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Best Mediterranean cruises

5 dreamy trips to feast your eyes and indulge your senses while catching a sultry tan.

Cruise lines can help you to discover even more unique treasures peppered around the Mediterranean Sea. From blue-domed rooftops in Santorini and ancient architecture in Rome to fresh seafood in Greek tavernas and world-class wine-tasting in Portugal. These and more are all served with a generous dollop of warm Mediterranean sunshine.

Ports with Mediterranean cruises

Mediterranean cruises start in gorgeous sun-kissed port cities around the legendary Mediterranean sea, most frequently in France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal and Croatia. Some longer cruises kick off in Northern Europe. Here’s where the best cruises around the Mediterranean begin:

  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
  • Genoa, Italy
  • Lisbon, Portugal
  • Malta, Spain
  • Marseille, France
  • Piraeus (Athens), Greece
  • Savona, Italy
  • Valencia, Spain
  • Valletta, Malta
  • Venice, Italy

Traveling during COVID-19
The CDC continues to advise caution when traveling within or outside the US, However, it no longer requires self-quarantine or a COVID-19 test for fully vaccinated domestic travelers as of April 2021. International travelers need to get tested three days prior to flying out of the US and within three days after returning, even if you are fully vaccinated. It recommends that you delay travel if you’re not fully vaccinated to protect yourself and your family from getting or spreading the virus.

If you’re planning a trip outside the US, bear in mind that many countries have placed restrictions on US tourists. Check the US embassy website for updates before booking international travel.

Our favorite Mediterranean cruises

Cruise lineCruiseItineraryPriceBook
CostaMediterranean from Marseilles — 15 days
  • Marseille, France
  • Savona, France
  • Salerno, Italy
  • Catania, Italy
  • Istanbul, Turkey
  • Izmir, Turkey
  • Piraeus/Athens, Greece
  • Crete, Greece
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Marseille, France
From $1,679 per person
MSC CruisesMediterranean — 7 nights
  • Venice, Italy
  • Bari, Italy
  • Corfu, Greece
  • Mykonos, Greece
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Venice, Italy
From $688 per personBook now
Celebrity CruisesItaly, Croatia & Malta — 7 nights
  • Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy
  • Sicily (Messina), Italy
  • Valletta, Malta
  • Corfu, Greece
  • Split, Croatia
  • Venice, Italy
From $1,299 per personBook now
VikingMalta & the Western Mediterranean — 11 days
    • Valletta, Malta
    • Valletta, Malta
    • Sicily, Italy
    • Naples, Italy
    • Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy
    • Florence/Pisa, Italy
    • Genoa, Italy
    • Barcelona, Spain
    • Valletta, Malta
    From $3,799 per personBook now
    AzamaraAegean Pursuit — 11 nights
    • Piraeus (Athens), Greece
    • Santorini, Greece
    • Amorgos, Greece
    • Rhodes (Lindos), Greece
    • Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey
    • Kepez (Troy/Gallipoli), Turkey
    • Mykonos, Greece
    • Piraeus (Athens), Greece
    From $2,379 per person

    Best cruise lines sailing to the Mediterranean

    Best for budget travelers: Costa

    With prices starting from $375 for seven-day cruises, Costa is considered to be one of the most budget-friendly cruise operators in the Mediterranean. What’s more, these low prices don’t mean fewer services or amenities. Costa continually upgrades its fleet and employs roughly one crew member for every three cruisers to assure top-class service.
    • Room service included
    • No free alcohol
    • Food included
    • No price matching
    • Visa, Mastercard, American Express
    Price ($-$$$):
    Book now

    Best for lengthy trips: MSC

    There’s no need to compromise your creature comforts when you sail the Mediterranean on cruises of two weeks or longer. From fully-equipped gyms to relaxing spa services, boat-wide Wi-Fi to the family-favorite bowling alleys, it’ll feel like a home away from home in no time.
    • Room service included
    • No free alcohol
    • Food included
    • No price matching
    • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover Card
    Price ($-$$$):
    Book now

