Image: ‘Norwegian Gem’
David Hecker  /  AFP - Getty Images file
The giant passenger liner "Norwegian Gem" moors in Eemshaven, Netherlands, earlier this fall. If you want to explore the exotic Southern Caribbean shores this January, book the reduced 11-nighter on the vessel. Read on for details.
updated 11/29/2007 10:57:34 AM ET 2007-11-29T15:57:34

Book by: ASAP
Travel by: Fall 2008

The deal
With the peak Caribbean cruise season almost here, it’s the perfect time to book a sun-drenched sailing at a discount. We suggest you skip the same old run-of-the-mill itineraries and go for a voyage with a fresh new twist. We have three ideally priced options if you want to head off the beaten Caribbean path. Each of these splendid cruises calls at lesser-visited island destinations, with rates as low as $469 for a weeklong exotic Western Caribbean sailing aboard “Carnival Legend.”

Exotic Southern Caribbean on ‘Norwegian Gem’
To explore the exotic Southern Caribbean shores this January, book the reduced 11-nighter on one of the newest ships afloat, “Norwegian Gem.” With the deal we found, you can enjoy discounts of 32 percent off the brochure price. The January 5 departure is on sale for $1,279 in an inside cabin ($1,479 for oceanview). You’ll hit high seas from New York, en route visiting St Thomas, Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Dominica, and Tortola. Add in four entire days at sea and you’re in for a real cruise treat aboard “Norwegian Gem,” which just made her inaugural sailing in October 2007.

Offbeat Western Caribbean on ‘Carnival Legend’
You can reap early-bird savings of 72 percent off rack rates by booking an exotic Western Caribbean cruise aboard “Carnival Legend.” The ship may not depart at this low price until September 2008 but the savings make the long wait worth it. The regular price for this weeklong journey is listed at $1,669 for inside cabin lodging but this deal reduces it to just $469 ($589 for oceanview; $689 for balcony). The ship departs roundtrip from Tampa and stops at Grand Cayman, Mexico, Belize, and the Bay Islands in Honduras. There are also two days at sea aboard well-equipped “Carnival Legend.”

Disney cruise with a twist next fall for less
We also spotted a terrific early-bird bargain departing Florida next October aboard “Disney Magic.” Priced at just $1,059 in an inside cabin, this special seven-night Western Caribbean cruise with a visit to Mexico’s Costa Maya reflects a discount of 43 percent. It sets sail from Florida’s Port Canaveral 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 $1,154.

The dollars
See details above.

The catch
The latter two cruises involve a long wait before you hit high seas.

ShermansTravel is a guide to top travel deals and destinations. Sign up for Sherman's Top 25 e-newsletterwhich features the best editor-screened deals from hundreds of travel providers and is delivered to over 4 million subscribers, free, each week. ShermansTravel also publishes trip ideas and travel features to inspire, guide, and go.

Copyright © 2012 Newsweek Budget Travel, Inc.

Photos: Caribbean way of life

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  1. Barbados

    This undated photo courtesy of the Barbados Tourism Authority shows Harrismith Beach, Barbados. Sun, surf and sand are the main draws on this tropical Caribbean island. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Barbados

    This undated photo courtesy of Barbados Tourism Authority shows The Watering Hole rum shop in Barbados. The rum shops on the island are good places to sample local food and drink, watch a game of dominos, or just get to know the friendly and hospitable Bajans. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. St. Lucia

    Developed, beautiful and situated in the Eastern Caribbean, St. Lucia is accessible from Europe and Canada, and reachable -- albeit not as easily -- from the United States. St. Lucia is known as a romantic destination. The island gets plenty of visitors, including wedding parties. (Holger Leue  / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. St. Lucia

    Cocoa pods lie on the ground ready to be processed at Fondoux Plantation in Soufriere, St. Lucia. Cocoa is one St. Lucia's main produce alongside the more obvious banana crop. (Chris Jackson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. St. George's

    The capital of Grenada, St. George's is considered one of the prettiest harbor towns in the Caribbean. Grenada's unique layout includes many finger-like coves, making the island a popular sailing destination. (Richard Cummins  / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. The Cayman Islands

    The Cayman Islands very popular attractions, Stingray City and the nearby shallows known as the Sandbar, provide the only natural oportunity to swim with Atlantic Southern Stingrays. (David Rogers / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Stingray City

    The Cayman Islands very popular attractions, Stingray City and the nearby shallows known as the Sandbar, provide the only natural oportunity to swim with Atlantic Southern Stingrays. (David Rogers / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. St John's

    In high season, up to five cruise ships visit St John's, Antigua, each day. The boats unload mostly American and European passengers who fan out across the island visiting the casinos and beaches. Antigua is easily accessible, and can offer good values for tourists. (Chris Jackson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Antigua

    Antigua, located in the Northeastern Caribbean, is a popular tourist spot. While there are high-end, stylish hotels, the island also features a large number of mid-priced options. Visitors will find beach bars, restaurants, casinos and shopping. (Richard I'Anson  / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Antigua

    People walk along an area known as Devils Bridge in Indian Town Point, Antigua. Antigua is a wintertime destination for many visitors from the north. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Dominica

    Not as well known as other Caribbean islands, Dominica is green, fertile and mountainous. Visitors will find some opportunites to scuba dive, but watersports are not its main draw. The island does, however, offer a slew of rainforest trails -- great for hiking and sightseeing. (Greg Johnston  / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Dominican Republic

    An old church building is seen in La Romana, the third-largest city in the Dominican Republic. (Wayne Walton / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Belize

    Belize gets more than 850,000 visitors each year. The hot spot allows watersports such as kayaking and snorkeling, as well as inland activities like hiking and birding. The Mayan ruins of Altan Ha, pictured, are easily accessible from Caye Caulker. (Andrew Marshall / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. La Tortuga

    A fisherman repairs his nets on Cayo Herradura, off the island of La Tortuga in Venezuela. The country offers visitors a variety of activities to choose from, but remains undervisited -- especially compared to its South American neighbors. (Lynne Sladky / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Cuba

    Cuba blends the fantastic attractions associated with other Caribbean destinations with an amazing history. Tourists can stroll white sand beaches, take in the incredible architecture and party into the early-morning hours. (Javier Galeano / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. St. Barthelemy

    St. Barthelemy is a vacation spot of stars and millionaires. Trendy, chic and sexy, St. Baarths is safe for tourists, but expensive to visit. About 8,700 people reside on the island. (Mark Mainz / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Puerto Rico

    A man climbs to a 40-foot waterfall at the south side of the Caribbean National Rain Forest, commonly called El Yunque, near Naguabo, Puerto Rico. Most visitors hike the well-marked paths in the northern half of the park's rain forest but the trails in the south allow hikers and nature lovers to explore the only tropical forest in the U.S. national forest system. (Herminio Rodriguez / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Puerto Rico

    The cupola of San Juan Cemetary as well as colorful homes sit next to the ocean in Old San Juan, the original capital city of San Juan, Puerto Rico. The old city is a historic district of seven square blocks made up of ancient buildings and colonial homes, massive stone walls and vast fortifications, sunny parks and cobblestoned streets. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Puerto Rico

    Men play dominos in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. Old San Juan is a well-preserved colonial city that allows tourists a peek into the past. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Guadeloupe

    Guadeloupe isn't as developed as some other Caribbean islands, but it offers a variety of beaches -- some active with watersports, some secluded. The island also offers beach bars, restaurants, mid-range hotels and other tourist amenities. (Marcel Mochet / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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