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What Is The Best Eastern Mediterranean Cruise

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Best Mediterranean Cruises – Tips to pick the best Mediterranean cruises. (January 2020)

What is the best time to cruise to the Eastern Mediterranean?

Eastern Mediterranean cruises — encompassing dozens of ports in countries like Greece, Israel, Italy and Croatia — are generally offered from spring through fall, with the most popular time being the summer. If you have a choice, we recommend avoiding those summer months since they tend to be hot and overcrowded. For more: Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Tips.

Which cruise lines go to the Eastern Mediterranean?

There are a wide variety of cruise lines offering Eastern Mediterranean cruises including Royal Caribbean, Princess, Holland America, Disney Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises and more. European lines like MSC and Costa have a big presence here, as well and luxury lines including Regent Seven Seas and Crystal. Some lines, like Azamara, offer country-intensive cruises to just one of these Eastern Mediterranean nations, like Italy or Greece. Others offer itineraries themed “holy lands” that visit notable religious sites.

What are some things to do in the Eastern Mediterranean?

A major highlight of Eastern Mediterranean cruises is visiting historic sites like the Acropolis and Parthenon in Athens, Dubrovnik’s Old Town and holy Judeo-Christian pilgrimage sites in Haifa and Jerusalem. But the region is also brimming with gorgeous beaches and incredible food to enjoy.

Do you need a passport to take a cruise to the Eastern Mediterranean?

Yes, a passport is required for Americans to cruise to the Eastern Mediterranean.

Why Cruise To The Mediterranean

Mediterranean cruises serve as a terrific introduction for anyone wanting to hit several of Europe’s most popular destinations in one trip. Additionally, cruises can save travellers money over land-based travel, eliminating the need for hotels, car hire, meals and other logistical expenses.

Standard voyages to the Eastern Mediterranean often call on ports in Greece and Turkey, while the Western Mediterranean generally includes marquee countries like Italy, Spain and France. These sailings last anywhere from a week to 10 days, making these cruises ideal for people who want to cover a lot of ground with their vacation time.

What Are Popular Activities In The Mediterranean

With such a diverse lineup of countries on its itineraries, the Mediterranean offers everything from beaches and mountains to museums and shopping, but history and culture tend to be major draws. Visitors are likely to get the most out of a trip to the Med by sightseeing and taking in the region’s many historic buildings and iconic points of interest before sampling local cuisine.

For example, a call on Civitavecchia is conducive to a trip to Rome for a tour of the Coliseum or Vatican City, followed by some gelato. During a port stop in Barcelona, you might enjoy exploring Gaudi’s iconic Sagrada Familia or browsing the Mercado de La Boqueria for some homemade meats and cheeses or churros and chocolate.

If a beach day is what you crave, choose an itinerary that includes calls on Greece — particularly the port of Mykonos. Beachfront dining is ample in places like Santorini or Turkey’s Kusadasi, just a stone’s throw from the ancient town of Ephesus, which is still an active archeological dig site.

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The 10 Best Cruise Ports In The Mediterranean

When I was young I was lucky enough that my parents used to take me on trips with them, which is one of the reasons I love travelling so much today.

Especially my dad always used to travel for work and he took me with him when possible. Being a TV producer, one of the projects that allowed us to travel the most was a travel documentary set on cruise boats.

Ive been on a number of cruises around the Western Mediterranean, Eastern Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Caribbean and Middle East.

I havent seen it all but I can confidently say Ive seen a fair few cruise ports around the world.

For this post Ive teamed up with Celebrity Cruises to bring to you a compilation of the best cruise ports in the Mediterranean.

If youre planning a Mediterranean cruise but youre not sure what harbours to visit, this is the guide for you!


Sunset in Venice, Italy, a popular Mediterranean cruise destination

Best For Small Ship Fans


In and 2020 SeaDream I and SeaDream II sailaround the Greek islands on 7-day round-trip departures fromAthens. Both enjoy lots of late evenings in port in pretty townslike Milos and Patmos, making the most of the al fresco nature ofthese ships. Enjoy dining on deck watching the warm Mediterraneansun dip below the horizon – pure bliss.

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The Rich History And Archaeological Sites

East Mediterranean cruise will show you one of the most celebrated historic sites in the world. What makes you feel so delighted is their rich histories and archaeological treasures.

East Mediterranean is a place where the West encounters the East. It is also a place where Roman, Byzantine, Greek and Ottoman Empires once flourished in the Mediterranean Basin. It is Europes best-preserved regions for the exploration of the archaeological sites.

Best New Ship: Celebrity Cruises

Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

  • Duration: 10 nights
  • Ship Name: Celebrity Edge
  • Itinerary: Civitavecchia, Italy Messina, Italy Santorini, Greece Athens, Greece Mykonos, Greece Rhodes, Greece Chania, Crete, Greece Naples, Italy

Celebritys much-anticipated new ship, the Celebrity Edge, launched in December 2018 and will be plying the waters of the Mediterranean this summer and fall. Better yet, the 10-night voyage allows extra time to experience all the vessel has to offer. The avant garde ship steps away from traditional ship layouts , and has trend-setting features like a rooftop garden with live musical performances, a curtainless theater with 10 panoramic screens, Eden Bar, a glass-enclosed lounge with interactive performances and Magic Carpet, a cantilevered elevator deck that spans 13 floors. The cruise sails round-trip from Rome and visits three countries in six ports of call.

For more options, check out our guide to the best cruise lines.

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Best Value: Norwegian Cruise Line

Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

  • Ship Name: Norwegian Epic
  • Itinerary: Naples, Italy Rome, Italy Livorno, Italy Cannes, France Palma de Mallorca, Spain

For an affordable and fun-filled cruise ship from a convenient departure port, consider the Norwegians Epics round-trip voyage from Barcelona. Norwegian Epic is one of the cruise lines most popular ships, with more than 20 dining venues and unique activities and entertainment. Cruisers can experience Cirque Dreams and Dinner show, the Aqua Park with the largest bowl slide at sea, a boxercise ring at the fitness center, a bowling alley, an adults-only lounge and an array of teens and kids clubs. Theres also a variety of cabin choices from solo traveler studios, family staterooms and spa suites. In addition, the cruise visits France, Spain and three stops in Italy.

Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Departure Ports

East Mediterranean And Greece Cruise Tips And Watch Outs. 9 Must-Knows Before Cruising.

Your ship will depart from either a port in Rome , Venice, Bari or Athens . The sail to Italy, Croatia and Greece.

  • You may set sail from Southampton or Barcelona if you combine Western Mediterranean Cruise.
  • You can also find cruises which visit Turkey, Egypt and Israel if you would like to extend further.

Hotels and Transfers at Mediterranean Cruise Departure Ports

Your ship will depart either from Barcelona, Civitavecchia or Venice. These are Europes major departure ports. You can also arrive in Rome or Madrid and stay there for a few nights before you set sail.

It is easy to transfer to the sailing ports. It is important to arrange your flight and accommodation in advance if you save money.

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Multiple World Heritage Sites

Visit the Temple of Hephaestus and Parthenon in Athens. Explore the historic towns in Dubrovniks impressive 16th-century walls. Enjoy a gondola ride in the Venetian Lagoon. Everything is possible in one cruise.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in sailing Eastern Mediterranean :

  • Venice and its Lagoon, Italy
  • The Old City of Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Acropolis in Athens and Historic Centre with the Monastery of Saint John, Medieval City of Rhodes in the Greek Islands, Greece
  • Natural and Culturo-Historical Region in Kotor, Montenegro
  • Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey
  • Baháí Shrines and Gardens Haifa, Temple Mount, Israel

Featured Mediterranean Land Programs

  • Sacred Treasures of Greece

    From the ancient ruins of Delphi and the Acropolis to the magnificent Meteora Monasteries, you will experience some of Greeceâs most sacred treasures during this extensive 4-day program, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites. Nestled in the towering rocks of Mt. Parnassus, Delphi transports you to the 6th century BC, while 14th-century monasteries constructed on seemingly inaccessible clifftops have you climbing toward the heavens. Youâll also explore the Acropolis in Athens, arguably the greatest architectural contribution of ancient Greece. In between your tours of these top Greek attractions and monasteries, youâll have time to enjoy the colorful old quarter of Athens, savor delicious Greek cuisine and discover the traditional town of Kalambaka.

