The Real Deal: Fourteen nights' accommodations aboard the cruise ship and all meals, from $829 per person—plus $198 in taxes and fuel surcharges.
When: Depart Mar. 16, 2008. Add $210 for Feb. 17, 2008, departure.
The fine print: As noted above, taxes and fuel surcharges of $198 are additional. Airfare is not included. All meals and beverages in the standard dining facilities are part of the package, except for soda and alcoholic beverages. Gratuities are an additional $150. Round-trip airport-pier transfers are $45. Based on double occupancy; single supplement starts at $769—plus a $196 fuel supplement and government taxes of about $100. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: No deadline; based on availability.
Contact: American Discount Cruises & Travel, 866/214-7447, americandiscountcruises.com.
Why it's a deal: The $829 price breaks down to about $59 a night, which covers accommodations, meals, and activities aboard the ship. This cruise is one of the most affordable ways for an American couple to have an extended, stress-free vacation in a warm-weather climate in early 2008.
Trip details: The 14-Night South America Cruise includes accommodations aboard the 1,754-passenger Norwegian Dream in one of the inside cabins, which average 144 square feet. Upgrades to outside cabins are available for an additional $170-$1,670 per person, plus taxes and fees.
The Dream will sail along the Pacific coast, departing from Valparaíso (75 miles from Santiago, Chile's capital), and making stops in Puerto Montt, Puerto Chacabuco, and Punta Arenas, Chile; Ushuaia, Argentina; Port Stanley, Falkland Islands; Puerto Madryn, Argentina; Montevideo, Uruguay; and Buenos Aires, Argentina. The nighttime summer sky should offer a spectacular display of stars on most nights.
The on-board nightlife should be particularly lively at Smokey Joe's Café, which hosts musical productions, typically of 50s and 60s hits; at Dazzles Disco; at a sportsbar, where you can watch live broadcasts of major sports events; and in the Monte Carlo casino.
Organized shore excursions are available at additional cost.
Don't forget that in Latin America, seasons are the opposite of those in the United States. Expect to break out your summer wardrobe for strolling along the deck of the ship or swimming in an outdoor pool. Before you go, check the weather forecasts for the cities you plan to disembark in.
Getting there: A recent search on Kayak yielded the following lowest multicity fares, arriving in Santiago/Valparaíso on March 16 and departing from Buenos Aires 15 days later: $872 from Miami and New York City (multiple airlines), $1,085 from Los Angeles (COPA Panama), and $1,134 from Chicago (American Airlines).