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8 Great Mediterranean Cruises

  • Matthias Scholz/Alamy

    What's New for Mediterranean Cruises?

    There was a time when Mediterranean Sea cruises involved older ships sailing tried-and-true itineraries. But today, the eastern and western Mediterranean are vacation hot spots. The lines are showing off their latest and greatest vessels on creative routes from April to November. History, art, culture, beaches, shopping and amazing views are all on the agenda.

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    Celebrity Cruises’ Silhouette: Italy and Croatia

    Mediterranean cruises from Venice combine sightseeing in Rome and Naples with exploring the newly popular beaches of Croatia and Montenegro. The 2,886-passenger Silhouette is one of the most stylish ships afloat, with such features as a half-acre of real grass on one of the sundecks and an interactive grill restaurant where you can cook your own dinner.

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    Oceania Cruises’ Riviera: Western Mediterranean

    One of the line’s newer vessels, the 1,250-passenger Riviera, has a Canyon Ranch spa and cuisine overseen by French master chef Jacques Pépin, the PBS host and cookbook author. There’s also a Bon Appétit Culinary Center where you can improve your own cooking skills. Mediterranean hot spots include Monte Carlo, Rome, Marseilles and Florence. Some trips include exotic Casablanca.

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    Norwegian Cruise Line’s Epic: Great Mediterranean Cruises

    Weeklong Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona on Norwegian’s 4,100-passenger Epic give you a great overview of the region: the Vatican and Colosseum in Rome, Renaissance art in Florence, ancient Pompeii in Naples, French culture in Nice. But what’s happening onboard the line’s newest and largest ship is exciting, too, with an ice bar, a Blue Man Group show and a choice of 20 eateries. There’s even a circus.

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  • AARP Offer: Explore Your World

    Explore Travel with our newsletter filled with tips and ideas to plan the ultimate getaway.
    Join AARP today for savings on airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises.

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    Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam: Eastern and Western Mediterranean

    The 2,100-passenger Nieuw Amsterdam wins points as a traditional ship with trendy niceties that include cabanas you can rent for private sea views and the master chef’s table with an exclusive menu. But the itineraries — departing from either Barcelona or Venice — are also knockouts. Choose an eastern Mediterranean cruise and visit the Greek Isles, Athens and Istanbul; head west to Rome, Florence and Venice; or combine the two and get the whole Mediterranean cruise shebang.

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    Seabourn Cruise Line’s Quest: Eastern and Western Mediterranean

    Mediterranean cruises on the line’s luxurious, 450-passenger Quest involve all the pampering imaginable — free-flowing champagne, fine eats, fancy accommodations, even cold towels proffered on a hot day. The itineraries are also beyond the norm, including visits to such beautiful small ports as Portofino and Lipari, Italy; Kos, Greece; and Saint-Tropez, France. Departures are from Barcelona, Istanbul, Athens, Venice and Rome.

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    Island Cruises’ Island Star: Western Mediterranean

    Cruising on the Island Star offers a casual, friendly ambience for 1,875 budget-minded cruisers along with some brilliant seven-night itineraries that include Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona in Spain; Messina, Florence, Pisa and Naples in Italy; and Toulon in France. Other itineraries include offbeat destinations such as Mahon, Minorca; Ajaccio, Corsica; Alghero, Sardinia; and Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy.

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    Crystal’s Creative Learning Institute features classes on subjects ranging from foreign languages, to art and cooking. Expect music and dance exhibitions, and experts speaking on topics ranging from food and wine to astronomy. Cruises for 1,070 guests typically last from 10 to 14 nights and many, such as the Venice-to-Barcelona run, blend eastern and western Mediterranean ports of call.

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  • Finlay Nicolson/Alamy

    Cunard Line’s Queen Victoria: Eastern Mediterranean

    The elegant and upscale Queen Victoria, which carries some 2,000 passengers, offers seven- and 14-night cruises with itineraries that include Crete, Athens, Rhodes, Istanbul and Mykonos. The ship is both grand, in the Cunard tradition, and small enough to create a sense of coziness and intimacy.

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