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Holiday Cruise Deals for 2008

SmarterTravel

Tired of spending the holidays cooking and cleaning for your relatives? Want to make this year’s Christmas, Hanukkah, or New Year’s a celebration to remember? Been looking for an affordable winter getaway, but haven’t been able to find one?

If the answer to any of these questions is a resounding yes, you might want to consider a holiday [[ Cruises | cruise ]]. A vacation at sea is the ideal getaway during the winter holidays. You get to travel someplace warm, with plenty of indulgent activities from lying on the beach to getting pampered in a spa and frolicking in the water. The ship’s staff will happily cook, clean, and entertain, and there will be plenty of activities for kids, parents, grandparents, and any cousins or friends who happen to tag along.

And don’t worry about missing your homey holiday cheer—the cruise lines go out of their way to decorate for the holidays. Christmas Eve dinners, New Year’s Eve Champagne parties, and other seasonal activities are always on the schedule, so you won’t feel like you’ve missed the holiday fun. And if you can’t help but long for a white Christmas … well, some lines have been known to provide the snow, even while you’re enjoying the warm [[ Caribbean_cruises | Caribbean ]] or Mexican sun.

One thing you should know is that winter holiday cruises tend to be pricier than the same itinerary on a less popular week. However, we’ve found several departures still offering reasonable fares and good value for money. But your time for procrastination has ended—book your holiday cruise soon because these low fares certainly won’t last long.

For our entire list of holiday deals, click here.

7-Night Southern Caribbean Cruise on Caribbean Princess from $699

Why go: Holiday cruises are typically pricier than regular sailings, but Princess is offering a seven-night Southern Caribbean cruise out of San Juan with prices starting at under $100 a night. Fares for the December 21 departure of Caribbean Princess start at $699 per person. You’ll visit an island every day (including Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, Tortola, and St. Thomas), with many chances to relax on the beach, go shopping, or enjoy watersports. Not only will you give yourself the gift of fun, but you won’t have to cook, clean, or entertain guests for Christmas or Hanukkah celebrations.

Holiday fun: Princess gets creative with its holiday fun. Cruise passengers can participate in activities from a gingerbread house-building competition to a talent show featuring holiday songs and a reading of The Night Before Christmas by the captain. And if this year is like last year, there will be snowfall in the ship’s atrium every day.

To book: For information and reservations, please contact Cruise Club of America at 800-982-2276 or cruises@cruise-club.com. This deal expires on September 30.

11-Night Western Caribbean Cruise on Seven Seas Navigator from $3,895

Why go: Regent is offering very good value for money on its 11-night Western Caribbean holiday cruise on Seven Seas Navigator, departing December 18. Fares start at $3,895 per person for the best available balcony suite. For $354 a night, you can sleep soundly in a 356-square-foot suite with separate living and sleeping areas, balcony, walk-in closet, and marble bathroom with separate tub and shower. Plus, you’ll get $150 in shipboard credit—good for purchasing pampering spa treatments or shore excursions, but not alcohol or soft drinks as they’re free anyway. The itinerary includes stops in Grand Cayman, Key West, and several Central American destinations, so much fun is to be had onshore as well.

Holiday fun: Regent’s ships sport seasonal decor for the holidays. Holiday programming includes entertainment and enrichment geared to the season and a special Christmas dinner. Plus, Regent will offer its Club Mariner kids’ program on this cruise.

To book: For information and reservations, please contact Premium Cruises at 800-905-6696. This deal expires on October 31.

10-Night Panama Canal Cruise on Holland America’s ms Zuiderdam from $1,559

Why go: Celebrate the winter holidays with a 10-night Panama Canal cruise on Holland America’s Zuiderdam. Choose from two departure dates—December 19 and 29—but no matter when you sail, you can cure the winter blues with plenty of sunshine and beautiful beaches in Half Moon Cay, Aruba, Curacao, and Puerto Limon. Fares start at $1,559 per person.

Holiday fun: Onboard, celebrate the season with special meals and treats, including a holiday tea. Passengers on the Christmas sailing will enjoy a visit from Santa, sing-alongs and even a Christmas Eve gift. New Year’s cruisers can count down to midnight at an onboard New Year’s Eve ball, complete with a Champagne toast.

To book: For information and reservations, please contact Cruise Specialists at 800-544-2469. This deal expires on November 3.

7-Night Western Caribbean Cruise on MSC Lirica from $999

Why go: Make this New Year’s one the whole family will remember for many years to come. Sail for seven nights starting December 27 on MSC Lirica to the Western Caribbean. You’ll sail round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale and experience ports of call including Key West, Cozumel, and Grand Cayman. New Year’s Eve will be spent at sea and the following day you’ll be arriving in Cayo Levantado, a small island off the Dominican Republic to ring in 2009 relaxing on the sparkling white-sand beaches. This cruise starts from only $999 and the best part is that kids sail absolutely free!

Holiday fun: On New Year’s Eve, MSC stages special shows in the ship’s theater followed by a pool/disco party with live music. The captain leads the countdown to the New Year, which is then followed by dancing and a magnificent midnight buffet.

To book: For information and reservations, please contact America’s Vacation Center at 888-346-9172. This deal expires on December 10.

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