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Royal Caribbean

  • 30% OFF ALL Guests + Kids Sail FREE + Instant Savings + FREE GRATUITIES or Up to $1,700 Onboard Credit

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  • 50% OFF Cruises + Take All FREE + BOGO Airfare + Up to $1,700 Cash Back

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  • 60% OFF Premium Amenities: Shore Excursions + Premium Wi-Fi + Specialty Dining, + Beverage Package

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  • Up to 40% OFF + FREE Room Upgrade + 3rd & 4th Guest FREE + Up to $1,785 Onboard Credit

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Oceania Cruise Deals

Oceania Cruise deals will have you sailing in style to some of the most stunning and memorable locations around the world. Oceania believes you know value when you see it and the extraordinary quality of everything onboard from the staterooms to the shopping areas and everywhere in between will make you a believer.

Boasting the finest cuisine at sea, Oceania Cruises bring you to exotic destinations like Africa, Asia, the Mediterranean and beyond. Oceania ships, like the Regatta, Insignia, Nautica, Riviera and more, will transport you to a cruise vacation paradise where you can experience Your World, Your Way. Research and compare Oceania Cruise deals now and book the cruise of your dreams.

Featured Oceania Cruise Deals

  • 2 for 1 Cruise Fares
  • FREE Shore Excursion Credit
  • FREE Champagne, Wine, Beer & More
  • FREE Gourmet Specialty Dining

Best Oceania Cruise Deals by Destination

  • Complimentary Gratuities
  • FREE Beverage Package, Wi-fi, Excursions + More: on select categories & sailings
  • Up To 40% Savings Plus, simply MORE: per stateroom on select voyages
  • Enjoy 10% savings + Member Benefits: on select voyages
  • Up To 50% of Single Supplement Waived: select sailings & categories
  • EXCLUSIVE: Complimentary Cocktail Reception, Exclusive Shore Event + more

All offers are based on select sailings and categories and are subject to availability at time of booking. All rates are per person based on double occupancy.

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Cruise deal alert: This new Amex offer will let you double dip on savings

Gene Sloan

Are you about to book an Oceania Cruises voyage for the coming year? If so, you might get a nice bonus if you pay with an American Express card .

Some American Express cardholders on Tuesday began receiving an offer for 5 additional Membership Rewards points for every dollar spent on an Oceania cruise, up to a maximum of 50,000 points. That's on top of the base level of points normally earned on such a transaction.

In other words, assuming you normally get 1 point for every dollar you spend on a cruise using an American Express card, you now can get 6 points in total when booking an Oceania voyage.

For more cruise news, guides and tips, sign up for TPG's cruise newsletter .

To put it another way, for every $1,000 you spend on an Oceania sailing, you'll get 6,000 Membership Rewards points — a significant amount. TPG currently values Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each, meaning that these 6,000 points would be worth $120 at our valuation — equal to 12% of the money you'd be spending.

If you book a $10,000 cruise, the 60,000 points you accumulate would be worth $1,200.

Additionally, you can "double dip" on Oceania savings with this offer to make it even more lucrative.

You can use the offer in conjunction with a new promotion that Oceania launched for wave season — the period starting in January when cruise lines often roll out their best offers for the year.

oceania cruise deals 2023

Oceania's new wave season promotion, called the 20th Anniversary Sale, offers up to an $800 per cabin shipboard credit when booking one of more than 100 sailings departing in 2023 and 2024.

The 20th Anniversary Sale is valid through Feb. 28.

As of Tuesday, Oceania was touting seven-night sailings on its website as part of the sale starting at $1,499 per person, not including taxes and fees.

A targeted Amex cruise promotion

Note that the Amex bonus points offer is a targeted promotion, which means not every American Express cardholder will receive it. Also, you must enroll in this specific Amex Offer to redeem it.

Another caveat: Cardmembers can only enroll in the offer with one American Express card. Additionally, the offer is only valid on cruise bookings made either online at Oceania's website , by calling 855-623-2642 or through a travel agent. Reservations must be booked on U.S. websites only.

Purchases that qualify for the additional points include the fare for an Oceania cruise as well as Oceania excursions and packages booked and paid for online in advance of the cruise. However, onboard purchases including excursions and packages booked and paid for once on the ship and charges for onboard spa treatments are excluded from the promotion.

You also will not get additional points for purchasing Bon Voyage Gifts, Oceania Cruises Bed Collection selections, Land Tour Series tours, Culinary Discovery Tours and hotel programs.

Related: The 3 types of Oceania ships, explained

The offer is only for sailings with the Oceania brand — not its Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings sister brands Norwegian Cruise Line and Regent Seas Cruises.

The offer expires March 31.

The new Oceania offer is the second cruise-related deal that has surfaced for American Express cardholders this month.

Staffers at TPG in recent days have also received targeted Amex Offers for booking sailings with Celebrity Cruises .

Some examples of Amex cards where you might receive the Oceania offer are:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express .
  • American Express® Gold Card .
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express .

On Tuesday, several TPG staffers who carry American Express cards received the new Oceania offer.

To find out if you are eligible for the offer, check your American Express card account. If you do see the deal, it's best to add it right away, as it might disappear. Some offers are capacity controlled.

Here's another tip: Only 100 Amex Offers are visible at one time. So, if you're at capacity, add offers to your card and new ones may appear.

Also, don't forget that if you need to fly to or from your cruise port, Amex Travel will give you 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year) and 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked on Amex Travel.

Related: The 5 best destinations you can visit on an Oceania ship

If you're not an American Express cardholder, you might consider applying for one. The Platinum Card from American Express is offering a welcome bonus of 80,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases within the first six months of cardmembership.

You may also be eligible for a targeted 80,000- or 125,000-point bonus offer using the CardMatch tool (offers are subject to change at any time).

If the Platinum Card isn't for you, read our guide on choosing the best American Express card that suits your style .

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

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Cheap Oceania Cruises

50 night cruise to around the world.

  • You want the last word in luxury, even if it's not all-inclusive
  • You want multiple specialty restaurants for no extra charge
  • You intend on booking one of the ship's jaw-dropping suites
  • You prefer the quiet intimacy of Oceania's smaller cruise ships
  • You're traveling with kids; this is an adult-oriented experience

11 Night Cruise to Canada & New England

  • You want to have a floating boutique hotel with every comfort
  • You place high value on good cuisine and consummate service
  • You want an adult-centric cruise to interesting ports of call
  • You want the glitz and glam of Oceania's newer, larger ships
  • You tend to suffer from seasickness; this ship can move around

14 Night Cruise to the Southern Caribbean

24 night cruise to south america.

  • You want relaxing, country club atmosphere on the high seas
  • You enjoy sailing longer, creative itineraries to unique places
  • You want a thoroughly adult experience with great service
  • You want an all-inclusive small-ship ocean cruise product
  • You long for the oversized suites on Oceania's newer ships

10 Night Cruise to the Eastern Caribbean

10 night cruise to the baltic sea, 22 night cruise to south america, 65 night cruise to around the world.

  • You are a major foodie; Regatta's cuisine is absolutely sublime
  • You want luxurious amenities without a luxury price tag
  • You're looking for a romantic, adult-oriented ocean cruise
  • You're prone to seasickness and want the stability of a big ship
  • You want the kind of lavish interiors on Oceania's newer ships

12 Night Cruise to Pacific Coastal

31 night cruise to around the world.

  • You hate lines; you'll barely find any on this small ship
  • You appreciate fine wines and exceptional culinary offerings
  • You want an educational, adult-oriented cruise to unique places
  • You enjoy vibrant nightlife with Broadway-style spectacles
  • You prefer the sumptuous luxury found on Oceania's bigger ships

10 Night Cruise to the Eastern Mediterranean

  • You like your cabins and suites on the luxurious side
  • You appreciate excellent cuisine and personable service
  • You want interesting itineraries to exotic ports of call
  • You're looking for a truly all-inclusive luxury cruise product
  • You need a small-ship cruise that is suitable for children

32 Night Cruise to Around the World

23 night cruise to around the world, 7 night cruise to alaska, 32 night cruise to africa, 15 night cruise to canada & new england, 25 night cruise to transpacific, 7 night cruise to bermuda, travelers are discussing:.

oceania cruise deals 2023

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A multimillion-dollar transformation of Oceania Regatta has resulted in a contemporary, elegant ship ready for you to discover.

