Money & Policy

Deals of the Week: Island Travel, Cruises, Museums

The latest bargains are discounts at Caribbean resorts and cruises around the world as well as free admission to U.S. cultural institutions

My first trip to the Caribbean was to St. Lucia, and this week I’ve uncovered some sweet travel deals for you that just might get me back to that lovely island in 2013. Also this week: two cruise lines offering big savings, plus an easy way to get free admission to museums, zoos and other cultural institutions in the new year.

Save Hundreds on a St. Lucia Vacation

Three resorts on the stunning, luxurious Caribbean island of St. Lucia, near Barbados, are offering incentives that could be the right antidote to the winter blues.

At the 600-acre Anse Chastanet Resort, located near the island’s famed twin peaks known as the Pitons, the “Delight” package offers a sixth night for free when you book five nights, plus a $150 per person food and beverage credit. The per-night rate between January 3 and April 15, 2013 (high season) starts at $510 per couple, which is pricey, so saving $510 or more is quite a deal.

If you travel later in the year, you’ll still get a free sixth night, but the savings will be smaller because room rates are lower. After April 16, the nightly rate starts at either $345 or $400, depending on the month.

(MORE: How to Get the Best Hotel Rooms and Service)

The all-inclusive St. James Club Morgan Bay St. Lucia, which just reopened after a multi-million dollar renovation, has two worthy specials for travel throughout 2013.If you make reservations before New Year’s Eve, you’ll get one night free for every night you book; there’s a minimum stay of four nights and a maximum of seven.

If you book at St. James Club between January 1 and January 13, you can pay as little as $147 per person per day — up to 55 percent off regular rates —  which includes lodging, meals and drinks.

Want to save more than $800 on a seven-night stay? Check out the “New Year’s Special” at the Stonefield Estate Resort & Spa, located on a former lime and cocoa plantation. If you book before February 15 and travel between January 5 and April 15, you’ll get seven nights in a villa for the price of five. Since the resort’s nightly rates start at $402, this adds up to savings of $804 or more.

Sail Away With Savings on Cruises

There are two excellent cruise deals, one for sailing in 2013 and one for 2014.

The Holland America Sail and Save sale for trips in 2013 offers three ways to save:

You can get up to 50 percent off cruises to Alaska, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Canada/New England, the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii/Tahiti, Mexico, the Panama Canal and South America.

You can enjoy free or reduced cruise rates when you bring along a third or fourth guest and share the same stateroom on seven-day cruises to Alaska, the Caribbean or Canada/New England.

Or you can score free or reduced hotel stays on Alaska cruises that have lodging in Seattle, Vancouver, Fairbanks and Anchorage.

If you can plan ahead — way ahead — you can save big on a European river cruise. Book a Viking River Cruise before February 28 and you’ll lock in 2013 prices on select 2014 cruises, including treks along the Danube, Rhine and Elbe rivers. Be sure to mention code “2014 EBD” for the discount. You’ll need to put down a $500 deposit by February 28 and pay for the entire package by May 31.

Free Museum Admission Throughout 2013

On the first full weekend of every month in 2013, Bank of America and Merrill Lynch will give customers free admission to more than 150 museums, science centers, zoos and other cultural institutions in 94 cities, through its “Museums on Us” program. This offer is available to Bank of America and Merrill Lynch banking customers as well as anyone with a credit card from either of the financial institutions.

So you could save $25 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, $18 at the Art Institute of Chicago and $14 at the Houston Zoo, for example. Expand your mind without shrinking your wallet.

Leah Ingram
By Leah Ingram
Leah Ingram is a health, lifestyle and frugal-living writer and the author of Suddenly Frugal: How to Live Happier and Healthier on Less. She is also founder of the money-saving blog, Suddenly Frugal, and writes for magazines and websites including Good Housekeeping and Parade.com.@suddenlyfrugal

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