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Winter Cruise Bargains

Great Way to Escape the Cold North Weather

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The title "Winter Cruise Bargains" is not an oxymoron! It used to be that winter was the most expensive time of year to cruise for those of us who live in North America, and winter cruise discounts and bargains were rare. Snowbirds from the northern states and Canada would flee to the Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico or the South Seas--anywhere the temperature was tolerable and you didn't have to run the furnace! Cruise lines knew that passengers would pay for the warm weather cruise experience. Having a winter tan to show your friends was a way to gain status points when you returned from vacation.

Times have changed. Most of us don't seek out a tan, but you don't have to go to the tropics to get one. You can get a winter tan at the local tanning salon, and winter cruise bargains are out there for the taking. The new millennium has seen over 30 new cruise ships launched, and more berths, i.e. "supply" means lower prices until the "demand" catches up.

Although it is still officially fall, the end of daylight savings time and the lengthening darkness makes many of us yearn for warmer climates. November 1 until just before Christmas is one of the best times to vacation, because many people like to be at home during that time. If you really want a bargain, now is the time to book a cruise. After an upward peak for the Christmas holidays, rates will go down again.

With all of the new ships this decade, many of the cruise lines are featuring different itineraries, home ports, and destinations.

Bargains seem to be everywhere. The Caribbean and the Bahamas are popular choices, with many seven-day cruises going to the eastern and western Caribbean, and three, four and five-day trips to the Bahamas abound. For those on the western coast of the United States or Canada, the Mexican Riviera is a good choice.

If you'd like to expand your horizons, it is summertime south of the equator in South America, Australia, and the South Pacific. You can't get much further away from problems in the Middle East than in French Polynesia! Tropical southeast Asia is another exotic cruise possibility.

Conventional wisdom used to be that winter cruising was for the rich. With the current over-capacity of berths and people's "stay at home" attitude, that's no longer true. It's a buyer's market--so start shopping now!

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