The Mediterranean Sea touches 22 nations and borders more than 28,000 miles (45,061 km) of coastline, according to the Europe Environment Agency. From the Greek Islands to Egypt, Croatia to Morocco, and Slovenia to Spain, the rugged coastlines dip into the crystalline waters, providing a connection point to some of the most intriguing destinations on the planet. But, rather than traversing these destinations by car, train, or plane, visitors can see and do more by taking to the water for a Mediterranean cruise. By Stacey Leasca
From seeing historical monuments to experiencing local cuisine, shopping in some of the most luxurious places on Earth, and visiting awe-inspiring beaches, cruising provides stellar connections to Mediterranean countries. These cruises also cater to every type of traveller — from multigenerational families to solo travellers with options for adults only and all ages.
Here are 10 of the best Mediterranean cruises to check out for your next vacation
Seabourn cruises are made for those who enjoy a touch of luxury. The Mediterranean cruise line offers all-inclusive options, making it easy to relax onboard and just enjoy the ride. Seabourn also offers various lengths and destinations for its cruises, including seven, 10, 14, and 21-day options, so everyone can find the one right for them.
The week-long trip on the Seabourn Encore offers a glimpse at a few of Greece’s best islands. Departing from Athens, the journey stops in Patmos, Agios, Mykonos, and Skiathos but also sprinkles in a few Turkish delights, including Kusadasi and Bozcaada, before disembarking in Istanbul. Excursions include guided tours of historical sites like the Grotto of St. John in Patmos and wine tastings in Bozcaada.
Those looking for an adults-only option will find exactly what they need with Viking Cruises. The company is strictly for guests ages 18 and up, providing a more mature cruising environment. The company stops in dozens of ports, making finding a cruise that fits your travel desires a snap. And the cruise line offers free shore excursions to enable all guests to experience the ports to their fullest.
Spend 22 days with Viking on the Mediterranean and Adriatic Sojourn. The trip takes guests to seven countries, including Spain, Greece, Montenegro, Croatia, Italy, Monaco, and France, with stops in both major and smaller ports. Those looking to enhance the journey can book with “inclusive value,” which adds one complimentary shore excursion, free Wi-Fi, beer, wine, and soft drinks, visits to UNESCO sites, and more to allow for more time spent traveling and less time worrying about pricing. Guests can also book pre- and post-trip stays in ports of call if they aren’t ready to go home after three weeks on the water.
Azamara is a luxurious option, but it’s not just about glitz and glamour on this line. The cruise line also emphasises hyper-local experiences to allow its passengers to dive deep into the history, food, culture, and life of its ports of call, even if they’re there just for a day. The cruise line offers a variety of destinations and cruise lengths, including 10, 12, and 15-night voyages, some of which include overnight stays in the ports so guests can get the full scope of a destination.
Make your way through five counties (Italy, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, and Greece) on this more than two-week adventure. The voyage highlights destinations ruled by famed pharaohs, kings, and emperors and emphasises the region’s spectacular history. Shore excursion options include exploring the ruins of Pompeii, seeing the biblical destinations of Nazareth and Galilee, and simply soaking in the ambiance of Capri for an entire day.
Want personalised service at every turn? Book an Oceania cruise. The cruise line prides itself on its low guest-to-crew member ratio, ensuring your every need is easily met. The company offers plentiful options when it comes to Mediterranean sailings, including seven, 14, 21, and even 38-day cruises for those who can’t get enough. With this cruise company, you’re almost spoiled with choice, making it hard to pick just one itinerary. So maybe, think about it as this year’s trip, then the next, then the next, and on and on forever, because there are just so many options available.
The 10-day trip takes sailors through ultra-luxe ports, including visits to Monte Carlo, Saint-Tropez, Florence, Rome, Valletta, Rhodes, and Athens. From the old villages to the glittering casinos, the shore excursions with this journey abound. Though there’s plenty to do onboard too, including wine tastings, guest lectures, and fun-filled trivia nights with fellow guests.
