Beginners Guide to Mediterranean Cruises

01 December 2023
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Created for everyone to enjoy, from families to honeymooners, Mediterranean cruises will take you over azure blue waters to centuries-old ports filled with sensory flavours and stunning scenery.

The perfect choice for first-time cruisers, if you’re dreaming about setting sail on a Mediterranean cruise, we’ve put together this handy guide to help you find your sea legs:

East or West? Which Med cruise is best?

The western Mediterranean, bordered by Spain and Italy, includes Sardinia, Corsica and the Balearics; and the eastern Mediterranean, on the east side of Italy, includes Greece, Croatia and Turkey.

Some cruises stay in the west, perhaps sailing from Barcelona to the French Riviera, Italy and Tunisia; others remain in the east, cruising from Venice to Athens, Istanbul and the Greek islands. Many lines offer seven-night cruises, which are great for beginners to find their cruising legs, but there are also longer itineraries that combine the best of both Meds.

When is the best time to cruise the Med?

Mediterranean cruises are popular between May and October because of the warm days and cool nights.

What to expect?

Poolside cocktails, onboard entertainment, and kids’ programmes are part and parcel of Mediterranean cruising. Expect sun-kissed days and elegant evenings of dancing and fine dining.

Top tip: Be sure to double-check all the inclusions in your package. Even an all-inclusive package doesn’t cover all the add-ons offered by the liner, which could include shore excursions, casino games, premium drinks, speciality restaurant surcharges, duty-free shopping, fitness classes, spa treatments, photos, and many other goods and services.

Every cruise starts with checking in, boarding the ship and unpacking your bags. This is one of the best perks of cruising: unpacking just the once! Be sure to unpack as thoroughly as possible to make the most of the space in your tight cabin.

Top tip: Inside cabins are perfect for budget-conscious travellers on Mediterranean cruises.

When it comes to shore excursions, read up on your destinations and plan your days accordingly – that way you will make the most of your onshore time.

What to pack?

The dress code is not as stuffy as one might think, and “formal nights” are optional. You can always choose to eat somewhere other than the formal dining room.

The Mediterranean can be very hot in the summer, so it’s smart to bring breathable, light-coloured clothes and a hat for excursions. Remember sunscreen, sunnies, travel sickness medicine, comfortable walking shoes and your camera.

Top tip: Some European churches (especially in Italy) enforce a strict “no shorts or bare shoulders” dress code, so be sure to keep this in mind when heading onshore.

Want to make memories in the Med? Let’s start planning your first Mediterranean Cruise!

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