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WHERE THE BARGAINS ARE

Last Minute Deals Looking for a deal? Check America's Vacation Center's last-minute cruise offers! Click for Details!

Other HOT Deals...
  • from $399
    Norwegian Star 7-night Mexico Cruise to Cabo, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta.
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    Oasis of the Seas! 2010, Sept or Oct: Inside $729, Oceanview $889, Balcony $989. East or West Caribbean.

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CruiseMates started publishing our readers' cruise reviews long before other web sites even thought of it. We already have thousands of reviews online, but there are never enough! CruiseMates and our sister site cruisereviews.com both want more of YOUR cruise reviews. So, please send them to us: Euro Watch: 1 Euro = $1.34 Dollar.
A lower dollar means better better value in 2009 European cruises.


 
01.09.2009

Cruise Discounts Everywhere!
Economically speaking, these are tough times. Travel agents are feeling the pinch right now, and so are the cruise lines. How bad is it? The problem is that nobody really knows. It all depends on where our economy goes in the next year; up or down. In economic terms, that is referred to as "visibility." Where do you think it is going? I know, you don't know either. That's OK, everyone has an opinion, but nobody really knows.

Historically, the cruise industry has weathered economic downturns better than other vacation options. The ability of the industry to easily adapt to changing conditions is one of its greatest strengths. For example, when people were afraid to fly after the attack on the twin towers, the industry just moved their ships back to the shores of the United States. It worked.

That event taught the cruise lines a great lesson, the results of which we are witnessing today. Then Carnival Cruise Lines president Bob Dickinson made some comments about how they resolved the industry crisis back then that have always stuck in my mind. In order to get passengers back on ships he said the following (to the best of my memory)...

"First we appealed to their patriotism, by offering to donate a portion of every cruise sale to the NY Fire Department, it was a noble effort, but it barely stimulated sales. Next we decided to address their fears by offering vacation guarantees such as money-back offers if they needed to cancel their cruise, once again, barely a blip in sales. Finally, we decided to just drop the prices on cruises and see where people started to come back. That was the answer."


Explore the Wonders of Alaska
Experience breathtaking nature from as low as $549. Check out our cruisetours - a combination of cruise vacation and land tour.
Royal Caribbean: 1-800-Royal Caribbean

Today's fear is more economic that about personal safety, but the cruise lines are using what what worked before - they are offering price discounts and other incentives.

There is not a single cruise line that is not running some kind of a cruise sale. What is the result? Well frankly, great bargains. Are people booking cruises now? Yes they are, and saving a ton of money.

I asked Oceania Cruises Public Relations VP Tim Rubacky how cruise demographics may have shifted as a result of the current circumstances. More specifically, are we seeing a different demographic than before the economic meltdown?

"We are seeing shifts in buying patterns," he replied. "Some people are scaling back, for example if they previously cruised on only the very top luxury lines, now they are moving to a less expensive product. They still want their vacation, but they are spending less than in the past. On the other hand, there are also people who are "trading up" by taking advantage of the tremendous bargains that are out there and they are trying cruise lines they have never tried before."


CRUISE DOWN UNDER FROM AS LOW AS $519
Cruise from Aruba to Antigua, St. Maarten to St. Thomas and Dominica to Curacao with Royal Caribbean from as low as $79 per day.
Royal Caribbean: 1-800-Royal Caribbean

Here at CruiseMates, we get it. We just ran a news item from Oceania where they are offering free airfare and 2 for 1 cruise fares on selected Mediterranean cruises this summer. That is a great deal! For example a 12-day Athens to Rome cruise is selling for $2699, and that includes roundtrip airfare. We expect air to Europe to be about $1500 per person this summer, more or less. That cuts the price of the cruise nearly in half.

Royal Caribbean is mostly just offering great prices as an incentive, with discounts in the range of 25%. NCL is offering free upgrades and anywhere from $100 to $500 in shipboard credit with every booking.

Holland America, Carnival and Princess are offering lower deposits and free upgrades to a higher category of cabin. Silversea just today announced that people who book early and pay in full will recieved up to 50% off of their cruise fare. Regent Seven Seas just announced they have 35 different cruises in 2009 where the passenger gets unlimited free shore excursions. We especially like this offer as shore excursions are the meat of every cruise experience, especially on a destination-oriented cruise line like Regent.

Bottom line; the bargains are out there right now. Overall, we see cruise fares have dropped at least 20% overall. It is now up to you to take advantage of these discount offers.

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new feature articles

Nation of Why Not
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Local Cruises
Local cruises, ship departures from U.S. cities like Seattle and Boston, are back due to the economic slowdown. Here is a guide to finding the perfect local cruise for you. blue arrows

Best Cruise
Every cruise expert gets these questions "What is the best cruise?" The best cruises are a matter of personal taste for ship, itinerary, accomodations, cuisine and value. blue arrows

Repositioning Cruises - Unusual Itineraries at Bargain Prices
Repositioning cruises, ships relocating from one seasonal cruising region to another, offer unusual itineraries at bargain prices. Trans-Atlantic, Hawaii, West Coast and other repositioning cruise offerings. blue arrows

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Reader Contributed Cruise Reviews!
We have thousands of cruise reviews written by people like you. This week's review:
MSC Cruises - MSC Lirica
by Dennis L. Doherty
This was our 19th cruise and first on an MSC ship. Our travel agent told us how great their previous experience was on the Lirica 2 years ago. Well things have changed.

- - We also wants articles by aspiring travel writers. Get More information.
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Read about CruiseMates

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Ruby Princess Venetian Fantasy
Travel down the canals of Venice to the Inter-coastal Waterways of Ft. Lauderdale! 18 Amazing nights and six glorious 25 hr. sea days on the most stunning Princess ship yet.