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November 26, 2007

Fuel Surcharges: Not Your Agent's Fault!

While the all-inclusive nature of cruises keeps them an incredible value for your vacation dollar, the rising costs of fuel will make some of them just a bit more expensive.

Every major cruise line has added fuel surcharges. These extra fees range from $5 to $10 per person per night, though they are generally only assessed on the first two people in each cabin. These fees are the same no matter where you book. However, as cruise lines base prices on "what the market will bear," overall cruise fares will probably decrease to compensate.

The people who will suffer most are those customers with existing bookings who will see their promised price go up, and the travel agents who will have to listen to the complaints despite having no control over the increase. As the surcharges are non-commissionable, it's the agents who will suffer long-term as the surcharges go directly to the cruise line coffers without any compensation to the agent in most cases. So please, be nice to your agent as they will be working a little bit harder for just a little bit less money.

World Cruises: The Ultimate Luxury Experience

Looking for a very special holiday gift for someone who has everything?

Here are a few of the the most popular world cruises on tap for 2008 and the segments that can be booked separately:

Regent Seven Seas- The all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Voyager takes guests on the ultimate 115-night world cruise journey, departing from San Francisco on January 6, 2008 and arriving in Fort Lauderdale on April 30, 2008. The itinerary includes stops at 51 global destinations in 26 countries. Fares range from $60,000 to $359,000, per person for the Master Suite. Of course, first class airfare and private care transfers are included in most cases.

There are seven segments, each of which can be booked separately.

The first leg takes guests from San Francisco to New Zealand, with stops in Hawaii and a number of South Pacific islands, 24 nights.

Segment two goes from New Zealand to Australia, with seven port stops, 10 nights. The third segment is from Sydney to Shanghai with stops in Papua New Guinea and Japan, 13 nights, with the fourth taking guests from Shanghai to Singapore over 14 nights, including multiple ports in China, Vietnam and Thailand. Segment five departs Singapore to India, with visits to Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmir and Sri Lanka. The cruise then leaves Mumbai for Athens over 17 nights, including the crossing of the Suez Canal. The final leg of the journey brings guests from Athens to Fort Lauderdale in 17 nights.

Crystal Cruises -The Crystal Serenity leaves Los Angeles on January 19, 2008 for a 108-night world cruise that ends on May 7, 2008 in Southampton, England. The ship heads west with multiple stops at South Pacific islands, Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, India, the Mediterranean and finally London. Guests visit some 45 ports in 22 countries. Itinerary segments include

Los Angeles to Papeete, 13 nights; Papeete to Auckland, 11 nights; Auckland to Sydney, 14 nights; Sydney to Hong Kong, 17 nights; Hong Kong to Singapore, 12 nights; Singapore to Mumbai, 14 nights; Mumbai to Rome, 16 nights; Rome to Southampton, 11 nights.

Cunard Line - The new Queen Victoria takes one of its first voyages on a world cruise, spanning up to 106 nights depending on where you embark and traveling from New York to Southampton, United Kingdom. The world cruise begins January 13, 2008 and ends on April 22, 2008. Visiting 37 of the world's greatest cities, it will circle the globe via the Panama and Suez Canals. The cruise includes stops in the Caribbean, Mexico, Australia, Asia, India, the Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean.

Itinerary segments include:

New York to Los Angeles, 17 nights; Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia, 24 nights; Sydney to Singapore, 23 nights; Singapore to Dubai, 13 nights; Dubai to Southampton, 22 nights.

The Queen Elizabeth 2 sails its last world cruise in 2008, taking guests on a 90-night adventure to South America, the Pacific and the Far East roundtrip from New York. U.K. guests can leave from Southampton for a 103-night voyage. The world cruise begins January 13, 2008 and finishes on April 12, 2008. Guests will travel the east coast of South America, around Cape Horn and then toward the islands of the South Pacific and Australia. From there, the ship heads to the Pacific Rim, including Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Japan. It heads home with stops in Hawaii and Los Angeles, through the Panama Canal and then to New York. Itinerary segments include:

New York to Santiago, 24 nights; Santiago to Sydney, 18 nights; Sydney to Singapore, 14 nights; Singapore to Los Angeles, 21 nights; Los Angeles to New York, 13 nights.

Holland America Line - 2008 marks the 50th Anniversary of the cruise line's first world cruise. Its flagship vessel, Amsterdam, departs on a 113-night roundtrip world cruise from Fort Lauderdale on January 4, 2008, arriving home on April 27, 2008. The ship will visit 39 ports in 26 countries, traveling through the Panama Canal then exploring the South Pacific, including New Zealand, then on to Australia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. After traversing the Suez Canal, the world cruise continues to the Mediterranean and then west via Bermuda and New York, then Florida. Itinerary segments include:

Fort Lauderdale to Sydney, 37 nights; Sydney to Singapore, 27 nights; Singapore to Istanbul, 22 nights; Istanbul to Fort Lauderdale, 28 nights.

If you are dreaming of a world voyage perhaps a segment would offer you the opportunity to meet some of the most interesting passengers and give you the thrill of a lifetime.

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