    Program includes:

  • Transfer from the airport to the hotel in Athens
  • Deluxe coach for touring
  • Accommodation in Athens at the Divani Caravel Hotel or similar
  • Accommodation in Kalambaka at the Divani Meteora Hotel or similar
  • 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners
  • Entrance fees to all sites visited
  • Applicable taxes
  • English-speaking guide for tours
  • 3 nights at the Hotel Inglaterra or similar in Seville
  • Touring and entrances per the itinerary
  • 4 lunches
  • 1 night at the NH Gran Calderon Hotel in Barcelona â subject to change
  • 2 nights at the Parador de Cardona Hotel â – subject to change
  • 3 breakfasts
  • Barcelona panoramic city tour on Day 2
  • City tax
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    Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Tips

    Cover up. While some beaches in Greece and Turkey might be clothing-optional, Orthodox churches, synagogues and mosques usually enforce strict dress codes. Whether you’re a man or woman, cover your shoulders, midriff and knees. Some tourist sites do offer shawls for bare-shouldered women, but it’s better to bring your own — and wear capris.

    Read up. With so many old civilizations in one region, it’s easy to get disoriented. A little bit of advance reading, be it fiction or nonfiction, could go a long way in terms of preparation. Got kids? D’Aulaires'”Book of Greek Myths” is a must.

    Drink up. The sun can be brutal in the Med during the heat of summer. Make sure you bring plenty of bottled water, and hydrate frequently.

    Lace up. The terrain at ancient sites like Ephesus can be dusty and uneven. You’ll want shoes with some traction it’s not the place for flimsy footwear.

    Rest up. You could spend days exploring major cities like Istanbul, Venice and Jerusalem even the smaller, ports such as Dubrovnik and Athens, are jam-packed with must-see monuments. If you’re the type who wants to do it all, make sure you take it easy on sea days to recuperate.

    Top Accessible Eastern Mediterranean Cruise From Rome

    The Lux Traveller

    While most Eastern Mediterranean cruises depart from Venice, Celebrity offers a great 11 night Eastern Mediterranean cruise option where 100% of the ports have accessible shore excursions. One of my favorite features of this cruise is that it visits the top two Greek Islands, Mykonos and Santorini, while many other cruises only visit one or the other.

    Spectacular Turkish attractions like the ruins of Ephesus and the Blue Mosque. The Athens acropolis and Pompeii are also on this itinerary.

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    “Let me thank all you guys at Sage Traveling. I got my scooter in Berlin. It was a brand new Orion”Read More…

    “I am a wheelchair user and have just returned with my husband from a cruise which started in Istanbul and ended in Venice. The information you provided on both these cities was absolutely invaluable”Read More…


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    The Best Eastern Mediterranean Cruises In 2019 And 2020

    The Eastern Mediterranean is a classic cruisingdestination, and there is no other area offering such a variety ofports of call to be visited on a single itinerary.

    We’re delighted to see the region making a comeback, as morecruise lines announce their return with an increase in voyages inthe Eastern Med. Highlights include the Greek islands, with their charming whitewashedbuildings, cobbled streets and rustic fishing villages thescintillating city of Istanbul, where highlights include theTopkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque and the Grand Bazaar and theHolyLand, such a significant place for followers of Judaism,Christianity and Islam.

    The Eastern Mediterranean is ideal for spring sunshine or anautumn escape, and itineraries commonly operate in May and October,although summer departures are also available. We’ve picked out afew of the best Eastern Mediterranean voyages from a selection ofour favourite cruise lines.

    Luxury Cruises To The Eastern Mediterranean

    From its stunning coastline and ancient architecture to its famous cuisine and charming culture, cruising through the Eastern Mediterranean is one of the most rewarding vacations youll ever experience.

