Cruising The Mediterranean
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 eight 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.
- Five European Cruises For First-Time Cruisers
- Hoist the main sail! Star Clipper in the Aegean Sea
- Silversea’s Inclusive Mediterranean, Shore Excursions & WiFi
- Planning Ahead: Sampling Of Europe Cruises 2014, Celebrity, Cunard, Royal Caribbean & Princess
- In Florence: A Rare Antique Show in a Jewel Box
- From Crystal Serenity: A Route Less Travelled in Venice
- Holland America Tour Follows Footsteps of The Godfather
- Italy’s Alluring Amalfi Coast and Pompeii in a Single Day
- Italy’s Cinque Terre a Feast for All Senses
- From Spain To Stockholm: Fred. Olsen’s Summer 2011 Lineup
- Discovering Europe with Fred. Olsen
- Snap Happy In Picturesque Portofino: Silver Wind Drops Anchor In Pretty Port
- Cruising Europe 2010
- Winter Cruising In The Med: Chilly But No Crowds
- Video Slideshow Kotor & Budva, Montenegro
- Choose Your Cruise: Mediterranean
- Extend Your Cruise In Europe
- Sail & Stay with Seabourn
- Windstar exclusive: Dinner at the Arasta garden of Ephesus Museum
- First Time Cruiser: Cruise Europe, The Best Way To ‘Tour’ The Continent
- Norwegian Jade In The Eastern Mediterranean
- Disney To Cruise Northern Europe, Russia and The Med
- Read The Summer Issue of Avid Cruiser Magazine
- Good News For Cruisers: Dollar Rises Against Euro
- Menorca, Spain
- A 30-Second Break From Real Life
- Tunis, Tunisia
- Azamara Quest, Docked In Barcelona
- Where In Europe?
- Year-Round Med & European Christmas Cruises
- Marathon Med Cruising
- Walking The Marble Road, Ephesus
- Touring Pompeii
- Day 3. Livorno: Chef’s Table
- Day 2. Monte Carlo
- Setting Sail: Emerald Princess
- Back-To-Back On Windstar
- Interview with Kathy Ireland, Carnival Freedom Godmother
For Port Profiles, Shore Excursions and What To Do In Port, click on the destinations below.