A Mediterranean cruise offers much for the discerning traveller. Boasting beautiful scenery, historic cities, sleepy villages and sun-drenched islands, a Mediterranean cruise affords the chance to explore a diverse region that is ripe for exploration. Enticing destinations are dotted along the coastlines and their proximity to each other means a new port can be reached easily by cruise ship overnight, so you can wake to a new view and a new adventure most mornings. All this combines to make a superb choice for a holiday – whether you’re a first time cruiser or a long-term fan looking for a luxurious upgrade, a Mediterranean cruise can work for everyone. Which Mediterranean cruise is for you?
Fantastic for first timers
A mini Mediterranean cruise is ideal to discover cruise holidays for the first time. A holiday on Costa Favalosa this summer starts with a two night hotel stay in Barcelona, exploring the beachfront city that’s famous for Gaud’s iconic architecture, delicious tapas and the hustle and bustle along Las Ramblas.
Costa Favolosa sets sail on a three-night cruise from Barcelona in the late afternoon, arriving at Marseille in France the following morning. Here, the picturesque harbour of Le Vieux Port can be discovered with its variety of market stalls and local fishing boats alongside impressive superyachts. But to maximise your time in this destination, venturing further into France on an organised excursion to scenic Provence will give you a real flavour of this region. A visit to the historic city of Arles, with its ancient amphitheatre and cathedral, and then a stop at the beautiful town of Saint Remy offers an authentic Provencal experience.
Next day, it’s on to Italy, stopping at Savona on the Italian Riviera. For a beach day, head away from the port to the island of Bergeggi to snorkel in the crystal clear water. For a true taste of Italy take a trip to Genoa, the birthplace of pesto, to sample some heavenly pasta, or just an hour and a half drive from Savona is the famous Italian port of Portofino – molto glamour! Then it’s back on board Costa Favolosa to return to Barcelona. As there are no sea days spent travelling between destinations on this mini Mediterranean cruise adventure, time is well spent on land discovering Spain, France and Italy. This cruise runs in April and May 2016.
Fabulous for families
In August and September 2016, Disney Magic will be sailing the waters on a seven night Mediterranean cruise. This ship is a natural choice for families who will love her child-friendly facilities and thoughtfully designed family staterooms. But the destinations on this cruise are also great for families. Disney Magic sets sails from Barcelona, a safe and welcoming city with a sandy beach and delicious tapas to sample.
First stop is Naples but journeying outside of this Italian metropolis is where the real beauty of the area can be found, with the Amalfi Coast not far away. Along the winding coastal road away from Naples is Sorrento where, on an excursion accompanied by Disney staff, kids can participate in a pizza making class while their parents enjoy the stunning views of Vesuvius from this beautiful clifftop town.
Onwards to Civitavecchia, the port for Rome, and there is a Disney tour designed especially for families to discover the famous sights including the Vatican and the Colosseum. There’s even a puppet show stop en route to keep little ones entertained. La Spezia is next, where Pisa is in within easy reach for a fun day trip to see the famous Leaning Tower – awkward photos obligatory! Last stop on your Mediterranean cruise is Villefranche, the port for Nice, where the whole family can enjoy an open-air tram ride around Nice, taking in the flower market, the coastline, and famed landmarks including Promenade des Anglais.
After busy days in port, Disney Magic is a haven of relaxation in the evening with a choice of restaurants and entertainment – depending on how active you wish to be. A couple of whole sea days travelling between ports offer welcome reprieve to rest weary feet and take advantage of the abundance of facilities on board, from the spa and pools to the waters slides and shows. This is a Mediterranean cruise with the perfect balance of exploration and relaxation.
Even small ports are possible on a Mediterranean cruise
Intimate ships are able to dock in smaller ports that larger ships cannot navigate, so can be ideal for seasoned cruisers who may have experienced the bigger ports on previous holidays and want to visit lesser-explored coastal towns. A nine night Mediterranean cruise in May 2016 on Star Clipper offers something extra (and completely unique) because the ship is so special too – a fully-masted tall ship that makes the journeying between ports as much of the holiday as visiting the destinations themselves. Passengers are invited to try knot-tying and take part in a navigation class to immerse themselves in the maritime experience.
You’ll embark in Athens, perhaps having visited some of the world-famous historical sites like the mighty Acropolis. Then it’s on to three Greek islands: picturesque Mykonos, the tranquil beaches and hidden coves of Kos, and the quietly cool island of Patmos.
Sailing on from the Greek Islands the ship heads to Turkey’s Anatolian Coast and the buzzing esplanade of Kusadasi before voyaging on to Dikili, a little coastal town surrounded by mountain scenery and idyllic olive groves and vineyards that epitomises the laid-back Mediterranean lifestyle. Canakkale is next, the closest cruise port to historic Troy, before finishing the holiday in vibrant Istanbul. This cleverly-designed itinerary means there are no whole sea days travelling between ports so you can spend your days exploring islands and towns and evenings enjoying the laid-back elegance of this iconic ship.
Luxury is a way of life
For those with a little more time to spend to explore the region, Celebrity Silhouette’s cruise of the Med is something special. Cramming in as many Mediterranean sights as possible, this luxurious Mediterranean cruise stops at an impressive 12 ports during a 15 night cruise and the destinations are a mix of city stops, islands, beaches and sleepy coastal towns.
Setting sail from Rome, Celebrity Silhouette journeys south to Naples, stopping at Salerno on the Amalfi Coast before heading to Messina, a Sicilian port. Spain comes next, to visit Palma on the island of Mallorca before voyaging on to Cartegena, Gibraltar, Lisbon and Seville. Beautiful Ibiza follows, and then a vibrant city stop at Barcelona. Toulon is the last port of call before Celebrity Silhouette’s Mediterranean cruise returns to Rome.
This ship offers plenty to do during the two days at sea during this itinerary. There is a glass-blowing studio on board as well as a real grass lawn on the deck to enjoy. Elegant restaurants and beautiful staterooms make this a perfect choice for those looking for a refined and tasteful ship that is still big enough to offer a huge range of facilities and activities, and a fabulous and lively evening atmosphere.