PRN: Smart Cruising

Physician's Money Digest, July15 2003, Volume 10, Issue 13

Imagine yourself lying on a deck chairin the hot sun, with a trashy novel in 1drooping hand and a tall, cool drink inthe other. The kids are busy with activitiesin a same-age group and all you'vegot to look forward to is a huge menufollowed by live entertainment or ashort trip to the casino. Maybe you'llmake port and go sightseeing, snorkeling,or shopping. What if you could doall this for under $100 per day per personwith a choice of departures, itineraries,and cruise ships? Well, you can.


The bottom


The glut of new superships, combinedwith a confused economy and thethreat to foreign travel, has many cabinsbegging for customers. Once they'vesailed, their value to the company iszero for that cruise. For that reason, youdon't even have to book last-minute toget an astounding deal. We're talking discounts, free upgrades,bar credit, free gratuities, andfree airfare depending on your comparison-shopping ability.

Achille Lauro

Is it safe, you say? Starting with theincident and especiallysince September 11, cruise ships havereally tightened up, so you can feelquite insulated and safe, even in port.

These new ships are magnificentfloating cities, almost destinations inthemselves, with more than enoughonboard activities, including sports,games, and classes. Or, of course, youcan choose the ever-popular deck vegout.That's in addition to the all-you-can-eat meals (up to 5 a day), at noextra charge.


Another interesting aspect to cruisingis the wide variety of ships' personalities.Do you like casual or formal, ayoung crowd or older folks, many peopleor few? The choices go on and onthrough many kinds of theme cruiseslike food and wine, celebrities, membershiporganizations, and even continuingmedical education. If the cruise is inNorth America, the last choice may evenbe partially deductible. As always, checkwith your accountant.

You say, okay, I'm hooked, where doI go to find these deals? You can alwayscall your travel agent, look in the travelsection of the Sunday newspaper, or dowhat many folks do and go online,where there are a plethora of siteshappy to offer you the moon.

If I sound like a shill for the cruiseship industry, I'm not. I'm just a fanwho sees a historic opportunity tohave fun and save money. And ifyou've never gone on a cruise, it canbe a very seductive way to spend yourvacation. I've even met people wholive on a cruise ship. Bon voyage.

, a partner on the

Stanford Graduate School of

Business Alumni Consulting

Team, teaches in the Stanford

School of Medicine Family

Practice Program. He welcomes questions

or comments at

Jeff Brown