River Ship Line #: Viking River Cruises
Parent company Viking Cruises has expanded feverishly in recent years, with more than 60 river ships and six ocean vessels in its fleet. Under Viking River Cruises, the company’s riverboats explore familiar waters like the Danube and Rhône in Europe, as well as faraway itineraries on the Volga in Russia, and the Irrawaddy River in Myanmar. Viking River Cruises also includes complimentary Wi-Fi and select shore excursions in its prices, and its Culture Curriculum offers experiential learning through events like regional wine tastings and menus that rotate seasonally.
Iberian Peninsula Cruises: Spain & Portugal
Cruises along Spain and Portugals southern coasts reveal colorful seaside ports, cobblestone streets, Moorish castles, flavorful food and wine, and brilliant artwork. With its mix of art, food and history, the Iberian Peninsula is top pick for cultural cruises in the Mediterranean.
On the Glories of Spain & Portugal itinerary, take advantage of optional visits to historically rich sites like the Alhambra in Granada and the birthplace of bullfighting. A bonus is adding a UK stamp to your passport while passing through the tiny British territory of Gibraltar.
The 7 Best Mediterranean Cruises Of 2021
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- Best Budget: MSC Cruises See Rates at Expedia“Specializes in affordable cruises in the Mediterranean region with more than 14 of its vessels cruising there.”
- Best Historical Cruise: Voyages to Antiquity See Rates “The journey includes educational excursions, such as the UNESCO World Heritage site of Epidaurus.”
- Best Short Cruise: Celesytal Cruises See Rates“Packs a punch with six ports of call on a four-night cruise.”
- Best Value: Norwegian Cruise Line See Rates at Expedia“An affordable and fun-filled cruise ship from a convenient departure port.”
- Best Tall Ship Cruise: Windstar Cruises See Rates “Passengers will experience exceptional cuisine onboard from award-winning chefs.”
- Best for Luxury: Regent Seven Seas See Rates at Expedia“An excellent choice with all-inclusive pricing and premium service.”
- Best New Ship: Celebrity Cruises See Rates at Expedia“The 10-night voyage allows extra time to experience all the vessel has to offer.”
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When To Book A Mediterranean Cruise
Booking far in advance or relatively last minute can often find you cheaper prices. June, July and August tend to be the busiest, and most expensive, months to take a Mediterranean cruise. Your money will often go further if you plan for the shoulder seasons in spring and fall, when the weather is still reliable, if chillier and grayer. Winter will get you even steeper discounts and fewer crowds, but in most cases, it lacks the sunshine and warm weather the Mediterranean is known for, and youll have fewer daylight hours to explore.
Best Cruise For Beaches
Combine Spanish style with French sophistication and you have a cruise that defines cosmopolitan chic. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises nine-day voyage on luxurious small ship MS Europa 2 leaves Mallorca for a day in Barcelona, then returns to the Balearic Islands calling at Formentera during the day and arriving on Ibiza at 10pm in time to party. Theres also a day in Menorcas capital, Mahon. This is a particularly good cruise for golfers, with access to PGA-standard greens on the French island of Corsica, plus Marseille and Antibes, where you can spend the day before sailing round the corner for an overnight stay at the millionaires playground of Cannes.
*The Mallorca to Cannes cruise on MS Europa 2 departs 22 July, with prices from £5,100pp, based on two people sharing, on an all-inclusive cruise-only basis .
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Best Cruise Lines For Families
The top-ranking cruises for families for 2022 are:
Disney dominates the family cruise category, as it has every year since U.S. News started ranking cruises in 2013.
The company has five ships: Magic, Wonder, Dream, Fantasy and its latest, Disney Wish, which is scheduled to launch in summer 2022. The ship is also set to introduce Disney’s first “attraction at sea” 760 feet of water slide tubes with Mickey Mouse-themed music, lighting and special effects.
Also on the list: Costa Cruises .
Medium Ship Line #: Seabourn Cruise Lines
Dont think of Seabourn as a typical cruiseit ships are much more akin to mega-yachts, with ultra-luxurious decor, service, and dining. The fleet currently has five vessels, the largest of which carry 600 passengers. Their small size allows the vessels to dock in small ports all around the world . Many of the cruise lines guests are lifelong learners, and they flock to the nightly Seabourn Conversation program, which brings all sorts of intriguing figures, from Steve Wozniak to Elaine Paige, on board for lectures and casual chats. In 2015, Seabourn announced a partnership with celebrity chef Thomas Keller, who crafted new menus for the three existing ships and spearheaded new restaurants on the two newest ships, Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation.
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Second Guest Flies Free Offer
Pay airfare for one guest, and you’ll automatically lock-in roundtrip flights for two. Secure these savings online by choosing your nearest airport in step one of your cruise booking, and enjoy air-to-sea made easy. We’ll coordinate your roundtrip flights, and transportation between the airport and cruise port.
Find this offer on 4+ Day Cruises to this destination and beyond.
