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EUROPE CRUISES

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Experience a European Cruise with Airfare Credits on select sailings !

Europe's Leading Cruise Line, 15 years in a row.

There's no better way to experience the history, landmarks and culture of Europe than with our European cruise holidays . Step on board one of our award-winning ships embarking from fifteen convenient cities that are amazing destinations within themselves. Unpack once and wake up to a new city every day whilst exploring the sights, sounds and flavours of Europe, Scandinavia & Baltic , the Mediterranean , Greece , or an Italian cruise on your own timetable . Combine that with spectacular onboard entertainment, luxurious spa services, and no set dining times, and you’re bound for a good time. It's no wonder we are the World Travel Award winner for "Europe's Leading Cruise Line" 15 years in a row.

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Experience a Mediterranean Cruise

Explore Our EUROPE CRUISES

Experience a Mediterranean Cruise with Norwegian

Mediterranean Cruises

Enjoy a wide variety of itineraries and Mediterranean journeys that will allow you to visit Spain, Greece, Italy and France in one grand voyage. Cruise from Barcelona, Venice or Rome.

Greek Isles Cruises

Greek Isles Cruises

Take a holiday, cruise to Greece, and experience the beauty and magnificence of the Greek Isles for an unforgettable holiday. Explore the mainland and witness ancient history, or travel to the picturesque sun-drenched beaches of the once-powerful empire.

Experience a Northern Europe Cruise with Norwegian

Northern Europe Cruises

Sail on a Northern Europe cruise and witness the majesty and otherworldly natural beauty of this region. Cruise from London, Copenhagen, and Stockholm, amongst other departure ports, and set off on the adventure of a lifetime.

Remarkable Port Cities Cruises to Europe

Cruises to Barcelona, Spain

Cruises to Barcelona, Spain

Cruises to Venice, Italy

Cruises to Venice, Italy

Cruises to Santorini, Greece

Cruises to Santorini, Greece

Cruises to Flam, Norway

Cruises to Flam, Norway

Cruises to Reykjavik, Iceland

Cruises to Reykjavik, Iceland

Cruises to Copenhagen, Denmark

Cruises to Copenhagen, Denmark

Cruises to St. Petersburg, Russia

Cruises to St. Petersburg, Russia

Cruises to Dubrovnik, Croatia

Cruises to Dubrovnik, Croatia

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  • Venice, Italy

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Europe Cruises The Best of Both Worlds

Norwegian Epic Mediterranean Cruise

Discover More With A EUROPE CRUISE SHORE EXCURSION

Barcelona, Spain Shore Excursion

During your European cruise, you have the option to partake on various excursions. Stroll along the narrow streets of the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona . Dine like a local in Valencia with a menu of traditional Paella for lunch. Visit the Alhambra in Granada , where you'll witness one of the finest examples of Moorish art in Spain. Visit Alcazar, the 14th-century fortress-palace of Moorish architectural influences, whilst in Seville . Or venture off to the Canary Islands to see the highest peak in Spain, the highest point in the Atlantic Ocean, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site when visiting Tenerife . Experience the best Spain shore excursions during your travels.

A Wide Range of Accommodation

Relax in style in Norwegian's luxurious accommodations.

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Experience The Haven on Norwegian Cruise Line.

The Haven by Norwegian

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Best Cruises to Europe

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Debuted in October 2021, Rotterdam welcomes up to 2,668 guests. The name hearkens back to the line's founding in the late 19th century, when its first ship, Rotterdam, sailed from the Netherlands to New York. Though the ship's name is rooted in the cruise line's past, its amenities are anything but antiquated. 

Among Rotterdam's standout facilities is World Stage, a performance venue that features a two-story, 270-degree wraparound LED screen that creates a panorama of light and sound for audience members. For more entertainment, passengers can catch a performance at any of the ship's numerous music venues, including the Rolling Stone Rock Room and B.B. King's Blues Club.

When travelers aren't grooving to live tunes, they can test their luck at the onboard casino or relax at the spa. Meanwhile, kids can play the day away at the Kids Club. Foodies will be pleased to hear the ship offers eight dining options, including Rudi's Sel de Mer, a French brasserie, and Tamarind, which highlights the culinary traditions of Southeast Asia, China and Japan.

Cabins range in size from 143 square feet to 1,290 square feet, with some of the luxury suites boasting floor-to-ceiling windows, whirlpool baths and verandas with hot tubs.

Sailings aboard Rotterdam depart from ports like Fort Lauderdale, Florida , and Amsterdam to destinations in the Caribbean, Europe and the Panama Canal.

U.S. News Insider Tip: The art collection aboard Rotterdam is valued at more than $4.1 million and has 2,645 pieces of diverse works ranging in value from $500 to $620,000. Take some time to walk around the ship to explore the collections. Each of the three stairwells has a theme that reaches from top to bottom: architecture, music or zoology. – Jill Schildhouse, Contributor

european cruise countries

Viking Venus

Launched in May 2021 from Portsmouth, England, Viking Venus features modern amenities and a contemporary design. The ship can hold 930 passengers and 465 crew members. Amenities include multiple pools and shops, as well as a cinema, a live performance theater, a jazz lounge, a spa, a fitness center and a salon. Plus, you can attend a lecture or discussion with the onboard historian, who helps educate passengers on the cultural aspects of each destination. An onboard cooking school, The Kitchen Table, also allows guests to learn about each destination's unique cuisine. 

Cruisers can enjoy daily updated food options at The Restaurant, diverse cuisine at the World Café, expertly paired tasting menus at The Chef's Table and Italian favorites at Manfredi's Italian Restaurant. There are eight dining venues on board in total, in addition to the ship's cooking school at The Kitchen Table and 24/7 room service.

When it's time to rest, there are six types of accommodations to choose from – all with private verandas. The standard Veranda Staterooms measure 270 square feet and feature plush beds, free Wi-Fi access and flat-screen TVs. Higher-tier rooms come with extras like priority shore excursion reservations, priority spa reservations, in-room coffee and free laundry services. Plus, travelers in these cabins will have more space: Rooms reach up to 1,448 square feet and may include separate living and dining areas.

The Viking Venus sails to popular European destinations like Barcelona , Athens , Bangkok , Istanbul , Rome , London , Sydney and Stockholm .

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Celebrity Apex

The Celebrity Apex – which made its inaugural sailing in June 2021 – can hold up to 2,910 passengers and 1,320 crew members. Guests can wine and dine at 29 restaurants, bars and lounges, then spend the night testing their luck at the casino or enjoying live music at the Magic Carpet (which offers great ocean views). Specialty restaurants include a steakhouse and a raw bar, while main dining options feature Mediterranean, Italian and French cuisines. There are also meeting spaces and multipurpose areas on board, as well as upscale shops. 

Visit the spa or adults-only Solarium pool to stay relaxed throughout your stay at sea. For younger travelers, there are some kid-friendly areas of the ship – such as a Camp at Sea. However, the ship is geared more toward adult clientele (or families with older children) looking for a relaxing escape.

The ship's staterooms, which start at 181 square feet, offer smart TVs, customizable air conditioning and plenty of storage space. Many rooms also offer private verandas. If you're willing to splurge, consider booking a room in The Retreat. This exclusive section of the ship features luxury accommodations as well as access to a private restaurant, sun deck and lounge. Plus, rooms in The Retreat offer more space, measuring up to 1,892 square feet.

The Celebrity Apex sails to European destinations like Greece, Italy, Croatia and Portugal, as well as to Caribbean hot spots like St. Thomas , Puerto Rico , Belize and Grand Cayman . 

european cruise countries

Seven Seas Splendor

Debuted in September 2021, the 746-passenger, 548-crew member Seven Seas Splendor is the newest ship within the Regent fleet. Seven Seas Splendor – along with most of the line's other ships – takes opulence to the next level by equipping each suite with its own private balcony. Other standard in-room amenities include interactive flat-screen TVs, luxurious bath products, bathrobes and slippers, signature queen-size beds and dining tables for two. There are 10 suite categories available, ranging from the smallest Veranda (307 square feet) and Deluxe Veranda suites (308 to 361 square feet) to the largest Regent (4,443 square feet) and Master suites (1,895 to 2,108 square feet). 

Guests have a wide array of things to do while on board. Spend your days relaxing at the spa, playing paddle tennis or bocce ball, working up a sweat on the jogging track or taking a dip in the ship's two whirlpools and two pools, one of which is an infinity-edge pool that stretches along the edge of the ship, providing swimmers with exceptional views of the ocean. At night, enjoy one of five shows at the onboard theater. 

When it comes to food, Seven Seas Splendor offers eight eateries ranging from casual to fine dining. Enjoy your breakfast alfresco at La Veranda and grub down for lunch at the Pool Grill buffet. For something more formal, opt for a French-inspired meal at Chartreuse, Pan-Asian dishes at Pacific Rim or Compass Rose, the largest restaurant on the ship.

Seven Seas Splendor visits a variety of European and Mediterranean destinations, as well as ports across Europe, the Caribbean, Africa and South America.

european cruise countries

Viking Saturn

Debuted in May 2023, the adults-only Viking Saturn has the capacity to hold 930 passengers and 465 crew members. Travelers love the ship's clean Scandinavian design and compact size, which allows it to dock in smaller ports that larger cruise ships cannot reach.

On board, travelers have access to a slew of amenities, including a fitness center, a spa, a library, a state-of-the-art theater, a hair salon, an infinity pool and more. A resident historian is also on board to offer lectures and educational programming about upcoming port destinations. When hunger strikes, Viking Saturn offers an array of dining options, from fresh seafood at World Café to afternoon tea service at Wintergarden to traditional Norwegian cuisine at Mamsen's. Or, learn how to prepare regional dishes from your itinerary at the onboard cooking school.

Starting at 270 square feet, standard staterooms come equipped with king-size mattresses (which can be converted into two twin beds), flat-screen TVs, full-size verandas and bathrooms with heated floors. What's more, each accommodation includes 24-hour room service. Travelers who opt to stay in one of the ship's upgraded suites (which reach up to 1,448 square feet) have access to additional perks such as separate living areas and dining rooms, complimentary laundry services and a welcome bottle of Champagne, among other luxuries.

Viking Saturn sails to a variety of destinations in northern Europe (such as Bergen, Norway; London  and Stockholm ) and the Mediterranean (think: Barcelona, Spain ; Rome ; Athens, Greece ; and Istanbul ).

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The 930-passenger Viking Sky – which debuted in February 2017 – receives rave reviews from past cruisers for its port-heavy itineraries (fares include one complimentary excursion per port) and luxurious, comfortable staterooms. Cabins offer between 270 and 1,448 square feet of space and include balconies, complimentary Wi-Fi access, flat-screen TVs and bathrooms with heated floors, among other amenities. Those who opt for an upgraded stateroom or suite are treated to additional perks, like priority reservations at the spa and specialty restaurants.

Viking Sky's activities include classes at the fitness center, treatments at the spa and destination-focused lectures. The ship also offers two pools and two whirlpools, including an infinity pool on the stern of the ship. In the evenings, passengers can enjoy live performances in the theater or watch destination-related movies in one of two cinemas.

Guests also have their choice of cuisine, from alfresco dining on the Aquavit Terrace to Manfredi's Italian Restaurant. With 550 crew members on board, the ship maintains a nearly 2-to-1 guest-to-crew ratio.

Viking Sky sails to the Mediterranean, Europe, Central America and more. The ship also offers world voyages.

european cruise countries

Viking Mars

Viking's newest ship, the Viking Mars accommodates 930 passengers and, since it's a smaller vessel, it can dock in many ports where some of the larger ocean-faring cruise ships can't reach. The all-veranda accommodations on this ship, which debuted in May 2022, range in size from around 270 square feet to 1,448 square feet. In-room amenities include free Wi-Fi access, flat-screen TVs, safes, minibars filled with drinks and snacks, robes, slippers and 24-hour room service.

Visitors will find a relaxing spa, a hair salon, a yoga area and a well-equipped indoor fitness center (plus an outdoor fitness center) aboard the ship. Those looking to unwind with a book in one hand and a cocktail in the other should snag a cozy spot in The Living Room. Like other Viking ships, the Viking Mars offers educational programming, lectures, cooking classes and more on board.

Cruisers can also enjoy amenities like the main pool and hot tub, the infinity pool, the cinema, the theater, a jazz lounge and various bars. Dining options on this ship include Manfredi's Italian Restaurant, Aquavit Terrace, World Café, The Chef's Table and The Kitchen Table.

Viking Mars receives rave reviews from recent cruisers. The variety of excursions, the delectable onboard dining and the comfortable cabins are a few things previous guests highlighted as superb. However, the staff received mixed reviews: Some experienced attentive and friendly employees, while a few noted they were expecting better service across the board for the price point.

Upcoming itineraries on the Viking Mars include cruises with ports of call in Iceland, Norway, Greece, Italy, Spain, the U.S. and Canada.

european cruise countries

Resilient Lady

An adults-only, LGBTQ-friendly cruise ship, Resilient Lady has a capacity of 2,770 passengers and 1,150 crew members. Since setting sail in May 2023, Virgin Voyages' third ship has received praise among travelers for its exceptional dining scene and exciting entertainment options. With onboard experiences ranging from acrobatic performances to comedy shows to themed parties, Resilient Lady is best for travelers who are seeking an upbeat and social atmosphere.  

When you've worked up an appetite from your activity-filled day, grab a bite at one of the ship's 20-plus eateries, which serve everything from Mexican to Asian to Italian fare. Although all food is included, reservations are still required at many restaurants. There is also no shortage of bars to choose from, whether you want to sample The Loose Cannon's signature cocktails or sip some bubbly in the Champagne lounge.

Standard Insider rooms range from 105 to 177 square feet. All accommodations come equipped with comforts like flat-screen TVs, rain showers, mood lighting and convertible Seabeds. For more room, opt for one of the ship's RockStar Quarters. These upgraded suites feature extras like a terrace with a hammock, European king-size mattresses and spacious marble bathrooms.

Resilient Lady sails to a variety of destinations in Europe and the South Pacific, including top destinations such as Athens, Greece ; Sydney ; and Dubrovnik, Croatia .

U.S. News Insider Tip:  The Wake boasts the most ambiance of all eateries on Virgin Voyages vessels by far, so make sure to lock in reservations when you can. This upscale restaurant offers prime entrees with plenty of upgrade options for those who want to splurge. This establishment also features huge windows that provide incredible views of the ocean from the back of the ship. –  Holly Johnson, Contributor

european cruise countries

Viking Jupiter

Debuted in February 2019, Viking Jupiter is the cruise line's sixth ocean vessel. The ship sleeps up to 930 guests in luxurious staterooms that include everything from large bathrooms to comfortable king-sized beds. As an added bonus, each room is equipped with free Wi-Fi access.

Travelers will have the opportunity to indulge in several onboard activities. They can visit the spa's snow grotto and chill beneath the snowflakes, go for a swim in the infinity pool or let their worries melt away in the hot tub. The Bar and The Living Room offer additional spaces to unwind with a cocktail or mingle with fellow cruisers.

For afternoon tea and light snacks, travelers can stop by Wintergarden, or for a heartier meal, the main dining room, Manfredi's Italian Restaurant or World Café offer scrumptious European delicacies, Chinese fare and everything in between. In the evening, cruisers can catch a live show in The Theater or a destination-themed movie in one of two onboard cinemas.

Recent travelers were wowed by the ship, appreciating its tasteful, minimalist decor. They also found the food delicious and suggested purchasing the upgraded drink package.

Viking Jupiter visits ports in Buenos Aires , Barcelona  and more on both regional and transatlantic cruises.

U.S. News Insider Tip: Viking Jupiter and Viking Orion are the only two ships in the fleet that have a planetarium called the Explorer’s Dome. Refer to the daily program, the Viking Star, to see what shows are available during your voyage. – Gwen Pratesi, Contributor

european cruise countries

Debuted in May 2023, Oceania Cruises' first new ship in more than a decade can hold up to 1,200 passengers and 800 crew members. Vista is the inaugural ship in Oceania's Allura Class, featuring top-of-the-line amenities like a culinary center, an artist loft and an extensive library, along with facilities like a pool, a casino, a spa and a fitness center. Additionally, Vista offers enrichment opportunities like destination-focused seminars led by guest speakers and dynamic musical performances.

One of the highlights of Oceania Vista is its wide array of dining venues, from specialty restaurants like Ember (American fare) and Toscana (Italian cuisine) to the poolside Waves Grill and daily afternoon tea service. In the evening, guests can grab a drink at their choice of several bars and lounges; Vista's immersive mixology program utilizes innovative techniques and trends to create an elevated cocktail experience.

Vista's well-appointed staterooms – which range from 240 to 2,400 square feet – boast balconies, queen-size beds, rainforest showers, flat-screen TVs and 24-hour room service, among other amenities. If you splurge for a suite, you'll enjoy added benefits like iPads, cashmere blankets, complimentary laundry and shoeshine services, access to the Executive Lounge and butler service.

Oceania Vista explores an array of popular destinations in the U.S., the Caribbean, Mexico, the Mediterranean and more.

U.S. News Insider Tip:  The design of the Vista creates more expansive and contemporary public areas than other ships in Oceania's fleet, so even when the ship is at full capacity, it never feels crowded. Also, since it is an all-veranda ship, all guests have the same great ocean view. – Julie L. Kessler, Contributor

Disclaimers about ship ratings: A ship’s Health Rating is based on vessel inspection scores published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If a ship did not receive a CDC score within 22 months prior to the calculation of its Overall Rating, its Health Rating appears as N/A; in such a case, the ship’s Overall Rating is calculated using the average Health Rating of all CDC-rated ships within the cruise line. All ship Traveler Ratings are based on ratings provided under license by Cruiseline.com.

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One of the most iconic structures in the world the Eiffel tower

European Cruises

The best europe cruises: history, culture, cuisine.

On a European cruise with Princess®, unpack once and venture through lands where history and tradition converge. Explore cities and wonders you’ve always dreamed of visiting, like Italy's palaces, Ireland’s castles and Iceland’s lagoons. Revel in world-class experiences both on board and on land.

Find European Cruises

Ancient architecture and churches

Mediterranean

Where cuisine and culture converge.

