Carnival, a unit of Carnival Corporation & plc, is the largest and most popular cruise line in the world, with 22 "Fun Ships" including two 110,000-ton SuperLiners – Carnival Liberty and Carnival Freedom, operating voyages of three to 16 days to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, New England and Europe.

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illustrated in 2005 why cruising had become such a bargain

Other View from the Bridge Contributors

Terry Dale (CLIA) 2008
Derek Banks (European Waterways) 2007
Lawrence Dessler (NCMA) 2007
Albert Peter (Silversea) 2007
Alan Lewis (Grand Circle) 2006
Terry Dale (CLIA) 2005
Bob Dickinson (Carnival) 2005
Steve Gelfuso (Cruise Brothers) 2005
Bob Levinstein CruiseCompete) 2005
Cruising: Less Than Half the Price Versus 25 Years Ago

Despite reports that cruise prices are at their highest level in several years due to increased demand, a cruise vacation is a much better bargain than it was 25 years ago.

The current minimum price of a seven-day Carnival Caribbean cruise from Miami is $599 – just as it was 25 years ago. But when adjusted for inflation, a seven-day Carnival cruise that sold for $599 in 1980 would cost $1,373 today. 

"Price is not the story — it’s value," said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. "And when comparing today’s ultra-modern ‘floating resorts’ to cruise ships of 25 years ago, your $599 buys so much more."

Indeed, where older ships were mostly converted transatlantic ocean liners with smallish cabins and little in the way of on-board amenities, today’s cruise ships are stocked with features such as an array of formal and casual dining options, expansive spa and children’s facilities, soaring atriums, and double-width promenades lined with myriad entertainment venues – all available at roughly half what vacationers paid in 1980.

"There’s really no comparison between the seagoing vacations of today and yesterday.  Everything – from dining options and health and fitness centers to children’s facilities and in-cabin amenities – has been upgraded dramatically. Factor in today’s affordable pricing, and cruising is the best vacation value, hands down," Dickinson said.

In addition to a greater variety of culinary choices – from expansive casual poolside eateries with 24-hour pizzerias and New York-style delis to intimate upscale supper clubs – today’s mega-liners feature a seemingly endless array of bars, lounges and nightspots, everything from sports bars and wine bars to multi-level theaters showcasing lavish Vegas-style revues. 

Staterooms are not only roomier but ships feature more ocean view and balcony accommodations than ever before. For instance, 80 percent of the 1,062 staterooms on Carnival’s 88,500-ton Spirit-class ships offer either an ocean view or private verandah.

Even younger cruisers have spaces to call their own, with expansive children’s facilities – as large as 4,200 square feet on Carnival’s 110,000-ton Conquest-class vessels – stocked with computer labs, indoor climbing mazes, arts and crafts centers and more.

Internet cafes – unheard of 25 years ago – have also been introduced, enabling guests to access e-mail, surf the Web, and send video postcards.

And today’s health-conscious consumers have access to spacious health and fitness centers with equipment and pampering treatments rivaling the best facilities ashore.

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