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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thinking About Taking A Cruise? Now would be a great time to explore the possibilities during Nation Cruise Vacation Week.

Thinking About Taking A Cruise?
Now would be a great time to explore the possibilities during Nation Cruise Vacation Week.
Billed as the "World's Largest Cruise Sale" 25 cruise lines,  including ocean going and river cruise operators, members of the Cruise Lines International Association, offer special savings during this annual event. Some extend the offers beyond just this week, so great bargains can be found for not just last minute cruises to the end of this year, but for sailings that depart for the entire 2012-2013 cruise season.

How much can you save? Well that depends on the cruise line, destination and time of the year. Short weekend getaways to the Bahamas or Mexico offer a small savings, say $50 off the normal rate, while a luxury cruise in the Mediterranean may offer as much as $5,000 off the regular price.

During Nation Cruise Vacation Week, it's common to find additional 'sweeteners" to entice you to book now: shipboard credits of $50 to $300, and balcony stateroom upgrades. Some sailings include complimentary shore excursions, airport transfers, and reduced deposits. For luxury cruise lines like Crystal Cruises: 2-for-1 cruise fares. free airfare, complimentary wines, spirits and gratuities. For a more contemporary experience, you can find 3 day cruises to the Bahamas from as little as $249,  and 7 day sailings starting at $399, during Nation Cruise Vacation Week.

So, Are You Now Seriously Thinking About A Cruise
Do these incentives, reduced rates and other amenities make you want to hop-on-down to your neighborhood travel agent and book a cruise now!  Wait. How do you know your getting, not just a good, but a great deal?

For seasoned travelers, especially those that have cruised before, cruise sales are nothing new. In this economy they happen virtually every week of the year. Cruise lines constantly bombard past guests and those that have signed up for e-mail notices for this deal or that.  A savvy traveler knows that he or she needs to compare the most current offers with those previous promotions, as well as compare prices between cruises lines that visit the same destination and have virtually the same itinerary.

Our recommendation: If you're looking to take a cruise next year, now is the best time to start planning, and be prepared to look beyond the price.  Where you go. What time of the year you travel. The type of cruise ship, accommodations, onboard services and amenities. Your cruising lifestyle,  as well as your budget should play a role in your decision making process. If you just jump at the bargain price, you might be disappointed. Staying in an inside cabin, next to the laundry and disco, will surely make for an unpleasant experience. Likewise, if you choose an itinerary that focuses more on shopping ashore, rather than backcountry adventure, you'll find your spirit unfulfilled.

To find the perfect cruise just for you, that not only includes a great deal, but makes your vacation dreams come true;

•Find a good cruise agent. Not an ordinary one. Not a call-center reservationist. But a travel agent experienced in cruising. One that has been there, done that.  As an example, if your planning to cruise Alaska or want to take a land and sea tour that includes a 7 day cruise, combined with a rail and motorcoach to the interior of Alaska, talk to an Alaskan Cruise Expert. Not someone who primarily sells Caribbean cruises. Just like there are doctors who specialize in one type of medical treatment like cardiology, so do travel agents. If you have lots of questions, don't book online with one of the cruise line websites, or their reservations center. Their staff are order-takers not travel consultants.  Instead, turn to an experienced travel agent, who can help you every step of the way.
•Visit the CLIA official website and learn more about National Cruise Vacation Week. You can even find a list of experienced cruise travel agents in your neighborhood.
•Research, and read the reviews. Cruise reviews written by consumers and professional travel writers are an excellent resource. Find them at Cruise Reviews Online (
•If you're looking to cut costs and find some great money-saving tips, read  "20 Winning Strategies To Finding The Best Cruise Deals" from Cruise Traveler Magazine ( )
•Use cruise price comparison tools, like the one found at Cruise Direct Online ( ) These days, there is no need to spend hours searching all over the Internet, find everything you're looking for with a price comparison tool - cruises from brand-name cruise lines, view side-by-side comparisons of ships, the itinerary, a cruise review, traveler ratings, sailing dates, discount prices, special offers and cruise tips,  are available on one easy to read page.

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