Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Itineraries
Eastern Mediterranean cruise includes one of the richest historic sites in the world. You will also find many influences of different cultures in architecture and landscapes.
You have a very reason why you cruise Eastern Mediterranean.
Whenever you wake up in the morning, you will find different landscapes, smells and feels. Your ship docks at different countries in the Mediterranean Sea every morning.
The countries you visit include Italy, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Israel and Egypt. Remember once the Empires flourished among those countries in the Mediterranean Basin.
You can expect well-preserved arts and antiquities. The archaeological treasures are also paramount in the Eastern Mediterranean.
This article aims at providing the information on Eastern Mediterranean cruise. Its purpose is to be an inspiration for your next cruise. Have more information on the best for the Mediterranean cruise. Plan a vacation and transform it something special and unforgettable in life.
Why Eastern Mediterranean Cruise?
1. The rich history and archaeological sites
East Mediterranean cruise will show you one of the most celebrated historic sites in the world. What makes you feel so delighted is their rich histories and archaeological treasures.
East Mediterranean is a place where the West encounters the East. It is also a place where Roman, Byzantine, Greek and Ottoman Empires once flourished in the Mediterranean Basin. It is Europe’s best-preserved regions for the exploration of the archaeological sites.
2. Multiple World Heritage Sites
Visit the Temple of Hephaestus and Parthenon in Athens. Explore the historic towns in Dubrovnik’s impressive 16th-century walls. Enjoy a gondola ride in the Venetian Lagoon. Everything is possible in one cruise.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in sailing Eastern Mediterranean (source):
- Venice and its Lagoon, Italy
- The Old City of Dubrovnik, Croatia
- Acropolis in Athens and Historic Centre (Chora) with the Monastery of Saint John, Medieval City of Rhodes in the Greek Islands, Greece
- Natural and Culturo-Historical Region in Kotor, Montenegro
- Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey
- Bahá’í Shrines and Gardens Haifa, Temple Mount, Israel
3. Beautiful Mediterranean Cuisine
Mediterranean cuisine is not only tasty but also extremely healthy. You can enjoy Italian, Greek and Turkish cuisine throughout your cruise. All the rich Mediterranean food culture brings you into a new world (source).
Greek moussaka and feta cheese with Greek extra verging olive oil. Don’t forget about Uzo, a Greek liquor.
Italian Cacciatore is one of the classic Mediterranean diet recipes. Beef, anchovies, olives or spicy peppers, different regions use different ingredients. Of course, crispy pizza can be a cheeky snack before the main dish.
Hummus, feta cheese and baklava, and of course no one cannot leave Lamp skewer behind for Turkish dish.
Where do Eastern Mediterranean Cruises go?
Mediterranean cruises are often mentioned as two different styles and colours. Both the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Mediterranean cruises have a different flavour. You can locate Italy’s geographical shape, the Italian “boot”, as the centre of the dividing line.
Western Mediterranean cruises cover Portugal Spain, France. The west coast of Italy and Sicily are also included. Eastern Mediterranean itinerary, on the other hand, includes the east coast of Italy and Croatia in the Adriatic Coast. Greece, Turkey and Egypt are also covered
Italy’s ports of calls are particularly popular in the Mediterranean cruise. Italy cruise covers the eastern Italy and Croatia of the Adriatic Sea.
Eastern Mediterranean Map
When is the Best time to cruise the Eastern Mediterranean?
The season for Eastern Mediterranean is from April to October. The eastern Mediterranean climate is fairly stable throughout the season. The cruise rates and temperature are different dependents in the month you visit.
From June to August is the high season. Many Europeans have a holiday in August and the kids’ schools are off.
- The cruise rate can be the highest during this high season, especially in August.
- The temperature tends to be highest and is around 40 degrees. It would be hard to go out for some cruisers.
From April to May as well as September to October, the ports are more relaxed and fewer tourists. Shoulder season is the ideal time for eastern Mediterranean cruises if you can arrange your time.
- The cruise rates tend to be lower than the high season.
- Ideal for Spring lights and Autumn delights.
You can find further details for the best time to cruise the Mediterranean.
Best Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Ports of Call
Eastern Mediterranean Ports of Call are:
Venice Dubrovnik Corfu
Mykonos Piraeus (Athens)
Heraklion Santorini Istanbul
Izmir Kusadasi Bodorum
Crete Mykonos Patmos
Antalya Haifa Alexandria
In the ports of Venice and Athens, culture comes central while the Greek Islands, Crete and Cypress illuminate golden beaches and natural landscapes.
Eastern Mediterranean cannot separate itself from religious sites. You will discover ancient churches in Dubrovnik. In Istanbul, visit Blue Mosque. You can visit the Holy Land from Haifa, Israel. The Wailing Wall, the Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre are central visiting places.
