Princess Cruises has introduced a financing program for cruise passengers who think they cannot afford a cruise or are unwilling to part with their cash all at once.

Effective March 3, Love Boat Loan is a line of credit which passengers can establish with the cooperating bank, MBNA AMERICA BANK, in a matter of minutes, while sitting in a travel agency, or calling from their home.

The credit can be used for the deposit through final payment for a Princess cruise, and repayment schedules range from 24 to 36 or 48 months, with interest rates ranging from 14.99 percent to 26.99 percent per year based on the passenger's credit history.

"We know that the key barrier to cruising today is that people think they cannot afford it," said Princess Senior Vice President of Sales and Corporate Relations Richard James.

James said that the Love Boat Loan moves the cruise product into the retail arena where the consumer is used to being offered financing for big-ticket items.

''We must go beyond traditional ways of marketing," James said, "and begin positioning cruises as being affordable, and this program addresses affordability head on.

"Our research says the 50 million people who want to cruise have monthly disposable income sufficient to meet monthly payments on a cruise but many of them, not surprisingly, don't have the cash in the bank to pay for a cruise all in one go," James said.

"This is also a tremendous selling tool for agents," James added, pointing out how passengers may be approved for a higher credit line than requested, enabling the agent to upsell an Alaska cruise to a cruisetour, for instance, earning a higher commission.

According to Princess, Love Boat Loan makes cruising affordable to everyone with payments for a typical seven-day Caribbean cruise as low as $1.14 per day based on a 36-month payment term at 14.99 percent.