Courtesy of Oceania Cruises

A multimillion-dollar transformation of Oceania Regatta has resulted in a contemporary, elegant ship ready for you to discover.

Special Offer on 2023 Oceania Cruises voyages

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CruiseClout score: 20.0

Our Exclusive Offer

Interested in a sailing on the premium cruise line Oceania , known for the best cuisine at sea? This month only, book a voyage departing by May 1, 2023, and receive a $100 Shipboard Credit * — a Cruiseable exclusive. Plus: Take advantage of the special OLife Choice cruise fares below. 

Bonus benefits

Also, guests can choose from: 

  • 2 for 1 Cruise Fares
  • FREE Roundtrip Airfare*
  • FREE Airport Transfers*

Plus choose one :

  • FREE Shore Excursions
  • FREE Beverage Package
  • FREE Shipboard Credit

Early Booking Exclusive

  • $149 Premium Economy
  • Air Upgrades Available*

Plus, Cruiseable's   exclusive  FREE Pre-Paid gratuities on select sailings.

Where Oceania sails

Oceania Cruises’ seven small, luxurious ships chart the alluring coastlines of the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Baltic and Scandinavia and reveal the best of Alaska, Canada and New England in a masterpiece of original explorations, unspoiled landscapes and iconic cities. Plus: this offer also applies to Oceania's new ship Vista .

The expansive pool deck on Marina and Riviera from Oceania Cruises.

Collection highlights

  • 179 itineraries and several new boutique ports across Europe, emblematic of the unique itineraries in each region – the Greek Isles secret of Limnos, the immense beauty of Nordfjordeid, the Scottish Highlands gem of Oban and more.
  • Enjoy expansive opportunities to explore the treasures and natural wonders of the British Isles and Ireland, the fjords of Norway and Iceland, and the storied capitals of the Baltics in greater depth with Marina and Riviera spending the entire summer in these sought-after regions.
  • Experience the fascinating history and sacred destinations of the Holy Lands with more than 40 cruises and Grand Voyages that offer overnight stays in coveted ports in Israel and Turkey.
  • Delight in both quintessential and exclusive Mediterranean ports such as Saint-Tropez, Portofino, Positano and Patmos the way they are meant to be, from aboard small, luxurious ships.
  • Bask in the great outdoors of North America with wildlife and glacier adventures in Alaska and picture-perfect autumn getaways in Canada and New England along with blissful Bermuda escapes.

Reservations have just opened on these new itineraries!

Details on the 2023 Europe and North America Collection

Offer details

The Shipboard Credit Offer is valid on all voyages departing prior to May 1, 2023 and booked by Oct. 31, 2021, so don't delay! Credit is available per stateroom if you book a Veranda Stateroom and above.

Ready to book? Call Cruiseable

Call me or a fellow Cruiseable travel consultant to take advantage of any of these special savings — and to lock in the maximum savings and all the perks. We work for you for free. Call me at  1-877-322-3773  or email us at  [email protected] today.

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oceania cruise deals 2023

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oceania cruise deals 2023

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Save up to $1,000 per couple on avalon waterways, sail to the south seas (with a shipboard credit) on paul gauguin, norwegian launches 'greatest deal ever', onboard spending money, drinks & wi-fi on princess, journey to galapagos in style on celebrity, norwegian’s greatest deals ever, royal caribbean’s big savings on adventure, enjoy special savings on a princess cruise, windstar shows the way to european vacations, discover mediterranean gems on oceania, enjoy exclusive hosted voyages on cunard, princess's exclusive offers to alaska, save big on virgin voyages' maiden season, disney wish ready to set sail in summer 2022, windstar's pick your perk special offer.

oceania cruise deals 2023

Celebrity’s 75% off special fare

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Oceania Cruises 2023

Oceania Cruises 2023

Looking for an Oceania cruise in 2023? Take to the seas on a luxury cruise with Oceania Cruises. Browse all 2023 voyages below and indulge in your dream cruise holiday, whether it’s in the beautiful Mediterranean, catching some winter sun in the Caribbean, or take the plunge and head further afield to Asia or Australasia.

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Oceania Cruises New Year Sale

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2023 Around The World Cruise


World cruise segments available – ranging from 15 to 32 days.

  • Overnight Stays
  • Shoreside Events
  • Overland Tours
  • Onboard Lifestyle

Epic Travel Dream Perfected

The ultimate port collector’s treasure, our 2023 Around the World journey is the fulfillment of an epic travel dream: circumnavigating the globe on the voyage of a lifetime. From exotic cities and coastal villages to soaring mountains and breathtaking islands, the many facets of this globe-roaming masterpiece will intrigue even the most seasoned travelers.

2023 Around the World Cruise

  • Continents visited: 4
  • Countries visited: 33
  • Time zones crossed: 24
  • Islands visited: 27
  • Ports visited: 96
  • UNESCO World Heritage sites accessible: 61
  • Overnight stays (including two-night stays): 20
  • Oceans cruised: 3
  • Seas cruised: 14
  • Number of times equator crossed: 4
  • International Date Line crossed: 1
  • Largest population: Tokyo, Japan
  • Smallest population: Puerto Chacabuco, Chile
Traveling — it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.

2023 Around The World Overnight Stays

This special voyage includes an incredible array of opportunities to deepen and enrich your travel experience, including overnight stays in 20 desirable destinations. You’ll have ample time to leisurely tour, savor dinners ashore, discover top UNESCO World Heritage sites and explore in the ways you find most meaningful. Revel in the rhythms and vistas of Rio de Janeiro , soak up the paradise of the Seychelles and discover multiple UNESCO sites in Kyoto . On this globe-spanning odyssey, that truly is but the beginning.

Featured Overnight Stays

Buenos Aires, Argentina


1 overnight | february 25-26, 2023.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


1 overnight | march 3-4, 2023.

Walvis Bay, Nambia


1 overnight | march 31-april 1, 2023.

Walvis Bay, Nambia


1 overnight | april 17-18, 2023.

Dubia, UAE

1 OVERNIGHT | APRIL 25-26, 2023

Mumbai, India


1 overnight | april 30-may 1, 2023.

Bangkok, Thailand


1 overnight | may 21-22, 2023.

Bveijing Tianjin, China


1 overnight | june 9-10, 2023.

Kyoto Kobe, Japan


1 overnight | june 17-18, 2023.

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Exclusive Shoreside Events

Included Exclusive Shoreside Events

The Essence-of Argentina


Buenos aires, argentina | february 25, 2023.

Afternoon Boschendal Winery


Cape town, south africa | april 4, 2023.

Evening Al Maha Desert Dune


Dubai, uae | april 25, 2023.

Burmese Monk Donation Ceremony


Yangon, myanmar | may 10, 2023.

Candlelit Cave Evening


Hanoi (ha long bay), vietnam | may 30, 2023.

2023 Around The World Immersive Adventures

Featured Overland Tours

Wild Wonders of the Galapagos


4 days | january 29, 2023 | from manta.

Citadel in the Clouds


3 days | january 31, 2023 | from salaverry.

Ancient Incas Pristine Paracas


2 days | february 1, 2023 | from callao.

Experience Iguazu Falls


2 days | february 26, 2023 | from buenos aires.

Deserts Dunes Wine


4 days | april 1, 2023 | from walvis bay.

Wildlife in Zululand


3 days | april 9, 2023 | from durban.

Safari Adventure Kruger National Park


Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal


5 days | april 30, 2023 | from mumbai.

Ancient Vtemples of Bagan


2 days | may 11, 2023 | from yangon.

Authentic Inle Lake


Khmer Kaleidoscope Angkor Wat


4 days | may 18, 2023 | from singapore.

Hometown of the Giant Panda


3 days | june 4, 2023 | from xiamen.

