updated 6/5/2009 11:36:40 AM ET 2009-06-05T15:36:40

Book by: ASAP
Travel by: July 3–10, 2009

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The deal
For many Americans, the Fourth of July goes hand-in-hand with backyard barbecues, boating, and that ever present sound of the screen door slamming shut. It also means a long weekend break from work, and a chance to sneak in a quick vacation.

By booking now you’ll save a bundle on cruises over the holiday without needing to travel too far from U.S. waters. Our editors have rounded up their top picks on sailings to the Bahamas, Alaska, and Canada starting from just $274.

Bahamas three-night cruise
For a classic island getaway, check out this three-night cruise leaving Miami on July 3. The following day, the Norwegian Sky will dock in the popular port of Nassau, famous for its white-sand beaches, Vegas-style casinos, and crystal-clear waters.

After that, the ship will visit Norwegian’s privately owned island Great Stirrup Cay, before returning to Miami. This island playground offers snorkeling in coral reefs, kayaking, volleyball courts, and beach barbecues. Prices for this three-night voyage start at $274 for interior cabins, with oceanview staterooms available from $309.

Weeklong Alaska getaway in oceanview
Celebrate the holiday this year by exploring one America’s greatest treasures: Alaska. This seven-night cruise aboard Holland America’s ms Ryndam is selling for just $444 — for oceanview cabins! The ship embarks from Vancouver on July 3, and after spending a day at sea it will arrive in the “salmon capital of the world,” Ketchikan, Alaska.

After that, the ship will visit Haines, home to the planet’s largest gathering of American bald eagles. Next up is the state’s capital city, Juneau, followed by the port in Sitka, which offers a combination of Russian history, native culture and scenic wilderness. Before the final port of call in Seward, the Ryndam will coast past the breathtaking Hubbard Glacier.

Five-night cruise to Canada
The coast of New England and Canada attracts many cruisers because of the scenic fall foliage, but during the summer the region is just as picturesque, only without the chilly bite of the autumn weather. The region's short cruise season tends to cause higher prices, but this five-nighter sailing from New York is available from just $479 for interior cabins.

The Carnival Triumph sails on the evening of July 4, and after spending a day at sea it visits St. John, New Brunswick. This charming city is surrounded by beaches and lakes, and is the place to be for phenomenal seafood cuisine. Before returning to New York, the ship will also call on Halifax, Novia Scotia. Here, passengers can visit historical sites and museums, or explore the lighthouses along the rugged coastline. Those who act quickly will also receive onboard spending credits, and cash back bonus offers.

The dollars
All quotes are per person and based on double occupancy. Rates cover accommodations, meals and entertainment on the ship. Fees and taxes, as well as shore excursions, personal expenses, alcoholic beverages, and tips are additional.

The catch
You’ll have to pass up the homemade potato salad this year.

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