Oh the possibilities! Not only does Western Mediterranean Cruising offer Rome, Venice, Florence, Barcelona, Granada, Seville, Nice but also exquisitely beautiful “secondary” cities such Siena (Provence), Valencia (Andalusia), and Avignon (Tuscany) – plus islands like Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica and Elba.
With cruising still being one of the most popular ways of vacationing, new names to look for this year include Royal Caribbean International’s Harmony of the Seas, which holds more than 6,000 passengers, and Holland America Line’s Koningsdam, with capacity for 2,650. Viking Cruises – known for their bold and imaginative river cruise advertisements is launching its second ocean-going ship, Viking Sea.
Luxury line Regent Seven Seas Cruises is bringing in the new 750-passenger Seven Seas Explorer, and sister company Oceania Cruises is introducing Sirena - a former Princess ship - after a multi-million-dollar overhaul.
Your travel professional will be able to help you book the perfect cruise, bearing in mind the fact that although wonderfully exciting and fun, Western Mediterranean cruises can also become frenetic, with just a few hours in major ports. If you prefer a slower pace, look for 12 – 14 night itineraries. One week cruises are, by nature, destination heavy. I say, pop a vitamin or two and go for it!
When to travel
The Mediterranean season is April to October, but there are cruises virtually all year round. Cities will be hot and crowded in July and August, but traditional shoulder season dates, especially May and late September, are often wonderful times to visit. Off-season cruises have the advantages of fewer tourists and lower prices – but it can be a little rainy. Who cares, right? Mediterranean autumns (September and October) tend to be dry and mild-weathered.
If you love the idea of unpacking once, visiting a different port each day, and having free entertainment each night then cruising is for you!