Port Options for each port on your Mediterranean cruise will include:
Run by all major cruise operators and usually detailed on their websites, these can be booked either in advance or when on board and are often the easiest way to get the most out of your day. They will involve having to be ‘present and correct’ at an appointed time and place and usually last either a full or half day. Full day excursions will involve early starts (which may not suit everyone in your party) and may, or may not, include lunch or refreshment breaks. They may also involve spending several hours on a coach at either end of the day (up to 3 hours each way). Our advice is to check how long this is likely to be and weigh that against how much you really want to visit that particular destination. Is it somewhere you might return to for a long weekend at another time or maybe visit from a closer port on a different cruise?
The cruise operators will use good quality air-conditioned local coaches which will guarantee to get you back to the ship in time for departure. If your trip includes a guided tour this will be with knowledgeable English-speaking guides who will ensure that you get the most from your visit, including regular ‘rest’ breaks where required. Be prepared to wear a sticker that tells the world which company you are sailing with, to follow a guide madly waving a lollipop or brightly coloured umbrella and to have your camera at the ready……there won’t be much time for careful framing of photographs, particularly in high density tourist spots with lots to see and lots of other groups doing battle for the same sights!
Spend the day on the ship
This may seem like a strange option, but it is a perfectly acceptable way to spend your day. You may be in need of some relaxation after a busy time the day before or may have paid a previous visit to a port and decide to give it a miss. Some moorings have better views than others, but in many Mediterranean cruise destinations there is nothing finer than to sit peacefully on deck when most of your fellow passengers have gone ashore and just watch the world go by. There will also usually be a programme of activities available if all that relaxation gets too much.
Do your own thing
Excursions are great if you can afford them, if you like to be looked after, shown where to go and don’t mind following a prescribed schedule for your day. If you are travelling on a budget or if you prefer to plan your own day then advance research is a good idea. Your ship may dock within walking distance of a main sightseeing area, as in Barcelona for example, or you may need to use public transport to get to your destination. Either way, a good pocket guide book, a map and details of local buses and trains are useful. It’s also a good plan to have a mobile phone and enough money with you to pay for a taxi back to port just in case your plans go awry.
We have visited many of the Mediterranean and Adriatic ports including some where only the smaller ships can dock.
Make sure you check out the pages on each location for our tips on what to see, what to do and how to get around all the major Mediterranean cruise ports.
For comprehensive information on all ports, see the index on the left hand side of this page.
Enjoy your cruise!