Once home to ancient civilizations and famous philosophers, the Mediterranean continues to define tradition. Departing from Rome, Athens or Barcelona, sail into Marseille and bask in the beauty of Provence’s lavender fields. Explore Pompeii’s ruins while visiting Naples. Or taste cuisine as rich as the culture with fresh vegetables in Santorini and hand-thrown pizzas in Naples.

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Learn more about Mediterranean Cruises

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British Isles

Legendary tunes and storybook tales.

On a European cruise to the British Isles, walk in the footsteps of royalty, like the kings, queens and musical empires before you. Travel along the Royal Mile to Edinburgh Castle, where bagpipes greet you. See the world’s oldest book, The Book of Kells, at Trinity College Library. Or walk along Abbey Road and visit the old stomping grounds of one of the world’s most famous boybands. With Princess, fortresses and musical memoirs await.

Learn more about British Isles cruises

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Scandinavia & Baltic

Viking history as deep as the fjords.

Legendary tales come alive on a European cruise to Scandinavia. Explore Baltic heritage with an overnight visit to Stockholm, where you can visit the Royal Palace or sail the sparkling waterways of its 14 islands while learning about Sweden along the way. Walk Tallinn’s cobbled streets and admire the preserved medieval architecture from its 13th-century origins.

Learn more about Scandinavia & Baltic cruises

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Norway & Iceland

Natural splendors abound.

Natural attractions abound in Norway and Iceland, your gateway to dazzling fjords, cascading waterfalls and black-sand beaches. Navigate through Geiranger’s winding waterways to Seven Sisters Waterfall where currents rush 800 feet down the rugged cliffside. Or take a dip in the rejuvenating waters of the Blue Lagoon in Reykjavik. Admire Mother Nature’s masterpieces on some of our best European cruises.

Learn more about Norway & Iceland cruises

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Transatlantic

The best of land and sea.

Indulge in a classic sailing experience and revel in life at sea as you travel across the Atlantic. While on board, luxuriate in the best that your ship has to offer — like the Princess Luxury Bed and cuisine made from scratch. Then explore ports from Iceland to Greece and cities between. Get to know the unique personalities of your ship and the destinations visited, only on a Transatlantic European cruise with Princess.

Learn more about Transatlantic cruises

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Cruisetours

More time to explore.

European cruisetours combine our traditional cruises with four to eight nights on land exploring world-famous regions. As a part of your trip, enjoy expert guides, hotel stays and daily meals. Experience seamless transportation from land to ship before setting sail to the dream destinations on your itinerary. See Europe in a way that only Princess can show you.

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Princess MedallionClass

Princess® MedallionClass®

Explore destinations easily on a MedallionClass vacation. Taking in balcony or top deck views, and don’t want to move? Order drinks that find you. Want to make the most of your time away? Design each perfect day with our interactive activity planner. Hate to wait when boarding or disembarking in port? Choose your preferred arrival window and make gangway reservations. Enjoy more time to connect with the places you sail.

Learn more about Princess MedallionClass | Learn more about MedallionNet® Internet  

Why Cruise in Europe

Taking a picture of the sun setting over a canal in Cophengagen, Denmark

Cruising vs Land Vacations

The value of vacation.

Revel in first-class experiences without the first-class price tag. On a European cruise, unpack once and save on transportation and baggage fees as well as dining and entertainment costs. Independent land travel through Europe adds up fast — between accommodations, restaurants, train travel, taxis and more. But with Princess, you can spend more time exploring Europe and less time checking into your next hotel.

european cruise countries

Experience Different Seasons of Europe

Sail into the season.

See the many faces of the world with seasonal European cruise sailings from Princess. In the spring, shop France’s colorful outdoor markets for hand-crafted souvenirs. Frolic through Norway’s landscapes when they fully bloom in summer. Or visit Italy in the fall to taste the first wines of the season.

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Sail Aboard Our Newest Ships

Your best-in-class travel companion.

Built in Italy, our newest ships first set sail in international waters for their inaugural season. On a European cruise, you can be one of the first to travel aboard these vessels, adding a whole new level of excitement and opportunity to your trip. Plus these are the first ships designed with Princess® MedallionClass®, making them the best European cruises at sea.

european cruise countries

See Famous Landmarks

Where history books come alive.

Between the castles, towers and ruins, Europe is teeming with ancient architecture. On a European cruise, sail into Le Havre and choose to visit the beaches of Normandy or ascend the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Walk through the Colosseum in Rome, and stop by Livorno to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Or explore hidden gems — like Belfast’s Giant’s Causeway.

european cruise countries

A Vacation for Every Generation

Adventures for all.

In Europe, there are activities for all. With exciting tours through age-old cities, kids can see textbooks come to life and return with their own stories to tell. Parents can relish in romance and relaxation amidst fairytale landscapes, and grandparents can relive stories of memories past with their loved ones. Whether on board or ashore, find activities created with every type of guest in mind on a cruise to Europe.

european cruise countries

Enjoy the Convenience of Cruising

Travel reimagined.

See multiple international cities without the hassle of transportation or additional planning. Cruise from one destination to the next with world-class entertainment, fresh food and relaxing accommodations at your fingertips. When you return to the ship, continue your exploration with unique activities and global cuisine, or enjoy the familiar comforts of home with your favorite foods — all on our best European cruise ships.

Learn more about European shore excursions

European Cruise Excursions

From thrilling kayak voyages in Flåm to relaxing beach days in Mykonos, find shore excursions that match every guest’s preference with Princess. In Rome, taste local delicacies like wood-fired pizza, fine wines and homemade gelato. Walk past medieval buildings in Bergen, stopping by the Schøtstuene Museum on your way back. Or hike Mt. Fløien and revel in panoramic views of Norway’s woodlands, fjords and cityscapes.

Learn more about European shore excursions

A group of people seated at an outdoor table clinking glasses of red wine

Local Connections

Don’t just cruise to Europe, experience it alongside those lucky enough to call it home. Our Local Connections program introduces you to each region with award-winning shore excursions. Enjoy a food and wine pairing in the home of a local Tuscan farmer. Capture snapshots of Glasgow’s breathtaking scenery with the help of a Scottish photographer. Or set out on a guided beer walk through Copenhagen.

Learn more about European Cruises Local Connections

A European bar at night.

More Ashore

Dive even deeper into the flourishing cultures abroad with More Ashore late-night departures and overnight stays on select European cruise itineraries. Visit one of Dublin’s pubs and enjoy a night of Irish song, dance and Guinness. Go glamping in Alta and spend the night under the evening sky for a chance to see the Northern Lights. Or dance into the evening at a party in Mykonos — an island famous for its nightlife.

European Cruise Departure Ports

An ancient Spanish building in Barcelona, Spain

Rooted in Greek mythology, Athens is alive with stories from civilizations of the past. On a cruise to Europe departing from Athens, arrive early to tour the remains of ancient lores — like the Temple of Olympian Zeus and Acropolis — dine at the city’s lively tavernas and admire iconic sculptures bathed in natural light within the Acropolis Museum.

View cruises with Athens | View Athens shore excursions

Seafood on table in Barcelona Spain

Until it was popularized by the 1992 Olympics, Barcelona was a hidden gem amidst Europe’s diverse landscapes. Now it’s widely recognized for its architectural masterpieces and spirited customs. On European cruises from Barcelona, leave enough time before you depart to visit Park Güell — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — and feel inspired by the colors and unique artistry that lies in the park and throughout the entire city.

View cruises with Barcelona | View Barcelona shore excursions

A statue of a woman sitting on a rock in Copenhagen

Copenhagen boasts equal parts charm and culture. Before you set sail on your European cruise, indulge in thrills at Tivoli Gardens, and ride a bike along Nyhavn’s waterways, passing multi-colored homes on the way. Tour ancient fortresses, like Kronborg Castle, which inspired Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” Or make a stop to see Copenhagen’s most famous symbol, The Little Mermaid.

View cruises with Copenhagen | View Copenhagen shore excursions

London (Southampton)

The London Eye ferris wheel on a cloudy day

From double-decker buses and telephone booths to medieval castles and monuments, experience the best of the city and countryside on a European cruise from Southampton. Ride on the London Eye, and watch the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. Then head west and walk the hallways of Windsor Castle, or travel even further to learn about the mystery of Stonehenge.

View cruises with London | View London shore excursions  | Learn more about London (Southampton)

trevi fountain at dusk in Rome, Italy

Italy’s capital city is something of a dream. Grand chapels and stone angels line the roads, whispering secrets of Rome’s past. On a cruise to Europe from Rome, arrive early to toss a coin into Trevi Fountain. Legend has it, you’ll be guaranteed return to The Eternal City. Then walk in the footsteps of Emperors at the Colosseum, and receive a blessing from the Pope at St. Peter’s Square.

View cruises with Rome | View Rome shore excursions

#PrincessCruises Europe Connections

European cruise onboard experience.

A group enjoying glasses of wine on Europe cruise

Accommodations

Your home away from home.

Your stateroom is where you rest and recharge between adventures. That’s why every room is equipped with the expertly designed Princess Luxury Bed, 100% Jacquard-woven cotton linens and our SLEEP program created by a board-certified sleep expert. From interior cabins to full suites, unwind in any of our staterooms, and enjoy peace of mind with the option of connected rooms for families of four or more traveling together.

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A Sensory Tour of Europe

From the spice of Moroccan tagine to the sweetness of Greek Baklava, Europe’s flavor profile is incredibly diverse. On board your European cruise, enjoy English favorites — like bangers and mash or shepherd’s pie — during a British-style pub lunch. Then head ashore to savor fresh ingredients and iconic dishes, including fresh Greek salads and Italian gelato. From ship to shore, taste the best of abroad with Princess.

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Sip and Savor

Home to some of the best vineyards in the world, Europe knows a thing or two about wine — and so does Princess. Visit Vines wine bar, one of the best-stocked cellars at sea, and sample an assortment of reds and whites. Unwind with a drink in hand at Crooners, a vintage Sinatra-era cocktail lounge. Or enjoy a glass from the comfort of your stateroom balcony while taking in views of Europe’s most inspiring shorelines.

european cruise countries

Cultural Immersion

Dive even deeper.

On a European cruise, explore destinations even at sea. Learn from local experts — like musicians, dancers, athletes and chefs — who come on board to show you the unique personality of each region. Or listen to stories from international crew members, many of whom call these lands home. Even kids can awaken their sense of wonder with our Youth and Teen Centers, created in partnership with Discovery™ and Animal Planet™.

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Entertainment

Find your joy.

Embark on adventures by day, and indulge in entertainment by night. Watch Movies Under the Stars® at our 300-square-foot outdoor theater. Attend original productions from Broadway legend Stephen Schwartz, composer of Wicked . Or learn traditional moves, like Flamenco or Irish stepdance, and listen to popular music from the destinations on your itinerary. On a European cruise with Princess, the choice is yours.

european cruise countries

Celebrations & Romance

Love blooms on the love boat.

It's difficult to imagine something more romantic than sailing through the alluring cities and charming countryside of Europe. While on board your European cruise, we cater to your sentimental side with private dining on your balcony — like breakfast for two or a sunset dinner — honeymoon packages, flowers and chocolates delivered to your room and couples-only massages in the Sanctuary.

European Cruise Articles

Read about storied attractions, charming history, diverse cultures and preparation advice for cruising Europe.

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Explore Europe

Learn all about our exciting options to visit Europe from cruises to in-depth cruisetour vacations. 

european cruise countries

The top ten things to do in Norway

Planning a holiday to Norway? Discover the best museums, restaurants, cafés, attractions and experiences in the Scandinavian country.

european cruise countries

Must-do summertime activities in Scandinavia

Discover the best summer holiday activities in Scandinavia, including wild swimming in Stockholm and rooftop drinking in Oslo.

european cruise countries

Five reasons to cruise from Southampton

Looking for a cruise vacation from Southampton? Set sail to Canada, the Mediterranean, Scandinavia, Florida and around the British Isles with Princess Cruises.

european cruise countries

How to see Stockholm from a unique perspective

Ice bars, rooftop tours, meatballs and more – use our handy city guide to get a fresh view of Sweden’s brilliant capital.

european cruise countries

Six places to see the Northern Lights in Norway

Hoping to see the Northern Lights in Norway? Discover the best places to try to catch a glimpse of Mother Nature's exceptional light show

See all Europe cruise articles and videos

Travel, Airfare, & Hotels: Let Princess Get You There

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Airplane to Ship Transfer

We get you where you need to go.

Let Princess pick you up from the airport and take you directly to your ship or hotel when you arrive, even if you didn't book your airfare through us. A uniformed Princess representative meets you at the airport after you've retrieved your luggage and transports you directly to your ship or hotel without you having to worry about the logistics of navigating a new city.

Learn more about transfers

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Cruise Plus Hotel Packages

Stay longer and relax.

Extend your Europe cruise vacation, and simplify your travel plans with a hotel stay at the beginning or end of your cruise. With a Cruise Plus Hotel Package, a Princess representative meets you at the airport and pier, transporting you to and from your hotel. The package includes the cost of your hotel stay, transportation, luggage handling and the services of the representative.

View Cruise Plus Hotel Packages

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The Best Europe Cruises for 2021 and Beyond

Whether it’s sailing around norway’s fjords or taking a family-friendly cruise in italy, europe cruising is returning with ample options for those who craving a turn at sea..

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The Best Europe Cruises for 2021 and Beyond

If you want to see the Northern Lights in Norway, Seabourn’s wintertime Norway cruises are your best bet.

Photo by Piotr Krzeslak/Shutterstock

After a pandemic year without any European cruises available to Americans, sailing options are returning for the summer 2021 season. Cruise lines are testing the waters with a limited number of ships and new health and safety protocols in place with most cruises restricted to passengers who have been vaccinated.

There are benefits to being first in line postpandemic. Ships will sail at reduced capacity and popular attractions are unlikely to be crowded. You may find you have a museum or café practically to yourself. As restrictions ease, the traffic is bound to pick up in 2022, which already is looking like a year when ships will sail full due to pent-up demand.

Here are our picks for cruises this summer and beyond.

Norway: Seabourn wintertime cruise

Seeing the Northern Lights is practically guaranteed on Seabourn’s new wintertime Norway itineraries debuting in December. The 12- to 14-day sailings also introduce the line’s first purpose-built, polar-class expedition yacht, the 264-passenger Seabourn Venture , equipped with two custom, six-seat submarines, two dozen Zodiacs, and expedition kayaks for intimate exploration of Norway’s winter landscape. Excursions, which include the opportunity to camp on land overnight for optimal Northern Lights viewing, are led by a 26-person expedition team. Alternatively, you may opt to just stay cozy in your fancy suite and get a wake-up call should the lights appear. Most departures are from Tromsø, Norway, or Copenhagen, with fares for 12-night sailings starting from $10,999 per person.

Greece: A crusie with Seabourn, Silversea, Ponant, Windstar, or Variety Cruises

With its historic sites, whitewashed towns, the popular beaches of Mykonos, and views galore in the cliffside towns of Santorini, Greece opened its doors to international travelers in May. Nearly a dozen cruise lines are returning to the Aegean this summer and fall so there are ample options for those seeking to sail the Greek isles.

Ultraluxury lines such as Seabourn and Silversea are in the mix for summer 2021, along with boutique lines such as France-based Ponant and Windstar , with its 148-passenger, four-masted Wind Star sailing ship.

Or explore for a week on Greek-owned Variety Cruises ’ 157-foot, 49-passenger sailing yacht Galileo , going beyond the norm to lesser-known Cycladic and Dodecanese islands such as Levitha, where a summertime restaurant for sailors is run by the one family who lives on the island.

Adriatic: Viking’s 10-night Malta and Adriatic Jewels Cruise

Viking’s Malta and Adriatic Jewels Cruise includes port stops in Croatia.

Viking’s Malta and Adriatic Jewels Cruise includes port stops in Croatia.

Photo by Leela Mei/Shutterstock

When Viking Ocean Cruises returns to cruising this summer, it will have three ships sailing from Valletta on Malta to Greece, Italy, and Spain. Our pick is Viking’s 10-night Malta and Adriatic Jewels Cruise, roundtrip from Valletta. The ship gets you to Kotor, Montenegro (you’ll want to be on deck as you sail through a river valley surrounded by peaks); the fairy-tale-like Old Town of Dubrovnik, Croatia; the Croatian city of Split with its 4th-century Roman palace; and Gozo, Malta, where according to legend giants built the prehistoric palace, which predates Stonehenge. There’s also opportunity in Croatia and Malta to see filming locations for HBO’s Game of Thrones . Sail on the 930-passenger Viking Venus , a new ship from Viking. Fares from $3,599 per person.

Basque Country: Lindblad Expeditions Lisbon to Bordeaux cruise

New from Lindblad Expeditions in April 2022 is a unique cultural exploration cruise from Lisbon to Bordeaux . The itinerary begins in Porto, Portugal, and continues through Basque country to the epicenter for French wine, Bordeaux, with a strong focus on food and drink throughout the cruise.

Spain and France: National Geographic Resolution

Sail on the new, polar-class, 126-passenger National Geographic Resolution , where you can work out in the yoga studio or linger in the infinity-style hot tubs when not on shore sipping port at the wine cellars in Porto. During the cruise, you will have the opportunity to spend a day collecting mussels with local fishermen in Galicia, Spain, visit Bilbao’s Frank Gehry–designed Guggenheim art museum, and sample tapas and sparkling wine in a French Basque fishing village. Fares from $6,870 per person.

River Cruise: AmaWaterways’ AmaMagna cruise

Get into the heart of great European cities such as Budapest on a Danube river cruise.

Get into the heart of great European cities such as Budapest on a Danube river cruise.

Photo by Ekaterina Polischuk/Shutterstock

River cruises return this summer , with Viking, Uniworld, Scenic, and AmaWaterways among the lines relaunching ships—although not their whole fleets—on rivers that include Portugal’s Douro, France’s Seine and Rhône, and the multi-country Rhine and Danube. A great way to sail the Danube is on AmaWaterways ’ impressive, double-wide, 196-passenger AmaMagna , traveling between Budapest and Vilshofen, Germany, stopping in Bratislava, Slovakia, and with an overnight in Vienna. Sip the local gruner veltliner and riesling in Wachau Valley or dance like you are in The Sound of Music in Salzburg. Back on the ship, check out in wellness classes on the spacious roof deck or dining in onboard restaurants that include a fancy Chef’s Table venue (where you might score a taste of Siberian caviar) and a wine bar. Seven-night cruise from $3,099 per person.

