The Best 50 Mediterranean Cruises

Messina and More

Mesina Straits, the sicilian coast

One of the excursions on offer when your ship docks at Messina, a strategic Sicilian port guarding the Messina Straits since Roman times and before, is the opportunity to take a cable car up Mount Etna. Europe’s highest volcano is an hour and half drive from Messina and the Rifugio Sapienza cable car will take you to nearly two thirds up to view the Silvestri craters and their astonishing lava fields. This trip is available on MSC Cruises’ Mediterranean cruise on MSC Opera, a round trip from Civitavecchia (for Rome) to Athens and other Greek cities and back.

Climb Mount Etna

Mount Etna – Sicily, Italy

Another Majestic Princess cruise in 2017, the Mediterranean & Aegean itinerary takes you from Civitavecchia to Messina in Sicily, where you can climb Europe’s tallest and most active volcano – Mount Etna –visit the San Michele winery or see the 12th century cathedral where Richard the Lionheart worshipped en route to a crusade. As well as Malta, Crete and Mykonos the ship also stops at Kusadasi in Turkey.

Inaugural Season

Oceania Cruises present their new cruise ship called Sirena

Oceania Cruises’ new mid-size ship Sirena launches this April after an extensive bow-to-stern refurbishment to bring it in line with similarly sized Regatta, Insignia and Nautica. It will offer several new ports for Oceania passengers including Piombino in Italy on the Venice to Barcelona cruise. Dubrovnik, Rome and Sicily are all on the itinerary as is Sanary-sur-Mer where the well-heeled French holiday to avoid Cannes’ crowds.

Greek Islands

Seven Seas Navigator has had a multi-million-dollar refurbishment this spring leaving it good as new for its Athens to Valletta cruise in June. This Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ sailing visits five Greek islands including Zakynthos, where the famous shipwreck beach can be found, and Crete, where a visit to Chania and its old Venetian harbour reveals the typical mix of Greek, Italian and Turkish influences on the Mediterranean.

Carnival Vista Debut

Carnival Vista makes its debut in the Mediterranean this May. Its maiden voyage leaves Trieste in Italy sailing to Dubrovnik then Athens, Izmir, for the ruins of Ephesus, and Crete, plus five other big-hitting ports also on the itinerary before arriving in Barcelona.

Gardeners’ Delight

Generalife Gardens – Alhambra, Spain

Voyages to Antiquity has a gardener’s dream Med cruise, from Lisbon to Rome. In Cadiz there is the Moorish style Alameda de Apodaca Gardens, in Malaga a trip to Granada includes a tour of the Alhambra and its glorious Generalife gardens, and in Valencia the Royal Gardens are part of the included excursion. There is also an optional trip to Villa d’Este in Tivoli, Italy.

Dalmatian Islands

Dalmatian Coast – Croatia

Explore Croatia’s Dalmatian islands with Titan on MV Adriatic Queen starting with an evening cruise around Dubrovnik’s walled city during an onboard dinner. There’s a day on the island of Korcula. As well as Hvar and Split the ship calls at lesser-known Omis, for an included boat excursion on the Cetina River, and Trstenik, for wine tasting at Grgich winery.

Cartagena and Genoa

The Roman Theatre of Carthago Nova and Cathedral ruins of Cartagena – Spain

Royal Princess is running regular week-long Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona this summer, with lovely but low-key ports including Cartagena with plenty of Roman history but also a Spanish Civil War Museum Marseille on the south of France is also on the itinerary and there’s a rare stop in Genoa, great for excursions to Milan, Portofino or the Cinque Terre coastal towns.

Island Chic

Corsica – France

New for Oceania Cruises is the French port of Bandol, the start of the French Riviera, with sophisticated beaches nearby and the famous Bandol wine district. It’s the first port of call in the Monte Carlo to Lisbon cruise that also stops at chic islands such as France’s Corsica and Italy’s Sardinia before heading to Spain’s Majorca and Ibiza. Mainland Almeria is another really interesting stop, with its Moorish Alcazaba fortress.

Lake Como and Cruise

Lake Como – Italy

For a land and sea package try Lake Como & The Greek Isles Cruise, on Royal Caribbean International’s Vision of the Seas. It starts with three nights in a hotel at Italy’s Lake Como followed by a first class rail transfer to Venice for another night in a hotel before getting on the ship. The round trip sails the Adriatic to Kotor in Montenegro then over to Athens and the Greek islands of Corfu, Crete and Kefalonia, which has beautiful beaches.

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