There are 21 countries that border the Mediterranean Sea, and a cruise of the region is a great way to take in several countries with just one trip. The vast body of water (covering more than 960,000 square miles) is almost entirely enclosed by land, with a small connection to the Atlantic Ocean at the Straight of Gibraltar to the west and links to the Sea of Marmara and Black Sea in the east.
Cruises to the Mediterranean account for roughly three-fourths of all cruises to Europe, with the other fourth visiting the British Isles and Northern Europe. With many itineraries lasting seven days or longer there’s plenty of time for a variety of ports, activities, languages and tastes. Sun-worshippers can soak up the rays on the Riviera, while history buffs can admire ancient sites in Rome, Athens and Ephesus. The many stops on a cruise allow visitors to take in the stunning architecture of Florence one day before strolling through the botanical gardens of Cannes the next.
A cruise of the Mediterranean gives travelers access to some of the most popular cities in Europe, combined with the ease and comfort of cruising. Western Mediterranean trips typically call at ports in Spain, France and Italy. Some of the most majestic cities in Europe were built along the water and boast not only beautiful beaches and scenery but renowned cultural attractions. Often-visited ports include Barcelona, Nice, Florence and Rome. Cities in Portugal, Monaco, Tunisia and Morocco are also potential stops.
Itineraries for the Eastern Mediterranean include Greece, Turkey, Croatia, Bulgaria, Ukraine and also Italy again. The boot-shaped country’s central location in the region makes it convenient for trips to either side. Cruises visiting the Holy Land often combine Eastern Mediterranean ports with those in Israel and Egypt. There are also trips that focus specifically on the many islands in Greece.