For first-time cruisers in Europe, the Western Mediterranean is an excellent choice. Eastern Mediterranean itineraries are generally better suited to travelers looking to take ‘the next step.’
Few cruising regions offer the cultural and historical diversity of the Mediterranean. On a Mediterranean cruise vacation, you can spend time exploring the beginnings of the Greek and Roman empires, visiting the vestiges of the Crusades and the Ottoman rulers, marveling at the power and the glory of the ancient pharaohs, and walking religious sites cherished by Christians, Jews, and Muslims — or you can sit in a street café to do nothing at all but watch the world pass.
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, France, the west coast of Italy (including Sicily) and occasionally Tunisia. On the other side are Eastern Mediterranean itineraries, which visit the Adriatic Coast, Greek Isles, Turkey, Egypt, the Holy Lands and Cyprus.
Check out our Avid Cruiser videos featuring Mediterranean ports of call by using the player above. Note that there are more than 20 videos in the player so sit back and relax.
Between Greece and Turkey, experience spectacular beauty and world-famous antiquities from the comfort of your Mediterranean cruise. From Kusadasi, Turkey, it’s a short transit to the classical city of Ephesus, where the facade of the two-story Celsus Library, two millennia old, still stands at the end of the marble thoroughfare scored by age-old chariot tracks.
Once a sleepy village, Mykonos, Greece, is now “tres chic” with Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Chanel among the trendy shops. But there are still a few artisans worth visiting on the winding streets. A short hop from Mykonos, Delos, once the capital of the ancient world, is famed for its ruins. Santorini arguably is the most spectacular of the Greek Islands. Sail into the bay, a huge volcanic crater, then ascend 900 feet by donkey or by funicular to the winding streets of Thira, a tiny terraced-town overlooking the Capri-blue Mediterranean.
First-time visitor on cruises in the Mediterranean will want to pick an itinerary that focuses on Italy, primarily for the region’s diverse attractions. Arrive in Venice or Rome (Civitavecchia) (be sure to book at least a couple of pre-cruise or post-cruise hotel nights) then sail to Naples, where you choose between a day at Pompeii or touring the scenic Amalfi drive.
Livorno is the port of entry to Florence where some of man’s most magnificent masterpieces still can be seen. Sicilian ports include Taormina, a beautiful resort overlooking the sea and facing Mt. Etna.
At the western end of the Western Mediterranean, Spain is one of Europe’s fastest-growing cruise destinations, with Barcelona serving as the hub for most cruise departures.
Traditionally, cruisers who have explored the Mediterranean will follow-up with a voyage to Northern Europe, even though many people are now choosing to make the Baltic their first European destination.
Avid Cruiser Posts, Photographs and Videos Featuring the Mediterranean.
For Port Profiles, Shore Excursions and What To Do In Port, click on the destinations below.