The hottest Mediterranean cruises for summer 2024

If you’re looking for an unforgettable family vacation, a Mediterranean cruise is an excellent choice. These affordable cruises offer the opportunity to visit multiple destinations while enjoying luxurious amenities on board.

The Mediterranean is divided into two regions, the Western and Eastern Mediterranean. Each region offers a variety of cruise itineraries to choose from. A Western Mediterranean cruise will take you to popular ports such as Barcelona and Valencia in Spain, Rome and Naples in Italy, or Marseille and Cannes in France. On the other hand, an Eastern Mediterranean cruise will take you to stunning gems like Venice in Italy or Athens and the breathtaking islands of Santorini and Mykonos in Greece.

With so many itineraries and cruise lines to choose from, finding the perfect cruise adventure can be overwhelming. That’s where we come in. Our suggestions will inspire you to find the perfect cruise that meets your needs, and exceeds your expectations.

Book early for the best deals, then monitor your cruise price

Embarking on a dream vacation to explore ancient towns like Athens in Greece, the sun-soaked coastline of Croatia, or charming Italian villages is an experience of a lifetime. To ensure you don’t miss out on these popular itineraries, booking your cruise early is best as they tend to fill up quickly.

Even if you’ve already booked your cruise, saving money is still possible. You can track your cruise fare and contact the cruise line to take advantage of any price decreases. By doing so, you can ensure that you get the best deal possible and make the most of your dream vacation.

Want to cruise in the Mediterranean but your budget just won't stretch?

You still have options! One way to save money is to book your cruise outside of high season. Travel dates in November, January, and February often offer the cheapest prices.

If you're a couple traveling without kids and don't have to worry about school vacation schedules, this could be a great option for you. For instance, MSC Cruises offers a 7-night Western Mediterranean cruise in February 2024 from Naples aboard the MSC Fantasia starting from just $389 per person. 

If you're looking for a newer ship, a similar cruise itinerary aboard the MSC Europa is available from $549 per person, which is still an excellent deal. Don't let a tight budget stop you from experiencing the wonders of a Mediterranean cruise. There are still plenty of way you can save money and cruise for less.

Choose your cruise line and cruise ship

Several popular cruise lines offer outstanding itineraries as you plan your Mediterranean cruise for summer 2024.

MSC Cruises offers some of the best prices for Mediterranean cruises, starting at just $119 for cruises from Marseille, $299 from Athens-Piraeus, and $189 from Palma de Mallorca. However, we recommend choosing one of their newest cruise ships for the best possible cruise experience.

Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises are two of the most popular family cruise lines, offering something for every type of traveler in their 2024/2025 cruise season. While they may be pricier than MSC Cruises, the entertainment and dining options on board are among the best among large cruise lines at sea.

If you’re looking for a brand new ship for your 2024 Mediterranean cruise, consider Princess Cruises. Their newest and largest ship, the Sun Princess, will debut in February 2024. You can embark on a memorable 10-day Grand Mediterranean inaugural voyage with departure options from Barcelona, Rome, and Athens.

Oceania Cruises is an excellent choice for those seeking luxury, offering 94 unique routes that take you to smaller, less-known ports and immersive shore excursions. With so many options available, you’ll find the perfect Mediterranean cruise that fits your budget and preferences.

Remember, each line provides unique facilities, luxurious accommodations, and cruise itineraries. Here is our pick of the best for 2024:

1. MSC Cruises: 7-night Western Mediterranean Cruise

Embarkation port: Naples, Italy
Cruise Ship: MSC Europa

Spend a few days exploring enchanting Sorrento and the breathtaking Amalfi Coast before embarking on a Mediterranean cruise from Naples aboard MSC Cruises’ newest cruise ship, MSC Europa. You’ll join passengers from all over the world and enjoy stops, including gorgeous Valletta, Malta, and the historic port city of Genoa – which serves as your gateway to Portofino and Santa Margherita.

  • Naples, Italy,
  • Messina, Italy,
  • La Valletta, Malta
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Marseille, France
  • Genoa, Italy
  • Naples, Italy

2. Royal Caribbean: 7-night Eastern Mediterranean Cruise

Embarkation Port: Ravenna, Italy
Cruise Ship: Explorer of the Seas

Bring the whole family for a Royal Caribbean experience with a cruise from Ravenna, Italy. Spend time in beautiful Venice for a few days before traveling by train to Ravenna for a cruise to these destination hot spots in stunning Croatia and Greece:

  • Venice (Port of Ravenna), Italy
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Athens (Port of Piraeus), Greece
  • Santorini, Greece
  • Split, Croatia
  • Venice (Port of Ravenna), Italy

3. Norwegian Cruise Line: 10-night Western Mediterranean Cruise

Embarkation Port: Barcelona, Spain
Cruise Ship: Norwegian Escape

Ideal for families with children, couples, and solo travelers, NCL offers an extended itinerary with a cruise from Barcelona to the best ports in the Western Mediterranean, including Palma and Livorno.

