06.26.2007 
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South America
Norwegian Dream 14-night South America cruise to the wonders of Chile. Only $799 and includes up to $450 shipboard credit.
•  AMERICA'S VACATION CENTER: 1-800-753-1176
CruiseMates says: Steal this exotic 14-night cruise for only $799!
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Brand New Ship!
Celebrity's New Ship - SOLSTICE -- Call to book!
•  iCruise.com: 1-888-icruise
CruiseMates says: the first of the new breed of Celebrity ships - coming soon!
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Hawaii with Air
10-night NCL Pride of Aloha: AIRFARE INCLUDED only $899. Pay only $100 more p/p for 11-Night cruise.
•  CRUISES-N-MORE: 1-800-733-2048
CruiseMates says: a very special deal for Hawaii with air!
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Alaska Steal
7-night cruise on Holland America Ryndam from as low as $469 pp!
•  CRUISEVALUE: 1-800-231-7447
CruiseMates says: A premium cruise line at a fantastic price.
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Caribbean Bargain
$299 - 5-Nt Exotic Western Caribbean on Royal Caribbean w/ $100 upgd to oceanview
•  CRUISE LOCATORS: 1-800-955-7447
CruiseMates says: best price on a Caribbean Cruise.
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Hawaii Bargain
Pride of Aloha 7-night Hawaii cruises from $399 per person.
•  CRUISEMAGIC: 1-800-474-5678
CruiseMates says: the lowest price ever for this itinerary!
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West Caribbean
NEW Carnival Freedom! 7-night just $469 pp! Miami to Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios
•  CRUISEDEALS: 1-800-668-6414
CruiseMates says: brand new Fun Ship; $619 oceanview, $819 balcony!
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South Caribbean
Carnival Miracle 8-night deep Caribbean from Florida. St Martin, St Kitts, St Lucia from $699 pp.
•  CRUISEPLANNERS: 1-800-561-0802
CruiseMates says: new ship and exotic itinerary!
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Carnival in Europe
12-night Mediterranean & Greek Isles from $1449
•  ONLYFUNVACATIONS: 1-888-ONLYFUN (665-9386)
CruiseMates says: the best way to see Hawaii - NCLA.
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Azamara Cruises
7 Night Bermuda aboard Azamara Journey from $1,349! Includes a complimentary gift!
•  CRUISEMARKETPLACE: 1-800-826-4333
CruiseMates says: A top-rated luxury cruise line at a very special rate.
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Save Up To 75%
Alaska, 7 days on Holland America’s Volendam, departs Anchorage September 7, starting at $499, save 67% PLUS receive onboard credit and champagne!
•  VACATIONSTOGO.COM: 1-800-338-4962
CruiseMates says: a top online cruise agency with consistent savings.
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Northern Europe
10-night Northern Europe on Crown Princess just $1078 pp. Plus $50 in shipboard credit. Deposit $100 per person.
•  Cruise & Tours Unlimited: 1-800-935-2727
CruiseMates says: Great ports: Copenhagen, Russia, Finland, Estonia, Poland, Norway.
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Europe Steals
2008 Europe aboard the Celebrity Century. 8 Nights from $999. Low air add-ons from most U.S. cities.
•  DESTINATION OCEANS: 1-800-374-3740
CruiseMates says: Unusual itinerary from Amsterdam to Morocco
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8-night Mexico
8-night Mexico cruise on Carnival Spirit $519, $619 oceanview, $769 balcony. RT San Diego to Acapulco, Ixtapa, Manzanillo.
•  AMERICA'S VACATION CENTER: 1-800-753-1176
CruiseMates says: this is our favorite Mexico cruise itinerary, plus visit San Diego
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Labor Day Cruise
5-nights to the Caribbean departing Labor Day Monday for just $279 pp! New Orleans to Costa Maya and Cozumel
•  CRUISEDEALS: 1-800-668-6414
CruiseMates says: a steal of a deal for a weekend getaway!
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Hawaii Cruise!
HAWAII SPECIALS! NCL Pride of Aloha July sailings as low as $399/inside, $599/oceanview, $699 balcony
•  iCruise.com: 1-888-icruise
CruiseMates says: check the website for complete listings of Hawaii 7, 10 and 11-day cruises.
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South America
14-night Celebrity Infinity AIRFARE INCLUDED to South America only $1489 pp. Bonus: Double Spa/Casino Credits
•  CRUISES-N-MORE: 1-800-733-2048
CruiseMates says: beautiful premium ship and great price with airfare included.
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Carnival Sale!
Carnival One-day Sale - Thursday, June 28. 7-night Caribbean cruises from $429 pp.
•  CRUISEVALUE: 1-800-231-7447
CruiseMates says: can't beat the Fun Ships at these prices..
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Family Alaska
$449 for Holland America to Alaska with 3rd and 4th person for $99
•  CRUISEMAGIC: 1-800-474-5678
CruiseMates says: great price on a family cruise vacation!
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South America
12-night Oceania Cruises: Rio to Buenos Aires. 2 for 1 rates and AIRFARE included.
•  DESTINATION OCEANS: 1-800-374-3740
CruiseMates says: Great price plus $100 shipboard credit included.
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Europe Bargain
$1,049 - 12-Night Western Mediterranean cruise. Only $50 to upgd to oceanview.
•  CRUISE LOCATORS: 1-800-955-7447
CruiseMates says: best price on a 12-night Europe cruise yet!
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Save Up To 75%
Complete listing of discounted cruises from all major cruise lines. Last-Minute Rates, Age 55+ Rates, Group Rates, Military Rates, and more. Best Price and Service Guarantee.
•  VACATIONSTOGO.COM: 1-800-338-4962
CruiseMates says: a top online cruise agency with consistent savings.
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Queen Mary 2
4-night Independence Day Getaway. Sail from New York to (1) day at sea, Eleuthera Island, (1) day at sea, return to New York. From $648.15 pp (includes all taxes & fees).
•  WHITETRAVEL: 1-800-547-4790
CruiseMates says: The classic cruise liner by Cunard.
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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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NEW ISSUE ONLINE NOW!
"CruiseMates Best of the Web
Cruise Bargains Newsletter"
The ONLY travel newsletter containing cruise bargains we verify to be the Best Cruise Bargains on the Web. For each listing, you will not find a better price for that ship, sail date and cabin category on the Internet. If it isn't the best of the Web, we won't print it!
Napali Coast Line - Kauai


