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Skittish about setting sail for a week or more at sea? Start with something simple: a cruise lasting just a couple of hours — no suitcase required.

For example, riverboat and party cruises sail into the New Year with music, dancing, buffets and champagne toasts.

Here are two to consider that launch from Wilmington, North Carolina:

Cruise down the Cape Fear River on December 31 aboard the Henrietta III. You’ll get a “heavy” hors d’oeuvre buffet, entertainment, party favors and champagne toast at midnight.

The best view for the Island of Lights New Year Fireworks is promised for a December 31 cruise aboard the Royal Winner Princess II. In addition to the midnight fireworks, there’ll be dance music, party favors and a champagne toast.

(Photo courtesy of Winner Boats)

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