Travel

Cruise vacationers head to Caribbean

Where are vacationers cruising in 2012?

After the Caribbean, Europe and Alaska are this year’s most popular destinations, according to Cruise Holiday’s 2012 Cruise Trends survey. Prices on Alaskan cruises are higher than they were last year, but travel agents say that could change in the coming months.

With European cruises, “They’re trying not to lower actual rates as much as they are offering discounts on airfares and other amenities,” said Lisa Anciaux, travel director for AAA Washington. Several lines offer $999 airfares to Europe, she said.

Mexico, slipping in popularity because of safety concerns over drug violence and a new, more detailed, U.S. government travel warning, offers good value for those who still want to go.

Ocean-view rooms aboard Carnival’s Splendor for a seven-day Mexican Riviera trip in December, departing from Los Angeles, were selling recently for $655, or $93.50 per person, per day, including taxes.

“The lines have been continually cutting cruises to Mexico,” says Clem Bason, president of Hotwire.com, which carries a running list of top cruise deals on its website.

Disney Cruise Lines will sail between Los Angeles and Mexico for the last time this year. Prices are averaging $115 per night plus taxes for spring and fall sailings, according to Hotwire’s data.

You’ll find last-minute deals on cruise-line websites and sites such as Hotwire, Expedia, Travelzoo and www.travelthemesanddreams.com. A new site, www.cruisewise.com, gathers cruises by date, departure port and destination and lists prices for comparison shopping.

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