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European Christmas markets cruise

Spend a week sailing aboard a Fred Olsen cruise liner, with stops to sightsee and browse at markets in Copenhagen, Hamburg and Amsterdam.

The real deal: Sail round-trip from Dover, England, with stops in Copenhagen, Denmark, Hamburg, Germany, and Amsterdam, Netherlands; seven nights' accommodations in an ocean-view cabin aboard the 1,350-passenger Balmoral; all meals and snacks; and onboard entertainment, for $988 per person — including all taxes and fees.

When: Dec. 12.

The fine print: Transfers between the Victoria Motor Coach Station in London and the port in Dover are $75 per person each way. Based on double occupancy; single supplement starts at $386. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.

Book by: Oct. 30. You can book after this date, but the rates may be higher.

Contact: Borton Overseas, 800-843-0602,

Why it's a deal: A recent search on Kayak didn't turn up any similarly themed cruise itineraries; the lowest available price for a European cruise departing in mid-December was $1,279 for seven nights in an interior cabin (Costa). For $291 less, this Fred Olsen holiday cruise offered through Borton Overseas covers seven nights in an ocean-view cabin, as well as British-style celebrations with plum pudding, holiday singing and many other traditional foods and festivities. Also consider that this voyage is offered by one of the few remaining family-owned cruise companies.

More: Optional activities include shore excursions ($50–$500 per person) and spa massages (from $35 per person). Add pre- or post-cruise nights in Dover for about $130 per room per night at the waterfront Best Western Churchill Hotel and Health Club.