Eastern Mediterranean Cruise and Stay
Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Departure Ports
Your ship will depart from either a port in Rome (Civitavecchia), Venice, Bari or Athens (Piraeus). The sail to Italy, Croatia and Greece.
- You may set sail from Southampton (London) or Barcelona if you combine Western Mediterranean Cruise.
- You can also find cruises which visit Turkey, Egypt and Israel if you would like to extend further.
Hotels and Transfers at Mediterranean Cruise Departure Ports
Your ship will depart either from Barcelona, Civitavecchia or Venice. These are Europe’s major departure ports. You can also arrive in Rome or Madrid and stay there for a few nights before you set sail.
It is easy to transfer to the sailing ports. It is important to arrange your flight and accommodation in advance if you save money.
Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Itineraries
Eastern Mediterranean Cruise has become one of the most popular cruise destinations in Europe. Itineraries for Eastern Mediterranean cruises are separated into 4 types:
- The Adriatic Sea and Dalmatian Coast
- Black Sea
- Greek Islands
- The Holy Land
Each itinerary sailing in the Eastern Mediterranean has different colours and flavours. Find out popular shore excursions and things to do.
1. The Adriatic Sea Cruise and Dalmatian Coast
One of the most popular itineraries is the Adriatic Sea Cruise. It goes to Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast and visits Dubrovnik, Hvar and Split. Italy’s famous Adriatic ports, Venice or Bari are also covered. Koto is also one of the popular destinations for the Adriatic Sea and Dalmatian Coast route.
Find the Rialto Bridge on the way to St. Mark’s Square, Venice’s most important piazza. Explore Byzantine arts at St. Mark’s Basilica.
Venice is a preserved medieval town and is a lagoon. Motor vehicles are highly controlled and yet, you can explore the best of Venice by Vaporetto, a water bus. You can find more information on the Vaporetto and transfers in Venice.
Explore the historic wall of the Old City. Enjoy the city’s vigorous art scene. Find cultural heritage at Rector’s Palace and Cultural Historical Museum. Do not forget to take a cable car to go up Mount Srd. You will find a spectacular city view from there. The extending terracotta rooftop residential towns extend next to deep blue watercolours.
Admire beautiful natural landscapes of coast and mountain on the way to Kotor. The Venetian and French influence in architecture are remarkable in the city. Up to Koto’s landmark, City Walls, and admire the city landscape. You will find beautifully coloured terracotta rooftop housing. St. Tryphon’s Cathedral is also one of the highlights in Kotor.
2. Black Sea
Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and Turkey surround the Black Sea. The Mediterranean Sea and the Black sea are connected through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles Strait in Turkey.
The size of the ship you cruise tends to be smaller. The large ships are limited to dock due to the size of the ports. The small ships are more accessible. Luxury cruise lines, Azamara Club Cruises, Regent Seven Sea Cruises, Seabourn and Windstar, provide the service in the Black Sea.
3. Greek Islands
Visiting Greek Islands by local ferries does never go smooth. Many people would agree that cruising the Greek Islands is the best option. Cruise ships set sail from Piraeus (Athens) and visit Mykonos, Santorini, and Corfu.
Athens the capital of Greece is accessible from the port in Piraeus within a half hour. The highlight of Athens is archaeological sites. Visit the Acropolis of Athens, Parthenon and the National Archaeological Museum. From April to October, Athens is packed by tourists. It is highly recommended to visit the Acropolis of Athens when it opens at 8 am and buy a ticket in advance. So that you do not need to make a line for it.
Discover the windmills Chora, one of the most famous landmarks of the Aegean Sea. Mykonos had more than twenty windmills for the wheat production in the 17th and 18th century. Or visit the island of Delos, the UNESCO World Heritage Site, for its archaeological sites.
Alefkantra is one of the most famous areas in Mikonos. It is called ‘Little Venice’. The picturesque landscape reminded the landscapes of Italy on the coast. The elegant and beautiful houses are also attracting visitors.
Find the domed buildings in Santorini on the hilltop. Santorini is one of the most visited Greek Islands. Its world-famous spectacular hillside landscapes does not stop attracting visitors. Explore the towns of Paths, Alleys, and Stairwells of Fira, Firostefani and Imerovigli. And watch the sunset at Oia with a bottle of wine.
Patmos is a profoundly magical place. Visit the historic centre of Patmos, Chora. The town is a gem of traditional whitewashed houses. You will find eastern Orthodox medieval churches.
Visit Monastery of St John and the Cave of Apocalypse. These are also the UNESCO World Heritage sites (source). You will find the story of St John. These are somehow emotionally overwhelming places in Patmos.
