Tough economy? The perfect time for a repositioning cruise

Among the first vacation sellers to get slammed by recession jitters were the cruise lines. When the stock market tanked in late September, the phones stopped ringing. Rather than spend their cash, vacationers would rather hang onto it until they see where things are headed.

Standard cruises are begging for customers, and they're now insanely cheap. Priceline.com is now listing cruises for between $40 to $80 a night whereas a few years ago, you could easily pay double that. But for even more insane savings, look beyond the regularly scheduled runs and do a one-way trip.

One of the best bargains in cruising has long been the so-called "repositioning cruise," during which ships are relocated from one part of the world to another in preparation for the next season. These trips, which often include long stretches at sea in total (i.e. forced) relaxation and few cattle-call stops at ports, are now so cheap they're practically being given away. How about $18 a day?