Guide to Mediterranean Cruises
Why take a Mediterranean Cruise
The Mediterranean region is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with more than 200 million visitors a year.
Here are the top 6 reasons to visit the Mediterranean on a cruise:
- the Mediterranean is easy to get to, with many ports of call situated close to each other.
- There’s a vast array of cruise itineraries on offer, catering for all sorts of tastes and interests.
- Signature cities like Barcelona, Rome and Athens are unmissable stops on any cruise.
- Culinary experiences on board Mediterranean cruises are second to none – think exquisite local dishes and wine pairing masterclasses.
- Jet-set glitz on the french riviera and rustic escapism collide seamlessly in the Mediterranean – explore ancient treasures one day and soak up the glamourous nightlife scene in Monte Carlo the next.
- The Mediterranean is a great place to relax and unwind – think long lunches by the pool, lazy days spent exploring quaint villages, and evenings spent stargazing in magical locations.
Where is the Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean is a vast and diverse area that covers parts of three continents – Europe, Asia and Africa. The sea gets its name from the fact that it lies between these continents.
The Mediterranean is the world’s largest inland sea, with an area of around 2.5 million square kilometres. It stretches from the Strait of Gibraltar in the west to the Suez Canal in the east, and its coastline measures around 46,000km (28,600 miles).
In cruise itinerary terms, the Mediterranean Sea is divided into three distinct regions:
Western Med & Canary Island
Western Med & Canary Island
The Western Mediterranean and the Canary Islands are perhaps the most popular region for cruises in the Mediterranean. This area includes some of the most iconic and picturesque destinations in the world, including Barcelona, Rome, Florence and Naples.
From the iconic destinations of Venice, Istanbul, and Dubrovnik, to the off-beaten track ports in Croatia, Lebanon, and Israel, there is something for everyone in this part of the world.
This region is the perfect opportunity for those younger travellers seeking unusual holiday adventures. There are desert safaris, unspoilt beaches, world-class shopping and vast archaeological sites, such as Petra and Wadi Rum. This is a chance to explore a new destination and create lasting memories.
History & Culture of the Mediterranean
The Mediterranean is a region with a rich and diverse history, and its culture has been heavily influenced by the people who have lived there over the centuries.
One of the most famous examples of Mediterranean culture is the ancient city of Athens, which is considered to be the birthplace of Western civilisation.
Elsewhere in the Mediterranean, you’ll find Roman ruins, Moorish castles, Greek temples and much more. This is a region that is steeped in history and culture, and there is so much to see and explore.
One of the best ways to experience Mediterranean culture is by sampling some of the delicious local cuisines. The traditional dishes vary from country to country, but there are some common themes, such as the use of olive oil, fresh seafood, and herbs.
The Mediterranean is also home to some of the world’s finest wines. Whether you’re sampling a full-bodied red from Italy or a crisp white from Greece, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy some delicious wine on your cruise.
Best time to take a Mediterranean Cruise
The best time to take a Mediterranean Cruise depends on what you want to get out of your holiday. If you’re looking for sun and relaxation, then the summer months of July and August are ideal. However, if you want to explore the region’s culture and history, then the spring and autumn months are a better choice. The weather is still warm and sunny, but the crowds have died down a bit, meaning that you’ll have more space to enjoy the sights.
High Season from June to August.
The busiest time to travel is during the summer when school is out and families are vacationing. Expect large crowds at tourist attractions, higher cruise rates, and fully booked restaurants.
Shoulder Season from April to May & September to October
This is a great time to visit as the weather is still pleasant but the crowds have died down a bit. It is the best time to visit archeologic sites as the temperature is not too hot.
Low Season from November to March
This is the off-peak travel time. The weather is cooler, and you'll find fewer crowds at tourist attractions.
Major Mediterranean Cruise Departure Ports
When it comes to Mediterranean cruises, the ports of departure are just as important as the destinations themselves. After all, it's from these ports that you'll be embarking on your cruise and setting sail for some of the most beautiful places in the world.
Here are some of the 7 major ports of departure in the Mediterranean:
Barcelona is one of the most popular ports of departure for Mediterranean cruises. This is largely due to its convenient location, as it is well-connected to major airports such as Barcelona Airport (BCN). Other reasons to love Barcelona include its stunning architecture, world-class museums, and delicious food.
Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
Civitavecchia is the port for Rome, the eternal city. From here that many cruise ships set sail for destinations such as Sicily, Greece, and Turkey. Civitavecchia is well-connected to Rome's city center by train, and it is also home to some great restaurants and bars.
Venice is one of the most romantic cities in the world. Venice is home to canals, gondolas, and some of the best Italian food you will ever eat. A must-see is the Piazza San Marco and the island of Murano and Burano.
Genoa is the capital of the Italian region of Liguria and it is from here that many cruise ships depart for destinations such as Corsica, Sardinia, and Spain. Genoa is a beautiful city with a rich history, and it is well worth spending a few days here before your cruise.