Iceland: Crystal Cruises’ new Crystal Endeavor

The land of fire and ice is open for cruising this summer, and several lines will be exploring the coast, bringing guests to lava fields, gigantic waterfalls, seabird colonies, and other striking landscapes under the Midnight Sun. Luxury line Crystal Cruises is debuting its new 200-passenger, polar-class Crystal Endeavor , equipped with two six-passenger helicopters, a six-passenger submarine and the only casino on an expedition ship, on 10-night sailings (fares from $16,499 per person). Circumnavigating Iceland from Reykjavík, the itinerary includes stops on the mainland and islands including Grimsey Island, above the Arctic Circle, where you might catch sight of rare little auks with their black and white plumage.

Italy: Disney’s Disney Magic cruise

If the upcoming Disney and Pixar movie “Luca” has the family hankering for Italy, get the crew on a Disney cruise that includes Genoa.

If the upcoming Disney and Pixar movie “Luca” has the family hankering for Italy, get the crew on a Disney cruise that includes Genoa.

Photo by Alex Tihonovs/Shutterstock

Attention Disney and Pixar fans. If, after seeing the movie Luca , which debuts June 18, your family gets a hankering to visit Italy, Disney Cruise Line has you covered. The 1,750-passenger Disney Magic will sail in Europe spring and summer 2022, with several sailings stopping in Italy. A six-night departure from Barcelona to Rome on June 4, 2022 (fares for a family of four sharing a cabin start at $6,732 per person), gets you to Genoa, which is key. Scenes from the movie, a 1950s coming-of-age story, are inspired by the area southeast of Genoa. An Ultimate Italian Riviera shore excursion ($159 per person) takes you to the town of Camogli and other sites that will look familiar to Luca fans. Disney is being mum about any possible movie-related character appearances and experiences.

All-Europe: Silversea’s Grand Europe cruise

If you are uneasy about returning to Europe this year, consider making up for lost time in one fell swoop. Ultraluxury line Silversea has assigned its 596-passenger Silver Moon to a Grand Europe itinerary embarking Athens on March 30, 2022, and hitting basically all major water-accessible attractions—72 ports of call in 22 countries in total—on a three-month itinerary that ends in Stockholm. Can’t be away that long? You can alternatively book a 37-night segment to visit 33 places in the Mediterranean, or a 53-night segment that will get you from Lisbon to Stockholm, including the British Isles, Scandinavia, and Russia. Fares for the whole shebang from $57,060 per person.

British Isles and Ireland: Hurtigruten

Visit Northern Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway on a Hurtigruten cruise.

Visit Northern Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway on a Hurtigruten cruise.

Photo by DrimaFilm/Shutterstock

Norwegian line Hurtigruten explores remote parts of the British Isles on a 12-night itinerary (from $6,741 per person) next spring and summer, with the recently updated 532-passenger Maud. Sailing roundtrip from Dover, United Kingdom, passengers will visit places known for Neolithic sites, bird colonies, whiskey, and woolens. Among the destinations are Rathlin Island in Northern Ireland, with easy access to the basalt columns of the Giant’s Causeway, and Scotland’s Inner and Outer Hebrides, including the rocky and wild St. Kilda archipelago, home to the second-largest gannet colony in the world. Plan to sip on Islay Island, Scotland, home to nine distilleries, and have an opportunity to purchase crystal in Waterford, Ireland. For those looking to reduce their footprint as they return to travel, it’s worth noting that the ship was recently reconfigured to run partially on biofuel and lower emissions.

>> Next: European River Cruises Are Setting Sail This Summer

Ker & Downey, 1

For details on our recent itinerary changes, please check out our Travel Advisory Page .

European Cruises

Visit standout destinations all over the mediterranean, with 7-night voyages sailing from our home ports in barcelona, spain, and athens, greece..

Sea yourself here

Explore the Med in style

Sail the med as it’s meant to be sailed: luxuriously. with late departures and overnights in almost every itinerary, you can stay and explore longer., exclusively adult.

No little ones on board means staying out — and sleeping in — as late as you want. No interruptions.

Luxurious inclusions

All food, Wifi, essential drinks, tips, fitness classes — there’s not much we won’t do for you on board.

Award-winning reputation

We’ve amassed the most 5-star ratings of any cruise line on TripAdvisor and we swept the Cruise Critic awards.

Discover something new or revisit a destination you already love

Wherever you choose to sail with Virgin Voyages, a profound discovery of self is inevitable.

Ports to write home about.

Perched ideally at opposite ends of the Med, our home ports of Barcelona and Athens offer Sailors easy access to this glamorous region.

Piraeus (Athens)

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Port Guides. Limitless possibilities.

Ajaccio, corsica, funchal, madeira, gran canaria, marina di carrara, palma de mallorca, santa cruz de tenerife, zeebrugge (bruges), check back soon as we continue to add guides and in-depth information about our newer european ports, like the ones that are featured below..

As the capital of Corsica, this French commune on the island’s western coast is filled with soaring mountains and centuries worth of history. From panoramic hikes to visiting the home-turned-museum of Napoleon Bonaparte — whether crafted by nature or during the baroque period, art is everywhere.

Packed with diverse museums, world-class restaurants, outdoor activities, and vibrant nightlife, Akureyri is one of Iceland's largest cities. Loved by the locals and a must-visit for travelers, its population of under 20,000 people makes it the biggest indicator that size doesn't really matter.

Golden Age canals lined with quirky brick buildings act as a storybook backdrop for this delightful Dutch destination. Packed with museums, vintage shops, and phenomenal restaurants and bars — it’s a stylish, laid-back cultural hub where rich historic charm meets youthful, European energy.

With a homeport only steps from Barcelona's diverse neighborhoods and the famed urban beach of La Barceloneta, Sailors will uncover hidden secrets from local market cooking classes to modern and historic art in this vibrant seaside, architecturally stunning European city.

As the gateway to the rocky Causeway Coastal Route, easily discover outdoor adventures like Sea Safaris, get lost in the Belfast Titanic, an interactive Titanic experience like no place else, tour certain sets from HBO’s Game of Thrones & indulge in a surprisingly stirring Belfast nightlife.

A cute little town on Norway's west coast, Bergen is filled with wooden houses, colorful street art, cool clubs, and hip bars. The music scene is surreal, with everyone playing in different bands across genres, one of the country's oldest record stores and probably the country's only record bar.

Indulge in the delectable food scene at The Plaza Nueva, wander the seven remarkable streets of Bilbao’s old town, peruse the eclectic shops of El Mercado la Ribera and visit the iconic Bilbao Guggenheim museum in this northern Spanish city.

Beautiful beaches with crystalline waters. Chalk-white houses with bright-blue trim. Bodrum boasts Aegean character from its narrow streets with ancient ruins to its glitzy marina, flower-filled cafes, and world-class cuisine.

One of the oldest cities in Europe, this gorgeous Spanish city is drenched in sailing history and rich Andalusian culture. With its close proximity to Seville and dotted with vivid green water and bright white buildings, Cádiz moves to a thrilling beat — where the sound of flamenco hangs in the air.

Cagliari, Sardinia

Among the most pristine beaches to be found in Europe, Cagliari is well known for its Hilltop Castello, a medieval walled quarter situated high over the rest of the town. Sailors can discover shipwrecks off the coast or stop by a local shepherd’s home for a farm-to-table meal in the countryside. 

Beyond the glamour of the film festivals and celebrities that give Cannes its much-deserved allure, lies a picturesque place to bask on brilliant beaches, sip locally-made wines, and breathe in the captivating nightlife of the Côte d'Azur.

Catania, Sicily

Hugely influential in the Renaissance era, mornings can be spent exploring the awe-inspiring architecture, while the youthful energy of the local shops and bars offer a vibrant afternoon. And with Mount Etna looming nearby, hiking the stratovolcano provides an earthy contrast to the bustling city.

Chania, Crete

As the largest of the Greek Isles, Crete makes you feel like time stands still. It’s a place where remnants of Venetian and Turkish architecture stand next to old townhouses transformed into hip restaurants, and glassy waters and swirls of pastel-pink sands make for beaches fit for postcards.

Civitavecchia (Rome)

With a home port only steps from Civitavecchia's diverse neighborhoods, Sailors will uncover hidden secrets from local market cooking classes to modern and historic art in this vibrant seaside, architecturally stunning European city.

Famous for its emerald-capped mountains and 125 miles of coastline, “The Evergreen Greek Island” of Corfu refers to more than just its stunning colors. Filled with both awe-inspiring historic monuments and cafe-lined streets, days can be spent at beach clubs or off-roading on the jewel-toned slopes.

Visit Grafton Street, the heart of Dublin, for unparalleled shopping and street entertainment, head over to Temple Bar, arguably the most famous bar in Ireland, walk the book-ladened walls of Trinity College or take a tour of the Guiness Factory to feel like you’ve won Willy Wonka’s golden ticket.

Along the coastline of this Croatian city, Dubrovnik exudes historical seaside romance with a splash of animated youthful energy. See the city through its famed architecture, immerse yourself in the nightlife (2am departure), or take a cable car up to Mount Srd for surreal views of the Adriatic Sea.

Tucked between the mountains and the Madeira coastline, Funchal is known as, "God's Floating Garden". From its center, filled with bars, cafes, and galleries, to the flora-covered coasts and dramatic cliffs that line the emerald-blue sea — this Portuguese city (and its wine) beg to be experienced.

This British territory on the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula may be small, but packs a strong global punch. Inspect the intricate caves of it towering limestone mass, the Rock , view the wonder via helicopter or stay land-bound for cafes, shopping and people-watching in town.

From the stretches of shimmering white beaches and golden sand dunes to the buzzing capital of Las Palmas, this subtropical island is full of both endless natural wonders and trendy European flair. Days can be spent hiking, scuba diving, or exploring the city’s center for fresh seafood and martinis.

Greenock (Glasgow)

A classic Scottish port town, Greenock is a beautiful place with a lot of history.  Spend time in the uber-green Scottish countryside of Lyle Hill or visit a historic cathedral before making your way the 40-minute commute to Glasgow.

Arrive at golden hour for a catamaran sunset sail before jetting to one of Ibiza's famed night clubs. For those more into delicious than dancing, try an olive oil or local winery eco-tour, carve out a secluded spa day complete with a mind-balancing yoga class, or just let the old city guide you.

Set on an arching peninsula, Ísafjörður is a charming patchwork of 18th-century timber and tin-clad buildings, towering peaks and dark fjord waters. From hitting the town and hiking hills to fine dining and Swamp Soccer, you’ll fall in love with the land of fire and ice before the day is over.

Often regarded as one of the most exciting cities in the world, Istanbul is more than a place, but an experience. See architectural wonders, peruse countless vendors, appreciate the ladened museums, and indulge in the eclectic fare here in the aptly nicknamed “city of the world’s desire.”

Kusadasi (Ephesus)

With crystal clear waters, sprawling beaches, and proximity to historically rich sites like Ephesus, Temple of Artemis, House of Virgin Mary and many more, Kusadasi is unlike any other city on the sea — and with an ideal climate, there’s (almost) no bad days to experience it.

Founded nearly 1,000 years ago, Kirkwall has gone from a Viking village to a thriving town whose modern influences have always kept the Viking spirit alive and well. With an award-winning town center, you’ll find plenty of mouth-watering places to eat and drink and tons of quaint shops.

Nestled into Montenegro’s Adriatic coast, Kotor is a breathtaking gem of the Balkans. A medieval maze where museums and churches weave in and out of cafe-strewn squares and Venetial palaces — the intricacies of the city are only matched by the stunning scenic terrain in the backdrop.

Equal parts beachy hotspot and cultural hub, this historic city located on the Galician Coast is famous for its freshly-caught seafood, buzzing nightlife, and the oldest working lighthouse in the world.

Halfway between Genoa and Pisa is La Spezia — the perfect hub for you to discover the countryside of Liguria and Tuscany. With Cinque Terre being on most travelers’ bucket lists, a quick train ride will get you to the five towns overland, or you can hitch a ride (book a Shore Thing) by sea.

Le Verdon (Bordeaux)

A port city that opens up to one of the most famous places on Earth, La Verdon is a stunning entryway to arguably the most iconic wine country in the world – Bordeaux.

The only town on the archipelago of Shetland, Lerwick is a beacon of nature. Visit one of Shetland’s amazing beaches, kayak, explore the labyrinth of sea caves and witness a broad spectrum of wildlife,  from Orca whales to Shetland ponies.

Known as the city that glows, the Portugese capital sits atop seven hills that form a natural amphitheater, reflecting light all around. Beyond the cosmic gleam, Lisbon is filled with dreamy, seaside romance — from the white-sand beaches to wine-tasting along the cobbled streets downtown.

Livorno (Florence/Pisa)

A picturesque port city featuring an impressive canal network, Livorno is the gateway to one of the most magical regions in all of Italy – Tuscany. Spend your time here exploring Pisa and its world famous leaning tower on your way to Tuscany’s renowned capital, Florence.

Uncover centuries of history in one of the oldest cities in Europe and among the oldest continuously inhabited in the world. Sailors can venture off to visit Alhambra, a beautiful old-world palace, or just spend the day reveling in the small town charm.

With a backdrop of white-marked mountains covered in what appears to be snow, Marina di Carrara is actually blanketed with some of the world's purest marble – a geographically rare site. On the border of Tuscany and Liguria, get access to Lucca, Pisa, Portofino and the breathtaking Cinque Terre.

One look at this southern port town and it’s clear why Van Gogh was inspired to paint here. Go from France’s second-largest city, to scenic and historical countryside in minutes. Medieval villages feel frozen in time as do the Starry Nights (actually frozen in Van Gogh’s painting of that name).

Mykonos may be famous for its beach club parties and electric nightlife, but the Greek Isle has a notably quiet side, too. With overnight stays, you can explore the charm of the cafe-lined waterfront promenades, or tour the vineyards tucked charmingly into the gorgeous hillsides of the island.

A name synonymous with Italian culture and cuisine is undoubtedly Naples. Known for a wide range of things — from the ancient ruins of Pompeii, the Bay of Naples, Mount Vesuvius and of course the home of the Napolitano pizza.

Palermo, Sicily

Explore the various Piazzas, peruse the various shops and outdoor markets that fully envelop what a melting pot Palermo is, tour the iconic Teatro Massimo Vittorio Emanuele and, indulge in (arguably) the world’s best pizza – or go on a tour of all the places from HBO’s White Lotus.

This capital city of the island of Mallorca is the perfect dose of countryside serenity you might expect from a secluded Balearic island. Bike through picturesque villages, enjoy art in Valldemossa or stop off at a family-owned winery with a history so rich, you can taste it with each sip.

Few cities are as colorful as Athens — from the street art scene to the bright blue skies and sand-fringed shores. Take in breathtaking views from the Mikrolimano Marina, immerse yourself in ancient Greek history at the Parthenon, and explore the Acropolis; which remains the heart of the city.

Set sail from Portsmouth, United Kingdom on Scarlet Lady's Long Weekender or Summer WeekDaze itineraries.

Featuring otherworldly, mostly untouched landscapes, an eccentric food and drink scene, endless opportunities for outdoor adventure, blue lagoons, volcanoes, glaciers, lava fields and a thriving nightlife, Reykjavik will quickly become one of your favorite places in the world.

A hot spot for writers and artists, Rhodes is where the Byzantine Empire meets modern cultural ingenuity. Whether wandering the cobbled streets of Old Town for delicious Greek bites, exploring the perched-on-a-hill village of Lindos, or hitting up famed Faliraki Beach — this island truly has it all.

Arguably the most striking of the islands, Tenerife somehow boasts remote mountain-ridge villages, charming ancient towns, and a bustling cosmopolitan city. Cool off in the natural salt-water pools, discover the volcanic sand beaches, or head to a seaside restaurant for a glass of homemade sangria.

As the Greek Goddess of the Cyclades Islands, Santorini is known for breathtaking panoramas, fiery orange and blue sunsets, and the famed red and black beaches. Take in views from the blue and white dotted hills of Oia, or enjoy locally-made wine while sailing along the waters of the Caldera coast.

Settled between lush mountains and the sparkling sea, Split is Croatia's second-largest city and one of the Adriatic's most energetic ports. Packed with Roman ruins, medieval churches, stylish shops, and hip bars, Split offers mesmerizing views and intoxicating experiences you won't want to resist.

Once a sheltered harbor dedicated to fishing and farming, Stornoway has expanded to the tourists who have been flocking to the area in recent years. Visit the beautiful Lews Castle, go on a guided swimming or boat tour where outdoor adventure meets wildlife, or have a pint at one of the many cafes.

A gateway to charming towns in Provence, access both coastline and countryside in France’s second largest naval port. Originally a fishermen’s village, its coveted Mourillon quarter still boasts original architecture with a daily market, chic little boutiques and seaside restaurants. Bon appetit!

Valencia truly encompasses everything that the Mediterranean is about. Take a tour through the incredible old town tasting wine and indulging in as many tapas as you can, tour the litany of impressive architectural gems that call this eclectic city home or go on an outdoor adventure.

A fortress city known for its cathedrals, sprawling gardens and museums it feels like you’re entering a different time when you step foot here – plus there’s no shortage of mystical blue lagoons and natural swimming pools to take a dip or explore.

Melding classic European flair with the charm of a seaside fishing town, soak in historic Old Town, explore the cafes and Baroque guild houses of Butchers' Street, or take a scenic sail in Ghent. 

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Mediterranean cruise guide: Best itineraries, planning tips and things to do

Erica Silverstein

No two Mediterranean cruises are the same. Some bring travelers to the French and Italian rivieras for food, wine and cultural pursuits. Others head east to the Greek Islands, where passengers alternate days sipping ouzo at a beachfront taverna with trips to ancient sites. Each itinerary is a mix of urban tourist capitals — Barcelona! Rome! Istanbul! Jerusalem! — and sleeper gems, such as Portofino, Italy, or Kotor, Montenegro.

If you've never been to Europe, you may feel overwhelmed by destination choices. If you know which ports are on your must-see list, you might be more stumped by which cruise line to choose or which specific itinerary will be the best for you.

For cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG's cruise newsletter .