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From the Oceania Cruises Blog

Off the Tourist Trail in the Mediterranean

Off the Tourist Trail in the Mediterranean

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Oceania Cruises 2023

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Destination Africa Alaska America Antarctica Arctic Circle Asia & Far East Atlantic Islands Australasia Baltic British Isles Canada Canary Islands Caribbean Central America Europe Greek Isles Hawaii Iberia Indian Ocean Mediterranean Middle East Nile Cruise Norwegian Fjords Pacific Panama Canal River Scandinavia South America South Pacific West US/Mexico

When February 2024 March 2024 April 2024 May 2024 June 2024 July 2024 August 2024 September 2024 October 2024 November 2024 December 2024 January 2025 February 2025 March 2025 April 2025 May 2025 June 2025 July 2025 August 2025 September 2025 October 2025 November 2025 December 2025 January 2026 February 2026 March 2026 April 2026 May 2026 June 2026 July 2026 August 2026 September 2026 October 2026 November 2026 December 2026 January 2027 February 2027 March 2027 April 2027 May 2027 June 2027 July 2027 August 2027 September 2027 October 2027 November 2027 December 2027 January 2028 February 2028 March 2028 April 2028 May 2028 June 2028 July 2028 August 2028 September 2028 October 2028 November 2028 December 2028 January 2029

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Duration 10 to 14 nights 15 nights or more 4 nights or less 4 to 7 nights 7 to 10 nights

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Oceania Cruise Deals

Browse our collection of Oceania Cruise deals and book with us for the best fares and exclusive special offers. 

As one of the UK’s leading agents for Oceania Cruises , The Cruise Line is privileged to offer a fantastic variety of special offers for voyages throughout 2024 and 2025. Our best Oceania deals allow you to take advantage of low fares and free flights on selected sailings.

Choose from a selection of itineraries sailing aboard Oceania’s fleet of six ships. I look forward to enjoying a unique mix of beautifully crafted itineraries, world-class dining, and impeccable onboard service.

Latest Oceania Cruises Offers

Here is a roundup of the latest offers for Oceania Cruises in 2023 and 2024:

The New Year Sale – Save up to 50%

Indulge in Oceania Cruises’ New Year Sale —a limited-time offer showcasing over 100 sailings across the globe for departures in 2024 and 2025. This captivating array of voyages presents savings of up to 50% and Oceania’s generous SimplyMORE benefits . Enjoy complimentary shore excursion credits, flights, and more, making this an irresistible opportunity to elevate your cruising experience.

View more Oceania Cruise deals  

OLife Choice Offers

When it comes to value-for-money, Oceania Cruises are hard to beat. Every voyage included return flights (unless it’s departing from the UK), onboard WiFi and a choice of either free shore excursions, onboard spending money or a complimentary drinks package.

View Oceania Cruises OLife Choice voyages

Free Business Class Flights

On selected sailings, Oceania Cruises include either free Business Class flights or World Traveller Plus flights. Available on the Mediterranean and Caribbean cruises , this superb benefit means you get to arrive for your cruise in style.

View Oceania Cruises with free Business Class

Cruises from Southampton

Oceania Cruises offer a range of departures throughout the year from the UK. Perfect for those who wish to avoid flying, these itineraries offer you the opportunity to visit several of the world’s best destinations, including the Mediterranean .

View Oceania Cruises from Southampton

Last-Minute Deals

If you’re seeking a late getaway, our collection of last-minute deals with Oceania Cruises might have just what you’re looking for.

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For more information regarding our cruise deals with Oceania, please call one of our Voyage Consultants on 0800 008 6677 . Alternatively, please select your preferred cruise from those listed below and make an enquiry online enquiry.

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2023-24 Winter Deployment Breakdown: Oceania’s Global Deployment

  • February 12, 2024


With the new Vista sailing its first winter season and the Riviera debuting in the Asia-Pacific region , Oceania Cruises’ fleet is spread out for the winter 2023-24 cruising season.

The season is also highlighted by yet another sold-out edition of the company’s signature 180-day around-the-world cruise, in addition to continued operations in the Caribbean, South America, the South Pacific, and more.

Cruise Industry News looked into Oceania’s full program for the current winter season. Here’s the breakdown:

Caribbean, Panama Canal and Central America

Vista Capacity: 1,200 guests Built: 2023 Homeport: Miami (United States) Length: Seven to 11 nights Itineraries: Western, Eastern and Southern Caribbean visiting varied destinations, including St. Barts, Santo Tomas, Barbados, Antigua and Honduras, followed by a 11-night cruise to the U.S. East Coast featuring visits to Port Canaveral, Norfolk, Charleston, Bermuda, and the Bahamas Sailing Season: November 19 to March 27

Sirena Capacity: 684 guests Built: 2000 Homeports: Miami (United States); and Panama City (Panama) Length: Ten to 12 nights Itineraries: Different cruises to the Caribbean and Central America featuring full transits of the Panama Canal, as well as visits to Guatemala, Mexico, Belize, Jamaica, Aruba, Curaçao, and more Sailing Season: November 28 to March 27

Africa, Asia and South Pacific

Riviera Capacity: 1,260 guests Built: 2012 Homeport: Incheon (South Korea); Laem Chabang (Thailand); Yokohama (Japan); Hong Kong; and more Length: Seven to 12 nights Itineraries: Varied itineraries to Southeast Asia, the Far East, and the Indian Ocean, including visits to ports in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, China, Japan, and more Sailing Season: December 18 to May 14

Nautica Capacity: 684 guests Built: 2000 Homeports: Dubai (United Arab Emirates); Cape Town (South Africa); Papeete (Tahiti); Singapore; Sydney (Australia); and more Length: 10 to 21 nights Itineraries: Varied itineraries sailing from the Middle East to South Africa, Tahiti, Australia, and the South Pacific Sailing Season: December 8 to June 14

Regatta Capacity: 684 guests Built: 1998 Homeports: Sydney (Australia); Bali (Indonesia); Auckland (New Zealand); and more Length: 10 to 21 nights Itineraries: Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific, and Southeast Asia Sailing Season: November 11 to April 20

South America

Marina Capacity: 1,260 guests Built: 2011 Homeports: Rio de Janeiro (Brazil); San Antonio (Chile); and Buenos Aires (Argentina) Length: 10 to 24 nights Itineraries: East and West Coast of South America visiting Brazil, the Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador, Uruguay, and more Sailing Season: December 3 to April 5

180-Night World Cruise

Insignia Capacity: 684 guests Built: 1999 Homeports: Los Angeles to New York City (United States) Length: 180 nights Itineraries: Six-month world cruise visiting 96 destinations in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, and more Sailing Season: January to July 12

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cruises from galveston august 2023

cruises from galveston august 2023

Royal Caribbean guests can choose from multiple cruises out of Galveston, Texas. Explore our departure ports and find your dream cruise ships today! Find cruises from Galveston, …

US News & World Report - Travel

The 12 Best All-Inclusive Cruises for 2024

When it comes to all-inclusive cruises, there are a few different options:

  • Luxury cruise lines: All-inclusive cruise rates are available on luxury lines like Regent Seven Seas and Silversea. While more expensive than traditional cruise rates , the fares cover nearly everything, including door-to-door transfers, luxurious suite accommodations, specialty dining , premium alcoholic beverages and excursions. Plus, you don't need to show your cruise card every time you order a latte or a pre-dinner cocktail. You'll disembark the ship with very few, if any, additional charges on your final bill.
  • Cruise lines with inclusive pricing: Alternatively, you can consider an upscale cruise line like Viking, which offers fares with more-inclusive pricing and some of the amenities found on board the fully inclusive lines. However, you'll still have to budget for a few expenses, such as immersive excursions and alcoholic beverages beyond wine or beer at lunch and dinner.
  • Packages and add-ons: Other cruise lines like Oceania, Windstar and Norwegian offer add-on drink packages and other promos so you can create a more all-inclusive experience.

After comparing the costs between a truly all-inclusive cruise and a sailing with package pricing for the extras, the total price may be closer than you think.

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All-Inclusive Cruises

Regent seven seas cruises.

