updated 8/13/2009 9:57:39 AM ET 2009-08-13T13:57:39

Book by: ASAP
Travel by: October 17, 2009

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The deal
The Mediterranean is one of the most popular regions for cruise lovers, however peak-season summer voyages can be costly — averaging around $800-$1,500 for a weeklong cruise.

By waiting until the fall, you’ll save a bundle on these sublime sailings, and the weather will be downright tolerable — you’ll be facing average temperatures around 65 to 70 degrees instead of the stifling 85 to 90 degree averages in August. Our editors have unearthed this 8-night cruise priced up to 74 percent off brochure rates starting from just $59/night.

The MSC Orchestra embarks from Barcelona on October 17 and makes its first stop in Genoa, Italy full medieval cathedrals and elaborate marble palaces. After that is a day at sea before arriving in laid-back Malaga, Spain for a day spent relaxing on the beach or wandering to hidden coves and fishing villages.

Next is Cadiz, Spain which holds the title as being the oldest city in Europe. Following Cadiz is a visit to Portugal’s capital, Lisbon before sailing on to Gibraltar where monkeys congregate on a limestone rock and hurl bananas at passersby. If you survive the assault, you’ll rejoin the ship and head to the Mediterranean’s musical city of Alicante before returning to Barcelona.

Interior cabins are priced from just $469, with oceanview staterooms available starting from $669.

The dollars
All prices are per person and based on double occupancy. Accommodations, meals, some beverages, entertainment and port charges are covered in the cost. Government fees and taxes as well as off-boat expenditures are extra.

The catch
This ship is filling up fast — balcony cabins are already sold out.

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