Get a whole new perspective on this historic—and beautiful—region.
Cruising isn’t only for travelers seeking a leisurely way to flit between Caribbean islands while sipping piña coladas. The coastlines of Greece, Italy, France, and Spain, for example, boast ancient port cities and are home to a vast array of architectural sites and historic attractions. Instead of palm trees and coral reefs, cruisers can explore Athens’ Acropolis and Venice’s canals. Mediterranean cruisers may trade a day of snorkeling for a day wandering around the Vatican, or tackling Florence’s Uffizi Gallery.
Even travelers who have seen it all will enjoy Mediterranean cruises that frequent small, lesser-known ports in the Greek and Turkish isles. And after all, who said you had to forgo beach time to visit this edge of the Earth? Instead of a rum-filled coconut, you can simply sip a glass of glass of Amaro liqueur.
Mediterranean cruises can be a perfect introduction to the region for first-time visitors, or provide a deep dive into the local culture and antiquities. Of course, food lovers, sun worshippers, and shoppers won’t be disappointed with a cruise in this part of the world.
Ready to set sail? Before booking your cruise, consider how spectacular those views of Croatia and Sardinia, the Amalfi Coast and the Bosporus will be. Unlike a cruise that spends days crossing the Atlantic, you’ll definitely want to keep an eye on the passing scenery. It’s worth the splurge for a balcony.
While the vast majority of cruise lines have ships that sail here in the warm spring and summer, there are also options during the cooler, off-season period. Temperatures may drop, but as early as autumn travelers will be treated to thin crowds and far more affordable attractions and diversions. And don’t underestimate the benefit of a sunburn-free vacation. From all-inclusive luxury liners to family-friendly cruise ships, these are our favorite ships that sail the Med.