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    Cruise prices plunge as summer ends. Who loves cruising this time of year?


    Summer will be over before we know it, and fall will usher in the lowest cruise prices of the year.

    "Kids are in school and fewer families can travel," said Stewart Chiron, chief executive of cruiseguy.com. "This means ... cruise lines have to work harder to sell individual cabins." And that, Chiron said, means drastically reduced prices.

    Not only do many fares drop below $100 a day per person in fall, but cruise lines sometimes add other incentives, among them onboard credits, free upgrades and free or reduced airfare.

    Early fall, when autumn days are turning landscapes into palettes of color, is the perfect time to take a cruise from New York along the New England coast to maritime Canada. Several lines offer such cruises in September and October. Though the dates vary each year, autumn colors along this coast usually reach their peak in the first two weeks of October.

    Cruises to another popular destination for Long Islanders -- Bermuda -- are tapering off at this time of year, so you may be able to latch onto a late-season bargain.

    The biggest fall discounts, however, are on repositioning cruises. These are one-way voyages the cruise lines make to move their ships from one seasonal base to another.

    In the fall, dozens of ships will be moving from Alaska and Europe to warmer climates in the United States. They are usually longer voyages, with more time at sea, but fares can be as low as $33 a day per person and sometimes they call at ports not often visited. Of course, the passenger has to pay for one-way airfare, but that can provide a pre-cruise land visit abroad.

    Listed below are several examples of advantageously priced fall cruises. The deals were in effect in early August. However, all fares and terms are subject to change without notice. In general, the earlier the booking, the better the deal.

    Prices quoted are starting prices per person, double occupancy, for an inside stateroom unless otherwise stated, and may include taxes, fees and fuel surcharges.

    BAHAMAS AND FLORIDA

    Here's a chance to sail on the brand-new Norwegian Breakaway, which is based year-round in New York City. The 4,028-passenger Norwegian Cruise Line vessel, which entered service in May, carries a New York City theme throughout (complete with roaming hot dog stands) and features the latest in onboard innovations, such as a ropes course and a plank (don't worry -- guests are harnessed). A $599 starting fare is available on a Nov. 17 sailing that calls at Port Canaveral, Fla., and Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas. That price also is available Dec. 1, 8 and 15, as well as on several Bermuda cruises in September. (ncl.com)

    Also sailing out of New York City, Carnival Cruise Lines' Carnival Splendor offers a fare of $369 for a similar seven-night cruise to Florida and the Bahamas. Ports of call are Port Canaveral, Fla., and Nassau and Freeport in the Bahamas. (carnival.com)

    CARIBBEAN

    With winter coming on, here's a cruise that will warm you up: Royal Caribbean's Jewel sails out of San Juan on a 14-night voyage Dec. 7 that calls at 10 islands. This is a back-to-back sailing, with the first week calling at St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John, Martinique and St. Lucia, returning to San Juan for the second week, when the ship calls at Tortola, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Dominica and Barbados. Lots of time to get a tan before Christmas. A guaranteed balcony stateroom costs $1,898 and there's an onboard credit of $150 per cabin. Round-trip airfare is included from Miami. From New York, air is priced at $275. (onlinevacationcenter.com)

    REPOSITIONING

    Few, if any, ships have been as extensively renovated as Carnival Cruise Line's former Carnival Destiny, now named the Carnival Sunshine. Besides the addition of 182 cabins, the renovation installed three new dining-drinking spots and a water sports park.

