Photos: Caribbean way of life

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  1. Barbados

    This undated photo courtesy of the Barbados Tourism Authority shows Harrismith Beach, Barbados. Sun, surf and sand are the main draws on this tropical Caribbean island. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Barbados

    This undated photo courtesy of Barbados Tourism Authority shows The Watering Hole rum shop in Barbados. The rum shops on the island are good places to sample local food and drink, watch a game of dominos, or just get to know the friendly and hospitable Bajans. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. St. Lucia

    Developed, beautiful and situated in the Eastern Caribbean, St. Lucia is accessible from Europe and Canada, and reachable -- albeit not as easily -- from the United States. St. Lucia is known as a romantic destination. The island gets plenty of visitors, including wedding parties. (Holger Leue  / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. St. Lucia

    Cocoa pods lie on the ground ready to be processed at Fondoux Plantation in Soufriere, St. Lucia. Cocoa is one St. Lucia's main produce alongside the more obvious banana crop. (Chris Jackson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. St. George's

    The capital of Grenada, St. George's is considered one of the prettiest harbor towns in the Caribbean. Grenada's unique layout includes many finger-like coves, making the island a popular sailing destination. (Richard Cummins  / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. The Cayman Islands

    The Cayman Islands very popular attractions, Stingray City and the nearby shallows known as the Sandbar, provide the only natural oportunity to swim with Atlantic Southern Stingrays. (David Rogers / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Stingray City

    The Cayman Islands very popular attractions, Stingray City and the nearby shallows known as the Sandbar, provide the only natural oportunity to swim with Atlantic Southern Stingrays. (David Rogers / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. St John's

    In high season, up to five cruise ships visit St John's, Antigua, each day. The boats unload mostly American and European passengers who fan out across the island visiting the casinos and beaches. Antigua is easily accessible, and can offer good values for tourists. (Chris Jackson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Antigua

    Antigua, located in the Northeastern Caribbean, is a popular tourist spot. While there are high-end, stylish hotels, the island also features a large number of mid-priced options. Visitors will find beach bars, restaurants, casinos and shopping. (Richard I'Anson  / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Antigua

    People walk along an area known as Devils Bridge in Indian Town Point, Antigua. Antigua is a wintertime destination for many visitors from the north. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Dominica

    Not as well known as other Caribbean islands, Dominica is green, fertile and mountainous. Visitors will find some opportunites to scuba dive, but watersports are not its main draw. The island does, however, offer a slew of rainforest trails -- great for hiking and sightseeing. (Greg Johnston  / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Dominican Republic

    An old church building is seen in La Romana, the third-largest city in the Dominican Republic. (Wayne Walton / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Belize

    Belize gets more than 850,000 visitors each year. The hot spot allows watersports such as kayaking and snorkeling, as well as inland activities like hiking and birding. The Mayan ruins of Altan Ha, pictured, are easily accessible from Caye Caulker. (Andrew Marshall / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. La Tortuga

    A fisherman repairs his nets on Cayo Herradura, off the island of La Tortuga in Venezuela. The country offers visitors a variety of activities to choose from, but remains undervisited -- especially compared to its South American neighbors. (Lynne Sladky / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Cuba

    Cuba blends the fantastic attractions associated with other Caribbean destinations with an amazing history. Tourists can stroll white sand beaches, take in the incredible architecture and party into the early-morning hours. (Javier Galeano / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. St. Barthelemy

    St. Barthelemy is a vacation spot of stars and millionaires. Trendy, chic and sexy, St. Baarths is safe for tourists, but expensive to visit. About 8,700 people reside on the island. (Mark Mainz / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Puerto Rico

    A man climbs to a 40-foot waterfall at the south side of the Caribbean National Rain Forest, commonly called El Yunque, near Naguabo, Puerto Rico. Most visitors hike the well-marked paths in the northern half of the park's rain forest but the trails in the south allow hikers and nature lovers to explore the only tropical forest in the U.S. national forest system. (Herminio Rodriguez / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Puerto Rico

    The cupola of San Juan Cemetary as well as colorful homes sit next to the ocean 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
  19. Puerto Rico

    Men play dominos in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. Old San Juan is a well-preserved colonial city that allows tourists a peek into the past. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Guadeloupe

    Guadeloupe isn't as developed as some other Caribbean islands, but it offers a variety of beaches -- some active with watersports, some secluded. The island also offers beach bars, restaurants, mid-range hotels and other tourist amenities. (Marcel Mochet / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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updated 4/1/2009 10:15:50 AM ET 2009-04-01T14:15:50

The deal
The cost of most holiday cruises tends to follow the same model as many holiday flights: prices shoot through the roof. However, Easter has landed itself in some sort of strange holiday safe-zone, and many cruise prices are well below average rack rates.

If you’ve got some time off work, boycott the Easter dinner and treat yourself to some sunshine instead. Here’s a basketful of bargains at up to 75 percent off brochure rates, starting from just $269.

3-night Royal Caribbean Bahamas cruise
If you’re looking for white-sand beaches, Vegas-style casinos and lively marketplaces, the Bahamas is the place to be. Departing from Miami, the Monarch of the Seas sails April 10, and visits the popular port of Nassau, and the cruise line's private island of CocoCay. This three-night cruise is priced from just $269 for oceanview staterooms — less than the cost of interior cabins.

5-night Caribbean cruise
Take in some reggae beats in Jamaica’s Ocho Rios, or relax on Grand Cayman’s famous 7-mile beach for less with this five-night cruise. The recently refurbished Celebrity Century sails from Miami April 11, with interior cabins priced from just $299. Plus, enjoy the ships elegant white-glove service in the two-level Grand Restaurant, or indulge in the steam rooms and saunas of the AquaSpa for some added Easter joy.

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It's A Snap! Readers' best shots

7-night Hawaii cruise for $699
Norwegian is offering a great deal on a seven-night Hawaii voyage priced from just $699 — a whopping 75 percent off rack rates. After leaving from Honolulu April 11, the Pride of America spends two nights in Kahului. Here passengers can visit the Kahana Wildlife Sanctuary, or take a drive up the coast past breathtaking scenery before sailing on to Hilo, on the Big Island. After that, it’s on to Kailua, famous for its Kona coffee plantations, followed by two nights exploring the tiny island of Kauai where the ship will remain docked in Nawiliwili before returning to Honolulu.

7-night Mexican Riviera cruise
If you’re looking for a little luxury for less and a bit longer vacation, Princess Cruises is offering a seven-night cruise at up to 66 percent off rack rates. The Sapphire Princess sails from Los Angeles April 11 bound for the Mexican Riviera. It spends two days at sea before arriving in the peaceful fishing village of Puerto Vallarta. From there, the ship visits Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas where passengers can enjoy snorkeling, watersports, diving, and more. Prices for interior cabins start at just $499.

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
Cadbury eggs not included.

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 2.5 million subscribers, free, each week. ShermansTravel also publishes trip ideas and travel features to inspire, guide, and go.

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