You can count on the Caribbean for abundant sunshine, warm waters, beaches aplenty, good food, lilting language, and just plain fun. Little wonder then that when New England begins its inexorable march to winter, thoughts turn to the islands. Here are some offers that, especially through mid-December, incorporate savings as well:
--Nisbet Plantation on Nevis is not only an award-winning resort but a romantic one, too. Its ''Love Is in the Air" promotion, available through Dec. 15, offers savings of $400 on stays of six nights or longer. Upon checkout, guests receive the $400 credit. Under the deal, a superior room for two is $1,640 for two nights, a 42 percent discount from high-season rates.
(The fine print: There is also a 10 percent service charge and 8 percent government tax.)
Love Is in the Air can be booked only by calling 800-742-6008 or e-mailing email@example.com. For resort information and entry into a contest to win a free vacation, visit www.nisbetplantation.com. And by the way, in Nevis no hotel is taller than a palm tree.
-- Through Dec. 20, Jolly Beach Resort in Antigua has a ''Grab the Kids and Go!" promotion in which one child age 3 to 11 stays free, a second stays for $40 a night, and adults pay $170 per person per night, double occupancy. Children under 3 are free all the time. The package also features a superior room with two queen beds, all meals, snacks, and afternoon tea, house-brand beverages, nonmotorized sports, activities including the Kidz Club, and all taxes.
Call 866-905-6559 or visit www.jollybeachresort.com.
-- If you love to toss the fly line, you can save 25 percent with a package from Ocean Club Resorts in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Flyfishing Escape Package, valid through Dec. 19, includes seven nights' accommodations, three half-days of bonefishing on the Silver Deep charter boat, a rum punch party (and, beware, rum punch goes down easily but may be more powerful than you think), airport transfers, and all taxes and surcharges. Rates begin at $1,176 a person for a studio suite, based on double occupancy. Ocean Club Resorts consists of two all-suite properties, Ocean Club and Ocean Club West, a mile apart and facing Grace Bay Beach.
Call 800-457-8787 or visit www.oceanclubresorts.com.
-- If, on the other hand, diving is your thing, Reef Club Isla Cozumel Beach Resort in the Mexican Caribbean offers four-, six-, and eight-day dive packages, with rates ranging from $301 for three nights with one day of diving, to $825 for seven nights with five days of diving. The packages, good through Dec. 22, are per person, double occupancy, and include all-inclusive hotel accommodations and two tank dives per person.
Visit www.reefclubcozumel.com or call 888-773-4349.
-- A two-hour ferry to the Bahamas launches Nov. 1 from Port Everglades in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area. The CAT will depart Florida daily at 4 p.m. (arriving at 6) and return from Grand Bahama Island at noon, having departed there at 10 a.m.
Seats aboard the high-speed ferry will normally cost from $129-$189 round trip per person depending upon the day, with a 40 percent discount for children ages 3 to 17. But from Nov. 1-Dec. 21, there is an introductory online fare of $109 per adult and $70 per child ages 3 to 17 on the 680 tourist-class seats (there are also 190 premiere class seats, costing $159-$179). And there is a FunDay fare any Tuesday of $99 a person.
Traveling at 42 knots (50 miles per hour), the 320-foot vessel transports up to 900 passengers. Several hotels are offering package deals for passengers on the CAT, which includes a casino, duty-free gift shop, TV-movie lounge, cafe, and bar.
Many New Englanders may be familiar with the high-speed ferry because it is the same one that travels between Bar Harbor, Maine, and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, during warm weather. The Bahamas route is under different management, however.
(The fine print: $31 in port charges and taxes are not included.)
Visit www.ferrybahamas.com or call 866-31-FERRY. Fares online are $5 less than the ones you get on the phone.
-- How about a family reunion, Caribbean style? The Buccaneer in St. Croix is celebrating its 55th anniversary as a family resort with a five-night Cruzan Reunion. The package, available through Dec. 19, includes two connecting oceanfront rooms for two adults and up to three children under age 18; daily car rental; daily buffet breakfast; welcome wine and snacks; five daily tennis clinics for ages 5 to 17; two golf clinics for youngsters 10 to 17; hair braiding for children; an art class for the whole family; a family half-day snorkeling excursion to the reefs at Buck Island Underwater National Park; two spa treatments, massages, or facials; a three-hour afternoon or evening of baby-sitting; and a silver Cruzan bracelet for each family member. The price is $3,750 for two adults and up to three children under 18. Additional adults are $60 a day and children $30.
(The fine print: The package is not available Nov. 27-30.)
Call 800-255-3881 or visit www.thebuccaneer.com.
-- For those who want air fare included, United Vacations has a variety of trips that include round-trip air, seven nights' hotel, and 24-hour traveler assistance. Some starting prices from Boston: San Juan, $1,079; Aruba, $1,109; and St. Thomas, $1,169.
(The fine print: Prices are per person, double occupancy, for Saturday departures Jan. 3-March 27. Airport fees add about $75 to the cost, and there may be restrictions and blackout dates.
-- During its grand opening celebration Nov. 1-Dec. 15, Portofino Hotel and Yacht Club in Bonaire will offer dive packages and promotions, including a complimentary temporary membership to the Harbour Village Beach Club, with access to the club's private beach and pool, fitness center, tennis center, and members lounge.
The ''''Diver's Dream" package includes accommodations, one boat dive per day, unlimited shore diving, tanks, weights, belts, daily continental breakfast, and round-trip airport transfers for stays longer than four days. The ''Dream, Dive and Drive" package offers the same amenities, but a vehicle rental replaces boat diving. Rates for both packages start at $169 per person, double occupancy.
Online radio guide
When you're driving through or visiting an unfamiliar area, it can be difficult to find your favorite type of radio show. One place to look is www.amfm2go.com, which lists more than 12,000 AM and FM stations and 38 formats.
Through the end of the year, families can get together with the world's favorite sea sponge with a SpongeBob SquarePants Sleepover at Wyndham Hotels and Summerfield Suites by Wyndham properties across the United States. The package includes banners in the lobby and special guest room key cards, a SpongeBob plush toy, an activity book and crayons for each child in their guest room, a SpongeBob-themed breakfast for children ages 12 and under when accompanied by a parent, and a children's menu that includes such dishes as Mr. Krab's Kids' Krudites, Squidward-etti, and a Barnacle Burger.
Prices vary according to property, but start at $59 per night. The package is available Thursday to Sunday through Dec. 3.
Call 800-WYNDHAM or visit www.wyndham.com and click on the holey fellow.