The Best 50 Mediterranean Cruises

Byzantine Glory

Ravenna’s Harbour – Italy

Discover Ravenna on Swan Hellenic’s Italian Overture cruise, which starts with an overnight in Venice before sailing to what was once the western capital of the Roman empire. Ravenna is a cosmopolitan town of cafés and boutiques but it also has several UNESCO sites including the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia with extraordinarily vivid Byzantine mosaics. Another highlight is Brindisi, in the heel of Italy. http://swanhellenic.com

Spain and Italy

The Spanish port of Cartagena

The Spanish port of Cartagena is one of the loveliest and easiest to explore on a Mediterranean cruise. The massive Roman theatre and nearby Roman forum are only a 10 minute walk from the cruise terminal. Saga’s Flavours of the Mediterranean return-trip on board Saga Pearl II from Dover not only spends the day here but also at San Remo on the Italian Riviera, new for Saga, where a tender will take you to the picturesque streets that delighted Impressionist painter Claude Monet and Russian composer Tchaikovsky. http://saga.co.uk

Christmas Cruise

Christmas Day in Palma – Mallorca, Spain

Spend Christmas Day cruising the Mediterranean after a day on the Italian island of Sardinia, shopping for last-minute gifts in Cagliari or visiting the pilgrimage site of the basilica Nostra Signora di Bonaria and its sanctuary. Boxing Day is at Palma, on Majorca, where the overnight stay leaves plenty of time for post-Christmas walks. There’s another overnight in Valencia and two nights in Barcelona, with a day at Tarragona where a Roman amphitheatre sits virtually on the beach.  http://swanhellenic.com

Mediterranean Treasures

saga-pearl-II-cruise-ship
Saga pearl II Cruise Ship

Catch the last of the summer’s sun on Saga Pearl II’s round trip from Southampton that calls at Civitavecchia and Livorno for excursions to Rome and Florence or Pisa, as well as Barcelona in Spain, although the French element of this cruise is the lesser-known Toulon. This southcoast port has a picturesque old town. Heading back to Britain there’s a stop at La Coruna in northern Spain, for a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela or a walk in La Coruna up to the oldest lighthouse in the world – the Roman Tower of Hercules. http://saga.co.uk

Ancient Greece

The deck of MSC Musica Cruise Ship

Greece is the main focus of MSC Cruises’ 11-day Eastern Mediterranean cruise that takes you all the way from Genoa, Italy, to Limassol in Cyprus and back. Although Cyprus is a republic it was part of ancient Greece and the UNESCO-listed town of Paphos is where the goddess Aphrodite rose out of the sea. MSC Musica also sails to Crete, which is a Greek island, and where the mythological half-man half-bull Minos was born. Once you’ve had your fill of ruins, though, there are plenty of beaches, tavernas and shopping to enjoy. http://msccruises.co.uk

Month in the Sun

Costa del Sol – Malaga, Spain

Spend a leisurely month cruising to and from the Mediterranean on Saga Sapphire’s Springtime In The Adriatic. The Saga Cruises return trip from Southampton stops at Lisbon on the way with Malaga the first Mediterranean port. It’s the Costa del Sol but with a traditional feel to the Moorish old town and is well placed for excursions to Granada’s extraordinary Alhambra palaces and fort. There are calls in Menorca, Malta, Venice and Dubrovnik, but also to lesser-known Croatian ports such as Rijeka full of Austro-Hungarian Empire buildings. http://saga.co.uk

Verona Opera

Arena de Verona – Verona, Italy

A two-night pre-cruise hotel stay in Verona with tickets for Bizet’s Carmen at the Roman amphitheatre Arena de Verona and guided tour of the historic Italian city is an unforgettable way to start Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Venice to Barcelona voyage. With an outstanding port to visit every day, from Dubrovnik to Monaco, this superb Seven Seas Navigator cruise also calls at Palamos in Spain, an hour from the Dali Theatre-Museum un Figueres.  http://rssc.com

Casablanca

Aerial view of Casablanca – Morocco

Follow in the footsteps of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman with a day in Casablanca in Morocco as part of a Western Mediterranean cruise with MSC Cruises. With an 8am arrival and 11pm departure there is time to see the French-influenced art deco colonial architecture as well as the Old Medina. Also on the itinerary is Malaga in Spain, with its Moorish Alcazaba – fortified palace – Roman amphitheater and the Picasso Museum. http://msccruises.co.uk

Harmony of The Seas

Harmony of The Seas Cruise Ship

Catch Royal Caribbean International’s new ship Harmony of the Seas before it sails to Fort Lauderdale for a winter in the Caribbean by joining one of its regular Western Mediterranean cruises from Civitavecchia or Barcelona. Both are round trips and call at Palma on Majorca, with easy access to beaches or the mesmerizing old quarter, plus fascinating Marseille in France and Italy’s La Spezia – the picturesque cliff-clinging Cinque Terre fishing port. The cruise departing Barcelona also calls at Civitavecchia for Rome, and vice versa. http://royalcaribbean.co.uk

Maiden Voyage

Majestic Princess Cruise Ship

Princess Cruises’ Majestic Princess will have its inaugural voyage in the Mediterranean in April 2017, leaving Civitavecchia for a short round trip to Montenegro and Greece. During the day in Kotor, Montenegro’s walled city in the fjord-like Bay of Kotor, you can see Venetian influences in the palaces and churches, while in Corfu the old town is a maze of narrow streets. http://princess.com

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