Move Over, Oprah: See Which TV Host Gave Out 300+ Free Cruises Today!

December 17, 2009
(10 a.m. EST) -- Most people who turn up for talk show tapings go home with a prize -- cookies from a chef's recipe book, or perhaps a DVD or CD from an artist performing. But today, a surprised audience at "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" received the ultimate holiday present -- a free cruise from Norwegian Cruise Line!

Ellen fans tuning into the popular chat program today will see more than 300 in-studio audience members jump out of their seats screaming and applauding at the news of their free seven-night cruise for two from NCL (Norwegian Star, seven-night Mexican Riveria Cruises). Four ship officers were present to personally hand out packages of information to each lucky person.

These big giveaways are rare, but they do happen -- back in 2004, Oprah Winfrey famously gave away a car to all guests in her audience. This season, Ellen DeGeneres has been upping the audience-gift ante in the days leading up to Christmas with a "12 Days of Giveaways" promotion. Prizes have include printers, smartphones and cookery items -- but today's free NCL cruise (it's day 11 of 12) has to be the top gift so far!

NCL meanwhile is gearing up for Wave season -- three months of cruise booking incentives that occurs each year from (roughly) January through March -- with its "Year of the Freestyle Vacation" offers. From now until March 14, 2010, NCL is offering up to $400 onboard credit and six-category cabin upgrades. The line will also be running bi-weekly promotions. The first offer from January 4-17, 2010 includes reduced deposits and kids from $249 for bookings on Norwegian Epic's Caribbean cruises.

To see a video clip of the Ellen giveaway, click here.

--by Kelly Ranson, U.K. Editor