Western Mediterranean Cruises

A European cruise in the western Mediterranean is the stuff dreams are made of. Immerse yourself in the romance of France, Italy, Portugal and Spain. Celebrity, Costa, Crystal, Cunard, Holland America, MSC, Norwegian, Oceania, Princess, Royal Caribbean International, Seabourn, SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea, Star Clippers, and Windstar Cruises all offer European cruise itineraries in the western Mediterranean. Itineraries change all the time, and all of the cruise lines are adding new destinations and ports of call on a regular basis.

A European cruise is a perfect way to see the French Riviera. The picturesque ports along the Cote d’Azur are situated very close together, and are the subject of many paintings by Matisse, Picasso and Renoir. Villefranche-sur-Mer is a quaint town also in the Cote d’Azur region of the south of France, and a popular port of call on many European cruise itineraries. In Marseille, tour the Notre-Dame-de-la-Guarde, a fantastic example of Neo-Byzantine architecture. While in Nice, visit Old Town and search for the Opera House. Famous for its International Film Festival, Cannes is perfect for people watching, especially on its Boulevard de la Croisette and long stretches of sandy beaches. If the hedonistic beaches of St. Tropez aren’t your style, visit Old Town and hit the museums. If your ship stops in Monte Carlo in the principality of Monaco, don’t miss the opulent Grand Casino and the Palace Carabinier.

As you look at a map of Italy, identify which coastal towns would be of interest to you. Most European cruise itineraries include stops in Rome (Civitavecchia), Venice, Naples and nearby Pompeii; and Florence, Pisa and Siena from the port of Livorno. You could spend weeks alone in Rome, but be sure not to miss St. Peter’s Basilica. In Venice, tour the awe-inspiring Palazzo Ducale. Choose from three shore excursions from Livorno: visit the Leaning Tower in Pisa, the Uffizi museum in Florence and the aerial bridges in Siena. While in Naples, take a side trip to view the excavation of Western Pompeii near Mount Vesuvius. Many European cruise itineraries in the western Mediterranean also include stops on the island of Sardinia, and Palermo and Messina in Sicily.

Tower of Belém in Lisbon, Portugal

Tower of Belém in Lisbon, Portugal

A European cruise in the western Mediterranean often includes a stop in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. For a great view of the city, take the wrought iron Elevator de Santa Justa. Other fun shore excursions include a visit to the 16th century monastery, Mosteiro dos Jeronimos and an afternoon of wandering through the Alfama quarter. A “must-see” in Lisbon is the Praca do Comercio, also called the Terreiro do Paco, site of the former royal palace. Some European cruise lines include a stop on Portugal’s island of Madeira at the town of Funchal. While in Funchal, make a point to see the Praca do Municipio with its black and white stones.

Popular European cruise line destinations in Spain include Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca on the island of Mallorca. Some cruise lines offer packages that actually begin in Seville or Madrid, and then travel by land to Barcelona for embarkation. Barcelona offers tremendous opportunities to view great works of Gothic and modern art and architecture; don’t miss the Museu Picasso and the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia. Spain’s island of Mallorca offers you a lush and varied natural environment, and the massive Palma Cathedral. If your shore excursion allows it, try and get a glimpse of the Cathedral at night. Other western Mediterranean cruise itineraries in Spain include stops in Gibraltar, Malaga and Cadiz.