Book by: ASAP
Travel by: Various through October 2006

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The Deal
The Caribbean’s cruise season may be past its peak, but it’s never too late to book a sun-drenched sailing. Or never too early, in fact! If you wait until fall, you can skip the same old run-of-the-mill itineraries for something with a fresh new twist. We have three ideally priced early-bird options if you want to head off the beaten Caribbean path, with discounts as high as 71% and rates as low as $489.

Exotic Western Caribbean cruise with Carnival for $489
If you can hold on tight until next fall, you can save 71% off the regular brochure price for a seven-night exotic Western Caribbean cruise aboard Carnival Legend. Valid for two fall sailings from Miami, this steal of a deal is currently priced at just $489 for inside cabin accommodations. Oceanview staterooms are available for $609, while balconied units go for $739. The offbeat voyage visits the upscale Caribbean island of Grand Cayman; as well as Roatan island off the coast of Honduras; Belize City; and Costa Maya in Mexico. The itinerary also covers two days at sea, which you’ll spend aboard Carnival Valor, one of the newest vessels in the Carnival fleet. CruiseCritic.com writes, “The theme of the ship''s decor is ‘Heroes and Heroism,’ paying homage not just to Americans, but to heroes from the virtually every corner of the world.”

65% off Caribbean & Bermuda fling on Norwegian Spirit
Another cruise delight awaits those who can wait until fall. Next September, you can hit high seas from New York on Norwegian Spirit on an eight-night Caribbean and Bermuda fling now on sale for 65% off the published rate. This sailing is normally priced at the hefty $1699, but we found a seriously marked-down Orbitz offer for just 599. Apart from spending two days in the picturesque Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas, you’ll visit the Caribbean’s hidden gems of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, as well as the picturesque Atlantic island of Bermuda. You’ll sail on the Asian-flavored Norwegian Spirit, a well-appointed ship complete with all the expected midrange trappings. Oceanview staterooms on the fall sailing are now selling for $749, while balconied units go for $899. Note that earlier departures cost up to $1284, even with the discount!

Disney sea adventure to the Caribbean and Costa Maya for $1009
We also spotted a terrific Vacation Outlet bargain departing Florida next September aboard Disney Magic. Priced at just $1009 in an inside cabin, this special seven-night Western Caribbean cruise with a visit to Mexico’s Costa Maya reflects a discount of 46%. It sets sail from Fort Lauderdale on September 16, visiting Disney’s private Caribbean island of Castaway Cay for two days as well as Costa Maya and Cozumel in Mexico. The route also covers two entire days at sea. For sea vistas from your own oceanview cabin, you can dish out the affordable $1112. Balconied staterooms are on sale for $1448, while suites are already fully booked! A propos of the vessel, CruiseCritic writes, “most of the ship''s appeal lies in the fact that it is truly designed for everyone, not just the Disney fanatic and not just for kids.”

The Dollars
All prices listed above are per person based on two people sharing an inside cabin (unless noted otherwise). These rates include most of your onboard meals and drinks, as well as port charges. You’ll have to pick up the cost of government taxes and fees, shore excursions, and airfare.

The Catch
When we say exotic, we mean Caribbean-style exotic. Don’t expect a Tahiti sailing!

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