updated 10/30/2008 9:21:36 AM ET 2008-10-30T13:21:36

Book by: ASAP
Travel by: Select sailings through Dec. 15

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The deal
There's no doubt that this year has seen its fair share of turmoil — why not ship your own accumulated year-end stress out to sea? The time in between the Thanksgiving and December holidays is the perfect chance to use up extra vacations days, without having to burn a hole in your pocket. Before the high season hits full force, take advantage of these incredible offers our editors have rounded up on quick 3- to 5-night cruises to the Caribbean, Bahamas, and Mexico. With prices starting as low as $94, there’ll be plenty of cash leftover to stuff those stockings.

Norwegian 4-day Bahamas sailing from $94
Norwegian is promoting rock-bottom rates on 4-day Bahamas cruises, with two sailing dates in December starting at just $94 for interior cabins, or $144 for oceanview. Departing from Miami, the first port of call is the emerald-green waters of Grand Bahama Island. Then it’s onward to Nassau, an ideal destination for duty-free holiday shopping, relaxing on the beach, or trying your luck at a casino. The final port the Norwegian Sky calls upon is Great Stirrup Cay, the cruise line’s privately-owned island. Sailing dates include December 1 and December 8; a December 15 embarkation is also available from $124. 

5-night Carnival Baja Mexico cruises from $169
Take it easy on the pumpkin pie this year because you'll need to be in swimsuit shape for this 5-night cruise leaving two days after Thanksgiving. Starting from $169, you can sail the Carnival Elation from San Diego to Baja Mexico. First stop is the once small fishing village of Cabo San Lucas, which has blossomed into a bustling cruise port. Beachgoers antsy to get off the sand can also try surfing, parasailing, diving and snorkeling. After a day on the open sea, the ship will dock in Ensenada — before heading back to San Diego, be sure to visit the street markets and take a shuttle to La Bufadora. This famous "blow hole" is located in the caves along the rugged coast line and shoots out a stream of water that can reach an impressive 80 feet above sea level.

Up to 81 percent off 4-night Key West voyage on Carnival
This quick 5-day sailing will have you back in time to finish up any last-minute holiday shopping. The Carnival Imagination leaves from Miami, taking in a port of call at charming Key West, where you can get an up-close view of the coral reefs on a glass-bottom boat tour, or simply relax with a tropical drink in hand before heading to Cozumel, Mexico. Prices start at $159 for sailings beginning December 1, 8 and 15; other embarkation dates are available at slightly higher prices. When booking through CruisesOnly.com, you can take an additional 15 percent off shore excursions.

4-night Royal Caribbean Cozumel sailing from Fort Lauderdale
If Fort Lauderdale is a convenient departure port for you, then this Royal Caribbean cruise starting at $189 is the way to go. The Navigator of the Seas sails December 11 on a 4-day voyage with one port of call in Cozumel, where passengers can spend a full day exploring Mayan ruins or strolling through the town square. Cozumel's many reefs and caves are some of the most well-known in the Caribbean, and are a natural magnet for scuba divers. Onboard the ship, there's an endless list of activities including rock-climbing, ice skating, a golf simulator, and 9-hole miniature golf course. If you book this cruise by November 6, you'll also receive up to $50 onboard spending credit.

3-night Royal Caribbean Bahamas cruise
Royal Caribbean is also offering a great bargain right now to the Bahamas which leaves from Orlando, Florida (Port Canaveral). This 3-nighter starts from $139 for interior staterooms — or, for just $20 more, you can upgrade to an oceanview room. The recently remodeled Monarch of the Seassails December 12 and visits Nassau and the cruise line's private island of CocoCay.  There are additional departures available throughout December and into 2009 at slightly higher prices. There is also an early-booking $50 onboard spending credit applied to this sailing.

The dollars
Prices listed are per person, cruise only, based on double occupancy, and include port charges. Additional taxes, fees, and gratuities may apply.

The catch
Sun block not included.

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