Eastern Mediterranean Cruises

A European cruise in the eastern Mediterranean is your pass to memorable excursions in Croatia, Greece and the Greek Islands, Italy and Turkey. Celebrity, Costa, Crystal, Holland America, MSC, Oceania, Princess, Royal Caribbean International, Seabourn, SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea, Star Clippers and Windstar cruises all have southern European cruise itineraries in the eastern Mediterranean. Itineraries change all the time, and all of the cruise lines are adding new destinations and ports of call on a regular basis.

Many of the eastern Mediterranean cruises start and/or end in Italy, usually in Venice or Rome (Civitavecchia). Venice and Rome are fantastic cities in which to extend your trip an extra 2-4 days, and nearly all of the cruise lines have land packages for cruise passengers that are all-inclusive or include at least your hotel and meals. In Venice, enjoy a gondola ride in the famed canals after a tour of St. Mark’s Basilica. Shore excursions in Rome may include a visit to the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum or a tour of Vatican City.

Tower of Pisa, Italy

Tower of Pisa, Italy

Other European cruise ports in Italy are the island of Sardinia along the Emerald Coast; the city of Naples, overlooked by Mount Vesuvius; and the magical island of Capri. While in Naples, don’t miss the short trip to Pompeii to the excavation of this famed lost city. A stop in Livorna will allow you access to Pisa to visit the famous Leaning Tower, and Florence, where you can visit the famed Medici family art collection at Palazzo Pitti.

While cruising the eastern Mediterranean, your itinerary will most likely include stops in Athens (Piraeus), where a shore excursion to the Acropolis is by far the most popular. Other European cruise itineraries in Greece may include stops in Corfu, where you can wander through Old Town or take a tour of Achilleion Palace; Katakolon (Olympia) for a tour of the Olympia Archeological museum.

No eastern Mediterranean cruise would be complete without stops in at least one of the Greek Islands. On Rhodes, visit the Rhodes Old Town, where you can see the massive gates built to defend the town, and the Palace of the Grand Masters adds to the medieval appeal of this unique Greek island. Mykonos, known for its sandy beaches, is only a short boat ride to the archeological site at Delos. Other Greek Islands that may be part of your European cruise itinerary are Santorini and Patmos. Crete and Cyprus are two nearby island ports of call.

Croatia’s main port of call on eastern Mediterranean cruises is Dubrovnik. Completely restored from the damage caused by war in the early 1990s, Dubrovnik is a magical seaside town with medieval architecture, stone houses and a quaint Old Town. Smaller and alternative ships also may stop in Hvar, Trogir and Korcula, Croatia.

In Turkey, Istanbul is a “must-see” port of call, with countless memorable sites such as the Blue Mosque, the Haghia Sofia, Topkapi Palace and the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts. Other European cruise ports of call in Turkey are Bodrum and Kusadasi (Ephesus). Smaller and alternative offer itineraries that include a trip down the Bosphorus, where you can get up and close and personal with the palaces, fortresses and villas that line this 20-mile stretch of water.