Know that you can't see everything in one Mediterranean cruise — even on sailings that run multiple weeks. Once you let go of your need to see and do it all and accept that you're on a sampler tour, you'll be better able to make your cruise selections and enjoy the ports your ship does visit.

Get started with this Mediterranean cruise guide. You'll learn the basics of itineraries, cruise lines, destinations, when to go and when to book your European adventure at sea.

Why cruise to the Mediterranean?

european cruise countries

Many of the European countries on your travel bucket list lie along the Mediterranean Sea: Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Israel and Egypt. A cruise lets you hit many of the hot spots (the French Riviera, Barcelona and Venice, Italy) on one trip without having to navigate multiple hotels, transportation between cities and making dinner reservations in foreign languages.

For some people those experiences are a key part of travel. However, for vacationers who want all the attractions without the hassle, a cruise is an ideal way to explore the Mediterranean. This type of European cruise can be especially alluring to honeymooners, families and older couples.

Mediterranean cruises beckon travelers with a love of culture and history. Visit the Parthenon in Athens, Greece, or the Colosseum in Rome; see Michelangelo's David in Florence, Italy; or make a pilgrimage to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Take a tour to a medieval town or marvel at the construction of a soaring cathedral. If you've always wanted to see the pyramids in Giza, Egypt; the ruins in Ephesus, Turkey, and Pompeii, Italy; Gaudi's Sagrada Familia in Barcelona; and the famous casino in Monaco, you can do it easily on a Mediterranean sailing.

You can also eat your way through the markets, cafes, trattorias, gelato shops and crepe stands in the ports you visit. Sample local wines at vineyards in France and Italy, or sip ouzo or limoncello made on the premises.

When do cruises go to the Mediterranean?

You might be surprised to learn that cruise ships sail the Mediterranean year-round.

The majority of ships, however, arrive in the spring and depart in the fall, choosing warmer climes like the Caribbean for holiday sailings. Only a few hardy stalwarts remain through the winter months. Most of those are European-based lines, such as Costa Cruises , MSC Cruises and Celestyal Cruises , but Viking also braves chilly weather for its destination-focused itineraries in Europe.

Best Mediterranean itineraries

You can find a variety of weeklong Mediterranean cruises, but if you've got the time, nine- to 14-night sailings are not uncommon. Seven-night cruises are best if you're short on time or want to tack on a few days in Barcelona, Rome or Athens before or after your cruise. Longer itineraries are ideal for experiencing a greater variety of destinations and traversing more of the Med.

Here are some the best Mediterranean cruise itineraries you should consider for your European vacation.

Western Mediterranean

The classic Western Mediterranean cruise sails between Barcelona and Rome, and calls in ports in Spain, France, Monaco and Italy. This is your chance to explore Tuscany and the French Riviera, as well as hit up Florence, Monte Carlo, Naples and islands such as Corsica, Mallorca, Sicily and Sardinia. Just watch out: Marquee destinations like Rome and Florence are both located an hour or more from the cruise port, so get ready for long bus rides and long days off the ship.

Greece and Turkey

The classic Eastern Mediterranean cruise sails out of Athens or Istanbul and visits a mix of historic places (Delphi, Ephesus via Kusadasi, Rhodes) and sun-drenched islands (Mykonos and Santorini).

Adriatic Sea

Some so-called Mediterranean cruises actually spend most of their time on the Adriatic Sea, sailing from Venice and visiting ports in Croatia and Greece, and sometimes Montenegro and Albania. You may also find an Adriatic sailing wrapped into longer Western or Eastern Mediterranean cruises.

The most easterly of the Eastern Mediterranean itineraries, Holy Land cruises spend time in Israel and sometimes Egypt, often with overnight stops or multiple days spent in each country to maximize touring opportunities. These sailings may also call in Cyprus or ports in Greece and Turkey.

Best Mediterranean cruise lines

european cruise countries

Most major cruise lines send at least one ship to the Mediterranean every year. Even Carnival Cruise Line , known for its affordable cruises out of U.S. home ports, offers some Mediterranean sailings, as does Disney Cruise Line , which typically bases its ships near its theme parks.

If you're looking for a bigger ship, Celebrity Cruises , Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean are the best choices as they base a handful of ships in the Mediterranean each year, arriving in the spring and departing in the fall. These lines offer a variety of itinerary choices, so you can find the Mediterranean ports you most want to visit. You'll also find lots of restaurant choices and evening entertainment options to keep you occupied at night when the ship is sailing.

Couples or families with grown children looking for longer sailings and a destination focus should consider Viking, which offers eight- to 15-night cruises through the Mediterranean, including three- and four-week voyages for retirees (or workationers?) who have the time for a most thorough exploration of the region.

Which luxury line is best for your Mediterranean cruise will come down to what you're looking for in a luxury ship and a European itinerary. However, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Silversea Cruises stand out for including a large variety of shore excursions in their cruise fares. If you're a foodie, these two lines plus Oceania Cruises are notable for their culinary tours in port, plus destination-themed cooking classes on board.

Things to do in the Mediterranean

Sightseeing is a big component of Mediterranean cruises, whether that's exploring a historic site like the Roman Forum or the walled city of Dubrovnik, Croatia; visiting cathedrals in Florence and Barcelona; or touring medieval villages, forts and old towns. You might want to skip the formal tours and merely wander around the port town, browsing local shops or grabbing a coffee or snack in a local cafe.

Culinary tours are also popular here. You can choose from roving food tours, cooking classes, winery visits and tastings, and meals made with local produce and cheeses in beautiful villa or farmhouse settings.

Travelers looking to stretch their legs might want to sign up for cycling tours in city and country settings, hike around a volcano on Santorini or Sicily, or even take a kayak for a spin in Croatia or Greece.

A beach day is possible in the Greek Islands or along the French Riviera, and many ports will have sightseeing cruises.

Best Mediterranean cruise ports

european cruise countries

Everyone has their favorite list of the best Mediterranean cruise ports (as evidenced by the discussion I just had with TPG's cruise team about which to include). Some travelers want to hit all the most popular cities, while others prioritize the ability to walk right off the ship into the heart of the town. Some ports are better for historical attractions, others for cafe culture or outdoor activities.

The following cruise ports are generally standouts, no matter your travel style.

Barcelona: Both an embarkation port and a port of call, depending on your itinerary, Barcelona has much to offer first-timers and repeat visitors. Cruise ships dock at the end of Las Ramblas, the main thoroughfare in the old part of the city, so it's easy to leave the ship and simply wander. Don't miss Gaudi's fantastical buildings or a meal of tapas.

Monte Carlo, Monaco: Monte Carlo is both a fascinating port on its own and a gateway to the French Riviera. In town, you can walk to the casino, palace and stunning oceanographic museum. From town, you can take the twisty-turny Corniche coastal roads to destinations like Nice, Eze, Cannes and Grasse.

Dubrovnik, Croatia: Even if you're not in it for the "Game of Thrones" tour, you will be captivated by Dubrovnik and its famous walled city. Walk the walls or take to the water for scenic views of the old town.

Rome: It's actually a pain to get to Rome from the cruise port of Civitavecchia by bus or train, but it's worth it to experience the Eternal City firsthand. Tour the Vatican and Sistine Chapel at St. Peter's Cathedral, step back in time at the Colosseum and Roman Forum, climb the Spanish Steps, throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain and meander through the Borghese Gardens. When your feet give out, take a breather with a gelato or plate of pasta.

Rhodes, Greece: The historic port of Rhodes no longer has a Colossus, but that doesn't take away its appeal. Ensconced by ancient stone walls, Old Town is easily walkable, composed of cobblestone streets lined with restaurants and stores housed in structures dating back to the 14th century. If shopping isn't your thing, keep walking until you reach the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes, where you can take a tour, or venture out to one of the city's beaches.

Naples, Italy: Naples is one of our favorite ports because you have so many options of what to do there. It's the jumping-off point for tours to Pompeii, Mount Vesuvius, Capri and the Amalfi Coast. Or, if you want to explore the city on your own, perhaps sitting down to a lunch of the region's famous pizza, it's a quick walk right into town from your cruise ship.

Ashdod, Israel : Most cruisers don't stick around Ashdod; it makes our list of best Mediterranean cruise ports because it's the gateway to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Tel Aviv and the Dead Sea. Prepare to be amazed by the sites you will see, but also be ready for long bus rides and long days off the ship touring.

Istanbul: Istanbul is the vibrant city you might not know you need to visit. Serving as both a departure port and port of call on Mediterranean cruises, the city offers something for everything: the cultural icons of the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque, intense shopping experiences at the Grand Bazaar, Byzantine palaces, traditional Turkish baths (called hammams), flavorful cuisine, Bosporus day cruises between Europe and Asia, and plenty of neighborhoods to explore.

When to book a Mediterranean cruise

It's a good idea to book your Mediterranean cruise early, even nine to 12 months in advance. You can take advantage of early booking discounts and promotions and have the widest selection of available cabins and suites and dining times (if applicable). An early booking is ideal if you're planning on using miles to book your flights or points for a pre-cruise hotel. Look for fall sales when the current Mediterranean season is winding down.

Another smart time to book a Mediterranean cruise is during January or February when cruise lines run their " wave season " sales, often with lots of extra freebies thrown into the cost of the sailing. You might find last-minute deals on spring cruises to Europe or still be considered early for fall itineraries.

What to bring on a Mediterranean cruise

The Mediterranean region has a temperate climate, but it still gets chilly in the spring and fall and can be brutally hot in the summer. Check the weather before your sail date and pack for the predicted temperatures — with layers, in case the forecasters are wrong and it's unseasonably hot or cold.

You'll likely do a good deal of walking on a Mediterranean cruise, so a good pair of walking shoes is a must. Bonus if you can find cute options you can wear on sea days or sneakers that can do double duty in the ship's gym.

If your tours take you to religious sites, especially in Israel and Egypt, you might need a modest outfit that covers shoulders, arms and knees. Ladies, a shawl is a versatile option you can toss over your shoulders (or hair if need be), use for warmth with your strappy formal night attire or as a blanket on the airplane.

Of course, North Americans taking Mediterranean cruise vacations will need a passport to fly to and from their ship's departure and arrival ports.

Bottom line

The Mediterranean is an amazing region to cruise, and a sailing there is a wonderful introduction to Europe for travelers who have never been. The varied choices of itineraries, cruise lines and ships can be intimidating, but rest assured, you can't really go wrong with any of them. Just know that once you go, you may feel a need to return — either to see a port you loved more in-depth on a land vacation or to sail to the Mediterranean countries you missed on your first go-round.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

  • The 5 most desirable cabin locations on any cruise ship
  • A beginners guide to picking a cruise line
  • The 8 worst cabin locations on any cruise ship
  • A quick guide to the most popular cruise lines
  • 21 tips and tricks that will make your cruise go smoothly
  • 15 ways cruisers waste money
  • 12 best cruises for people who never want to grow up
  • The ultimate guide to what to pack for a cruise

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CRUISES , EUROPE , GIRLS GETAWAY · November 27, 2023 Last Updated on December 25, 2023

12 OF THE BEST CRUISES FROM EUROPE

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Taking a cruise is a great way to explore the world in comfort and with ease. It’s also a great way to have a f un girls’ getaway , without having to worry about logistics. Europe is one of the most popular cruise destinations worldwide, and it’s easy to see why. It is filled with history, beautiful beaches, islands, and coastal cities.

Europe is an ideal location to go on a cruise as there tends to be shorter travel time between destinations. While on a European cruise you’ll often arrive in a different country daily with small at-sea passages through the evenings and nights. This makes Europe a great destination for those first-time cruisers who aren’t sure about the longer at-sea days or for those who want to explore many countries in one trip.

Taking a cruise is a travel experience everyone should have at some point in their life. Here are the 10 best cruises to take in Europe!

Top 12 European Cruises

Every year, many travelers opt for Europe as their summer vacation destination, often visiting multiple countries at once. A European cruise is a great way to explore different countries on a single trip.

The European cruise season usually spans from May to November, and the same ships are often used in European and Caribbean seasons. This is also the time when the weather is warmer and most tourist attractions are open.

From the majestic Mediterranean to the beautiful countries of Spain, Belgium, Italy and Greece, there are many options for a memorable European cruise. Here are our top ten recommendations for European cruises.

1) Spain & Portugal Cruise

Spain and Portugal are two of the most popular summer vacations and cruise destinations. With their rich cultural heritage, natural beauty, and warm and friendly people, these countries offer an unforgettable experience.

Whether you are interested in exploring historic cities, hiking in the mountains, or simply relaxing on the beach, Spain and Portugal have something for everyone.

Many Spanish cruises start from the beautiful coastal city of Barcelona. You can explore the Mediterranean Sea and visit some of the most popular ports, including Cadiz, Funchal, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and Lisbon. These cities offer various attractions, from ancient castles and museums to vibrant nightlife and delicious cuisine.

When to Travel: April to September

Book Your Cruise: 5-night Spanish and Portuguese Cruise

2) Italy Cruise

Italy is incredible when it comes to cruising, with its coastal towns, picturesque landscapes and rich history. From the stunning Amalfi Coast to the charming Cinque Terre, plenty of beautiful and unique destinations exist. Not forgetting the cuisine that Italy is so famous for, from the fresh seafood to the delicious pasta dishes and excellent wine options.

Popular routes for Italian cruises include stops in Genoa, Civitavecchia, Messina, Olbia, Florence, Naples, and Venice. Each of these cities has its unique charm and attractions, so there’s always something new and exciting to discover. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing vacation or an adventure-packed trip, Italy has something for everyone.

Book Your Cruise: 6-night Italian Cruise

3) Northern Europe Cruise

When it comes to cruises, Northern Europe is often overlooked in favor of the Mediterranean. However, there are many great countries to explore in this region. Although it may not be as warm as the Mediterranean, there are still plenty of things to see and do on a cruise in Northern Europe.

Popular routes include Hamburg, Zeebrugge, Rotterdam, Le Havre, Southampton and Bilbao stops.

Many Northern European cruises begin in Southampton, Le Havre and Rotterdam.

When to Travel: May to September

Book Your Cruise: 7-night Northern Europe Cruise

4) Mediterranean Cruise

The Mediterranean region is known for its natural beauty, cultural heritage, and historical significance. It boasts many stunning coastal destinations, picturesque islands, beautiful beaches and historic locations worth exploring.

Some of the most popular stops on a Mediterranean cruise include Split (Croatia), Venice (Italy), Montenegro, Valletta (Malta), Santorini (Greece), Palma De Mallorca (Spain), Zadar (Croatia), Kos (Greece) and Mykonos (Greece). Each of these destinations offers a unique experience, with the canals of Venice to the white-washed buildings of Santorini and the charming harbors of Mallorca.

Book Your Cruise : 5-night Mediterranean Cruise

5) Greece Cruise

Greece is a highly sought-after destination for summer vacations, offering a wealth of ancient history, a rich culture, charming white-washed towns, stunning sunsets, and breathtaking beaches. With over 6,000 islands to explore, cruising around Greece and beyond provides a fantastic opportunity to experience the unique features and amenities of each island. 

A cruise allows you to explore different areas all in one trip while also enjoying activities and amenities on board. The most popular stops on a Greek cruise include Kos, Santorini, Rhodes, and Piraeus. These cruises are often combined with a few days in Croatia or Italy to make the most of your trip.

Book Your Cruise: 7-night cruise Greece and Italy

6) Greece & Turkey Cruise

A Greece and Turkey cruise is a popular option for travelers seeking unique experiences. These cruises typically start from Greece and explore several islands before heading to Turkey. Both countries offer various activities, from excursions to ruins and small towns to days spent basking in the warm Mediterranean sun.

If you want to extend your trip, consider adding stops in neighboring countries like Israel, Spain, and Italy for an even more memorable vacation experience. Exploring the beautiful Greek islands on a cruise combined with visits to other countries will surely make your trip unforgettable.

Book Your Cruise: 7-night Greece and Turkey

7) United Kingdom & Ireland Cruise

Neither the United Kingdom nor Ireland are short of coastline, with England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland all surrounded by beautiful and uniquely different coastlines.

A cruise around the UK and Ireland will allow you to explore areas and cities you may never have been to before without having to negotiate the public transportation system. The short distances between ports also allow for short durations at sea and more time to explore off the boat.

Popular stops on the United Kingdom and Ireland cruises include Dover, Holyhead, Cobh (Ireland), Dun Laoghaire (Ireland), Liverpool, Glasgow-Greenock and Belfast. 

When to Travel: June to September

Book Your Cruise: 9-night United Kingdom and Ireland Cruise 

8) 21 Night Europe Cruise

A 21-night European cruise offers endless route options due to the easily accessible ports and short ocean passageways surrounding many European countries. During such a trip, it’s possible to dock in nine or even ten countries, making it a great way to explore multiple destinations in a single journey.

With possible routes including stops in multiple countries. A route example could include something like Civitavecchia, Livorno (Italy), Toulon (France), Palma De Mallorca, Valencia, Barcelona (Spain), Alghero, (Italy), Ajaccio (France), Messina, Naples, Civitavecchia (Italy), Cephalonia, Corfu (Greece), Kotor (Montenegro), Dubrovnik (Croatia) and Trieste (Italy).

Book Your Cruise: 21-Night Cruise Around Europe

9) 14 Night Europe Cruise

The perfect thing about a 14-night European cruise is endless opportunities for potential routes. With easily accessible ports and surrounded but short ocean passageways, many European countries can be easily accessed via a cruising route.

14-night cruises can dock in seven, eight, or even nine countries during a 14-night trip.

Popular cruising routes typically start in Barcelona, Spain, then stop in France, Italy, Greece, Montenegro, and Croatia before finishing in Italy again. But this is just one of multiple cruising options. Another option includes starting in the United Kingdom and visiting Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Estonia, Finland and Norway.

Book Your Cruise: 14 Night Europe

10) Three-Night Europe Cruise

If you are short on time or are looking for a quick long weekend getaway, a three-night European cruise might be the perfect option for you and your girls. Three-night cruises offer all the luxuries you would expect with cruises but for a much shorter time frame.

These cruises still travel between countries and with short cruising distances in Europe, they are a great way to see multiple places and countries within a long weekend.

Popular three-night cruises have routes that include Genoa, Barcelona, Marseille and Savona or Civitavecchia, Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona.

