Western Mediterranean Cruise

View of the city from Park Guell in Barcelona

Explore Western Mediterranean with a cruise.

Unsplash/Daniel Corneschi

A Western Mediterranean cruise exudes cosmopolitan glamor, refined culture and the chance to shop, bar hop and socialize like no other cruising region. From Barcelona to the Cote d’Azur, Venice and the Amalfi Coast, a cruise in the Western Mediterranean brims with endless possibilities to experience superlative cities and alluring beaches. 

The best of Spain, France & Italy

Cruises are centered around Spain, France and Italy, with various other options taking in Portugal, Malta and even North Africa, With port calls such as Rome, Naples, Seville or Venice on an itinerary, history lovers will be well catered for, while there is a compelling blend of cultured beach towns, diverse regional gastronomy and eye catching landscapes.

A week-long Western Mediterranean cruises can pack a lot in with a port call virtually every day and unlike the Caribbean, ships more regularly stay overnight in port, offering the chance to really explore a city’s fun-loving side after dark. There are ample options to take things slower with longer 14-day cruises giving a more intimate taste of a city all at your own pace. Pick the right sailing and your cruise itinerary will enable you to explore well beyond the port and into Europe’s iconic rural landscapes such as Provence, France or to go truffle hunting in Tuscany. In short, a cruise in the Western Mediterranean is the perfect introduction to the Europe travel experience.

The prime time for Western Mediterranean cruises is from the spring through the fall encompassing the peak tourist season of July and August. This is the time when most of Europe is also on vacation so port visits on a 7-night Western Mediterranean cruise will invariably seem like the crowds are never ending. In addition to this, July and August temperatures can be intense. A better option is an off-season Western Caribbean cruise which is significantly cheaper and the crowds are much thinner. The climate is still very pleasant in the spring and fall, and your ship will likely have less school-age children aboard. 

More cruise lines are home porting ships year-round and offering winter cruising in the Mediterranean. MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises offer a broad range of itineraries which cover a wider area, taking in the warmer climes of North African ports in Morocco or Tunisia and even to the Spanish Canary Islands which are some distance southwest of the Mediterranean Sea. Royal Caribbean cruise itineraries for example, may combine both Western and Eastern Mediterranean ports of call. Although sheltered between the southern reaches of continental Europe and North Africa the Mediterranean can get a little choppy in the winter or fall due to seasonal storms but there are certainly no fears over hurricanes.

There is a huge array of fascinating itineraries and on-shore experiences on a Western Mediterranean cruise vacation, unlocking stunning landscapes, chic beach resort towns and the vibrant cities of Spain, the French Riviera and Italy.


Sultry Naples is a unique city of captivating history and art although for most cruisers, it serves as the gateway to Pompeii amd a hike up Mount Vesuvius.. Naples also unlocks a spectacular scenic drive along the Amalfi Coast to the glamorous celebrity hangout of Positano or a boat ride to the ultra-chic island of Capri. Naples is of course the epicentre of Neapolitan cuisine which can claim the best pizzas, ice cream and Expresso in Italy.


Barcelona is one of those rare cities that is as cool as it is cultured. The Catalan capital’s style has been forged by its favourite son Antoni Gaudi. You could easily spend the whole day following in Gaudi’s footsteps – the iconic church Sagrada Familia is a must and the neo-Gothic wonderland of Parc Guell is even better, showcasing stunning surrealist monuments that can be explore in a pleasant parkland setting at leisure. The main plaza also offers sweeping views over the city. Take a stroll along the vibrant Las Ramblas for people watching, shopping and some delicious tapas bites. Barcelona also scores bonus points for its sweeping sandy beaches just minutes away from the action.  


Villefranche is the archetypal French Riviera seaside town, exuding a sleepy small town vibe with a touch of glamor. Stroll around the cobbled streets and browse the boutiques or sip a Pastis in a waterfront café. The cultured city of Nice is invitingly close while the entire Cote d’Azur is accessible with a day to explore, from Cannes, Antibes, to Monaco and Monte Carlo.