Travellers vacationing with the entire family — from grandma to kids — should check out Celebrity Cruises. The cruise line offers more options for everyone onboard (think kids club to casinos), as well as varied shore excursions and affordable pricing options to make it a more viable trip for larger groups.
The nine-night trip takes guests to seven ports through Italy and Croatia, providing varied terrain and plentiful shore excursion options. Visit beautiful seaside towns like Portofino, explore the Venetian canals, and enjoy the ship’s amenities during days at sea.
Silversea is tailor-made for those who like to cruise with fewer passengers onboard. The line offers ships with between 51 to 364 suites, meaning they max out at far fewer passengers than its larger counterparts, which enables more personalised service and higher-end amenities. It also offers all-inclusive packages to reduce the stressors that often come with pay-as-you-go travel.
This 22-day trip tracks its way through 20 ports via five countries, including Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, Greece, and Turkey. Walk the cobblestone streets on the Greek Islands, see the colourful coastline in Marmaris, admire the glittering lights from the homes that snake their way up Lovćen Mountain, and more. Onboard, dine in one of the ship’s eight restaurants, take a dip in the top deck pool, or lounge in a common space to regale your fellow guests about the day’s adventure.
Holland America doesn’t have the wide-ranging options like other cruise lines on this list, however, the sailings it does offer are top-notch. Holland America also offers a varied pricing list to allow people to choose the right price point for them, with rooms ranging from interior staterooms that come with 151 square feet to over-the-top suites with 712 square feet to stretch out in.
For 12 glorious days, you can set sail through the Mediterranean with Holland America. The trip includes stops in Italy (including Venice, Sicily, Amalfi, and Rome), Greece (including Katakolon, Souda, and Mykonos), Albania, and Malta (including Valletta and Mgarr). When not exploring at port, make sure to take advantage of the ship’s luxurious spa, which comes with the bonus of the soft rocking of the waves to lull you into tranquility.
Princess Cruises is yet another on the list that may not have a massive selection of Mediterranean options, but it more than makes up for it with stellar excursions, plentiful onboard entertainment, kids and teen offerings, and the fact that it now has “The Princess Luxury Beds” onboard. The cruise line created the beds in a special collaboration with a sleep expert to ensure every guest leaves feeling fully recharged.
The two-week trip stops in 10 different ports in Italy, Greece, Israel, and Cyprus. It offers dozens of shore excursions to take part in, including historical tours, vineyard tours and wine tastings, local market visits, and so much more. Room options range from interior staterooms to massive premium suites with 119-foot balconies so you can let the fresh ocean breeze in.
Classic, elegant, and forever in style, Cunard Line is the cruise to choose if chicness is your top priority. Its boats are decked out in luxurious styling, including the Queen Elizabeth, which makes its way through the Med with art deco decor, plush sundeck furnishings, and high-end dining experiences included.
Take the seven-night journey on Cunard’s Western Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona to Mallorca, Corsica, Rome, and Naples. Visit the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, shop and eat your way through Rome, walk in the footsteps of Napoleon Bonaparte in Corsica, and so much more.
Royal Caribbean is the line to choose for those traveling in groups with varied interests and age levels. Think, the kids who want to play all day, the adults who want to lounge by the pool, the friend who wants to explore a city’s history through tours, or the friend who wants to stay up all night enjoying the onboard entertainment. And, best of all, it’s one of the few in the Med to offer options for those who are short on time or want to tack on a quick sailing to a longer trip.
Spend three perfect days sailing from Haifa, Israel to Limassol, Cyprus, and back again. The quick cruise is the perfect way to get on the water if you just want to spend a weekend at sea on an otherwise land-bound trip. Check out a few shore excursions, or go it alone, knowing you have the perfect place to call home, even for a few days, each night.
This story first appeared on www.travelandleisure.com
Main and Feature Image Credit: White Rain/Courtesy of Viking Cruises