The Mediterranean cruises offer a variety of activities: culture, history, beaches, shopping.
In the western Mediterranean, you will take a look at the different cultures of Europe by visiting Italy, France, Spain and Portugal. You can also make a foray into Morocco. It is particularly interesting to see the influence of the Moors who once ruled the Mediterranean.
Cruises in the eastern Mediterranean include itineraries such as the Adriatic Sea, Italy, the Greek Islands and the Black Sea. This region rich in history with its archaeological sites and monuments is one of the most popular destinations in Europe. The sun, the beaches and picturesque villages make it a charming area where it is nice to relax.
Also: Italy Cruises
When to make a cruise in the Mediterranean?
In general, the Mediterranean cruises take place mainly from spring to autumn. The summer period is the busiest (prices are also higher, due to demand.). In summer, temperatures can be very hot. Spring and autumn offer cooler temperatures, better prices and fewer tourists.
In winter, itineraries to the Canary Islands and Morocco are available. The temperature in the Canary Islands is constant throughout the year.
More and more cruise lines offer trips to the eastern Mediterranean all year-round. Temperatures are between 10 and 21 degrees Celsius and the weather is mostly sunny.
Departure ports for cruises in the Western Mediterranean
Ports of departure and arrival often include Rome, Barcelona, Venice and Harwich, Dover and Southampton near London. Routes from London can sometimes sail in rougher seas. Notice to those who are seasick.
Ports of Call and Itineraries
Cruise lines offer different itineraries in the Western Mediterranean, ranging from 7 to 14 nights. Cruises in the western Mediterranean include trips to Italy (Rome, Florence, Naples), southern France (Marseilles, St Tropez), southern Spain (Barcelona, Seville), Portugal (Lisbonne), Gibraltar, and others visiting Morocco and the Canary Islands.
A one-day tour of Rome will only allow you to have an overview of the main sites such as the Vatican, the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain. If your departure or arrival is in Rome, allow 2 or 3 days to enjoy this city.
Barcelona, the playground of the architect Gaudi. The Sangrada Familia, the Güell Park, the Casa Batllo and other masterpieces of Gaudi will charm you. The nightlife and the famous tapas are also characteristic of Barcelona.
The Canary Islands are volcanic islands characterized by the white one-story building architecture. The soil is arid because it is very windy on these islands and it hardly rains. The temperature is about 20 to 22 degrees Celsius all year.
Morocco will add a touch of the exotic to your itinerary. A cruise is a good way to discover this country thanks to the cruise company’s excursions. Less adventurous people will feel safe with the accompanying guides.
Departure ports for cruises in the Eastern Mediterranean
Athens, Venice and Istanbul are the ports from which the majority of cruises in the eastern Mediterranean depart. Other cruise routes offering stopovers in both the eastern and western Mediterranean depart from Barcelona or Rome.
Ports of Call
In addition to the departure ports (Venice, Athens, Istanbul), itineraries usually include stopovers at the ports of Dubrovnik and Hvar in Croatia, Bari in Italy, Katakalon (for Olympia), Mykonos, Santorini, Crete, Corfu and Rhodes in Greece. Also, Valletta in Malta, an island south of Sicily, is another port that is becoming more and more popular on this route. Bari is a popular stop for cruise lines like Costa and MSC, which they chose as their port of embarkation.
Many Mediterranean cruises offer departures and arrivals at two different ports in the East and West. Most often, the ships will sail from Civitavecchia (Rome) to Venice; stopovers on this route include Naples, Santorini, Corfu and Dubrovnik. Other routes depart or arrive from Barcelona. In this case, you would probably stop in Malta, Santorini, Piraeus (Athens), Naples and Palermo or Taormina in Sicily.
Cruise Lines and Itineraries
All major cruise lines offer cruises in the Eastern Mediterranean. Larger ships stop at the most popular ports, while smaller ships offer more exotic ports.
Itineraries that include the Adriatic Sea, mainland Greece and Istanbul are ideal for history and culture lovers with monuments and archaeological sites. The Greek islands will appeal to beach lovers and water sports enthusiasts. There are also itineraries to the Holy Land that usually depart from Athens.
Costa and MCS offer year-round cruises.
Athens, half an hour from Piraeus, will make you relive ancient Greece. Highlights include the Parthenon, the Agora, the National Museum of Archaeology and the view from Lykavittos Hill.
From Katakalon you can visit Olympia, where the ancient Olympic Games were held from 776 BC. The site is about 40 minutes from Katakolon. Points of interest include remains of gymnasiums, temples, an open-air stadium and many other buildings, including a museum.
Istanbul is another classic port of the eastern Mediterranean, with an atmosphere at the confluence of Eastern and Western culture, unlike any other city in the world. You will visit the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, The Church and The St. Sophia Museum, the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts and, of course, the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul, which dates to the 15th century and has more than 4000 shops spread over about 60 streets.
Dubrovnik in Croatia is a fortified city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can hike the fortifications, which will give you magnificent views of this city on the Adriatic Sea.
Venice is certainly one of the most popular ports in the Eastern Mediterranean. Built on more than 100 islands and involving more than 150 canals and 400 bridges, Venice is a unique city in the world. See Piazza San Marco, home to St. Mark’s Basilica, the Tower of the Campanile, several famous cafes. The many churches and cathedrals hide artistic treasures (paintings, sculptures).
More information on the Mediterranean Sea on Wikipedia.
Ports of Calls
- Ajaccio (Corsica)
- Cadiz (Seville)
- Cagliari (Sardegna)
- Capri (Isola Di Capri)
- Catania, Sicily
- Civitavecchia (Rome)
- Gibraltar (U.K.)
- Iraklion (Heraklion), Crete
- Katakolon (Olympia)
- Kusadasi (Ephesus)
- Las Palmas, Gran Canaria
- Livorno (Florence & Pisa)
- Messina, Sicily
- Piraeus (Athens)