Looking for a great deal on an off-season vacation? The National Cruise Vacation Week has special cruise prices on right now. The promotional event began Oct. 20 and will run through the 27th. Cruise lines around the globe are hoping to entice potential travellers with unique cruise deals by offering special incentives to buyers simultaneously.

Like many traditions, National Cruise Week has changed over the years. The concept was started years ago by CLIA (the Cruise Lines International Association) as "National Cruise Night." The original idea sparked dozens of cruise industry sponsored events in major cities nationwide. Party guests had the opportunity to book a discounted cruise vacation on the spot, with cruise lines offering special incentives for that night only.

Over the years the event has gone virtual, with hot web-based deals. And now potential cruisers can take advantage of a full week of lower-cost cruising deals. But the average consumer should be wary of specials that sound too good to be true. A truly savvy shopper would be able to find many of the offerings listed online any week of the year. It is still worth a look, however, to find the particularly compelling bargains this season. Below is a rundown of my favorite specials from many of the participating cruise lines during National Cruise Vacation Week.