The cruise industry is evolving daily, mainly in response to consumer tastes and needs. We have watched as cruise companies have built mega ships filled with “neighborhoods” and every conceivable activity to amuse passengers.

There’s a sense that the cruise fares change as often as the airfares, and that if someone waits until the last minute they will get a fabulous deal. The cruise fares are changing, the cruise line deals are changing, but it isn’t always true that you get good deals near a sailing date. Many cruise lines have had sales earlier this year for voyages in 2009. Some will continue to advertise periodic sales as they adjust cabin inventories. It is always best to reserve at least three to six months in advance, besides you can usually get the best airfares and shipboard accommodations the earlier you book.

Lets look at some of the cruise trends for 2009 and beyond:

In 2009 you will discover that cruise companies, to entice customers, are giving upgrades, air-inclusive rates, reducing deposits, and most popular is to give shipboard credit in varying amounts. Norwegian Cruise Line offers “job loss” insurance. This is a full cash refund if you lose your job before your 2009 cruise. This coverage can be added to the line’s travel protection plan for as little as $29.00.

Baltimore will become the year round home of the Carnival Pride in September 2009 and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line will make it the home of Enchantment of the Seas in 2010. Enchantment of the Seas moves to the East Coast when she first sails from Norfolk, VA in May and June, and then in later June moves to her permanent home in Baltimore. She will sail to Bermuda, the Eastern Caribbean and New England/Canada.

Carnival, Princess and Holland America Line have announced that they will be pulling some of their ships out of Alaska in 2010.

Disney Cruises has announced that the Disney Wonder will head west, in 2011, to her new home port of Los Angeles. Disney says, “this will allow us to offer a combined Disneyland/Disney cruise experience to valued vacationers.” It will also make room for the Disney Dream due to arrive in Port Canaveral in 2011. Disney Cruises 2009 deal: If booked by May 15, 2009, Disney Cruises is offering a 50 percent discount for children 12 and under when traveling with two adults.

In 2009, with the fuel surcharges removed, we are seeing the best cruise deals we have seen since 2001/2002. There is no better time to cruise than now!