 50% savings off the regular rate of $221.
  • Includes: One night in an ocean view room for up to two adults and three kids; an insulated canvas tote bag with a bottle of Oregon merlot, two wine glasses, a glass-blown wine stopper, bottle opener, and the DVD, Yaquina Bay.
  • Fine Print: Must travel between March 1st and June 30, 2012.
  • Time to Purchase: Groupon offer expires February 26th.
  • Limit: Two vouchers per visit. May purchase two for self, and one as a gift.

Banner Elk Winery and Villa, Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina: Got wine? Banner Elk Winery sure does, and it can be yours for a weekend with this wine-lover’s special deal. Feel like you have just been transported to Tuscany when you take advantage of this offer. What you get:

  • The Deal: A two night package starting at $159. That’s a whopping 64% savings off the regular rate of $436!
  • Includes: Two nights for two in a Blueberry, Bordeaux, or Pinot Grigio suite with winery tour for two and a bottle of wine.
  • Fine Print: Book by July 15 for travel between now and July 31, 2012. Or, book by February 12, 2013 for travel from August to February, 2013.
  • Time to Purchase: Groupon offer expires February 26th.
  • Limit: One voucher per visit. May purchase one for self, and one as a gift.

Sheraton At The Falls, Niagara Falls, NY: Looking for action? Then check out this package, walking distance to the Senaca Niagra Casino and a mile from Niagara Falls. Just don’t take a barrel over the falls, please! What you get:

  • The Deal: Rooms for $79 or $109. That’s as much as 59% savings off the regular rate of $179.
  • Includes: $20 dining credit at TGI Fridays, $30 of free slot play and $30 spa credit at the Senaca Niagara Casino, making this package valued at $229 per night. Now that’s worth a gamble!
  • Fine Print: Must book by May 31 and complete travel by June 1, 2012.
  • Time to Purchase: Groupon offer expires February 26th.
  • Limit: Up to three vouchers per visit. May purchase up to five vouchers.

13-Day China Tour, including Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai: Fascinated by the famous TerraCotta Horses and Warriors? Always dreamed of walking along the Great Wall of China? Want to know how an olympic athlete might feel walking into the Beijing National Stadium? If you answered yes to any of these question, then Groupon has a deal for you! What you get:

  • The Deal: From $1369 for package prices starting at $2299. That’s a 40% savings. Don’t want the hassle of booking your own air from the U.S.? Then choose the “U.S. air included” option at $2329. Final price varies on which package you choose, but the savings are still Olympic-sized.
  • Includes: Luxury accommodations, all ground and “in-China” air, English speaking guides, most meals, dinner shows, and entrance fees. If you chose the “U.S. air” option, then practically everything.
  • Fine Print: Must book by March 31 and complete travel by December 31, 2012.
  • Time to Purchase: Groupon offer expires February 26th.
  • Limit: Up to two vouchers per trip. May purchase two for self, two as gifts.

Hotel Villas Playa Samara, Costa Rica: Winter blues getting you down? Then you need a sunny deal to brighten your day. Escape to a jungle paradise and rejuvenate your sunny side with this escape to Costa Rica. What you get:

  • The Deal: $459 or $749 for packages worth $925 or $1511. That’s a bright sun-shiny savings of 50%!
  • Includes: A four or seven night stay for two in a deluxe room with $100 resort credit for four days, $150 credit for seven days, a kayak tour, and breakfast every day.
  • Fine Print: Must complete travel by December 20, 2012.
  • Time to Purchase: Act fast for this one. The Groupon offer expires in 5 days, February 23rd.
  • Limit: Up to two vouchers per trip. May purchase two for self, two as gifts.

Culinary Tour of Abruzzo, Italy: Fancy yourself a chef? Want to learn more about Italian cooking? Then channel your inner chef with this foodie-delicious trip. What you get:

  • The Deal: $1797 for “one traveler with friend,” original price of $2995; or $3475 for two travelers, original price of $5990. That’s a mouth-watering 40% savings you can sink your teeth into!
  • Includes: A seven day, six night stay at the Palazzo Tour d’Eau hotel, four cooking classes, one pastry class, a day trip to the Adriatic Coast, tours of a salami plant, olive mill, and cheese producer, ground transport to and from the local airport, and breakfast, lunch and dinner each day.
  • Fine Print: Must book by August 31, and travel by October 31, 2012.
  • Time to Purchase: Groupon offer expires February 26th.
  • Limit: Only one voucher per trip. May purchase one for self, two as gifts.

Ready to book: So you have now made that big decision to book a Groupon Getaway travel deal. How do you purchase it? How do you claim it? Groupon makes it easy. Just follow these directions and you will soon be ready to take that escape you have been waiting for:

  1. Purchase your Groupon Getaway Deal using the BUY button on the deal’s home page.
  2. Call the travel provider before the deal expiration date. The number will be provided in your Groupon purchase.
  3. Book your dates within the allowable travel voucher dates.
  4. Mention your Groupon Getaway purchase and provide your credit card number.

To help expedite your booking, have your travel dates ready, including a back-up date just in case your preferred date is already booked. Also have on hand the credit card you purchased your Groupon with, and the Groupon deal itself.

Want to know more about Groupon? Then read Are You a Groupon Groupie?

Want to get an even better deal? Click to Groupon through Mr. Rebates. Right now there is a 6% cash back rebate on Groupon purchases. Learn more about Mr. Rebates here: Save More With Mr. Rebates.

Are you planning a Spring getaway? Where are you going? What’s your favorite Groupon Getaway? Let us know in the Comments section below.

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