4. Holy Land
Haifa is a port of call where the ship docks for Israel. Before you visit the Holy Land, explore the Old City of Acre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Baha’i Gardens is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is consisted of the 19 gardens and is located on the slope of Carmel Mountain. You will find the spectacular view of the town and Haifa Vay from the top of the slope (source).
The Holy Land
The Holy Land is central for pilgrimage among Christian, Jewish and Muslims for millennia. The Holy Land is located in between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea and takes about two hours from Haifa to the Holy Land.
The highlights of the Holy Land is Holy Mount and Dorm of Rock. They are considered as the holiest sites in Jerusalem. Wailing Wall is the holiest site for prayer in the Jewish faith (source). The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Christianity (source).
Best Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Lines
One of the highlights of Eastern Mediterranean cruise is plentiful ancient historic sites, antiquities and arts. Culture and history are central in sailing Eastern Mediterranean.
However, you can also combine visiting beautiful beaches and relaxed local villages in the Greek Islands. Such a traditional European holiday is still central these days.
You can plan a perfect vacation by blending such different elements and flavours in one cruise. This is the very reason why Eastern Mediterranean cruises are so popular in European cruise.
Cruising Eastern Mediterranean for 7 to 12 night are common. Up to 20 nights can be found too.
Many major cruise lines offer great cruise services in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Mainstream Cruise Lines
- Royal Caribbean International, Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line are popular mainstream cruise lines in Europe.
- Royal Caribbean is particularly popular among family cruisers. Multiple facilities for kids and plenty of dining options help to meet the needs of the family groups.
- MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises sail Eastern Mediterranean throughout a year. Cruise fare tends to be lower than other cruise lines. If you plan to cruise with children 11 years old and under, MSC does a free campaign for them. Why don’t you check it out?
Adult Only Cruise Lines
- If you are a rather relaxed and spacious cruise for adult only but less expensive than luxury cruises, Viking Cruises is the best for you.
- Celebrity Crises has received an award as one of the best cruise lines in Mediterranean cruises. Celebrity does not provide adult-only cruises but has arranged special facilities and segregate the area for adult only.
Luxury Cruise Lines
East Mediterranean is one of the most popular destinations in Europe. During its high season, the major ports and cities are highly populated. If you cruise with the luxury cruise line, you do not have any problem with it.
The small ports are not overpopulated by tourists. Luxury cruise lines’ fleets tend to be smaller and which can access to smaller ports.
You can visit small ports such as Hvar and Split in Croatia as well as Mykonos, Santorini and Patmos in Greece Islands with luxury cruise lines.
Of course, large ships can access to small ports too but need to use a tender boat. Tender boats take a lot of time for sending and bringing back the passengers. Your excursion time becomes shorter.
Best luxury cruise lines for Eastern Mediterranean Cruise are:
- Azamara Club Cruises
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises
- Seabourn Cruise Line
- Crystal Cruises
- Oceania Cruises
Fint out more about the best Mediterranean cruise lines.
Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Tips
What to wear
You will have many opportunities to visit Orthodox churches in Turkey, Greece and Montenegro. You can wear long trousers which cover your knees. For women, especially a large scarf will help to cover hair.
Eastern Mediterranean cruise can be intensive. There are many to see and explore! Take water and keep hydrated. It is hot outside. Dress for comfort. Have comfortable walking shoes.
The Mediterranean can get incredibly hot especially in the mid-summer. Sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat are must items to bring with you. You will wear sunscreen at the beach but do not forget to do so when you go out walking on shore excursions.
Get a ticket in advance
Athens is one of the most popular ports of calls in Eastern Mediterranean cruise. It is indeed overwhelming during the high season. If you plan to visit museums or historic sites by yourself instead of joining a cruise line’s shore excursion, you need to buy an entry ticket in advance. So that you do not need to waste your time for queuing for the ticket.
But then… I have motion sickness
No worries. Motion sickness does not stop you cruising. The Mediterranean Sea can be calm waters. Apart from March, weather is dried and fairly stable. But if you are concerned, I have some ideas for you. You can prevent motion sickness before you make a cruise booking or have some ideas on how to handle motion sickness on board.
This article is written to show you the growing interests in the Eastern Mediterranean cruises among experienced cruisers.
Eastern Mediterranean cruises have been received many interests among cruisers. If you have already experienced the Mediterranean cruise, you may think of the Eastern Med cruise next. Those experienced cruisers are looking for something new, profound and more adventurous cruises.
Eastern Mediterranean cruise can be a perfect vacation option for you. You will find historical treasure, archaeological sites and cultural heritage of Europe.
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