Best time for the Mediterranean cruise does matter
Mediterranean Cruise is one of the most culturally rich destinations in the world. Find out the best time to cruise the Mediterranean before you make a booking.
But then why the best time does matter to Mediterranean Cruise?
You will have the best Mediterranean Cruise when you cruise at the best time.
It’s the Mediterranean! It should not be raining or gloomy.
You need to feel full of life around. Mediterranean Light, beautiful cuisine, graceful nature and magnificent Mediterranean landscapes will all make you feel special. The Mediterranean is a place where anyone dreams of travelling.
So, what can you do with this?
In this article, you will find all the details of the best time to cruise the Mediterranean. Have some insightful information on Mediterranean Cruise. Learn more about cruising the best Mediterranean before you make a booking and make your next cruise vacation something unforgettable!
Best Time for Mediterranean Cruise
Mediterranean is one of the best cruise destinations in the world as I have already discussed in my article. However, Mediterranean Cruise cannot be something like a weekend vacation you can go anytime.
You need a solid break out of the office. It can also be very special for you since you take the international flight and stay over at a hotel before your embarkation at the nearest departure port city.
If you go on Mediterranean Cruise at a wrong time, what would then happen?
- The cities and towns at ports can be overpacked by the crowd at high season. It is not sightseeing, but you are actually looking at a lot of people and lines everywhere.
- Some popular ports are very limited. Many restaurants and shops close down for offseason due to not enough visitors.
- It is the Mediterranean. The heat is enormous outside and going out can be hard during the middle of Summer. This is the very reason why the locals take a long holiday during the Summer. I saw many shops and restaurants closed in August, in Barcelona.
- In March, the weather tends to be unstable, and so the sea is.
It is very important for you to know about the best time to cruise the Mediterranean.
If you look around online, you easily find information about the best time for Mediterranean Cruise. It normally says that the best time is from April to September. However, the Mediterranean is huge. Different countries and regions have different weather.
Our expectations are also different depending on the cruisers. You may need to cruise in Summer as your kids are off out of the school. Or you could be looking for budget travel. In that case, the high season should be avoided.
Since our priorities are different to each cruiser, this is the reason why I will dig further for making the successful Mediterranean Cruise. You will find more insightful account on the best time to cruise the Mediterranean.
1. The Mediterranean Sea
Let’s see the Mediterranean Sea from the Geographical perspective.
How huge is the Mediterranean Sea?
The Mediterranean Sea covers an approximate area of 2.5 million km2 and occupies nearly 1 % of the global ocean surface. Although it is independent in Geography, the Mediterranean Sea is connected to the Atlantic Ocean by the Strait of Gibraltar, the edge of Spain in Europe from Morocco in Africa. It is only 14 km wide in between.
Mediterranean Sea Map
As opposed to the edge of Spain, Suez Canal connects the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Suez Canal is particularly important for you because you will go through this 163 km long artificial Canal when you take a repositioning cruise from Europe to the Middle East.
Passing through the Suez Canal gave me a powerful impact on me. You will find spectacular landscapes from the ship. Life and death are divided into two different sides by the Suez Canal. You can directly feel it while you actually pass through it with the ship.
One side, wealthy residential areas extends along with full of pine trees, greens and agricultural fields. It is obvious how rich the desert is because the locals have kept water lines and can plan the green on the dessert!
On the other side, nothing can live and exist but only the soil forever. It is so hard for life to survive without water in the desert.
Once you get across Suez Canal, a totally different world shall wait for you. You will arrive in Dubai, the United Arabs of Emirates.
OK, let’s get back to the Mediterranean.
Mediterranean Sea Coastal Countries
The Mediterranean Sea has countries and island nations. More than 20 countries surround the Mediterranean Sea:
- Northern shore:
Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Turkey
- Eastern Shore:
Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt
- Southern shore:
Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya
- Island nations:
Italy, Spain, France, Croatia and Greece are particularly popular destinations for Mediterranean Cruise.
Best Mediterranean cruise ports
- Rome (Civitavecchia)
Western and Eastern Mediterranean Cruises
The Mediterranean Sea is huge. There are more than 100 ports of call in the Mediterranean Sea for cruising.
The popular ports for sightseeing and shore excursions are:
Western Mediterranean Ports of Call
Gibraltar Malaga Barcelona
Marseille St. Tropez Cannes
Nice Monte Carlo Genoa
Naples Amalfi Capri Valletta
Taormina Palermo Tunis
Eastern Mediterranean Ports of Call
Venice Dubrovnik Corfu Mykonos Piraeus (Athens)
Heraklion Santorini Istanbul
Izmir Kusadasi Bodorum
Antalsa Haifa Alexandria
Mediterranean Cruise Departure Ports
You can find your potential departure port for Mediterranean Cruise as below. Barcelona, Civitavecchia and Venice are major departure ports in Europe. Alternatively you can arrive at Rome or Madrid and stay there at least for a night before you arrive at the port for embarkation.
2. When is Mediterranean Cruise Season?
The season of Mediterranean Cruis can be longer in comparison to other cruise destinations because the Mediterranean climate is mild and moderate throughout a year. The Mediterranean has basically two seasons, either summer or winter.
The seasons for Mediterranean Cruise
If you know some general ideas on 3 seasons, it is easy to figure out the best time for Mediterranean Cruise.
