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This Holiday Season, Cruising May Be the Most Affordable Vacation | Frommer's Royal Caribbean International

This Holiday Season, Cruising May Be the Most Affordable Vacation

Global supply chain woes are increasing the cost of gifts, a return to air travel is causing airfares to balloon from 2020's lows, and rental car rates are rough at the end of December.

But this year, there's no inflation when it comes to cruising. Those who book a sailing for the holidays are finding discounted rates that, in 2021, mirror prices for non-holiday weeks.

The prices also look to be, in many cases, a good 40% less than the holiday rates people paid in 2019.

Why so affordable?

It could be that many major lines are requiring all passengers to be vaccinated, which somewhat reduces the potential customer pool. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned against this type of travel for some people with underlying conditions.

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And some would-be travelers have not forgotten that the cruise industry got a major black eye at the very start of the pandemic. Although ships now have strong protocols to easily deal with Covid-19, not everyone is comfortable with returning to the seas yet, resulting in a softer market.

But if you don't fall into one of those categories and you want a real getaway, the following sailings could be a great holiday gift to yourself.

Note that I'm only listing options that depart from ports Americans can drive to, because booking an airfare at this late date might tilt the overall vacation budget into the red.

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Holland America's MS Nieuw Statendam from Fort Lauderdale to the Western Caribbean
Price:
Starting from $100/night
Dates: Dec 26–Jan 2

Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Gem from New York City to the Bahamas and Florida
Price:
Starting from $78/night
Dates: Dec 19–26 and Dec 26–Jan 2

Princess Cruises' Grand Princess from San Pedro (Los Angeles) to Cabo San Lucas
Price:
Starting from $86/night
Dates: Dec 30–Jan 4

Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas (pictured above) from Miami to the Eastern Caribbean
Prices:
Starting at $131/night

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Dates: Dec 31–Jan 8

Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Encore from Miami to the Eastern Caribbean
Prices:
Starting at $81/night
Dates: Dec 19–26

And there are many more.

To find these deals and others, go to such cruise discounters as CruisesOnly, Cruise BrothersVacations To Go, or your favorite cruise agency. Many are throwing in free gratuities, spending credits, upgraded cabins, and other perks to fill staterooms.

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