07.24.2007 
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East Caribbean
Norwegian Dawn 7-night Eastern Caribbean RT Miami, from $499, balcony cabins from $699. Best available upgrade.
•  AMERICA'S VACATION CENTER: 1-800-753-1176
CruiseMates says: Steal this exotic 14-night cruise for only $799!
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Europe Steals
7-14 Night NCL Europe 2008 from $549. BONUS: Free Onboard Savings Book.
•  DESTINATION OCEANS: 1-800-374-3740
CruiseMates says: Three "Freestyle" ships, 19 different itineraries!
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Carnival Bargains!
Great rates on fall Carnival sailings! As low as $239!!
•  iCruise.com: 1-888-icruise
CruiseMates says: great rates on these special Carnival cruises
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Vacation Deal
2-Vacations for the price of 1. You'll receive 2-nts in Orlando, FL & a 3-night Carnival cruise to the Bahamas!
•  National Cruise Tours 1-800-408-1143
CruiseMates says: Florida vacation package with 3-day cruise!
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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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Hawaiian Bargain
10-Nt Hawaii bargains on NCL Pride of Aloha from just $599 pp. Up to $150 onboard credit included.
•  CRUISE LOCATORS: 1-800-955-7447
CruiseMates says: great savings with onboard credit included.
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Alaska Family
Holland America Alaska Cruise from $499, 3rd & 4th passengers from $99 apiece.
•  CRUISEMAGIC: 1-800-474-5678
CruiseMates says: a GREAT family cruise vacation deal!
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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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Silversea Cruises
15 night Transatlantic, Las Palmas, Canary Islands to Bridgetown, Barbados. 40% Savings and up to $200 Ship Credit.
•  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 61%
7-days Bermuda, Norwegian Crown, RT New York City from $619, save 61%! FREE upgrade to the best available cabin in category!
•  VACATIONSTOGO.COM: 1-800-338-4962
CruiseMates says: a top online cruise agency with consistent savings.
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Western Caribbean
5 Night Western Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas RT Fort Lauderdale, Grand Cayman, Cozumel. Inside $349, Outside $429.
Recieve $100 per cabin shipboard credit

•  Cruise & Tours Unlimited: 1-800-935-2727
CruiseMates says: Unbeatable value with onboard credit included.
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10-night Europe
10-night Europe cruise on Celebrity Century RT Barcelona from just $949 pp! $1599 balcony.
•  AMERICA'S VACATION CENTER: 1-800-753-1176
CruiseMates says: excellent price on a premium cruise in Europe!
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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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Princess Perks!
Package of perks on new Princess bookings! $100 deposit this week only, call icruise to book!
•  iCruise.com: 1-888-icruise
CruiseMates says: special bonuses when you book a Princess Cruise.
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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 Sale - 7-night Caribbean cruises from $429 pp. Many sail date options available.
•  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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Bargain Specialist
Huge cruise discounts! All major Cruise lines. All Destinations.
•  CRUISEADVENTURE.COM 1-800-545-8118
CruiseMates says: Try the web site for new cruise bargains.
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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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CruiseMates' Survey

By PAUL MOTTER

When preparing for a seagoing voyage, all experienced cruisers have a mental packing list of necessities. Naturally, passport/photo ID, air and cruise documents and credit cards lead everyone's list.

Over the years, I've heard of wonderful items some cruisers won't leave home without, including ear plugs, sleeping masks, powewr strips and even night lights (so you can see your way to the bathroom at night without turning on the light). Air freshener is another, since candles aren't allowed in those cabin bathrooms.

It's a sign of the times that some of us now take anti-bacterial gel. Even better, I have found a new antibacterial handwipe of the moist towelette variety called PAWS, which kills Norovirus, flu virus, hepatitis, and a host of other diseases you may pick up when traveling.

My wife's list of extras includes a magnifying make-up mirror with suction cup, and to help endure those endless airport lines, Game Boy. She never leaves home without a framed photo of her family, and I even know people who bring pics of their pets.

This week, we'd like to tap the collective cruising experience of our 200,000 subscribers to this newsletter. What special items do you take along to improve the enjoyment of your cruise? Click this link to our "Ask CruiseMates Staff" message board and add your tips to the message asking for cruise tips to share with other cruisers.

When a Problem Occurs

During a recent cruise, the ship's hotel director said to me, "I wish they (the passengers) had told me about a problem during the cruise, so I wouldn't have to read it in a report later." I've heard similar comments from a number of these hard-working officers and crewmembers who are responsible for all food, service and entertainment areas.

When any problem occurs, you should go directly to the front desk and ask for assistance. For example, if you have a problem with food or service in the dining room, there's a good chance they can resolve it. The same is true if your cabin isn't sparkling clean each day, or if you encounter a bad attitude in the Lido buffet operation.

Keep in mind that the hotel staff is in the service business, and their first priority is ensuring you're so happy that you continue to sail with their cruise line.

The hardest thing to do is to try to lodge a complaint after you return home. I don't know where passengers' mail goes, but I suggest you shouldn't expect a response from a cruise line for several weeks. Aboard the ship, you have access to a member of the hotel staff who will hear your complaint and try hard to rectify a bad situation on the spot. I do know that people have often found their meals are much better during the rest of the voyage.

If you don't care for your table mates, speak to the maitre d' as well -- it's frequently possible to be moved. Or of there is a food item you adore, on many ships they will make it for you, specially, if you give them a day's notice.

The ship we are on now, Emerald Princess, offered to cook crab legs especially for us when we remarked we were going to miss the night they were on the dining room menu -- due to a reservation in Sabatini's, a specialty restaurant.

Family Cruising

Speaking of the Emerald Princess, we are still oin our cruise and today we are in Athens, where it is over 110 degrees Fahrenheit! There are over 600 children aboard this cruise, and I hear there will be over 900 on the next one. Not that this is bothersome, in fact they are not a problem at all thanks to the oh-so diligent youth staff that seems to be on duty nearly 24 hours/day

Yes, you see the kids around the pool, and they show up on the shore excursions, but other than that they are rarely underfoot, at least in the parts of the ship we favor. They do seem to come out at night, however, and so I did a quick check of "Skywalkers" (the main dance nightclub) to see if they had taken over.

To the credit of Princess, I have never seen a more diligent youth staff. As late as 12:30 a.m. they were outside the nightclub checking ID, and I even saw one or two counselors sleuthing in the dark areas of the ship to make sure no one was doing anything he or she isn't old enough to do legally.

They have youth counselors that speak all of the European languages (there are many Europeans on this cruise), and they were really interacting with these kids, not just watching them. To say I was impressed is an understatement. It appeared the entire contingent, at least six youth counselors, were still on duty in the wee, wee hours of the morning.

More on Emerald Princess

As I write this I am once again in the terrazzo of the newest ship in the Princess fleet. I have an espresso bar to my left, a stilt-walker is juggling is on the small stage to my right, across the room is a sommelier I consulted with yesterday on the subtleties of Italian red wines.

I am contemplating getting three scoops of gelato, more than enough for two people, from the piazza cafe behind me. With tempting flavors like stracciatella, nutella, torroncino or vaniglia, the price for three scoops is $1.50. There has been a long-standing joke with Princess, that you have to pay for the ice cream, but "It's Hagen Dazs!" Well, that has been changed to, "but, it's gelato."

The jugglers have the crowd in an uproar now, so I have to finished this newsletter so I can enjoy the show...