Cruising the Mediterranean – the Best Options for 2016
There are some good reasons why the Mediterranean is one of the busiest cruise regions in the world: it’s utterly beguiling, whether at sea or in port. You can be charmed time and again; with so many ports, it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve cruised the region, there’s always something new to see and experience. Add to that the large number of cruise lines operating the Med, and there’s always a new style in which to do it.
In 2016, you can do the “greatest hits” such as Venice, Barcelona and Rome. Or venture into less-travelled territory – Sardinia, Corsica and Menorca, for instance, which is exactly where Lindblad Expeditions’ 102-passenger luxury expedition ship National Geographic Orion will go in 2016. Among 11 European itineraries, the ship’s Mediterranean Isles: Sardinia, Corsica and Menorca cruise includes vineyard visits in Corsica, a hike to the Pertusato Lighthouse and a Zodiac trip to the Scandola Nature Reserve, among other exceptional excursions.
Royal Caribbean has new Med itineraries in 2016, among them, the very affordable 10-night Mediterranean Variety Cruise aboard Rhapsody of the Seas going off the beaten path in Croatia, the Greek Islands and Italy.
For something on a big scale, the amazing Carnival Vista launches in 2016, debuting with 8-13-day itineraries in the Med. Visit Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Italy, France, Spain and more. Onboard, she’s all about fun, family and good times, with vibrant interiors that take ship design into new funky territory and the SkyRide, a zip-line bike suspended above the buzzy outdoor games deck. A selling point is extra roomy accommodation – the Havana suites even have an additional outdoor lounging space with hammock.
For ultra-glamour and luxury, Seabourn’s three stunning vessels, Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest will run various itineraries in different regions of the Med. Sojourn and Quest will cruise the west, and Odyssey the east. You can combine several itineraries to really make a memorable holiday. “Along with exotic new itineraries and enriching World Heritage tour options, the 2016 Europe season includes a raft of signature experiences that make a Seabourn cruise so special,” says Tony Archbold of Seabourn Australia. “Guests can shop with the chef during excursions to local markets throughout the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, enjoy Seabourn’s hallmark Marina Day experience at some of the most scenic ports in the Mediterranean and take in a private classical concert under the stars at Ephesus.”
Upscale Regent Seven Seas is also running some gorgeous new itineraries for Seven Seas Explorer’s debut season. The 10-night Azure Awakenings includes Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, romantic Corfu in Greece and the Amalfi in Italy. The company promises Explorer will be their most luxurious ship yet.
For first-timers to the Mediterranean, Celebrity’s Adriatic and the Mediterranean aboard Celebrity Constellation has it all, cleverly combining big ticket cities, lesser-known ports and a full day at sea mid-cruise to relax onboard. It starts in Venice, then visits Zadar in Croatia, Kotor in Montanegro, Rome and Florence/Pisa/Livorno in Italy and Provence in France before finishing in Barcelona.