Book Your Cruise:  3-Night Cruise

11) Transatlantic Cruise

Cruise ships are a popular way of traveling and offer a unique experience for passengers. They typically operate during two seasons: a European summer season and a Caribbean winter season. The same ships are used for both seasons and must cross the Atlantic to move between them. These crossings are often enjoyable cruises that are more affordable than other types of cruises.

Another advantage of taking a cruise is that passengers can visit several destinations during the journey. During these cruises, passengers can visit destinations in the United States, Tenerife, Portugal, Spain, the UK, the Caribbean, and the Netherlands. The journey usually begins at a port in the United States or Europe and ends at another, stopping at various islands along the way. This gives you the opportunity to explore different cultures and countries in a single trip.

When to Travel: April or May and October, November, or December (these months vary per boat and often are only done twice a year per boat)

Book Your Cruise : Transatlantic Cruises

12) Around The World Cruises

In recent years, cruises have gained immense popularity as a means of travel. These trips have become increasingly popular worldwide as they offer a hassle-free way to explore multiple countries and continents without having to fly or switch accommodations. 

Unlike regular cruises, these journeys usually last for a longer period, with an average of 20+ nights. This option is perfect for those who want to take their time and truly immerse themselves in the culture and sights of each destination.

During these cruises, passengers can discover awe-inspiring destinations, including Iceland, the United Kingdom, the Faroe Islands, Norway, Antarctica, and Ireland. These destinations are known for their unique landscapes, stunning natural beauty, and rich cultural heritage. 

However, remember that these voyages also include several extended periods at sea, which can last several days. These longer cruises offer a fantastic opportunity to explore some of the world’s most fascinating destinations while enjoying the comfort and luxury of a cruise ship.

Book Your Cruise:  World Cruise

Best Time Of Year To Go On A Cruise

The European summer season is a time when the continent experiences warmer weather, typically lasting from May to September. Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun on a sandy beach or explore the historic landmarks of ancient cities, a cruise in the European summer season is the perfect time to visit and explore.

12 Best Cruises To Take In Europe Wrap-Up

I hope you’ve found this best cruises guide helpful. If you love relaxation, exploration, and convenience, a cruise is perfect for you. Enjoy all-inclusive luxuries like drinks, food, and activities while moving to new destinations every few days!

Going on a cruise is like entering a magical floating city dedicated to fun! There is something for everyone with bars, nightclubs, skating rinks, water slides, wave pools, kids clubs, outdoor movie theaters, evening entertainment, and so much more available to enjoy onboard.

And if you’re interested in visiting other cruises, you can check out all our cruise articles for inspiration and our where to stay guides .

We hope that this article has inspired you to go on a European cruise. If you have questions or advice to share with our readers, please leave these in the comments below.

Want to write for We Are Travel Girls? Visit our Contribute Page  to submit your article.

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Read More About Cruises

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The Ultimate Guide to European Cruise Vacations

Cruise ship

Europe is a treasure trove of history, culture, and stunning landscapes. A European cruise is an excellent way to explore this diverse continent and create lasting memories. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the most popular cruise lines, the best times to sail, and answer frequently asked questions to help you plan the perfect European cruise vacation.

Most Popular Cruise Lines for European Cruises

1. viking cruises.

Viking Cruises is renowned for its luxurious river and ocean cruises throughout Europe. With a focus on destination immersion, Viking provides guests with enriching experiences both onboard and ashore. The cruise line offers a wide range of itineraries , from the scenic beauty of the Baltic to the sun-soaked Mediterranean.

2. Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean International is known for its innovative ships and exciting onboard activities. With a variety of European itineraries , including Mediterranean, Northern Europe, and the British Isles, Royal Caribbean caters to adventurers of all ages, offering family-friendly entertainment and a host of dining options.

3. Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises combines modern luxury with immersive travel experiences. Their European cruises take guests on unforgettable journeys through the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, and the British Isles. With a focus on fine dining and exceptional service, Celebrity Cruises provides an upscale vacation experience .

4. Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line offers a casual and flexible cruising experience, making it a popular choice for European vacations. Their “Freestyle Cruising” concept allows guests to dine and enjoy entertainment at their leisure, without fixed schedules. With a variety of European itineraries , Norwegian Cruise Line has something for everyone.

5. MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises, an Italian-Swiss cruise line, is known for its stylish ships and Mediterranean flair. With itineraries throughout the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, and the British Isles, MSC Cruises offers a range of vacation experiences , from family-friendly to luxurious.

6. Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises, with its exceptional service and diverse itineraries , is a popular choice for European cruises. Travelers can explore the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, and the British Isles while enjoying a wealth of onboard dining, entertainment, and enrichment options.

7. Holland America Line

Holland America Line offers a refined and elegant cruising experience , with a focus on destination immersion and enrichment. Their European cruises encompass the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, and the British Isles, providing guests with a range of cultural experiences and scenic beauty.

Azamara, a boutique cruise line, specializes in destination-focused itineraries with longer port stays and unique shore excursions. Their European cruises, which cover the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, and the British Isles, provide an intimate and luxurious vacation experience.

Now that we’ve covered some of the most popular cruise lines offering European cruises, let’s dive into frequently asked questions to help you plan your journey.

Ancient theater in Greece

Popular Ports and Attractions on European Cruises

European cruises offer a wealth of fascinating ports and attractions to explore. While each itinerary is different, here are some popular ports and attractions to consider when planning your European cruise:

Mediterranean Ports

  • Barcelona, Spain: This vibrant city boasts stunning architecture, including the famous Sagrada Família, Park Güell, and the Gothic Quarter.
  • Rome, Italy: Explore ancient ruins like the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and the Pantheon, and don’t forget to toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain.
  • Athens, Greece: Walk through history at the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the Ancient Agora.
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia: Wander through the picturesque Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and walk along the city walls for breathtaking views.
  • Santorini, Greece: Relax on black sand beaches, explore the whitewashed villages, and marvel at the caldera views in this iconic Greek island.

Northern Europe Ports

  • St. Petersburg, Russia: Immerse yourself in Russian culture and history at the Hermitage Museum, Catherine Palace, and the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood.
  • Copenhagen, Denmark: Visit the famous Tivoli Gardens, stroll down the colorful Nyhavn waterfront, and snap a photo of the iconic Little Mermaid statue.
  • Stockholm, Sweden: Wander through the historic Gamla Stan, visit the Vasa Museum, and explore the beautiful Stockholm archipelago.
  • Oslo, Norway: Discover the Viking Ship Museum, the Vigeland Sculpture Park, and the stunning Oslofjord.
  • Reykjavik, Iceland: Explore the Golden Circle, soak in the Blue Lagoon, and experience the unique landscapes of this island nation.

Young couple at a travel agency

Booking Tips and Tricks

When planning your European cruise, consider these tips and tricks to help you save money and make the most of your vacation:

  • Book early: Cruise lines often offer early booking discounts, so start researching and planning your cruise well in advance.
  • Be flexible with your travel dates: Prices can vary significantly depending on the season and month. Traveling during the shoulder seasons (spring and fall) may offer better deals and fewer crowds.
  • Look for last-minute deals: If you have a flexible schedule, you might find fantastic last-minute deals on European cruises.
  • Consider booking a repositioning cruise: These cruises occur when a ship changes its homeport and offers one-way itineraries at a discounted rate.
  • Work with a travel agent: A knowledgeable travel agent can help you find the best deals and navigate the myriad of options available when planning a European cruise.

By following these tips and researching your options, you’ll be well on your way to planning an unforgettable European cruise adventure.

Packing for a European Cruise

Knowing what to pack for your European cruise can make your vacation more enjoyable and stress-free. Here are some essentials and tips to help you prepare for your journey:

  • Clothing: Pack versatile clothing that can be easily layered, as temperatures can vary greatly between different European destinations and weather conditions. Include comfortable walking shoes, casual clothes for daytime activities, swimwear, and formal attire for evenings and special events on the ship.
  • Travel documents: Bring your passport, cruise documents, and any necessary visas for the countries you will be visiting. It’s also a good idea to have photocopies of these documents in case of loss or theft.
  • Medications and toiletries: Remember to pack any prescription medications, as well as over-the-counter items like pain relievers, motion sickness medication, and sunscreen. While some toiletries may be provided by the cruise line, it’s a good idea to bring your own favorites, especially if you have specific preferences or allergies.
  • Adaptors and chargers: European countries use different electrical outlets than the United States, so be sure to pack a universal adapter. Also, bring chargers for your electronic devices, such as your phone, camera, and tablet.
  • Money and cards: Bring a combination of cash, credit cards, and debit cards for use on your trip. Notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans to avoid any issues with card usage while abroad.
  • Snacks and reusable water bottle: Although food is plentiful on the ship, having some snacks for port days can be helpful. A reusable water bottle will help you stay hydrated during your excursions and reduce plastic waste.
  • Guidebooks and language resources: Research your destinations in advance and consider bringing guidebooks, maps, or language phrasebooks to help you navigate and communicate while in port.
  • Travel accessories: Pack items like a travel pillow, eye mask, and earplugs to help ensure a comfortable flight and good night’s sleep on the ship. A lightweight daypack or crossbody bag can also be useful for carrying essentials during port excursions.

Taking photos on a cruise ship

Cruise Photo Packages

Cruise lines often offer professional photography services to capture special moments during your vacation. Here are some tips for making the most of cruise photo packages:

  • Research your cruise line’s photo packages in advance: Familiarize yourself with the various photo packages offered by your cruise line, as well as their prices. This will help you budget and decide which package is the best fit for you.
  • Check for promotions and discounts: Cruise lines may offer promotions or discounts on photo packages, either in advance or once you’re onboard. Be sure to inquire about any available deals to save on your cruise photos.
  • Capture special moments: Make the most of your photo package by posing for pictures during formal nights, themed parties, and special events. You can also schedule a private photo session with the ship’s photographer to capture more intimate and personalized moments.
  • Review your photos regularly: Cruise photographers take many photos throughout the voyage. Be sure to review your photos at the ship’s photo gallery regularly and select your favorites to be included in your package.
  • Digital and print options: Consider whether you prefer digital copies, printed photos, or a combination of both. Digital copies offer more flexibility for sharing and printing, while printed photos provide a tangible keepsake of your vacation.

By planning your packing list and exploring cruise photo packages, you’ll be well-prepared for your European cruise adventure and ready to capture lasting memories.

Norway

FAQs About European Cruises

What is the best month to take a european cruise.

The best month to take a European cruise depends on your preferred destinations and interests. For Mediterranean cruises, May to June and September to October offer comfortable temperatures and fewer crowds. For Northern Europe and Baltic cruises, the summer months of June to August provide the warmest weather and longest days, perfect for exploring the region’s stunning landscapes and historic cities.

What is the cheapest month for a European cruise?

The cheapest months for a European cruise are usually during the shoulder seasons – April to May and September to October – when temperatures are milder and tourist crowds are smaller. During these periods, cruise lines often offer discounted rates and promotions to fill their ships. However, it’s essential to consider that weather conditions might be less favorable, and some attractions might have limited operating hours.

Where does a European cruise take you?

A European cruise can take you to various destinations, depending on your chosen itinerary. Mediterranean cruises typically visit ports in Spain, France, Italy, Greece, and Croatia, while Northern European cruises may include stops in Scandinavia, Russia, the Baltic States, and the British Isles. Some cruise lines also offer “Grand European” itineraries, combining both Mediterranean and Northern Europe destinations.

Is there a cruise ship that goes from the United States to Europe?

Yes, several cruise lines offer transatlantic cruises from the United States to Europe, typically sailing from cities like New York or Fort Lauderdale. These itineraries often take place during the spring and fall seasons, when cruise ships reposition between their summer and winter homeports. Transatlantic cruises can last anywhere from 7 to 21 days, depending on the route and the number of ports visited.

How long is a cruise from the USA to Europe?

The duration of a cruise from the USA to Europe varies depending on the itinerary and the cruise line. Most transatlantic cruises take approximately 7 to 14 days, with some longer itineraries lasting up to 21 days or more. These cruises typically include several days at sea, allowing passengers to enjoy the ship’s amenities and onboard activities.

What are the best cruise lines in Europe?

The best cruise lines in Europe depend on your preferences and budget. Luxury cruise lines like Viking Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, and Azamara offer upscale experiences and destination-focused itineraries. Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line, and MSC Cruises cater to a broader audience, with a mix of family-friendly activities and diverse dining options. For a more refined and elegant experience, consider Holland America Line or Princess Cruises.

How far in advance should I book a European cruise?

It’s generally recommended to book a European cruise at least 6 to 12 months in advance, particularly for high-demand itineraries and accommodations. Booking early can secure your preferred cabin type and location, and you may also benefit from early-booking discounts and promotions. However, if you have a flexible schedule, last-minute deals can offer significant savings, but with a more limited selection of cabins and itineraries.

How much cash should I take on a European cruise?

The amount of cash to take on a European cruise depends on your spending habits and planned activities. Most cruise lines have a cashless system onboard, allowing you to charge expenses to your room account. However, it’s a good idea to bring some local currency for each port of call to cover incidental expenses like souvenirs, snacks, and transportation. Consider budgeting between €50 and €100 ($55 to $110 USD) per day, depending on your plans and personal preferences.

Do you need a passport to go on a European cruise?

Yes, you need a valid passport to go on a European cruise. Your passport should be valid for at least six months beyond your return date. Additionally, depending on your nationality and the countries visited, you may also require a visa. It’s crucial to research visa requirements well in advance to ensure a smooth and hassle-free vacation experience.

Do European cruises include food?

Yes, European cruises typically include food in the base fare. Most cruise ships offer a variety of dining options, such as buffet-style and main dining rooms, where meals are included without any additional charges. Additionally, many cruise lines offer specialty restaurants onboard, which may require reservations and an extra fee. Room service is also available on most ships, sometimes with a small surcharge for certain items or late-night orders

In conclusion, European cruises offer a unique and memorable way to explore the diverse cultures, history, and landscapes of this incredible continent. With numerous cruise lines and itineraries to choose from, there is a European cruise to suit every traveler’s interests and budget. We hope this comprehensive guide has provided valuable insights and inspiration for planning your dream European cruise vacation. Happy sailing!

Allen Lawson

Allen Lawson

Allen Lawson is a travel blogger and content creator. He has been to over 50 countries and counting, and he loves to share his experiences with the world. Allen is also an avid photographer, and he loves to capture the beauty of the world in his photos.

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What Cruise Line Goes To Europe

Published: December 14, 2023

Modified: December 28, 2023

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Introduction

Embarking on a luxurious cruise through the enchanting cities and pristine landscapes of Europe is a dream come true for many travelers. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and picturesque coastlines, Europe offers an array of captivating destinations to explore by sea. But with so many cruise lines to choose from, each offering unique itineraries, amenities, and experiences, selecting the right one can be overwhelming. In this article, we will delve into the world of European cruises and discuss the top cruise lines that can take you on a memorable journey across this diverse continent.

When it comes to cruising in Europe, there are several renowned cruise lines that consistently deliver exceptional experiences. Whether you prefer a large-scale, family-friendly ship or a more intimate, luxury vessel, there is a cruise line to suit your preferences. Each cruise line offers distinct features, including fine dining options, onboard entertainment, spa facilities, and a variety of shore excursions to enhance your European adventure.

Before selecting a cruise line for your European voyage, it’s important to consider a few factors. First and foremost, determine the duration of your trip and the specific countries or regions you wish to visit. Some cruise lines specialize in specific regions of Europe, while others offer extensive itineraries that cover multiple countries. Additionally, take note of the onboard amenities and activities offered by each cruise line to ensure they align with your interests and preferences.

Europe is home to a wealth of popular cruise destinations, each with its own unique charm and attractions. From the breathtaking fjords of Norway to the sun-soaked Greek islands, there is something for every traveler’s taste. Whether you’re seeking cultural immersion in the historic cities of Italy, romance in the enchanting streets of Paris, or breathtaking landscapes along the Norwegian coast, a European cruise can fulfill your desires.

In the following sections, we will explore the top cruise lines that go to Europe, discuss the factors to consider when choosing a cruise line, highlight popular European cruise destinations, and provide tips for planning a memorable European cruise. By the end of this article, you will be equipped with all the information you need to embark on the European cruise of a lifetime.

Top Cruise Lines That Go to Europe

When it comes to choosing a cruise line that will take you to the captivating destinations of Europe, there are several exceptional options to consider. Each cruise line offers its own unique blend of amenities, itineraries, and experiences. Here are some of the top cruise lines that are renowned for their European voyages:

  • MSC Cruises: With its Italian heritage and Mediterranean roots, MSC Cruises offers a truly authentic European cruise experience. Their fleet of modern ships takes passengers to popular European destinations such as the Greek Isles, the Norwegian Fjords, and the Baltic capitals.
  • Royal Caribbean International: Known for its fleet of innovative mega-ships, Royal Caribbean International offers a diverse range of European itineraries. Travelers can explore iconic cities like Barcelona, Rome, and Athens while enjoying onboard amenities such as rock climbing walls, Broadway-style shows, and a selection of dining options.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line: As a leader in freestyle cruising, Norwegian Cruise Line provides a flexible and laid-back approach to exploring Europe. Their ships bring passengers to sought-after destinations like the French Riviera, the British Isles, and the Mediterranean, while offering a wide array of dining options and entertainment.
  • Celebrity Cruises: For travelers seeking a sophisticated and upscale experience, Celebrity Cruises delivers with its luxurious ships and refined onboard amenities. Their cruises take passengers to iconic European ports such as St. Petersburg, Santorini, and Barcelona, while providing impeccable service and gourmet dining options.

