Subject: Re: Greetings

I have just returned from a cruise in the Western Caribbean with Celebrity Cruises on board the Mercury. We booked the cheapest inside stateroom we could find and it only cost $750. It leaves from Miami so you'd have to add airfare but once on the ship the only things you pay for are liquor (if you don't drink alcohol you can buy the soft drink vouchers for $10 per day for unlimited soft drinks) and any souvenirs or tours you want to take. We did not book any tours, except for one day of diving. The rest of the time we walked around the port towns or hired a taxi to take us to a site that was too far to walk. So it can be a very economical holiday. Among our stops, were two in Mexico. Mexicans are very friendly, outgoing people who treat tourists well.

Other cruise lines may be even less expensive. We've sailed on the Carnival ships which are also economical.

The key is that the cruise lines will try to get you to buy, buy, buy once you're on board but you don't have to fall into this trap. Sit by the pool, enjoy wonderful meals and service, take advantage of the entertainment and generally relax. Each day is a different port so it is definitely more interesting than sitting at a resort on one island.

The cruise lines are very conscious of maintaining a healthy environment, and on our cruise, the staff continually cleaned. I'd encourage you to consider this alternative.