Al Bello  /  Getty Images
Set sail to San Juan, Puerto Rico for seven-nights on the Carnival Victory, starting at only $529.
updated 9/29/2008 1:26:47 PM ET 2008-09-29T17:26:47

Book by: ASAP
Travel by: April 2009

The deal
By March, many of us are anticipating April showers and subsequent May flowers. Sure, there may be delightful discounts on late-season skiing, but if you’re among the savvy-traveler contingency looking forward to a getaway where you can leave the boots and parkas behind, we suggest taking advantage of the hot early-bird discounts we found on March cruises to the Bahamas and Caribbean. With rates reduced as much as 72 percent these sailings are sure to aid the spring thaw. Priced from $493, cabins won’t last!

Save $1,150 on Caribbean seven nighter
For a seven-night cruise at deep discounts, look no further than Carnival’s weeklong Western Caribbean sailing. Normally priced from $1,669, cabins on both the March 8 and 22 departures start at just $499. That’s a reduction of 71 percent off rack rates! Ocean views can be had for just $100 more. The Carnival Triumph makes a circle around Cuba from Miami stopping first in Cozumel, just off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. George Town, Grand Cayman, is the second port of call and then it’s on to Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Three days at sea are also mixed in to the itinerary before the ship returns to port in Miami.

57 percent off Disney cruise
If you prefer a shorter trip, then consider this three-night Disney jaunt to the Bahamas, aboard the Disney Wonder. The ship departs Port Canaveral, Florida, for a day in tropical, pastel-hued Nassau, followed by a second day on Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. Later, you’ll cruise overnight to ensure an early morning arrival back in Florida. With four sail dates to choose from in March — the 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th — you have more than a few opportunities to save as much as $710! Interior cabins, normally priced at $1,153, start as low as $493 on the March 5 departure.

68 percent off San Juan departure
Another cruise from Carnival — a seven-night excursion from San Juan, Puerto Rico — delivers as many as seven vacations in one, with savings as great as $940, to boot. The expedition aboard the Carnival Victory features six ports of call. Setting sail from San Juan, the ship stops first in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, before heading deeper into the Caribbean. Dominica, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua and St. Kitts are also on the itinerary. Interior staterooms on four out of the five sailings in March start at $529. And you can snag ocean-view cabins on the March 1 and March 29 departures from just $649.

Slideshow: Caribbean way of life

The dollars
Rate are per person and based on double occupancy. All your on-board accommodations, meals, and entertainment are covered, as well as port charges. Taxes, government fees, alcoholic beverages, gratuities and personal, on-shore costs are your responsibility.

The catch
Expect a few more weeks of chilly temps even once your return home.

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Photos: Picturesque Puerto Rico

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  1. Eye on the word

    The Castillo de San Felipe del Morro in San Juan is a 16th century citadel. It was designed to keep seaborne enemies of out San Juan (thus the gun turret pictured). In 1983, the United Nations declared "El Morro" a World Heritage site. Today, it is Puerto Rico's best known fortress, with more than two million visitors a year. (Francisco Turnes / Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Hidden beauty

    Isabela is a coastal city in Puerto Rico whose main industries include tourism due to it's classic and secluded surfing beaches, panoramic views, rainforest, rivers, caves archaeological sites and more. (ervphotos / Back to slideshow navigation
  3. A beacon of the times

    The Punta Higuero Lighthouse in Ricon, situated on POint Juguero, was built in 1892 by the Spanish and rebuilt in 1922 by the U.S. Coast Guard after a 1918 tsunami hit the coast of Puerto Rico that also damaged the structure. The lighthouse still works and employs an unmanned 26,000-candlepower rotatintg beacon. The beaches around the Punta Higuero Lighthouse are also popular surfing destinations, and visitors converge in the area to see the annual migration of humpback whales. (fotoamateur / Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Buried in history

    The Cementerio de San Juan (San Juan Cemetery), located between El Morro and the cliffs above the Atlantic of Old San Juan, is known for being one of the most picturesque burial grounds. The cemetery is also noted for its elaborate tombstones and the neoclassical chapel dedicated to Mary Magdalene, which dates to the 19th century. Many of Puerto Rico's earliest colonists are buried here. (tank bmb / Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Staying afloat

    Tourism is a big component of Puerto Rico's economy, and supplies about $1.8 billion annually, with millions of visitors visiting the island. It is estimated that about a third of the tourists come on cruise ships. (Ritu / Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Traveling back in time

    A church stands on the grounds of La Fortaleza 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
  7. Withstanding time

    Old San Juan in Puerto Rico is the oldest settlement within the territory of the U.S., and spans just seven square blocks. Here, the La Fortaleza (the governor's mansion), a part of the old city wall and a gate are pictured. (tank bmb / Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Historical colors

    Colorful homes line the cobblestoned streets in Old San Juan, the original capital city of San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Popular pastime

    Locals often gather at the many plazas of Old San Juan to chat and play dominoes. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Room with a view

    In Old San Juan, one of the oldest cities in the Americas, embellished balcony doors, such as the one pictured, are not unusual in the city that dates back to 1521. Most buildings are more than 150 years old and are evidence of the Spanish architectural heritage. (capricornis / Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Natural beauty

    The El Yunque National Forest is the sole rain forest in the U.S. National Forest System, according to the park's Web site, and is relatively small at 28,000 acres. It features a year-round tropical climate and immense biodiversity. About 600,000 tourists each year enjoy all that the forest has to offer, including wildlife, waterfalls, hiking and camping opportunities, and more. (ervphotos / Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Guiding light

    A 19th century lighthouse -- called the Los Morrillos -- sits atop a towering cliff that overlooks the waters of Cabo Rojo, located at the southwestern tip of Puerto Rico. The cliffs around the lighthouse drop more than 200 feet into the ocean. The lighthouse was originally built in 1882 to guide ships from the Caribbean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. Today, the lighthouse is completely automated, and a renovation cleared the interior of everything of historical significance. (ervphotos / Back to slideshow navigation
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