With breathtakingly beautiful beaches, perfect climate and a unique fusion of culture, cuisine and history, the Mediterranean region is one of the most popular tourist destinations worldwide. If you’re a beach lover, a connoisseur, an explorer, or a history seeker, a cruise on the Mediterranean gives you endless possibilities to explore your passion.
You can choose from a variety of Mediterranean Cruise packages. The Eastern Mediterranean Cruise packages cover the east coast of Italy, as well as Croatia, Turkey and Greece. You can also take a Western Mediterranean Cruise package to explore Spain, France and the west coast of Italy. You could also visit Tunisia and Malta if these are part of your cruise itinerary.
Main ports on an Eastern Mediterranean Cruise
Italy: This is the land of art (Dante, Michaelangelo, Rahpael, Titian, Verdi…) and fashion (Armani, Gucci, Moschino, Versace, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana…). The country is extremely diverse, with a wide variety of dialects, architecture and cuisine. Most Eastern Mediterranean cruises start with or end in Italy, in the beautiful city of Venice. Make sure you take a ride on the Venetian gondolas through the city’s ancient network of canals. You must also tour the Saint Mark’s Square, the Doge’s Palace and the Basilica San Marco.
Croatia: With abundant natural beauty, rocky beaches, interesting food, harbours full of fancy yachts and hundreds of unexplored islands, Croatia is an adventurer’s delight. Standing at the crossroads of the Mediterranean and the Balkans, the country is also very well known for its rich history, characterized by the ancient city of Dubrovnik, the Pula Amphitheatre, and Diocletian’s Palace in Split. You must not miss the Zadar sunsets, the Elaphite islands and the great city of Zagreb.
Greece: Amidst pristine seas and lush natural beauty, it’s easy to see why vast civilizations flourished here thousands of years ago. Athens is the port of call at Greece for almost all Eastern Mediterranean cruises. The city has a fascinating history, evident through spectacular monuments like the Temple of Zeus, the Acropolis, or the ancient Theatre of Dionysos. You can also make your way to the Greek islands of Mykonos, Corfu and Santorini (Thira in Greek) for their sandy beaches, romantic getaways and amazing nightlife. On your visit, do not miss the scrumptious Greek dishes like the Taramasalata, Moussaka and Greek Yoghurt.
Turkey: Situated strategically at the centre of the Middle East, the Mediterranean, the Balkans and Central Asia, Turkey has a rich social and cultural legacy built over centuries. Your visit to Turkey is not complete without a visit to the beautiful capital city of Istanbul that tells you the story of great empires like the Greek, Persian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman that once ruled this region. You must also tour the beach resort town on Kusadasi on the western Aegean coast, for its beaches, pubs and nightlife. Food is at the heart of Turkish culture with delectable local specialties like Menemen, Kofte, Borek, Baklava and Meze.
Main ports on a Western Mediterranean Cruise
Spain: From Flamenco music and dance, extraordinary architecture and riveting music, Spain gives you a mix of artistic heritage and unadulterated flamboyance. The city of Barcelona is the first port of call for most Western Mediterranean cruises. This port city is known for great weather, fantastic nightlife, great architecture and sunny beaches all over. Make sure you visit some of the most beautiful islands in Europe, like the Canary Islands, the Palma – Balearic islands and visit the world’s biggest party destination – Ibiza.
France: France is the world’s top tourist destination, and with good reason. Starting at the city of Cannes on the French Rivera, see the grand villas and magnificent yachts of the rich and famous, and sunbathe on its famous beaches. Any visit to France cannot be complete without visiting Paris, the art capital of the world. And you just cannot miss Marseille, named the culture capital of Europe in 2013, and famous for its cathedrals, seaside roads and glorious beaches.
Italy: The country is extremely diverse, with a wide variety of dialects, architecture and cuisine. Western Mediterranean cruises halt at the port of Liverno in Florence. At Naples, you have the chance savour the delectable Neapolitan cuisine. Head to the beautiful island of Capri where you can also take a boat ride around the island. Also, make sure you don’t miss Rome (Port at Civitavecchia) and Sicily (Port at Taormina), for their immense heritage and world-famous cuisine.
Tunisia: Packed with natural beauty, enchanting deserts and a beautiful Mediterranean coastline, Tunisia is a sightseer’s paradise. Travellers on a Western Mediterranean Cruise get the opportunity to visit the capital city of Tunis, a riveting mix of modernity and ancient culture that goes back thousands of years. When in Tunis, make sure you step outside the city to visit the Barlo Museum and the ruins of Carthage.
Malta: This tiny archipelago is a heady mix of Sicilian and Middle Eastern cultures, filled with enchanting views, dizzying clifftops, pretty beaches and clear blue waters. When in Malta, make sure you visit the capital city of Valetta, with its astounding architecture, that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
So make sure you book your cruises well in advance. There are a large number of Mediterranean cruise liners and packages available, depending on your budgets and travel preferences. Some of the popular cruise liners that cover the Mediterranean are:
- Family Cruises: Royal Caribbean, NCL, MSC Cruises, Costa Cruises
- Premium Cruises: Princess, Celebrity Cruises, Oceania Cruises
- Luxury Cruises: Silversea, Seabourn, Crystal Cruises, SeaDream Yacht Club