Celebration Cruise Line couldn't have been launched at a better time, said an optimistic Glenn Ryerson, vice president of marketing. The company began sailing two- and three-night cruises to Nassau from Port Everglades last month with the 1981-built, 1,500-passenger Bahamas Celebration.

"This is clearly the right business climate for us," Ryerson explained. "People need to get away no matter what - and now they are looking for a lot more value for their money." (An inside cabin could run as low as $119 for a three-night cruise.)

Ryerson said that so far things have been "going well, but the real test will be this fall. At that point we will know if the business model turns out to be correct," he said. "We have no competition for our two-night cruises; our competition comes from the bigger guys who offer three-night cruises."

One-third of the passengers are from in-state - and of that one third, 80 percent are from South Florida, according to Ryerson.

Celebration also expects to explore other opportunities, Ryerson explained, for example, going after prospective passengers in Nassau that might want to sail in the other direction. "We are also hoping to launch a cruise-and-resort stay package, as we have relationships with a number of hotels in Nassau and on Paradise Island," he said.