These are just a few of the top cruise lines that go to Europe, each providing unique experiences and catering to different preferences. It’s important to research and compare the itineraries, onboard amenities, and reputation of each cruise line to find the one that best suits your desires and interests. Whether you prefer a large-scale ship with a multitude of activities or a more intimate and luxurious experience, there is a cruise line that will exceed your expectations.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Cruise Line for Europe

Choosing the right cruise line for your European adventure is crucial in ensuring a memorable and fulfilling experience. With so many options available, it can be challenging to narrow down your choices. To help you make an informed decision, here are some important factors to consider when selecting a cruise line for your European voyage:

  • Itinerary: Look closely at the cruise line’s itinerary and destinations. If you have specific countries or regions in Europe that you want to visit, ensure that the cruise line includes them in their routes. Pay attention to the ports of call and the duration of each stay, as this can significantly impact the depth of your exploration.
  • Onboard Amenities: Consider the amenities and facilities offered onboard. Do you prefer a cruise line that provides a wide range of dining options, or are you looking for a more intimate and exclusive culinary experience? Are you interested in onboard entertainment such as Broadway-style shows or live music performances? Determine what amenities are important to you and choose a cruise line that best aligns with your preferences.
  • Ships: Take into account the size and type of ships in the cruise line’s fleet. Larger, mega-ships often offer a broader range of activities and entertainment options, while smaller ships can provide a more intimate and personalized experience. Consider whether you desire a bustling atmosphere with lots of fellow passengers or a quieter, more serene ambiance.
  • Shore Excursions: Explore the shore excursions offered by the cruise line. Are there opportunities for guided tours, cultural experiences, or active adventures? Research the availability of excursions that align with your interests and make sure they are included in the cruise line’s offerings.
  • Service and Reputation: Research the cruise line’s reputation for service and customer satisfaction. Read reviews from previous passengers to gain insights into the quality of service provided by the crew and staff. A reputable cruise line with a track record of excellent customer service will enhance your overall experience.

By considering these factors, you can narrow down your options and choose a cruise line that aligns with your preferences, interests, and budget. Remember that the right cruise line can make a significant difference in your European adventure, providing you with a seamless and extraordinary journey through the magnificent cities and landscapes of this enchanting continent.

Popular European Cruise Destinations

Europe is a treasure trove of stunning destinations that can be explored through a cruise. From historic cities to breathtaking natural landscapes, the continent offers a plethora of captivating stops along various cruise routes. Here are some of the most popular European cruise destinations:

  • Mediterranean: The Mediterranean Sea is a perennial favorite for cruise enthusiasts. With its crystal-clear waters, charming coastal towns, and rich cultural heritage, this region offers a diverse array of experiences. From the ancient ruins of Rome and Athens to the picturesque islands of Santorini and Capri, a Mediterranean cruise allows you to immerse yourself in the beauty and history of this remarkable part of Europe.
  • Norwegian Fjords: The dramatic landscapes of the Norwegian Fjords are a sight to behold. As you sail through the deep narrow valleys, surrounded by towering cliffs and cascading waterfalls, you’ll feel transported to another world. The Norwegian Fjords offer a unique combination of natural wonders and charming coastal towns, making it a popular choice for those seeking awe-inspiring scenery.
  • Baltic Capitals: Cruise through the Baltic Sea and explore the fascinating capitals of Northern Europe. From the grandeur of St. Petersburg, Russia, to the enchanting allure of Stockholm, Sweden, the Baltic capitals offer a perfect blend of history, culture, and architectural splendor. Discover the medieval charms of Tallinn, Estonia, and the vibrant waterfront of Copenhagen, Denmark, as you embark on a journey through this captivating region.
  • Greek Isles: Embark on a cruise through the Greek Isles and discover the magic of this ancient civilization. From the iconic white-washed buildings of Santorini to the historical treasures of Athens and the idyllic beaches of Mykonos, the Greek Isles offer a glimpse into the rich mythology and breathtaking beauty of Greece.
  • British Isles: Explore the diverse landscapes and rich history of the British Isles on a cruise. Visit iconic landmarks in London and Edinburgh, wander through the picturesque countryside of Ireland, and marvel at the rugged beauty of Scotland’s Highlands. From the Cliffs of Moher to the castles of Wales, a British Isles cruise provides an unforgettable journey through this captivating region.

These are just a few examples of the many popular European cruise destinations. Each stop along your journey will offer a unique experience, whether it’s exploring ancient ruins, indulging in local cuisine, or simply marveling at the beauty of the surrounding landscapes. With so much to see and do, a European cruise promises an unforgettable adventure filled with culture, history, and natural wonders.

Tips for Planning a European Cruise

Planning a European cruise requires careful consideration and preparation to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey. Here are some essential tips to help you plan your European cruise:

  • Select the Right Time and Duration: Determine the best time to visit Europe based on your preferences and desired activities. Consider factors such as weather, crowd levels, and special events. Decide on the duration of your cruise, keeping in mind the number of destinations you wish to explore and the time needed to fully experience each port of call.
  • Research Visa Requirements: Check if you need a visa to visit particular countries in Europe and ensure that you have the necessary documentation. Some cruise lines may provide assistance with visa applications, so inquire about this during your booking process.
  • Research Port Cities: Familiarize yourself with the cities and ports included in your cruise itinerary. Research their top attractions, local customs, and transportation options. This will help you plan your time in each destination and make the most of your visit.
  • Pack Accordingly: Pack lightweight and versatile clothing suitable for various weather conditions. Consider bringing comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, a hat, and a backpack for day trips. Don’t forget essentials like your passport, travel insurance, and any necessary medications.
  • Pre-book Shore Excursions: Research and pre-book shore excursions that interest you. This guarantees availability and allows you to make the most of your time in port. Whether it’s a guided city tour, a hiking excursion, or a culinary experience, pre-booking ensures you don’t miss out on the activities you’re most excited about.
  • Stay Connected: Check with your mobile service provider about international roaming plans or consider purchasing a local SIM card when in port to stay connected. Alternatively, take advantage of onboard internet packages to keep in touch with family and friends or to share your travel experiences on social media.
  • Learn the Basics of Local Culture: Familiarize yourself with basic etiquette and customs of the countries you’ll be visiting. Learning a few key phrases in the local language can also enhance your interactions with locals and make your experience more enjoyable.
  • Make Time for Rest and Relaxation: While it’s tempting to explore every port and participate in every onboard activity, it’s essential to pace yourself and allow time for rest and relaxation. Use sea days to rejuvenate by taking advantage of onboard spa facilities, lounging by the pool, or simply enjoying the serenity of the ocean.
  • Prepare for Currency and Payment Options: Research the currency used in the countries you visit and consider obtaining a small amount of local currency for small purchases. Most places in Europe accept major credit cards, but it’s a good idea to carry some cash for smaller establishments or for areas with limited card acceptance.

By following these tips, you can ensure a well-planned and memorable European cruise. Remember to be open to new experiences, embrace the local culture, and savor every moment of your journey through the enchanting cities and landscapes of Europe.

A European cruise offers an extraordinary opportunity to explore the rich history, diverse cultures, and stunning landscapes of this remarkable continent. Whether you choose to sail through the Mediterranean, venture into the Norwegian Fjords, or visit the captivating Baltic capitals, each journey promises a host of unforgettable experiences.

By considering the top cruise lines that go to Europe, researching the itineraries, and aligning them with your preferences, you can select the perfect cruise line for your European adventure. Factors such as onboard amenities, ship size, and the reputation of the cruise line should also be taken into account to ensure a truly satisfying experience.

As you embark on your European cruise, keep in mind the popular destinations that await you. From the sun-drenched Greek Isles to the historic ports of the British Isles, each stop along the way offers its own unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty.

To plan your European cruise successfully, consider essential tips such as selecting the right time and duration, researching visa requirements, and pre-booking shore excursions. Packing appropriately, staying connected, and immersing yourself in the local culture are also integral parts of the journey. And most importantly, remember to make time for rest and relaxation to fully enjoy the experience.

In conclusion, a European cruise is an incredible opportunity to embark on a voyage through the heart of this captivating continent. From the moment you step onboard to the moment you return, you will be immersed in the beauty, rich history, and cultural tapestry of Europe. So, anchor your dreams and set sail on a European cruise that will leave you with lasting memories and a desire to explore more of this extraordinary continent.

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Our Northern Europe cruises mix seldom-explored locales with famed ports and overnights in alluring cities, such as Copenhagen, Reykjavík, and more. Glide through Norway’s fjords, explore Iceland’s lava fields or tour England’s storied castles on a British Isles cruise. Choose between convenient roundtrip voyages and longer expeditions and experience all that Northern Europe has to offer.

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Towering waterfalls, sprawling lava fields, tranquil hot springs—incredible landscapes await in Iceland.

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Peruse our convenient Europe departure ports. Whether you’re interested in a 7-day cruise or a long voyage, your dream port is where the adventure begins.

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Eidfjord, Norway

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Glasgow, Scotland

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Firenze, Italy Street and Church

TIMELESS BEAUTY OF THE PAST

European cruises.

Jump on a satisfying study in contrasts, from the black Baltic to the azure Aegean, and from medieval castles to modern skyscrapers with a cruise to Europe.

As you Cruise to Europe, peer over the side of your ship as it approaches the weathered spires of old-town Copenhagen, the sun-bleached houses of Santorini, the colourful cliffs of the Mediterranean or the Celtic cliffs of the British Isles. Dive into Croatia's waterfalls and France's famous rivers and let the eclecticism of Europe delight you again and again. Culinary excellence also awaits, from familiar favourites like Italian pasta and Spanish tapas, to lesser-known cuisines from Amsterdam to Zagreb. Discover the magic with a Europe cruise.

View of the Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay with the Skyline in the distance in Australia

Save Big with these European Cruise Deals

Explore more while spending less with Europe cruise deals onboard our best cruise ships

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Split, Croatia Hvar Scenery

SUN, SPICE AND SEA BREEZES

It's no coincidence that many of the best European cruises call in the most beautiful ports in the world. Eat your way through the cobbled streets of Italy, contrast the timeless beauty of Greece's ruins with the modern chic that's come to define its islands or hike through forlorn caverns and up lush waterfalls in captivating Croatia.

Rome, Italy Colosseum

DISCOVER LA DOLCE VITA

From the storied streets of Rome to the charming canals of Venice, Italy is a country that needs no introduction. Whether you pose with Michelangelo's David in Florence or indulge in to-die-for Pizza in Naples, it's no wonder why so many cruises to Europe visit la bella Italia.

Crociera Mediterraneo Grecia

FROM THE ACROPOLIS TO THE AEGEAN

Greece is remarkable, from the ancient Acropolis of Athens to the blue-roofed houses of Santorini. Whether you trek through the limestone hills in the north or swim through the cobalt waters around the Cyclades, it's easy to see why this is one of the best places to visit in Europe.

Cityscape Walls and Coastline in Dubrovnik, Croatia

'GAMES OF THRONES' Lives On

The hit TV show might be finished, but 'Game of Thrones' fans will recognise dozens of locations in the walled city of Dubrovnik , the jewel of Croatia's Adriatic coast. Further afield, explore the countless waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes National Park or pair European cruises with tastings at underrated wineries.

Beach with Boats in the Mediterranean

SCENES THAT INSPIRED 1,000 PAINTINGS

Endless possibilities are what the coasts of France, Spain and Portugal have always been about. Generations of iconic painters from Van Gogh to Picasso have found inspiration from the crystalline coasts of the French Riviera to the craggy mountaintops of the Canary Islands. Of course, the best European cruises also dock in timeless cities like Barcelona, Cherbourg, Lisbon and beyond.  

French Riviera Botanical Garden

CITY OF LOVE, CÔTE D'AZUR

The only thing better than strolling into Paris as the Eiffel Tower lights up at night? Sitting down for a meal of freshly caught seafood as the sun sets over the harbour of aptly named Nice. France has got something for every traveller, which is why so many cruises to Europe dock here.

Spain Barcelona Sagrada Familia

SAY 'SALUD' TO SPAIN

Sitting down for Spanish tapas is one of the most satisfying food experiences in the world, especially when you wash it down with fruity sangria. Plus, the Jurassic topography of the Canary Islands and the storied streets of Barcelona are just a few of the best places to visit in Europe you'll find here.

Lisbon, Portugal, Pena National Palace

KING OF DISCOVERY

Portugal is where many of the first expeditions to the New World start, but most people on European cruises bound for Lisbon wonder why anyone would leave. Explore the mysterious Quinta de Regaleira castle in Sintra, pour port wine in Porto or practise your surfing skills in the Algarve.

Northern Europe Water Canal and Buildings

Best European Cruises

A cruise to Europe is filled with exciting destinations, each with its own style and vibe. Discover Europe onboard the Best Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships.

Sagrada Familia   Barcelona, Spain

SPAIN, PORTUGAL & THE CANARY ISLANDS

EXPLORE MORE

Amsterdam, Netherlands Canal Bridges

BALTIC SEA & SCANDINAVIA

Eilean Donan Castle in the Scottish Highlands

BRITISH ISLES & SOUTHAMPTON

Santorini, Greece Oia White Blue

MEDITERRANEAN ITALY & GREEK ISLES

Rotterdam, Netherlands, Oude Haven Harbor

OLD-WORLD WARMTH ALONG A BREEZY COAST

You can feel warmth in your heart no matter the temperature outside, and the northwestern reaches of Europe illustrate this beautifully. Join the best European cruises through the British Isles and along the coast of the Netherlands, where enchanted country charm and royal, old-world cities offer endless possibilities for memories that will last a lifetime.  

Amsterdam, Netherlands Tulip Field

THE JOY OF GOING DUTCH

The Dutch have managed to keep the sea at bay for hundreds of years, but many of the best European cruises still make their way into Amsterdam . If you tire of the tranquility you find amid tulip fields and beneath towering windmills, make your way to the hipster capital of Rotterdam.

Ireland Rock of Cashel

ETERNAL LANDSCAPES ON THE EMERALD ISLE

Life is but a dream in Ireland , whether you down a pint of Guinness and trace tales told by James Joyce in Dublin, or careen along the Cliffs of Moher along the west coast. Many cruises to Europe also stop in Northern Ireland's Belfast, a city that's a testament to rebirth and reconciliation.

Cityscape in Glasgow, Scotland

STEP INTO A SCOTTISH FAIRYTALE

When you visit Scotland, it can be difficult to discern legend from real life. Strolling down Edinburgh's Royal Mile to Edinburgh Castle might feel like a dream, while the fabled and mythical Loch Ness may surprise you with its charm and stunning scenery. Scotland's one of the best places to visit in Europe, without a doubt.

Aurora Borealis Activity, Norway

WINTER AURORA, SUMMER SUN

Scandinavia  is dark for much of the year, but light is what defines its polar nations, from the Midnight Sun that rises high above Demark in mid-summer, to the aurora that dances above Norway and Iceland amid winter's deepest freeze. Find endless possibilities and the best European cruises along the Baltic, from the savoury seafood eateries of Oslo, to the cold cityscape of Reykjavik.  

Copenhagen, Denmark Nyhavn Pier Sunset

SCANDINAVIA'S UNSUNG SISTER

Many of the best European cruises dock in Denmark, and it's no wonder why. From colourful Nyhavn harbour in Copenhagen to storied castles like Amalienborg and Frederiksborg, Denmark more than makes up for the fact that its more famous neighbours often eclipse it.

Iceland Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa

LAND OF FIRE AND ICE

It's easy to be intrigued by Iceland , whether you walk through Reykjavik's riveting Hallgrimskirkja church, or watch the northern lights dance over Kirkjufellsfoss waterfalls. Plus, there are few better ways to cap off cruises to Europe than a dip in the aptly named Blue Lagoon.

Norway, Stavanger Majestic Cliff

PRICELESS PANORAMAS, FABULOUS FJORDS

Norway is a country in beautiful balance. Had enough of the orderliness of Oslo? Head west to beautiful Bergen, where finger-shaped fjords jut into and out of thousands of miles of coastline. Or contrast a fresh fish dinner at sea level with a view from the towering Trolltunga cliff.

Europe is beautiful in every season, but the peak of comfortable weather (especially in the north) is between May and September.

You should always be prepared for rain and colder weather when you travel to Europe, especially in the North. Dress in light layers for your holiday.

Europeans speak more English the further north you go. Your phone's translation app (or, at minimum, learning how to say 'Hello' and 'Thank You' in local languages) will aid you along the Mediterranean.

RELATED PORTS

Learn more about Baltic ports like Klaipeda, Lithuania and Tallinn, Estonia, or read up on Bergen, the gateway to Norway's stunning fjords. The Mediterranean provides many options but start by exploring Malaga on Spain's Costa del Sol or the exciting Monte Carlo, Monaco. The most popular ports in the British Isles are Edinburgh in Scotland and the cities of Belfast and Dublin in Ireland. No matter what you like, you will find your favourite European cruise.

