Book a long cruise cruise for less

Long Cruises

There are now so many things to do on a big cruise ship that you won't have time to do half of them even on a month long voyage.

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There's long cruises and short, four- or five-day cruises...something for everybody, you might say. Many prefer short cruises due to time or cost, but, if you are someone who's got the time, and the money, a long sea voyage is a great way to relax, make friends and explore a whole new world.

If you don't have the time, you should possibly consider making the time. You'll... well, relax, make friends and discover a whole new world. What could be better?

Even a relatively short 'long' cruise can be an outstanding and rewarding experience.

While offers change and you will have to check to find out what's out there at any given time, as I write this, Carnival offers a six day voyage from Los Angeles to Baja Mexico. Currently, these are aboard the Carnival Miracle, an 963-foot long floating city.

You know, cruise ships used to be not much more than floating hotels. These days, they are so large and full of things to see and do that the description is no longer adequate. A cruise above many of these ships is more like a trip to Las Vegas than a stay in even the best hotel.

A longer voyage will give you plenty of time to get very familiar with the ship and take excursions to a wide range of ports of call to explore exotic new cities. On board you'll find a gym, elegant restaurants, swimming pools and tons of musical and theatrical entertainments.

The company even offers a 15-day trip to the Panama Canal from New York. The rates are great for such a long voyage, and the group rates are outstanding as well. Some packages offer round-trip air fare from several spots around the U.S.

Although many are even longer, fifteen days on a cruise is just about the perfect length for those who really want to take their time. You have ample time to relax and get thoroughly familiar with your surroundings. There's plenty of time to sample several of the dozens of things to do on board, or to just do nothing but sleep, eat and read a long book.

If, on the other hand, you want to see the other side of the world, assuming you live in the U.S., you can leave from New Orleans, Tampa, or Miami aboard Carnival ships to visit the Canary Islands; Florence, Italy; Barcelona, Spain and many other ports in Europe. There are also plenty of cruises departing from the West Coast of America. Indeed, there is a great concentration on cruises which originate in America, but there are many which originate abroad as well.

With a long cruise, you'll have time to enjoy the gym onboard or to get your exercise crawling over ancient ruins. You can have a swim in the pool on ship or in the surf near the shore. You can enjoy gambling on a magnificent cruise liner or in one of the small bars that dot the Greek coastline.

Some cruises are relatively inexpensive because airfare is not included and you pay for food onboard or feed yourself in town. But you'll find the accommodations comfortable if not luxurious. Make sure you find out in advance what is included in your fare, by the way. More than one passenger has left port only to learn that not all meals were included or that there were additional charges they had not anticipated.

This is generally not a problem with the better known cruise lines, by the way, but remember, they are not there to baby-sit you. You will have to manage your own finances and will have to get the questions answered on your own.

In fact, planning is an often overlooked aspect of a successful and enjoyable cruise.

If you desire the full cruise experience plan a month long voyage to Europe and back. Or, you could choose to cut the time in half and take the ship there and a plane back. With a plethora of docks to arrive at, or sail from, in Ireland, Holland, England, and the south of France, as well as many other places, you'll have no problem putting together an unforgettable cruise experience.

The grand cruise to Europe, or even Asia, is an ideal way to discover and enjoy the complete luxury that your grandparents knew in the days the Normandie was sailing from France to New York. You will definitely get an even more comfortable journey than those who sailed the magnificent Queen Mary with the many more on-ship entertainment options available today.

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Page Updated 4:13 PM Friday 3/16/2012