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One cruise line’s loss proves to be another’s gain. Just days before Carnival declared it will be “amping up” itineraries in the Mexican Riviera, Royal Caribbean made a surprising announcement that the Mariner of the Seas will be moving from its long time residence in the region. Although Royal Caribbean gave no reason why the Mariner will be redeployed to the Mediterranean next year, Carnival was less cryptic about their motives, stating that passengers need more options.

Carnival’s new program would offer 5- to 9-night cruises beginning in December 2010 that give cruisers what they really want: more time in ports. Each cruise aboard the Carnival Spirit entails a two-day docking in Cabo San Lucas (most cruise ships stay just eight hours), and the 9-night itinerary also includes a visit to La Paz, Mexico – a cruise gem that few ships call on.

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