Vacation and Travel to California

As you travel around California, you’ll be struck by the state’s astounding cultural diversity and sense of prosperity. You will also be struck by its natural beauty; towering forests and incredible mountains are just hours away from beautiful beaches and deserts.

Explore California by Regions

Central Coast

A tranquil expanse between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the romantics and fairy tale-like Central Coast is often called California’s Middle Kingdom. Dramatic seascapes, coastal resorts, and pastoral inland agricultural communities, make this region an idyllic destination.

Central Valley

California’s agricultural bounty flows from the Central Valley, one of the most productive farming areas in the world. This thriving region includes a wealth of culturally diverse communities, historic sites, exceptional outdoor recreational opportunities and plentiful wildlife.

Deserts

California’s deserts are a study in contrasts: Mountain ranges composed of nothing but bare, jagged rock rise abruptly out of flat, sun bathed basins, the land sparsely covered by creosote and bizarrely twisted Joshua trees.

Gold Country

Cradled between the High Sierra and the Central Valley, this territory offers remnants of 1849’s wild days and one of the biggest gold rushes of all time. With rustic towns, picturesque scenery, ample recreational and cultural activities, this region is filled with golden opportunities.

High Sierra

The magnificent Sierra Nevada mountain range serves as the backbone to the spectacular High Sierra region – the setting for a wealth of outdoor recreation. This monumental region contains three of the nation’s most treasured National Parks and truly embodies the American wilderness.

inland Empire

Larger than Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Delaware combined, the Inland Empire encompassing the mountain ranges to the north and sunny farmlands, orchards, and vineyards along the lush Santa Ana River Valley is truly an empire.

Los Angeles County

Ever since filming in Los Angeles in 1913, the world has been fascinated by movie making  and Hollywood’s great dream factories. Where else can you go snow boarding in the morning and catch a wave in the afternoon, or hike deep into the wilderness just off a busy freeway?

North Coast

This spectacular region stretches over some 400 miles of rugged coastline from north of San Francisco to the primeval redwood forests below the Oregon border. This region reaches 40 miles inland to lush vineyards, pastoral farms and quaint villages filled with antique shops.

Orange County

Legend has it that Walt Disney looked all over Southern California before deciding on 75 acres of orange trees in Anaheim for the site of his first amusement park. Residents and visitors are also drawn to the county’s 42 miles of beaches and vast tracts of green space.

San Diego County

With its rich Hispanic heritage, temperate climate, deep-sea harbors, sandy beaches and a variety of fun-filled attractions, San Diego County maintains its reputation as a world-famous destination.

San Fransisco Bay Area

Blessed with a variable fog-cooked, sun-kissed climate and a dramatic landscape, the Bay Area is a visual feast. Add to this a cultural medley: within every neighborhood, a diversity of tastes and interests is thriving. To embrace all this, all you have to do is get out and explore.

Shasta Cascade

Big physically as well as in spirit, the Shasta Cascade region is the great outdoors at its vigorous best. It is a land of dense conifer forests, volcanic landscapes, and few people. The area’s dominating feature, the snowy volcano Mt. Shasta is one of North America’s biggest mountains.

GETTING THE BEST CRUISE PRICE

How can I get a good cruise rate?

  • Paying the brochure rate for a cruise is like paying the full sticker price for a car. Cruise Match Vacations can easily find you a good discount off those rates.
  • Book early, the booking rates become more expensive the closer to sailing. Booking early on a Cruise Line generally refers to 120 days prior to sail date.
  • Be flexible about your travel plans. As with every other travel industry, cruising during the off season will also help you save money.
  • Apply any coupons or special discount programs for which you are eligible.

  What types of special discount programs are available?

  • Discounts may be available for associations, corporations, seniors, children or even large groups or family reunions.
  • Memberships in loyalty clubs often include offers of discounts and upgrades.
  • Some credit cards will have special discounts available to their cardholders.
  • Package deals often include a discounted cruise price along with pre or post-cruise activities.

Do I have to book early to get a good deal?

If you book early you will have a better chance of getting exactly what you want and a discounted price. However, if the ships have low occupancy rates close to sailing, you can still find great deals. With all the new large ships that are being launched, last minute deals are still a possibility. But, these deals can be limited and many people don’t have the flexibility to leave or at least book in an instant.

Do cruises ever go on sale?

Yes, 2 for 1 deals are popular sale incentives where two cruises are offered for the price of one. However, airfare is usually not included in the two for one rate. Cruise Lines have also offered discounted or free airfares; free post or pre-cruise hotel stays, free cabin upgrades, extra days free or free shore excursions.

Are there any deals to encourage me to go on my first cruise?

Some Cruise Lines will offer a first time cruiser discount to encourage you to give their Cruise Line a try. It probably wont have to be your first cruise, just your first cruise with that Cruise Line.

Are there any discount programs available for frequent cruisers?

Yes, Cruise Lines are beginning to go the way of the airlines and offer special discounts or other incentives to those who have been on previous cruises with the Cruise Line. Most of these loyalty clubs publish magazines to update frequent cruisers on their Cruise Lines programs and will often include discounts and other special offers.

 What is a repositioning cruise?

Since peak seasons vary in different parts of the globe, Cruise Lines will sometimes move their ships around to keep a higher occupancy rate and to take advantage of those peak season rates. When a ship moves from an existing itinerary in the Caribbean to Alaska or Europe, the trip to the new itinerary is called a repositioning cruise.

How could going on a repositioning cruise save me money?

