In terms of cruise prices (assuming you're talking strictly about cruise base price, port and taxes) my last cruise (Island Princess, northbound Alaska) was$429. And I didn't hold a gun to their head or anything. It was just one of those deals you stumble into.
An agency I'd used before sent me an email about 4 cabins available at that rate and I booked it beforeI'd even finished reading the email.
I've booked the Golden Princess for the British Isles next July and it's a tad more but still the best vacation deal around.
Since you're now addicted, check out websites advertised here, subscribe to a good magazine (my preference is Cruise Travel) and check out sites advertised there. Be sure to sign up with all those guys to receive their specials (your mailbox will figuratively fall off the wall).
Then go a step further and check out cruise point credit card programs. I'm doing the NCL Sun in Oct. and my out of pocket expense will be $176 because the balance is from points. Same was true of 3 other cruises we did last year.
David W, I'm 3 hours from NO, too - makes it almost too easy doesn't it? And I'm only 4 hours from Galveston. You can get the Grand Princess from there.
Cruiseguy, I don't have a dog to sell but my neighbor has a pretty nice looking Australian Shepherd that might hock to pay my bar bill!