The real deal: Round-trip airfare on an Iberia carrier to Barcelona, eight nights aboard a cruise ship, one night's hotel accommodations, 22 meals, all ground transportation, group transfers and fuel surcharges, from $1,799 per person — plus taxes and port charges of $335.
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When: Depart Nov. 1, 2009; add $300 for Oct. 16; add $400 for Sept. 22.
Gateways: New York City; other gateways are available for an additional $100–$400 per person; the exact price is determined at the time of booking.
The fine print: Taxes and fees are an additional $335 per person ($175 for airport taxes and fees and $160 for port taxes). Optional travel insurance is available for $99–$159 per person. There are no shore excursions or tours included in the package price. Based on double occupancy; single supplement starts at $729. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: Mar. 27, 2009; add $300 for bookings made after that date.
Contact: Friendly Planet Travel, 800-555-5765, friendlyplanet.com.
Why it's a deal: A search on Kayak for western Mediterranean cruises available in November shows prices ranging from $699 for a seven-night cruise aboard Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Gem to $3,565 for seven nights aboard Regent's Seven Seas Navigator, not including taxes.
Consider that this Friendly Planet package costs $1,799 and covers an eight-night cruise as well as one night in a hotel, as well as all ground transportation and group transfers. Plus, the package includes round-trip airfare and fuel surcharges between New York City and Barcelona, which, according to a recent Kayak search, start at $254 with taxes for a round-trip flight departing in late October and returning mid-November.
Cruise highlights: Embark in Barcelona, Spain, and set sail for Genoa, a major Italian port city and the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. Continue to Málaga along southern Spain's Costa del Sol, where you can sightsee independently. Next stop is Cádiz, Spain, where you can explore the Moorish architecture and narrow cobbled streets. Continue sailing to Lisbon, Portugal's evocative capital on the banks of the Tagus River. Next stop is Gibraltar — a British territory at the mouth of the Mediterranean, just opposite Morocco — followed by Alicante, a Spanish beach town, and a sail back to Barcelona, where you'll stay for one more night at a hotel.
Lodging: Eight nights in an inside cabin aboard the luxurious 18-deck, 1,275-room MSC Orchestra. Upgrade to an outside cabin with a porthole for $150 per person or an outside cabin with a balcony for $300 per person. One night at a central four- or five-star hotel in Barcelona; the exact property is confirmed within 30 days of departure.
More: If you'd like to stay longer, you can opt for a pre- or post-cruise extension in Barcelona; add $100 per person late-return fee for airfare.
Before you go: For more tips on what to do in the area, visit the official tourism Web sites of Spain, Italy and Portugal. The weather in November will be cool, with average temperature highs in the 60s in Barcelona, Spain; high 50s in Genoa, Italy; and low 60s in Lisbon, Portugal.
Copyright © 2012 Newsweek Budget Travel, Inc.