The Cruise Line wants to cover the cost of moving the ship by filling the ship with paying customers. These cruises are different than what the Cruise Line normally advertises and many are unaware that these cruises even exist. The Cruise Line will often offer deep discounts on these cruises to encourage bookings. Although youll be seeing a different part of the world and probably spend less time in ports than on their normal cruises, you’ll get the same ship and all the good food at a better rate.

How can I get the most for my money on a short cruise?

You might consider a during the week four-day cruise instead of a three-day weekend cruise. Since it is harder for people to get away during the week than on the weekend, there can be less demand for the four-day cruise, so you might get that extra day cheap.

Does it matter how I pay for my cruise?

It might, some credit card companies have special discounts available if you use their credit card with a particular Cruise Line. Some Cruise Lines will also offer a discount if you pay for the entire cruise in advance instead of just paying the standard deposit.

BUDGETING FOR YOUR CRUISE

How will I know how much to budget for my entire cruise vacation?

You’ll probably find this easier on a cruise than for other vacations because of the all inclusive cruise programs. The cabin, on board entertainment and food are generally always included. Extra items for which to budget for your vacation:

  • Taxes, surcharges, and fees. Including airport fees, handling fees, departure taxes and port charges. You should verify which fees and port taxes are included in your cruise rate.
  • Alcoholic beverages, bottled water and occasionally soft drinks are not included.
  • Cost of reaching the ship, airline tickets not booked in package, shuttle service or in port parking fees if not included.
  • The costs of staying at port before or after the cruise, such as hotel, transportation and meals.
  • Expenses while in port such as taxis, entertainment/activities, optional off ship meals.
  • Some shore excursions.
  • Shopping purchases made both on and off the ship.
  • Travel insurance, to provide for cruise cancellation and medical coverage.
  • Tips
  • Certain on board extras such as: gambling, spas, massages, photos, ship to shore calls, etc.

Picking a Cruise – The Basics

How long are cruises?

The 3-day weekend, 4-day midweek, week long, 10 day are all popular, but you can also find cruises that are several months in length. You can find 2-day cruises and even some lasting only a few hours just to gamble in international waters. In other words, any combination of time from hours to months are offered to attract your vacation dollars.

Where do cruises go?

Just about anywhere in the world. The Caribbean, Pacific coast of California, Mexico and Alaska are popular among tourists from the United States. But, cruising is basically found where ever you find water.

Once you pick a region, aren’t many of the cruises offered within that region the same?

No, you’ll also be able to find a great variety of types of cruises in many areas of the globe. The Caribbean is sailed by many different Cruise Lines and ships. Each Cruise Line and ship has its own flavor. You’ll find budget all the way to super luxury available in the Caribbean. The cruise itineraries also offer differences in lengths and ports visited. Any two Caribbean cruises can provide very different vacation experiences.

Since the cabins are built for two or more people, can I go on a Cruise if I’m by myself?

Yes, Cruise Lines usually have a special rate available if you are cruising alone. However, this rate can be as high a 200% of those for a single person in a double occupancy cabin. In other words, you might be paying for two cruises even though you are by yourself. You’ll want to look for a Cruise Line that has a lower single rate.

You can also consider a “single share” program that some Cruise Lines offer. The Cruise Line will find a roommate for you, so you can cruise at the lower double occupancy rate. If they can’t find you a partner you usually still get the cabin at the cheaper rate. With partner programs, you might find a lifelong friend.

Will the type of cruise I pick really make a difference in my vacation?

  • Yes, the Cruise Ship is your hotel, restaurant and entertainment for your whole vacation. It is a package deal that is different from a traditional vacation. You’ll want to spend some time and do some research to make sure you pick the right cruise for you. The perfect cruise for some might be a miserable one for others. Make sure you find the best match. You’ll want to find the best rate on the right cruise for you, not just the cheapest rate. Cruise Lines cater to certain groups and their whole ship is meant to entertain and please that crowd.
  • Some cater to certain age groups, singles or families.
  • Some are calm, elegant and feature haute cuisine.
  • Some have lots of loud, exciting activities to attract the active crowds.
  • Others have lots of family activities planned, so the ship will be filled with kids.
  • You will find some that have shore excursions just for you, while others look boring.

How can I find the best cruise for me?

  • Do some research, it will be worth it.
  • Check out the Cruise Line’s web pages and brochures for information. Look at the pictures and see what types of activities they have planned. Have they planned a cruise to make someone like you happy?
  • Make some decisions early. Are you looking for a quiet relaxed cruise, a romantic getaway or a party atmosphere? Once you have an idea of what you want out of your vacation, you can judge the different cruises on how well they meet your expectations.
  • Ask your friends, but remember that you are looking for the best cruise for you. Make sure you ask them what they were looking to get out of their vacation. Your friends may have loved the cruise because it was exactly what they wanted. Make sure you have similar expectations before you book the same cruise.
  • Ask lots of questions of your booking agent, that’s what we are here for!

What factors should I consider to help me decide which cruise to pick?

  • The amount you have budgeted and the overall cost of the cruise.
  • Any special price breaks or deals.
  • The Cruise Line’s reputation for the quality of its cuisine and its menu.
  • The Cruise Line’s reputation for customer service.
  • The Cruise Line’s previous ship safety and cleanliness record.
  • The overall atmosphere the cruise conveys. Whether it is family fun, party time, quite elegant sophistication or romantic getaway.
  • The length of the Cruise.
  • The Ship’s own facilities.
  • On ship activities planned.
  • Any theme attached to the cruise.
  • The ports you will be visiting.
  • The shore excursions that the Cruise Line offers.