Marseille is the largest city in the south of France, on the french riviera. It is from here that many cruise ships depart for destinations such as Morocco, Tunisia, and Italy. Marseille is a vibrant city with plenty to see and do, and it is also home to some of the best food in France.
Athens is the capital of Greece and it is from here that many cruise ships depart for destinations such as the Greek islands, Turkey and Egypt. Athens is a bustling city with plenty of history and culture, and it is well worth spending a few days here before your cruise.
Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and it is from here that many cruise ships depart for destinations such as the Greek islands, Egypt and Israel. Istanbul is a fascinating city with a rich history and culture, stunning architecture, world-class museums, and delicious food.
What to wear on a cruise in the Mediterranean
When it comes to a Mediterranean cruise, the most important thing is to pack light and comfortable clothes. The weather in the Mediterranean is usually hot and sunny, so shorts and t-shirts are the order of the day. However, it's also a good idea to pack a light jacket or sweater as the evenings can be cool.
As for shoes, we recommend packing a pair of comfortable walking shoes as you will do a lot of walking on your cruise. Sandals or flip-flops are also a good idea for the beach and pool.
Finally, don't forget to pack your swimsuit! The Mediterranean is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, so you'll want to make sure you have a swimsuit so you can enjoy them.
Top 10 Mediterranean cruise ports of call
The Mediterranean is home to some of the most beautiful and interesting places in the world. A cruise is a perfect way to see many of them, as you can hop from one port to another without having to unpack and repack your bags each time.
There are so many different ports and excursions to choose from that it can be tough to know where to start. To help you out, we've put together a list of the top 10 ports and excursions in the Mediterranean.
Barcelona is a vibrant city with a rich history and culture. It's known for its architecture, including the iconic Sagrada Familia church, and its food. Tapas and paella are popular dishes, and you can wash them down with a glass of sangria. Consider taking a walking tour of the city, visiting the Gothic Quarter, or going on a day trip to Gaudi's Park Guell.
Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre, Italy
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It's home to Mt. Etna, the tallest active volcano in Europe, as well as a number of historical sites. Most ships will stop in Palermo, the capital, but other popular ports include Taormina, Catania, and Syracuse. When in Sicily, be sure to visit Mt. Etna, the Valley of the Temples, or go on a wine tour.
Greek Island, Greece
Greek Island, Greece
The beautiful sandy beaches, clear blue waters, and relaxed lifestyle make it a great destination for couples, families, and groups of friends. There's plenty to do on various islands, from exploring the ancient ruins to lounging on the beach all day. Mykonos, at the heart of the Aegean Sea, is probably the most popular city on those islands.
Who will enjoy a cruise in the Mediterranean
A Mediterranean cruise is a perfect first-time cruise experience. The region is rich in history and culture, and there are a variety of ports to choose from. If you're looking for an active cruise with plenty of things to do, a Mediterranean cruise is a great option. You can enjoy the beaches, go hiking or biking in the mountains, visit ancient ruins, or explore vibrant cities. There is something for everyone in the Mediterranean.
First-time cruisers will mostly enjoy a cruise in the Western Mediterranean. This is the most popular part of the Mediterranean for cruisers and it includes some of the most well-known ports, such as Rome, Venice, and Barcelona. If you're looking for a more relaxed cruise, the Eastern Mediterranean is a great option. It's less crowded with more of an archaeological and historical focus.
Main Ports of call in the a Mediterranean Cruise
There are over 52 popular ports of call in the Med to which you can cruise:
|Port of call in the Mediterranean|
|Ajaccio, France||Ancona, Italy||Arrecife de Lanzarote, Spain||Barcelona, Spain|
|Bari, Italy||Brindisi, Italy||Cadiz, Spain||Cagliari, Italy|
|Cannes, France||Cartagena, Spain||Casablanca, Morocco||Cefalonia, Greece|
|Chania, Greece||Civitavecchia, Italy||Corfu, Greece||Dubrovnik, Croatia|
|Funchal, Portugal||Genoa, Italy||Gibraltar, Gibraltar||Haifa, Israel|
|Heraklion, Greece||Ibiza, Spain||Katakolon, Greece||Koper, Slovenia|
|Kotor, Montenegro||La Spezia, Italy||Limassol, Cyprus||Lisbon, Portugal|
|Livorno, Italy||Malaga, Spain||Marseille, France||Messina, Italy|
|Monte Carlo, Monaco||Mykonos, Greece||Naples, Italy||Palermo, Italy|
|Palma de Mallorca, Spain||Piraeus (Athens), Greece||Ravenna, Italy||Rhodes, Greece|
|Rijeka, Croatia||Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain||Santorini, Greece||Sarande, Albania|
|Split, Croatia||Syracuse, Italy||Tangier, Morocco||Trieste (Venice), Italy|
|Valencia, Spain||Valletta, Malta||Venice, Italy||Zadar, Croatia|
Don't know where to start?
We love cruising and want to help you find the perfect cruise for you. So let us do all the work for you – we know everything there is to know about cruising!