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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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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...
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    5-nt Bermuda on Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas from NJ from $427, Balcony just $599

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09.10.2009
by Paul Motter





Thermal scanners can detect a fever.

Buy Low and Sail High
Cruise buying is a bit like stock investing, the trick is to buy when prices are low so you can still cruise when prices go higher. "Buy low and sail high!" Make a deposit on a low-priced cruise now and take advantage of price guarantees.

Once in awhile we get a "BUY Signal" for cruise purchases. We told you to buy Alaska cruises last April, when the selection was greatest and prices were lowest. We also advised you to book 2009 European cruises last March due to falling airfare and low cruise prices.

We are now getting a "BUY Signal" for 2010 cruises based on currently low prices with the possibility they could go much higher soon due to growing consumer confidence, specifically with cruise buyers.*

Michelle Fee, a founder of CruisePlanners with $100,000,000 in cruise sales annually, says her customers are showing a lot of confidence right now. They have seen their stock portfolios rebound and home values settle. So they are calling and locking in the current cruise values.

An industry newsletter, "CruiseWeek," written by Mike Driscoll, says that many cruise agents are sensing a renewed consumer confidence. Cruises buying activity was up last month over August 2008 - which came before the current economic meltdown, so that is saying a lot.

Oceania Cruises just reported that their 2009 August sales were close to 2007 levels - even stronger than the 2008 levels, indicating a very strong trend.

Michelle said we are entering the cruise industry "value season," between the school year start date and the holiday season - historically the slowest booking period of the year. But value season is followed by "Wave Season," the most robust booking season when cruise demand often jumps sharply.

If the economy rebounds further then next Wave Season could see a rapid jump in cruise prices, according to Michelle.

*Of course we cannot guarantee prices, and we still have the prospect of H1N1 on the horizon. We hope its effect will be minimal, but no one can say definitively how it may affect cruise prices.


Unwind in the Caribbean with a Holland America Line 7-day cruise from $399.
Enjoy waterfalls and Mayan ruins on western itineraries, turn-of-the-century charm and stunning beaches in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, and spend a day like no other on Half Moon Cay, our private island in the Bahamas. View our special offers.
Holland America Lines

Dealing with Illness on Ships

People becoming ill on cruise ships will be a constant topic this winter with H1N1 in the news.

Last newsletter I wrote about a man denied boarding his cruise because he admitted to recent flu-like symptoms on a cheesy little form during the check-in process. He wasn't displaying any symptoms at the time, but he didn't get a second chance to explain that. I hate to bring these forms up because telling the truth renders them somewhat useless, but in fact I am not revealing any secrets here - everyone knows saying you are sick when trying to board any kind of vessel can lead to denial of passage.

Before the onset of H1N1 these forms were somewhat innocuous, but now they are not enough - the cruise lines need to have health professionals at check-in. You can take a temperature in a few seconds with an ear thermometer. MSC has even announced they will have thermal imaging scanners to pick out people with a fever trying to board their ships. That is a good thing in the best interest of everyone, but if it led to denying people their cruises it would also be quite controversial.

I have checked with MSC and they tell me that anyone who scans a fever may be further examined upon boarding the ship, but no one will be denied a cruise based solely on thermal scanning.

Kudos to MSC once again for the courage to innovate and take the extra steps. Between their decision to fight back at Somali pirates and this, I see them as the most perspicacious management in the cruise industry.

According to the British National Health System, flu is most contagious during the onset of symptoms. Symptoms will continue, as well as the contagious stage for three to five days. People NOT displaying symptoms are generally not contagious, according to the NHS. That means that actively looking for flu symptoms, rather than relying on a form, is a far more effective approach.

It is up to all of us, cruise lines and passengers, to do the right thing this winter. If you are in the infectious stage of an illness then please don't try to board your cruise. Please buy travel insurance that covers unexpected illnesses.

A cruise ship can deny you passage to the ship if you are ill, or they can confine you to your cabin or even put you off the ship if you become ill during the cruise. If you are confined to your cabin then stay there. They are doing you a favor by not putting you off the ship.


SET SAIL ON A UNIQUE ROYAL CARIBBEAN JOURNEY
Whether you're a first time cruiser or a veteran sailor, take advantage of the unique itineraries featured on a repositioning cruise. These one of a kind cruises start from just $699 for a 6 night sailing. Reserve now.
Royal Caribbean: 1-800-Royal Caribbean

Are Fuel Surcharges Coming Back?

What difference does it make? One well-known cruise agency, Cruise Deals, is offering to pay any possible future fuel surcharges for anyone who books a cruise with them now - a possible $140 savings per couple. Think of it as a "fuel surcharge" insurance policy.

The cruise lines invoked a fuel surcharge when the price of oil reached $105 / barrel last year and they removed it when oil traded below $70 / barrel for 30 consecutive days. The surcharges are off right now, but the lines reserve the right to reinstate them at any time oil is $70 again. They "reserve the right" but it doesn't mean they will.

Oil is $71/barrel today, and has been as high as $74 and as low as $65 recently. As long as it stays close to $70 the lines probably will not reinstate the surcharge, but if the price starts to settle in the $80-range then the fees are more likely to come back.

Keep in mind that both of the above topics are related to one thing - the end of the current deflationary economic period and the start of a more inflationary period, which many economists say is likely.

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new feature articles

Is Oasis of the Seas Going To Ruin the Cruise Industry?
I may be the only writer in the cruise industry who isnít salivating, in anticipation of the arrival or Royal Caribbeanís Oasis of the Seas. blue arrows

Fall 2009 Trans-Atlantic Cruises
A roundup of the most interesting and best value transatlantic cruises for Fall 2009. Atlantic ports of call; Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands and Bermuda. blue arrows

Don't Lose Your Cool
We certainly don't mind cruises losing the losers, but we don't want any good people losing their cruises. blue arrows

American Cruise Lines
This sophisticated U.S.-based cruise line offers rare All-American cruises from Maine to the rivers of Florida. blue arrows

Oasis Show Reservations Online
Oasis is the first cruise ship where guests can make reservations for onboard shows before they even leave for their cruise. blue arrows

Royal Caribbean's Best Price Guarantee
Royal Caribbean and Celebrity still offer price protection on your cruise, but have changed the terms. blue arrows

Hot Cruise Buying Tips from a Real Expert
Hot cruise buying tips from Michelle Fee of Cruise Planners. At $100,000,000 is cruise sales annually not many people understand cruise sales better. blue arrows

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Read about CruiseMates

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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.

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.

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