The Mediterranean offers the perfect mix of culture, cuisine and sunshine, with each country offering its own unique experiences. There are plenty of fantastic Mediterranean cruise deals to be had, starting just a short flight away or departing directly from Southampton. Explore some of the most iconic cities in the western Med, bask in the sun around the Greek islands or stroll along the glamorous marina in Cannes. Take a look at some of the best Mediterranean cruises on offer and set sail for an unforgettable trip.
What to expect of a Mediterranean cruise
The Mediterranean is perhaps tied for first with the Caribbean as the most sought after sea for holidays, and that’s especially true of cruising. The world’s best cruise ships have sailed these waters since the invention of cruising, but that’s done nothing to take away the Mediterranean’s appeal.
You’ll find that several cruise lines, including Marella Cruises, make life easier by splitting their routes between the Western Mediterranean and the Eastern Mediterranean. That said, there’s nothing to stop you taking in the whole lot if you choose the right cruise, but it also ensures you can tailor a more intimate trip depending on destination.
The Western Mediterranean shows off perhaps the more well known of the region’s destinations. You can expect cruises to various Spanish cities and resort communities, including Barcelona and Malaga, to be the norm. More than just fun in the sun though, those cruises take a respectful look at those Spanish cities’ historic and cultural features, including plenty of art tours for those so intrigued. In that respect, you can expect a Spanish cruise to tick all the highlights off your checklist, all while avoiding the more packed scenes enjoyed by the package holiday crowd.
Portugal, including the Algarve region and the scenic capital of Lisbon, also features as a popular stopoff on countless cruises in the west Med. You can also expect to enjoy a fair few French towns tucked up by the coast, all scenic and suave, such as Villefranche or St Raphael. Fine wines and good food are just as readily had in Italy, of course, which is another cruising mainstay. That’s particularly true of the characterful island of Sicily, although mainland Naples, Venice and Rome each often appear on cruising itineraries for their beauty and style. That’s also why you’ll often find the glamour of Monaco awaiting in the more showy of cruises on offer.
Once you’re east of Italy, the Eastern Mediterranean showcases a much more rugged, rustic yet still handsome set of destinations. Greece and its scattered islands instantly springs to mind, and many cruisers have a certain soft spot for Corfu, all olive groves and sunshine. Voyage further though, and you’ll be touching the shores of Dubrovnik in Croatia, beloved for its tanned walls and domed rooftops, as well as the hidden hinterlands of Montenegro. The east Med is great for those of us who’ve enjoyed a Mediterranean cruise before, but are now looking for somewhere a little more out of the ordinary.
In that respect, somewhere like Slovenia is livening up plenty of itineraries, and a more ambitious Mediterranean cruise may even touch the fringes of Morocco or Egypt. It’s all about what you want to experience.
Cruise ships that make the Mediterranean their speciality
While all cruise lines look to the Mediterranean to offer you the kinds of experiences we’ve described, there are some choice cruise ships we feel you’d do well to consider when planning your trip. Peruse a few of our recommendations as you think on what you want to get from your time at sea.
Enjoy an Adriatic affair onboard the intimate Marella Celebration, where you’ll not only have the chance to pamper yourself in the two-storey health and beauty spa, but you’ll constantly be swaddled in luxury. Visit some of the most incredible Adriatic highlights the Med has to offer, including the world famous caves of Slovenia. There’s also the chance to bask in the historical main square on the island of Hvar in between full body wraps and Indian head massages back on ship.
If you’re looking to take in the Mediterranean’s highlights, consider a luxury Mediterranean cruise onboard Marella Discovery. Departing from Palma in Majorca, weave your way through Italy, France and Spain onboard one of Marella’s most entertaining ships. Cruisers are invited to relax by the outdoor pool with built-in hot tubs. If that doesn’t float your boat, you can always try your luck in the stylish casino or simply unwind with a movie under the stars in the magnificent open air cinema.
The classic cruising experience is one that never goes out of style though, and although Cunard are well known for their transatlantic cruises, it’s well worth sampling their Mediterranean voyages too. The feel of their cruise ships is rooted in the golden age of cruising, so it makes sense that their Mediterranean routes often put stylish cities like Venice at their heart. Cunard’s Venice & The Adriatic cruise package sees you boarding the timeless 942-foot Queen Elizabeth for a voyage that sweeps down via Valencia in Spain to embrace Sicily’s Mount Etna. You’ll reach its volcanic peaks after docking at sunny and scenic Taormina, and thereafter lounge on deck as your cruise ship sweeps you to romantic Venice and the medieval chic of Dubrovnik. After that, you’ll be turning back west to savour the beaches of Sardinia, scented by the natural pine trees nearby, and make a final sojourn to the characterful island of Gibraltar before coming home to Southampton, enriched with memories.
As you can see, a Mediterranean cruise is far more varied than sunshine and sangrias, but is also easy enough to sail to that you could have a short cruise hopping between some choice Spanish towns if you preferred. For its culture, history and charisma it’s a difficult cruising region to beat, and we’ve got all the expertise you need to make your next Mediterranean cruise something truly special.
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