updated 8/12/2008 9:59:42 AM ET 2008-08-12T13:59:42

Book by: ASAP
Travel by: Various through Feb. 6, 2009

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The deal
There’s something about a long cruise that evokes the spirit of early explorers. Luckily, the waters have already been charted and today’s experience is one of enjoyment and relaxation vs. hardship and harsh conditions. One thing does remain: the joy of discovery. We like this trio of two-week, one-way South American sailings for that very reason. All three routes are a great primer on the variety the vast continent has to offer, and prices are reduced as much as 66 percent off brochure rates, to boot!

See Argentina and Chile from $799
Strike out for a 14-day adventure through the Strait of Magellan and phenomenal Chilean fjords with Norwegian Cruise Lines and you’ll save $1,600 off rack rates. Departing Buenos Aires on December 7, the Norwegian Sun will traverse the length of Argentina and two oceans before its arrival in the port of hilly Valparaiso, Chile. The itinerary features stops in Uruguay’s capital Montevideo; Puerto Madryn and Ushuaia in Argentina; the Falkland Islands; and the Chilean towns of Punta Arenas, Puerto Chacabuco and Puerto Montt. Six days at sea are included as well. Interior cabins start at $799, reflecting a discount of 66 percent. Considering the scenery in store, you may want to commit extra cash for an ocean-view room, which goes for $999.

Four countries, 13 nights from $859
Royal Caribbean is offering an Atlantic odyssey aboard the Radiance of the Seas. The 13-night trip embarks December 7 from Buenos Aires. The ship first heads to Montevideo in Uruguay, before heading south to Argentina’s Puerto Madryn. There are two entire days of sailing on either side. From there, it’s on to Punta Arenas, Chile, with a stop in Ushuaia, Argentina, before cruising Cape Horn. After two days at sea it’s back north to the sunny shores of Punta del Este, Uruguay. You’ll spend the twelfth day sailing to the last port of call, Porto Belo in Brazil, before closing out the trip in Santos (Sao Paulo), Brazil. Inside staterooms are listed at only $859; oceanview rooms sell for $999.

Peru to California from $1,199
For a northbound sail taking in five countries along the western coasts of South and Central America and Mexico, we suggest the 13-night Inca Discovery cruise from Holland America Line. Discounts of up to 40 percent off brochure prices make the trip even better. The Statendam sets out from Callao (Lima) in Peru, towards two stops in Ecuador, Guayaquil and then Manta. Puerto Caldera in Costa Rica is the next port of call, followed by four destinations in Mexico: Puerto Chiapas, Huatulco, Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas. The journey, which ends in San Diego, includes five days at sea. Interior cabins are priced at  $1,199. You save $800. With only one departure date of January 24, this is a unique opportunity.

The dollars
The quotes above cover all onboard accommodations, entertainment, activities, meals, some beverages and port charges. Government fees and taxes are not included. Neither are alcoholic beverages, off-ship excursions, tips and other personal expenses.

The catch
Finding airfare that doesn’t exceed the price of the cruise.

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