    Returning from Europe after its $155-million makeover, the ship will sail Nov. 1 from Barcelona on a 16-night trans-Atlantic cruise to New Orleans at prices as low as $33 a night. Ports of call include Mallorca, Malaga, the Canary Islands and Grand Turk. (carnival.com)

    Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Constellation sails from Rome to Fort Lauderdale on a 15-night cruise Nov. 24. It will make port calls at Livorno, Italy (for Florence); Cartagena, Spain; Agadir, Morocco; and Langarote and Gran Canaria, Canary Islands. Fares start at $649, book by Aug. 25. (cruisedeals.com)

    NEW ENGLAND/CANADA

    Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas has an Oct. 13 seven-night round-trip sailing out of Boston starting at $519. The ship calls at Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine, and St. John, New Brunswick, and Halifax, Nova Scotia. (rccl.com)

    Holland America lists a seven-night, one-way sailing Sept. 28 on the Veendam from Quebec City to Boston starting at $649 with up to $500 shipboard credit, depending on stateroom class. Itinerary includes an overnight in Quebec City, Prince Edward Island, Sydney and Halifax in Nova Scotia, and Bar Harbor, Maine. (hollandamerica.com)

    For an extended visit, book a 10-night one-way cruise on the Emerald Princess sailing out of New York Oct. 16 that calls at Newport, R.I.; Boston; Bar Harbor, Maine; St. John, New Brunswick; Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia, and Charlottetown, and ends in Quebec City. Fares start at $699, plus an onboard credit of up to $100 per cabin, depending on stateroom class. Other sailings Sept. 26 and Oct. 6 (reverse itinerary) start at $1,099. Book by Aug.20. (princesscruises.com)

    SEEING ALASKA

    As temperatures cool down, Alaska cruises wind down, too. Most end in September, when the ships head for warmer seas. Late-season sailings often offer reduced prices. Holland America's Oosterdam, for instance, has a seven-night Alaska cruise round-trip from Seattle Sept. 21 starting at $599. Itinerary includes Puget Sound, Tracy Arm, Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, and Victoria, B.C. (hollandamerica.com)

    A seven-night round-trip sailing on Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Pearl, departing from Seattle, starts at $599 on Sept. 1 and 22 sailings. Upgrades and onboard credit of up to $350 also are offered, depending on stateroom class. Itinerary includes Inside Passage, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan and Victoria, B.C. (ncl.com)

    By Jay Clarke, Long Island Newsday

    For more cruise news & articles go to http://www.cruisecrazies.com/index.html

    Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more

    http://www.cruisecrazies.com

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    We cruise in the fall every year... from very late August to early November and we've never been disappointed and have encountered some great deals and price reductions!

    Of course, this is the peak of hurricane season but in all of my cruises I've only missed two ports because of the weather... oddly enough both were on one cruise.

    You really can't beat this time frame... the temps in the Caribbean are dropping a bit, the prices are dropping a bunch, the ships aren't as crowded and the vast majority of destinations are still available.

    The point regarding re-positioning cruise is an excellent one. I've seen 16 day transatlantic sailings that are under $40/per/day and you just can't beat that!

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    Like Mach, the majority of the cruises we have been on were either early or late in the year (when schools are open) because that is when prices and cabin choices are the best. Since we live in Florida now, our sailing ports are within driving distance from home. The down side is if we cruise late in the season, we keep a close eye on the weather for hurricanes. The only issue we had sailing during hurricane season was on a cruise years ago aboard the Celebrity Meridian from N.Y. (when we lived in N.Y.) to Bermuda. There was a hurricane spinning in the Caribbean and it made the Atlantic very rough. Being the Meridian was an older vessel (without stabilizers) it made the cruise rough. Many were wearing the tabs behind their ears and most of the ship was like a ghost town. My brother and I took that opportunity to "bar hop" and had a tour of the ship many times finding ourselves in "Crew Only" areas (ooops!!). AAAAH...the good old days!!!

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    Yikes! Mine has gone up, too. I guess it pays to book early!

    That's why we always try to book 9 to 12 months out Jan :wink2:

    Yep... at least a year in advance for us, too... We very frequently see price reductions!

    I can tell you, from my client's experience, that the old saw regarding booking at the last minute very seldom works any more...

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    We really loved the cruise we took to Hawaii three years ago in October. It was amazing in how few children there were. A very different experience then our other cruises. Our next cruise is to the Caribbean in early November.

    Janice

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