Whether you are keen to see the Greek Islands, discover ancient ruins in Turkey, explore vibrant cities like Barcelona or just relax and unwind, booking a cruise can help you to see as many destinations as possible.
If the idea of exploring more of Europe appeals to you, you really should consider a cruise. Cruises have long been considered a luxury experience for travellers with big budgets, but now there are lots of options and itineraries which have made cruising the Med affordable.
Check out our beginners guide to going on your first Mediterranean cruise, including information, top tips and recommendations for the best companies, itineraries and important things to know before departing.
Where do Mediterranean Cruises Go?
Most Mediterranean cruises visit France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Croatia, Turkey, Cypress, and Bulgaria. There are departures from the UK and other European destinations. Durations and itineraries vary depending on the operator and time of the year.
Where to go really comes down to your personal preference. Possibly you dream of sailing the Amalfi Coast, or exploring the spectacular Greek islands - or both. Most itineraries include multiple destinations so you can see as much as possible in a short period.
What are the Best Months to Cruise the Mediterranean?
The best time to take a Mediterranean cruise really depends on what type of experience you are looking for. June, July and August are the most popular months due to the warm weather, but this is also the most busy and expensive. Spring (May-June) or autumn (September-October) are still warm months with cheaper prices and fewer crowds.
Mediterranean Cruises with Ponant
If you are looking for a high quality experience you can book a Mediterranean cruise on ponant.com.
Ponant is a French cruise ship operator founded in 1988. The company operates eleven ships, all of which operate under the French flag. Embark on a luxury cruise aboard one of Ponant's ships and enjoy a different and privileged experience of sea travel. Create unforgettable moments and get seduced by their gastronomic food or you can even take part in culinary workshops with renowned chefs.
Discover the Mediterranean with and enjoy exceptional itineraries and high-end hotel services, each luxury cruise has been carefully crafted. Experience a stay at sea in the French style and treat yourself to excellence through an unprecedented experience where discretion, refinement and the French art of living are the key words.
What is the Average Cost of a Mediterranean Cruise?
6-9 day cruises generally cost around £299-£1500, and 14-21 day itineraries cost around £500-£2999. Prices can vary depending on the operator, itinerary, cabin you choose and the time of year you book/depart. To get the best deals, book well in advance, or last minute and avoid the peak summer period.
How to Find Cheap Mediterranean Cruise Deals
Cruise deals can easily be found online through booking direct with a cruise line, a travel comparison website or direct with a travel agent. Simply perform a search on your favourite search engine, and you will soon be presented with a plethora of sites to choose from. There are several better known websites, as well as a few startups and even travel auction sites.
Sites that specialise in last minute bargains will be your best bet for finding a great variety of cruise deals. By waiting until the last minute to book your cruise, you stand a better chance of finding cheap deals and special offers. Although if you need to fly to or from your departure/departure port flights can be more expensive.
By being open-minded about itineraries and ships, you will be able to find a trip or two that fits what you have in mind. Don’t expect to find a great bargain during peak summer on a popular ship or itinerary as these can be booked up several months before departure.
Cruise lines usually only offer incredible bargains for trips that still have several rooms available with little time left to book them. The best approach for finding cruise deals that will fit your travel plans is to be a little flexible on both the times you choose to travel and the ports you wish to visit.
What are the Best Cruise Lines Operating in the Mediterranean?
These are the top rated operators offering to consider cruising the Mediterranean with:
- Costa Cruises
- Royal Caribbean International
- Celebrity Cruises
- Seabourn Cruise Line
- Crystal Cruises
- Viking Ocean Cruises
- Azamara Club Cruises
- Oceania Cruises
- Silversea Cruises
- Princess Cruises
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises
- MSC Cruises
- Norwegian Cruise Line
- Holland America Line
Important Things to Consider Before Booking
Booking a cabin with a balcony is a lot more expensive, sometimes more than double the price of booking an internal room without a window, or balcony. If you are looking to go on a Med cruise on a budget opt for a room without a balcony to make big savings.
Insurance is essential for any cruise trip. You will need to decide whether you should buy trip cancellation insurance, and explore all the small print to see what is and isn't included. An important add-on may also be insurance that covers emergency medical expenses while on your cruise.
What to Pack
When packing you will need to find the balance between having things that you really need, and not taking way too much. Look at the duration, the dress code, possible excursions you might do. Both formal and casual/comfortable clothing are recommended.
Seasickness can be an issue for some cruisers and whilst there is far less motion on today's megaliners, a rough sea can still have you wishing you had thought about this in advance. Pack important medication to help prevent sickness.
Consider Onboard Expenditure
Remember what you pay for a cruise increasingly is not the total cost of your outgoings. Extra charges for alternative restaurants, spas, classes, and even drinks if you don't have a specific package can add up to a tidy bill at the end of your cruise.
This is usually the highpoint for many cruisers: the sightseeing trips during visits to different ports. While many great options are offered by the cruise lines, these are usually really expensive. It is usually best to wait till you depart the ship to get much cheaper sightseeing deals and activities.
Shopping on the ship and at ports is possible, which can provide opportunities for bargains -- and not-so-great bargains -- for cruise ship passengers.
Tipping is a subject that many cruisers can find both confusing and a source of frustration. Some people choose to tip staff throughout the cruise, or you can leave an optional tip at the start/end of the cruise. Sometimes cruise companies add a tip which you can request to be taken off your total charge at the end.
Find Your Perfect Mediterranean Cruise
A Mediterranean cruise is one of the most relaxing experiences where you get the opportunity to see multiple destinations as part of the same trip, and if you book at the right time it really doesn't have to cost a fortune. Hopefully our guide has covered all the essential basics you need to know before booking. Now go explore the Mediterranean for yourself.