More cruise ships will sail in the Mediterranean or Northern Europe this year than ever before, and today I'll provide some tips to help anyone heading in that direction find a great deal. Click any link below for a complete list of options.
Mediterranean cruise itineraries typically range from seven to 14 days and are most numerous from late April through October, though several ships stay in the region year-round. Many sailings visit Spain, France and Italy, or the Greek Isles. A few Mediterranean cruises call on ports in Israel or Morocco, and some include a few ports in the Black Sea.
Due to the cool climate, the cruising season in Northern Europe is short, from May through August. Itineraries generally range from seven to 14 days and most sail in the Baltic Sea to legendary port cities like St. Petersburg, Stockholm and Copenhagen. A few cruises each year concentrate on the British Isles or the Norwegian Fjords.
While many of Europe's top cities are easily accessible by cruise ship, other great places such as Milan, Madrid, Paris and Prague are not. A few cruise lines offer cruise tours that combine a Mediterranean or Northern Europe cruise with a land-based tour. Cruise tours allow you to spend some extra time in a cruise's departure or arrival port or visit some of those terrific inland destinations. Click the city names below to see the options.
These cities are featured on cruise tours that combine a Mediterranean cruise with a multi-day land tour:
Lake Como, Italy
These cities are featured on cruise tours that combine a Northern Europe cruise with a multi-day land tour:
Prague, Czech Republic
For a complete list of Europe cruise tours and every discount available, click here.
Unlike the Caribbean and Mexico, where it's generally best to book within 90 days of departure for the best price, Mediterranean and Northern Europe cruises should be booked a bit further in advance, especially for the peak June to August period. If you wait until the last minute, you will likely have difficulty finding airline tickets at a good price, or at all.
If you're planning to cruise the Mediterranean or Northern Europe through the end of August, or if you hope to take a cruise tour in Europe, I recommend booking no later than the end of March, for the best price and selection. If you are planning to take a Mediterranean cruise that departs after the end of August, and are flexible about date and ship, I recommend waiting until about 120 days prior to departure to book, as rates for some sailings will drop and air should not be a problem.
For anyone traveling from North America, I recommend arriving one or two days in advance. This will ensure that you don't miss your ship departure due to airline delays and afford you time to get over jet lag and do some local sightseeing before boarding the ship or beginning the tour. Most cruise lines offer pre-cruise hotel packages, which our cruise counselors can arrange.
Additionally, we can assist with airfare in conjunction with any of our Europe cruises or cruise tours through the cruise lines' air/sea programs. In most cases, you'll find that the cruise line's airfare is competitive with, or less than, what you can find on your own -- especially for European trips that begin in one city and end in another.
Chairman & CEO
Vacations To Go
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