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What to Expect on Your Mediterranean Cruise

Anyone who has been able to go on a cruise ship vacation will likely tell you that it’s an experience they’ll never forget. If you’ve never been on one, you probably have some questions about what it will be like, and what to bring. Once you’re completely prepared for your cruise you can really enjoy the warm climate and the heart of western civilization that stretches through the history books for thousands of years. We’ve compiled this list to help you be prepared for what to expect on your Mediterranean Cruise.


You’ll need to arrange for transportation to the point of departure for your cruise. Unless you’re fortunate enough to live within driving distance, this will likely mean booking a flight from your home city to the cruise’s departure point, and from the cruise’s end point back home. Sometimes the cruise company will offer services through which you can book transportation from the airport to the ship. Check with your travel agent or cruise line representative for exact details about departure and arrival transportation.

Es Vedra, Ibiza

Image by Jose Ramon via Flickr


There are many routes through the Mediterranean region that cruise ships can take. Exactly which route your cruise will take will vary depending on the cruise line. European cruises will be offered by Viking starting in 2015, and will offer breathtaking views of the coasts of Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, Greece, and Turkey, among others. Regardless which route you select, the Mediterranean and Ionian seas will surely sweep you off your feet with their unique shorelines and calming waters.

Valletta, Malta

Image by Gord McKenna via Flickr

Villefranche-sur-Mer, Nice, France

Image by Mark Fischer via Flickr

Seasonal Climate Changes

If you’re planning your Mediterranean cruise from halfway around the world, it’s understandable that you might be unsure about what kind of weather to pack for. It has been said that the weather in the Mediterranean matches that of California, South Africa, and the southern regions of Australia. This means warm, dry summers, and cool, wet winters. If you plan to go in the summer, plan for heat, bring plenty of sunscreen, and be sure to pack a wide-brimmed hat to protect yourself from the beating sun. Also, when you dock for sightseeing, make sure to bring plenty of water from the ship to help you stay hydrated.

Winter cruise goers will likely enjoy smaller crowds and cooler temperatures than summer guests, but should plan to bring layers to accommodate the cooler temperatures. Since cold rains are common in this area, rain coats or water-proof jackets and umbrellas are recommended for trips ashore and for enjoying the outdoor decks of the ship. No matter which season your cruise is scheduled for, plan to wear comfortable shoes, as you will likely be doing a lot of walking as you explore the cities when the ship docks.

Santorini, Greece

Images by Rennett Stowe via Flickr

Istanbul, Turkey

Images by Tambako The Jaguar via  Flickr

Trips Ashore

Part of what will make your Mediterranean cruise memorable are the many times the ship will dock, allowing you to explore the iconic surroundings. Check the itinerary for your specific cruise for any coordinated events the cruise line has set up for you ashore. There is usually a guided tour or two for each stop, along with allotted time for you to explore on your own, before reporting back to the ship at a designated time. It’s a good idea to do some light reading on each city your cruise will stop in, so you can have a good idea of what to expect, and have an idea of which places you’d like to see during your time there.

Katakolo, Greece

Image by Tambako The Jaguar by Flickr

Meals and other Essentials

There will typically be three meals provided for you on the ship at set times. There is a window of time that each meal is served, which encourages guests to come and go as they please, and to eat when it suits them. Many times these meals are included with the cost of your cruise ticket, but check with your particular cruise line to be sure. There will also be essential personal and items available for purchase aboard the ship. That way if you forget anything, or want to pack light, you can rest assured you won’t be left high and dry. There will also be plenty of opportunities to pick up these items while you’re ashore as well.

Party on the MSC Poesia, Mediterranean Sea

Image by Tambako The Jaguar by Flickr

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Image by Tambako The Jaguar by Flickr

Before embarking on your Mediterranean cruise, check with the cruise line for details about departure dates and times, as well as which cities it will stop in and when. Knowing these things ahead of time will help ensure that you have a stress-free, enjoyable, memorable cruise experience.

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