Regent Seven Seas touts its six ships – with the newest vessel, Seven Seas Grandeur , which debuted in late 2023 – as "the world's most luxurious fleet." The line's intimate ships accommodate up to 750 guests. They feature all ocean-view suites, prestigious museum-quality art collections (including a prized Fabergé egg on the new Grandeur), and itineraries that call on more than 500 destinations around the world.

With Regent's "every luxury included" philosophy and 2-for-1 all-inclusive fares, passengers receive round-trip airfare and transfers between the airport and ship, as well as unlimited shore excursions, two- or three-night land programs (based on the itinerary), and a complimentary pre-cruise hotel package for concierge suites and higher. On the ship, enjoy a fully stocked in-suite minibar; specialty dining; unlimited fine wines, spirits and other beverages; prepaid gratuities; unlimited Wi-Fi; and free valet laundry service.

On top of personalized service, guests sailing on Regent Seven Seas cruises will enjoy immersive exploration ashore – with overnights in some ports of call – and enrichment programs. Top-notch dining includes French cuisine at Chartreuse (on select ships), Pan-Asian fare at Pacific Rim (also on select ships) and Italian fare at Sette Mari at La Veranda.

Cooking classes in the Culinary Arts Kitchen (available on Grandeur, Splendor and Explorer ), some tours and bespoke excursions, spa treatments, unique offerings, and certain wines and top-shelf liquors come with an additional cost.

Explore Regent Seven Seas Cruises on GoToSea, a service of U.S. News.

Silversea Cruises

Sailing on board one of Silversea's 13 ultra-luxury cruise or expedition ships commences with the line's new chauffeur experience. This door-to-door service transports guests from home to the airport and back home on the return trip. The line's all-inclusive pricing also encompasses international or domestic flights (with business class upgrades in certain destinations), pre- and post-cruise hotel accommodations, butler service in every suite, all gratuities, gourmet dining, and complimentary alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, including Champagne.

Guests will also enjoy a staff-to-guest ratio of nearly 1-to-1 – and with no more than 728 guests. Other all-inclusive perks include at least one shore excursion in each port plus onboard lectures and programming. On expedition sailings in destinations like Antarctica , all guided Zodiac tours and landings are included in the fare.

When it comes to dining on Silversea ships, gourmet options feature French, Asian and Italian cuisine along with other international fare. For a special evening, S.A.L.T. Kitchen is a new destination-focused concept on Silver Ray, Nova , Moon and Dawn . This immersive dining experience, Sea And Land Taste, was developed in partnership with the former editor-in-chief of "Saveur Magazine," Adam Sachs. The culinary offerings with S.A.L.T. also include shore excursions, where guests can tour a 500-year-old family winery and vineyard in Croatia, visit an organic farm in Denmark, or learn to make gelato in Sicily.

Expenses not covered in Silversea's fare include salon and spa services, personal training sessions, select excursions, upgraded internet packages, and special bottles of wine or liquors.

Compare Silversea Cruises deals on GoToSea.

Seabourn Cruise Line

Seabourn's seven purpose-built expedition vessels and intimate luxury cruise ships accommodate between 264 and 600 guests. The club-like atmosphere on board its ships comes with highly intuitive and personalized service with about a 1-to-1 staff-to-guest ratio. Each suite also has a dedicated personal suite host and a suite attendant that will cater to your every whim.

All-inclusive fares include oceanfront suites with walk-in closets, living areas and luxurious bathrooms. All Seabourn Encore and Ovation accommodations feature private verandas, while 90% of the suites on Seabourn Odyssey , Sojourn and Quest have balconies. Premium and penthouse suites offer additional amenities and perks.

While aboard Seabourn Cruise Line , guests will enjoy complimentary fine wines and premium spirits, welcome Champagne, and a fully stocked in-suite bar with your personalized selections. Dining is a real treat, with several venues in partnership with renowned chef Thomas Keller, such as the line's signature restaurant, The Grill by Thomas Keller. Seabourn is also a member of the prestigious Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, an international association of gastronomy.

Other complimentary amenities on Seabourn's cruise ships include special evenings with dinner and live entertainment; a marina and complimentary water sports; "Caviar in the Surf" on select voyages; movie nights; a chance to shop with the chef at local markets; personal valet luggage shipping service; enrichment lectures; and more.

Additional expenses include a wide selection of epicurean, mindfulness and wellness excursions as well as cultural and historical bespoke tours. You can also book the ultimate underwater adventure on one of the line's high-tech submarines on the two expedition vessels, Seabourn Venture and Pursuit. Programs and treatments at Seabourn's Spa & Wellness are also at an additional cost.

Find a Seabourn Cruise Line cruise on GoToSea.

Atlas Ocean Voyages

Atlas Ocean Voyages features "always included" cruise fares on its two purpose-built yachts, World Navigator and World Traveller. The line recently welcomed a third ship to its fleet for the 2023-24 Antarctica season, World Voyager. Atlas' high-end boutique ships cater to just 198 passengers and feature spacious staterooms and suites with panoramic windows or private balconies and beautiful public spaces and lounges. These small ships also have several options for dining, depending on the sailing and destination.

The all-inclusive fares cover complimentary dining; unlimited wines, craft beers and spirits; 24-hour bar service with canapes; a free in-room minibar; afternoon high tea; fresh-pressed juices and specialty teas and coffees; butler service; 24-hour room service; prepaid gratuities; cultural immersion in every port; and other perks.

Polar expedition fares cover private charter jet service, group transfers from the airport to the yacht, an Atlas Ocean Voyages parka and vest to take home, Zodiac sightseeing safaris, expert guided shore landings, and destination lectures and briefings.

If you're on one of the line's Epicurean Expeditions, the cultural immersion program offers complimentary special tastings, market visits and cooking demonstrations. In addition to use of the marina's water toys (on select sailings, weather permitting), guests can enjoy an authentic Portuguese dinner and an alfresco Josper Grill dining experience at 7-AFT Grill. On select voyages, culinary presentations, wine tastings and other special events are hosted by an expert.

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More-Inclusive Cruises

Cruise fares with these lines include many of the amenities and perks that you'll find with the all-inclusive cruises. However, you'll still need to budget for some expenses, such as alcoholic beverages, excursions and specialty dining, depending on the line.

Viking's ocean fleet of nine 930-passenger all-veranda ships offers a nearly all-inclusive experience for guests. The upscale Scandinavian-inspired ships feature king-bed staterooms and suites with many amenities, including luxurious linens and plush robes, 24-hour room service, and free Wi-Fi – plus an in-room minibar with soft drinks, water and snacks. Higher-category staterooms on Viking Ocean Cruises come with additional perks like priority dinner and spa reservations, early stateroom access, and a welcome bottle of Champagne.

Cruise fares also include complimentary dining at all the venues; one free shore excursion in every port; beer, wine and soft drinks at lunch and dinner; specialty teas, coffee and bottled water; access to the spa; lectures and performances; port taxes and fees; and more.

Viking also has two 378-passenger Polar Class 6 expedition vessels, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris. These ships also offer a mostly all-inclusive experience with the same amenities as their oceangoing vessels. Pricing on the expedition sailings includes Zodiac safaris, the use of kayaks, a keepsake Viking jacket, and essential gear for excursions and landings.

Select excursions, pre- or post-dinner cocktails, spa treatments, special bottles of wine, and other optional purchases come at an additional expense.

Book a Viking cruise on GoToSea.

Azamara's four upscale boutique ships carry a maximum of 702 guests and offer immersive experiences around the world, calling on many smaller, lesser-known ports. The line also boasts more than 380 overnights and 850 late nights in port, so guests can have dinner in town and experience more of the destination's local culture and cuisine.

Azamara's cruise fares include all meals (other than the specialty dining restaurants) with water, tea and coffee. A selection of complimentary wine, sparkling wine, beer and spirits is available throughout the voyage. Cultural evenings ashore or on board the ship and gratuities are also included in the basic cruise fare.

If you'd like to enhance your onboard experience, Azamara offers inclusive "Experience More" packages that are discounted and based on the length of the voyage.

