Best Guide for Cruises to Western Mediterranean
Western Mediterranean is certainly one of the best destinations in European cruises. You will never feel less because there is plenty to see and explore. Cruises to the Western Mediterranean can be intensive.
Western Med cruise is one of the most popular itineraries in Europe. The port cities and towns are populated during the high season. If you do not cruise at the right time, your first cruise in the Mediterranean would become disappointing.
In this article, you will find detailed information about Western Mediterranean cruise. Find out the best time to cruise, best cruise lines and best itineraries for Western Mediterranean cruise. Learn also cruise excursions in the Western Mediterranean.
Follow the detailed information about a cruise vacation in Europe. Prepare for it thoroughly in advance. Make your cruises to the Western Mediterranean something unforgettable!
Western Mediterranean cruises from Rome
In my first cruise in the Mediterranean, I flew off to Rome and took a transfer to Civitavecchia from the airport. Civitavecchia is one of Europe’s major departure ports for the Mediterranean cruise. Western Mediterranean cruise is one of my best favourites. It changed my view of Europe.
What made me feel special was visiting one of the world’s most visited cities in one cruise. Travel becomes so easy, relaxed and no complication. It was just felt right. I also paid less than land travel and that was not what I expected.
During the high season, accommodation in Western Europe can be extremely high priced. Cruising the Mediterranean actually saves money.
To make the cruise trip go smooth, I fully prepared and planned in advance. I will show you how to make the best Mediterranean cruise.
Best time for cruises to Western Mediterranean
Sailing Western Mediterranean at the best time is profoundly important. If you did not consider it, cruising can be rather disappointing.
The season of Western Mediterranean cruises is from April to October. During the season, weather is moderately stable and is rather dried. You will enjoy the beautiful Mediterranean landscapes. Mediterranean food is delicious. You will find beaches with a crystal clear blue sky and emerald colour watercolours.
However, there are certain months you need to avoid if you can.
Western Mediterranean High Season
From the middle of June to August, it is called high season in the Western Mediterranean.
- The kid’s schools are off. The ship is fully packed by family cruisers. It is not only on the ship but the ports, towns and cities are full of tourists wherever you go.
- Most of Europeans take a holiday in August. Some shops are closed due to the high temperature in the mid-summer. In my experience, closed shops were especially prominent in Barcelona.
- The mid-summer has a high temperature. For some cruisers, it is difficult to get off the ship and explore the cities.
- The cruise rates are the highest during the high season.
Western Mediterranean Shoulder Season
My favourite months are from April to early June as well as September to October.
- The temperature is not harsh but is moderate. It is dried and is rarely rain.
- September is still a popular month for cruising. It is certainly better and is incomparable to August’s busiest month for tourism.
- The cruise rates are much lower than the high season.
Best time to cruise the Western Mediterranean
The best time to cruise Western Mediterranean can be April, May and October. After the chilly winter season, you can be the first person to dive into the Mediterranean before anyone.
Or the very best month can be October. Airfare and accommodation can be much affordable than the high season. April can be the same. After April, airfare and hotel rates increase in Europe’s major cruise departure ports.
You will arrive at Europe’s major port cities. It is such a pity if you cannot stay over at least a few days due to your budget.
If you cruise on April or October and book in advance, you would be more comfortable with your budget. You can explore the port city before you set sail. This is the best.
September is also ideal but still touristy at port cities. You can find further details on the best time to cruise in the Mediterranean.
Where do Western Mediterranean Cruises go?
Western Mediterranean cruise is the best, especially for the first time cruisers. So, cruise Western Europe! Everyone can access the visiting places of the town from the ports. Many cruisers also return to the Western Mediterranean. They return for the feels, colours and unforgettable landscapes in the regions.
Geography of Western Mediterranean
Mediterranean cruises are frequently mentioned as two different itineraries. Western Mediterranean cruise and Eastern Mediterranean cruise have different flavours and colours.
- The Eastern and Western Mediterranean cruises have different flavours, colours and styles. They are geographically divided at the centre of Italy. You can locate Italy’s geographical shape, the Italian “boot”, as the centre of the dividing line.
- Western Med cruise covers Spain, France and the west coast of Italy, including Sicily. Some cruise lines dock at Lisbon, Portugal, if you sail from Southampton, UK.
- Eastern Mediterranean itineraries include the Adriatic Coast of Italy and Croatia. Montenegro and Greece in the Balkans are also included.
- Italy cruise is also one of the most popular itineraries in the Mediterranean cruise.
