Which is better Eastern or Western Med Cruise
Deciding which Eastern or Western Med cruise is the best is not easy.
Both East and West Med cruises are the most popular destinations in Europe. It is not surprising if you are having difficulty in deciding which itinerary is the best for you.
Eastern Med cruise covers Italy and Croatia of the Adriatic Sea as well as Greece in the Balkans. Western Med cruise includes Spain, France and the western coast of Italy.
Why then choosing Eastern or Western Med cruise does matter?
Most of Mediterranean cruise lines offer the itinerary either Eastern or Western route. You need to decide which one is best for you.
The problem is that deciding only one itinerary is not an easy task.
If you feel the same, you are in the right place.
It is not only you. Everyone has experienced this difficult choice.
It is overwhelming indeed to decide which to choose eastern or western Med cruise. There is even Italy only cruise. Even South Mediterranean cruise exists. The Mediterranean cruise seems to be over complicated.
Here’s the catch.
In this article, you will find pros and cost of Eastern and Western Mediterranean cruises. Compare their countries, best ports and tops things to do. You can then decide and pick up the best Western Mediterranean cruise.
Know what your heart truly desires. Find what meets your expectations and styles in cruising. Plan your vacation in advance and enjoy the Mediterranean cruise fullest!
- Which is better Eastern or Western Med Cruise
- Eastern or Western Med Cruise
- Which is Better Eastern or Western Mediterranean Cruise?
- 1. Countries
- 2. Ports of Calls
- 3. Embarkation Ports
- 4. Beaches
- 5. Museums and Galleries
- 6. Religious and Sacred Places
- 7. Archaeological Sites
- 8. Shopping
- East or West Mediterranean Cruises: What to do if you can’t choose
- Best Mediterranean Cruise Ports
- Mediterranean Cruise Tips
- Eastern vs. Western Mediterranean Cruise
Eastern or Western Med Cruise
Mediterranean cruise is often referred to as Eastern or Western Mediterranean cruise. This is simply because the cruise lines offer two different itineraries.
- Eastern Med cruise includes Italy and Croatia of the Adriatic Sea. Croatia, Montenegro and Greece in Balkans are also covered. Some cruise lines offer sailing ships to Turkey, Israel and Egypt.
- Western Med cruise includes Spain, France and the western coast of Italy. Some cruise lines cover Morocco, Portugal and Tunisia.
You may be interested in visiting the world’s historic and secret places. Then, Eastern and Western Mediterranean cruise is the perfect choice for your vacation. Italy is located between east and west Med. The country has the highest UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world (source).
You will find some characteristics of Eastern and Western Mediterranean cruises as follows.
Eastern Med Cruise
- You can actually combine visiting historic sites and golden beaches. This is one of the greatness of the Eastern Med cruise. You can have everything on holiday.
- Whatever your age is, it can be overwhelming to go out at every port. Relaxing at the beach is still Europe’s traditional vacation style. You can add a break at beaches.
- Archaeological sites are abundant in Naples, Athens and the Greek Islands.
- Eastern Med cruise cannot separate religious sites and sacred places. The Holy Land in Jerusalem can be visited from Haifa, Israel.
Find out an article for Eastern Mediterranean cruise
Western Med Cruise
- The highlight is visiting Europe’s glorious historical and cultural sites. You will visit all the renowned museums, galleries and archaeological sites.
- It is possible to combine gregarious shopping opportunities in Rome and Barcelona. Hi-end restaurants, brand shipping and resting fancy cafes are also possible.
- Western Mediterranean cruise is not only visiting Europe’s historical and cultural sites. You will discover spectacular landscapes of natural beauty at Cinque Terre in Italy.
Find out an article for Western Mediterranean cruise
Mediterranean Cruise Map
Geographically Eastern and Western Mediterranean countries are divided at the centre of Italy.
- Western Mediterranean countries: Spain, France and Portugal,
- Eastern Mediterranean countries: Croatia, Montenegro and Greece.
You can see the Italian “boot”, the country’s geographical shape, as the dividing line between Eastern and Western Mediterranean cruise itinerary.
