Best Accommodations Go to Early Bookers

Cruise Line Bookings Peak During Industry’s ‘Wave Season’

NORWALK, Conn., Jan. 19 /PRNewswire/ — January through March is the cruise industry’s “Wave Season,” when the vast majority of cruise bookings for the year are made. Getting the best staterooms and itineraries means booking early and being aware of how availability will be affected by this year’s trends and destination popularity.

Among the hottest tickets in 2006 are those for cruises to the Caribbean, Alaska, Hawaii and Europe. Offering exotic locales on even the briefest itineraries, Caribbean cruises remain the most popular in the world. A number of cruise lines depart almost daily from ports all along the Florida coast for voyages ranging in length from three days to more than two weeks. Even with the wealth of cruises available, ships fill up rapidly, with outside cabins — especially those with balconies — going first. You can sail the Caribbean on Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas, one of the largest and most exciting ships at sea from $899 for seven nights*.

“The trends for 2006 are pointing towards hot beach destinations in the Caribbean and Hawaii, popular treks to Alaska and voyages to Europe,” said Julia Ryan, vice president of Travelers Advantage and Travelersadvantage.com. “If you are considering a cruise to these luxurious locales, it’s time to jump on the wave and book your spring and summer cruises now.”

Outside cabins and balconies are also at a premium on cruises to Alaska and Hawaii, where the spectacular scenery almost demands a cabin with a view. Unlike Hawaii, where cruises run year-round, Alaska has a cruising season limited to the summer months — late May through September — so premium cabin availability is decidedly limited. Many Alaskan travelers book “cruisetours,” an increasingly popular travel option from cruise lines that combines a cruise with a land expedition.

Sail the majestic Alaskan Inside Passage on the Holland America Westerdam from Seattle from $749 for seven nights*. Norwegian Cruise Lines boast three luxurious ships to choose the perfect Hawaiian adventure. Jump aboard the Pride of Aloha from Honolulu from $1,079 for seven nights*.

Cruisetours in Europe are proving to be a cost-efficient means of seeing the continent as the American dollar continues to weaken against the Euro and the English pound. A cruise’s fixed all-inclusive price for food, lodging and entertainment make it a particularly good value. First-time visitors to Europe also find cruisetours especially helpful in making sure they don’t miss any destination highlights. See Europe on Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas, sailing from Barcelona Spain from $999 for seven nights*.

With more than 184 cruise ships sailing to 1,800 destinations around the world, options are virtually unlimited. Unfortunately, point out the travel experts, availability is not, so the best bet is to book early and avoid missing the boat.

* All rates are cruise only, per person, double occupancy and do not
include non-commissionable fares and $19.95 processing fee.

About Travelers Advantage

Members of Travelers Advantage (http://www.travelersadvantage.com/ or 1-877-841-1335) can save money on air travel, cruises, car rentals and accommodations, as well as earn five percent cash back on eligible travel booked with preferred providers through the service. Travelers Advantage is offered by Affinion Group, a leader in the membership, insurance and loyalty marketing businesses, providing products and services that touch the lives of millions of Americans.

About Affinion Group

Affinion Group is a leading affinity direct marketer of value-added membership, insurance and package enhancement programs and services to consumers. With more than 30 years of experience, Affinion Group currently offers its programs and services worldwide through more than 4,500 affinity partners. Its diversified base of affinity partners includes leading companies in a wide variety of industries, including financial services, retail, travel, telecommunications, utilities and Internet. Affinion Group also has a growing loyalty solutions operation, which administers points-based loyalty programs. Based in Norwalk, Conn., Affinion Group has approximately 3,600 employees throughout the United States and in 13 countries across Europe.

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