Cruising the Coastlines of Europe
As on any cruise vacation, European cruises offer easy travel between ports, great accommodations and an experienced crew to provide everything you need while you concentrate on new sights and cultures. Still, some aspects of European cruising are different from what you might have experienced before.
For example, European ports tend to be relatively close together. If you’ve been on a Caribbean cruise, you may have enjoyed several days at sea while your ship crossed expanses of water between different island groups. In Europe, many itineraries feature a new port every day. Holland America Line’s 12-day Mediterranean cruise visits Barcelona, Spain; Florence, Rome, Naples and Catania, Italy; Nafplion, Katakolon and Corfu, Greece; Dubrovnik, Croatia; and Venice, Italy, not leaving much time for days at sea. With such a busy schedule of port calls, you may want to alternate days when you take a shore excursion with days when you simply take a stroll and enjoy a long lunch in port.
Some vacationers are surprised to find that European cruises aren’t limited to seaside cities. Some of the great capitals of Europe, such as Rome and Paris, are located inland. Cruise ships will dock as near as possible, then provide ground transportation for a day in the city.
Europe also offers an incredible choice of itineraries, usually focused on a specific region. The Eastern Mediterranean includes the Adriatic coast of Italy, Croatia, Greece and Turkey. The Western Mediterranean includes the west coast of Italy, the southern coasts of France and Spain, and islands such as Corsica, Mallorca or Ibiza. Some Western Mediterranean cruises venture further west, to Gibraltar and Portugal.
During warmer months, you can cruise Northern Europe. Itinerary choices include Scandinavian capitals like Copenhagen, Denmark; Stockholm, Sweden; and Helsinki, Finland, and Baltic Sea ports such as Tallinn, Estonia, and St. Petersburg, Russia. There are also cruises that focus on the west coast of Norway and its spectacular fjords.
You can tour the British Isles of England, Scotland and Ireland on a cruise; or, visit the North Sea ports of Brussels, Belgium; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; and Hamburg, Germany. Some of these cruises also visit Le Havre, France, the port of call for Paris.
A cruise of Europe lets you sample a variety of destinations, including some that you may want to revisit in the future on a land-based vacation. For help booking your European cruise, talk with your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.