There’s a challenge that comes with planning a European cruise, but it’s a fun one. With such a big variety of itineraries, it can take some time to figure out which one is your top choice.
To begin, consider which region you would most like to explore:
Eastern Mediterranean cruises often focus on the timeless beauty of the Greek Isles and ports along the Adriatic Sea, such as Kotor, Montenegro; Dubrovnik, Croatia; and Venice, Italy. The Eastern Med is rich in ancient archaeological sites; delicious, rustic cuisine; and stunningly beautiful beaches.
Western Mediterranean cruises focus on the coastal cities of Spain, France, and Western Italy – think Barcelona, Marseilles, Nice, and Rome. Here, you’ll find historic architecture, modern sophistication, fine art and some of the very best food and wine on the planet.
Western European cruises often include the British Isles and ports on the North Sea, such as Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Bruges. You can explore cobblestoned city centers, centuries of history, and sample the region’s delicious beer and chocolate. Some of these cruises include the gorgeous fjords of Norway’s western coast.
Northern European cruises take you to Baltic Sea capitals like Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg and Tallinn. The weather here is often warmer and sunnier than you may think, and you can enjoy the region’s café culture, historic sites and wonderful museums.
All these regions are very popular destinations for cruisers and other travelers, and in summer months the ports can be quite busy. If you’re looking for a quieter onshore experience, look for itineraries that include emerging and less-frequented ports. Examples include:
· Valetta – The capital of the Mediterranean island of Malta has spectacular medieval architecture and ancient megalithic temples.
· Cephalonia – the largest of the Greek Isles in the Ionian Sea has an irregular coastline of secluded coves and white sand beaches; find one to make your own.
· Olden – Norway’s Oldeelva river carved out the Oldedalen, a river valley surrounded by snow-capped mountains with the town of Olden at its mouth. The scenery is absolutely stunning, and you can hike on a glacier.
· Cobh – The port for the city of Cork, Ireland and the famous Blarney Castle, Cobh has its own charms, including colorful houses and a graceful cathedral. It’s also steeped in history. This was the last port of call for the Titanic and the port of emigration for millions of Irish people.
For help deciding which part of Europe you’ll cruise to, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.
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