    On one of our luxury European cruises to the Eastern Mediterranean, youll discover incredible ports in Israel, Croatia, Greece, Malta, Turkey, Slovenia, Montenegro, and Italy. Stroll alongside the white-washed buildings of Santorini. Explore the walled city of Dubrovnik. Marvel at historic landmarks in Istanbul. Or visit one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World in Ephesus. Theres no shortage of beauty and wonder awaiting during an Eastern Mediterranean cruise.

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    What Are Popular Regions Of The Mediterranean

    Europe’s Mediterranean region can be broken down into two sub-regions: Eastern Mediterranean and Western Mediterranean. The Western Med offers a well-rounded mix of culture, history, beaches and shopping, featuring popular ports in Italy, Spain and France.

    The Eastern Med is known more for its beaches and ancient historical sites, offering calls on ports in Turkey and Greece, as well as occasional visits to Croatia, Montenegro, Israel and Russia.

    Best Budget: Msc Cruises

    Mediterranean Cruise Ports
    • Ship Name: MSC Bellissima
    • Itinerary: Genoa, Italy Barcelona, Spain

    MSC is a mainstream cruise line that specializes in affordable cruises in the Mediterranean region with more than 14 of its vessels cruising there thats nearly the entire fleet. Its newest ship, the MSC Bellissima, sails a series of round-trip cruises from Naples that visits four countries in seven days: Malta, Italy, Spain and France. The Bellissima is also fully-loaded with new innovations, like the worlds first robot cruise assistant, a massive LED dome on the central promenade and digital technology that allows guests to connect with each other onboard. Entertainment ranges from dazzling Cirque du Soleil shows to a desert-themed water park plus, theres 12 different dining options and 20 bars.

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    Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Lines

    When sailing the Eastern Mediterranean, cruisers are spoiled for choice. Big ships tend to visit big ports — the “greatest hits” of the Eastern Mediterranean destinations, such as Venice, Athens and Istanbul. Almost all major lines offer such sailings, including Celebrity, Holland America, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Disney.

    For a more European feel, consider cruising the region with a company based on the continent. Costa and MSC Cruises, both headquartered in Italy, offer shorter and often cheaper itineraries . British lines P& O, Thomson and Cunard have numerous sailings, while the German line Hapag-Lloyd provides the ultimate in luxury. Based in Athens, Celestyal Cruises offers both short and long cruises around the Med and Variety has yacht-style sailings to small Greek islands that aren’t served by larger ships, and Noble Caledonia bases its expedition-style Island Sky in the region.

    Luxury vessels also ply this region of the Med, including Regent Seven Seas, Azamara, Crystal, Silversea, Oceania and Seabourn. Often, these voyages not only visit smaller ports like Hvar, Split, Mykonos, Santorini and Cyprus, but they’re longer in duration, also traveling to the Western Mediterranean.

    Top 10 Eastern Mediterranean Cruises

    One of the best ways to visit the Mediterranean is to enjoy one of the many wonderful and exciting eastern Mediterranean cruises that are available from the many cruise lines. There are many wonderful places to see while enjoying one of the eastern Mediterranean cruises. Among these exotic ports of call are Italy, Greece, Egypt and Turkey to name just a few. Here, we have compiled a list of the ten best Mediterranean cruises.

    1. Jewels of the Aegean Cruise this is a relaxing seven day cruise offered by Louis Cruises. Your ship will depart from Athens Greece where you will then visit such beautiful ports of call such as Mykonos, Greece, Kusadasi, Turkey, Patmos, Greece and Santorini, Greece. This offers one of the best Greek Islands cruises that are available.

    2. Mediterranean Highlights cruise by Louis Cruises During this wonderful six day cruise, you will depart from Genoa Italy and stop in Marseilles, Minorca and Malta.

    3. Monte Carlo to Athens Cruise by Crystal Cruises You will be able to enjoy seven exciting days visiting Monaco, Florence, Rome, Turkey and Athens. Starting at $3550 per person, you will be staying in a suite with all of the luxuries that are offered.

    4. Seabourn Luxury Cruises Eight Day Mediterranean Tapestry For about $1999 per person you will enjoy one of the best cruises from Venice before you enjoy such ports of call such as San Marino, Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, Greece and back to Italy.

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