Considering a Last-Minute Getaway? This Year's Cruise Deals Offer Exceptional Value, Reports Cruise Critic, But You Need to Act Fast

Oct 19, 2010, 06:30 ET from Cruise Critic

PENNINGTON, N.J., Oct. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Cruise lines are slashing prices to offer outstanding holiday cruise deals for peak-period travel this year, but demand remains high, and the deals are not expected to last, according to Cruise Critic® ( -- the cruise reviews and news Web site.

"Prices have dropped to less than $80 a night for some sailings, which, for a holiday cruise, is almost unheard of," says Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor-in-chief of Cruise Critic. "The number of holiday cruises on offer has kept prices competitive, but these cruises are still popular, and most will sell out. Last-minute deals offer some real bargains, especially those from the luxury cruise lines, which offer exceptional value for a truly decadent holiday escape."

Cruise Critic warns, however, that anyone planning to take advantage of the savings should act quickly, as the deals won't last.

Exceptional deals spotted by Cruise Critic's editors for Thanksgiving include a seven-night Southern Caribbean cruise on Celebrity Summit from $489 per person for an outside cabin (a mere $70 a night!) and a weeklong Eastern Caribbean cruise on Holland America's Eurodam from $449 per person for an inside cabin. (Perks like onboard credit and coupon books may also be available.) For Christmas, fares on Royal Princess' ten-night South Pacific cruise sailing from Papeete start at $1,534 per person, while on New Year's, a nine-night Southern Caribbean cruise on Norwegian Dawn starts at $699 per person.

But, does the price-slashing and race to fill cabins indicate a lack of interest in holiday cruises? Cruise Critic conducted a poll to find out whether leaving home for the holidays was still a popular choice, and results were conclusively in favor of getting away -- more than 70 percent of the 1,758 people who responded to the poll admitted that they like to escape on a cruise over the holidays. Twenty-five percent had enjoyed a holiday cruise in the past, and 46 percent would love to try one. Just 23 percent of those who voted in the poll said they would rather be elsewhere, and 6 percent stated that they had taken a holiday cruise in the past but would not repeat the experience.

For those who have not already booked for this year, Cruise Critic offers this advice:

  • Move quickly -- the deals won't last. Book now for Thanksgiving cruises and within the next few weeks for Christmas and New Year sailings. Hanukkah falls in early December this year, so it is not a prime travel holiday. Travelers can take their pick of the last-minute cruise deals. However, given the cruise ship itineraries, it's hard to find a cruise that covers the entire holiday.

  • If you see a good deal, remember to check the cost of airfare and hotels. As you will be traveling at peak times and delays should be anticipated, you should consider flying to your port early and staying in a hotel the night before departure so you do not arrive late.

  • To avoid busy airports, expensive flights and potential delays, choose a cruise that departs from a homeport to which you can drive.

  • If you are planning a last-minute group cruise, save yourself the headache, and consult a travel agent so you don't have to make all arrangements yourself. Travel agents often have access to additional incentives and can help to match your group to the most appropriate ship.

  • Don't rush the research. Whether you want a relaxing escape, a festive trip to delight the kids or the party of the year to ring in the New Year, make sure you are on the right ship, or you could be disappointed. Check out Cruise Critic's cruise reviews before you book.

About Cruise Critic:

Cruise Critic is an online cruise guide, offering a comprehensive resource for cruise travelers, from first-time cruisers to avid cruisers. The site features professional reviews and member reviews of more than 350 ships and hosts an active community where travelers share experiences and opinions with fellow cruisers.

Launched in October 1995 by The Independent Traveler, Inc., Cruise Critic was the first consumer cruise site on the Internet. The Independent Traveler, Inc. is a subsidiary of TripAdvisor® LLC, which is an operating company of Expedia.

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SOURCE Cruise Critic