  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Cannes, France
  • Livorno (for Florence & Pisa), Italy,
  • Civitavecchia (for Rome), Italy
  • Naples (for Pompeii, Capri, and Amalfi Coast), Italy
  • Messina, Italy
  • Valletta, Malta
  • Cagliari Sardinia, Italy
  • Palma Majorca, Spain
  • Barcelona, Spain 

4. Celebrity Cruises: 9-night Western Mediterranean Cruise

Embarkation Port: Rome (Port of Civitavecchia), Italy
Disembarkation Port: Barcelona, Spain
Cruise Ship: Celebrity Equinox

This is probably our top choice for a Mediterranean cruise next summer. Celebrity Cruises are an excellent choice for couples or families with teens, offering excellent restaurants and entertainment. Plus, the port destinations are simply amazing and should be on everyone’s bucket list:

  • Rome (Port of Civitavecchia), Italy
  • Naples, Italy
  • La Spezia (for Florence, Pisa, and Cinque Terre), Italy
  • Santa Margherita (for Portofino and Genoa), Italy
  • Cannes – France
  • Marseille (for Provence), France
  • Barcelona – Spain

5. Norwegian Cruise Line: 9-night Greek Isles Cruise -Santorini, Mykonos, Croatia

Embarkation Port: Athens (Port of Piraeus), Greece
Disembarkation Port: Trieste, Italy
Cruise Ship: Norwegian Pearl

Experience the best of Greece in one idyllic cruise. Starting in historic Athens and ending in Trieste, Italy, you’ll have the opportunity to visit amazing destinations along the way. Plus, you can extend your vacation with a stay in Venice when your ship docks in Trieste. This is the perfect way to explore the beauty and history of the Mediterranean in one unforgettable trip.

  • Athens (Port of Piraeus), Greece
  • Santorini, Greece
  • Mykonos, Greece
  • Zakynthos, Greece
  • Corfu, Greece
  • Kotor, Montenegro
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Split, Croatia
  • Venice, Italy
  • Venice (Port of Trieste), Italy

6. Oceania Cruises: 10-night Barcelona to Rome

Embarkation Port: Barcelona, Spain
Disembarkation Port: Rome, Italy
Cruise Ship: Riviera

Embark on a luxurious 10-night Mediterranean cruise with bucket list stops and the “Simply More” concept from Oceania. Choose their package that includes airfare and airport transfers, gourmet dining, WiFi, and shore excursion credit. Your dream itinerary could look something like this:

  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Valencia, Spain
  • Alicante, Spain
  • Ibiza, Spain
  • Palma de Mallorca, Spain
  • Provence (port of Marseille), France
  • Saint Tropez, France
  • Monte Carlo, Monaco
  • Portofino, Italy
  • Livorno (for Pisa, Florence, Tuscany), Italy
  • Rome (port of Civitavecchia), Italy

Planning and Booking Mediterranean Cruises

Choosing the Right Cruise

When planning your Mediterranean cruise for summer 2024, it’s crucial to consider your preferences and interests. With numerous cruise lines offering unique itineraries and amenities, take your time to research and find the one that suits you best.

A luxury or ultra-luxury cruise line may be the perfect option if you prefer to get away from large cruise ships and crowds. Oceania Cruises is an excellent example of a luxury cruise line offering new Mediterranean itineraries in 2024 that focus on immersive experiences in the region.

When choosing the right cruise, consider the following points:

  • Destinations and ports of call
  • Cruise duration
  • Ship size and amenities
  • Onboard activities and excursions

By considering these factors, you can ensure that you choose the perfect Mediterranean cruise that caters to your preferences and interests.

Cruise Discounts

Everyone loves a good deal, and cruising is no exception. Don’t be afraid to hunt for special offers and discounts when looking for your perfect Mediterranean cruise. Here are a few tips to help you save some money while planning your dream voyage:

  1. Book Early: Cruise lines tend to offer the best deals when itineraries are first released. Booking 6-12 months ahead will often result in a better price.
  2. Travel During Shoulder Seasons: Spring and autumn tend to be less crowded, and cruise lines may offer more attractive pricing.
  3. Utilize Loyalty Programs: Returning customers may have access to exclusive discounts through loyalty programs offered by cruise lines.
  4. Look for Last-Minute Deals: Cruise lines often discount unsold cabins as the departure date approaches. Be flexible with your travel dates, and watch for these cruise deals.

Now that you better understand choosing the right cruise and finding cruise discounts, you are one step closer to enjoying a fantastic Mediterranean cruise in the summer of 2024. Remember, thoroughly researching and booking early will ensure you have the best possible experience.

