CRUISE NEWS: Best winter cruise deals in Caribbean

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It looks as if the best deals on cruising this winter are going to be in the Caribbean, with newer ships and giants such as Allure, Oasis and Epic all fighting for the same market.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/10/2010 (4425 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It looks as if the best deals on cruising this winter are going to be in the Caribbean, with newer ships and giants such as Allure, Oasis and Epic all fighting for the same market.

We’ve seen a lot of price-cutting already, and I’d suggest there will be more of it deeper into the winter season. Having said that, prices for most other areas of the world are up, even for the re-positioning of ships in the spring, when the opposite is the norm.

That $899 14-day trip starting price this fall will be more than $1,000 next year.

AP One of the pools on board the world's largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas.

The cruise lines can tack on all the increases they want but, in the end, their success will depend on the economy. As we spot sales, I will make sure they are on our blog (portsandbows.com) right away. The blog is also the official media site to win a cruise for six on the latest largest cruise ship in the world, the Allure of the Seas, from Royal Caribbean.

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The numbers are in for Europe for 2009 and, as expected, they’re up.

In the last five years, there are 50 per cent more European cruisers, and that will probably take another step up into double figures when the 2010 data comes in next year.

Where do the ships sail? As expected, the majority — 152 — sail in the Mediterranean, while 95 sail in Northern Europe. The European favourite destinations are Greece and Italy at 21 per cent and Spain at 17 per cent.

The U.K. again produced the most passengers.

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We cruisers are always looking for a way to save some money on a cruise, and one way is travel insurance.

Holland America has a new plan that allows you to cancel for any reason. That applies to your cruise and the CruiseTour that you book with the Holland America, and it refunds 80 per cent of the fare paid if you buy the Standard plan of what the line calls travel protection. The Platinum plan covers 90 per cent.

However, you have to buy the protection before the date cancellation fees begin, 75 days prior to the departure date for most sailings.

Here is what the two plans offer:

CPP Standard reimburses 80 per cent of eligible amounts paid for cancellations for any reason up to 24 hours prior to the cruise or CruiseTour departure. Plus, the plan provides an additional $500 for lost, damaged or delayed baggage.

CPP Platinum features a 90-per-cent refund upon cancellation for any reason prior to departure. Other benefits under the expanded plan include increased baggage protection for lost or damaged luggage up to $1,600 total, delayed baggage coverage up to $1,100, trip-interruption protection if a guest must return home unexpectedly and trip-delay coverage.

The cost will vary by fare but here’s one example: Coverage for a guest paying up to $1,000 for a seven-day Caribbean cruise is $79 for CPP Standard and $99 for CPP Platinum, per person.

Your cruise agent can tell you more.

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Douglas Ward is older than water. He has a dry sense of humour, so I know that doesn’t offend him. For what seems forever, Douglas has been writing the Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising and Cruise ships. His book this year covers most ships worldwide and here is how he rates the top 11 for 2010:

As you may have guessed in advance, they’re all in the luxury class.

— Postmedia News

Visit portsandbows.com for daily updates on the latest cruise news, best deals and behind-the-scenes stories from the industry. You can also sign up for an e-mail newsletter on the site for even more cruise information. Phil can be contacted directly at portsandbowsgmail.com.

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