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2004-12-13 17:00:30

Repositioning Cruises Offer Best Value

With more ports operating as cruise stops, more people can get to a cruise ship by driving instead of flying, which reduces the overall cost.

A cruise can be both an energizing escape from the winter blues and a relaxing getaway from the hustle and stress of the holiday season. With more cruise options available than ever before, millions of people will take a cruise this winter.

Cruises comprise the fastest growth area in the travel industry. Because of this growth, cruise ship companies have introduced new ships, expanded itineraries for more ports and increased on-board amenities with themed restaurants and meeting facilities to attract everyone from families to corporations holding business meetings.

With more ports operating as cruise stops, more people can get to a cruise ship by driving instead of flying, which reduces the overall cost. At the same time, competitive airfares have also played a role in the increasing affordability of cruise trips.

A lesser-known way to get a less expensive cruise is to hop aboard during the spring or fall when cruise companies are moving ships that do limited itineraries from one part of the country or world to another for a new cruising season.

"On a per diem basis, repositioning cruises can offer some of the best values in travel," says Carnival Cruise Lines president Bob Dickinson.

"A terrific combination of exciting and diverse ports and days at sea provide consumers with an unparalleled seagoing vacation experience, all at very affordable prices."

Some of the ports offered on repositioning cruises are only visited at certain times of the year. Passengers on these cruises often spend longer periods of time at sea than they would on regular cruises.

If people are interested in taking advantage of the saving a repositioning cruise offers, they should inquire with their travel agent, since repositioning cruises are not advertised as such, says Dawn Gillis of CruisesOnly.

"The cruise lines understand that the traveller who is able to take a long, unique cruise is not their everyday customer, so they need to be aggressive with the pricing, and they are," said Gillis.

The variety of destinations and cruise options may be overwhelming for a traveller to sort through. The CLIA recently conducted the 2004 Cruise Market Profile Report of Findings, based on over 2,000 national online interviews with travellers.

The top 10 most appealing places for a cruise, according to the study, are: Caribbean/Eastern Mexico; Alaska; Bahamas; Hawaii; Panama Canal; Bermuda; West Coast of Mexico; Mediterranean/Greek Islands/Turkey; Europe; Canada/New England.

The Associated Press

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