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Cruise news: Bookings on the humongous Oasis of the Seas

By JD Rinne
updated September 29, 2021
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Courtesy Royal Caribbean

This December, Royal Caribbean debuts the largest cruise ship in the world, the Oasis of the Seas. We reported on the "gi-normous" (and very cool) ship last summer. At 220,000-tons, with 18 decks and seven distinct neighborhoods (including one with a zip line!), it'll be quite a sight.

If you'd like to be part of cruising history, bookings are still available on the ship's earliest trips departing from Fort Lauderdale. The inaugural voyage for the Oasis was originally set for December 12, but Royal Caribbean recently elected to move it up a week, to December 5, 2009. Additionally, there will be a quickie four-night cruise on December 1, to mark the opening of Labadee, the cruise line's private island in Haiti.

On its website, Royal Caribbean is offering interior cabins starting at $699 for the four-night cruise, $1,299 for the December 5 inaugural seven-night cruise, and $1,089 for other dates in December. Stops on the seven-night cruises include St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and Nassau in the Bahamas.

I did a Kayak cruise search today to see if other booking sites could beat those prices. I didn't have any luck. But, booking agencies such as cruises.com, cruisesonly.com, and cruise411.com are offering bonuses like 10 percent off shore excursions for all bookings and a free spa treatment if you book a balcony cabin or above on the Oasis. And Travel Themes and Dreams, one of Budget Travel's favorite booking agencies, is offering balcony cabins for the December 12 cruise for $1,369 (the regular rate) but also throwing in a $100 shipboard credit.

There's a chance prices could come down as the dates get closer—after all, the ship can handle nearly 6,300 passengers. Keep watching Kayak, and be prepared to book at the last minute for great rates.

Want more? See the Washington Post's recent sneak peak of the Oasis of the Seas. Or you could visit the official site.

Port Report: Cruise Terminals Across the U.S.

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Loyal reader Clarence Moore wrote in to us in response to our recent blog posts on Viking and Uniworld introducing new river cruise ships and Avalon christening a new river cruise ship: There are a couple of rivers in the east of Spain and the Po River in Italy that NEED river cruise ships. Additionally, the river north of Prague to Berlin is well covered, but on north to Hamburg and to the sea is hardly covered at all. There are canals and river systems right through from Amsterdam to Berlin, but this route is NOT covered except by one European company with ONE trip annually, if even that now. Yet, they have Hansel and Gretel houses and entire villages through that area that are VERY attractive. The Oder River and other Polish rivers are inadequately or not covered at all. One river goes north and one south not too far after you leave Vienna or Budapest on the Danube—both navigable, but NO cruises! Any way you could help increase interest in these potential river cruises? We need American companies, like Uniworld or Viking to cover them all! Thanks!

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Cruises: How did one reader nab $74 a day on Princess?

An amazing deal on a cruise was nabbed by Budget Travel blog reader Maureen of Mission Viejo, Calif. She scored a 30-day South American cruise from Los Angeles to Rio de Janeiro leaving on Nov. 22, 2009. Her obstructed ocean view cabin was only $1,697. After you include government taxes and mandatory gratuities, it figures out to be only $74 a day per person! That's about a third cheaper than the list price. Maureen says: Right now the current brochure for the cruise we are taking states a balcony fare from $2,979, add $197 govt.fees/taxes plus $330 tips ($11 per day added on by Princess per person). The math for this trip figures out to be $110 a day for a balcony room. Even more impressive, Maureen is paying about 59 percent less per day for her upcoming cruise than the last Princess cruise she took (staying in a comparable berth). Consider that Maureen went on a 10-day eastern Caribbean cruise with Princess this past January and paid $1,730 per person for a balcony (no fuel charges). Adding the $110 for taxes and tips that trip came to $184 a day. We asked her how she got the deal, to see if we could pick up some pointers: We got this deal from a Princess brochure mailed to us as frequent Princess cruisers (having been on Princess at least three times). We have been receiving these "exclusives-special offers just for you" frequently as well as mailers from other cruise companies. I have been monitoring the prices of all of the cruise lines for the last 4 months. This price was just reduced on Princess's website on June 10th. Maureen's tip: Use a travel agent, but negotiate I chose to book through a local travel agent I have used before. She is really good, thorough, and only deals in cruises. She makes all the phone calls to Princess regarding questions I may have. I saw the Princess eastern caribbean cruise we recently went on listed in Vacationstogo.com for the same price as the Princess website was quoting but with $100 shipboard credit and a free bottle of wine. I told her I would rather book with her and would she match that website's extra offerings? She not only met vacations freebies but added a big bottle of water to our stateroom. She also gave this same deal to my girlfriend who was traveling with us and who ended up booking through her. Maybe people do not want to go to South America??? Maybe that explains the low cost? We have never been south of Mexico. And we live an hour north from Los Angeles harbor where the cruise starts. The only major cost for us is the price of flying back from Rio where the cruise ends during the Christmas holidays. But we have found some good fares on the internet around $900-$1,000. Congrats, Maureen, on your great deal. And thanks for sharing your tips! MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL Real Deals in Cruises, hand-picked by our editors