Mediterranean and Iberia
Explore the cradle of civilisation, leading centres of fashion and idyllic islands on a cruise around the Mediterranean and the Iberian Peninsula.
With shores on three continents, the Mediterranean and Iberian Peninsula offer a wide variety of experiences within a short distance. You could be sipping sangria in the Costa del Sol before heading to the bustling markets of Morocco, or tour the islands of ancient Greek myths before moving on to Israel and Jordan.
Step off the pier in Europe's most fashionable cities to indulge in some retail therapy or stroll along the seafront of the Côte d'Azur, admiring dramatic coastal scenery and ancient man-made wonders on a personalised cruise that matches your interests and your budget.
- Currency - the euro is the principal currency of the Mediterranean and Iberian region, so you won't have to change your money between Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal or Spain. Other destinations use their own currencies, but you won't have a problem changing euros or US dollars, and international credit cards are the preferred form of payment in many locations.
- Population - more than 400 million people live in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, more than a third of these living in coastal areas. With ports in Europe, Asia and Africa, the Mediterranean region is a melting pot of cultures and peoples.
- Language - brushing up on your foreign languages will be appreciated by the locals and can be necessary if you're planning on venturing off the beaten path, but English is widely understood in major tourist spots.
- Time zone - Portugal and Morocco are the only countries in the region on UTC+00:00, adjusting for Daylight Saving Time. The West Mediterranean between Spain and Italy (including France) observes UTC+01:00, while Greece, Turkey and the East Mediterranean follow UTC+02:00.
- Weather - the origin of the term 'Mediterranean climate', the region is characterised by mild winters and warm to hot summers, particularly on the coast. Temperatures increase when heading south, with Athens experiencing hotter summers than Madrid.
Who goes there?
The Mediterranean and Iberian Peninsula are among the most popular cruise regions in the world, and many local and international cruise lines operate routes aimed at satisfying travellers of all backgrounds.
Travel in style around Iberia and the Greek Islands aboard the luxury liners of Silversea and Crystal Cruises, or experience authentic Italian hospitality with Swan Hellenic and MSC Cruises. Oceania Cruises offers tours of the region as well as long distance cruises from Barcelona to Miami, Istanbul to Dubai and other routes.
Best time to go?
Cruise lines travel the Mediterranean and Iberian Peninsula all year round, but the high season falls during the summer months of May to September. Rainfall is highest in November and March, but southern regions such as Morocco, the Canary Islands and Greece stay warm through the winter.
- Rome - the Roman Empire may have fallen, but the Eternal City lives on and is one of the most visited cities in Europe. Cruises to Rome arrive at Civitavecchia, which has served as the gateway to the Italian capital for 800 years. Head into the city and you'll see even older man-made marvels including the iconic ruins of the Forum and the Colosseum.
- Balearic Islands - these picturesque islands east of Spain have gained a reputation for wild nightlife, but that hasn't spoiled their natural beauty – inspiring artists, musicians and poets for centuries. The three islands of Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca each possess distinct personalities that will be discovered after spending several days soaking up their charms on a laid-back cruise holiday.
- Venice - Venice is a truly unique city, one that can be hard to accept is real, even when you're taking the mandatory gondola cruise along its interconnected canals. Simply getting lost in the labyrinth of streets would be experience enough, but the city also offers a wealth of fine art and dining.
- Alexandria - this port city on the south shore of the Mediterranean is the gateway to Egypt's ancient wonders. Alexandria's own historic lighthouse and library may have been lost to time, but the Giza Pyramids and other surviving monuments are just a short trip down the Nile.