Thursday, December 31, 2009

Cruising into 2010 - Happy New Year!

Each new year brings the promise of new destinations. . .new deals. . .new discoveries. . .new friends who share a passion for travel. . .books to be read. . . and maps to be studied.

We've been watching certain Australian/Asian cruises for several months now -- by monitoring the fluxation of prices on a variety of internet sites, such as CruiseCon, and Vacations to Go, from whom we receive emails regularly announcing sales and deals from all cruise lines. Then when a particular cruise really hits our fancy we turn to our friends at http://www.cruisecompete.com/ a web-site where we remain anonymous while obtaining price quotes on that particular cruise from cruise specialists from throughout the country, who respond to our request.

And yes, the prices do differ - sometimes by hundreds of dollars for the same cabin categories. We thought this balcony cabin was a great deal at $125 per night on Holland America's transatlantic crossing last spring; and friends, using a different agent, booked the same cabin 10 doors down for $100 per night.

Our continuing recommendation to friends who are new to cruising - sometimes heeded and other times not -- is to get quotes before booking your floating adventure. We've saved money and had on-board credits, shore excursions and parties as result of shopping around. In fairness, sometimes the quote is no better than that given by agents we have dealt with in the past, in which case we end up returning to the agency we've previously used. . . but we have found deals by shopping around.

Before we book any cruise we routinely refer to http://www.cruisecritic.com/ where we find a comprehensive report by Cruise Critic staff on ships, and extensive cruise ship reviews by fellow cruisers and information on the cruise line industry and ports of call.

Cruisecritic.com keeps tabs on all aspects of the industry and in a recent update noted that 15 new cruise ships will be debuting world-wide in 2010 in cruise lines ranging from Holland America and Costa to Norwegian and Cunard.

For cruise bargain hunters like us, they predict cruise deals will be harder to nab as prices are heading back up to pre-2009 levels. Sounds like there will be deals in the shoulder season and for last minute (gotta fill the boat) bookings.

for now we continue to ponder prices and cruise destinations. As the year goes along we hope to hear from you about your travel plans and recommendations. Here's to 2010!

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