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Deals from cruise lines you should know about

You all know about Carnival and Princess and Royal Caribbean, but there are also smaller lines out there that are equally worth knowing. Especially when, like now, they’re offering some great deals.

Windjammer Barefoot Cruises offers a sea vacation that’s closer to joining a pirate crew than indulging in a floating resort. Barefoot guests help raise the sails, sleep in bare bones accommodations, and drink plentiful rum drinks, while they enjoy the seas and sights of the Caribbean. Currently, Windjammer Barefoot Cruises is offering last-minute summer sailings from $499 to $899, depending on accommodation type. Plus, dedicated sailors can purchase options on five cruises for $2,500 (that’s $500 per cruise says the math guru); you can book your cruises anytime through 2011 without paying additional fees.

The ships of Star Clippers are also masted sailing vessels, but you’ll find more casual elegance on these cruises. The cruise line has just made two December sailings more affordable by offering free airfare to Asia from San Francisco and Los Angeles and $700 off airfare from an additional 53 cities. The December 2 and 9 Phuket-to-Singapore itineraries include calls in Similans, Phang Nga, Ko Hong, Ko Khai Nok, Ko Lipe, Ko Miang, and Ko Adang, Thailand; and Penang or Langkawi and Malacca, Malaysia. The cruise also includes a two-night pre- or post-cruise package in Singapore. Fares start at $2,195 per person based on double occupancy.

Discovery World Cruises is offering free airfare on select cruises. According to its website, “Discovery World Cruises offers cruise vacations to exotic destinations at affordable prices.” If you book one of four winter sailings, you’ll pay nothing for airfare from all of the cruise line’s U.S. gateway cities. Promotional voyages include trips to Polynesia, the Galapagos, Antarctica, and South America. Many itineraries are longer than average, often close to a month in length.

You may or may not have heard of these cruise lines. But with free airfare and cheap cruise fare offers, you may benefit by educating yourself on the other cruise options out there.

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