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September 23, 2009

Next Year Might Just Be the Year You Can Afford a Crystal Cruise

Crystal_Symphony_Capetown

Crystal Cruises has repeatedly been voted the number-one large-ship cruise line by Conde Nast Traveler readers in our Readers' Choice Awards.

by Wendy Perrin

Daily deals

Have you spent years wishing you could afford to sail with Crystal but settling for lesser cruise lines instead? Well, 2010 may just be the year you can afford to upgrade.  Crystal just dropped prices by 15% to 17% on every single sailing next year, for every single cabin category. That's 15% to 17% off Crystal's already substantially discounted 2009 rates. 

The new prices are two-for-one fares that include free round-trip airfare to most destinations, shipboard credit of up to $2,000 per couple, and a price guarantee: Should there be another sale that lowers fares yet again, Crystal will refund the difference between the price you paid and the new, lower fare.

What you should know about Crystal Cruises (full disclosure: I've sailed on the Crystal Symphony as an invited speaker) is that, by supporting the cruise line, you're also helping to support the Conde Nast Traveler Five & Alive Fund, which saves the lives of children in developing countries around the world.  In fact, the cruise line raised more than $80,000 for the Fund last year.  Crystal Cruises president Gregg Michel spoke at length about it on my panel at Monday's World Savers Congress, and you can read more about Crystal's philanthropic efforts here.

As for the two-for-one cruise savings, Crystal's Vice-President of Public Relations, Mimi Weisband, stopped by my office yesterday to provide more details, which you'll find after the jump.

Mimi gave this example of the savings: A 12-day July/August Mediterranean cruise from Istanbul to Barcelona that cost $7,964 per person this past summer now costs $6,470 per person in 2010.  That price includes round-trip airfare, $1,000 per person in shipboard credit, and airport-to-ship transfers, but not port charges. Note: Should you opt to use frequent-flier miles for your airfare or buy the airline ticket on your own (as opposed to through the cruise line), Crystal will deduct $1,200 per person from the price. 

The two-for-one rates are even available on Crystal's 2010 Thanksgiving and Christmas cruises--sailings that in the past have always been blacked out.

If you're tempted to book a Crystal cruise for 2010, be sure to book through one of the cruise specialists on my annual list of top travel planners. Here's why.

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