Costa Allegra cruise fire and Puerto Vallarta robbery should mean good deals
Minutes after I sent out a Twitter message yesterday about how a bunch of Carnival Cruise ship passengers were robbed near Puerto Vallarta the other day, I got a note from a savvy friend of mine.
"Good time to book that Puerto Vallarta trip, doncha think?"
It may sound a little cold, but he's absolutely right. The best time to book a trip often is right after an incident such as this. Call it a BNB if you like, Bad News Bargain, but that's often the way things work in life.
The papers have been rife lately with great cruise deals, seeing as so many people were scared by the deaths of passengers on the Costa ship that struck land off Italy a few weeks back. Then came word yesterday that another Costa Cruise ship, the Allegra (see photo), was adrift off the Seychelles Islands after a fire onboard knocked out power to the engines. ABC News had some fun with the issue, stating that the accident left the ship without power in the "pirate-infested" Indian Ocean.
(Costa is owned by Carnival, which means Carnival got a double hit yesterday; the Puerto Vallarta robbery and the Allegra fire. Oh, sorry, make that a triple hit. Two Carnival Corp. ships were turned away from docking in Argentina because they had stopped earlier in the Falkland Islands, still the subject of dispute between Argentina and Britain.)
So you have to think that cruises are going to remain attractive, from a price standpoint, for a little while longer. Puerto Vallarta, too, will have to work harder in the next few weeks to overcome the robbery.
Hey, you want a REALLY great deal? Maybe you can find a cruise departing from Puerto Vallarta! That's a double bad-news-bargain if I ever saw one.
Actually, just for fun, I went onto the Costa Cruise website this morning and found some pretty great-sounding deals. One cruise, called Mexican Magic, is a 10-day affair that departs Miami on March 18 and goes to Nassau, Grand Turks Bahamas, Ocho Rios in Jamaica, Cozumel in Mexico, Belize and Roatan (Honduras). The website has a starting price of $1,889 crossed out and replaced with $699 - a 63 per cent discount. It's for two people in an undoubtedly small cabin, but if you do the math you're looking at $70 a night for a room per person and all the food you can eat. An even crazier deal is the Costa Caribbean, Spain, Portugal trip that's 15 days (departing March 5, mind you) and is being discounted from $2,449 to $749. That's less than $50 per night per person, although you'd have to pay to get to Guadeloupe in the Caribbean to take advantage. The Mexican Magic deal is better, probably, as it's far cheaper to fly Toronto to Miami.
Either way, there are obviously some great deals to be had out there.
The powerless Allegra and its 1,000 passengers and crew is being towed by a French fishing vessel to the Seychelles Islands, according to wire reports. Helicopters are said to be bringing in food, satellite phones and shortwave radios. The ship isn't expected to make land until Thursday morning.
One report I saw today said the ship originally was headed to the small island of Desroches (see photo). But it was decided that wouldn't work as it's a small island and there wouldn't be any way to moor the ship or get guests onto the land in a proper fashion. Desroches is a favourite holiday island for Prince William and Kate Middleton and has one luxury resort with 48 rooms and villas, costing about $1,500 per night. As if Costa needs that kind of bill....
The ship now is headed to Mahe island in the Seychelles, according to ABC News.
A story at www.travelmarketreport.com expanded on the situation with Carnival and the problems in Mexico.
"The latest Carnival troubles came on the heels of news that 22 passengers on the Carnival Splendor were robbed during a shore excursion in Puerto Vallarta last week.
There were no injuries, but the armed assailant made off with cash, cameras, jewelry and other valuables. The specific tour was the City Tour & Tropical Jungle Escape.
All the guests returned safely to the ship and disembarked Sunday in Long Beach, Calif., following the weeklong Mexican Riviera sailing.
In the Mexico incident, Carnival issued a statement saying that "numerous authorities were notified and responded to investigate, as well as assist the affected guests. The tour in question has been suspended until further notice."
Yeah, I guess so.
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