Cruise Holidays' Experts Busy Navigating Record Number of Travel Incentives for Clients

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Boatload of Bargains Add Up to Extreme Vacation Values for Travelers.

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It's not surprising to me that the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) reports that nearly 90% of all cruises are sold through professional travel agents. Particularly in these economic times when people want, and need, to make the most of every dollar they spend, it is important to work with a true travel professional who can match you with the right experience.

The so-called trend toward "staycations" in 2008 may give way to the return of vacations as indicated by early 2009 Wave Season bookings by Cruise Holidays stores throughout Canada and the United States. Cruise Holidays has seen an increase of 69% in new cruise bookings during January 2009 over the average number of bookings during the 4th quarter of 2008 - much of that is due to unprecedented incentives in the cruise and travel industry. Cruise Holidays is North America's oldest cruise-specialty retail franchise network and has been serving travelers for 25 years.

"The rollback of fuel supplement charges was just the tip of the iceberg as there's now a full court press by travel industry suppliers to offer practical, economical value, as well as memorable vacation experiences," said Mark Schiffner, vice president of Cruise Holidays. "The incentives and deals, aimed at enticing consumers out of their 'bunker mentality,' are truly extraordinary and unprecedented. There really has never been a better time to travel - airline congestion is down, deals abound and frankly many people need a break to recharge, so I highly encourage travelers to seek out their local Cruise Holidays expert who can help them wade through the many, many savings opportunities."

Numerous cruise lines are offering a wide range of incentives including: special pricing, reduced deposits, flexible payment plans, relaxed cancellation policies, enhanced shipboard credits, and a host of freebies such as upgrade opportunities, free airfare, complimentary shore excursions, and kids sail free programs, among other possible enticements. Here's a sampling of some tremendous savings opportunities*:

  •     Norwegian Cruise Line: 7-day Western Caribbean cruise on the Norwegian Pearl, balcony stateroom for $899. Free stateroom upgrades on 12-day Mediterranean cruises with fares from $599 and balcony staterooms from $1,049.
  •     Regent Seven Seas: Free unlimited shore excursions on select 2009 cruises if booked by March 31, 2009. Also available, free air to Europe or up to $2,500 air credit on a variety of European cruises. This is in addition to Regent's all-inclusive, pre-paid gratuities.
  •     Oceania Cruises: Their 2009 European Collection offers savings of up to $2,000 per stateroom plus free air. Winter 2009 - 2010 select sailings offer savings of up to $1,500 per stateroom, free air, $500 shipboard credit and prepaid gratuities.
  •     Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises: Receive up to $300 shipboard credit and 50% reduced deposits when select sailings are booked between now and February 28, 2009.
  •     Silversea Cruises: Reserve an ocean view suite on select 2009 Alaska, Northern Europe and Mediterranean cruises between now and March 31, 2009, and receive up to 50% savings, free and/or specially priced airfare in Economy and Business Class, and $1,000 onboard spending credit.
  •     Holland America Line: Save up to 50% on select 2009 Alaska cruise tours, reduced deposits of 50% and save up to 25% on cancellation protection purchased for any cruise departing after May 1, 2009.
  •     MSC Cruises: Inside staterooms starting at $429 per person for 7-day Caribbean cruises and $599 on 10-day Caribbean cruises.

"This is only a small fraction of what is now available to travelers looking at cruise vacation. But remember, a great deal isn't really a bargain if it isn't the vacation experience someone is looking for," continued Schiffner. "It's not surprising to me that the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) reports that nearly 90% of all cruises are sold through professional travel agents. Particularly in these economic times when people want, and need, to make the most of every dollar they spend, it is important to work with a true travel professional who can match you with the right experience."

Cruise Holidays is North America's oldest franchise network of cruise-specialty travel agencies with stores throughout the United States and Canada, and is celebrating its 25th Anniversary during 2009. For more information about Cruise Holidays or to find your local Cruise Holidays expert, visit http://www.cruiseholidays.com.

*Price and availability are subject to change. Additional government taxes, port charges and fees may apply. Prices based on double occupancy.

Cruise Holidays is the oldest cruise-specialty retail franchise in North America, with stores in both the United States and Canada, and also has a location in Dubai, UAE. In addition to its focus on cruise vacations, Cruise Holidays is also a distinguished provider of land tour vacation packages. Founded in 1984, Cruise Holidays is part of Travel Acquisitions Group (TAG). With 1,600 travel agency locations in the United States and Canada, TAG serves millions of individual leisure travelers, as well as select corporate clients and destinations.

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Kathy Gerhardt

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