2.26.2008 
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New York Cruise Bargain
Six-night cruise from New York to Port Canaveral and Nassau from $1199
•  AMERICA'S VACATION CENTER: 1-866-501-7271
CruiseMates says: New York cruises are hard to find. Grab this bargain.
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Princess Inaugural
Take the Ruby Princess Florida Inaugural Cruise from $705
•  iCruise.com: 1-888-icruise
CruiseMates says: New ships are all the rage. get on board!
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Royal Caribbean Trans-Atlantic!
Bargains on repositioning cruises: Jewel or Navigator 14-nights from $449 pp. Voyager 13-nights from $449.
•  CRUISES-N-MORE: 1-800-733-2048
CruiseMates says: The best cruise bargains anywhere! Under $33/day
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Small Princess Ship
Sail 16- days from London to Venice on the 670 passenger Pacific Princess from only: $1699 pp.
•  BUYCRUISES: 1-800-510-1786
CruiseMates says: Small ships are the best for seeing Europe!
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Summer Cruise Bargains
Europe & Alaska on Sale - Book a cruise with $100 per person reduced deposit and also receive $100 onboard credit
•  CRUISEMARKETPLACE: 1-800-826-4333
CruiseMates says: fleet-wide Princess cruise sale.
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Vacations to Go
Save Up To 75% On Cruises. Age 55+ Rates, Group Rates, Military Rates, and more.
•  VACATIONSTOGO.COM: 1-800-338-4962
CruiseMates says: consistently one of the most popular travel agencies.
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Carnival Europe Sale
12-night European Cruises on Carnival Freedom or Splendour from $1149
•  CRUISEVALUE: 1-800-231-7447
CruiseMates says: Carnival is the best value in Europe. Book early!
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Alaska Bargains
Princess Cruises 7 Night Caribbean cruises from $599, 7 Night Alaska Cruises from $499.
•  CRUISEPLANNERS: 1-800-561-0802
CruiseMates says: Premium cruise line Princess at great rates!
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Celebrity West Coast
Price Drop: 7 Night Pacific Coastal Cruise on board Celebrity Mercury: San Fran to Vancouver: $549
•  CRUISEMAGIC: 1-800-474-5678
CruiseMates says: A rare West Coast itinerary.
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Holland America Oosterdam
7-night Mexico cruise on a premium cruise line from just $499
•  AMERICA'S VACATION CENTER: 1-866-501-7271
CruiseMates says: additional bonus: photos, Pinnacle Grill, in-room treats!
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Princess Discounts
7-night Princess cruisesas low as $399 pp!
•  CRUISES-N-MORE: 1-800-733-2048
CruiseMates says: Mexico cruises, balcony cabin just $699 pp.
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10-nt Holland America Suite!
Verandah cabin bargains on the Maasdam Round trip Ft Lauderdale: $1599 pp
•  BUYCRUISES: 1-800-510-1786
CruiseMates says: A bargain on Holland America Suites! The good life!
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Queen Mary 2
10 Night Southern Caribbean cruise on Queen Mary 2 from Ft Lauderdale from $1524 per person
•  Cruise & Tours Unlimited: 1-800-935-2727
CruiseMates says: A classic ship at a bargain price.
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Celebrity Caribbean
Celebrity, 7 Night Cruises to Caribbean for 2008 starting at just $699!
•  CRUISEVALUE: 1-800-231-7447
CruiseMates says: Includes Free Insurance or Prepaid Gratuities!
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$129 3-Nt. Bahamas Cruise!
72 hour special - call 1-800-408-1143, Limited Time Promotion!
•  My Cruise Getaway: 1-800-408-1143
CruiseMates says: Call 1-800-408-1143 for details
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You can access all of these specials above - or go to CruiseMates' Cruise Bargains for even more!
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Cruise Ship Rescues

By PAUL MOTTER

When 100 people on a cruise ship carrying 3000 people (including crew) come down with a virus it gets picked up by the national media, including AP and CNN, but when a Royal Caribbean ship rescues three men who had been stranded at sea for 11 days, three of those days without food or water, it barely gets a mention?

A lone article in the Baltimore Sun speaks of three men who attempted to sail from Baltimore to Key West when a storm ravaged their sailboat off of the infamously treacherous Cape Hatteras. The wind destroyed their sails and their radio antenna leaving them stranded at sea - their boat dead in the water.

When they sighted the enormous Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas on the horizon (140,000 gross tons and 20 stories tall) they were able to use weak batteries to power a radio and notify the ship of their plight. The ship, 45 minutes away, sailed to their rescue, brought them onboard and transported them to Puerto Rico. They gave the men a free cabin and food, and even paid for their plane tickets to anywhere they wanted to go. The men chose Key West.

And so, this story of a cruise ship saving the lives of three men was picked up by one newspaper, yet when 3% of the total population of a cruise ship gets a virus, it merits 186 articles in the media.

In fact, many cruise ships go out of their way to save lives, and let's not overlook the Coast Guard who assists in many of these rescues. Several times a year a cruise ship will hail the Coast Guard to send out a rescue helicopter to retrieve a sick passenger at sea and fly them to a land-based hospital.

Just this week we had a story of a person who died on a plane alledgedly because the oxygen tanks were not functioning. This story is all over the national news, so why isn't this dramatic rescue at sea getting more coverage?

About Norovirus at Sea

Norovirus is a serious virus, but it is rarely ever life-threatening. Similar to the flu the few victims are usually elderly patients with challenged immune systems who suffer from dehydration. In this recent case, one such person was hospitalized.

While norovirus is often associated with cruise ships, the truth is that it is more common on land than it is at sea, but only cruise ships get any notoriety for the virus because they are the only entities required to report it to the national Center for Disease Control (CDC). The number of cruise ship passengers who get the virus annually in the last couple of years has been reduced to just over 2% of all cruisers. This is a dramatic improvement over the approximately 4% of passengers who were afflicted by the virus a few years ago.

According to the some Ryndam passengers quoted by the San Diego Union Tribune, the crew was spectacular in the way in which it handled the outbreak. Workers wore masks and gloves and kept ill passengers isolated in their cabins. Letters of information were distributed to all staterooms and the captain advised all passengers entering the ship after port visits to take sanitary precautions.

The bottom line is - the manner in which these outbreaks are handled has improved greatly in the last few years, and the number of occurences has been reduced by 50%. The cruise lines deserve a lot of credit for getting things "right" these days, but "right" doesn't make the national news.