More cruises are departing from U.S. ports, and the trend is just as evident in California as anywhere else.
This list, organized by departure city, shows a sampling of sailings scheduled for this year and prices for one person based on double occupancy.
Note that in most cases, rates listed are brochure prices and are higher than what you may pay. Given the sluggish economy, the public's lingering reluctance to travel and the glut of cruise ships crowding the market, passengers can score deals this year.
Brochure prices for Carnival's three-night weekend cruises from L.A. to Ensenada, Mexico, start at $729 per person, double occupancy; but when we called Carnival, a representative quoted rates starting at $399, and the Web site listed rates as low as $379.
Travel dates and cabin availability affect price greatly too, so a seven-night Mexico cruise on Carnival's Elation may be $1,449 per person one week, $649 a couple of weeks later. Contact a travel agent for assistance or peruse cruise lines' Web sites for itinerary information and sample prices.
Carnival Ecstasy: Three-night cruises every Friday to Ensenada; from $729. Four-night voyages every Monday to Catalina and Ensenada; from $899. In April the Ecstasy is scheduled to begin sailing this itinerary out of Long Beach.
Carnival Elation: Seven-night Mexico cruises departing Sundays and calling at Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán and Cabo San Lucas; from $1,449. The Elation also is scheduled to move to Long Beach in April.
Carnival Pride: Seven-night Mexico cruises start Sept. 21; from $699.
Crystal Harmony: Seven-night Mexican Riviera cruise departs Feb. 27; from $2,780. A 16-night sailing departs March 6 for Yokohama (cruise port for Tokyo) and calls at Oahu, Maui and Kauai; from $6,780.
Crystal Serenity: A 14-night round-trip Mexico cruise departs Dec. 22; from $8,565.
Crystal Symphony: A 15-night Panama Canal cruise departs May 3 for Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and calls in Mexico and Costa Rica; from $7,500.
Holland America Amsterdam: Three-night trip to Vancouver, Canada, departs April 22; from $230.
Holland America Maasdam: A 17-night cruise through the Panama Canal to Fort Lauderdale departs Sept. 29 and has stops including Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Grand Cayman and the Bahamas; from $5,118.
Holland America Veendam: A 17-night sailing to Tampa, Fla., through the Panama Canal departs Oct. 1 and calls at Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Colombia, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and the Bahamas; from $5,118.
Norwegian Sun: A five-night sailing to Vancouver departs April 29; from $499. A 16-night Panama Canal cruise to Miami departs Sept. 26 and calls at San Diego, Mexico, Costa Rica and Aruba; from $1,799.
Norwegian Wind: A 15-night Panama Canal cruise to Miami departs Sept. 26 and calls at Mexico, Panama, Colombia and Key West, Fla.; from $1,599.
Princess' Regal Princess: Fifteen-night round-trip Hawaii voyages depart Nov. 22, Dec. 7 and 22 (additional departures scheduled for Feb. 5 to March 21, 2004); from $2,245.
Princess' Star Princess: Seven-night round-trip Mexico cruises depart weekly through May 3; from $839.
Princess' Sun Princess: Ten-night round-trip Mexico cruises depart March 26 and April 5, 15 and 25; from $1,029. The same ship embarks on a 15-night Hawaii round trip departing March 11; from $2,895. Its 14-night Panama Canal cruise departs Sept. 18 for Fort Lauderdale, with calls in Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia and Aruba; from $1,749.
Radisson Seven Seas Mariner: An eight-night sailing to Vancouver departs May 23 with calls at Port Hueneme; San Francisco; Prince Rupert, Canada; and Ketchikan, Alaska; from $3,295.
Royal Caribbean Monarch of the Seas: Three-night round-trip cruises to Ensenada depart Fridays starting in June and are tentatively scheduled to continue year-round; from $339. Four-night round-trip cruises calling at Santa Catalina Island and Ensenada depart Mondays from June through April 2004; from $439.
Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas: Seven-night round-trip Mexican Riviera cruises depart through late April, then resume Sept. 28; from $1,279.
Carnival Ecstasy: Three-night cruises to Ensenada are scheduled to start from Carnival's new terminal here in April, departing every Friday; from $729. Four-night voyages every Monday to Catalina and Ensenada; from $899.