Western Mediterranean Cruise Ports
More than 100 cruise ports exist in the Mediterranean Sea. The major Western Mediterranean Ports of Call are:
Gibraltar Malaga Barcelona
Marseille St. Tropez Cannes
Nice Monte Carlo Genoa
Naples Amalfi Capri Valletta
Taormina Palermo Tunis
Western Mediterranean Map
Western Mediterranean Cruises and Stay
The ports of call and the departure ports of Western Mediterranean cruise are almost the same. I had an embarkation day every single day. Departure Ports for the Western Mediterranean Cruises are:
- Barcelona, Spain
- Venice, Italy
- Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
- Southampton, the UK
Mediterranean cruise ports on your own
It is also a great idea to stay over at one of Europe’s glorious cities at least for a few days. You can also find Madrid transfer to Barcelona and Rome transfers to Civitavecchia.
Find out your departure port transfer information and port accommodation guide. Save money and time by planning your trip in advance.
Pro Tips: for the cruisers from the US, Canada, Australia and Asia, the easiest departure port to arrive and transfer is Barcelona. The second easiest is in Venice and Southampton. You need to transfer Rome to Civitavecchia and it is pretty stressful if you did not prepare in advance. But staying in Rome before you cruise the Western Mediterranean is incredibly special!
Western Mediterranean cruise is one of the most popular cruise destinations in Europe. Itineraries for Western Mediterranean cruises are explained in some different routes:
Western Mediterranean Cruise Itinerary
The common round trip is a Spain, Italy and France cruise:
- Barcelona, Spain
- Marseille, France
- Monte Carlo, Monaco
- Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
- La Spezia (Florence), Italy
- Naples, Italy
You can also find cruise lines which cover:
If you sail from Southampton:
- Lisbon, Portugues
- Porte, Portugues
Visiting islands and Africa continent:
- Palma de Mallorca, Spain
- Casablanca, Morocco
- Tangier, Morocco
- La Goulette, Tunisia
Some cruise lines combine Eastern Mediterranean routes, making the Mediterranean cruises profoundly glamorous:
- Venice, Italy
- Dubrovnik, Croatia
- Kotor, Montenegro
- Athens and the Greek Islands including Mykonos, Santorini, Crete and Patmos
- Istanbul, Turkey
- Haifa, Israel
Enjoy reading on Eastern Mediterranean cruise.
Cruises to Europe from the USA
The Mediterranean is having the best seasons for cruising in August and September. The Caribbean is in a hurricane season. Many ships are repositioning to European ports from New York, Florida and San Francisco.
A traditional transatlantic cruise is something anyone must try once in a lifetime. Sailing to Europe from the US is one of the most famous traditional cruise routes. Some transatlantic cruises combine Caribbean ports before arriving in Europe. Visiting the Caribbean and then Venice, Rome and Barcelona would be exclusive. Western European Cruises will make you profoundly special.
One of the best transatlantic cruises is with Cunard. The transatlantic cruise includes some sea days. You can relax and enjoy yourself on the ship.
What would you need for the transatlantic cruise? Cunard welcomes you with plenty of entertainment options and fine dining. Their courteous service is well known. Cunard’s entertainment staff will never make you feel bored in the long length of the cruise.
Best Western Cruise Lines
7-night cruise sailing is a common length of cruising in the Mediterranean. Barcelona, Rome (Civitavecchia) and Southampton are common in cruising Western Mediterranean. Many cruise ships sail to the Mediterranean during the season. You have plenty of options in selecting the right cruise line for your vacation.
Mainstream Cruise Lines in Western Mediterranean
- Royal Caribbean International, Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line are popular cruise lines in Western Mediterranean Cruise.
- Royal Caribbean and Disney Cruise Line can be one of the best cruise lines for family cruisers. Both offer multiple dining options and entertainment facilities. The more options are there, the more likely each family members’ need meets their different expectations.
- Cruise fare tends to be more reasonable at MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises than other cruise lines. During the season, their ships are fully booked by European family cruisers. If you plan to cruise with children 11 years old and under, check out MSC which offers a free campaign for them now.
Best Cruise Lines for Couples in Western Med
- If you plan to have a special time with your partner, cruising with mega-large ships would not be ideal. Viking can offer a rather relaxed and spacious cruise for adult only. You will also find less expensive cruise rates than luxury cruises.
- Celebrity Cruises does not have an adult-only policy. However, they have set up an adult-only space with special facilities.
- Viking Cruises and Celebrity Cruises are one of the best cruise lines for couples.
Luxury Cruise Lines for a cruise in Western Europe
The real privilege luxury cruise lines can offer you is an overnight stay at ports. The ports you will stay is one of Europe’s most visited cities. Explore the archaeological treasures, historic sites, museums and galleries.