Which is Better Eastern or Western Mediterranean Cruise?
It is difficult to decide east or west which is better. You can compare the pros and cons of the two different cruise itineraries from 8 different perspectives. Find out the best Mediterranean cruise itinerary for your next vacation.
Eastern Mediterranean cruise includes the countries in the Adriatic Sea, Dalmatian Coast, the Balkans and the Black Sea.
The eastern coast of Italy
Western Mediterranean cruise includes the countries around the Balearic Sea and the Italian Peninsula. If you sail from Southampton, UK, the ship will go through the Strait of Gibraltarconnected. The strait connects the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. North African is also one of the itineraries.
The western coast of Italy
2. Ports of Calls
Eastern Mediterranean cruise ports
4 different itineraries are included: the Adriatic Sea, the Balkans, the Greek Islands and Holy Land. Eastern Mediterranean cruise includes stops with different colours and feels.
1. The Adriatic Sea and Dalmatian Coast
- Venice, Italy
- Dubrovnik, Croatia
- Kotor, Montenegro
- Athens, Greece
2. The Greek Islands
- Mykonos, Santorini, Crete and Patmos
3. Black Sea
- Istanbul, Turkey
- Kusadasi, Turkey
4. Holy Land
- Haifa, Israel
- Alexandria, Egypt
Western Mediterranean Cruise Ports
Western Med cruise itineraries include the Balearic Sea, the Alboran Sea and North Africa. Europe’s most visited cities are covered by this route and can visit just on one cruise.
1. Balearic Sea
- Barcelona, Spain
- Marseille, France
- Monte Carlo, Monaco
- Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
- La Spezia (Florence), Italy
- Naples, Italy
2. Alboran Sea
- Lisbon, Portugues
- Porte, Portugues
3. North Africa
- Palma de Mallorca, Spain
- Casablanca, Morocco
- Tangier, Morocco
- La Goulette, Tunisia
3. Embarkation Ports
It is always a wonderful idea to explore the city for at least a few days before you set sail at the embarkation port. Save your time and money by visiting embarkation port transfer and accommodation articles.
Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Embarkation Ports
Western Mediterranean Cruise Embarkation Ports
Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Beaches
- Zakynthos Island, Greece
- Patmos, Greece
- Elafonissi pink sand beach, Crete, Greece
- Elia Beach, Mykonos in Greece
Beaches for Western Mediterranean Cruise
- Ibiza, Spain
- Barcelona Beach, Barcelona
- Cinque Terre, Italy
5. Museums and Galleries
Eastern Mediterranean cruise offers cathedrals and beached more than museums.
- The National Archaeological Museum, Athens
Western Mediterranean cruise highlights more museums and galleries than Eastern Med cruise.
- The Vatican Museum, Rome
- Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona
- Museu Picasso, Barcelona
- MACBA. Museu d’Art Contemporani, Barcelona
- The Naples Archaeology Museum, Naples
6. Religious and Sacred Places
Eastern Med cruise cannot separate religious sites and sacred places.
- St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice
- Trogir, Dubrovnik
- St Blaise’s Church, Dubrovnik
- Blue Mosque, Istanbul
- Monastery of St John and the Cave of Apocalypse in Patmos, Greece
- Holy Mount, Jerusalem
- Dorm of Rock, Jerusalem
- the Wailing Wall, Jerusalem
- The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem
In Western Mediterranean cruise, the religious sites are limited. However, its popularity is outstanding in Europe.
- Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
- St. Peter’s Cathedral, Rome
7. Archaeological Sites
Archaeological Sites for Eastern Mediterranean Cruise (source)
- The Acropolis of Athens, Athens
- Parthenon Athens, Greece
- Acropolis of Lindos, Rhodes in Greece
Archaeological sites for Western Mediterranean Cruise (source)
- Pompeii and Herculaneum from Naples
- The Colosseum, Rome
- The Roman Forum, Rome
The shopping, hi-end restaurant and cafe scenes are abundant in Western Mediterranean
- Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona
- Plaza Catalunya, Barcelona
- Via delCondotti street, Rome
East or West Mediterranean Cruises: What to do if you can’t choose
You have checked out the pros and cons of the Eastern and Western Mediterranean cruise. But still, you may not be able to select which is the best destinations to cruise the Mediterranean for you.