    Best for country-specific cruises: Royal Caribbean

    Alongside its multidestination sailings, Royal Caribbean Cruises offers a number of destination-specific cruises, so you can get to know one country’s coastline in-depth. From a seven-night, island-hopping adventure through the Greek Islands to a trip down the Amalfi Coast of Italy, you’ll leave no coastal stone unturned.
    • Room service included
    • No free alcohol
    • Food included
    • Price matches
    • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners, Discover Card
    Price ($-$$$):
    Book now

    Best for cruise land extensions: Viking Ocean Cruises

    Why limit your holiday to only a cruise? Viking offers a range of land extension add-ons to the start or end of your sailing. Make unforgettable memories in the cosmopolitan city of Barcelona, on the banks of Lake Como or in charming Venice before you even step foot on your cruise ship.
    • Room service included
    • No free alcohol
    • Food included
    • No price matching
    • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover Card, Cheque
    Price ($-$$$):
    Book now

    Best for foodies: Celebrity

    From the delights you eat onboard to the restaurants you dine in onshore, your gastronomic cravings will not be disappointed. On the ships, diners can enjoy residencies by Michelin and celebrity chefs. Onshore, Celebrity Cruises will point you in the direction of extraordinary culinary options, and will help make reservations at popular restaurants.
    • Room service included
    • No free alcohol
    • Food included
    • No price matching
    • Visa, Mastercard, American Express
    Price ($-$$$):
    Book now

    Best for intimate trips: Azamara

    With its range of mid-sized ships, cruisers on board an Azamara liner can enjoy a less-crowded ship and access to some of the Mediterranean’s more remote ports. So, not only will you receive a more personalized experience onboard, but you’re almost guaranteed to have more authentic encounters onshore too.
    • No free room service
    • No free alcohol
    • Food included
    • No price matching
    Price ($-$$$):
    Book now

    How we picked the best cruises.

    You’d think that with so many cruise lines operating in and around the Mediterranean, singling out the best cruises would be an impossible task … not for our experienced team. We combine our personal experiences with up-to-date blogs, travel websites and online reviews to bring you a well-rounded, transparent opinion.

    Cruising through the Mediterranean is all about sun, culture and gastronomy, so we spent hours making sure the cruises we picked offer stop-offs at the best ports and allow enough time for exploration. Back on board, dining options, entertainment offerings, hospitality and value for money are all taken into account, so you can experience an unforgettable holiday for the right price.

    When is the best time to cruise to the Mediterranean?

    While cruises to the Mediterranean are offered year-round, April through to October sees some of the most pleasant sea and weather conditions. This is also peak season so there is a wider range of companies and cruises to choose from.

    And with temperatures often exceeding 86ºF, sunbathing and beaches are top of the itinerary. Europe’s school holidays take place from June through to August, so try to avoid these months if you’d prefer a less crowded experience.

    Alternatively, if you don’t mind cruising in cooler temperatures, the off-season months of November through to February reward travelers with lower prices, quieter streets and more authentic experiences.

    What are the must-do cruise excursions in the Mediterranean?

    Every few days your ship will dock in a new and exciting port, home to unique architecture, historic hotspots and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Here are a few must-do shore excursions to experience on your adventures through the Mediterranean:

    • Florence, Italy. Full to the brim with renaissance architecture and Tuscan cuisine, Florence is a delight for the eyes as well as the taste buds.
    • Seville, Spain. Perched proudly in the heart of the city, Seville Cathedral is registered as a UNESCO world heritage site for its unique gothic architecture dating back to the 16th century.
    • Monte Carlo, Monaco. Once you’ve exhausted the city’s shopping options, take a trip to the top of Fort du Mont Alban for stunning panoramas over the Côte D’Azur.
    • Istanbul, Turkey. Haggle for ingredients in the city’s vibrant spice market, before cooking up a storm at a local cooking class.
    • Limassol, Cyprus. Travel beyond Limassol’s flashy new port, teeming with superyachts and elegant cocktail bars, and take a hiking trip into the spectacular Troodos Mountains.

    Bottom Line

    Leave no coast untouched when you cruise through the Mediterranean on one of these all-encompassing cruises. With a cruise to suit every type of traveler and every budget, there’s a little something for everyone in the Mediterranean. Before you book don’t forget to check out the latest cruise deals to score the very best price.

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