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3 Cruise Lines Slash Prices for Europe, the Mediterranean

June 09, 2002|Times staff

Three luxury cruise lines are cutting prices by half or more on Mediterranean cruises this summer and fall to lure American travelers abroad.

"Bookings have been very slow in the Mediterranean and Europe," said Jessica Agate, editor of CruiseReports, an industry publication. "Consequently, cruise lines are doing heavy discounting."

Among the deals:

* Silversea Cruises (www.silver sea.com), considered an ultra-luxury line, is offering an 11-day Barcelona-to-Athens trip for $3,695 per person. The price before discounting was $7,395. Prices for a seven-day Sept. 11 sailing from Athens to Nice will begin at $2,495 instead of $4,995.

"People are still hesitant to travel overseas," said spokesman Brad Ball. "We're trying to get them traveling again--and we want them to see our ships. So we're being very aggressive."

* SeaDream Yacht Club (www.seadreamyachtclub.com), a new line that features small, upscale ships, has marked down many of its Mediterranean voyages by 50%. A seven-night June 15 cruise from Nice to Barcelona is $2,100, down from $4,200.

"Travelers are nervous. We're trying to overcome that," said spokeswoman Ernie Beyl.

* Crystal Cruises (www.crystalcruises.com) has a 12-day sailing on Oct. 1 from Athens to Rome that has been cut from $6,390 per person to $3,495."Business has been lighter in Europe this year, but people are realizing it's a great time to take advantage of our prices," said spokeswoman Mimi Weisband.

For more information, contact a travel agent.

--Rosemary McClure

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