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5 Off-Peak Trips Worth Booking Now

United Kingdom

It's cruise season, but that doesn't mean you'll be stuck hitting the same Caribbean islands your aunt and uncle did before sharing their 1,000-photo slideshow with you.

Surprisingly, the United Kingdom is angling for U.S. cruise dollars now that there's a century between it and a certain epic-film-inspiring disaster we won't name here. Hint: There's a nude sketch, a giant sapphire and a surprisingly happy ending for a film documenting an incident in which a whole lot of people drowned in icy waters.

What's been learned since then, other than the folly of the "unsinkable" ship, is that a cruise is a great way to lure American travelers who'd otherwise be afraid of an unfavorable exchange rate. Luxury liner Cunard is offering seven-day winter cruises from New York to Southampton that not only allow U.S. tourists to pay for their U.K. lodging, meals and entertainment in their own currency, but give them a huge discount on the regular fare.

At $799 per person, the lowest prices are still costly. Compared with $1,600 tickets for the same passage during the summer, though, it's a bargain boat. The U.K. is a burgeoning cruise market. And cruising is, for the most part, a very economical way to explore international lands, especially for American travelers visiting destinations with unfavorable exchange rates. When much of what you would otherwise need local currency to pay for -- from meals to entertainment to lodging -- is included in your cruise fare, there's less of a need to trade your dollars in for stronger pounds or euros. One of the best ways to save money on a cruise to the U.K. is to ply the waters during the low winter season.

Similar Cunard sailings during summer months cost nearly double the price. Those are some pretty significant savings.

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