Amsterdam Canal Boat Traditional Houses

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy Aerial View

Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy

Barcelona, Spain Park Guell Architecture

Barcelona, Spain

Copenhagen, Denmark Rosenborg

Copenhagen, Denmark

Seville (Cadiz), Spain Square

Seville (Cadiz), Spain

Venice, Italy Grand Canal

Venice, Italy

Argostoli, Greece Kalamia Beach

Argostoli, Greece

Croatia Banje Beach Coast Aerial

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Mykonos, Greece Windmills From Restaurant

Mykonos, Greece

Santorini, Greece Oia White Blue

Santorini, Greece

Bologna (Ravenna), Italy Piazza Maggiore

Bologna (Ravenna), Italy

Zadar, Croatia Islands

Zadar, Croatia

Bergen, Norway Colorful Waterfront Homes

Bergen, Norway

Aarhus, Denmark Colorful homes on a canal

Aarhus, Denmark

Picturesque Coastal View, Ajaccio, Corsica

Ajaccio, Corsica

Alesund, Norway Rocks and Seawall

Alesund, Norway

Amalfi Coast (Salerno), Italy Homes Lining A Lush Mountain

Amalfi Coast (Salerno), Italy

Multiple Pieces of Ice Floating through the Sea, Arctic Circle

Arctic Circle (Cruising), Norway

Belfast, Northern Ireland Tollymore Park Gate

Belfast, Northern Ireland

A Green Coastal Lighthouse in Rostock, Berlin (Rostock), Germany

Berlin (Rostock), Germany

Berlin (Warnemunde), Germany Two Lighthouses At Harbor Entrance

Berlin (Warnemunde), Germany

River Running Through City, Bilbao, Spain

Bilbao, Spain

Brest, France Coastal Cliff

Brest, France

Bruges, Belgium Old Brick Homes On Canal

Bruges/Zeebruge (Brussels), Belgium

Aerial View of Harbor, Cannes, France

Cannes, France

Chania, Crete Pristine Beach

Chania (Souda), Crete

Cork (Cobh), Ireland Cityscape

Cork (Cobh), Ireland

A Replica Viking Boat with Mountains in the Background, Flam, Norway

Flam, Norway

Fredericia, Denmark Egeskov Castle

Fredericia, Denmark

Geiranger, Norway, Snowcapped Fjord

Geiranger, Norway

Gibraltar, United Kingdom, Rock View From Beach

Gibraltar, United Kingdom

Gijon, Spain, San Lorenzo Beach

Gijon, Spain

Hamburg, Germany, Historic Buildings

Hamburg, Germany

Holyhead, Wales, Aerial View of South Stack Lighthouse

Holyhead, Wales

Northern Lights Over Arctic Terrain in Norway, Honningsvag, Norway

Honningsvag, Norway

Katakolon, Greece, Ancient Pilar Ruins

Olympia (Katakolon), Greece

Klaipeda, Lithuania, Aerial View of Baltic Sea Coast

Klaipeda, Lithuania

Lisbon, Portugal, Cityscape

Lisbon, Portugal

Reykjavik, Iceland, Aerial City View

Reykjavik, Iceland

Sardinia (Cagliari), Italy, View Of City From Sea

Sardinia (Cagliari), Italy

Agadir, Morocco, Kasbah Oufella Fortress

Agadir, Morocco

Alicante, Spain, Aerial View

Alicante, Spain

Athens (Piraeus), Greece, View of city and Acropolis

Athens (Piraeus), Greece

Cartagena, Spain Lighthouse

Cartagena, Spain

Cherbourg, France, Tip of Cotentin Peninsula

Cherbourg, France

Dover, England, Seven Sisters National Park

Dover, England

Dublin, Ireland, Howth Head

Dublin, Ireland

Edinburgh (S. Queensferry), Scotland, Holyrood Palace

Edinburgh (S. Queensferry), Scotland

Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey, Celsus Library Close Up

Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey

Gdansk (Gdynia), Poland, Old Town

Gdansk (Gdynia), Poland

Glasgow (Greenock), Scotland, Aerial View

Glasgow (Greenock), Scotland

Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Coastline

Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

Helsinki, Finland, Aerial view of Suomenlinna Fortress

Helsinki, Finland

Ibiza, Spain, Es Verda Island

Ibiza, Spain

Inverness / Loch Ness, Scotland, Urquhart Castle

Inverness / Loch Ness, Scotland

Kotor, Montenegro, Boats in the bay

Kotor, Montenegro

Kristiansand, Norway, Coastal Mountain

Kristiansand, Norway

La Palma, Canary Islands, Volcanic Terrain

La Palma, Canary Islands

Lerwick/Shetland, Scotland, Coastal terrain and bay

Lerwick / Shetland, Scotland

Madeira (Funchal), Portugal, Coastal Village

Madeira (Funchal), Portugal

Molde, Norway, Panoramic View

Molde, Norway

Nice (Villefranche), France, Aerial Beach View

Nice, France

Olden, Norway, Jostedalsbreen Glacier

Olden, Norway

Oslo, Norway, Coastal Buildings

Oslo, Norway

Paris (Le Havre), France, Panoramic City View

Paris (Le Havre), France

Rhodes, Greece, Beach

Rhodes, Greece

Riga, Latvia, House of Blackheads Statue

Riga, Latvia

Rotterdam, Netherlands, Delfshaven Historic Center

Rotterdam, Netherlands

Sete, France, Panoramic harbor view

Sete, France

Sicily (Messina), Italy, Cityscape

Sicily (Messina), Italy

Sicily (Catania), Italy, Benedictine Monastery of San Nicolo l'Arena

Sicily (Catania), Italy

Edinburgh (Newhaven), Scotland, Scenic Dean Village

Edinburgh (Newhaven), Scotland

Genoa, Italy, Boccadasse district

Genoa, Italy

La Coruna, Spain, Tower of Hercules

La Coruna, Spain

Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Coastal natural pool

Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Ponta Delgada, Azores, Sete Cidades Lagoa

Ponta Delgada, Azores

Sicily (Palermo), Italy, Panoramic view

Sicily (Palermo), Italy

Skjolden, Norway, Mountain Landscape

Skjolden, Norway

Southampton, England, Houses in city center

Southampton, England

St. Peter Port, Channel Islands, Castle Cornet

St. Peter Port, Guernsey

Stockholm, Sweden, Aerial panoramic view

Stockholm, Sweden

Tallinn, Estonia, Cityscape

Tallinn, Estonia

Tenerife, Canary Islands, El Duque beach

Tenerife, Canary Islands

Valletta, Malta, Coastal view

Valletta, Malta

Vigo, Spain, Hilltop city view

Vigo, Spain

Palma De Mallorca, Spain, La Seu Cathedral

Palma De Mallorca, Spain

Provence (Marseille), France, Chateau d'If

Provence (Marseille), France

Skagen, Denmark, A beach with lighthouse in distance

Skagen, Denmark

Tromso, Norway, Mountain landscape

Tromso, Norway

Visby, Sweden, View of the building rooftops

Visby, Sweden

Waterford, Ireland, Coastal cliff

Waterford (Dunmore East), Ireland

Stavanger, Norway, Cliff Preikestolen

Stavanger, Norway

Málaga, Spain Aerial View

Málaga, Spain

Provence (Toulon), France, Boats anchored in a bay

Provence (Toulon), France

Valencia, Spain, Panoramic view

Valencia, Spain

La Spezia Portovenere Cliffs

Florence / Pisa (La Spezia), Italy

Florence - Pisa, Italy Aerial View

Florence / Pisa (Livorno), Italy

Italy Naples Positano Couple Jumping in Ocean

Naples / Capri, Italy

Bremerhaven, Germany Sailing Ship

Bremerhaven, Germany

Split, Croatia Waterfront Panoramic

Split, Croatia

Corfu, Greece, Paleokastritsa Beach

Corfu, Greece

limassol cyprus old ruins

Limassol, Cyprus

Porto (Leixoes), Portugal Old Town Skyline

Porto (Leixoes), Portugal

Monte Carlo, Monaco The Rock Of Monaco

Monte Carlo, Monaco

Portofino, Italy Sea Coast Houses

Portofino, Italy

Slovenia Coastal Town Koper Historic Aerial

Koper, Slovenia

England Liverpool City Centre Three Graces

Liverpool, England

Spain Cadiz Seafront Cathedral Campo Del Sur

Cadiz, Spain

France Rue St Jean Du Perot La Rochelle

Bordeaux (La Rochelle), France

Turkey Istanbul de Hoofdstad City View

Istanbul, Turkey

Florence Italy Ponte Veccio

Florence / Pisa (Carrara), Italy

Aerial view of Porto Zorro Azzurro beach in Zakynthos (Zante) island, in Greece

Zakynthos, Greece

Saint Paul cathedral in Thessaloniki, Greece

Thessaloniki, Greece

View of Durdle Door Cove, Portland, Dorset, UK

Portland, Dorset, England

Skiathos Old Port with a Blue Sky, Skiathos, Greece

Skiathos, Greece

Norway is beautiful in the summer.

Haugesund, Norway

Panorama of fjord in Norway

Maloy, Norway

Beautiful harbor of the town of Kotka, Finland

Kotka, Finland

The port of Kiel is a portal into the past.

Kiel, Germany

Bodrum Town in Turkey

Bodrum, Turkey

Saint Anastasia Bay in Burgas, Bulgaria

Burgas, Bulgaria

Admiring the Local Seacoast of Casablanca, Morocco

Casablanca, Morocco

Street view of Pirgi, a village in Chios, Greece

Chios, Greece

Santa Margherita Ligure - beautiful coastal town in Liguria, popular luxury resort

Santa Margherita, Italy

Scenic panorama view of the historic town of Perast at famous Bay of Kotor

Bay of Kotor (Cruising), Montenegro

Landscape with Olimp beach at Black Sea Coast, Romania.

Constanta, Romania

Ocean views from the Sinop Fortress attract many visitors.

Sinop, Turkey

Concrete pier at a beach in Varna, Bulgaria

Varna, Bulgaria

Landmarks and beautiful places (cities) of northern Italy - elegant Trieste town

Trieste, Italy

View of Trabzon Yomra district from above

Trabzon, Turkey

The main square in Ravenna in Italy

Ravenna, Italy

My Personas

Code: ∅.

Reader's Digest

12 Best Mediterranean Cruises for Exploring Europe’s Hottest Destinations

Explore the mediterranean on a cruise.

H aving recently completed my fourth Mediterranean cruise, it dawned on me that there's a reason I enjoy exploring Europe by sea so much: I absolutely love waking up in a new country every morning and getting a taste of so many different cultures, cuisines, architectural styles, languages and historical landmarks all in one trip. Sure, there's a time and a place for doing a deep dive into a single country or city, but there's a lot to be said for initially taking a more surface-level approach—especially if it's your first time in Europe. It can help you decide where you'd like to do a longer stay next time. Another reason to love Mediterranean cruises? The waters are typically calm, unlike in the open ocean, making it a prime location for anyone who suffers from seasickness.

I've cruised the Mediterranean on some of the best cruise lines , including a recent Greek Enchantment itinerary on Holland America Line that took me from Venice to Athens via multiple stops in Croatian ports and such Greek islands as Santorini and Rhodes. Though it's often billed as one of the best cruises for couples , I actually took my dad, and we enjoyed every minute of it. (There were plenty of multigenerational families and friend groups on board, so we certainly didn't feel awkward amid the perceived romance of the locale.)

What follows are my favorite cruises , based on my personal experience and expertise as a travel writer who has been on 18 cruises (and counting), as well as on user reviews and ratings.

What's the best time to take a Mediterranean cruise?

Logically, summer seems like the best time for a Mediterranean cruise. But there are a few reasons why this may not be ideal in reality. First, because summer is the high season in Europe, you'll often face premium cruise pricing due to the laws of supply and demand.

Beyond that, crowds will be heavy in the ports of call during the high season. (The day we were in Santorini, there were four other ships in port, and the line to take the gondola up for those who didn't book an excursion was nearly two hours.) These crowds can make it difficult to take great pictures or move freely near landmarks, and concerns about pickpockets increase in crowded settings. Plus, you may have a tough time getting into restaurants or major attractions if you didn't book ahead.

Finally, the weather can be downright miserable in the summer, with soaring temperatures and high humidity making even the most relaxing tours uncomfortable. And if that doesn't convince you, know that many places in Europe don't have air conditioning.

My advice after making a few seasonal mistakes over the years? Go during the shoulder season , which is the spring (March through May) or fall (mid-September through October). You'll be rewarded with fewer crowds, lower prices, more temperate weather and an overall more enjoyable experience.

How we chose the best Mediterranean cruise ports

Mediterranean cruise is a catchall phrase for the general region, but there are many different areas within this 2,500-mile stretch of intercontinental water—and each one offers a unique set of ports of call. There's the Western Mediterranean, with popular sailings between Barcelona and Rome and stops all along Italy's boot (including Rome and Florence).

In the Eastern Mediterranean, you'll find cruises that visit Greece and Turkey. Stops in the Adriatic Sea (the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea and your access to Croatia and Venice) are often included in these sailings.

Finally, some Eastern Mediterranean Holy Land cruises spend time in Israel, Egypt and Cyprus. Some of my personal favorite ports of call include Rhodes, Greece; Civitavecchia, Italy (northwest of Rome); the Croatian cities of Dubrovnik and Split; Kusadasi, Turkey; the French cities of Nice and St. Tropez; the Spanish cities of Barcelona and Valencia; Valletta, Malta; Taormina, Sicily; and Sorrento, Italy. Ready to sail in to your own port of call? Read on for the best Mediterranean cruises for 2024.

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Best for midpriced Greece and Turkey

Holland america line's greece & adriatic antiquities cruise.

With a slightly more upscale clientele that skews a bit older than some other brands, Holland America Line excels at comfortable cruises that hit some of the hottest ports of call in Turkey and the Greek Islands. And while the line has numerous ships in the Mediterranean, the Oosterdam is an excellent choice for your Mediterranean cruise—it holds just shy of 2,000 passengers, and its 2016 remodel makes it a perfectly contemporary option.

Holland America partners with local vendors who offer a wide variety of shore excursions geared toward an array of activity levels, including lunches at the private home of a local family, coach sightseeing tours and walking tours that immerse you in both ancient history and modern culture. Its 10-Day Cruise to the Mediterranean showcases Turkey and Greece, with additional stops in Egypt and Cyprus. And it takes place during October, an ideal time to visit.

  • Hits all the hot spots in Greece and Turkey
  • The midsize ship is easier to navigate
  • Incredibly friendly crew members
  • Although it's not an adults-only cruise , it caters to the over-50 crowd, so there are typically fewer kids
  • More expensive than competitors such as Princess and Royal Caribbean
  • Smaller ship means fewer dining venues and onboard activities

Best for ultra-luxury Croatian cruising

Seabourn's jewels of the dalmatian coast cruise.

Here's a handy cruise tip : Don't discount smaller ships. They really foster a sense of intimacy. On a Mediterranean cruise with Seabourn , guests experience the best that the sea and the countries have to offer, all with an extremely elevated touch. Allow Seabourn to turn the Mediterranean into your nearly private playground as you explore the Dalmatian Coast, a region along the western edge of Croatia.

You begin and end your seven-day cruise in one of the most perfectly preserved medieval cities: Dubrovnik. Surrounded by ancient city walls, it's possibly the most iconic and picturesque city on the coast (if you've seen Game of Thrones , you know just how magical this real-life King's Landing is). This cruise makes its way up the Adriatic Sea, with stops in beautiful Korcula (famous for its wine-making), Hvar (known for its hilltop fortress) and Zadar (take in the Roman architecture and Venetian gates). Your ship, the Seabourn Encore , holds just 300 guests but has a casino, spa and numerous dining venues.

  • All accommodations are ocean-front suites
  • All dining and drinks (even alcohol) included
  • It's rare to see young children
  • Dress code enforced (no jeans at dinner, even on "casual" nights)

Best for budget-friendly Western Mediterranean

Msc's cruise to the western mediterranean.

If you're traveling to the Mediterranean from the United States, your airfare could likely be more expensive than the cruise per person. Still, budget-conscious vacationers will appreciate the overall affordability of booking a cruise with MSC. Choosing a round-trip itinerary from Civitavecchia (near Rome) means you can use the money you save on the cruise to spend a few days sightseeing in one of the most impressive capital cities in Europe. With cruise dates from April into October 2024, you'll easily be able to select a shoulder season date and avoid the summer rush.

The MSC Seaview handles many of the Western Mediterranean itineraries, and it's possible to upgrade to the MSC Yacht Club on this ship for an enhanced experience that includes everything from 24/7 butler service and exclusive venues to an all-inclusive package and signature dining. Plus, you'll hit many of the most popular ports in Spain, France and Italy on this seven-night cruise in the Western Mediterranean, including Barcelona, Cannes, Cinque Terre and Portofino.

  • Plenty of Mediterranean offerings for less than $800 per person
  • Loyalty club members save 5% on many sailings, so it pays to stay loyal
  • Kids clubs for infants through teens for family-friendly vacations
  • Low-cost fare increases quite a bit once you add drinks and a Wi-Fi package
  • Dress code for "elegant" nights enforced in the main dining room

Best for affordable, family-friendly Italy

Royal caribbean's western mediterranean cruise.

Who wouldn't want to see the Colosseum in Rome, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Blue Grotto in Capri, the Grand Canal in Venice and various UNESCO World Heritage sites all on one trip? You can go on those excursions and more on Royal Caribbean's seven-night Western Mediterranean cruise , which heavily features Italy's most famous landmarks. Plus, you'll spend some time in Sicily and France before ending in Barcelona—add a few post-cruise days here to check La Sagrada Família and the Picasso Museum off your bucket list.

With the lower price point of this cruise, you might be able to bring the whole family, and there's plenty on board to keep everyone busy, from surf simulators and ice-skating shows to laser tag and a youth program.

  • Interior cabins start at less than $800 per person
  • Fa mily-friendly cruise with an onboard rock-climbing wall, waterslides and a teen lounge
  • Recently refurbished ship
  • Higher-capacity ships may feel crowded

Best for luxury in the Greek Islands

Crystal's istanbul to athens cruise.

Just refurbished in 2023, the 740-passenger Crystal Serenity has all ocean-view rooms and somehow manages to offer nine restaurant concepts onboard. It's also a great cruise option for people with disabilities—eight of the rooms meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

Beginning with a couple days in Istanbul, this impressive 12-night itinerary winds its way through the most beautiful Greek Islands and cities, including Santorini (with its iconic white buildings and blue rooftops), Mykonos, Thessaloniki (guests are treated to an overnight stay here, which is a wonderful way to enjoy a city's evening culinary scene and nightlife), Volos, Paros, Spetses, Nafplion and Athens.

Optional shore excursions include visits to archaeological sites, interactive farm-to-table cooking experiences, wine tastings and breakfast with locals. A highlight in Kusadasi, Turkey, is touring the ancient city of Ephesus (one of the best preserved in the world) and visiting the House of the Virgin Mary. On your day at sea, be sure to stop by the Aurora Spa for relaxing and rejuvenating treatments that will help you sail through the rest of your busy itinerary.

  • Dedicated butler in every stateroom and suite
  • Onboard dining includes a venue by Michelin-starred chef Nobuyuki (Nobu) Matsuhisa
  • The smaller ship can overnight in some ports
  • Pricey, and shore excursions cost extra
  • Formal nights require cocktail attire (gowns, suits, tuxedos and dress shoes)

Best for shorter Mediterranean itineraries

Norwegian cruise line's 4-night cruise to the western mediterranean.

Many cruise lines focus on seven- to 14-day itineraries in the Mediterranean, making it hard to find an option if you don't have a full week or two for your vacation. Enter Norwegian Cruise Line, which offers an abbreviated four-day cruise for those looking to get a quick taste of cruise life. Aboard the Norwegian Escape , which was just refurbished in 2022, you'll journey from Barcelona to Rome's northwestern neighbor Civitavecchia, with stops in Cannes and Florence.

With four ports in four days, you can make the most of your sightseeing along the French Riviera and Tuscan region of Italy, allowing time to explore Michelangelo's David, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Vatican, among other ancient relics and historic monuments. Onboard, there's a large assortment of dining options, bars and lounges, and a spa with a thermal lounge and snow room (kept at 14 degrees).