Small Ship Line #: Silversea Cruises
Silverseaâs five expedition ships stop in the Caribbean, the South Pacific, Europe, Africa, the GalÃ¡pagos, and Antarctica on shorter duration sailings, but they also offer around-the-world itineraries for an international clientele. Off-the-beaten-path excursions make for once-in-a-lifetime experiences, like penguin spotting in Antarctica or private catamaran tours in tropical locales. In September 2019, Silversea completed its first journey through the Northwest Passagea monumental featwith the Silver Explorer, a 144-passenger expedition vessel. The fleet was joined by the new Silver Origin, a Galapagos-specific ship, in 2020.
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How To Find Your Cabin: Port Or Starboard
When on the cruise ship and get off the elevators, its easy to get disorientated and forget if youre on the port or starboard side. Many cruise ships make this easier by using two slightly different patterns on the hallway carpets. The port side may be mainly blue with red details, for example, and the starboard side carpet may be mainly red with blue details.
Learn this quickly and it will be much easier to find your way back to your cabin.
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Best Cruise Lines For Luxury
Smaller cruise lines with ships that fit hundreds rather than thousands of guests dominated U.S. News’ luxury rankings list.
Viking, a cruise line based in Basel, Switzerland, is no stranger to accolades. It topped U.S. News’ luxury list last year too despite Chairman Torstein Hagen indicating he isn’t a fan of the word.
“I have outlawed the use of the word ‘luxury’ I think we are elegant, we are understated and hopefully timeless,” he said at a naming celebration for seven new river boats in March 2019, according to cruising website QuirkyCruises.com.
Also on the list: Silversea Cruises and Oceania Cruises .
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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 Historical Cruise: Voyages To Antiquity
Courtesy of Voyages to Antiquity
- Ship Name: Aegean Odyssey
- Itinerary: Piraeus, Delos, Mykonos, Heraklion, Agios Nikolaos, Karpathos, Nisyros, Rhodes, Santorini, Athens
History buffs who want to learn more about ancient cultures of the Mediterranean ports should consider a cruise with Voyages to Antiquity. The company operates a single ship, the Aegean Odyssey, on longer voyages throughout the Mediterranean region, including the Classical Greece voyage that explores the Greek Islands and comes with a two-night hotel stay in Athens before the cruise. The journey features educational excursions such as the UNESCO World Heritage site of Epidaurus, the deserted isle of Delos, the religious center of the Cyclades and the villages of Karpathos all bundled in the fare. Additionally, the 378-passenger ship has two dining venues, a small spa, library and several lounges.
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Mega Ship Line #: Msc Cruises
Though MSC is headquartered in landlocked Switzerland, this cruise line has mastered the art of mega-ships, building five of the 25 largest in the world: MSC Grandiosa, MSC Bellissima, MSC Meraviglia,MSC Seaview, and MSC Seaside. Each can hold between 5,300 and 6,300 passengers at maximum capacity. MSC Grandiosa is the newest of the five, offering innovative features like Zoe, an artificial intelligencepowered virtual assistant that can help you with any questions or requests on board, as well as impressive entertainment like the third set of Cirque du Soleil shows at sea . But on all five ships, youll find everything from top-notch dining options to bowling alleys to copious outdoor space for sunbathing. MSC has some plans for mega-growth, too: it has another Meraviglia-Plus class ship and four World-class mega-ships in the pipeline, each with a capacity between 5,800 and 6,850 passengers.
Large Ship Line #: Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Cruise Lines is all about good family fun at a pretty affordable price point. The largest cruise line in the world in terms of number of annual passengers as well as fleet count, it has 24 ships that sail North America and Europe, with about half of them having a capacity between 2,500 and 3,900 guests. Carnival is known for its fun upper decks that are akin to an amusement park at sea, between water slides, ropes courses, mini-golf, and attractions like SkyRide, where guests pedal a hanging vehicle around a suspended track.
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For Those Who Want Adventurewith A Side Of Luxury
Luxury expedition ships are part of a growing trend that appeal to an adventurous set who also want the finer things in life, like suites with butler service. Lindblad Expeditions is something else entirely. Its not a cruise we want to curate something, says Sven Lindblad, CEO and founder of the line, which in partnership with National Geographic operates more than a dozen small ships in destinations including Antarctica and the Arctic, Galapagos, and the Mediterranean. The ship is secondary, a place to shower, breathe, hang out,â says Lindblad. âIt is comfortable and the service is great. But the main show is outside of the ship.
You are closer to areas you want to see, whether its a wildlife area, natural history, or a cultural area, says Lindblad fan Judy Pool of Denver. Her favorite itineraries include seeing the penguins and other animals in the Antarctic and South Georgia, and the culture and natural history in the British Isles. Then there was the time in Indonesia when the captain got word that a volcano was erupting. We went off course and watched the volcano and the lava coming down into the ocean for at least two hours, and this was at 11 p.m. at night, Pool says. That kind of flexibility appeals to me.
