Considering a vacation in Europe? There has never been a better time to cruise the Mediterranean and help the local economy at the same time, the region surely needs it, and we all deserve a first class holiday at least once every year (in my books anyways)!
The Gushy Stuff
The turquoise and ultramarine reality of the Mediterranean Sea is light years beyond what you can see on TV. Expect to be wowed, especially if you haven’t cruised before. The region is famous for its almost ornamental harbours, picturesque bays and the famous white washed towns with blue roofs that glisten in the sunlight. Cruising offers the best opportunity to visit many both well known and more remote locations and see them from the best possible vantage point. And there is nothing blocking your sunset views!
Mediterranean cruise itineraries can vary greatly, as the Mediterranean stretches across many countries from Spain and North Africa all the way through Southern Europe to Turkey. For first-timers Italy and Greece would be unmissable, plus I would throw in Croatia as a wild card in there: still not so well-travelled by westerners, it offers many architectural, historic and culinary delights to explore at more reasonable prices.
The Practical Stuff
The Mediterranean can be a little unpredictable and windy, so sometimes itineraries have to be adjusted a little to allow for the local weather conditions. This shouldn’t put you out too much, as it’s all gorgeous, but do take your medication with you if you are prone to nausea, and if you don’t know either way, take it anyway…Better safe than green-faced!
The regions varied cultures veer towards the laid back and siesta-oriented way of life, so don’t be surprised if a common errand which would take 15 minutes back home stretches to half a day. Avoid all bureaucracy-prone endeavours if you can, but if you do hit a glitch, instead of throwing a fit, use the inevitable waiting time as an opportunity to sample the delicious local seafood and chat to locals over dark and super-tasty coffee. Thankfully, most things can be done online nowadays, and for everything else you can torture the poor onboard information service officer ahead of time.
If you’re on a budget, it is worth investigating your connection options and local sim cards before arrival (they can then be easily obtained at the airport and port stops). Most cruise ships these days will be fully wified, hotspotted and internet-caffeinated, however your wallet will feel the impact of over-indulgence in this department. So it’s best to email your family some enviable shots of yourself in breathtaking scenery once in a while and focus on enjoying said scenery instead.
If you are lucky enough to be able to extend your stay here and experience the flow and rhythm of life in this part of the world, it is well recommended. The risk is that you may never want to leave…
Author – Patricia Bieszk+