6 Things to Consider When Choosing a Mediterranean Cruise Departure Port

Cruising in the Med is a spectacular way to visit multiple countries on a single trip without having to worry about catching the right ferry or translating the Italian train timetable.

Countries like Croatia and Greece, which are usually challenging to get to in their own right, are seamlessly interwoven into itineraries including Italy, Spain, France or Turkey for an immersive tour that’s overflowing with variety and charm.

Med cruises depart from popular cities including Venice, Barcelona, Rome and Athens, as well as Marseille, Genoa, Bari, Naples, Dubrovnik or Palma de Majorca. Some cruises also set sail from Southampton, offering an easy access option for a no-fly cruise.

Unpacking the options to make the right choice can seem daunting, especially for first time cruisers, so we’ve made choosing the right departure port easy to navigate with these 6 important things to consider.

1. Direct Flights

Most cruises have an all-aboard time of around 3pm, which often means needing to stop a night in the departure port to be sure you don’t miss the ship.

Early morning direct flights can sometimes allow you to arrive in port on the same day your cruise departs, which saves the expense of a hotel. Direct flights can be included in the cost of most great Med cruises.

Cruise ships sailing from Venice

2. Ground Transfers

Some Med departure ports are located up to an hour away from the city, which can mean requiring extra ground transfers to get to the ship. Venice and Barcelona are both an easy taxi ride from the airport, whereas the ports of Civitavecchia and Piraeus are located some distance from Rome and Athens.

Cruise ships sailing from Venice

3. Ports of Call

Eastern and Western Mediterranean cruises offer very different experiences, so it’s worth choosing a departure port that naturally lends itself to your preferred itinerary. Eastern Med cruises are often round-trip itineraries to top beach destinations, whereas western Med cruises call into major tourist destinations and stunning coastal cities with plenty of sightseeing.

Cruise ships sailing from Venice

4. Cruise & Stay Offers

Venice and Rome are popular choices for cruise and stay offers, which is an easy way to stretch a 10-night Mediterranean cruise into a 2-week holiday.

Cruise ships sailing from Venice

5. Arrival Port

Point-to-point Med cruises are a fantastic way to experience a few extra days in two different cities on either side of your cruise. Barcelona and Venice are a fantastic combination on popular Med cruises.

Cruise ships sailing from Venice

6. Baggage Restrictions

Mediterranean ports are frequently accessed by low-cost flights on carriers like EasyJet where baggage is an extra charge. If you’re heading on a longer cruise or planning to do some shopping, a cruise from Southampton is a great choice.

Cruise ships sailing from Venice

Top Tip

Getting your departure port right contributes to a smoother overall itinerary with lower logistical costs and less travelling. It’s tempting to book the cheapest flight first and work your holiday plans out from there, but it’s usually best practice to choose the right departure port before booking your flights.