The Mediterranean is a culture lover’s dream, with port after port full of important historic sites, gorgeous architecture, significant museums, unforgettable shopping, and some of the best food on the planet. Best of all, for travelers who have not yet seen much of this part of the world, a Med cruise allows you to sample some of the greatest cities the region has to offer. Think of it as the “pu pu” platter of European travel. You can explore, say, Spain, France, Italy, and Greece — and get enough of a taste of each to figure out which ones you would like to see in more depth.
Even for travelers who have spent time in the area, it’s hard to argue with the appeal of a day in Venice followed by one in Rome, then Monte Carlo, then Barcelona. In fact, if you’ve already seen the key historic sites and museums of one of these cities, then you’re free to shop and eat your way through town, which can feel like a luxury in itself, even for the most sophisticated cruiser.
One word of caution: With such exciting itineraries, and so much to see and do in each port, you may find yourself starting every day early in the morning, not returning to the ship until evening, and then having a late dinner onboard followed by drinks and perhaps catching a show. The result is a trip that’s action-packed and unforgettable, but not relaxing. If you plan to see every port to the fullest, you may need a vacation to recover from your vacation when you return home. Of course, you can always pick a day to stay onboard and hang out at the pool or spa to rejuvenate, but you’ll probably have to do so at the expense of seeing a world-class European city.
Because these itineraries are so intense, be sure to pay special attention to the number of shore days, as well as how they’re paced out on the cruise, and make it a point to fly into your embarkation port a couple days early to allow yourself time to get over any jet lag before you board the ship.