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Deals and News
From Christmas cruises in the tropics to deals for singles, we've got some of the best deals a handful of major travel agencies are advertising this week.
Hurricane Frances made an all-points tour of Florida last week, forcing temporary closure of the state's commercial ports and the cancellation, rerouting, or delayed return of dozens of cruises.
So you've sailed Alaska's Inside Passage but still have a hankering for the north? How about a small-ship cruise from Nome across the Bering Sea to Siberia? Don't shiver 'til you've tried it.
In this week's roundup, the high seas go high tech with digital photo downloads and virtual tours. Also in this issue, a cruise line that takes the sting out of hosting a family reunion, plus details on who's building new ships, who's delaying bankruptcy and who's been grounded.
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Reader's Voice
From Michelle Bellinger: "I just got back from my first cruise and it was AWFUL!! It was a four-day cruise from NYC to Halifax on Carnival Victory. The food was disgusting, the drinks had hardly any alcohol in them, the entertainment was mediocre and the pools were crowded. After exploring the ship on the first night, there was nothing else to experience. All of the lounges allowed smoking. I was so happy when we finally arrived in Halifax. That was the only pleasurable part of the trip. Unfortunately, it was the shortest part of the trip. My friends and I had the only good meal of the trip while in Halifax. If I had the money to spend, I would have ditched that floating 'Motel from Hell' and stayed in Halifax for another day and flown back to NYC."
From Debbie Escobar: "We went in late June/early July 2001 and had a wonderful experience throughout Australia. We took a three-night cruise through the Great Barrier Reef (can't remember the name but it was a 100 person tri-hull or catamaran that left from Cannes and deported in Townsville) and it was the highlight of our trip. The naturalists on board were so knowledgeable and friendly, they loved our kids, it was informal and there were lots of things to do and see, the food was fresh and native, there was a glass-bottom boat on the back of the ship that was used often, we fished off the back at night, they caught sea creatures off the back to show everyone, we got to see various parts of the reef, and they had all the gear for snorkeling and scuba. Awesome -- highly recommended. Temperatures were warm and comfortable."
From DJ Ellis: "I received the wonderful gift of a Galapagos cruise with Natural Habitat over Christmas. Has anyone cruised with NatHab before? Just looking for info on general boat experience, tour leaders, etc."
From Carol Clifford: "We've decided our next cruise is to Alaska. The Princess brochures show the train trips as wonderful -- any suggestions or comments from anyone that has taken the Princess Cruise/rail tour combination?"
From Robert B.: "I have just read about the tipping policy on NCL and would like to know about the cruise line itself. We are doing the Panama Canal in April and was wondering if we picked the wrong cruise line."

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