Few cruising regions provide as much cultural and historical diversity as the Mediterranean. By taking a cruise here, you can enjoy discovering the beginnings of the Greek and Roman empires, exploring vestiges of the Crusades and the Ottoman rulers, strolling by religious sites cherished by Christians, Jews, and Muslims, or simply sipping a glass of fine wine while watching the world pass by. As far as cruises, options are broken up by the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Mediterranean, with the Italian “boot” serving as the dividing line. A Western Mediterranean itinerary generally covers Spain, France, the west coast of Italy, and sometimes Tunisia too. On the Eastern side, you can visit spots like the Adriatic Coast, Greek Isles, Turkey, Egypt, the Holy Lands and Cyprus.
Viking, one of the highest ranked cruise lines, offers a 14-night cruise aboard the Viking Sea, an inclusive cruise that provides an immersive experience without the high, luxury price tag. Stops include Barcelona, Toulon, Monaco, Corsica, Florence, Rome, Malta, Tunis, Sardinia, Algiers and Valencia. The main focus of Viking ships is the destinations, with the time in each port considered the most valuable. There are no splashy water features or casinos, but Viking does provide local guides who speak English and know the visited areas well. At least one excursion is included in every port, as well as a number of “premium excursions” that cost a little extra but are usually well worth it, like a hot air balloon ride. Though Viking cruises are typically geared toward an older group, the benefit is that the ship rarely feels crowded, providing lots of time to relax and rejuvenate after a long day of sight-seeing.