For many cost-conscious consumers, the 2008 cruise wave season could not have arrived at a better time, as travel costs at home and abroad continue to track higher year over year. With the busiest cruise booking period of the year commencing, Travelocity starts 2008 with its best wave season deals to date along with an inside look at how the cruise landscape is changing. As new ships with a range of never-before offered amenities hit the marketplace – from onsite spa cabins to other in-demand luxury items - cruising has become a true destination in itself offering tremendous value amidst an environment of rising airfares and a weak dollar.

“Because it’s one of the best vacation options to help keep unanticipated expenses to a minimum - such as typical a la carte items like ground transportation, meals and entertainment - cruising may be more popular than ever in 2008,” said Alex Goldman, vice president of cruises for Travelocity.

Travelocity’s ninth annual cruise super sale, valid through Jan. 31, 2008, includes limited-time offers for sailings on every available cruise line to all destinations and is also backed by Travelocity’s low price guarantee which promises to refund the difference between the price paid at Travelocity and any qualifying lower rate found within 24 hours of purchase for the same date, ship, and cabin category.  See www.travelocity.com/guarantee for complete terms and conditions of the Travelocity Low Price Guarantee. In addition to cruise rates starting as low as $199, customers can receive valuable onboard credits from most cruise lines, which travelers can use towards exciting shore excursions, duty free onboard shopping, or a relaxing day at the spa.

To make these deals even sweeter, Travelocity and MasterCard® Worldwide are teaming up to create an exclusive bonus offer. Travelocity customers who book a qualifying sailing on a variety of sailings departing between March and December 2008 with a valid MasterCard® card can receive anywhere from $25 to $250 onboard credit based on the length of the cruise purchased.

Qualifying Cruise Lengths

MasterCard® Bonus*

3-5 Nights

$25 onboard credit

6-9 Nights

$50 onboard credit

10-13 Nights

$100 onboard credit

14+ Nights

$250 onboard credit

*Offers are per stateroom, not per person. For more information on these exclusive offers including a list of qualifying sailings and to book a cruise with your MasterCard® card, log onto http://www.travelocity.com/supersale.

“Thanks to the strength of our relationships with the industry’s top cruise brands and MasterCard® Worldwide, travelers everywhere can take advantage of some of the best overall vacation values in the business,” said Goldman. In addition to offering some of the industry’s best values, Travelocity was recently ranked number one in customer support in the most recent Keynote Customer Experience Rankings® for the online cruise industry.

TRENDS FOR 2008

To help guide cruisers taking to the seas in 2008, Travelocity’s experts compiled a summary of a few of the hottest trends that surfaced in 2007. According to Goldman, the last few years have shown shifts not only in where people are going but how they’re choosing to get there.

* The cruise industry saw a noticeable shift in where travelers were going in 2007, as cruises to Europe, especially the Mediterranean, grew more rapidly than trips to the Caribbean.
* Millions of dollars have been invested in upgrades to the onboard dining experience, new accommodation choices and mega-sized ships boasting innovative features not yet revealed. For example, cruisers will soon have access to luxurious “spa cabins” that are actually directly connected to the ships’ spa services and amenities.
* In the midst of the weak dollar, cruising to Europe on a U.S. cruise line can provide great value and savings to travelers. With everything onboard priced in U.S. dollars, including meals, taking a cruise versus a land vacation in Europe may be a great way to save a few dollars.
* Another trend of note is the gradual shift in cruise line pricing which is encouraging travelers to book sooner rather than later. Unlike years past, cruise lines seem to be coming right out of the gates with more competitive deals for consumers, as opposed to gradually reducing rates based on capacity needs.

Whether looking for a romantic getaway to Europe, an outdoor adventure surrounded by Alaska’s majestic views or a family beach holiday to the Caribbean, according to Goldman, all-inclusive vacation options, like cruising, are the diamonds in the rough for budget conscious consumers.