Don’t believe pledges cruise lines made earlier this year that passengers will never again see the likes of the bottom-feeding discounting that went on in post-millennium 2000: deals are a dime-a-dozen -- not just for off-season fares, or last-minute cruises, but also for prime time. Check out our sampling:
* American Hawaii Cruises & United States Lines are offering a “Summer of Freedom” promotion that not only gives you two-for-one pricing (typically the best possible discount you can get) plus free airfare for winter 2002 -- considered a prime getaway time for winter-plagued Americans. Reading the fine print, it says you have to pay brochure price for the first passenger but it’s still a deal at about $1,000 per person for a weeklong cruise and air -- to Hawaii.
* At Overstock.com, a web site that sells cruises that aren’t moving, you can snatch up a Carnival 3-day Bahamas voyage on Fascination for as low as $170 (taxes extra). Celebrity Horizon is offering 7-day Western Caribbean voyages at $415 per person (again, taxes extra), which works out to about $60 a night.
* Windstar is selling prime-time cruises -- summer in Europe, New Year’s in the Caribbean -- with 50 percent off-and-free-airfare deals. The cruise line claims the discounts “commemorate Windstar’s 15th anniversary.”
* Even Alaska's a bargain, according to Cruise Critic's Bargain Box, which lists July (!) sailings on Princess' Gulf of Alaska itineraries aboard its Sea, Ocean and Sun Princess ships starting at $499 per person for run-of-ship inside cabins.