Most of us long for a cruise up the Inside Passage, complete with massive glaciers, bald eagles, wild bears and whales. To do it affordably, says Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor-in-chief of Cruise Critic
, "avoid the most expensive time of year, from the beginning of June through the middle of August." Though colder, April, May, late August and early September offer the best deals. Also, be sure to pay attention to your departure point: Boarding in a larger port like Seattle is typically cheaper than smaller, less-frequented ports. Another option for the frugal-minded: a trip on a ferry
instead of a cruise ship.