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  08.10.2010  
 


Freedom of the Seas at bargain prices this autumn.

Value Season Approaching

By Paul Motter

I have always known that the autumn season between the end of summer and the beginning of the holidays is when the best cruise bargains appear, but I never knew it actually had a name until I was informed by cruise entrepreneur Michelle Fee who founded the host agency "CruisePlanners."

Just like the time of year when cruising reaches its peak of popularity, between January and April, is known as "Wave Season," the autumn season that precedes wave season is called "Value Season," and it is right around the corner.

Value season comes at a time when few people are planning a vacation. They are planning for returning to normal life after the summer break, plus just starting to think about the holidays. Value Season values are always most pronounced in years when the economy is bad and cruise sales are low in general - like this year.

The "Last Minute Deals" page from America's Vacation Center's makes it extremely easy to search for cruises by any criteria, including lowest price for any cruise line to any destination. Right now I am looking at "Value Season" cruises sorted by best price.

One of the better bargains this year, especially for West Coast people, is Norwegian Pearl sailing from Vancouver, B.C. to Astoria Oregon, San Francisco and landing in Los Angeles five days later. This one-time cruise starts at just $299 per person, with balcony cabins for just $399.

For seven-day cruises, I can't help noticing that the newer ships from NCL, not including Norwegian Epic of course, fill up the top 20+ spots. New Yorkers can leave from the Manhattan pier and sail directly to Port Canaveral, Florida, and on to the Bahamas and NCL's private Island on either Norwegian Gem or Jewel. The starting price is just $399 and you can find these offers to the right.

Norwegian Spirit sails on a 7-day Western Caribbean cruise from New Orleans to Costa Maya, Belize, Roatan and Cozumel for $399 to $429 on several dates this autumn. Norwegian Pearl, one of my favorite NCL ships (and one of the newest before Epic), sails the same route as Spirit but leaving from Miami for as little as $429. Even better, all of these NCL cruises qualify for varying amounts of shipboard credit up to $250 depending on the stateroom category you select.

Norwegian Spirit also has two October cruises (10-2 and 10-16) sailing out of Quebec City down the beautiful St. Lawrence Seaway at the peak of Fall Foliage Season starting at just $449 per person. The cruise sails for two days before landing at Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Portland Maine and landing at Boston, Massachusetts. This trip also qualifies for shipboard credit of up to $250 per person.

MSC Poesia sails from Fort Lauderdale to Key West, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel for a little as $479 per person on December 5th, 2010.

The next best bargain is Celebrity Summit sailing out of San Juan. The beauty of a San Juan departure is quick access to the more exotic Southern Caribbean islands. This seven-day itinerary takes you to St. Croix, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Grenada, and Trinidad and Tobago. It starts at just $499 per person with a free coupon book and up to $200 in shipboard credit - again depending on the stateroom category you select. Another itinerary Summit takes for the same price is RT San Juan to St. Thomas, St. Martin, St. Johns, St. Lucia and Barbados.

Here is a killer bargain; Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas, the second most popular ship after Oasis, going for as little as $479 per person this Sept. 26. This itinerary takes you to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and to the beach at Labadee with the cruising world's longest zip line; 2600-feet long. This is currently the second largest cruise ship in the world.

You can still catch Mariner of the Seas out of sailing from Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera before she leaves California for good in early January. This week there is a special for a 7-day cruise to Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas from just $493 per person sailing November 28. If you book an outside cabin or better you get a free dinner for two in one of the alternative dining restaurants onboard which usually costs as much as $25 per person. You can also get a free kids' soda package and some dates even offer up to $100 in shipboard credit.

You can always find plenty of bargains in CruiseMates' own "Cruise Bargains" shopping area. Or discuss this article in our CruiseMates Forums: Autumn Value Season - who's booked this fall?


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7-Night NY to Bahamas on NCL from $399
Norwegian Gem roundtrip New York to Port Canveral, NCL Private Island and Nassau - balcony just $649
•  America's Vacation Center (866) 501-7271
CM says: One of Carnival's more popular ships, built 2005
 
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Allure of the Seas Inaugural Balconies $889 per person!
Be one of the first to sail on this spectacular new ship! Balconies start at $889 per person. That's a savings of $980 per cabin over cruise line rates! These low rates will not last long. Call now and receive $50 in onboard credit!
•  Direct Line Cruises 1-800-352-8088
CM says: The most amazing cruise ship ever built!
 
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7-night Mexico on Royal Caribbean $493
Mariner of the Seas - Biggest ship on the West Coast - leaves in January! See it now. Los Angeles to Cabo, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan.
•  America's Vacation Center (866) 501-7271
CM Note: West Coasters - do not miss this unique ship before it leave CA for good!
 
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Sail the Caribbean with Celebrity and receive up to $250 in onboard credit!
Book a Celebrity Caribbean Cruise 7-Nights or longer and receive up to $250 in onboard credit per stateroom PLUS FREE TRAVEL INSURANCE! Offer ends 8/14/10. Restrictions apply, call for details.
•  Direct Line Cruises 1-800-352-8088
CM says: This is a great time to book Celebrity!
 
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Carnival Miracle Balcony: $1,059 per person
Balcony cabins also available for 1/6, 1/22, & 2/23. 8 night sailings to Aruba, Curacao, Dominican Republic and Grand Turk. Insides from $669, balconies from $899. Some sailings have onboard credits. Call for prices, hundreds of dollars less than current rates.
•  Cruise Planners 1-800-561-0802
CM says: An exotic 8-night itinerary at a great price.
 
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Oceania Cruises on Sale!
Oceania Cruises: 2011 Alaska Summer Collection roundtrip San Francisco! Amenities and 2for1 fares!
•  CRUISE MARKETPLACE 1-800-826-4333
CM says: Great cruise line on its inaugural Alaska season!
 
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7-Night NY to Bahamas on NCL from $399
Norwegian Jewel roundtrip New York to Port Canveral, NCL Private Island and Nassau - balcony just $649
•  America's Vacation Center (866) 501-7271
CM says: One of Carnival's more popular ships, built 2005
 
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Sail the Caribbean with Celebrity and receive up to $250 in onboard credit!
Book a Celebrity Caribbean Cruise 7-Nights or longer and receive up to $250 in onboard credit per stateroom PLUS FREE TRAVEL INSURANCE! Offer ends 8/14/10. Restrictions apply, call for details.
•  Direct Line Cruises 1-800-352-8088
CM says: Premium perks on any Celebrity cruise!!
 
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CruiseMates Norwegian Epic Group Cruise!
Join Chef Matt Sigel's on Norwegian Epic, Halloween Cruise, Oct 30, 2010. Travel from Miami to Costa Maya, Roatan Honduras and Cozumel - 7-days
•  Cruise Planners 1-800-561-0802
CM says: From just $599 plus shipboard credit.!
 
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CruiseMates Allure Group Cruise!
Join CruiseMates on Allure of the Seas: October 2, 2011 From $779 per person.
•  Cruise Planners 1-800-561-0802
CM says: Our new Allure group cruise - lower prices!
 
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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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