The Mediterranean Sea is truly an ideal place to cruise. There are so many places of beauty and historical interest that most itineraries focus on either the Eastern or Western Mediterranean (with some overlap: Italian ports are often included in both). You really can’t go wrong with your choice of eastern or western itineraries: both are port-intensive, with outstanding cultural sites.
Rome is a common starting point for week-long cruises of the Eastern or Western Mediterranean. This point of embarkation simply begs for a pre-launch stay to tour the Eternal City. You’ll board your ship in Civitavecchia, which has served as Rome’s seaport since the 13th century.
A western itinerary that begins in Rome would visit ports in western Italy, France and Spain, and perhaps touch a bit of British soil in Gibraltar. Popular port calls include:
· Livorno, Italy, a gateway to Tuscany and the cities of Florence and Pisa.
· Genoa, Italy, a bustling harbor town with a large and well-preserved city center. A nearly irresistible excursion is Cinque Terre, five seaside villages that are part of a UNESCO World Heritage site.
· Marseille, France, where you can tour the rocky prison of Chateau d’If and the Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde, or venture to Aix-en-Provence or Avignon.
· Barcelona, Spain, where you can tour the Gothic Quarter and see the masterworks of Anton Gaudi.
Additional ports of call may include Toulon or Cannes, France; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Valencia or Malaga (for Granada), Spain; or the island of Majorca.
An eastern itinerary that begins in Rome would visit ports in southern and eastern Italy and Greece, and possibly Slovenia and Croatia, too. Popular port calls include:
· Naples, the capital of Italy’s stunning Amalfi Coast, which offers excursions to Pompeii.
· Dubrovnik, Croatia, the “Pearl of the Adriatic:” walk the 13th-centural walls that enclose the Old City to admire the medieval buildings, marble streets and shimmering sea.
· Athens, the oldest city in all of Europe, where you can tour some of the world’s most influential architectural structures and archaeological finds.
· The Greek Isles, such as the beautiful and sunny islands of Rhodes, Santorini, and Mykonos.
Additional ports of call may include Messina (Sicily), and Venice, Italy; the island of Malta; Zadar or Split, Croatia; Koper, Slovenia; and Corfu or Olympia, Greece.
To learn more about cruising in the Mediterranean and all its wonderful cruise itinerary options, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.
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