Sailing ships such as the Sea Cloud allow passengers to feel closer to the water.
Dalmatian Coast Cruises: Croatia Albania Montenegro & Greece
The southernmost shoreline of Croatia, running from the island of Rab south to the Bay of Kotor, is a popular stretch of coastline. Almost all Croatia cruises visit this region, solidifying it as one of the best places to visit in the Mediterranean.
Historic hillside towns made of brick and terracotta drop down to the sea in dramatic fashion, with fortified castles standing guard at the waters edge This trendy region offers ancient Roman marble palaces, quiet beaches on small off-shore islands, cultural dances by engaging locals, world-renowned wine tasting and delectable dishes.
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The Many Sides Of The Mediterranean
The Mediterranean Sea is so large965,300 square milesthat it can be broken down into regions, each with its own personality, cuisine, and scenery. The Eastern Mediterranean covers the Holy Land, the Greek Islands, and the countries of the Adriatic Sea. The Western Mediterranean is generally comprised of Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, and Monaco. You can experience it all by booking back-to-back cruises in both regions.
Regulatory And Industry Response
Corrado Clini, Italyâs Minister of Environment, said that sail-by salutes, a âcustom that has resulted in an outcome visible to allâ, should no longer be tolerated. On 23 January 2012, UNESCO asked Italy to reroute cruise ships to avoid sailing too close to âculturally and ecologically important areasâ, and on 1 March, Italy excluded large ships from sailing closer than two miles from marine parks.
The European Maritime Safety Agency was in the process of conducting a review of maritime safety when the accident occurred. On 24 January 2012, Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas told the Transportation Committee of the European Parliament that lessons learned from the loss of Costa Concordia would be taken into account. British MEPJacqueline Foster warned against âtrial by television and trial by newspapersâ, a view that was backed by fellow British MEP Brian Simpson, who said that it was âgood practice to wait for the official reportâ.
On 18 January 2012, the Chairman of the United States House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure announced that it would hold a hearing, conducted jointly with the committeeâs Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, to âreview the events of this specific incident, current safety measures and training requirementsâ. Testimony and statements at the 29 February hearing primarily promoted North American cruise ships as being safe.
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Best For Luxury: Regent Seven Seas
Courtesy of Regent Seven Seas
- Duration: 7 nights
- Ship Name: Seven Seas Voyager
- Itinerary: Florence/Pisa, Italy Portofino, Italy Corsica, France Palma De Mallorca, Spain Barcelona, Spain Toulon, France Monte Carlo, Monaco
For an ultra-luxurious yacht voyage through the Meditteranean, Regent Seven Seas is an excellent choice with all-inclusive pricing and premium service. In Pisa and Florence, guests can enjoy the historic sites of Renaissance Italy, or in Barcelona, they can visit the sublime architecture of Antoni Gaudí. Every stateroom on the 700-passenger ship is a spacious suite with a private balcony. On Regent, everything is included: airfare, specialty restaurants, gratuities, Wi-Fi and beverages are all part of the pricing. Theres plenty to do onboard as well, ranging from a relaxing spa, onboard cooking lessons, trivia and lively evening shows.
Best Mediterranean Cruises For Ancient Wonders
Luxury all-inclusive line Seabourn is returning to Turkeys most fascinating city, Istanbul, this year and this seven-night Ephesus & Greek Isles voyage offers a lovely way to meander through the Aegean isles and along the Turquoise Coast. Departing from Piraeus, the ancient port on the edge of Athens, it calls at beautiful Greek islands including Patmos a UNESCO world heritage site Mykonos, with its maze-like whitewashed streets, and Skiathos, where you can get boats to isolated beaches. Theres also a day on the Turkish island of Tenedos, which has a crenelated fortress and cobblestone streets, before arriving at Istanbul, where a post-cruise hotel stay is available.
*The Ephesus & Greek Isles cruise on Seabourn Ovation departs 10 October, with prices from £3,499pp, based on two people sharing, including flights and onboard credit .
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Small Ship Line #1: American Cruise Lines
American Cruise Lines has the unique distinction of operating not only old-school paddlewheelers in the United States, but also contemporary river ships. And they dont just sail on the Mississippiyou can also explore the Columbia and Snake Rivers in the Pacific Northwest, too. Beyond that, the 13-strong fleet also has oceangoing vessels that explore the coasts surrounding the entire country, from New England to Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico.
Large Ship Line #: Norwegian Cruise Line
Things escalated quickly for Norwegian: the cruise line jumped from medium-size ships to mega-ships practically overnight , with just three ships in its current fleet sized somewhere in between. But thats soon about to change. Norwegian currently has six ships on order as part of Project Leonardo, each of which will hold about 3,300 passengers. Its interesting to see a cruise line scale back from its mega-ships and opt for a more manageable size for such a large order. Details about the new ships are scarce, though the first is expected to launch in 2022.
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