The Travel Experience

Which Mediterranean Cruise Will You Choose?

Few cruising regions offer as much cultural and historical diversity as the Mediterranean. The choices can be daunting, so join us on a cruise around the Western and Eastern Mediterranean and choose for yourself! Read more »

Mediterranean Cruises and Cruise Lines

Mediterranean Cruises and Cruise Lines

Mediterranean cruises let you explore the beautiful countries around the Mediterranean Sea, steeped in history and filled with architectural and artistic wonders. Your Mediterranean cruise might include the major Mediterreanean cruise ports, large and powerful cities of old such as Rome, Venice, Athens or Istanbul. Or you might prefer your cruise to take you to the smaller ports along the French Riviera, or to the romantic Greek Isles. Mediterranean cruises have more choices than most other cruising regions, and when selecting your Mediterranean cruise there are some things you need to consider.

Eastern or Western Mediterranean - or the Greek Isles & Turkey?
Mediterranean cruises come in two flavors: Eastern Mediterranean and Western Mediterranean. Think of the toe of the Italian “boot” as the dividing line. On one side are Western Mediterranean itineraries, which cover Spain, the French Riviera, the west coast of Italy (including Sicily) and occasionally Tunisia. On the other side of the Italian "boot" are Eastern Mediterranean itineraries, which visit the smaller countries along the Adriatic Coast, the Greek Isles, Turkey, Egypt, the Holy Land and Cyprus. The Greek Isles and Turkey are often considered their own region, within the Eastern Mediterranean.

How Many Days?
Mediterranean cruises come in two lengths. Weeklong cruises to the "Eastern" or "Western" Mediterranean, and cruises longer than 10 days, covering more Mediterranean ports. Cruises longer than 10 days are the most popular Mediterranean cruises among cruisers from the U.S., but weeklong cruises are growing in popularity. When choosing a weeklong cruise a couple of days are often added to explore the port of departure.

MSC Cruises in VeniceBest Time To Go
The Mediterranean is a year-round cruise region. Most Mediterranean cruises are offered in the summer, but experienced cruisers usually prefer some other time of year. The shoulder seasons April - May and September - October are a good time for exploring the Mediterranean, with generally pleasant temperatures and less crowds, and often some great deals to go with that. In the summer one should remember that August is the vacation month for countries in the Mediterranean region.

Big Ship or Small Ship?
What is the best way to see Europe, on a small ship or a big ship? Well, both have their advantages.

Big Ship Mediterranean Cruises
The big ships cruise to all the major Mediterranean ports. Superliners from Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean and others provide a cruise vacation that can offer something for everyone and nonstop activity. These floating resorts, which all deserve the state-of-the-art label, will satisfy everyone from those who are looking for a relaxing vacation to those who are looking for around the clock activities.

Best Mediterranean Cruises For Families
Aside from offering something for everyone and nonstop activity, big ships are generally better-suited for families, particularly if children are part of the mix. Almost all large ships feature children’s and teens’ activity centers as well as cabins designed for families.

Small Ship Luxury Mediterranean Cruises
Smaller ships often visit ports that the big ships cannot get into because of their size. This provides for a completely different, more personal Mediterranean experience. Small ships in the Mediterranean are virtually all of the luxury or deluxe variety, with a high level of service. Luxury cruise lines include Silversea Cruises and the Seabourn, while Oceania Cruises is the leader in the deluxe category.

For a special experience, the sailing ships of Windstar Cruises or Star Clippers are the most popular choice.

Holland America Line in Venice Ports of Departure
The majority of Mediterranean cruises depart from the three main ports of departure: Barcelona, Rome and Venice.

Western Mediterranean cruises virtually all start and end in Barcelona, a great city to spend an extra day or two. The majority of Western Mediterranean cruises are weeklong.

Eastern Mediterranean cruises, including Greek Isles cruises, most often depart from Civitavecchia (the port for Rome) or from Venice. Venice has traditionally been the main departure port, but Rome has grown fast in popularity due to the multitude of flights into Rome's Leonardo da Vinci airport.

As the capital of Catalonia and one of Europe’s most captivating cities, Barcelona is a wonderful city to explore on foot, strolling La Rambla through the outdoor markets and the brilliant flowers. Barcelona is home to the ambitious architecture of Antonio Gaudi, whose stunning and fantastic buildings are scattered all around the city center. The Gothic Quarter is famous for its historical landmarks and bohemian atmosphere. Other popular attractions include the Museu Picasso, which features the artist’s Blue Period. Barcelona comes alive at night, with superb outdoor restaurants and lively cafes.

If all roads lead to Rome, then prepare for a wealth of options. Consider the Rome of Augustus and Caesar, filled with ancient structures that are still spectacular. Or Michelangelo and Da Vinci, whose work makes this city an artistic pilgrimage. Explore the seven hills, stop for an espresso by the Spanish Steps, sip a Chianti in a hidden piazza. Of course, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it’s just as impossible to see it all in a day, or even two. You will have to pick and choose your temples, residences, basilicas, churches, palazzi, piazzi, parks, museums and fountains. Naturally, the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel top the list.

Venice is one of those very special destinations where you can’t go wrong. No matter how much or how little time you have and wherever you choose to go, you’ll find it fascinating. A vaporetto ride up the Grand Canal is absolutely required. The Venetian canals must not be missed, even if they in the summertime can be somewhat pungent. But that’s to be expected in a city that was built on mudflats and sandbanks. Ignore the myths that the canals are open sewers; the scent is from algae and silt, not sewage.

You could spend a week in the magnificent St. Mark’s Square and Basilica, which also provides access to the noteworthy Accademia art museum. A public space for people, the Piazza San Marco is a special work of architectural art that retains its magnificence even as large crowds move through.

best luxury deal:

Find best Mediterranean deals on Seabourn. Book your cruise online.

Best Mediterranean Luxury and Deluxe Cruise Deals

some of the most popular mediterranean cruise lines

luxury and deluxe cruise lines

Mediterranean cruises on Oceania

Best in class cuisine and great value define Oceania Cruises

The onboard atmosphere is relaxed and reminiscent of the casual elegance of a country club. Oceania Cruises strives to create a sense of warm luxury and intimacy.