For example, on a seven-day or shorter sailing, solo travelers can add a package for $799 that's valued at $1,114 (a savings of 28%). This value-add bundle includes $350 of onboard credit to use for shore excursions; unlimited Wi-Fi for one device; a drinks package featuring premium wines, spirits and bottled water; a $150 spa credit; and a dinner at the Chef's Table or a total of three nights of specialty dining at Prime C or Aqualina. Three bags of laundry are also included.

Guests can book similar packages for double occupancy staterooms and longer voyages. You can also choose individual beverage, dining or internet packages if you don't need the extra amenities or features of the bundled options.

Compare Azamara cruises on GoToSea.

Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages' four superyacht-inspired ships are designed with adults in mind and feature 1,330 cabins (most with balconies) and 78 RockStar Quarters suites, where guests have access to Richard's Rooftop, an exclusive outdoor deck space. Pricing with the adults-only cruise line includes stateroom or suite accommodations and meals at more than 20 eateries serving up international cuisine and dishes created by Michelin-starred chefs. Guests also have access to complimentary Wi-Fi; unlimited group exercise classes; nonalcoholic drinks such as water, tea and coffee; and plenty of lively entertainment.

Virgin does not offer beverage packages, but the line at times advertises special promotions that include voyage credits to cover expenses like airfare and drinks. Shore excursions and spa treatments – including skin care offerings on board Scarlet Lady in partnership with Jennifer Lopez, Virgin's chief entertainment and lifestyle officer – are some of the additional expenses not covered in the base fare.

Find a Virgin Voyages deal on GoToSea.

Add-on Packages and All-Inclusive Fares

These five cruise lines offer basic cruise fares that cover accommodations and some amenities – and you can typically find special pricing and promotional deals throughout the year.

With the optional packages, guests can create a mostly all-inclusive voyage with bundles of add-on extras, such as shore excursions, beverage packages, specialty dining, Wi-Fi, gratuities or shipboard credit to cover miscellaneous personal expenses such as spa treatments or a bottle of wine for a special celebration.

Oceania Cruises

Oceania's eight small luxury ships carry between 648 and 1,238 guests. The line's newest ship – Vista , the first Allura Class vessel – debuted in Rome in May 2023. The beautifully appointed vessel features four new dining concepts, spacious standard staterooms at 290-plus square feet in size, new Concierge Level veranda accommodations for solo cruisers, an elevated mixology program and more.

Oceania's culinary program is touted by the line as "The Finest Cuisine at Sea" under the tutelage of Jacques Pépin, executive culinary director and master chef. Complimentary specialty dining is included in cruise fares on Oceania sailings. Pricing also covers airfare, still and sparkling water, specialty teas and coffees, soft drinks, and Wi-Fi on the ship.

Oceania's "OLife Choice" package provides additional value to your cruise with 2-for-1 cruise fares, free round-trip airfare and airport transfers – plus one free amenity you'll choose out of eight complimentary shore excursions, a beverage package or up to $800 in shipboard credit.

Explore Oceania Cruises on GoToSea.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity offers special rates and packages throughout the year that save money over a la carte pricing – and elevate your onboard experience to be more inclusive. You'll be able to access the best deal on the added perks if you book the upgraded package before you sail, saving up to 40 to 50 percent of the actual cost.

The line's "All-Included" package bundles the most popular add-ons for cruisers: a standard beverage package for alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks, unlimited basic Wi-Fi, and gratuities for the staff and crew. Pricing depends on the stateroom or suite category and sailing.

There are other options when booking a cruise with Celebrity to create a more upscale and all-inclusive experience. Guests staying in all-suite The Retreat have exclusive access to a sundeck (on select ships), a lounge and Luminae – a private restaurant that features Global Culinary Ambassador Daniel Boulud at the helm. Guests of The Retreat booking the "All-Included" package receive a premium beverage package, premium unlimited Wi-Fi, gratuities and an onboard credit.

If you book AquaClass accommodations, you'll also have access to complimentary amenities and perks, such as unlimited access to the SEA Thermal Suite, discounts on spa treatment packages and complimentary fitness classes. In addition, you'll also find a bottle of sparkling wine upon arrival (by request) and two bottles of water refreshed daily in your room. AquaClass guests also have exclusive access to the restaurant Blu. You can add the "All-Included" package to your booking, which will include the Classic Drinks Package, basic Wi-Fi and gratuities.

Passengers who want to book this "All-Included" package and are sharing a stateroom or suite will need to book the same package.

Compare Celebrity Cruises on GoToSea.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian also offers promotional fares and special deals throughout the year that feature similar amenities and perks to what you'll find on an all-inclusive cruise. The "Free at Sea" deal bundles discounts on the cruise, free specialty dining, unlimited open bar privileges, shore excursion credits, savings on Wi-Fi access, discounts on the third and fourth guests in the stateroom, and a 2-for-1 deal on airfare.

"Free at Sea Plus" takes the package up a notch with a more comprehensive beverage selection, including top-shelf cocktails, Champagne by the glass, bottles of select premium wines at dinner and signature Starbucks coffee drinks. This option also includes unlimited Wi-Fi, additional nights of specialty dining and shore excursions.

Prices for both packages on Norwegian Cruise Line will depend on the dates, length and destination of the cruise.

Book a Norwegian Cruise Line cruise on GoToSea.

Holland America Line

Holland America Line's "Have It All Premium Cruise Package" is available to book for cruises six days or longer, excluding the line's Grand Voyages. The benefits vary depending on the length of the trip but include credits for shore excursions; the Signature Beverage Package; specialty dining at Tamarind, Pinnacle Grill or Canaletto; and a Wi-Fi Surf Package. The cost starts at $50 a day per person. 

An early booking bonus for this package includes an Elite Beverage Package upgrade, covered crew appreciation charges and a premium Wi-Fi upgrade. Holland America has other special promotions throughout the year. One of these is an early booking bonus of up to $400 in onboard credit per stateroom for Mariner Society members.

Find Holland America deals on GoToSea.

Princess Cruises

"Princess Plus" and "Princess Premier" packages offer guests two options to upgrade their onboard amenities from the standard Princess Cruises plan, which covers accommodations, dining, entertainment and the line's signature MedallionClass experience.

"Princess Plus" perks include a beverage package with drinks up to $15 each, Wi-Fi on one device per guest, gratuities for the crew, two premium desserts a day (think hazelnut gelato at the onboard gelateria), two fitness classes per cruise (such as Pure Barre or YogaSix) and unlimited trips to the juice bar. The cost is $60 per day per person for this middle-tier package.

Additional benefits of the highest-tier option, at $80 per person per day, include the Premier Beverage Package, which covers drinks up to $20 each, and Wi-Fi for up to four devices per guest. Other features of the "Princess Premier" upgrade are two specialty meals, a photo package, Princess Prizes, reserved theater seating and a Medallion accessory.

Explore Princess Cruises on GoToSea.

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

Gwen Pratesi has been an avid cruiser since her early 20s. She has sailed to destinations around the globe on nearly every type of cruise ship built, including the newest megaships, luxury yachts and traditional masted sailing ships. Most recently, she traveled on a small expedition vessel in Antarctica and crossed the notorious Drake Passage twice. She covers the travel and culinary industries for major publications, including U.S. News & World Report.

You might also be interested in:

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  • First-Time Cruise Tips: Mistakes to Avoid
  • Bucket List Cruises for Seniors and Retirees
  • The Best Cruise Insurance Policies
  • Cruise vs. All-Inclusive Resort: Which One Is Right for You?

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All fares are in US dollars, per person, based on double occupancy, and reflect promotional savings, are for new bookings only, are subject to availability, and must be booked by September 1, 2019. Promotional savings in categories F-B on the December 21st sailing and categories C-D on the December 27th sailing only. *Included roundtrip airfare from Los Angeles or San Francisco is based on availability in class of service. Offer may be combined with applicable 3rd guest in stateroom offer but may not be combinable with other offers. Port, security, and handling charges of $149 per person are additional. Additional terms and conditions may apply. Call for details. Ship’s registry: Bahamas.

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Cruises to Alaska

Alaska Cruises

The ultimate small ship experience meets glacier adventures, wildlife encounters & gold rush towns.

