Once you have settled on a Mediterranean Cruise holiday, the next thing you will want to investigate is which ports offer the most should you decide to disembark. This is a tough question, since each of the major cities has its own unique set of delightful surprises. Some are more night-life orientated, while others place more emphasis on the cultural and historical side of things.
We studied the itineraries of cruise companies ranging from Princess Cruises to Cunard Cruises and decided on our top five cruise holidays. No matter what pleases you most, these five Mediterranean Ports come highly recommended and are bound to satisfy.
Top of our list, without a doubt, is the beautiful Greek island of Santorini. With its sprawling vineyards, ancient ruins, whitewashed houses and black-pebble beaches, Santorini epitomises everything about the Mediterranean. Some people even believe that Santorini is the site of the lost city of Atlantis since the bay itself is part of a caldera; the central crater being part of a volcano which erupted some 1500 years ago.
A constant hive of activity, Istanbul has withstood the test of time. It has remained the capital through three successive empires; Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman. It is a place where holy Christian landmarks stand strong among the mosques and minarets.
Spice markets, crowded bazaars, chanting muezzins and delicious traditional Turkish cooking all come together in a perfect state of chaos. If you are after a cultural experience, Istanbul is the place to be.
Côte d’Azur, France.
A well-established playground of the rich and famous, Côte d’Azur’s (translates as the blue coast) coastal towns are strung out close to each other and it is possible to visit several in a single day. Famous artists such as Renoir, Picasso and Matisse flocked to the region to draw inspiration from the natural beauty. Many original artworks can be found in local museums and galleries,
There is one thing that really stands out – the night-life. From glitzy restaurants to thumping night-clubs, you are guaranteed to find your niche among the beautiful people.
With 900 years of history to draw from, you can be certain that Dubrovnik has seen its fair share of battles. The most recent of these took place during the Croatian War of Independence less than 20 years ago. During this time, the city was badly shelled by Yugoslavian troops and mortar fire reduced much of the city to rubble.
Yet the city bounced back. Today, as you join the throng of cruise ship tourists who visit Dubrovnik, you will be hard-pressed to find any evidence of the war. Instead, as you amble along its ancient ramparts, you will feel the essence of old-world charm.
A city that continues to sink into the lagoon sounds like something out of Alice in Wonderland. Yet Venice, with its gondolas and myriad of waterways, is home to the most artistic, creative people on earth.
It is without a doubt the city of romance and incredible architecture greets you at every corner. A must on any “to do” list is to visit one of the hand blown Venetian glass factories. The skill of these master craftsmen is simply jaw dropping.