The Hundred Mile Horizon
The Mediterranean ‘Middle of the Earth’ enabled trade for the Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans and Arabs, to name a few, since the start of history. Museums on its shores display recovered sea relics from these ancient civilisations. Its ports are gateways to the treasures of Egypt, Turkey, Greece and Rome. Call at modern resorts on the Cote d’Azur, the Principality of Monaco, and islands of France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey and Malta. Some of the key ports are Barcelona, Civitavecchia (Rome), Venice, Athens and Istanbul.
Cruises broadly group as Western Mediterranean, Eastern Mediterranean, Black Sea, and Holy Land. Where to visit first. Ancient Rome and the Vatican, the Acropolis of Athens, the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, unearthed civilisations of Turkey, or Egyptian megaliths. Well, just plan for a second and third cruise.
All the large and luxury lines cruise the Mediterranean. PandO ships embark from Southampton (UK). Costa Cruise’s family-oriented European-taste vessels are at home in the Mediterranean, as are the premium Celebrity ships with their Greek ‘X’ on the funnel. Many cruise vessels relocate from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean for the northern summer. Call at less-visited ports by taking one of the smaller luxury vessels of Azamara, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn or Silversea. Sailing is year-round in the Mediterranean. Embark from the UK or one of the Mediterranean ports. Consider on-shore tour options offered by the cruise line or local tour operators. On some cruises the ship stays overnight in port to allow for more time to look around, say, cities like Athens or Istanbul. Can you plan a pre- or post-tour to allow for a longer stay in a city? Smaller vessels offer premium/luxury cruising, off-the-track small ports, and overnight stays where you need more time to explore on shore.