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Hawaiian cruises on sale, from $1,149

Shellblower, Kohala Coast.
Shellblower, Kohala Coast. Holger Leue
/ Source: Sherman's Travel

Book by: October 31, 2008
Travel by: Various dates through 2009

The deal
Hawaii is one of those destinations that’s breathtaking virtually year-round. Mix the allure of the islands’ natural beauty, indigenous culture and tropical climes with the perks of a cruise and you have a swoon-inducing vacation on your hands any time, any season. With no real calendar limitations, we scoped out good-value journeys to the picturesque 50th state with as much island time as possible. Our findings: Travel as soon as November or as far in the future as April and you can scoop up significant savings. Discounts on these sailings range from 39 percent to 60 percent, while prices start at $1,149.

Early-bird discount of 52 percent with Carnival
If you can sail in the spring, you may be able to pocket savings of more than half on a 12-night westbound cruise from Carnival. Departing Ensenada, Mexico, on April 12 aboard the Carnival Spirit, you’ll have five opportunities to see stunning sunsets as the ship make its way across the Pacific Ocean. The first stop: Hilo, Hawaii, followed by two ports of call on Maui: Kahuliu and Lahaina. Looping back to the Big Island, the ship spends a day in Kailua-Kona before moving on to Nawiliwili, Kauai. You’ll have two days in Honolulu, Oahu — the final destination. Reflecting price reductions of 52 percent, interior staterooms cost $1,149 and up, with oceanview rooms just $60 more. Cabins with a balcony run from $1,549.

Seven nights, Hawaii only, from $1,249
Norwegian Cruise Line has two 2009 sailings from Honolulu reduced by as much as 39 percent. Choose between the February 7 and April 18 departures for interior rooms priced from $1,249 and discounts up to $800. Balcony units on both trips start at only $1,799 — that’s $250 less than rack rates on inside cabins. The itinerary for the seven-night round-trip excursion aboard the Pride of America details one day each in Hilo and Kailua-Kona, both on the island of Hawaii. In between, there is also a two-day stop in Kahului, Maui. Nawiliwili on Kauai is the last port of call. You’ll have a day and a half there before the ship makes its way back to Oahu.

Save 60 percent on a 15-day round-trip sailing
For a Thanksgiving cruise this year, take the Zandaam to the South Pacific from San Diego. The 15-day Holland America Line sail provides ample time to luxuriate at sea before island hopping in Hawaii. Hilo is the first port of call, followed by Honolulu, Port Allen (Nawiliwili), Lahaina and Kailua-Kona. You’ll have another four days cruising the Pacific before an evening in Ensenada, Mexico, and a morning return to San Diego the next day. Rates on interior staterooms, normally priced from $3,219, have been slashed 60 percent. You pay $1299! Discounts can be found across the board on the November 22 odyssey: Oceanview cabins are going for $1,499 and up, and balcony rooms are priced from $2,799.

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
Grass skirts not included.

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