The more you try to decide which itineraries are the best for you, the more you get confused. This is understandable. Cruising the Mediterranean can’t be like a weekend vacation you normally have!
So, if you can’t decide the east or the west med cruise, there is a solution for you.
You can actually combine historic and cultural sites and golden beaches as well as museums and shopping, literary… everything!
Viking Cruises will meet your needs and desire at the Med cruise. Viking covers both Eastern and Western Med cruise itineraries. Its cruising length is 13 days (source).
Viking takes adult only service. If you are looking for something special and exclusive, Viking is the best cruise line for the Mediterranean.
Yes. Viking can be costly but it offers you everything to meet what you are looking for in the Mediterranean.
If you cruise with your family and are looking for a lower price, MSC Cruises is the one you need to check out. Costa Cruises also offers reasonable cruise rates. MSC and Costa are leading Mediterranean cruise liners and have a lot of experiences in Eastern and Western Mediterranean countries.
MSC is now having a campaign. If your kids are 11 years old or under, MSC offers a free of charge for them (source).
MSC Cruises is one of the leading cruise lines in the Mediterranean cruises. You can have more options in selecting embarkation ports, ports of calls and the length of a cruise.
Royal Caribbean Cruises also offer a top Mediterranean cruise. Royal Caribbean is popular among family cruisers. Royal Caribbean has the world’s largest top 10 ships (source). Entertainment facilities are multiplied. You can also have a lot of choices in dining.
In fact, Royal Caribbean makes your cruise vacation easy.
Why is that?
The more options you have, the more likely each family members’ needs meet their expectations.
Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises end the high season. The best season arrives at the Mediterranean. Can you imagine that many cruise ships are repositioning from the Caribbean to Europe?
Eastern and the Western Caribbean receive a hurricane season on August and September. All Europe’s port cities are having the high season. If you are looking for a cruise vacation in Summer, the Mediterranean is your best choice.
Best Mediterranean Cruise Ports
Eastern Med Cruise Best Ports
Venice is a preserved Medieval town in Europe. Once you step into the Venetian Lagoon, you will find different colours and feels. This is the reason why Venice is so special. No one resists visiting Venice.
If you arrive in Venice, you are very lucky. You can access the major visiting places from the Venice cruise port. But then… it might not be enough for you staying one of Europe’s most visited cities less than a half day. If you agree with it, select the city as your embarkation port. Find where to stay over at Venice at its Port guide for a few days before you set sail.
Things to do in Venice
- St. Mark’s Square and Basilica
- The Rialto Bridge
- The Church of Madonna dell’Orto
- The Ca d’Oro
- The Doge’s Palace
- The Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli
The highlight of Dubrovnik is the historic wall of the Old City. You can choose either to feel lost in the Medieval narrow streets and steps. Or admire the spectacular landscape of the Old City of Dubrovnik from Mount Srd.
The landscape of the terracotta rooftops extends itself. It blends itself with the deep blue colours of the Adriatic Sea. The Old City of Dubrovnik has been registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (source).
Things to do in Dubrovnik
- Go up Mount Srd with a cable car
- Dubrovnik Cathedral
- Rector’s Palace
- Cultural Historical Museum
- Visit Stradun – the limestone-paved pedestrian street
- St Blaise’s Church
Athens is one of the most popular cities among tourists in the world. The capital of Greece is well connected with Piraeus. The port can be accessed to Athens within a half hour by train.
The highlight of Athens is archaeological sites. Greece has preserved many archaeological treasures. Their numbers are one of the highest in the world (source).
Things to do in Athens
- The Acropolis of Athens – the UNESCO World Heritage
- Parthenon – the UNESCO World Heritage
- The National Archaeological Museum
Western Med Cruise Best Ports
Barcelona is the place most of you set sail for Western Mediterranean cruise. The greatness of Barcelona is that the embarkation is much easier than other cruise port in Europe. The transfers from Barcelona International Airport is easy and less costly. Once you arrive at the central Barcelona, the cruise terminal is over there. Explore the city you set sail and stay over in Barcelona city centre near the cruise port.
