updated 1/6/2009 9:43:37 AM ET 2009-01-06T14:43:37

The deal
Airlines have been touting Brazil as the new hotspot of late, as evidenced by the onslaught of new routes cropping up. Cruise lines have now followed suit, with some of these exotic cruises now available for as little as $399.

This winter, experience Brazil’s beautiful beaches and tropical rainforests, or try a bit of samba dancing on a four-, six-, or eight-night voyage. We've even found a low-cost cruise that visits hotspot port cities during the Carnival — known as “Carnaval” in Brazil — festival in February!

4-night cruise on royal Caribbean
If you can’t commit to a longer voyage, this four-night March cruise will give you a quick sampling of Brazil’s bounty. After departing from the bustling metropolis of Sao Paulo, Brazil, the Splendour of the Seas reaches its first port of call on the paradise island of Ilhabela.

Here you can explore 21 miles of beaches, rainforests, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, mountain peaks and countless waterfalls before sailing on to Buzios. Located on a tiny peninsula, Buzios is home to numerous nightclubs, fine dining restaurants and art galleries along with a plethora of watersports and eco-tourism activities.

After leaving Buzios, cruisers will spend a day at sea before arriving back in Sao Paulo. Embarkations for this cruise are available March 9, 16 and 23; rates start from $399 for interior cabins.

6-night Brazil cruise on Costa Magica
This six-night cruise on the Costa Magica departs from Sao Paulo Feb. 28 and makes its first port call in Rio De Janeiro, home to the famous Copacabana beach, gorgeous churches, shopping, fashion, samba dancing and the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer watching over the city from atop a mountain.

After Rio, spend a day on the Italian-built ship that is known for its ability to entertain passengers with lively deck parties, dance lessons, pool bands, magic shows, and more. The next port brings guests to Salvador De Bahia, which has a unique feel with many bustling markets, craftsmen, and artists. It has often been referred to as an African city in Brazil, with a Portuguese spin. After Salvador, the ship sails to the island of Ilhabela before returning to Sao Paulo. Prices start at $799 for interior cabins, with oceanview staterooms available from $959.

Carnaval festival 8-night cruise
If there is on thing people think of when they hear "Brazil" it is the amazing Carnaval winter festivals that that turn the nation’s cities upside down. Carnaval kicks off Feb. 21 in 2009, so the cruise departure from Sao Paulo Feb. 20 will have you arriving at your first stop — Parati — just in time for the celebrations to get underway.

This old colonial town offers a less crowded Carnaval experience than in bigger cities like Rio, while still maintaining the fantasy-like atmosphere of costumes and masks. After a day spent here, you're just getting started.

The next stop is Buzios, a gay-friendly community where citizens get dressed up in whatever they like for Carnaval, including thongs and faux feathers. Join in on the celebrations by enjoying local spirits, food, parades, music and dancing.

From here, it's on to Salvador where you’ll spend two nights doing Carnaval a little differently — here, the party is one giant street festival marked by semi-trailers topped off by live bands (who are hooked up to amplifiers).

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After recovering from this party, you'll sail on to Ilhabela, before heading back to Sao Paulo. Interior cabin prices on the Splendour of the Seas start at $928.

The dollars
All prices are per person and based on double occupancy. Accommodations, meals, some beverages, entertainment and port charges are covered in the cost. Government fees and taxes as well as off-boat expenditures are extra.

The catch
You may find yourself sporadically samba dancing when you return.

For the European river cruise offer, visit www.globusjourneys.com or call 1-866-755-8581. ShermansTravel is a guide to top travel deals and destinations. Sign up for Sherman's Top 25 e-newsletter which features the best editor-screened deals from hundreds of travel providers and is delivered to over 4 million subscribers, free, each week. ShermansTravel also publishes trip ideas and travel features to inspire, guide, and go.

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