When you think of European cruises – sparkling seas, sleepy fishing villages, vibrant coastal cities – the most likely destination to fit the bill is the dreamy Mediterranean. This storied sea offers it all, depending on which portion of it you visit, from Europe to Northern Africa to the Middle East. How does one decide, then, which is the correct itinerary for you in the Med? Let’s look at the two main regions and what treasures each holds.

Cruising the Western Mediterranean

ta-pinu-church in Gozo-Med cruise

[Ta Pinu church in Gozo, Malta]

In general, the route stretches from Agadir, Morocco, and the Canary Islands to the western coast of Italy. Additionally, you might be able to visit Corsica, Lipari, and Malta. Of course, a popular destination for travelers seeking white-sand beaches, remarkable architecture, rich culture and history, and a pleasing blend of small towns and big cities. With that popularity comes a huge variety of cruise choices for you. Included ports are Gibraltar, Barcelona, Marseille, Monaco, and Civitavecchia.

Vatican - Behind the Scenes

[Photo:  Celebrity Cruises]  Stunning views behind the Vatican

Additionally, US citizens who wish to fly shorter distances to their embarkation point should consider the Western Mediterranean. These are the most-visited ports are: 

•France: Cannes, Le Havre, Marseille, Nice
• Gibraltar: Gibraltar
• Italy: Livorno, Palermo, Rome (Civitavecchia), Savona
• Malta: Valetta
• Monaco: Monte Carlo
• Morocco: Agadir, Casablanca
• Portugal: Funchal, Lisbon, Portimao
• Spain: Barcelona, Cadiz (Seville), Ibiza, Lanzarote (Canary Islands), Las Palmas, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Tenerife (Canary Islands), Valencia, Vigo

Eastern Mediterranean Cruises

Dubrovnik-Eastern Mediterranean

[Photo:  Celebrity] Stunning views from Croatia hilltop

Here is the perfect option for those seeking an off-the-beaten-path voyage experience. Embarking from Rome, Istanbul, and Piraeus (Athens), many cruises here take you to Egypt, Israel, Croatia, and North Africa. From Alexandria and Port Said, guests can visit Cairo and take flight-seeing tours of the Valley of the Kings in Luxor. 

Known for its temperate weather and calm seas, it is ideal for cruising. That said, you can also choose the Greek Isles and ports in the Adriatic Sea. Newer itineraries combine the Adriatic with the Black Sea, including Romania, Bulgaria, and Ukraine.

Santorini-Greek Island

[Photo:  Celebrity cruises-Apex] Sailing around the Greek Islands

Most-visited ports on Eastern Mediterranean cruises are:

• Croatia: Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar
• Cyprus: Limassol
• Egypt: Alexandria
• Greece: Athens (Piraeus), Corfu, Delphi, Katakolon, Mykonos, Rhodes, Thira
• Israel: Ashdod
• Italy: Ancona, Bari, Capri, Messina, Naples, Rome, Sorrento, Venice
• Montenegro: Kotor
• Turkey: Istanbul, Izmir, Kusadasi

Venice Italy

[Photo:  Celebrity Cruises] Small boat in Venice Canal

Which voyage is right for you?

Once you’ve chosen Western or Eastern, the question becomes, what can you see and do during your cruise?

Whet your appetite with these ideas for shore excursions 

 

  • Touring Rome and its Colosseum, St. Peter’s Basilica, and Sistine Chapel
  • Exploring dazzling Renaissance Florence and visiting the Galleria dell’ Accademia to see Michelangelo’s “David”
  • Taking a private journey along the Amalfi Coast, starting in Naples and continuing on to Sorrento and Pompeii
  • Riding a motor-assisted bike through the lavender fields of Provence
  • Dining on an exquisite meal in Paris 
  • Sunning on a secluded beach in Corfu
  • Walking among the ancient ruins of Athens 
  • Witnessing the art and architecture of Moorish and modern Barcelona, the Alhambra Palace and the Gardens in Grenada
  • Tour the Rock of Gibraltar and sip a spot of tea 
  • And more! 

Ready to experience the magical Mediterranean? Schedule a free consultation and let’s chat.