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Cruise in Style & Elegance from San Diego to Mexico with Holland America Line – 7 Days from $499
Unwind in sunny Mexico and visit the chic seaside resorts of the Mexican Riviera and the sparkling Sea of Cortez, famous for its abundant marine life and charming mission towns. View our special offers for Mexico Cruises now.

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Experience the Avalon difference in 2010 with savings of up to $1,000 per stateroom. Set sail on the youngest fleet in Europe with the largest staterooms in the industry. Get undeniable value with included sightseeing and complimentary wine.

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Experienced cruisers know your price depends on where you buy. Pick your cruise, then let 350+ agencies compete to offer the best deal. Compare offers, read reviews of agencies, then call/e-mail/live chat to ask agents direct questions or to book at

Chef Matt Sigel's Cruise with CruiseMates
A Cruisemates group cruise with Chef Matt Sigel of the popular series Hell's Kitchen. Norwegian Epic 10-30-10

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01.28.2010

Cruise lines are leaning towards Europe for 2011

Surprises from Carnival and NCL
Just when you think you understand exactly what the cruise lines are thinking, they do something completely different. Two years ago we were all eagerly awaiting the three largest cruise corporations building their largest cruise ships ever; Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, Carnival's Dream and NCL's Norwegian Epic.

Last year you could hardly talk anyone into a European cruise and Alaska was even worse. The Caribbean was the hot spot where everyone wanted to go. As a result, we were not surprised that each one of these brand new ships - slated to debut within six months of each other (Carnival Dream 11-12-09, Oasis 11-22-09 and Norwegian Epic coming in May of 2010) was scheduled for the Caribbean market.


Wall Street Journal ranks CruiseCompete.com Best In Cruise Deals
Experienced cruisers know your price depends on where you buy. Pick your cruise, then let 350+ agencies compete to offer the best deal. Compare offers, read reviews of agencies, then call/e-mail/live chat to ask agents direct questions or to book at
CruiseCompete.com

Yes, that implied a lot of new capacity going to the Caribbean, but we saw each ship deployed to a different home port for some level of diversity.

After much deliberation and bargaining, Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades won the title "Home to Oasis of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world." NCL chose to place Norwegian Epic in Miami; an accommodating cruise port close to the NCL home office. Carnival surprised us by placing their largest and newest cruise ship ever, Carnival Dream, in Port Canaveral some 300 miles north of Miami.


Cruise in Style & Elegance from San Diego to Mexico with Holland America Line – 7 Days from $499
Unwind in sunny Mexico and visit the chic seaside resorts of the Mexican Riviera and the sparkling Sea of Cortez, famous for its abundant marine life and charming mission towns. View our special offers for Mexico Cruises now.
Holland America Lines

Carnival's was a bold move, designed to avoid head to head competition with both Oasis and NCL's Epic and also making Dream available to the substantial drive market throughout the southern states.

But suddenly Caribbean fortunes are changing and Europe is back in vogue for 2011. Carnival just announced that Carnival Magic, the sister ship to Carnival Dream set to debut May, 2011 in Barcelona, will stay in Europe to operate seven, nine and 12-day cruises from May through October, the first full season of Mediterranean cruises for Carnival in three years.

Norwegian Epic is set to debut in New York in May of 2010 as the largest NCL ship ever built at 150,000-tonnes and a passenger capacity of 4500. She will sail to her permanent home in Miami for a year of Caribbean cruising. But NCL also just shocked us by announcing that Norwegian Epic will also sail to Europe for Mediterranean cruising during the summer of 2011. She will set sail for Europe on May 7, 2011 and stay through October 2011.


Save up to $1,000 per stateroom on Avalon Waterways Europe River Cruises
Experience the Avalon difference in 2010 with savings of up to $1,000 per stateroom. Set sail on the youngest fleet in Europe with the largest staterooms in the industry. Get undeniable value with included sightseeing and complimentary wine
Avalon Waterways 866.397.6594

Epic will sail a series of 22 seven-day Western Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona through October 16, 2011. A 13-day transatlantic sailing from Barcelona back to Miami, Florida is scheduled for October 23, 2011. Back in Miami, Epic will resume seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruises from November 5, 2011.

Carnival Magic will also wrap up her European Season in October 2011 and will sail to Port Canaveral for the first time for alternating cruises with Carnival Dream to the Eastern and Western Caribbean.


The Year of the Freestyle Vacation
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Book now at ncl.com

What does all of this mean? First of all, this is great news for Royal Caribbean whose Oasis and Allure of the Seas are too big to sail on any other itineraries than the ones they have scheduled (alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean). These ships will now have much less competition for mega-ship Caribbean cruising in the summer of 2011.

What remains to be seen is the amount of demand for Carnival Magic and Norwegian Epic in the Mediterranean. Obviously the European market is growing faster than any of us realized, but whether these ships will be filled with Americans or Europeans could vary a great deal, depending on the state of the economy and the price of fuel (for airfare to Europe) by the time summer 2011 rolls around.

What also remains to be seen is the fate of Alaska. 2008 had a record number of ships there, but with a $50 head tax and an overcapacity of berths the pricing for the region was so soft that most cruise lines decided to pull at least some of their ships out. But by 2011 that head tax could be repealed, the price of fuel could be lower (some experts predict the price of oil per barrel could drop by 50%) and there could be far fewer ships there. This means Alaska could end up being a surprisingly profitable cruise region in 2011 - if all the planets are aligned, of course.

The winds of change - isn't that what makes travel so interesting?

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new feature articles

What You NEED to Know Before You Cruise
Over the years there’s been hundreds, if not thousands, of articles and lists written talking about what everyone should know before they cruise. blue arrows

How to Really Help Haiti
Royal Caribbean president Adam Goldstein, working directly with Bill Clinton, has been on several U.S. government committees to aid Haiti for years. blue arrows

Oceania Marina Ready to Set "Sale"
One of the cruise world's most unique success stories expands their achievement with a brand new ship design blue arrows

Silversea's Silver Spirit Debuts
Silver Spirit is christened in Fort Lauderdale and begins life as a top of the line luxury cruise ship. We take a look at this 540-passenger vessel inside and out. blue arrows

Drive-to Cruises: More Sense Than Ever
Forget flying to your cruise. A road trip to your ship can be less expensive and more hassle-free than you ever realized. blue arrows

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NEW CRUISEMATES CRUISES!

Snoozeman's Galveston Conquest Cruise
Join your CruiseMates Host Snoozeman on the Conquest of Galveston! Travel from the Lone Star harbor to the Western Caribbean: Galveston to Montego Bay Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

Chef Matt Sigel's Cruise with CruiseMates
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

Let's Get Lei'd 5.0
We're doing yet again - for the fifth time (because these cruises do so well) - We are going to Hawaii on a Princess ship, this time the mega-Sapphire Princess. We sail from Los Angeles and return to the same. Eight days at sea and five beautiful ports of call - four of them in Hawaii, plus Ensenada. February 26, 2011.