Mediterranean Cruises: Top Ports to Explore

Santorini is one of the great Mediterranean cruise ports

For chic beaches, labyrinthian old town sectors, and food that’s to die for, nothing beats a Mediterranean cruise. If you’ve had your eye on a sailing to this sun-soaked region, you’ll be pleased to know you have a wide variety of destinations to choose from, each with distinct cultures, cuisines, and terrain. Let’s go over a few of the most popular places to sail to, as well as the sights you shouldn’t miss while you’re there.


Just the city names themselves conjure up images of picture-perfect landscapes and ancient landmarks: Athens, Santorini, Mykonos, Corfu. No matter which ports you visit, a Greece cruise will get you immersed in the endless beauty of this Mediterranean destination. From jaw-dropping pebbled beaches to mouthwatering cuisine, this region offers curious travelers so much. Visit wineries during September’s harvest, take photos of crumbling ancient structures, and revel in a more relaxed pace of life. Just keep in mind a few things: there will be crowds, higher prices, and elbow-to-elbow crowds. Ships will typically be tendered, too, since pulling a huge ship into these tiny ports isn’t feasible.

If visiting the destinations mentioned above sounds perfect, there are plenty of Greece cruise options from mainstream cruise lines such as Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Celebrity, Princess, and Holland. But if you’re looking to visit lesser-known islands, check out luxury cruise lines such as Azamara, Windstar, SeaDream, Seabourn, and Silversea, which operate smaller ships and offer a more intimate experience.


Imagine yourself sailing into Rome or Naples, or finally making your dreams of seeing Florence or Venice come true. Or even better — seeing them all on an Italy cruise! A trip to Italy exposes you to rich culture, amazing food, and landscapes you’ve only dreamed about. And there’s more than just things to see—there’s a ton to get out and do. Climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa, visit the legendary Piazza del Duomo in Florence, check out Vatican City and the Colosseum in Rome, pig out Neapolitan pizza in Naples, or take a gondola ride through the watery “streets” of Venice.

Keep in mind that on an Italy cruise, your ship won’t dock directly each in the cities you visit, which means you’ll probably need to take a bus to visit main attractions. That results in early morning meeting times for excursions and bus transfers that can eat up time in port. Plan accordingly!


This beautiful Balkan country is on every adventurous traveler’s bucket list, thanks to its splendid Adriatic coastline, excellent scuba diving opportunities, unspoiled national parks, and delightful cuisine and nightlife. Popular ports on a Mediterranean cruise to Croatia include Split, the terra-cotta-colored seaside city, and Dubrovnik, with its famous Old Town brimming with historic buildings.

Though Croatia wasn’t always on cruisers’ radars, it’s become extremely popular over the years, so expect dense crowds in the sunny summer months, when travelers from all over the world descend on its famed beaches. As we mentioned before, going with a smaller ship for your Mediterranean cruise will give you the chance to see the under-the-radar ports that larger ships can’t reach.


Distinctive architecture, world-renowned art, bustling cities with restaurants serving late-night dinners—if this sounds like your cup of tea, Spain might be the perfect place to visit on a Mediterranean cruise. Sail to Barcelona for top-notch nightlife and the chance to behold some of Gaudi’s famous architectural works. The city is fringed by a series of popular beaches, all boasting that famous blue-green color. You’ll hear both Spanish and Catalan being spoken, as well as the many languages of the city’s international visitors.

For bustling bars and all-night parties, find a Mediterranean cruise that sails to Ibiza, a popular port in Spain’s Balearic Islands. When you’re not dancing and mingling, you can be sunning yourself on beaches with crystal-clear water and dining at quaint seaside cafes.


The French Riviera has a reputation as a glamorous place and has long been the summer holiday destination for well-to-do denizens of Paris and other large European cities. If your Mediterranean cruise sails to Cannes, you’ll be awe-struck by the beauty of this colorful port city. Forested hills surround Cannes, which means you can spend your mornings hiking before cooling off at one of the city’s beaches, such as uncrowded Palm Beach. When it’s time to grab a bite to eat, get a table at one of the many restaurants along the narrow streets of Le Suquet, Cannes’ medieval old town. Don’t miss your chance to try a socca, a chickpea pancake and French Riviera staple.

If your Mediterranean cruise takes you to Marseille in the Provence region, you’ll find a wide array of treasures to explore, from the hilltop Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde to the many shops and restaurants of the Old Port. Make sure to stop through the tiny fishing village of Port du Vallon des Auffes, even if just to snap a few photos of this eye-catching gem.

Intrigued by these destinations? Start exploring your options for a Mediterranean cruise at—our site gives you all the tools you need to cruise the smart way! We give you our exclusive bonus offers and all qualifying cruise line offers, plus all of the cruise line loyalty program benefits.

Book online at or call 800-288-6006 today.

%d bloggers like this: