Get to know the Mediterranean better with a ship-board exploration of Italy, France, Spain, Tunisia, and Malta. Friendly Planet (tel. 800/555-5765; www.friendlyplanet.com) is running a cruise to these Mediterranean destinations and putting the whole thing on sale from $1,899 for those who book before May 1. It's a savings of up to $600 per couple, which of course means that the price is based on double occupancy in an inside cabin with a private bath.
The cruise runs counterclockwise from Rome and includes round-trip airfare, fuel surcharges, hotels, transfers, 21 of your meals, and transfers. It takes travelers aboard the brand new MSC Splendida, with more than 1,000 staterooms, a spa, Turkish bath, pools, squash court, and more. The $1,899 price reflects the November 5 departure; others, including October 29 at $1,999 and October 1 at $2,499, are also available. Here's how the itinerary breaks down. Round-trip airfare takes you from New York-JFK to Rome, and you spend two days there, travel to Savona (with an optional excursion to Genoa). Marseille, the second-largest city in France, is next, with suggestions to view the Basilica of Notre Dame, the Centre Bourse and more. After France, the trip goes to Barcelona with an option to explore the Barrio Gotico (the old quarter), or you can take in the cafes and architecture. Then, your cruise ship crosses over to the rim of Africa to Tunis, Tunisia, and then La Valetta, on the island of Malta. Finally, the cruise works its way back to Italy, landing you at the in Messina and Taormina, before ending back up in Rome.