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August 21, 2006

Is the Suite Life for you?

Traveling with your entire family or another small group? Rather than reserve separate cabins, you may want to consider a luxury suite with plenty of room and special amenities. Depending on how many people there are in your group, it may even be more cost effective than multiple bookings.

Royal Caribbean's brand new Freedom of the Seas features a Presidential Family Suite with four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a living area and private balcony. The cabin is 1,215 square feet and can sleep 8 to 14 people. This breaks down into two master bedrooms with baths and two additional bedrooms, each with two Pullman beds and two twin beds that convert to a queen-sized bed. There are two additional bathrooms with showers and a spacious living area with a sofa bed and dining table. Multiple flat-screen TVs are located throughout the suite. The deck/veranda/balcony features a private wet bar, hot tub, outside dining and loungers.

Unfortunately, enjoying this suite requires some real advance planning--it is booked solid through April 2008! What's more, the Presidential Suite on the Freedom of the Seas' sister ship the Liberty of the Seas, to be launched next May, is already booked through next year. Pricing will not be available for bookings further out until next spring.

Another suite option is on NCL's Norwegian Jewel. The newest ship in the NCL fleet features two whopping 5,750 square-foot Garden Villas. Its sister ship the Norwegian Pearl will hit the seas this December and also features two Garden Villas that accommodate up to six adults. You will be pampered by a private butler and concierge, plus enjoy a spacious living room with piano, dining room and three bedrooms - each with its own luxury bathroom. In addition to ritzy furnishings, the luxury villas share a private lounge, sun deck, gorgeous courtyard with retractable roof, rattan sun beds, swimming pool, hot tub and exercise spa.

The Jewel and Pearl also feature ten Courtyard Villas each - spacious, 5,000 square-foot, top-of-the-ship suites with large, private balconies that open to a breathtaking view of the sea. The interior side of each opens to a courtyard exclusively shared with other privileged passengers enjoying Courtyard and Garden Villa suite accommodations.

There is no doubt these expansive luxury suites take travel to a new level of style that will surely make your cruise memorable. But, what does it cost to book these exquisite accommodations? Like any cabins, specific pricing varies depending on cruise dates and availability, but the following should provide you with a good idea:

The NCL Jewel Garden Villas can accommodate up to six adults each so, assuming a party of 12 people, booking both for a mid-July, seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruise would cost about $52,000 - or $4,333 a person.

The Courtyard Villas hold four persons each and three of these cabins would run about $28,000 - or $2,333 a person.

Of course, check with one of our CruiseCompete agents for rates.

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