updated 12/16/2008 9:56:10 AM ET 2008-12-16T14:56:10

The deal
Why put your dream cruise vacation on hold, when you can put it on layaway?! Current economic conditions and the urge to ditch credit cards have caused a surge in the popularity of layaway programs, and the concept has now spread to the travel industry.

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If you’ve dreamt of going on an expedition cruise to exotic locales like Antarctica, Greenland or Norway but can’t unearth such a large chunk of change in the couch cushions, new layaway cruising offers interest-free payments for a shot at that luxury voyage you’ve been yearning for. In addition to this new program, time it right, and you can take up to 30 percent off Hurtigruten cruises to Norway.

Layaway with a $99 deposit
The luxury Hurtigruten line specializes in exotic cold-weather cruises to remote scenic locales. Although these voyages can come with a hefty price tag — think $5,000-$15,000 or more for cruises to Antarctica — passengers who book any cruise by Feb. 28 that departs between May and December 2009 can now put the cruise on layaway. This includes all of Hurtigruten’s destinations like Antarctica, Greenland or Europe. Make monthly, no-interest payments and still reserve the right to cancel with a 100 percent refund, up to 70 days before departure. There are no credit checks, and deposits start as low as $99.

30 percent off Norwegian cruises
As an added bonus, guests interested in sailing to Norway can take up to 30 percent off voyages. This offer applies to three different itineraries on 6-, 7- and 12-night cruises, with rates starting from $788. Some highlights of the six-day voyage across the Arctic Circle include visiting Nidaros Cathedral, hailed as Norway’s most magnificent medieval castles, touring an award-winning maritime museum at Rørvik and a visit to Lofoten and Vesterålen Islands. The ship departs from Kirkenes on select dates in January, February, November and December 2009.

The dollars
When booking a layaway cruise, full payment is due 45 days before the ship sails.

The catch
Bring your long johns and thermal gloves!

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