Full of culture, sun washed beaches and historic sights.
Why cruise the Mediterranean?
Setting sail amidst the backdrop of never ending coastlines that are chock full of so much history it will boggle your mind. Cruising the Mediterranean, is quite possibly one of the best experiences available at sea.
A Mediterranean cruise is primarily broken down into two sections: Eastern Mediterranean cruises and Western Mediterranean cruises, with most cruise lines offering a nice mix of both and stopping in hot spot ports like Venice, Athens, Spain, France and Italy. The Mediterranean cruise season runs April through October, with some locally based cruise lines like Costa Cruise Lines and MSC Cruise Lines, running year round.
Mediterranean Cruises - Journey through the past.
Both Eastern Mediterranean and Western Mediterranean cruises visit some of the most spectacular and ancient places in the world. You can see the rich history of many ports of from the sea as well as on land, with most cruise lines offering a great mix of both Mediterranean areas, that is sure to delight those seeking to soak up the beauty of a European powder sand beach or those who are entranced by the history of the land with excursions to famous historical sites.
Most Mediterranean cruises are typically longer in duration with most starting at about 7 - 10 days on up to a more luxurious 20 day excursion that allows for ample land time as well as cruising time, for an almost complete immersion into the region. But as of recent, some cruise lines have created shorter 3 - 5 day itineraries for those that have less time or feel like cruising in the midst of their vacation getaway to this veritable land of dreams.
Quite often, taking a Mediterranean cruise, is actually cheaper than traveling to this region and staying on land as hotels and dining tend to be fairly pricey for the typical budget minded traveler.
Western Mediterranean cruises have been the more popular choice for travelers because of the diversity it offers. Enjoying the surf and sand; heading out cafe hopping or vintage boutique shopping; or strolling through the sights and absorbing the culture and arts that surround you all tend to be big draws for this region. The Western Mediterranean itinerary usually incorporates some staple ports of calls like Italy, Spain and France sometimes sprinkled with stops in the Canary Islands, Morocco, Portugal and more.
Eastern Mediterranean cruises are becoming more increasingly popular because of the blend of ancient history, beautiful beaches and villages and the laid-back atmosphere that exudes from this region. Some essential stops in this area consist of Athens, Istanbul and Venice. Eastern Mediterranean cruises even own to Holy Land ports like Cyprus, Israel and Egypt (safety permitting).
Popular Mediterranean Ports of Call:
Mediterranean cruises generally offer the best of both worlds with stops in both the Eastern Mediterranean territories as well as Western Mediterranean locales. Below is a highlight of some of the most popular stops on Mediterranean itineraries:
Barcelona, Spain - Western Mediterranean Cruise: This capital city is brimming with museums, cafes and shopping centers and is the heart of the Catalonia region. It is said to be one of Europe's most vibrant and alluring locations that is rich in architecture.
Florence, Italy - Western Mediterranean Cruise: Awash in early Italian Renaissance, this Western Mediterranean stop, offers magnificent 15th century paintings and sculptures among the cities churches, civic areas, and museums. This is a great location for art and ancient architecture lovers.
Nice/Cannes/Monte Carlo, France - Western Mediterranean Cruise: Great views, amazing coastal drives, and tiny fishing villages are the cornerstone attractions of these Major French Riviera resort towns. Enjoy the film festival mecca of Cannes, the world famous casino in Monte Carlo, and the majestic French countryside of Nice.
Athens, Greece - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise: Get up close views of the Parthenon, Acropolis, Temple of Athena and other sites of historic interest while exploring this Grecian capital city. After hosting the 2004 Olympic games this ancient city received a well-deserved face lift and is a great location to begin or end your Mediterranean cruise.
Istanbul, Turkey - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise: Covering two continents and cohesively mingling their East and West influences. This geographic melding pot has many iconic attractions of churches cum mosques and Roman ruins that play host to the vast consumerism of the Grand Bazaar that houses thousands of shops.
Venice, Italy - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise: Beauty, romance and history make this port truly one of the most amazing in the word, second only to Paris. Charming streets and narrow canals dot this endearing chain of 100 islands and truly offers travelers a place to get lost in that they may never want to leave.