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Cruise rates can be pretty darn appealing these days, especially if you're cruising during slow periods -- like right now, during the fall. But before you get too excited by $100 per diems, keep in mind there are extra costs that will take some of the joy out of the bargain.
We've got the scoop on the lowest prices, free upgrades, big discounts for repeat cruisers and more.
Matt Hannafin reports on the cruise industry's contributions to the post-Katrina relief effort, ship relocations, a new cruise terminal in Brooklyn and more.
It's awful to say, but when you write about ships for a living it takes a lot to get you really excited. Another new megaship? YAWN. Biggest passenger ship ever? Ho hum, saw that last week. Real Hollywood celebrities as bartenders? Onboard ski mountains with chairlifts and snow machines? BO-RING. Doesn't every ship have those?After a while, you're more than ready to trade the thrill of the new for practicality and plain old quality.
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Reader's Voice
From des2000: "We've been cruising since 1976 (NCL's Skyward to Port Au Prince, Puerto Plata and Charlotte Amalie). We got hooked and soon got into booking at least 3 cruises per year. When I retired in 1997, we took 12 cruises in one year!"
From dburton22: "A group of my friends and I at the University of Florida are looking into a cruise for Spring Break this spring. Basically, we are looking for the best cruise line for college kids. We aren't looking for a constant flow of alcohol, which I suppose sets us apart from the majority of college folks. Just looking for a great 5-day cruise with good food, ports of call and nightlife. Any help would be much appreciated. Also, we are looking for prices under $500."
From jrowland: "I wanted to check out if any of the cruise line sponsored credit cards are worth using to get free points for future upgrades, cruises etc. Does anyone have thoughts on this?"
From Marge: "Geek Cruises (www.geekcruises.com) have had great Linux Lunacy cruises but since the one this year was not well attended, are not planning one for several years again. We are so disappointed. They have other tours but not what we are looking for. Does anyone know of other cruise or tour companies that combine technology seminars with cruising/touring? Thanks."
From Jan Cardoza: "My husband and I really love Princess. We have only sailed on one other line, RCL, and that was 18 years ago. We sailed on the Star Princess to Mexico in October of 2003, and on the new Princess Caribbean in May of 2004, and it was great. Since Carnival bought them, has it really gone down hill that much? We are sailing again in May of 2006, but we haven't book a ship yet. We were thinking of Carnival Conquest, since it leaves out of Galveston in May, but we are hesitant becuase of Carnivals bad reputation as a "Party" ship. So we are still thinking of Princess out of FLL. I need some advice from someone that has recently sailed Princess."

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