Four-Night Caribbean Cruise, $213

At least a couple of online travel agencies are offering four-night Caribbean cruises on Carnival’s Imagination for $159, plus taxes and fees for a total of $213  per person, double occupancy.  That’s $53 per day, not the lowest rate I’ve ever seen but pretty close.

Travelocity is offering this rate on sailings that depart Miami on Nov. 29 and Dec. 5, 2010. Cruise.com has the same rate on those dates and also on Dec. 13.

The cruise goes to Key West and Cozumel, then spends a day at sea before returning to Miami. I’m not crazy about the port schedule — the ship docks in Key West only from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and in Cozumel from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Also, keep in mind that the Imagination is one of Carnival’s older ships and that the cabins at this rock-bottom price feature upper and lower bunks — not romantic.

Nevertheless, it is an excellent deal, and cabins with beds that combine into a queen are available at $10 or $20 more per person.

These rates include, of course, all meals and most entertainment. If you avoid the high-priced shore excursions and the on-board art auctions, you really don’t need to spend much more beyond the tips, which usually total about $9 a day per person.

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