Plan the Perfect Mediterranean Cruise

Clear turquoise waters on the coast of Italy that you can visit on a cruise
Let your Mediterranean cruise take you to some of the most stunning spots in Europe. | Author: Simon

From sun-soaked beaches that rival those of the Caribbean to historic cities steeped in culture, art, and vibrant nightlife, the Mediterranean offers a diverse array of experiences sure to capture the interest and enthusiasm of any cruiser. Whether you want to explore the ancient ruins of Greece, go on a shopping spree along the French Riviera, sample local delicacies in Italy, party in Spain, peruse the extensive markets of Turkey, or even hike in Tunisia, the one thing all these things have in common is you can do all of them on a Mediterranean cruise.

Gear up for your next Mediterranean cruise by exploring our top tips including which cruise line to take, when and where to go, and how much to budget for this vacation of a lifetime! 

Best Cruise Lines for the Mediterranean

Many cruise lines offer Mediterranean itineraries, but these cruise lines go above and beyond with immersive onshore experiences, excellent dining and entertainment, or simply great deals.

Best Time of Year to Take a Mediterranean Cruise

As a cruise region, the Mediterranean is one of the best because it offers different experiences all year round. However, depending on what you want to experience, there are certain times of the year when taking a Mediterranean cruise makes more sense. 

Go in winter (Nov - Feb) for better fares

Pros: Cheaper fares, fewer crowds, excellent festivals (don’t miss Carnival in Venice in February!)

Cons: Rougher seas, lower temperatures

Best Destination: Canary Islands - temperatures rarely drop below 70F and rainfall is more manageable, even in winter

Go in the spring (Mar - May) for good weather

Pros: Gorgeous temperate weather, lots of festivals, fewer crowds, reasonable prices

Cons: Rough seas possible, festivals and holidays could mean closed attractions

Best Destination: Spain and Italy - these places can be sweltering in summer and chilly in winter, so if you plan to spend time outdoors, opt for a spring trip

Go in the summer (Jun - Aug) for sun & longer hours

Pros: Tons of sun, warm weather, smooth sailing, lots of onshore options

Cons: Sky-high prices, crowds, some attraction closures possible in August due to European holidays

Best Destination: Dubrovnik (Croatia) - cool off with a dip in some of the world’s clearest sea water before taking a tour of the fort featured on Game of Thrones

Go in the fall (Sep - Oct) for high value

Pros: Warm temperatures, fewer crowds, reasonable prices

Cons: Rougher seas and lower temperatures likely in late fall

Best Destination: Sardinia - warmer waters surround the island with an oasis of lingering summer heat

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How Much Does a Mediterranean Cruise Cost?

The cost of a Mediterranean cruise varies based on different criteria. However, no matter when you go or on which cruise line, there are plenty of ways to save money on your cruise vacation. For one thing, you can activate free price alerts that will notify you as soon as prices change on your preferred sailing. We also provide accurate price predictions that will help you determine the best time to book with clear recommendations. All of these things can make saving money on your cruise easier.

Beyond that, here are some things to keep in mind when budgeting for your Mediterranean cruise:

When You Go

Chances are, if you book your cruise during the high season or peak season, which in the Mediterranean is the summer, you’ll pay more. Booking a cruise in the winter can save money, but you may trade off with rougher seas or fewer onshore excursion options.

Which Cruise Line You Choose

Mainstream cruise lines like Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, and MSC Cruises tend to offer cheaper fares than luxury cruise lines like Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas, or Windstar.

How Far in Advance You Book

We’ve done a lot of research into when exactly to book your cruise in order to save the most (down to the day of the week!), and we’ve found that generally the best deals can be found either more than a year in advance, or within just 100 days before departure. You can read the whole study (which breaks the results down by cruise line) here

What Countries Do Mediterranean Cruises Visit?

Typically, Mediterranean cruises can be categorized into either Eastern Mediterranean cruises, Western Mediterranean cruises, or Southern Mediterranean Cruises. 

Eastern Mediterranean cruises can visit the following countries:

  • Greece

  • Croatia

  • Turkey

  • Cypress

  • Bulgaria

Western Mediterranean cruises can visit these countries:

  • Italy (including Sicily)

  • France

  • Spain (including the Canary Islands)

  • Portugal

  • Croatia

Southern Mediterranean cruises may visit:

  • Tunisia

  • Libya

  • Egypt

  • Morocco

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14 Night Ic
Details

Cruise line and ship

Allure of the Seas

Port

Barcelona

Date

Nov 01, 2020

Interior

$1275

Oceanview

$1558

Balcony

$2208

Suite

$6527

Rating

4.2

14 Night Canary Islands & Cococay Cruise
Details

Cruise line and ship

Rhapsody of the Seas

Port

Barcelona

Date

Nov 07, 2020

Interior

$729

Oceanview

$899

Balcony

$1772

Suite

$2174

Rating

3.8

15 Night Repositioning Cruise
Details

Cruise line and ship

Norwegian Escape

Port

New York City

Date

Apr 18, 2020

Interior

$849

Oceanview

$1249

Balcony

$1399

Suite

$1629

Rating

3.9

15 Night Island Highlights Cruise
Details

Cruise line and ship

Celebrity Constellation

Port

Civitavecchia

Date

Nov 18, 2019

Interior

$869

Oceanview

$1199

Balcony

$1299

Suite

$2849

Rating

3.6

16 Night Canary Islands & Argentina
Details

Cruise line and ship

Celebrity Silhouette

Port

Barcelona

Date

Nov 20, 2020

Interior

$1799

Oceanview

$2119

Balcony

$2419

Suite

$5149

Rating

4.0

16 Night Repositioning Cruise
Details

Cruise line and ship

MSC Preziosa

Port

Genoa & Portofino

Date

Nov 21, 2019

Interior

$859

Oceanview

$1109

Balcony

$1409

Suite

$3359

Rating

3.2

14 Night Bermuda & Spain Crossing Cruise
Details

Cruise line and ship

Rhapsody of the Seas

Port

Tampa

Date

Apr 18, 2020

Interior

$875

Oceanview

$1040

Balcony

$1979

Suite

$5423

Rating

3.8

4 Night Western Mediterranean Cruise
Details

Cruise line and ship

Costa Pacifica

Port

Genoa & Portofino

Date

Mar 23, 2020

Interior

$489

Oceanview

$549

Balcony

$629

Suite

$809

Rating

3.2

4 Night Western Mediterranean Cruise
Details

Cruise line and ship

Costa Pacifica

Port

Barcelona

Date

Mar 21, 2020

Interior

$489

Oceanview

$549

Balcony

$629

Suite

$909

Rating

3.2

4 Night Western Mediterranean Cruise
Details

Cruise line and ship

Costa Pacifica

Port

Marseille

Date

Mar 22, 2020

Interior

$399

Oceanview

-

Balcony

-

Suite

-

Rating

3.2


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