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  • Alaska Experiences

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The Last Frontier

Experience Alaska the way it was meant to be with Oceania Cruises. Revel in the natural wonders of The Last Frontier while enjoying a luxurious small ship experience aboard the beautifully re-inspired Regatta . Our Alaska cruises immerse you in the best of the 49 th state – calving glaciers, breathtaking fjords, fascinating wildlife encounters and lively historic gold mining towns like Juneau and Skagway. Each new day brings exciting adventures like witnessing the beauty of Hubbard Glacier, crabbing in the Bering Sea, helicopter flightseeing, glacier trekking and so much more.

Alaska Cruises Special Offers

Oceania Cruises Holiday Sale

Alaska Shore Excursions

From insider tours of natural wonders and immersions in local communities to ale tasting tours, our Alaska shore excursions bring you the best of the regional cuisine, culture and history. More extended evening stays across the region give you the chance to revel in the great outdoors of Alaska with more in-depth explorations, adventures ashore and leisurely, meaningful touring.

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Dream. Plan. Discover.

To the lover of wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world.

Alaska Ports

Alaska Seattle Skyline Hotel

Extend your stay before or after your Alaska cruise at one of these luxurious hotels, carefully selected for their superb location, ambiance, world-class standards of service, cuisine and amenities. Our hotel packages include free air date changes up to 3 days before or after your cruise and free transfers between the airport, hotel and ship as well as porterage. You’ll also enjoy the services of our exclusive Oceania Cruises hospitality desk at each hotel.

Featured Alaska Hotels

The Fairmont Olympic Hotel Seattle, Washington

The Fairmont Olympic Hotel

Seattle, washington.

One of the city’s most celebrated historic landmarks and a premier luxury hotel in Seattle, the Fairmont Olympic Hotel is conveniently located in downtown Seattle. It’s close to Pike Place Market, the cruise ship terminal and many local attractions. Elegance surrounds you as you enter the guest rooms and suites. The 450 hotel rooms feature lavish bedding, luxurious amenities and conveniences, providing the ultimate in downtown Seattle luxury accommodations. The Fairmont Olympic is a local favorite for dining in Seattle with two award-winning restaurants.


Fairmont Waterfront

Vancouver, british columbia.

The accommodations at Fairmont Waterfront will surround you with contemporary elegance and classic detailing. Make yourself at home in a relaxed West Coast setting. With floor-to-ceiling windows providing scenic views, Fairmont Waterfront’s premium rooms feature HDTVs, free Wi-Fi and coffee machines. Upgraded quarters feature high ceilings and terraces, while luxe suites add separate living rooms as well as wet bars and/or whirlpool baths. Select rooms also feature access to a club lounge with drinks and food. Enjoy 24-hour room service, a heated outdoor pool and a health club. Unwind at the posh hotel restaurant with harbor views and a bar with live music.

Alaska Rocky Mountaineer Land Program

Land Programs

Our Alaska Pre- and Post-Cruise Land Programs invite you to immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty and stunning natural wonders of this region. These multi-day, in-depth Land Programs include exclusive tours , premium hotel stays, airport transfers when arriving and departing the day your program begins and ends, and oftentimes locally inspired meals and porterage too.

Alaska Land Programs

Canadian Rockies by Rocky Mountaineer

Rocky Mountaineer: Wonders of the West

Travel through the Canadian Rockies in luxury aboard the Rocky Mountaineer while gazing at the majestic wilderness through the train’s oversized glass-dome windows. Natural beauty and engineering feats like the Spiral Tunnels serve as a prelude to the adventures ahead. Journey across Athabasca glacier in an Ice Explorer. Zip to the summit of Sulphur Mountain in a gondola. And marvel at the stunning turquoise waters of glacier-fed Lake Louise, while eye-opening tours of Banff and Calgary add an unexpected urban flair.

  • Meet and greet at Calgary Airport
  • Shuttle transfer from Calgary airport to Calgary hotel
  • One night in Calgary at the Fairmont Palliser or similar
  • Two nights in Banff at the Moose Hotel & Suites or similar
  • One night in Kamloops at a three-star hotel
  • One night in Vancouver at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver Hotel or similar
  • Breakfast each morning
  • Shared transfers to or from the stations in Banff, Kamloops and Vancouver
  • Two days on the award-winning Rocky Mountaineer with breakfast, lunch, snacks and alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks included – GoldLeaf Service
  • Gratuities for the onboard train hosts
  • Oceania Cruises private group tours of Banff and Lake Louise including Banff Gondola with driver-guide
  • Visit to the Calgary Heritage Park, including cowboy lunch
  • Icefields Experience with Ice Explorer ride and buffet lunch
  • A dedicated professional tour director for the entire journey
  • Coach transfer between Vancouver and Seattle for embarkation


Discover Denali

It’s one show-stopping vista after another as you travel by domed railcar and on scenic byways through the iconic wilds of Alaska. North America’s highest peak lords over its namesake Denali National Park, the first created specifically to protect wildlife. What a success as grizzlies, caribou and Dall sheep thrive in this natural wonderland. See glacial-fed rivers, watch an Alaskan native presentation on the history of the land and see the original ranger’s cabin, once the only outpost in the 6-million-acre park.

  • Two nights at the Marriott Hotel Anchorage or similar
  • One night at the Denali Park Village or similar
  • Denali Natural History Tour in Denali National Park
  • One reception and lecture on Denali
  • Deluxe Dome Rail tour
  • Tours and sightseeing as per the program
  • Full breakfast daily
  • Fully escorted
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GCT M/S Tikhi Don - St. Petersburg to Moscow

By usnavyguy , June 24, 2012 in River Cruising

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This is a review of a St. Petersburg to Moscow river cruise from 5/31/2012 - 6/14/2012 with Grand Circle Travel. I'll divide the review into sections starting with the ship so folks can jump to those sections of interest & ignore what isn't pertinent to them. For an excellent discussion on pre-trip planning, visa issues, comments on various cruise lines, this link:

will give you all the details you need. I'll not repeat it here.

So, let's get to the specifics:

Ship : Tikhi Don is owned by Grand Circle Travel (GCT) and is one of two ships, the other being M/V Rossia they operate between Moscow & St. Petersburg. All the cabins are identical: 146 square feet with one window that opens, situated on 3 decks. The only difference is location on the ship. The cabins were clean as were the attached bathrooms. Storage space was adequate for two weeks. There is one 120V and one 220V electrical outlet in the cabin as well as a 115V electrical outlet in the bathroom. I purchased a 4 outlet power strip specifically for this trip to plug in rechargeable digital camera batteries as well as a cell phone. The ship has an elevator near the reception desk forward that services Decks 1, 2, and 3. There is a double stairway in the after end of the ship that runs from the Main Deck to Decks 2, 3, and 4. All other stairways are external and serve all 4 decks. We had about 206 passengers embarked and about 100 staff, so the ratio of staff to cruisers was pretty high. It seems that all river ships operating in Russia carry about 200 or so customers which make them quite a bit larger than the average European waterways river ship. Since they have far fewer bridges to deal with in terms of height, and water depths are somewhat deeper than European rivers, they can and do take advantage of that to leverage a larger number of customers. That doesn't make it bad; it just makes it different. Tikhi Don draws about 9 feet of water which I suspect is about average for a Russian river cruiser. The ship has two bars, one on the 3rd deck forward (Tsar Bar) and one on the 4th deck aft (Presidents Bar). The restaurant is located on the 2nd deck aft and is used for the breakfast buffet and the sit down daily lunches & dinners. One disadvantage to my way of thinking was the sit down lunch. When we've cruised on Viking, they offered a light buffet lunch in the bar/lounge and a sit down lunch in the restaurant. That gave one some options which weren't available with GCT. Again, not necessarily bad; just different. Each cabin is equipped with a flat panel LCD TV with various satellite channels available depending upon the location of the ship at the time. There also were 3 different movie channels showing a different movie each day. Since we didn’t watch TV, I can only surmise it must have worked okay as we did not hear any complaints. While each cabin has individual air conditioning controls, they didn’t appear to function very effectively and the cabin remained around 68-70 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. There is a separate heating unit mounted beneath the window on the outside bulkhead which proved very useful on some of the colder mornings we experienced during the cruise. The cruise covers 829 miles between St. Petersburg and Moscow, and consists of several lakes, rivers and canals including the transit of 16 locks.

