updated 2/13/2008 10:50:56 AM ET 2008-02-13T15:50:56

Book by: ASAP
Travel by: Fall 2008

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The deal
For early birds looking to save some serious dollars on a Mediterranean cruise this year, we found a threesome of terrific deals. Two fall sailings, with Norwegian and Carnival, feature savings as high as 68 percent and prices as low as $649, while a spring voyage with MSC Cruises’ Melody sells for just $799.

Western Med cruise on new ship
If you can hold off until next fall, CruisesOnly has a stellar deal for a Western Mediterranean cruise on brand-new Norwegian Gem. Discounted by a hefty 57 percent, this seven-night journey is now priced at only $699 for inside cabins on two early October departures. The ship does a round-trip circuit from bustling Barcelona, en route taking in Malta and three stops in Italy — Naples, Civitavecchia (gateway for Rome) and Livorno (gateway from Pisa and Florence). Another port of call on the way back to Barcelona is Villefranche-Sur-Mer in the south of France.

Mediterranean odyssey with Carnival
Another terrific fall special is the 12-night Mediterranean and Greek islands voyage aboard Carnival Splendor. This odyssey is now on sale by Orbitz for 68 percent less than the brochure price. In fact, inside cabins are going for only $949, as opposed to the regular price of $2,999. The ship departs round-trip from Civitavecchia (Rome), calling at Naples and Livorno in Italy; three stops in Turkey — Marmaris, Izmir and Istanbul; as well as Piraeus and Katakolon in Greece. Also included are three entire days at sea. The latter of the two October departures has oceanviews for just $1,269!

MSC Cruises Mediterranean spring sail
Can’t wait that long to sail the Mediterranean shores? Vacation Outlet offers discounts of 50 percent off a weeklong Western Mediterranean sail with MSC Cruises in May. This seven-nighter aboard Melody is normally priced at $1,600 for inside cabins but with the discount, the price comes down to a very affordable $799. Even oceanview cabins are reduced in price, at just $999! The ship does a circuit from Barcelona, with an exciting itinerary. It calls at the Balearic island of Ibiza, Tunis in North Africa, Sicily, Naples, Livorno, and Monte Carlo.

The dollars
The rates above are listed per person, based on double occupancy. The cost covers onboard accommodations, meals and entertainment, as well as port charges. You’ll just have to dish out extra for government taxes and fees, as well as any shore excursions you may decide to take.

The catch
May and October are not the ideal times for swimming in the Mediterranean, due to low sea temperatures.

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