There is plenty to see and explore. You do not need to hurry up and worry about time. Best luxury cruise lines for Western Mediterranean Cruise are:
- Azamara Club Cruises
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises
- Seabourn Cruise Line
- Crystal Cruises
- Oceania Cruises
Cruise excursions in Western Mediterranean
You are very lucky to arrive in Barcelona. Once you disembark the ship, it is easy to access to Barcelona city centre from the cruise port. Remember Las Ramblas (or La Rambla), Barcelona’s central street. You will not feel lost.
Las Ramblas extends itself from the seaside of the Christopher Colombus Monument to the Plaça de Catalunya. Plaça de Catalunya is a square and transportation hub of Barcelona. As far as you know about Barcelona’s most famous street, it is easy for you to come back to a port. So remember Las Ramblas.
Barcelona highlights are the Barcelona Gothic Quarter, the historic town of Barcelona. Of course, you cannot miss Barcelona architecture of Antoni Gaudí:
- Sagrada Familia – the UNESCO World Heritage
- Casa Batlló – Antoni Gaudí Modernist Museum
- Park Guëll – Gothic Quarter
- Park Güell – you need to book in advance
- Casa Milà – La Pedrera
Find out more grandmasters’ works of arts at:
- Fundació Joan Miró – Sans
- Museu Picasso – Gothic Quarter
- MACBA. Museu d’Art Contemporani – Gothic Quarter
Save your time and money on the best hotels in the best areas near Barcelona Cruise Port.
Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy
It takes about one and half hour to go to Rome from Civitavecchia by train. If you plan to visit museums in Rome, I highly recommend purchasing entry tickets online in advance. You can save time and do not need to make a queue.
Your time in Rome is limited if it is not an overnight stay. It is important to plan where you visit in advance.
Rome highlights are:
- Centro Storico is the historic centre of Rome, situating the gorgeous baroque-style Piazza Navona, the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain.
- Cross the river Tiber from Centro Storico and find the treasure of the world and smallest city-state, the Vatican. The Vatican area is surrounded by St. Peter’s Cathedral, the Vatican Museum and the Borgo district. You could extend to Colosseum if time allows.
Save your time and money in finding the best hotels in the best areas of Rome.
Naples is one of Italy’s important economic hub. You will find many important historic and archaeological sites in Naples. You can visit Pompeii, Herculaneum and Sorrento from Naples cruise port.
The Amalfi Coast is certainly one of the most important destinations. The Amalfi Coast has been registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (source). It has been receiving many international visitors. The Amalfi can be touristy but is still a great place.
Naples things to do
- The Naples Archaeology Museum – the best museum of Western Civilization.
- Go to the island of Capri by boat
- Visit the ancient Roman archaeological sites in Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae.
- Palazzo Reale – the stunning Royal Palace, one of the important historical architecture in Naples
- Piazza del Plebiscito – the Royal Palace
- San Domenico Maggiore – an important historic site in the central Naples
- San Gennaro Catacombs
- The district of Santa Lucia – explore the real Napolitana ways of life
- Must try limoncello liqueur, a recommendation from a friend of mine from Palermo, Italy
Find out more about Naples in crusing Italy.
Western Mediterranean Cruise Tips
Plan in advance
Western Mediterranean cruise can be costly if you do not plan in advance. After April and towards August, both can be high priced.
- Arrange your flight and accommodation at the departure port city at least 3 months in advance.
Get some rest and be hydrated
Sailing Western Mediterranean can be intensive because there is plenty to explore!
- Have enough rest at night.
- Bring a water bottle so you can easily get hydrated.
- Wearing sunscreen not only at the beach but also walking outside for shore excursions.
- Bring sunglasses too.
Prepare entry tickets
It’s easy for you to visit your destinations from the ports. This is a privilege of cruising, and land cruise cannot have. The negative side is that the cities are packed by both international and local visitors. You will find a massive queue in front of museums and galleries.
- If you do not join cruise line’s shore excursion tour, purchase entry tickets in advance. Save your time.
Is Western Europe safe?
It is safe. I am sure you feel the same. I never had felt uncomfortable. Even I explored the cities by myself many occasions, nothing bad happened. I also carry camera gears and can be visible with valuable things.
- One thing you need to be really careful is a pickpocket. It is indeed big business in a part of Europe. Even kids are involved. Take good care of your staff especially at the airport, tourist areas and streets.
- Get a ride on an official taxi. This is especially important in Italy. You can find how to pick up the right taxi by visiting Rome transport guide.
Western Mediterranean cruise offers historic and archaeological sites. Museums and galleries are spectacular. Western Mediterranean is the place anyone should visit once in a lifetime.
Due to its popularity, it is very important, to cruise the best time in the Mediterranean. Prepare the cruise thoroughly in advance. Find the best cruise lines and itineraries for you. Make your Western Mediterranean cruise something special.
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