CruiseMate Newsletter
Discover the white-sand beaches, lush jungles and vibrant cultures that surround this masterpiece of ocean-travel engineering.

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$249: 7-nt Royal Caribbean Southern Caribbean Cruise
This week's newsletter is about such a fabulous deal on a cruise it deserves an entire article unto itself. This is a 7-night Southern Caribbean cruise sailing out off an unusual, convenient and exotic port city in the Dominican Republic - just a stone's throw past Miami. This cruise goes to the exotic islands of the Southern Caribbean.

The ship is a Royal Caribbean classic - Vision of the Seas, sailing from the relatively unknown but surprisingly inviting port city of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. DON'T TUNE OUT! I just returned from Santo Domingo and I have to say it is one of the more interesting Caribbean port cities I have ever landed in. This cruise also sails to some of the most beautiful islands in the entire Caribbean:

Carnival cruises starting from $279! Depart from convenient ports in Florida, the West Coast, the Gulf Coast and more.
Book now at 1-888-CARNIVAL or book online

Santo Domingo is only an additional 1/2 hour beyond Miami and seven airlines fly in. Flights from New York or Houston tend to cost only about $50 more each way per person. It is worth the flight to get this amazing bargain on this ship, but don't overlook the island! Santo Domingo is the mining center for the hottest new precious stone being sold throughout the caribbean - lorimar. My wife and I picked up a beautiful sample in an actual factory that mines the raw stones, cuts, polishes and mounts them.

In addition - this very island was discovered by Christopher Columbus, and history says his bones are still there; stolen and repatriated from Spain. They are believed to lay below a classic Catholic Cathedral - one of the oldest in the new world - with relics of royalty from the 15th century courts of Europe.

Discover the white-sand beaches, lush jungles and vibrant cultures that surround this masterpiece of ocean-travel engineering.
Royal Caribbean: 1-800-Royal Caribbean

As I said, this cruise starts at just $249 pp, for an inside cabin. Oceanview is just $349 and a balcony is $899 pp. Granted, you may find cheaper cruises for balcony cabins. The best deal gere is the oceanview. The saildate is March 1st - so start packing.

What about the ship? OK, Vision is not exactly one of the newest Royal Caribbean ships, it isn't trhe oldest, either, Built in 1998 it carries 2000 passengers in 78,421 tons displacement. Vision's cabins are cleverly designed to make them feel larger than they actually are and there's more storage space than you would expect.

Inside cabins range from a tiny 135 sq.ft up to 172 sq.ft. Oceanview staterooms measure 154 sq. ft. Family Ocean View Staterooms (237 sq.ft.) can accommodate up to six people. Standard amenities include TV with pay-per-view movies, CNN, safe, lighted vanity, individual temperature control, hair dryer; bathrooms have showers and medicine cabinets; minibars and tubs are found in the highest category stateroom.

This cruise goes to Point-a-Pitre also on the Dominican Republic, Fort de France on the island of Guadeloupe, the classically British Bridgetown, Barbados and the beautiful pitons and natural beauty of Saint Lucia.

Of course, the cruise includes your meals, entertainment and some beverages (no alcohol or soda included). Gratuities, shore tours, alcohol and other purchases are extra. March 1st is the last date with these prices, so book it now before it sells out. Later dates are more expensive.

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new feature articles

What do you look for in a Travel Agent?
I recently attended a class in Fort Lauderdale for travel agents new to the industry, and my eyes were opened to many things. blue arrows

Flying for Cruises
The hassles of air travel have gotten worse in recent years; here's how to minimize them on the way to your next cruise. blue arrows

Your Budget and Cruising
Studies show most people find more personal satisfaction in experiential purchases than they do in material possessions. blue arrows

Why People Love Carnival
I just returned from the John Heald Blogger's cruise chock-a-block full of Carnival Cruise Lines fans. This is to be expected since hundreds of the people on board for the erudite Carnival ambassador, cruise director John Heald. 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:
200 CruiseMates on Carnival Fantasy
by Snoozeman
Of all the fantastic things on this cruise the thing I enjoyed the most was meeting all the wonderful people that I have communicated with online for many years. To me that was the highlight.

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