  • Four-night cruise is perfect for shorter stays
  • Offers studio rooms priced for solo travelers (no single supplement)
  • Exclusive cabins and elite perks (like butler service and a private sundeck) available with an upgrade to the Haven
  • No enforced dress code
  • May encounter long lines at dining venues and for evening entertainment with 4,226 passengers
  • A la carte fees can quickly add up on an otherwise lower fare

Best for cruising Spain on a sailboat

Windstar's spanish symphony cruise.

It's always a good time to visit Spain —there's just so much to see and do in Spain. That's why a cruise a smart way to visit. Windstar's 10-day itinerary begins in Barcelona, taking passengers to the Spanish island of Majorca before cruising on to Cartagena, Almeria, Málaga and Gibraltar. You'll sail through the Strait of Gibraltar before visiting Cadiz and ending in Lisbon, Portugal. Be sure to spend some extra pre-cruise time in Barcelona and post-cruise time in Lisbon because you won't have time on the actual cruise to explore these cities.

Take in a Flamenco show, go sightseeing by Segway or enjoy wine tasting on the various shore excursions. One special onboard experience you won't get with other cruise lines: During the sail away from each port, Windstar dramatically unfurls the ship's sails while playing Vangelis's "1492 Conquest of Paradise"—it's a majestic (and somewhat emotional) moment each day when most passengers gather on deck for the show.

  • The Wind Surf is the world's largest sailing ship (with seven sails and five masts)
  • Only holds 342 passengers, making for an intimate vibe
  • Fabulous spa with massage styles from various cultures
  • Not as many daytime activities or nighttime entertainment options onboard as big ships

Best for sailing on the newest ship

Princess's mediterranean with france and italy cruise.

Cruise enthusiasts are all buzzing about the newest ship to join the Princess fleet: the Sun Princess . And good news: Now is your chance to be among the first passengers to enjoy this world-class beauty in its inaugural season. During your days at sea, you can fully explore the Park19 activity zone, a top deck space with a ropes course, hang-gliding ride, climbing structure, hammock area, splash zone, recreational court and jogging track. Or hang out at the Dome, which is a pool during the day but a stage at night for acrobatic performances.

But you're also here to see the Mediterranean, so you'll need to maximize your time off the ship too. Your cruise begins in Barcelona, with stops in Gibraltar, Marseille, Genoa and Florence before culminating in Civitavecchia, near Rome. Princess does an excellent job with shore excursions, offering everything from pesto tasting in Genoa and wine tasting in Gibraltar to more strenuous activities, such as a bicycle tour through Marseille or climbing the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

  • Brand-new ship with all the bells and whistles
  • Affordable fare, especially if you catch a promotion
  • Expansive spa area with a wide array of treatments
  • I wish there was one less day at sea and one more stop in France on this itinerary

Best for small-ship Adriatic and Aegean Adventures

Viking's empires of the mediterranean cruise.

You may know Viking from its European river cruises , but it has specific ships for ocean cruises that'll knock your socks off. Its Empires of the Mediterranean itinerary takes you to nine destinations through five countries—Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro and Greece—for a full immersion in the best of the Adriatic and Aegean seas.

Dying to travel to Greece? You'll visit the wonderfully underrated Greek island of Corfu along the way, and you'll have enough time in Athens to see the Panathenaic Stadium, Temple of Zeus and Acropolis. The fare is steeper with Viking than with most, but you get a lot more for the money, such as free shore excursions and Wi-Fi, covered port taxes and fees, ground transfers with a Viking Air purchase, enrichment lectures, access to the spa and fitness center, self-service laundry, 24-hour room service, and beer, wine and soft drinks with lunch and dinner.

  • Good introduction to the Adriatic and Aegean regions
  • All cabins are Verandas
  • Complimentary excursion at each port and free Wi-Fi
  • No guests under age 18 permitted
  • High price point

Best for affordable 10-day voyages

Carnival's europe from civitavecchia (rome) cruise.

In 2024, Carnival Cruise Line is expanding its offering of seasonal European sailings on its 2,200-guest Carnival Legend . Fans of this affordable cruise line will find many of the signature venues they know and love, including Guy's Burger Joint, the BlueIguana Cantina, the RedFrog and Alchemy bars, WaterWorks Aqua Park and the Punchliner Comedy Club—plus time to enjoy them during this itinerary's two days at sea.

For this cruise, you'll begin just outside Rome in Civitavecchia, then head to Turkey, make several stops in Greece (including the beloved islands of Santorini and Mykonos), wrap up with a few more Italian ports of call (including Naples, the birthplace of pizza) and end back where you started. You'll be traveling in October, which is one of the best months to visit this region, thanks to mild weather and fewer crowds.

  • Get 10 days in the Mediterranean during an ideal month for less than $1,000
  • Kids club and teen club, plus an adults-only retreat for some alone time
  • Carnival often runs sales with reduced rates and onboard credit
  • Charges for extra amenities add up quickly, so keep those in check to mind your budget
  • Ship received cosmetic updates in 2022 but could use a more comprehensive update

Best for hitting the region's top cultural hubs

Oceania cruises' mediterranean culture capitals, barcelona to istanbul.

Over the course of 10 days in cool and uncrowded November, passengers aboard the  Oceania Cruises'  Riviera will be treated to a trip that covers nearly the entire east-west expanse of the Mediterranean. Beginning in Barcelona and ending in Istanbul, this voyage stops in the Spanish port of Palma de Mallorca; both Marseille and Nice in France; Rome, Capri and Sicily in Italy; and Philippi in Greece.

Tour UNESCO World Heritage sites, sunbathe on the Côte d'Azur, visit Pompeii, stroll the spice market and Grand Bazaar of Istanbul and roam the lavender fields in Provence—you'll be steeped in culture every step of the way. Onboard, guests have access to hands-on cooking classes, free Wi-Fi, treatments at the Aquamar Spa, a fitness center, a running track and sports deck, guest speakers, shows and afternoon tea with a classical string quartet and pastry carts filled with finger sandwiches, sweet treats, classic scones with clotted cream and English jams.

  • Visit five countries in one cruise
  • Elegant experience (including a Lalique grand staircase) with gourmet cuisine
  • Ship was refurbished in 2022
  • Although inside staterooms are affordable, balconies and suites are quite expensive

Most comprehensive Greece voyage

Celebrity's best of greece cruise.

On most cruises to Greece, you'll hit a couple islands and maybe Athens, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Celebrity recognized that there are more things to do in Greece , so it set out to create an itinerary you won't find from many of its competitors: an 11-night Best of Greece cruise roundtrip from Athens. And did we mention it's priced around $1,000 per person?

You'll have full days in Volos, Thessaloniki, Rhodes (which has some lovely beaches, including Faliraki, with about 3 miles of sandy coastline), Santorini and Mykonos, along with a day in Limassol, Cyprus' second-largest city, and Ephesus, Turkey. You'll end the trip in Athens, where you'll have an overnight stay, which means you can have a traditional Greek dinner off the ship at your leisure. During your two sea days, lounge by the pool and soak in that Mediterranean sunshine, grab a gelato at Café al Bacio or spoil yourself at the spa.

  • See the best of Greece in a single cruise
  • Stops in Cyprus and Turkey for extra cultural exploration
  • Many kids and teens activities, including youth clubs
  • Attractive pricing, but watch out for extra fees
  • Ship was refurbished in 2018, but online reviewers say it could use a full remodel

The post 12 Best Mediterranean Cruises for Exploring Europe’s Hottest Destinations appeared first on Reader's Digest .

This article may contain affiliate links that Microsoft and/or the publisher may receive a commission from if you buy a product or service through those links.

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This 7-day All-inclusive River Cruise Stops at Iconic Christmas Markets in Germany — But You Have to Act Fast

Yes, we're already ready for the holidays, too.

european cruise countries

Poike/Getty Images

Influencer content isn’t always the most relatable. Yeah, splashy images of massive breakfasts floating in a pool in some far-off beach destination sure do look nice on the ‘gram, but often, the reality just doesn’t line up, making it hard to envision yourself taking the same journey. But not with Helene In Between. She makes travel look as approachable as it gets — and is now inviting you all to travel alongside her too. 

In January, Helene Sula, the brains behind the wildly popular blog and Instagram account @HeleneInBetween, announced she’s hosting a river cruise later this year to show off all her favorite European Christmas markets. 

“I can barely contain my excitement,” Sula wrote on her cruise’s announcement page. “Come explore the magic of the Christmas Markets in Europe with the Christmas Market queen and king, Helene and Michael Sula.” 

According to Sula’s page, every destination was hand-selected, along with the excursions offered and the very ship the trip takes place on. "Specifically with our cruise, we wanted it all-inclusive: all food, drinks (even top-shelf alcohol), transportation, excursions, so that they can truly relax and enjoy," Sula told Travel + Leisure.

The seven-day journey begins in Cologne, Germany, which Sula noted is one of her “favorite” market destinations. She also chose it thanks to its proximity to Frankfurt Airport (FRA), allowing all her American followers the chance to hop on a direct flight.

From Cologne, the ship continues down the Rhine River to Koblenz, where guests will have the chance to disembark, explore the small village, and visit the famed Arenfels Castle. 

On day three, the ship will dock in Rüdesheim, where guests can head out on an optional excursion to a local coffee house to try Rudeseheimer coffee and then to a local winery. 

Day four is an exciting one, particularly for Sula, as the ship will dock in Heidelberg, where she and Michael lived during their time in Europe. (It's also where her blog began.) Here, guests can disembark to explore the town, the nearby castles, and, of course, the markets. 

"We picked it because it's so idyllic: a castle looking over a river, flanked by pristine 16th-century buildings," said Sula. "But the Christmas market is so easy. It takes place along the main street, nearly a one-mile-long pedestrian-only street, with hundreds of hand-carved stalls selling hot mulled wine, succulent sausages, handmade ornaments, and more. It's delightful."

Day five continues to Strasbourg and a visit to the Black Forest, followed by a day in Mainz, before the journey ends on day seven back in Cologne. 

As for the ship, Sula chose a ship by Nicko Cruises, which is large enough for just 170 guests, making for an ultra-intimate experience. Guests can choose between a State Room (starting at $3,399 per person) or a larger Panorama Room (starting at $3,899 per person). Guests can mix and mingle in the common spaces, including the upper deck’s lounge and bar, the informal or formal dining spaces, or the ship’s onboard spa. 

"Each market in Europe offers its own spin on the traditions whether in what they offer to eat, drink, music, decor, or what they sell," said Sula. "It's truly an incredible atmosphere and I just want to spread the love."

As mentioned above, space is limited, so if you want to sail with Sula, you better act fast. Learn more about the cruise at learn.heleneinbetween.com .

New vacation trend: How European river cruises are targeting family travelers

European river cruises used to be an adults-only vacation geared mostly to older adults looking to sightsee along rivers in Europe while only needing to unpack once. Generally speaking, European river cruise lines either discouraged children as passengers or had age minimums that excluded kids. 

And then something shifted. Starting around 2010, a few river cruise lines began dipping their toes in the kiddie pool and offering limited sailings during school vacation weeks where families with younger kids were allowed. For a while, it didn't take off as a concept, probably because river cruises remained off the family vacation ideas radar of most parents. 

But the river cruise companies have persisted, eventually expanding their offerings so it's no longer just that kids are allowed onboard – but rather that families are actively catered to with options like family-sized rooms, kids clubs, and family excursions.

Which companies offer European river cruises for families?

Fast forward to 2024, and I find myself dazzled by the many options and offerings for families looking to enjoy a European river cruise . Here’s a quick rundown of some of the highlights for families with kids, teens, and those traveling as a multigenerational group. 

  • Tauck Bridges : Tour operator Tauck helped pioneer the family river cruise trend and offers an exceptional program for families. Called Tauck Bridges, the program includes pools, putting greens, and shore excursions like Louvre treasure hunts to make a river cruise fun for all.
  • Adventures by Disney : ABD uses AmaWaterways ships for its European river cruises, and the company adds the Disney magic with offerings like Junior Adventurer dinners and kid-and-adult friendly shore excursions. 
  • Uniworld : Uniworld’s Generation Collection incorporates lots of imaginative play into its shore excursions to bring history to life for kids. There’s also a kids’ lounge and a kids’ table at dinner.

These are only a few of the many European river cruise companies (and some closer-to-home U.S. river cruises as well) that are making families a core part of their audience. Others include CroisiEurope and Avalon Waterways . 

New vacation trend: How European river cruises are targeting family travelers originally appeared on TourScoop.com . 

More about cruise vacations for families:

  • Kids sail free on these 7 cruise lines
  • 7 best all-inclusive cruise lines in the world
  • 7 best cruise lines for families and their most kid-friendly ships

The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY. FamilyVacationist.com and TourScoop.com are owned and operated by Vacationist Media LLC. Using the FamilyVacationist travel recommendation methodology , we review and select family vacation ideas , family vacation spots , all-inclusive family resorts , and classic family vacations for all ages. TourScoop covers guided group tours and tour operators , tour operator reviews , tour itinerary reviews and travel gear recommendations .

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Ukraine Claims Russia Used New Hypersonic Missile for First Time

Russia has not confirmed that a Zircon hypersonic missile was used. The United States says it’s looking into the claim.

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A missile flying into the sky from a frigate at sea.

By Constant Méheut

Ukraine said it had evidence that Russia had used a new hypersonic cruise missile for the first time in an attack last week, a development that might, if confirmed, pose another challenge to the country’s already strained air defenses.

A preliminary analysis of missile fragments by the government-run Kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Expertise concluded that a 3M22 Zircon missile had been used in a Feb. 7 attack that targeted cities across Ukraine. Markings typical of the missile were found on the debris, the institute said.

“We see elements that are characteristic to the 3M22 Zircon missile. Parts and fragments of the engine and steering mechanisms have specific markings,” Oleksandr Ruvin, the head of the institute, said in a social media post on Monday afternoon that included a video of the missile’s wreckage.

The Russian authorities have not commented on the use of a Zircon missile and the evidence presented by the institute could not be independently verified. American officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said they were assessing the claim but could not confirm its use in combat on Feb. 7.

Sidharth Kaushal, a research fellow and expert on sea power at the Royal United Services Institute, or RUSI, expressed caution, saying that none of the warships from which the missile had previously been tested were operating in the Black Sea at the time of the attack, meaning that the debris might belong to another type of missile.

The use of a Zircon would be a new step in Russia’s air campaign against Ukrainian military and civilian infrastructure.

The debris Ukraine says was from a Zircon was found in the Kyiv region, a spokesperson for the forensic institute said without disclosing the precise location. Ukraine’s military said it had shot down several cruise missiles during the attack, but made no mention of intercepting a Zircon.

Ukraine’s air defenses have proved relatively effective over the past year, often intercepting up to three-quarters of the missiles fired at its territory. But in recent months, Russia has launched increasingly complex barrages of different missiles and drones in an attempt to saturate and penetrate these defenses. This was again the case in last week’s attack , which killed five people and involved 64 Russian cruise missiles, ballistic missiles and drones — as well as a Zircon missile, according to Ukrainian officials.

Should Russia’s earlier description of the missile’s capabilities prove correct, experts say, it could evade powerful missile defenses such as the U.S.-designed Patriot system , which Ukraine has used to shoot down other Russian hypersonic and cruise missiles. The Russian authorities have said that the Zircon can reach eight times the speed of sound, has a range of 625 miles and can carry a 660-pound warhead.

The Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance , a nonprofit organization based in the United States, said that, if that information is accurate, the Zircon missile would be one of the fastest in the world, “making it nearly impossible to defend against due to its speed alone.”

The missile “has no analogues in any country in the world,” President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said early last year.

Mr. Kaushal noted that the missile was first flight-tested in 2015 and declared operational by the end of 2022 — an unusually rapid development cycle. He said it had been tested off two warships, the Admiral Gorshkov-class frigate and the Yasen-class submarine, before being used to arm the frigate in January 2023.

But he noted that neither of those two warships “are actually in the Black Sea at the moment” and that “it would be unusual for the missile to be fired in live combat for the first time from a vessel from which it has never been tested before.”

The Ukrainian authorities made no mention of the launch platform for the missile.

The fact that Russia has not reported using a Zircon missile last week also raises questions. When it first used a Kinzhal missile, in March of 2022, Russia’s Defense Ministry quickly communicated about it .

How the Zircon would change calculations on the Ukrainian battlefield remains to be seen.

Russia has claimed in the past that its air-launched hypersonic Kinzhal missiles, some of the most sophisticated weapons in its arsenal, are unstoppable. But after Ukraine received the Patriot system, it managed to shoot down several Kinzhals before they could hit their targets.

Mr. Kaushal also said that the Zircon’s combat effectiveness remains unknown, with questions surrounding its claimed speed and accuracy.

Russia’s ability to produce and operate Zircon missiles, “especially as the program will compete for financial and other resources with priorities like rebuilding the Russian ground forces,” also remains in doubt, Mr. Kaushal said in a research paper published last year.

Julian Barnes and Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.

Constant Méheut has covered France from the Paris bureau of The Times since 2020. More about Constant Méheut

Our Coverage of the War in Ukraine

News and Analysis

Ukraine claimed that its forces had sunk a Russian landing ship off the coast of Crimea . The attack would be a powerful blow against Russians at sea, at a time when Ukrainian soldiers are struggling to hold back assaults on land.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine is redoubling his diplomatic outreach to Europe , as the debate in the United States over providing renewed military assistance for Ukraine continues to play out in Congress .

Kyiv said it had evidence that Russia had used a new hypersonic cruise missile for the first time in an attack , a development that would pose another challenge to Ukraine’s already strained air defenses.

Creative Use of Weapons: Ukraine’s use of a Patriot missile to take down a plane in January is an example of how novel battlefield tactics can be fraught with peril as well as promise .

Broadcasting Rage: Residents of the battered Ukrainian city of Kharkiv turn to a station called Radio Boiling Over to vent their anger at Russian attacks .

Reined In: Ukraine’s oligarchs have lost billions from the shelling of their factories. Now the government hopes to break their political influence .

Staying Put: The front line in Ukraine is largely populated by the elderly these days. Some can’t afford to get out, while others say they won’t leave their homes .

How We Verify Our Reporting

Our team of visual journalists analyzes satellite images, photographs , videos and radio transmissions  to independently confirm troop movements and other details.

We monitor and authenticate reports on social media, corroborating these with eyewitness accounts and interviews. Read more about our reporting efforts .

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