You will enjoy shopping at Passeig de Gracia and Plaza Catalunya. Find fine cafes and restaurants. Explore the artworks of grandmasters. Barcelona is one of the most popular destinations. It is the city anyone would love to visit once in a lifetime.
Things to do in Barcelona
- 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
- Fundació Joan Miró – Sans
- Museu Picasso – Gothic Quarter
- MACBA. Museu d’Art Contemporani – Gothic Quarter
Rome is also one of the most visited cities among international travellers in Europe. You can visit Rome from Civitavecchia. If your ship stays overnight, you have more time to explore the city.
The highlight of Rome is both archaeological and historic sites. If your time is limited in Civitavecchia, the first place you need to go is Centro Storico district. You will find Rome’s major visiting places.
If your aim is visiting the Vatican Museum, go there early morning but get an entry ticket online in advance. So that you can save time and do not need to make a queue.
Things to do in Rome
- Climbing the Spanish Steps
- Throw a coin into the Trevi fountain
- Visit Piazza Navona
- Visit the Colosseum
- Make a day for Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel
- Visit Pantheon
- Stadio Olimpico
- Borghese Gallery
Naples is one of the most important economic hubs in Italy. The city has plenty of preserved hidden treasures of the nation.
Naples is a famous cruise port. One of many Italy’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, you can visit the Amalfi Coast can from the port. You will also find Italy’s archaeological treasures in Pompeii, Herculaneum and Sorrento. You can find them from Naples.
Naples does not exist as a transit port for visiting Italy’s treasures. You will find important historic architecture and cathedrals in central Naples. One thing needs to try is limoncello liqueur. The locals love it!
Things to do in Naples
- The Naples Archaeology Museum – the best museum of Western Civilization.
- Go to the island of Capri by boat
- Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae
- San Domenico Maggiore
San Gennaro Catacombs
The district of Santa Lucia
- Palazzo Reale
- Piazza del Plebiscito – the Royal Palace
Mediterranean Cruise Tips
- You can certainly save money by cruising one of Europe’s most expensive cities. From the end of April, the accommodation rates increase until September. Make a booking early as much as you can.
- The best embarkation port can be Barcelona. Both airport and cruise port transfers are easy. This is my personal experience though. Rome is attractive in considering what the city can offer. I have found that the transfer from Rome and Leonard da Vinci Airport at Fiumicino can be little hectic. You need to prepare for the transfers in advance.
- The Mediterranean has fairly stable weather throughout the season. It rarely rains and is dried. This is the reason why many Europeans have a holiday in the Mediterranean. But, if you do not know the best time to cruise the Mediterranean, you might be disappointed. Learn when is the time to cruise the Mediterranean before you make a booking.
Mediterranean cruise is one of the most popular itineraries in Europe. Choosing which Eastern or Western Mediterranean cruise is not simple for anyone.
Eastern Med cruise offers Europe’s preserved medieval cities and includes archaeological and historic sites. Eastern Med cruise also cannot separate itself with religious and sacred places. Not only that, you can combine one of the world’s most beautiful beaches in the Greek Islands.
Western Med cruise centres on historic and archaeological sites. You are visiting Europe’s most glorious cities. Visiting renowned museums and galleries are also covered. Not only that, you can have great opportunities for shopping and beautiful cuisines. Enjoy yourself at one of Europe’s most luxurious hi-end districts.
Find the cities you would love the most to visit in Europe. Then decide the cruise line which meets your expectations and cruising styles. Have a great vacation!
You may enjoy reading more for Eastern or Western Mediterranean Cruise:
Next to read >> When is the Best Time to Cruise the Mediterranean
How do you find Eastern or Western Mediterranean Cruise in this article? Was it clear enough for deciding which itinerary is the best for you?
If you find this article useful, please share it with your friends and help them. Or Pin this article by “clicking Pinterest red tab below at left” for sharing or later reading. Thank you!