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     "Carnival Cruises is pulling out of the Mediterranean".  That was the surprising headline of several days ago, indicating that the world's largest cruise line is facing tough sledding in selling cabins on its cruises of the storied Mediterranean.  Though the pull-out willl not occur until the spring and summer of 2014, the fact that Carnival is already acknowledging defeat is a big item of travel news.  And it is accompanied by several similar announcements by some of the premium cruiselines.  They will no longer assign their ships to the Mediterranean in the spring and summer of 2014.

 

     The culprit (as far as U.S.-emanating business is concerned) is obviously the high cost of flying trans-Atlantic to board these cruises.  Since most vacationers will now have to pay at least $1,400 or $1,500 per person for a round-trip flight to Barcelona, Rome or Venice (the starting point for most such sailings), and even then will have to make an awkward one-stop flight via Amsterdam or Lisbon to bring the expense down to that level, the total cost of a Mediterranean cruise is now beyond the vacation budget of a great many price-conscious Americans. 

 

     You will best comprehend the fall-off in demand for the Mediterranean by consulting the prices of various short seven-night cruises in the Med, whose per-night costs are the most badly affected by the need to pay for an expensive trans-Atlantic flight.  Go to a website called VacationsToGo.com, click on "Mediterranean", then on "7 nights", then on MSC Cruises, and then on the month of June, and you 'll find that nearly every one of dozens of departures are being sold for an amazing $899 per person, and some for as little as $549 and $479 per person.  Go to the 7-night Mediterranean sailings of Norwegian Cruiseline for the month of June, and you'll find numerous cruises selling for as little as a radically-reduced $599, $649 and $699 per person, representing discounts of as much as 60%. 

 

     The discounts are fewer in number (and a bit less steep) for cruises of 8 to 13 nights in the month of June, but even so, you'll find at least seven sailings of well-known ships, including those of the upscale Celebrity Cruises, selling for under $1,000 for 10 and 11 nights. 

 

     As you'll note when you then move on to the months of July and August, the discounts are smaller at that time--but only for the next two weeks.  (The cruiselines are following a forward-rolling policy, cutting prices only as you near the departure date in question).  As we approach July and August in just a few days from now, you'll find that prices are being discounted to under $1,000 per person for sailings of as many as 11 nights--in other words, under $100 a day for glamorous ships of upscale quality (like on the elegant ships of Celebrity Cruises).  Provided you're willing to pay that onerous $1,400, $1,500, and up to cross the Atlantic, you can then enjoy a memorable experience in colorful cities of the Mediterranean--the Greek islands, ports in Turkey, ports in Italy and Spain--for some of the lowest per day costs in travel today. 

 

     Here's your chance!  A Mediterranean cruise is one of the great experiences of travel, and should be named to your bucket list. 
 



Tags: Mediterranean cruises, Summer vacations

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