Summer on the Mediterranean

My parents are interested in taking a Mediterranean cruise in September and I am trying to source information. I am bombarded with options advertised in newspapers and online. I am trying to find upmarket, smaller ships. I was advised that there are often great deals to be had but I'm not sure if we need to do that directly with cruise companies or via travel agents.

- C. Davidson, Bronte.

Take a look at Silversea (silversea.com). It has three ships operating 11 cruises in the Mediterranean in September, including journeys between Piraeus and Istanbul, Barcelona and Lisbon, and cruises to Venice.

The Silverseas fleet is boutique-size. The largest is the spanking new, 36,000-tonne, 376-passenger Silver Spirit, sailing the Med between May and October. In terms of facilities, style and luxury, it tops the table. All suites have balconies as well as personal butlers and one of the best passenger-to-space ratios of any ship afloat.

Some of these cruises come with a $500 "passport to luxury" on-board spending credit. You can sign up at the Silversea website for offers. There are good reasons why you should use a travel agent, however.

A good travel agent will sort out flights and transfers, broker an insurance deal that fits your parents' needs and will be aware of any special deals. An agent can also suggest suitable pre- and post-cruise options.

For all the above reasons, consider contacting Mary Rossi Travel (maryrossitravel.com) in North Sydney; your parents will come back smiling.

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