Prestige Holdings? Sounds impressive, doesn't it? But it probably doesn't mean much until I add that it's the company that owns the deluxe cruise line Oceania and luxury brand Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
All cruise lines have their winter (and much of their summer) plans out for next year and some of them probably have your deposit money, too. Now, most of them want to get ahead of the curve as they make the push to attract your attention - not to mention dollars - for the winter of 2013-14 and beyond.
Is it too early to book? Here is one example that might help: comparing a 10-day Oceania cruise on the Riviera for the first week of January 2013 versus 2014, I found that the starting price this winter is cheaper; however, you're on the waiting list for most of the winter for this ship's starting price.
January 2014 is about $300 more, but it's readily available.
That leads to some obvious questions....
Where will the economy be in 2014? With fewer ships being built in 2013, will the tightened capacity increase prices?
Those are just two of the unanswered questions that determine where and when to spend your discretionary dollars.
What these two cruise lines are doing is adding perks if you book before Dec. 31 of this year and that may help in your decision-making. Those perks can be found at the lines' respective websites: Regent can be found at rssc.com and Oceania at oceania.com.
Unlike the larger cruise lines that might sail one or two itineraries on a weekly basis for an entire season, Oceania and Regent are the nomads of cruising, wandering the world's oceans.
For the winter of 2013-14, Regent has three new ports and five Grand Voyages, planned. Regent's ships are not big: Voyager and Mariner carry 700 passengers each, while the Navigator accommodates 490. For the most part, Regent is all-inclusive.
Voyager will spend most of the 2013-14 winter in the South Pacific and Asia; Mariner in South America, and Navigator in the Caribbean before finishing with a Panama Canal Cruise.
For those with time and money, one Grand Voyage on the Voyager sails from Auckland to Rome for 121 days. There are many ports in Australia, the South Pacific, then Asia - including Japan and China - and on to Dubai, Israel, more of Europe and finally, Italy's most-famous city. For that, you will write a cheque for $77,999 for a deluxe suite, with plenty of all-inclusive perks.
Most of the Grand Voyages on Regent and Oceania feature several itineraries, allowing you to shorten your voyage and make it a little less grand in price.
This year, Oceania's newly launched Riviera, Regatta and Nautica will visit 160 destinations. They will also sail 21 Grand Voyages, but most of these special cruises will be of shorter duration, 24 to 63 days.
Riviera will be in the Caribbean this winter, returning for a second season in 2013-14. On March 4, 2014, she leaves for a one-off, 10-day Southern Caribbean cruise.
Meanwhile, the Marina will start the winter season of 2013-14 in South America before heading for the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand. Regatta is scheduled to spend most of her time in South America.
Nautica has one of the most exotic winter itineraries, with cruises in Asia, India, the Maldives, the Seychelles and Kenya.
When it comes to choice of cruises, Oceania and Seven Seas Reggatta offer a great opportunity to see more of the world.
Visit portsandbows.com for daily updates on the latest cruise news, best deals and behind-the-scenes stories from the industry. You can also sign up for an email newsletter on the site for even more cruise information. Phil can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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