Travelers: One significant difference I noted was the average age of the passengers was somewhat older than we had previously experienced with Viking in Europe. I would guess that average age was around mid-70s; some younger, and some a good bit older. We had several veterans of WW2 embarked and I can only hope I'm as spry as they were when I'm that age. They also are very loyal to GCT. Those folks who had previously traveled 3 or more times with GCT or their companion company, Overseas Adventure Travel were identified with a gold name badge. I'd estimate that at least 50% of the embarked travelers fell into this category. This was a very seasoned group of world travelers. Few on the trip were making their 1st river cruise and even fewer were traveling with GCT for the 1st time (we fell into that category). The tours generally involved quite a bit of walking and a not so slow pace, but most everyone managed to keep at it, and few opted out of the walking tours. I'll discuss those in more detail later in this post.

Ship Staff: The staff was quite young (mid to late 20s mostly), inexperienced, but always willing to help. Their command of English was generally very limited although I expect that will improve as the season wears on. Their English was way better than my Cyrillic so they get an A+ for effort. The cruise is managed by a Cruise Director who spoke idiomatic English. The ship's Captain was the most personable Captain I have ever sailed with on a cruise ship. He spoke good English, greeted all the travelers as they debarked for each tour, met each traveler at the gangplank when they returned, and along with the Cruise Director and Hospitality Manager stood on the pier and waved goodbye to every bus that departed. I'm used to the Captain putting in a brief appearance at the Welcome & Farewell Cocktail parties, then disappearing for rest of the cruise. This was a novel & most welcome change.

We were divided into 6 groups of about 32-35 people, assigned a Tour Director who worked exclusively with that group for the entire cruise. Very occasionally for an optional tour, the groups would be combined to keep the numbers about the same, but basically, you functioned within your assigned group. The Tour Directors all had majored in foreign languages at the University and had anywhere from two to as many as eight years with GCT. They all spoke idiomatic English and did a great job of keeping track of their charges. I liken managing U.S. tour groups to herding cats and these folks were always cheerful, ready to answer any question, and resolve any problem. The wait staff in the dining room had limited English, but knew enough to converse with the passengers with regard to the menu & was a hustling young group of Russians. They were extremely pleasant to deal with.

Food on Board: In general the meals were quite good. Breakfast was served buffet style and one always had the opportunity to order an omelet or eggs of any style. There also was a special breakfast order each day. They also included the European breakfast meats and other items common on European river cruise ships. Service was quick and efficient. Restaurant seating included tables for 2, 4, 6 or 10 passengers so there was a wide variety of seating. Lunches & dinners would be best described as Russian modified for American taste. As I remarked previously, all lunches were sit down, formal service with soup, entre (including a vegetarian selection). Salad bar and dessert. Dinners consisted of an appetizer, followed by a soup course, entre (again including a vegetarian choice), and dessert. At dinner, there was always available salmon or chicken breast with a baked potato and steamed vegetables for those who did not fancy the main course. Food was served hot when appropriate and cold when in order. Service was friendly and efficient. Even with 200 people sitting down to eat, there was no sense of “steam table” cooking. With the exception of two meals ashore, all meals were served onboard. In the event of an evening tour such as the Moscow circus or the St. Petersburg ballet, an early dinner was served to those attending the event, followed by a late night heavy snack following return onboard. While I did not eat very many lunches, my wife tried most of them and said the food was very good. We found the dinners to be tasty and a nice introduction to Russian cooking, including the famous Russian stroganoff which is not served over noodles as it is in the U.S., but over spaetzle or mashed potatoes which we were told is common in Russia. Early bird coffee was available from 6:00-7:00AM and also throughout the day at the coffee station on the main deck. Lunch was served at either noon or 1:00PM depending on the tour schedule, with dinner at 7:00PM.

Onboard Activities: There was never a shortage of things to do onboard, but all were voluntary so you could participate in as few or as many as you wished. They featured the usual port talks, introduction to the Russian language, lectures on Russian handicrafts, vodka tastings, blini parties, pelmeni (dumpling) cooking class, and hand painting of Russian Matryoshka (nesting) dolls. We also noted several spontaneous bridge, cribbage, and canasta card games in progress at various times.

There is a large, well stocked gift store on the ship, operated as a separate concession. My wife found the prices for souvenirs of all types were generally better than souvenir shops ashore. They accept major credit cards or roubles. You cannot charge items from the store to your shipboard account.

Tours: There were a limited number of optional (extra cost) tours available. In St. Petersburg, that included:

Rivers & Canals of St. Petersburg

Yusopov Palace

St. Petersburg Ballet

Peterhof Gardens

In Petrozavodosk: Karelian Folk Show

Zlatoust Singers

Jewish Heritage of Moscow

Tretyakov Gallery

You can view the details of these optional tours on the GCT website:

under the Russian river cruise itinerary.

All passengers are provided with a pair of head phones & a battery powered receiver to provide the ability to listen to the tour guide while still wandering about the particular venue. The system works perfectly and depending upon location & interference such as walls, floors, and the like is crystal clear up to 100 feet from the tour guide. I have used these systems on other tours and would never consider a tour/cruise that did not employ this technology.

We took the Rivers & Canals of St. Petersburg tour which entailed taking a canal boat up & down the various rivers & canals running through St. Petersburg. It lasted approximately 90 minutes with a well informed local guide who commented on what we were seeing. It was interesting and informative and gives you another whole perspective on St. Petersburg than from a city bus tour.

We also went on the Peterhof gardens tour which unfortunately, did not go as well. The morning tour for that day was Peter & Paul Fortress which was really not that interesting and turned out to be just another church tour. However, because of the distance from where the boat moored to the fortress, then into St. Petersburg for lunch, the morning and part of the afternoon was pretty well shot by the time we departed for Peterhof. Peterhof is a good 45 minute drive from St. Petersburg; so consequently, it was well after 2:00PM when we arrived at the gardens. I’d like to say the local guide tried to cram what could easily have been a 4 hour tour into something less than two hours. So, we consequently were trying to set land speed records for walking tours as she was determined to show us as many of the Peterhof fountains as possible, and there are more than a few. My wife is a bit slow of foot as she has limited walking capacity so she was hard pressed to keep up. I, on the other hand, wanted more time to take pictures of the fountains and didn’t appreciate being rushed from spot to spot. Fortunately, our tour director Alex was particularly solicitous of my wife and made sure we could cut some corners and get ahead of the tour where necessary. Unfortunately, the local tour guide was annoyed when told to slow down and became somewhat hostile. The tour ends at the Peterhof palace which has a very large number of very beautiful fountains, all in gold leaf and is a photographer’s dream. It easily could have been worth an hour or more of picture taking opportunities. While I do understand some folks just want to check the block of having seen it and move on, there are, I think, a larger number of us who don’t expect to see those things again and want to take full advantage of the picture taking opportunities.

St. Petersburg: We spent 4 days in St. Petersburg not counting the day of arrival. The 1st full day, we had a city bus tour which included a stop & tour of St. Isaac’s Cathedral, and an approximately two hour visit to the famed Hermitage Art Museum with an option to stay for an additional 90 minutes, On Day 2, we had Catherine’s Palace & Park Tour, an offsite lunch paid for by GCT followed by the optional Rivers & Canals Tour, Day 4 was the Peter & Paul Fortress, again followed by lunch (this time on your own) followed by the optional Peterhof Gardens tour. On Day 3 of the visit, there were optional tours available of Yusopov Palace and the St. Petersburg ballet (evening). The boat was moored about 1 hour from downtown, depending on traffic, as the city authorities do not allow the riverboats to moor downtown. This caused some angst among those taking their 1st river cruise as they assumed this was standard. Of course, it’s not, and in fact, almost all European river cruises including Paris moor almost in the heart of the city. However, for those with free time and a little bit of adventurism, the subway took you downtown in less than 40 minutes. There is a bus from the head of the pier which costs 30 roubles (in early June 2012, roubles were 32.5 to 1 USD). That dropped you at the nearest metro entrance where 25 roubles and 5 stops later, landed you in the heart of Nevsky Prospekt, St. Petersburg’s equivalent to Times Square in NY or Michigan Avenue in Chicago. The metro is clean, no graffiti in the stations or on the cars, efficiently run and very safe. To return to the ship, just reverse the process. Once downtown, there are many attractions within easy walking distance such as the statue of the Bronze Horseman, a tribute from Catherine the Great to Peter the Great and the Church of our Savior on the Spilled Blood on which site, Tsar Alexander II was murdered by an assassin on 1 March 1881.

