Cruises offered at rock-bottom prices

The Baltimore Sun

I talked recently with a friend of mine in Florida who seemed more relaxed than usual. When I remarked on his good mood, he said he'd just returned from a cruise.

"They're giving them away down here" was his explanation for this out-of-the-blue trip. He got a great price because "they're just trying to fill the boats." Indeed, cruise bookings are down by more than half, according to the industry newsletter Cruise Week. This dip is leading to some knockout travel deals to close out 2008 and make the new year happier.

Norwegian Cruise Lines sailed out of Philadelphia yesterday on a 14-day Caribbean cruise, including Aruba, Curacao, Nassau and St. Thomas. Anyone wanting to escape the fall chill could have scored an inside cabin for just $399. lists a host of other options for cruise-only deals. For example, NCL also has a nine-night Caribbean cruise aboard the Norwegian Jewel departing from Miami this month at rates starting at $329 per person (based on double occupancy).

MSC Cruises is offering a seven-night Western Caribbean sailing aboard the MSC Orchestra from $519 per person in February - and the kids sail free.'s Web site promotes a sale based on "distressed inventory" with 3-night and 4-night cruises from Florida to the Bahamas starting at $109.

The best deals right now are for cruises, including some aboard new ships, such as Holland America Line's Eurodam, departing from Florida. But with airfares from BWI Marshall to Florida being in the reasonable range, that's no reason to stop you.

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