Online Cruise Agencies

By PAUL MOTTER
You can book a cruise without talking to a travel agent, but it isn't the best idea. Whether you book your cruises directly with the cruise lines or you already have a travel agent that you use all the time, I encourage you to read the following...

How do you know you are getting the best deal?
If you are booking directly with the cruise lines
I can guarantee there is a travel agent in this newsletter who can give you a better offer.

If you already have a travel agent, you may be getting the best deal already, or you may not.

If you are an experienced cruiser you probably already know the cruise agencies featured in this newsletter. They are among the nation's biggest volume cruise sellers. Yet price alone only goes so far. Service is equally important. Well, you can get the best of both worlds.

We live in good world. The Web offers us the latest, most accurate information possible, (as long as you use reliable web sites) including instant access to these cruise deals. The only way you could have found this information 10 years ago was to first find out who the biggest cruise sellers are and then to call each of them individually.

In almost every case, they were already selling cruises in volume well before the Internet was in your home. They used to mail out thousands of flyers week after week. They originally advertised in newspapers and travel magazines, and some of them still do. But the Internet enables them to reach out and find customers around the world.

These agencies specialize in selling cruises to people like you - people who want a great value on their cruise, and the best possible service. These people know the cruise business. They may deal in volume, selling hundreds of cruises weekly, but they still understand that great customer service is a big part of being competitive.

You are a savvy shopper - I am sure the concept of cruise sales specialization makes sense to you.

How to Buy a Cruise Online
How can I be so confident in saying you won't get a better price going directly to the cruise line? Because cruising is one industry that will not undercut the travel agents, they rely on them for 90% of their sales. One cruise line tried it several years ago, and was practically drummed out of the business.

Bottom line, you may get as good a deal by going directly to the cruise line, but you will never get a better deal. On the other hand, you can, and very often will, get a better deal by buying a cruise through a discount cruise travel agency than by going directly to the cruise line.

How does this work? Cruise agents get their commission from the cruise lines, not from the customer at all. In addition, some agents are so competitive they cut their commissions and pass the savings on to the customer, a practice known as "rebating" (which many people would prefer we just didn't talk about).

CruiseMates' sponsors are legendary in the world of cruising. One of them invented the concept of "rebating". Another one of our sponsors was named cruise agency of the year (for the most recent year) by three different cruise lines: Royal Caribbean, NCL and Oceania Cruises. That is quite an accomplishment.

Does that mean you will get a better price from a cruise agent every time? Not every single time, but it does mean you should never be quoted a higher price than the cruise line quotes. In the case of some cruise lines, a cruise agent will match the direct sales price plus give you a bonus incentive like free cruise insurance, spa/casino credits, free shore excursions, free transfers -- something you would not get if you boughty directly from the cruise line.

This is where the rules of cruise sales get complicated (to really get the nitty gritty on how cruise sales work, read our article Understanding Cruise Pricing - the Master Class).

There are many ways a good cruise agent can make your deal sweeter than going directly to the cruise lines. And if a cruise line is offering you an incentive for booking with them, rest assured a cruise agency can give you the same incentive plus more.

So, how do we recommend you proceed? Scan the deals you see in this newsletter. When you see an offer you like click on the link. If you like what you see on the agent's web site then we recommend that you call them and ask about the cruise you are considering. Ask them what the latest special offers are for that cruise, and possibly others similar to it. Let them make you an unbelievable offer. You'll be happy you did.

Cruise Savings Tip
Assuming you already know what ship, cabin category, sail date and itinerary you want, what is the one thing you can vary to get the most savings? For reasons that make more sense to the cruise lines than they do to us, the answer is that if you are flexible on the sail date you may save as much as 40%.

The cruise lines engage in a practice called yield management. Their goal is to sail every cruise at 100% capacity, and they do a very good job of it.

What this means to you, the consumer, is that the ships that currently have more staterooms still unbooked on any particular sail date are more attractive in price.

Should you book early or book late? The answer is "it depends on what kind of cabin you want." If you want a nice balcony cabin or suite, the best prices are farthest out (up to a year). These cabins sell out first. But, if your goal is simply to get on the cruise as cheaply as possible, then wait until the last minute and be ready to accept an interior stateroom (inside cabin) with no windows.