Got your hopes up for hopping on board a cruise ship this year? If you're like many passionate cruisers, you've been waiting for the return to ship life for more than a year now. The CDC says maybe this summer; the cruise lines are chomping at the bit, and some governors are filing suits.
So what can you do to expedite the situation?
The first recommendation, according to the Cruise Line Industry Association, or CLIA, is to get vaccinated. While some lines have not yet stated that vaccines will be mandatory when they resume cruising, many have, so it's a safe bet that you may need one to sail. And even if they aren't mandatory, it may very well be the safest option for cruising for quite some time, even with other health and safety measures in place like the removal of self-serve buffets and reduced occupancies.
The next thing that would probably help in the long run is to proceed as if there will be cruising available soon. Booking a cruise now is a safe bet in terms of getting either your money back or a cruise credit on a future sailing if the cruise line has to cancel your cruise. In almost all cases where cruises are canceled since the pandemic began, guests were offered a choice between a refund of their money or provided bonus credit for opting for a later cruise.
So what's available from Long Beach?
The shortest cruises are the ones most likely to be available soon, so we'll start with those. Carnival is booking three and four-night sailings to Ensenada all summer. The four-night trip includes a stop at the iconic Catalina Island.
Activities in the ports would include, fishing charters, scuba diving, snorkeling, and city tours. Catalina is famous for food and fun, including Jeep tours and an amazing zipline facility. Obviously, shopping and beach lounging would also be on the potential itinerary.
The three-night cruise starts at $228 per person, while the four-night sailings begin at only a few dollars more around $234 per person.
Selected five-night sailings are as low as $254 per person. Besides Ensenada, the five-nighters stop in Cabo San Lucas. Talk about a cheap dream vacay.
Bookings on the three and four-night options are available throughout the summer. The five-night sailings are available a little later in the year. Look at mid-November for the best prices.
The cruise line is also accepting bookings on one of the newest ships in the fleet: Carnival Panorama. Seven-night sailings will visit Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta before returning to Long Beach. July bookings are running around $900 for an inside cabin and close to $1,200 per person for a balcony cabin. The best bargains on the seven-night sailings are again in early to mid-November.
There are a pair of six-night sailings scheduled onboard Panorama and Miracle in December at bargain prices between $800 and $900 for a balcony cabin. There's also one 8-night sailing, departing Long Beach on New Year's Eve on Panorama. The itinerary includes two days in Cabo and stops at Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta.
And for the really adventurous, the cruise line is accepting bookings on a 14-night Hawaiian cruise departing Long Beach on November 28, 2021. The suites are sold out, but you can still snag a balcony for $2614.
Insure your trip
The experts at Squaremouth travel insurance aggregators advise any travel plans made during the pandemic should include medical coverage for the possibility of contracting COVID-19, as well as what they call cancel-for-any-reason coverage in case you must cancel the trip prior to sailing.
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