updated 2/12/2008 11:56:15 AM ET 2008-02-12T16:56:15

Book by: ASAP
Travel by: November 2008

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The deal
With winter at its peak, tropical destinations beckon with their sun-drenched weather and palm-fringed landscapes. We recommend you hit high seas towards the shores of Central America. In fact, we scoured a threesome of fantastic offers for sailings to this fascinating part of the world. Cruise rates start at just $899 for a 10-night Panama Canal voyage and discounts climb as high as 54 percent off rack rates.

19-night odyssey with Norwegian
For a unique sailing around the Panama Canal and other Central American destinations, we recommend the Orbitz special we found. The 19-night odyssey aboard the new Norwegian Pearl departs from Miami to Seattle on April 13 at a low price of $1,099 in an inside cabin. This cost plummeted from a wallet-busting $2,399, saving you 54 percent off the brochure price. The ship calls at Santa Marta and Cartagena in Colombia; sails through the Panama Canal; visits Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas in Mexico; and stops in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oregon’s Astoria. Eight days at sea are included between the stops.

Panama voyage this March at 51 percent off
Another discounted tropical voyage to Central America is on offer by CruisesOnly. The sleek MSC Cruises’ Lirica departing in March takes you into the sun-drenched waters of Central America can for only $899. The ship does the circuit from Ft. Lauderdale, en route visiting five destinations in Central America. Covered in the itinerary are stops at Cartagena, Colombia; Cristobal, Panama; Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; Cozumel, Mexico; and Samana, Dominican Republic; plus four days at sea. Regular rates for an inside cabin on this voyage are $1,825 but you’ll save a serious chunk of change. In face, rates are reduced by 51 percent!

Five-star cruise around Central America
If you want to splurge on all-out luxury, CruisesOnly just released an early-bird special for a 14-night Central American sailing aboard the all-suite Seabourn Legend. Book now for a November departure and you’ll reap discounts of 40 percent. This five-star odyssey around Panama, Belize and Costa Rica is priced at $5,247, as opposed to the brochure cost of $8,475. The ship departs from Fort Lauderdale, en route taking in some of Central America’s most stunning destinations plus a handful of lesser-visited spots such as Panama’s Fuerte Amador and Hunting Caye in Belize. Fourteen nights and five days at sea later, you’ll disembark in Costa Rica’s Puerto Caldera.

The dollars
The rates above are listed per person, based on double occupancy. The cost covers onboard accommodations, meals and entertainment, as well as port charges. You’ll just have to dish out extra for government taxes and fees, as well as any shore excursions you may decide to take.

The catch
Expect crowds of winter sun-seekers on the first two cruises; the last cruise involves a long wait before you hit high seas.

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