Welcome to wave season! At the very end and beginning of every year, cruise lines roll out promotions for sailings through the next year - sometimes even two - in hopes of booking passengers early. The deals can take the form of steep discounts over 50 percent, 2-for-1 fares, onboard credits, free airfare, and other special packages. For you, this means that there’s no better time to go big - or at least dream about it. Here, we offer eight unbelievable cruises for the ultimate nautical adventure...
Oceania Insignia: 179-Night Grand Voyage
Miraculously have half a year off to travel on a luxury cruise? Hit up more than 50 countries and regions on this round-the-world cruise departing from Miami. The ship will first head north to Canada, make its way east to Greenland, cross the North Sea and the Mediterranean, and loop over to the United Arab Emirates. Then head to more far-flung locales like India, Southeast Asia, and China before hitting up the Seychelles, South Africa, and the Caribbean on the way back stateside. Book by March 31 for 69 percent savings - and prices include first-class, roundtrip flights. From $45,999 per person.
Costa Deliziosa: 115-Night World Tour
This 2015 South America- and Africa-focused itinerary sets sail from Savona, Italy and crosses five continents. Not even four years old, Deliziosa is one of Costa's newest ships. The duration of its world tour aside, crazy impressive are the ship's onboard entertainment bells and whistles. It has its very own 4D cinema (in addition to theaters on three levels), Grand Prix driving simulator, roller skating track, and a putting green and golf simulator with 37 courses. From $18,339 per person.
Regent Seven Seas Voyager: Across the Sea of Time
This 121-night cruise leaves virtually no region along the coast from Sydney to Japan to France untouched. While the lowest fares clock in at $76,999, the rates include roundtrip airfare from major American airports and luxe accommodation in a king-size suite with a sitting area and private balcony. Plus, its relatively concentrated ports of call mean less time at sea and more time to explore - especially important when a roster of 442 free onshore excursions is available. Departs February 1.
Oceana Nautica: Safaris, Temples & Jewels
Another quirky Oceania cruise we love: a 29-night sail to South Africa and Southeast Asia, perfect for seafarers who crave exotic experiences. A sampling of the delights on offer at this itinerary's ports include a snake and dinosaur park in Port Elizabeth, the world's only dodo egg on display in East London, volcanic lakes in Nosy Be, jewels and batik in Kuala Lumpur, and Hindu temples in Singapore. Book by March 31 for 2-for-1 fares, saving up to $5,000 per stateroom, airfare included. From $9,999.
Crystal Serenity: 88-Night World Tour
While cruisers can cherry-pick a single segment from a very long cruise itinerary that goes to many parts of the world, many cruise lines offer up exciting excursions exclusive to passengers who book multiple segments back to back. On Crystal Cruises’ 88-night tour, these travelers can enjoy lunch in the Captain's cabin aboard the USS Missouri in Hawaii, take a helicopter tour in Hong Kong, slide down Asia's most extreme ziplines in Singapore, and more. (While the cruise is all-inclusive, these excursions cost extra.) Book by February 28 for additional savings on top of 2-for-1 fares. From $39,480 per person.
Voyages of Antiquity: Grand Voyage from Bangkok to Singapore
If Myanmar is on your bucket list, you can cruise there with Voyages of Antiquity, a cruise line that's known for its award-winning guest lecturers and overnight port stays. Three of the 29 nights on this 2015 itinerary immerse you in the culture of Yangon, after five pre-sail nights in Thailand and Cambodia. Book by March 31 for free roundtrip airfare from 60 U.S. airports with rates from $7,745 per person.
G Adventures MS Expedition: Cape Town to Marrakesh
This incredible all-Africa sailing lets guests cover an incredible number of countries and cultures all in one itinerary – something that would be hugely complicated to book on your own. With this 31-night cruise package, learn about the birth of voodoo in Benin, meet snake charmers in Morocco, and follow the trails of the slave trade along the coast. The rate includes two overnight stays, in Cape Town and Marrakesh, and daily excursions and lectures. $14,450 each for four or $17,000 each for two.
Cunard Queen Mary 2: Southampton to Sydney
This 61-night cruise is among the most cost efficient we’ve seen, particularly for itineraries that include Dubai and Abu Dhabi, starting from $10,498. That’s $175 per night, though excluded taxes tack on another $15 to that figure. Still, it’s a reasonable rate for delighting in everything from the Great Barrier Reef to the Eternal City, with ports of call in Spain, Italy, Egypt, the UAE, India, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, China, and more.
Before you go: Don't miss our guide to river cruises, which navigate uncommon waterways for adventures off the beaten path.