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Explore the vibrant streets of Barcelona or immerse yourself in Istanbul’s historic sites, the Mediterranean region offers unlimited adventures. And what better way to see it all than on board a cruise ship? To help determine which cruise lines offer the best Mediterranean experience, we utilized the U.S. News research methodology factoring in the number and variety of itineraries in the region and the line’s approval rating among experts.
Viking offers a plethora of Mediterranean sailings that travel to a variety of ports. Plus, with destination-focused itineraries and a free shore excursion in each port, you’ll learn more about places like Florence, Italy, and Monte Carlo during your trip. Plus, you can extend your European stay by booking a “cruise extension” on land before or after your voyage.
Well-heeled travelers love the luxury found on Seabourn’s ships as they cruise to destinations like Malta and Santorini. The line’s ships carry 458 or 600 guests, meaning you won’t have to worry about bumping elbows with loads of other passengers. While you’ll have to pay extra for excursions, all onboard dining and drinks are complimentary.
With itineraries across numerous Mediterranean countries, Azamara stands out for catering to travelers interested in exploring less-frequented ports of call, including Livorno, Italy, and Koper, Slovenia. Passengers on select voyages can also participate in the line’s AzAmazing Evenings program, which arranges culturally immersive experiences like live music performances.
This luxury liner sails to more than a dozen countries in the Mediterranean, including Albania, France and Turkey. It also sets itself apart by offering longer voyages with more time in each destination. Plus, all Regent Seven Seas passengers enjoy unlimited free shore excursions like bicycling in Dubrovnik, Croatia, and a Dan Brown-inspired visit through Rome.
Celebrity Cruises receives high marks for its versatility, affordable prices and wealth of onboard activities. The fleet’s Mediterranean ships carry around 3,000 passengers or fewer, offering travelers an array of amenities – including kids clubs and casinos – without the overcrowding or limited service found on megaships.
Oceania Cruises focuses on individualized service with low guest-to-crew ratios and specialized dining venues. It’s also a decidedly child-free crowd, with no programming for younger cruisers. The line offers a variety of Mediterranean sailings to ports like Porto, Portugal, and Casablanca, Morocco, as well as plenty of shore excursions to satisfy curious minds and adventurous travelers.
It’s no surprise that Carnival-owned, Europe-based Costa Cruises boasts a bevy of Mediterranean itineraries at affordable prices. Both Western and Eastern Mediterranean cruises are available, with sailings to destinations like the Balearic Islands in Spain and a handful of Greek isles.
Catering mostly to Europeans, MSC Cruises offers a variety of Mediterranean sailings, with ports of call ranging from Cannes, France, to Tangier, Morocco. The fleet’s ships carry between roughly 2,000 and 6,500 cruisers and feature a wealth of onboard amenities.
Among the more intimate options on the list, Silversea’s ships carry around 600 or fewer passengers and visit numerous Mediterranean destinations. The line’s specialty restaurants feature global cuisine, and other high-end amenities make for a luxurious environment well-suited to exploring the Mediterranean.
Holland America doesn’t offer many sailings to the Mediterranean, but it can be one of the more affordable options if you’re looking to stop in multiple ports. The line’s Mediterranean sailings also feature unique excursions, including immersive food tours, thanks to its partnership with Food & Wine magazine.