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Consider cruising

A vacation any time of year

Posted: February 4, 2011 8:35 a.m.
Updated: February 4, 2011 8:35 a.m.

Crown Princess cruises off Jamaica.

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With all the cold/hot/wet/dry/windy/beautiful weather we've been having lately in the Santa Clarita Valley, you might be a bit confused as to just what season it is. Well one thing is for sure, it's always cruise season - you know, somewhere. And your neighbors right here in the SCV can get you cruising to the perfect destination in no time.

As you are probably aware, Princess Cruises and the Cunard Line have corporate offices right here in the city of Santa Clarita. And you can get expert advice from your local travel agent as well.

For example, Karen Ilich, president of The Travel Center of Santa Clarita, said that the best seasons for cruising depend on the destination. In general, Alaska is best in July and August, the Mexican Riviera in April through June, the Caribbean in April through June, Europe in May through September or October, South America in November through March and the Mediterranean in March through November.

Princess Cruises
Princess Cruises is a global cruise and tour company operating a fleet of 17 modern ships known for their innovative design and wide array of choices in dining, entertainment and amenities, all provided in an environment of exceptional customer service. Princess carries 1.3 million passengers each year to destinations around the globe, with cruises ranging in length from seven to 107 days. The company is part of Carnival Corporation and its alliance also includes Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America, Cunard Line, Costa Cruises and The Yachts of Seabourn.

Essential Experiences
Princess has a number of new developments in place or coming soon, but one of the most beneficial to potential cruisers is the 50 Essential Experiences Blog. The blog reveals the top travel "bucket list" experiences recommended by the line's own well-traveled destination experts over the course of a year. The "50 Essential Experiences: The Travel Bucket List" (www.50essentialexperiences.com) are gradually unveiled each week with posts authored by one of Princess' longest-serving shipboard and shoreside employees. The 50 selected experts are sharing one of their inspiring experiences chronicling their unique perspective of must-see travel spots around the globe.

New itineraries
Princess is offering new itineraries, including a Hawaii/Tahiti/Samoa cruise, California Coastal Cruise, Scandinavia/Russia cruise, seven-day Mediterranean cruise, Summer in Canada/New England cruise, and special family cruises to Alaska.

Cunard Queens
Combining 171 years of experience with the youngest luxury fleet at sea, the flagship "Queen Mary 2," "Queen Victoria" and the new "Queen Elizabeth" - in 2011 and 2012 Cunard Line offers its most extensive voyages to date, with a greater choice of itineraries, departure dates and overnight stays.

"Queen Mary 2" continues to offer her legendary Transatlantic Crossings, sailing 21 in total, between New York and Southampton, as well as to Hamburg. She will also offer Grand voyage options again in 2011, roundtrip from New York, which combine two classic European itineraries with a crossing on either side.

Additional "Queen Mary 2" sailings include two voyages to the Atlantic Isles and Iberia, seven voyages in Northern Europe, with trips to Norway from Southampton and Hamburg, and an eight-day Around the British Isles voyage.
After her annual Getaway for the Fourth of July holiday, she will return to New York in the fall for an enhanced 10-day Canada & New England voyage and, in December, a holiday-timed Caribbean Celebration.

The "Queen Victoria" 2011 season includes a series of voyages to the Mediterranean and Canary Islands, roundtrip from Southampton. She will also offer five voyages to Northern Europe, including two 12-day St. Petersburg & Baltic Capitals itineraries with overnight stays in St. Petersburg, and a new Gaelic Overture voyage, taking in Ireland, France and Spain. At summer's end, she will begin her popular Mediterranean season, offering a series of 12-day voyages between Venice, Rome and Athens. "Queen Victoria" then journeys across the Atlantic to start her second Americas season in 2012.

From her home port of Southampton, the new "Queen Elizabeth" will make 52 maiden calls in her first full season in 2011, including four sailings to the Mediterranean and one Voyage to the Holy Land. She will also offer a series of 14-day Baltic voyages that include a full day and overnight call in St. Petersburg, two seven-day Fjord departures, an 11-day voyage to the North Cape, a maiden Around the British Isles voyage, plus a number of voyages to the Atlantic Isles and Canary Islands.

Rounding out her 2011 season will be a series of five-day Getaway voyages and two U.S. visits on roundtrip voyages from Southampton. In all, "Queen Elizabeth" will have overnights in Amsterdam, Venice, New York and Quebec.

Princess Cruises can be reached at (661) 753-0000. The Web site is www.princess.com. The offices are located at 24305 Town Center Drive, Valencia, CA 91355.

Check out the Cunard voyages at www.cunard.com or call 1-800-728-6273.

Travel Center of Santa Clarita is located at 25061 Avenue Stanford, Suite 10, Valencia, CA 91355. The phone number is (661) 295-1942.

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