The Best Small Ship Experiences in the Mediterranean

Harbor of Cannes, France
Photo: George Pachantouris/Getty Images

Sailing on an intimate ship has many benefits, from being able to reach harder-to-access ports to smoother disembarkation. These destinations and brands are ideal for this style of cruising.

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Corsica - Ponant

Le Ponant yacht in Corsica
Courtesy of Le Ponant

The 64-passenger Le Ponant, the original ship of French cruise operator Ponant, regularly visits this French, Italian, and North African–influenced island. On the southeastern coast, you’ll see the limestone cliffs of the Gulf of Santa Manza before sailing north to Cargèse, famous for its historic churches. (Seven-night sailings from $4,970 per person, all-inclusive.)

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Tuscan Islands - Sailing Collective

Giglio Island in Tuscany, Italy
Ashley Camper/Courtesy of Sailing Collective

Brooklyn-based Sailing Collective, a charter company that also specializes in cruises of eight to 10 passengers, travels to this part of Italy, calling at pine-forested Isola del Giglio, home to three small villages, and volcanic Capraia, part of the Arcipelago Toscano national park. (Seven-night sailings from $3,200 for a single cabin, all-inclusive.)

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Spain - SeaDream Yacht Club

SeaDream yacht
Courtesy of SeaDream Yacht Club

SeaDream Yacht Club, which operates two 112-passenger vessels, now runs Wine Voyages, a showcase for the Med’s top producers. The seven-night Barcelona-to-Málaga itinerary, leaving Oct. 12, 2019, is slated to include a sherry-pairing dinner in Puerto Banús with Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla and an excursion to Anima Negra, a top Mallorcan winery. (From $4,726 per person, all-inclusive.)

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French and Italian Riviera - Silversea

Harbor of Cannes, France
George Pachantouris/Getty Images

Many Med cruises are a week or longer. But if you’re short on time, or want to combine a sailing with time on land, Silversea’s 5-day voyage on the Silver Shadow, leaving May 22, 2019, is ideal. You’ll get time to explore the grand hotels in Cannes, France; the casinos and the Monaco Grand Prix, the world-class car race, in Monte Carlo; and the beautiful architecture of Italy’s Cinque Terre. (From $4,770 per person, all-inclusive.)

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Spain and Morocco - Scenic

Spa terrace of the Scenic Eclipse luxury cruise ship
Courtesy of Scenic

With ten restaurants and bars for just 228 guests, as well as a heated indoor pool and pilates studio, the Scenic Eclipse is poised to revolutionize the luxury cruise market. In April, during its first Mediterranean season, it will offer a Tenerife to Barcelona cruise that also hits up the Moroccan cities of Essaouira and Casablanca. (From $7,795.)

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French and Italian Riviera - Windstar Cruises

Windstar Wind Surf in Port Vendres, France
Courtesy of Windstar Cruises

T+L readers love the 310-passenger Wind Surf — a true sailing vessel, and the flagship of Windstar Cruises — so much that they voted the brand the No. 1 Midsize-Ship Cruise Line in the 2018 World’s Best Awards. The vessel will be making several seven-day “Yachtman’s Harbors of the Riviera” sailings next year, visiting Portofino, Monte Carlo, Cannes, and Sanary-Sur-Mer — some of the Med’s most glamorous ports of call. (From $3,199 per person.)

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