Carnival Elation: Seven-night Mexico cruises are scheduled to start from Carnival's new terminal here in April, departing Sundays through Sept. 7 and calling at Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán and Cabo San Lucas; from $1,449. A 14-night Panama Canal cruise to Galveston, Texas, departs Sept. 14; from $988.
Carnival Pride: When Elation leaves for Galveston, Carnival Pride takes over its seven-night Mexico itinerary; from $1,449.
Carnival Spirit: Departs April 17 on a three-night Baja California cruise; from $399. Departs Nov. 1 for 14-night Panama Canal cruise calling in Mexico, Costa Rica and Colombia before disembarking in Miami; from $1,799.
Holland America Ryndam: Three-night trip to Vancouver departs May 6; from $249. Seven-night Mexican Riviera cruises depart Sept. 29, Oct. 13, Nov. 16 and 30 and Dec. 14; from $799. A similar 10-night sailing departs Nov. 6; from $2,306. Seven-night Gulf of California cruises depart Oct. 6 and 20, Nov. 23 and Dec. 7, calling at Loreto, La Paz and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; from $749. A 10-night version departs Oct. 27 and has additional calls at Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán and Santa Rosalía; from $2,306.
Holland America Statendam: A 15- or 16-night round trip to Hawaii departs March 6, April 7, Oct. 11, Nov. 19 and Dec. 22; from $4,150. A three-night sailing to Vancouver departs May 8; from $249. Seven-night Mexican Riviera cruises depart Oct. 26 and Nov. 2; from $799. Seven-night Gulf of California cruises depart March 31, May 1, Sept. 24 and Dec. 15; from $749. A similar eight-night sailing departs April 23; from $1,839. A 10-night version departs Nov. 9; from $2,306.
Royal Caribbean Legend of the Seas: A 14-night sailing through the Panama Canal to Miami departs Oct. 12 and Nov. 9 and calls in Mexico, Costa Rica and Aruba; from $2,099.
Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas: Seven-night round-trip Mexican Riviera cruises depart March 4 and 11; from $1,279.
American Safari Cruises' Safari Quest: Three-night wine cruises depart Oct. 24 to Nov. 21 on a 22-passenger yacht to Napa and Sonoma; from $1,500. Four-night wine cruises to Napa, Petaluma and Sonoma depart Oct. 20 to Nov. 17; from $1,900.
Celebrity Mercury: A seven-night cruise to Ensenada departs Sept. 28; from $900. Seven- to 10-night California and Mexican Riviera cruises are scheduled throughout March, April and October; from $950.
Cruise West Spirit of Endeavor: Three-night Napa-Sonoma cruises depart Fridays Sept. 19 to Nov. 21; from $649. Similar four-night cruises depart Mondays, Sept. 22 to Nov. 17; from $999.
Crystal Harmony: A 12-night round trip to Alaska has departures June 2 through Sept. 6 and calls at Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Sitka, as well as Vancouver and Victoria, Canada; from $4,930.
Holland America Amsterdam: A 21-night round trip through the Panama Canal departs Oct. 6 and calls in Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua and Guatemala; from $2,849. An 18-night sailing to Valparaíso, Chile, departs Oct. 27 and calls in Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru and Chile; from $2,579.
Holland America Volendam: A 16-night Panama Canal sailing to Fort Lauderdale departs Sept. 29 and calls at Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Curaçao, Aruba and the Bahamas; from $4,915.
Holland America Zaandam: A 19-night Panama Canal sailing to Port Canaveral, Fla., departs Sept. 22 and includes calls at Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia, Grand Cayman and the Bahamas; from $5,522.
Norwegian Sky: A five-night sailing to Vancouver departs May 6 and calls at Seattle and Victoria; from $479. A 17-night Panama Canal cruise to San Juan, Puerto Rico, departs Oct. 2 and calls at Los Angeles, Mexico, Costa Rica, Aruba and Curaçao; from $1,799.
Princess' Dawn Princess: A seven-night cruise to Acapulco departs Sept. 24 and calls at Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán, Puerto Vallarta and Zihuatanejo; from $739.
Princess' Pacific Princess: Eleven-night round-trip Inside Passage sailings are scheduled to depart for Alaska May 29 through Sept. 5. Ports vary but will include Victoria or Vancouver, Ketchikan or Sitka, plus Skagway and Juneau; from $1,349.