updated 9/16/2008 9:28:15 AM ET 2008-09-16T13:28:15

Book by: ASAP
Travel by: Various dates in 2009

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The deal
Whether you’re looking for a change of scenery to break the monotony of day-to-day routines, desire a romantic night on the water or want to add on an unexpected treat to an existing vacation, a short cruise is a sure way to spice things up. We sussed out a handful of short-term jaunts on both coasts. These one- and two-night outings feature all the onboard amenities of long sailings, so kick back, relax and enjoy the ride. Choose between one-way excursions or cruises to nowhere either this year or next. Discounts are as great as 48 percent and prices as low as $149.

Dinner and dance cruise from $149
For an evening getaway from New York City next spring, Norwegian Cruise Line has just the sail: a one-night Dinner & Dance cruise. What’s more, you can save up to 25 percent off brochure prices. Staterooms, normally listed from $199, are going for $149 and up. Ocean-view cabins start at $169. You’ll depart New York at 7 p.m. on April 30, 2009, aboard the Norwegian Dream. The ship will head out for a night at sea while you take advantage of the restaurants, spa, casino and other entertainment. You’ll be back on land the next morning for a full day of sightseeing, shopping or, if you must, work.

Save 48 percent on two-night Carnival cruise
If you’d like a weekend on the water this October, you can save almost half off rack rates on a two-night sailing from Carnival. The Carnival Victory departs at 4:30 p.m. on October 11 from Norfolk, Virginia. With no ports of call, the ship will spend two full nights and one day cruising the Atlantic. That means you’ll have ample uninterrupted time to ease into vacation mode. Interior cabins are priced from $329. That’s a 48 percent discount! Ocean-view staterooms are sold out already but units with balconies are still available from $479.

San Francisco to Vancouver from $167
Princess Cruises has an enticing one-way journey up the Pacific coast. Interior cabins on the two-night northbound spring trip are priced from $167. Departing May 7, 2009, the Star Princess will sail from San Francisco to Vancouver, British Columbia, skirting past Oregon and Washington. With one full day at sea and plenty of onboard activities, this itinerary offers a potentially more scenic and entertaining alternative to air travel. If you want to catch the vistas from your staterooms, ocean-view and balcony units start at $267 and $367, respectively.

The dollars
Rates are per person based on double occupancy. Prices include accommodations, meals, some beverages and entertainment on the ship. Government fees and taxes, tips, alcohol and personal expenses are not covered.

The catch
You might wish you booked a longer cruise.

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