Slump brings retirees bucket list bargains

Cruise ships set 'sales'
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Cruise ships set sales

Ah, Spain, France, Italy, Greece -- and bargains. The weak economy means it's much cheaper to call on Mediterranean ports these days.

"The Mediterranean has become the new Caribbean," says Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor of the consumer website "So many cruise lines with much bigger ships are establishing a presence in the Mediterranean that it's become an incredibly value-oriented way to visit the region."

You can thank both the boom and the bust. Major cruise lines went on a spending spree when the economy was shipshape. Before the boats were ready to float, the economy was taking on water.

"The more ships with more cabins to fill, the better the pricing," Brown writes in an e-mail.

Cruises under $100 per day are common now, and some are even cheaper if it isn't during the peak summer season. To get the best pricing, book early or book late, Brown says. Early birds sometimes get special pricing, and flexible late bookers can get some terrific deals on ships with rooms to fill.




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