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We've rounded up what we believe are the most interesting offers out there: budget-priced deals, luxury lines, discounted steamboat journeys, free airfare and more.
There's nothing quite like spending the holidays on the high seas. Even on the newest, splashiest ships, the mood is warm and fuzzy. Think Bing Crosby and White Christmas. During the weeks of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year's, many ships go all out getting dressed for the occasion, decking their halls with twinkling Christmas trees, poinsettias and gingerbread houses.
The typical Caribbean cruise isn't as typical as it used to be, with ships departing from a host of alternative homeports, cruise lengths varying from as short as three nights to as long as twelve, and itineraries pressing farther into the southern Caribbean and Central America. Here's a few of the more notable developments as we head into the new year.
The cruise industry is consistenly inconsistent -- but in a good way. Lines retire the old and bring out the new in way of itineraries, ships, activities and services. We're here to let you in on all that's new.
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Reader's Voice
From LNM: "Has Anyone been on a Uniworld Cruise to Russia? They seem a bit pricey, but I'm assuming the facilities, service and food are suppose to be better. Would anyone recommend using them?"
From joanthomas: "Six of us (3 veteran cruisers) are travelling on RCCL Explorer of the Seas in December and will probably not book excursions. We are interested, however, in blazing our own trail, if only to get away from the cruise crowd for a few hours. Any general tips for the St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Nassau ports?"
From John Amanns: "On our Hawaiian 11-day cruise aboard NCL's Wind, we did not make our scheduled run to Fanning Island (Oct 2, 2004 sailing). Due to a medical emergency we were forced to return to the Big Island so not enough time was left to make the complete journey to Fanning Island. While on board, many commented about how this has happened on other occasions. Medical emergencies and mechanical problems top the list. One couple was on their third attempt to visit the island. Denied again! This sounds a little unusual to me. I know a tremendous amount of fuel is spent with four days at sea, but it would seem extreme to capitalize on any excuse not to go. Has anyone else taken this same cruise itinerary and had their schedule changed?"
From Joan Cohen: "I am planning on taking my 20 year old on a 7-day Disney Cruise. I would like the Jan 8 sailing and am looking for the best price. We would like an outside cabin. Is it better to book a cheaper one and hope for an upgrade or just go with the better one?"
From Elizabeth Ballistreri: "I have never cruised before and plan to do so in March, 2005. I love to travel but have always been hesitant to cruise because I am very prone to motion sickness. Does anyone have any recommendations? I've heard of the patch, but would love to hear the experience of anyone who's actually used it. Thanks!"

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