This was our 2nd time in St. Petersburg as we were there on an ocean cruise of the Baltics in 2003 when the city celebrated its 300th anniversary. It is to my mind, much more European than Russian with the latest fashions on display, many, many outdoor restaurant cafes and a mostly young, apparently well off population (at least during a business day).

We had previously been to Catherine’s Palace and the Hermitage and enjoyed returning to both places. St. Isaac’s is very impressive, but unfortunately, it is crowded and pickpockets are afoot. Several men & at least 1 woman had wallets stolen in the crowds so for them, not so much fun. Peter and Paul Fortress from a historical perspective is important, but rather unimpressive.

We visited St. Petersburg during the period of the summer referred to as “White Nights” which are quite famous. Sunrise occurs about 4:30AM and sunset at 11:15PM. Since winters are long, cold, and sometimes very harsh, the many hours of sunlight are greatly appreciated and folks go out to stroll, especially on Nevsky Prospekt well into the evening hours enjoying the many parks and recreation areas throughout the city.

Svir Stroi: This is a small village of about 600 people located on the Svir River. They have the requisite souvenir shops, but the highlight of the stop was the visit to the home of a Russian villager. Our opportunity came to visit the wife of a local employee of the hydro electric plant. We visited her home and were served tea & pirozhki’s (Russian tea cakes). With the able help of our tour director, Tanya who translated, the lady explained her daily life in the village and the challenges ordinary people now face compared to the days of the Soviet Union. This is also where we first encountered the fierce Russian mosquitoes or as the tour directors called them, the KGB mosquitoes. They’re big, they bite and they fly around over the 3 months of summer. Mosquito repellent does, however, work when liberally applied.

Petrozavodsk: This port city on Lake Onega which is the second largest lake in Europe, only surpassed by Lake Ladoga, included a bus tour as well as a visit to the memorial to Russian’s Unknown Soldier from World War II, and a tour of the local market. It is the industrial, cultural, and scientific center of the Republic of Karelia. The visit also included an optional tour to a Karelian folk show which we opted not to attend.

Kizhi (Kee-shee) Island: This small island in the center of Lake Onega is home to the oldest known wooden church in Russia, the Church of Transfiguration which features 22 timbered onion shaped domes. The church was assembled without the use of a single metal nail and is currently undergoing extensive renovation. The stop also featured a “Fishing with the Ship’s Captain & Staff” for those who are ardent anglers. Fishing apparently wasn’t so successful as we did not have fish on the menu that evening!

Goritzy/Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery: Goritsky is just another tiny town, but the monastery was built in 1397 and had close connections with Ivan the Terrible. At one time, over 200 monks lived in the monastery, but with the Russian revolution and the harsh suppression of religion in Russia, it deteriorated significantly and now houses only 6 monks. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, restoration efforts have begun and the museum features an impressive collection of Russian Orthodox icons.

Uglich: The last city we visited prior to Moscow is located on the Volga River. Cruising on the river as you come onto Uglich is very impressive. The Kremlin (or fortress) has no exterior walls so the many colored churches and domes make great picture opportunities. The very large Cathedral of Transfiguration looms over the town while the Church of St. Dmitry on the Blood with its rich red walls and blue onion domes offer a sharp contrast. Souvenir and shops selling all sorts of goods line the route from the ship’s berth to the main street of Uglich. We were told by the local guide that as many as 7 to 8 river cruise ships a day visit Uglich during the summer. They also were having a display of lacquer and paper Mache’ boxes for sale at very Western prices. Enameled watches are also a specialty of Uglich. We were treated to a short concert by a group of male classically trained singers who rendered several Russian songs a capella during our visit.

Moscow: We arrived in Moscow about 3 hours late because of heavy fog the previous evening while transiting the Moscow Canal. The river authorities do not allow movement in the canal during heavy fog, so we waited out the down time in one of the locks. The ship moored a good ways from downtown as the city authorities do not allow river cruise ships downtown, the same rule as St. Petersburg. Moscow is a city of 11.5 million people and traffic can be a nightmare. However, we were fortunate to arrive on a Monday before a national holiday (Day of Russia) on Tuesday and Moscovites are like people everywhere; they angle to take the day before a big holiday off. So, the traffic to downtown was pretty light and we made up some time on the city tour which started in the famous Red Square outside the Kremlin walls. The tour included a walk around Saint Basil’s Cathedral which is actually a museum, then on to the GUM department store which resembles a U.S. mall. We also walked past a “Historic Toilet” located in Gum’s that I believe was the 1st indoor lavatory in a Moscow department store. (Use of the WC was 84 roubles for those interested; I took a pass). We also went for a ride on the famed Moscow metro where many of the stations are elaborately decorated in frescoes, busts representing the struggle of the common man, and other adornments of the Russian revolution. As in St. Petersburg, the metro is clean (no graffiti in the stations or on the cars) and very safe.

The next day was the national holiday so our tours steered us quite far from Red Square (where demonstrations were purported to occur against the Presidential election recently completed) and out to Sparrow Hills which is a high priced area of the city. We also toured the New Maiden cemetery where various Russian notables such as Boris Yeltsin and Nikita Khrushchev are buried. The evening tour involved a visit to the Moscow circus which has been in continuous operation since 1980. A fun time of clowns, jugglers, trained poodles, bears, a lion taming act and culminated with a trapeze performance by 5 daring men & 1 woman.

The following day was a tour inside the Kremlin walls and to one of the 5 churches located inside the walls. I found it ironic that 5 churches would be allowed to exist following the revolution, but many things in Russia are strange, this only being one example. We also toured the Kremlin armory which contains the Tsar’s Crown Jewels, armor and armaments of the 16th- 18th century, many Tsarina coronation and wedding dresses as well as a very extensive display of Faberge eggs. The tour concluded with lunch at Moscow’s Hard Rock Café and time to tour Arbat Street which is a pedestrian only street in the heart of Moscow.

We had family obligations that required us to cut the last full day off the cruise and return home via direct flight from Moscow to Dulles International.

Final Observations: It was a very interesting and different river cruise for us. Because the distances are so vast, there is a lot more down time on this cruise than one in European waters, but Grand Circle can make it as busy or as relaxed as you like. The meals were comparable to those served on our other river cruises for quantity and quality. There are slightly more optional tours than with some other companies, but on the other hand, some of the included tours were excellent. St. Petersburg is a great city and one I’d be pleased to visit again; Moscow, not so much. Grand Circle is certainly worth your consideration as a cruise line as the prices are competitive with all other Russian river cruises. We did book our air through Grand Circle which I’m normally reluctant to do, but the routing was the same that I would have chosen had I done my own booking and the pricing was better than I could do on my own, especially considering what GCT would have charged for transfers to and from the ship. We did not purchase travel insurance through GCT as I found we could do better by shopping around over the Internet.

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Share on other sites, beverlyjack.

We did this trip in 2004, aboard the chartered Nicholay Chernychevski, before Grand Circle had put the Tikhi Don into service. This was an excellent review and brings back memories. Please post it under Travelers Reviews on on this trip.


Thank you for the informative review. I am taking this tour in mid August. I will print what you wrote so that I can refer to it as I do some of my planning.

How many people were in your "group" ? Did you take the pretrip to Helsinki and Tallinn?

We had about 32 people in our group. I don't know what, if any criteria, other than numbers were used to make up the groups. We did not take any pre or post trips with this cruise.

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

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