Choosing the Best CruiseLines
Best Mediterranean Cruises
Few regions of the world can match the Mediterranean for its majestic natural beauty, its rich cultural treasures and its sparkling history. Add to this its wonderful climate and the mesmerizing sights that are waiting in store, its little wonder that the Med is the favorite cruise choice for anyone wanting to live a life of ultimate luxury and bliss.
The Mediterranean Sea, stretching from the Iberian Peninsula in the west to the Adriatic coast in the east is popular with cruise lovers from all over the world, attracting not only first-timers but also many travelers who love the experience so much they have to keep coming back again and again.
So what is it about the Med that makes its cruises so alluring? Part of the credit must surely go to the amazing destinations to choose from, with dozens of stops at some of Europe’s and North Africa’s most strikingly beautiful ports – including Barcelona, Rome, Monte Carlo, Venice, Cannes, Lisbon, Split, Tel Aviv, Tunis and many, many more besides. Plus we mustn’t forget the gorgeous Mediterranean islands of Corsica, Ibiza, Sicily and Crete among others, each with their own distinct culture yet distinctly reminiscent of their parent countries in so many ways.
Another reason why the Med is such a popular cruising destination is due to its perfectly balanced itineraries – the vast majority of Mediterranean cruises offer just the right mix of marquee cities and lesser known ports, with just the right amount of time to explore each venue, thereby ensuring that passengers have all the time in the world to see the best that each destination has to offer – arts, culture, beaches, cafes and shops – the cities of the Mediterranean have it all and then some.
Top Three Cruises in the Med
The Sea Princess
Although essentially geared toward British travelers, the Sea Princess is the perfect starter cruise for anyone wishing to explore the Mediterranean for the first time. Known for its luxury amenities mixed with a healthy dose of old-world charm, and with room for just 1,950 passengers, there are few affordable Mediterranean cruises that offer the intimacy and comfort of the Sea Princess.
This cruise traditionally attracts quite a mixed crowd, with people of all ages and backgrounds aboard, ensuring that no one feels out of place. Entertainment options are varied and plentiful, with several sporting activities to choose from, as well as spas to relax, discos to party in, and a choice of fine restaurants for dining. For those who prefer to relax, there are plenty of private balconies to recline in and enjoy the breathtaking views.
There are two itineraries to choose from on the Sea Princess, both embarking from the port of Southampton in the UK and offering a varied selection of all that the Western Mediterranean has to offer. The first trip includes stops at Vigo, Lisbon, Cannes, Naples and finally Corsica, before returning to the UK, while the second tour’s destinations include Monte Carlo, Florence, Pisa, Sardinia and Mallorca. The cities of Rome and Barcelona, as well as the British enclave of Gibraltar, are included in both itineraries.
Sea Dream I & II
For those who picture their cruise as being a blissful, romantic getaway amidst all the trappings of luxury, there are few better voyages than those aboard the Sea Dream yachts. With room for just 110 passengers on each craft, Sea Dream cruises are perfectly set up to offer the relaxing, ambient atmosphere that couples crave.
Despite being on the small side, Sea Dream I & II come with all the amenities that one associates with a luxury cruise – with mini-sized spas, casinos and bars, as well as a number of fine restaurants offering a selection of international cuisines. The service is efficient and friendly, while the cozy cabins are fitted with all the mod cons one could need; showers designed for two, feather beds, large flat-screen television and a walk-in closet. And we mustn’t forget the caviar and champagne, which are served to each room as part of the package.
Out on deck, things are just as good – those gorgeous Balinese beds make it possible to spend the entire day doing nothing else but sit and relax while enjoying the sights of the Med. For those who prefer some action, water sports facilities include jet-skis, kayaks, sailing boats and banana boats, assuring no end of wet and wild action.
Sea Dream I & II cater for the western Med, with calls at several more smaller coastal towns, along with one or two more famous cities thrown in. Itineraries include Monte Carlo to Civitavecchia, Rome to Barcelona, and several more besides.
For one of the most intimate cruise experiences on the Med, it’s hard to beat the Royal Clipper from Star Clipper Cruise Lines. Fitted with a mast, the Royal Clipper is a true sailing ship in every sense and proudly boasts of being the world’s largest full-rigged sailing vessel, offering some of the most unique destinations on its itinerary. The ship is small, with room for just 227 passengers, yet despite that it’s known for its pleasant atmosphere with numerous different nationalities on board.
The reason we like the Royal Clipper? Quite simply, because sailing makes for a completely novel experience when compared to cruising on a traditional cruise liner. The sophisticated if somewhat simplistic surrounds aboard the Royal Clipper may not be as lavish as the likes of Seabourn or Silver Seas, but the experience of sailing through the headwind more than makes up for any luxuries that might be absent.
Royal Clipper’s schedule packs a range of itineraries for 2012, including Sicily and the Amalfi Coast; Italy, Sicily and Croatia; Corsica, Sardinia and Elba; and the Balearic Islands.