Plan Your Cruise in the Western Mediterranean!
A cruise is a great way to experience many destinations and cultures within a short timeframe. A ‘sneak peek’ vacation plan! Our first adventure through Europe began with an Western Mediterranean cruise. Visiting these varied cruise ports, we were able to view incredible highlights of the areas including iconic historic sites and interesting villages, giving insight to the diverse European cultures.
It’s best to plan to spend an overnight in the port city before the cruise. This gives you the ability to spend some time there, as well as allowing extra time to get to your ship in case of any travel delays as the cruise goes on without you if you’re not on time!
Our tour through the Western Mediterranean was through Royal Caribbean cruise line, leaving from Rome’s Cittevecchia port. The ship was the Navigator of the Seas, it’s a large ship so there were many things to do on board. No complaints! We cruised through the Italian Riviera, French Riviera, two stops in Spain, the island of Sardinia and back to Rome.
As first time travelers to Rome, we arrived a day early to witness the wonder of Rome before departing on our journey by sea. Rome is a big city with a small footprint. We were able to see most of the sites within our 24 hour window. In the city, you can walk to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Piazza Venezia, The Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps to name just a few. A short ride away is Vatican City, which is a long tour so you’ll need to plan some time for it. A hop on/hop off city bus is the best way to travel.
Our stop in the Italian Riviera allowed us to visit the quaint, beautiful seaside village of Santa Margherita where we ferried over to Portofino. This peninsula is a must see! For more information, please read my post on Choose Villafranche on the French Riviera For Romance!. Don’t forget to check out the buildings in Santa Margherita to witness their famous ‘faux’ painting. I totally missed it the first time I was there. Friends chose the Cinque de Terre excursion and loved it just as much!
The French Riviera is amazing. We took an excursion through Nice, Eze, Monaco and Monte Carlo. These towns are relatively close together and easy to see in one day. We loved it so much we’ve been back there too. Our next trip we stayed in the amazing town of Villafranche su Mer, which is centrally located and a very easy commute to these other area! For more information, please read my post Choose Villafranche on the French Riviera For Romance!
Spain had us Biking in Barcelona for our shore excursion. We got to see so much of the city and had a lot of fun doing it. The trip had us bicycling through town and then down to the beach. We aren’t an avid bicycle group, in fact it had been many years, but we did just fine! The tour was great and it still allowed us some time to stop for tapas and sangria on the way back to the ship. The sangria there was the best we’ve ever had!!
Palma de Mallorca
The shore excursion of choice in Palma de Mallorca was kayaking. It was and interesting journey and the scenery absolutely spectacular, but all in all, not that fulfilling. It was a long excursion for a short stopover and if I were to do it again, I would not choose that excursion. The view of the Palma coastline was magnificent but this excursion really didn’t give us anytime to explore the port city.
In Sardinia, we chose a native lunch and show. Although we had a great time with our group, it left us wondering over the many stories we had heard of the wondrous beaches in the area. We didn’t have the opportunity to see anything on the island. Even the bus trip to our destination was non-descript. The town small and desolate. If I were to do it again, I would have picked a different excursion.
After the Cruise
If at all possible, planning pre or post cruise travel is a great way to get a little more bang for your buck. Since we had already paid the airfare to Europe, we were determined to make the most of it! My husband and I left our group at the cruise terminal and ventured on our own to Tuscany which was such an awesome experience. We’ve been back twice since then! Tuscany is amazing. My husband and I are both water and beach lovers, but nothing is more magical than the beauty of the Tuscan hills. Pictures do it no justice at all. You have to be there to believe it. For more on Tuscany, please visit my post at The Chianti Region – The Perfect Home Base in Tuscany!.
If you’re new to cruising and not sure if it’s the right type of trip for you, it might be a good idea to book a short trip for starters and see how you do. The ships are huge and it’s unlikely you’ll be bothered by sea sickness. There’s are also bracelets and pills available if you’re worried about it. It’s an amazing experience and generally the most economical, all-inclusive way to travel. Shore excursions can be costly but talk with your travel professional. Sometimes the port city has all that you need and many times there are other excursions available as well. Check out www.viator.com and www.livingsocial.com for deals in your destination cities.
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