updated 12/1/2008 11:03:12 AM ET 2008-12-01T16:03:12

Book by: ASAP
Travel by: December 29 through January 3, 2009

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The deal
This New Year’s Eve, skip the overcrowded bars and head to sea. While holiday cruises tend to be expensive and typically sell out months in advance, we’ve scouted out some smart-splurge deals on 4- and 5-night cruises starting from only $479, an incredible bargain considering we've seen similar cruise itineraries clock in between $700 and $1,000, or more. So treat yourself to a vacation and welcome the new year on a cruise to warmer waters.

Bahamas cruise on Norwegian Sky from $479
Escape the cold on a 4-night Bahamas-bound cruise leaving from Miami this December 29. First stop on the itinerary, aboard Norwegian Sky, is Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, where passengers will be seduced by deserted white-sand beaches. The day-light hours of New Year’s Eve will be spent on Nassau, the next island on the itinerary before the night time celebrations begin aboard the ship. A special holiday menu will be served in the main dining room with foie gras, Blue Point oysters, and Oxtail. The final port of call is Great Stirrup Cay, the cruise line’s privately owned island. Rates for this 4-night cruise start at $479 for interior rooms, with oceanview cabins priced from $599.

Carnival cruise to Cozumel from $529
If you’re going to attend the biggest party of the year, you should do so on a cruise line that has a solid reputation for knowing what fun is all about. This 4-night sailing on Carnival Imagination leaves Miami December 29 for Key West, its first port of call. Before ringing in the New Year at sea, enjoy early celebrations going on in Cozumel, Mexico, a beach resort that's famous for its prime snorkeling excursions. Aboard the ship, the El Dorado casino comes with antique slot machines and champagne and party favors are passed around as the clock strikes midnight. Prices start at $529 for interior cabins, with oceanview cabins for an additional $90.

Southeast Asia voyage on Royal Caribbean from $599
This 5-night cruise offers interesting ports-of-call and New Year’s festivities, plus, a fantastic price tag of $599. Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas sets sail from Singapore on December 31 enroute to Thailand’s largest island, Phuket. On board, New Year’s Eve means themed parties in each lounge, teen and kids parties, party favors, a champagne toast, live coverage on TV’s in the staterooms and lounges, and a countdown by the captain. After the celebration, New Year’s day will be spent in Penang, Malaysia, swimming in the many waterfalls and hot springs or exploring the natural surroundings and ancient temples. The last port call before returning to Singapore is Taipei, Taiwan, where cobras perform tricks in snake alleys.

The dollars
For the Bahamas cruise visit www.orbitz.com

For the Carnival cruise to Cozumel visit www.travelocity.com

For the Southeast Asia cruise visit www.travelocity.com

The catch
All resolutions made at sea do not apply until returning home from vacation.

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