- High season
- Shoulder season
1. High Season
The high season of Mediterranean Cruise is from June to August. It is the least rainy but full of sunny days. If you would like to be certain about the fine weather, cruising from June to August is the best for you.
- It is the high season. The port towns are very busy as a lot of cruise ships are docking at the ports. Most of Europeans take a holiday in August. Tourists are everywhere.
- The cruise rate is the highest because the schools are off during the summer. High season is definitely for family cruisers and not for budget cruisers.
- The temperature is high in the mid Summer. It is hard for some cruisers. I myself got the ships from Civitavecchia and Barcelona for Mediterranean Cruise and experienced a repositioning cruise to the Middle East. The heat was enormous during the Summer and felt intolerable.
With the extremely hot weather, highest price and full of crowd, you can avoid the high season if you could.
2. Shoulder season
If you would like to avoid crowds, choose shoulder season. Mid-April to May and September to mid-October are times of uncrowded. Cruise rates are also lower than the high season. Mid- to late-September is the best. Late-May to early-June is less competition for bookings. You can also have comfortable temperatures.
From late October to mid-April, it’ll be cold in the Northern Mediterranean. It is a winter season in the Mediterranean. It is perfect weather in Morocco, Egypt, and the Canary Islands. With fewer crowds and calmer seas, the off-season can be one of the best time to cruise the Mediterranean Sea.
*My favourite season is Mid-April to May and late September to mid-October. It is uncrowded, and the cruise rates get much more reasonable. Late-May to early-June is less competitive for bookings.
It is also comfortable temperatures. Weather in the Mediterranean in October can be felt the very best.
3. When is the Best Time to Cruise Mediterranean?
The best time to cruise the Mediterranean for saving money
If you can avoid the high season summer cruise rate, cruising the shoulder season is the best. You are actually not only saving money but also avoiding the crowd. Shoulder seasons are lower priced simply because many people cannot travel during this time.
The best time to cruise the Mediterranean for family cruisers
If your family children are attending the school, you cannot avoid buying cruise tickets at the high season. Summer break starts in late June and ends the beginning of September.
If you would like to save money for your family, book a cruise in late June or early September. It is still a high season but the price is not the highest. June is just the school gets started off and early September is about starting. Fewer demands for cruising. Hence the price is lower.
MSC Cruises is having a campaign for children. If your kids are 11 years old or under, MSC offers a free of charge for them (source).
The best time to cruise the Mediterranean for fine weather and fewer crowds
If you would like to have both hot and sunny weather and yet still fewer crowds at ports, June is the best to cruise the Mediterranean.
In June, the schools are still not closed. Family cruisers have not started a summer vacation yet. Fewer people cruise at the exact periods of time. The ship is less packed and fewer travellers in town.
The Best time to cruise for Mediterranean ‘cuisine’
If you plan Mediterranean Cruise, I bed you are not only cruising for sightseeing but also for Mediterranean cuisine. I mean it is not a cruise but ‘cuisine’. Mediterranean cruise and wine can be a powerful combination you cannot ignore.
Mediterranean cuisine is particularly highlighted especially in Autumn. Of course, you can enjoy Mediterranean food throughout the entire year. However, the early Autumn is special because it is the time to harvest season for wine.
Many cities and towns all celebrate it with Mediterranean cuisine. The locals are happier and open. You have more opportunity to interact with local people.
4. Greek Island Cruises
The Greek islands are one of the popular destinations in Mediterranean Cruise. If you plan to cruise Greek islands, you would probably set sail from Athens and visit Mikonos, Santorini and Rhodes and Patmos. Do not forget to include Crete, Greece’s largest island.
You would prefer to cruise with the smaller ship in Greek islands because the large and extra-large mega-ships have a limit to dock at a small port. Getting to the ports would be accessed by a tender boat. That means extra time and more lines to wait for getting off the ship.
The smaller ship can access not only the Greek’s major islands but also a kind of its hidden gems such as Hydra and Skiathos.
The best season for Greek Island Cruises
The best season in the Greek islands is from May to late October. July and August can be the high season. The cruise price is also the highest because the schools are off. Many Europeans are taking a vacation. can be the highest priced due to the school off and more family cruisers. You can expect more family cruisers on the ship. The temperature is highest. The heat can be hard for many cruisers.
May and early June before the schools get closed as well as late September can be the best. You will find fewer tourists around and the weather is milder. Autumn is also the harvest time in the Mediterranean. Celebrate and enjoy wine with the locals in Greece.
Do not forget to taste local meals, moussaka, tzatziki and feta cheese, my favourites! I would like to add halloumi cheese. Try Greek liquor, ouzo, with Greek cuisine and celebrate your Mediterranean Cruise with your loved one.
5. When to cruise the Mediterranean?
The season for Mediterranean Cruise is from April to October. However, as many Europeans take a holiday in August, all the towns and ports are fully packed tourists.
August can be at the peak and yet from mid-July to August, it is the high season for Mediterranean Cruise. The schools are also off. You will see a lot of family cruisers and children. Cruise rates are also the highest.
August should be avoided if you can. It is the Mediterranean, the heat is enormous in August. Many locals could close the shops and restaurants.
If you are looking for more relaxed and quieter as well as inexpensive cruise rate, April, May, September and October can be the best.
You may also enjoy more reading on the Mediterranean Cruises:
Next Reading >> The Best Mediterranean Cruises
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