How to Plan Your Mediterranean Cruise
When you decide to book a Mediterranean cruise, it can be both exciting and slightly daunting at first. The Mediterranean is such a diverse and varied region that boasts extreme wealth, Hollywood-style glamour and innate charm. There’s such diversity, you can choose from dozens of itineraries and hand pick the destinations that most suit your idea of a perfect cruise. And to step up to a level of luxury can really make this a bucket list experience. Whether luxury means an oceanview over an inside stateroom or Silversea over Azamara, luxury means something different to everyone.
From the Dalmatian Coast to the Cote d’Azur, the Mediterranean is a region that really has something for everyone. Some travelers prefer a 10-day cruise to a particular destination. Others prefer an in-depth, 28-day voyage to see as many different destinations as possible. Simply put, there is no set template for a luxury Mediterranean cruise. The options are nearly endless.
With this in mind, we put together this guide as a starting point for anyone looking to embark on an experience of a lifetime and find the best Mediterranean cruise for them. From sampling local cuisine and folkloric entertainment to deciding whether a balcony stateroom is important, we hope this article will help you gain some clarity for booking your best Mediterranean cruise.
Where Will You Go on Your Mediterranean Cruise?
Perhaps you’re drawn to the vibrant culture of Barcelona, where lunchtime siestas, afternoon tapas and Gaudí’s left-field architecture takes center stage. Maybe it’s the charm of Dubrovnik that you’d like to visit, with its historic landmarks that highlight the old city. Or maybe an Italy-focussed Mediterranean cruise is the only way your trip will be able to fulfill its true potential.
Whatever your preference, your destination will likely form the basis of your adventure. Beyond this, maybe you’ve decided that you’d prefer a longer cruise and one that must contain two or more separate Mediterranean regions. In that case, it’s really important that you find the right cruise that can cater to those unique needs.
Whether a luxury cruise or mainstream, many cruise lines currently combine clusters of countries, such as visiting a handful of destinations in Spain, before moving onto Italy and so on. These are usually grouped into Western Mediterranean or Eastern Mediterranean itineraries.
Almost every cruise destination in the Med can be visited on a wide choice of cruise lines and ships. Once you’ve decided on a Mediterranean region (East, West, Southern), you can form your planning around this.
If you’re stuck for ideas on specific countries or cities, but know you want to visit the Mediterranean region, try thinking about what you’d like to experience on your cruise.
Fans of Italian cuisine, and historical architecture might want to focus on places like Sicily, Rome and the Amalfi Coast.
If you have the same love for Italian food, but value quieter afternoons in sleepy fishing villages, then cruises that stop at places like Lipari, Portovenere, Cinque Terre may be more suited to you.
How long of a Mediterranean cruise would you like?
Once you have your dream destination, or destinations, in mind, the next stage is to decide how many days you’d like to be on your cruise. This may seem a trivial thing to consider, as it surely has little impact on the experience itself. But there are a few things to bear in mind when it comes to deciding how long you’d like to be on a cruise.
Do you want to cram as many different places in at once? Sort of a “If It’s Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium” cruise. Or would you rather take your time and really soak up a destination? The answer, along with your budget, will also help determine how long of a cruise you decide to book.
For example, if you’re quite happy to see as many destinations as possible in a short space of time, then a short week-long cruise might just be enough for you. However, if you’re considering spending more time in each specific destination, either to try out some of Spain’s finest cuisine, to stroll along the Dalmatian Coast at a more leisurely pace, or to enjoy the pasta, pizza and gnocchi on the Amalfi Coast, then you’ll want to either stay for longer, or reduce the amount of countries you choose to visit.
What type of cruise experience would you like on board?
The is really where the pedal meets the metal. It’s crucial to ask yourself a variety of questions to know and understand your wants and expectations.
- What type of on board experience would you most enjoy?
- Are you more likely be found in the gym, or relaxing with a whiskey or wine?
- Is this also going to be a spa vacation?
- Do you enjoy having cocktails in your room?
- Would an inside or oceanview stateroom suffice or do you want to splurge for a balcony stateroom?
Answering all of these questions at the beginning is a great starting point on your planning your Mediterranean cruise. After all, planning, creating and the expectation of the best Mediterranean cruise is exciting and half the fun, too!
I’m the editor and creator of CruiseMaven.com, a solo traveler cruising the world on waves and wheels, collecting recipes along the way. I hope my articles and photos entertain, advise and inspire you to travel the world without flying. Take a breath…stop for a local meal and a glass of wine along the way.