Shore Excursions

Popular Shore Tours

Some of the best experiences during your Mediterranean cruise will be getting off the ship and exploring incredible destinations. You don’t have to book a ship shore excursion. If you still want a knowledgeable guide but joining a tour bus in a large group is not your style, consider booking an independent shore excursion with a trusted external supplier. We love the tours offered by Viator, ToursByLocals, and Italytours.EU and some of our most memorable trips have been booked with these suppliers.

Independent Sightseeing

Consider independent sightseeing during your Mediterranean cruise if you prefer a more leisurely exploration. With several ports filled with diverse cultures and breathtaking landscapes, you can easily rent a bike, do your own walking tour, or take public transportation to experience each location at your own pace.

Check out our “Essential Guide” series and itinerary ideas about how to make the most of your time in the most popular port cities. We offer detailed itineraries, including must-see sights, transport and cruise port tips, and more. Click on our “Essential Guide” section and find the port you are most interested in.

Packing and Travel Tips

What to Pack

When preparing for your Mediterranean cruise in the summer of 2024, it’s important to pack smartly to enjoy your vacation fully. Here are some essential items to include in your luggage:

  • Clothes: Pack light, comfortable clothes suitable for warm weather, like T-shirts, shorts, and dresses. Bring a few swimwear sets, as you’ll likely spend time by the pool or at the beach. For evenings, pack some dressier outfits for dinners and events onboard. Don’t forget a lightweight sweater or jacket for cooler nights or visiting places with strict dress codes, such as churches or historic sites.
  • Footwear: Comfortable walking shoes are a must, as you’ll likely be exploring various ports and taking shore excursions. Pack swimming shoes or flip-flops for around the pool and on the beach, and your favorite shoes for evening events.
  • Accessories: Bring a sun hat, sunglasses, and a light scarf to protect yourself from the sun. Consider bringing a small backpack or tote bag for carrying your essentials while you’re off the ship.
  • Toiletries: Travel-sized sunscreen is crucial, along with your regular toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, and a toothbrush. You may also want to pack a small bottle of bug spray.
  • Electronics: Your portable phone charger, a camera, and any necessary chargers for your devices. Additionally, pack a cruise-compliant power strip, especially if you are many in a cabin and all need to use power points simultaneously!
  • Essentials: Don’t forget to pack your necessary medications, a copy of your passport, travel insurance documents, and a credit card for emergencies.
  • Extras: A small, lightweight umbrella or raincoat can be handy, as sudden showers might occur in the Mediterranean region.

By packing with these tips in mind, you’ll be well-prepared to enjoy your Mediterranean cruise. Just remember to pack light and focus on the essentials, so you can fully embrace the Mediterranean lifestyle during your vacation. Click here for a complete and more detailed packing guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top family-friendly cruise lines for summer 2024?

Some of the top family-friendly cruise lines for summer 2024 are Royal Caribbean, Disney Cruise Line, and MSC Cruises. These cruise lines offer various activities and amenities to entertain children and adults alike. You can expect a memorable and engaging vacation with your loved ones, from kids’ clubs and water parks to family dining options.

Which cruise lines offer luxury trips in the Mediterranean in 2024?

For luxury trips in the Mediterranean in 2024, consider Oceania Cruises, as they offer a range of unique itineraries and small-group shore excursions. Other popular luxury cruise lines include Seabourn and Regent Seven Seas Cruises for unparalleled service and accommodations.

When is the most affordable time to book a Mediterranean cruise?

The most affordable time to book a Mediterranean cruise for summer 2024 would be during the shoulder seasons: spring (late April to early June) and fall (September to October).

Prices tend to drop during these periods as the demand is lower than in the peak summer months. However, we appreciate that you often need to travel in high season due to school summer vacations, so we recommend you book early and keep an eye out for discounts, promotions, and last-minute deals.

How does the experience differ between Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and MSC Mediterranean cruises in 2024?

Each cruise line offers a unique experience tailored to different tastes and travel preferences:

  • Norwegian: Known for its “Freestyle Cruising” concept, Norwegian provides a relaxed atmosphere and plenty of dining options with flexible dress codes and meal times.
  • Royal Caribbean: Offering various activities, amenities, and entertainment, Royal Caribbean is great for families and active travelers seeking exciting experiences like zip-lining and rock climbing on board.
  • MSC: With a strong European influence, MSC appeals to travelers who appreciate a mix of culture, elegance, and quality entertainment like Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows.

When you have chosen, you can look forward to a Mediterranean adventure that will provide unforgettable memories and experiences.

Start here for inspiration and to search, compare, and book the best cruise deals at sea!

Meet the author: Sarah has created and booked hundreds of travel itineraries for thousands of customers during a career in the travel industry that spans 20 years. Having worked hand in hand with cruise lines, hotels, airlines and tour operators worldwide, she offers inspiring & detailed insights in the world of travel and tourism.

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