The overall cost of travel has increased at a staggering rate due to the flailing economy, but one travel option has become more affordable for the same reason.

Because cruise liners must sail despite the number of passengers on-board, there’s been a slash in the price of cruises, according to the Detroit Free Press. The price cuts have been most significant for longer trips on ships headed to exotic locations.

The article cites Mike Driscoll, editor of Cruise Week, who says cruises are down 50 percent to South America, 18 percent of Europe, and 10 to 15 percent to the Caribbean. Rates are similar to those just after the economic plunge on September 11, 2001. Even trans-Atlantic voyages are offering space at less than $100 a day.

With nine new ships (aka 20,706 new cabins) set to debut in 2009, bargains are expected to last throughout the year.

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