Tweet (6 p.m. EDT) -- Cruise pricing has been a bit of a controversial topic throughout 2010. Cruise lines are bouncing back from the recession, pricing is leveling out, rock-bottom rates are few and far between, and agent-added perks are becoming increasingly limited.
Still, cruise vacations continue to offer incredible value, and deals are far from nonexistent. In fact, as summer begins to wind down, we're noticing an abundance of surprisingly low rates for fall Bahamas cruises. Sure, it's hurricane season, but many of these deals -- from just $50 a night -- are for cruises sailing after or close to its November 30 end, leaving less room for concern over bad weather. Bahamas temps rarely budge more than a few notches from 80 degrees.
And East Coasters, take note: A number of these cruises depart from Baltimore or New York, with the option to drive or take a train to the cruise port. This will save the cost of airfare, which -- with baggage fees, legroom fees, meal fees and the like -- is becoming an increasingly costly factor in budgeting for your cruise. Plus, whether you're looking for a short getaway or a longer escape, two- to nine-night cruises are all currently available for well under $75 a night.
We've compiled some of our favorites here:
I Can Only Escape for a Few Days…
On October 8, you can sail aboard NCL's Norwegian Pearl on a two-night cruise, roundtrip from Miami to Great Stirrup Cay from $149 per person -- about $74 a night. Plus, if you book with Expedia, you'll get two complimentary coupon books worth up to $400 in onboard savings each.
You can sail roundtrip from Miami to Nassau on a three-night cruise aboard Carnival Imagination on December 3 from only $199 per person -- about $66 a night. This cruise departs on a Friday and sails over the weekend, so you won't have to use too many vacation days.
If you can cruise soon, you can sail aboard Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas on September 27, visiting Key West, Nassau and Coco Cay on a four-night cruise from just $199 per person -- only $50 a night. When you book with Expedia, you'll receive $25 in onboard credit.
On December 13, you can sail roundtrip from Port Canaveral to Coco Cay and Nassau on this four-night cruise aboard Monarch of the Seas from as little as $199 per person -- about $50 per night.
I Need a Week (or More) Off!
If you can book by September 1, you can sail roundtrip from New York to Port Canaveral, Great Stirrup Cay and Nassau on a weeklong cruise on Norwegian Jewel departing November 14 from just $449 per person for an outside cabin -- only $64 a night. Plus, if you book with Cruise Holidays, you'll be eligible for up to $150 in onboard credit per cabin.
On November 27, December 4 or December 11, you can sail roundtrip from New York to Port Canaveral, Great Stirrup Cay and Nassau on a seven-night cruise aboard Norwegian Gem, from just $399 per person -- about $57 a night. If you book with Cruise.com, you'll be eligible to receive up to $250 in onboard credit.
From just $599 per person -- only about $67 a night -- you can sail roundtrip from Baltimore to Charleston, Key West, Coco Cay and Nassau on a nine-night cruise aboard Celebrity Mercury. You may be eligible for reduced third- and fourth-passenger rates.
On either November 18 or November 27, you can sail aboard Enchantment of the Seas on a nine-night cruise, sailing roundtrip from Baltimore to Port Canaveral, Key West, Nassau and Coco Cay, from as little as $499 per person -- that's only $55 a night.
Editor's Note: The best way to find great cruise bargains is to check regularly. Because cruise fares change frequently, every few days is ideal. Of course, the Cruise Critic bargains page is a great place to get started; we add new deals daily.
--by Shayne Rodriguez Thompson, Web Content Producer
Deals Spotlight: Fall Cruises to the Bahamas
August 23, 2010