The Real Deal: Six nights' accommodations aboard the Caribbean Princess and all meals, from $734 per person—including taxes and port charges.
The fine print: The starting rate is only valid for seniors (aged 55 and up); add about 10 percent or more for a regular adult fare depending on departure date and availability. Accommodations in an inside cabin, all meals, taxes, and 24-hour room service are included. Based on double occupancy; single supplement is $367. Airport transfers are not included; expect to pay about $50 each way for airport-ship transfers by cab. Sightseeing tours, excursions, and airfare are not included. Read before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: No deadline; based on availability.
Contact: CruiseCompete, cruisecompete.com.
Why it's a deal: CruiseCompete saves you time and money by allowing you to compare rates offered through various travel agencies without actually having to spend hours shopping around. The $734 rate, which breaks down to about $122 a night, includes accommodations, all meals, taxes, and port charges. When we checked the prices on the Web site for Princess Cruises, we found that the regular rate for this same cruise is $1,070 with tax.
Trip details: The package covers six nights aboard the 3,100-passenger Caribbean Princess, departing from and returning to New York City. You'll stay in an "interior double," a 163-square-foot inside cabin with two twin beds, a bathroom, a shower, a spacious closet, a fridge, and a TV.
The cruise liner features a wraparound promenade deck, four pools, a sports court with a jogging track, three dining rooms, three show lounges, a casino, an art gallery, and a spa, among many other amenities. You'll also find a wide selection of restaurants and bars on board, including Café Caribe, Sabatini's Italian restaurant, Sterling Steakhouse, an outdoor hamburger grill, a pizzeria, an ice cream parlor, and a sports bar.
After spending the first night at sea, you'll arrive in Halifax, capital of Nova Scotia. You'll have from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to independently explore some of the city's major attractions, which include the famous lighthouse at Peggy's Cove; Halifax Harbor, the world's second largest natural harbor, lined with museums, shops, and eateries; and the Prince of Wales Martello Tower National Historic Site at Point Pleasant Park.
From Halifax, sail overnight to St. John, New Brunswick. Canada's oldest settlement has more than a few treasures worth checking out. There is one of the country's oldest farmers markets, St. John City Market; Carleton Martello Tower, one of 16 such towers built by the British during the War of 1812 to protect the coastline; and the "reversing falls" rapids, where the river actually flows upstream.
The next stop on the itinerary is Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island in Maine, also home to Acadia National Park and a lobster museum and hatchery. The port is also a popular whale-watching destination.
The cruise sails on to Boston. One smart way to explore the city in a limited time is to follow the Freedom Trail, a three-mile route that passes 16 national historic landmarks.
The last stop before sailing back to New York is Newport, R.I. As with the rest of the shore excursions, you'll have about eight hours for sightseeing. The seaside city on the southern tip of Aquidneck Island is famous for its glorious envy-inspiring mansions like The Breakers, The Elms, and Marble House.
Princess Cruises also offers a similar trip in September and October, only with a reversed itinerary, starting from $678 for seniors.
For more details, additional dates, and adult fares, visit Princess Cruises online.
Getting there: According to a recent search on Kayak, the lowest round-trip fares to New York, departing at the end of August, start from $214 from Miami (American), $279 from Chicago (JetBlue), $336 from Houston (American), $350 from L.A. (Frontier), and $378 from Seattle (AirTran).