Panama Canal cruise, from $1,450


The Real Deal: One night at The Westin Los Angeles Airport hotel; 14 nights in an inside cabin aboard the Celebrity Infinity, sailing from L.A. to Fort Lauderdale via the Panama Canal, with stops in Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, and Huatulco, Mexico; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Cristóbal, Panama; and Cartagena, Colombia; all meals and beverages (except alcohol and soft drinks); onboard entertainment; a multicity flight arriving in L.A. (United/American) and departing from Fort Lauderdale (JetBlue); and airport-hotel-port transfers in L.A. and a port-airport transfer in Fort Lauderdale; from $1,450 per person — plus estimated taxes and fees of $299.

When: Oct. 24, Nov. 21, 2010.

Gateways: Atlanta, Chicago, Denver; add $19 for Houston; $49 for New York City; $98 for Seattle; additional gateways available.

The fine print: Breakfast at the hotel is not included. Taxes and fees are about an additional $299 per person. Based on double occupancy; single supplement is $595. To reserve, refer to booking code CC Infinity–Panama. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.

Book by: No deadline; based on availability.

Contact: Travel Themes and Dreams, 877/870-7447,

Why it's a deal: According to a recent search on Kayak, a 14-night eastbound Panama Canal cruise departing on Oct. 24 starts at $1,490, with taxes and fees (CruisesOnly). Add to that $245, with taxes, to fly from Atlanta to L.A. and from Fort Lauderdale to Atlanta (AirTran), and $63 per person, including taxes, for a one-night stay at the Westin Los Angeles Airport hotel, and you'd be paying a total of $1,798 if you were to book the package components individually. For $49 less, this package includes the two-week sail, a multicity flight from Atlanta, Chicago, or Denver, arriving in L.A. and departing from Fort Lauderdale, shipboard accommodations, and an overnight hotel stay in L.A., plus transfers between the airport, port, and hotel, and all taxes and fees.

More: Optional activities include an aerial tram rain forest adventure in Puntarenas, Costa Rica ($135 per person), and a tour of Cartagena, Colombia ($56 per person). Pre-cruise nights at the Westin Los Angeles Airport hotel in L.A. and post-cruise nights at the SpringHill Suites Fort Lauderdale Airport in Fort Lauderdale start at $59 per person per night, based on double occupancy.