The Real Deal: Round-trip airfare, airport/pier transfers, 14 nights aboard a cruise ship, and all meals, from $1,529 per person—plus an estimated $250 in taxes.
When: Dec. 1, 2008.
Gateways: Miami, New York City; add $100 for Atlanta, Boston, Philadelphia; $200 for Chicago, Dallas, D.C., Denver, Houston, L.A., Montreal, Newark, Orlando, Phoenix, St. Louis, San Francisco, Tampa, and Toronto.
The fine print: Does not include about $250 in airfare taxes and fees and fuel surcharges. Based on double occupancy; single supplement is about $829. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: No deadline; based on availability.
Contact: Online Vacation Center, 800/787-0937, onlinevacationcenter.com.
Why it's a deal: First, consider that the best multi-city fare recently on Kayak for early December (New York-Barcelona-Miami) was $787 (Delta). For $992 more, you are also booking 14 nights of accommodations (via cruise ship) and all your meals. That price breaks down to $127 per person per night—including all taxes.
Trip details: You'll start the whirlwind itinerary of the Celebrity Century Transatlantic Cruise in Barcelona. After your flight on Delta, United, or American, you'll be transferred to the port to set sail.
You'll be sailing on the 1,814-passenger Celebrity Century. You can enjoy a martini bar, the AquaSpa, a pool, a Persian garden, and a theater with Broadway-style productions. The lowest-price cabins are interior staterooms—you'll have two twin beds that can convert into a queen bed. Upgrade to a balcony room for $470 per person or to a concierge-class balcony for $720 per person.
You'll depart Barcelona at 5 p.m. and head south to Cartagena, a city on Spain's Mediterranean coast. The town is home to a medieval Gothic cathedral and ancient Roman ruins.
Then you'll dock in Gibraltar, a British naval and air base in the southern part of Spain. The town played a key role during the world wars, due to its proximity to Africa. You'll pass through the Strait of Gibraltar, which connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean, on your way to Morocco's Casablanca, the economic heart of the country, and Agadir. Agadir was almost totally rebuilt after destructive earthquakes in 1960 and is now famous for mild winter weather and sunny beaches; it's a destination for vacationing Europeans.
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Then it's on south to the Canary Islands. You'll spend two days at port here—one in Lanzarote and one in La Palma. The Canary Islands are a group of volcanic islands off the coast of Africa. The influences here are both Mediterranean and African. You can expect beautiful flora (bananas, tomatoes, plants of all kinds) and a rugged, mountainous terrain. You may even see sharks, jellyfish, and marine turtles in the waters surrounding the islands.
The next seven days will be spent at sea, with a port at your final destination, Miami.
There will be optional sightseeing tours and activities off the boat for additional fees (although information on these wasn't available as of press time).
The weather will be mild, even though it's December—the Spanish and African coasts are warm all year, with temperatures that month still hovering in the 70s.
Copyright © 2012 Newsweek Budget Travel, Inc.