While living in Germany, Amanda & I are taking full advantage of the number of vacation days and holidays we get, as well as how close so many countries are to where we live in southwestern Germany. To take full advantage of seeing as many places as possible, while at the same time getting some relaxation in, we have found cruising to deliver both.
When we look to book a cruise, the first thing we do is to search online the various cruise lines to see what possible itineraries will fit the time that we plan to go. Then, we narrow down the possible itineraries to places that we have not been before, and look at what is available for the different cruise lines as far as pricing. We do not really use the same cruise line each time, even though we are missing out on accumulating loyalty rewards, because for us, it is about finding the right trip to fit our time off. Then, we review the website cruises.com as they typically offer even better deals on top of what the cruise line offers (i.e., onboard credits or cashback promotions). Then, since we still have an address in the US, we use this address to realize even more savings (i.e., cruise lines typically offer slightly lower prices to US citizens than Europeans for cruises originating in Europe….because Americans also have to pay more for airfare coming over — and we do not).
With this, we found a cruise that fit our itinerary with Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) that left from Barcelona to Morocco to the Portuguese island of Madeira with two stops in the Canary Islands then back to Malaga, Spain, and ending in Barcelona. And, our ship with going to be the NCL Spirit, which is one of their older ships (built in 1998, and refurbished in 2011). The Spirit is a mid-sized cruise liner with up to 2,000 passengers.
Since this was going to be the first time that Amanda & I had never been with either of our families for Christmas, we had decided early in 2014 to book this cruise. And, since this was going to be our Christmas gift to each other, we decided to tremendously upgrade our room to a Penthouse Suite…yeah…Penthouse! We have had a larger room before on past cruises, but nothing like this. The room even came with its very own Butler and dedicated Concierge person. So, we thoroughly got to experience luxury during our 10 days at sea.
Cruising this way is kinda like flying first class, in that once you fly first class it is REALLY HARD to fly coach. We won’t be cruising like this every time with this type of room, but it was nice at least for this trip. I have posted pictures from each of our stops on this site.
If anyone has cruising tips they would like to share, or any questions about how to book cruises or what to expect, we would love to hear from you!!
The cruise lines that we have cruised with are as follows (in order our our preference): Holland America, Celebrity, Norwegian, & Royal Caribbean (with the first two being equal)