CRUISES TO MEDITERRANEAN
From the pristine beaches and ancient ruins of the Eastern Mediterranean to the artistry and flavorful countries of the Western Mediterranean, this region is easily one of the most diverse in the world. Revel at Spanish and Italian architecture, soak up some sun in Greece, explore antiquities in Istanbul and Malta or get a taste of the French countryside on the outskirts of Nice, Monte Carlo or Cannes. Some Med itineraries dip down into northern Africa; the Canary Islands are also a popular stop for repositioning cruises.
Of all of Europe’s cruise regions, the Western Mediterranean offers the most of the most: arts and culture, surf and sand, cafe hopping and boutique shopping. It encompasses the absolute best variety of sights, attractions and activities.
Itineraries that sail the Western Mediterranean typically emphasize ports of call in Spain, France and Italy with a few interesting detours along the way. These could also include stops in Portugal, Canary Islands, Morocco, Tunis (La Goulette), Monte Carlo and Gibraltar.
Best Time for Western Mediterranean Cruises
Cruise lines are offering year-round programs in the region. Costa and MSC Cruises are two lines that sail year-round voyages, and, while Barcelona and Marseilles remain on itineraries, the ships often move farther south to Morocco and the Canary Islands during the cooler months.
Early spring and late fall sailings offer the advantage of more competitive fares, fewer crowds in port and more pleasant temperatures.
The Eastern Mediterranean encompasses a broad range of territories that include the Adriatic coast of Italy and Croatia, the islands of Greece, Turkey’s Istanbul and Kusadasi, and the Black Sea, which features ports of Turkey, the Ukraine (Crimea) and Russia. Some cruises dip down into what’s called the Holy Land, with stops in Cyprus, Israel and Egypt.
This region is increasingly one of the most popular in Europe. Its blend of ancient histories and antiquities along with more laid-back treasures, such as beaches and villages offers a fantastic array of holiday options. . It’s the kind of getaway that can appeal to almost everyone in a diverse group, from kids who will love donkey rides in Santorini to history buffs who will go on and on about their stops in Ephesus.
The cornerstone ports for most Eastern Mediterranean voyages are the cities of Athens (Piraeus), Venice and Istanbul.
Best Time for Eastern Mediterranean Cruises
Most Eastern Mediterranean cruises set sail from spring through fall, with the summer high season hosting the largest number of sailings and people while prices are also generally higher, due to demand.
Winter cruising in the Mediterranean has become more popular, particularly on European lines like MSC and Costa, because sunny skies predominate, and temperatures are moderate, ranging from the 50s to 70s instead of the 80s and higher. You won’t have to jostle with peak-season crowds, cruise line feature longer itineraries with more leisurely schedules, and prices offer more value for your money.