A cruise through the Mediterranean Sea can be great fun for all the family not only because you can escape from the stress of work and forget the rigours of everyday life, but because you are able to experience and visit many varied places, sights and cultures in a relatively short period of time.
There will be stops at some of the great cities of the Mediterranean such as Rome, Istanbul and Barcelona as well as visits to islands such as Italy’s Capri and Greece’s Santorini, both stunningly picturesque and scenic.
Many of the ships that cruise the Mediterranean are luxuriously equipped, meaning you have everything onboard you need to ensure your holiday is comfortable, stress-free and relaxing.
Of course when you stop off at the many ancient cities, sights and beautiful beaches you will have the chance to indulge your senses in the delicious foods and wines which the countries of the Mediterranean are famous for.
There is a vast choice of destinations and itineraries which you can choose from when booking a Mediterranean cruise.
Many cruises depart from Venice, a central departure port for cruises which combine both Eastern and Western Mediterranean destinations, whilst other cruises focus purely on one or the other. Either way you are sure to have an exciting as well as relaxing trip.
If you would like to experience the splendid destinations of Southern Europe then a Western Mediterranean cruise is ideal for you. These cruises will take you to lively Barcelona, in Catalonia, with its nightclubs, bars and restaurants, plus the famous boulevard of La Rambla, the main hub of life in the city.
You can see Seville, the enchanting capital of Andalucia famous for its leafy parks, mosaic-paved riverside promenades, winding medieval streets, spectacular buildings and grand squares lined with fragrant orange trees.
Rome - The Eternal City of course should not be missed. The beautiful Amalfi Coast, A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, with its picturesque tows and lemon trees the fruit of which are made into limoncello liqueur, will give you a glimpse of the real Italian way of life.
The beautiful city of Naples, one of the oldest inhabited cities in Europe is a must to see, plus it is also an important port from where you can reach many other destinations such as Pompeii, Sorrento, Ravello, Positano and Capri.
Monte Carlo offers you the glitz and the glamour of the jet set and also some of the most famous casinos in the world. The French island of Corsica is one more attractive destination for Western Mediterranean cruisers.
The historic city of Bonifacio, set atop cliffs above the sea, its medieval Citadel, narrow streets, churches and massive walls are well worth exploring. You can also induldge your taste buds with the delicious food and wine served in the many restaurants in the marina.
The itineraries of Eastern Mediterranean cruises include Greece, Turkey, the Black Sea and of course the beautiful coast of Croatia. You can cruise the myriad of Greek islands from Rhodes, Mykonos and the idyllic Santorini. A visit to the impressive ruins of Ephesus, once a ancient Greek city, now part of Turkey, will transfer you back in time 2,000 years. Here you can explore what life was like in ancient times – the libraries, baths, markets and dwellings.
The Turkish city of Istanbul, that lies over two continents, where the east meets west is a must see. The Greek capital Athens, the cradle of western civilisation and the birthplace of democracy with its ancient monuments and Acropolis is not be missed.
In the seaside city of Dubrovnik in Croatia, once an independent republic, you can walk the famous massive city walls and towers. La Valletta, the capital city of the island of Malta, is home to one of the most spectacular harbours in the Mediterranean Sea. Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean, the city of Palermo with its historical Norman architecture and the town of Taormina with its ancient monuments are highlights to be visited.
The Italian port of Venice is a destination on both Eastern and Western Mediterranean cruise itineraries. While in this beautiful city you can wander its narrow streets crossing the many famous bridges which criss-cross the alleyways and squares or just sit in a café and taste a real Italian "gelato". Of course any trip to Venice would not be complete without taking a gondola ride along its numerous canals or a visit to St. Mark’s Square.
The best period to book a Mediterranean cruise for starts in May and lasts until the end of August. For this period you will be able to find the best selection of cruise ships and itineraries and this time of the year is also the best for the weather. The peak summer season is perfect for visiting the Mediterranean, its sights, islands, cities and of course its beaches.
The low season months are March, April, when there are already almost 10 hours of sunshine everyday, and September, October and November.
In the springtime the temperatures are comfortable enough for sightseeing and excursions. During October and November some cruise line operators offer enticing discounts such as "two-for-one" or "free airfare" deals. In the spring and autumn periods you can enjoy less crowded destinations and attractions plus cooler temperatures, whilst paying lower rates and experiencing less competition.
Two cruise companies, Costa and MSC Cruises, sail Europe throughout the year and they offer their most luxurious ships alongside more unusual destinations such as Egypt, Morocco and the Canary Islands.
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