Why cruise the Mediterranean
The Mediterranean has numerous advantages over other cruising areas, with its diversity of cultures, people, languages and history.
There are so many ports ideally suited to cruise passengers, with something to interest everyone, in most cases situated close to where the ship docks.
Nowhere else can such an array of culture and history be found in such a relatively small area.
While the weather from Spring through the Autumn is almost invariably ideal, even in the winter months the weather is generally very mild.
Some observers feel that within a couple of years, the Mediterranean will become a year-round cruise destination.
Indeed, the advantages of cruising the area outside the peak periods are certainly alluring, with the prospect of fewer crowds visiting the must-see attractions.
In a nutshell, there is nowhere else on earth where one can cruise to so many different countries within a short period of time and to sample as many flavours, cultures and retrace the footsteps of history as one can in the Mediterranean.
Luckily for cruise passengers, the choice and range of ships on which to so travel are getting wider each year!
The Mediterranean can be defined as the classic venue for destination cruising.
The region features many architectural masterpieces, including the Parthenon in Athens, Chartres Cathedral in France, the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul and St. Peter’s in Rome. Naples has the royal Palace, home of the Bourbon Kings
Many see lots of potential in the Mediterranean, generally as a cruise destination with a wealth of itinerary variations, packed with a deep historical interest.
There is, in fact, no other area in the world that can equal the Mediterranean for the number of cultures and civilisation that have sprung from the shores of the countries that lie on this sea and that have moved across its almost tideless waters to cross-fertilise one another.
Its richness stems largely from the fact that the sea is almost totally enclosed by three continents. This has led to a constant interaction between the races inhabiting them.
From the dawn of history, the Mediterranean sea and the lands which surround it have played a most significant part in the evolution of a succession of civilisations, the latest of which being the one we live in today.
To the ancient people of Mesopotamia, Babylonia, Syria, Palestine and Egypt the Mediterranean was “The Great Sea”, yet they knew very little about it: their knowledge was confined to its eastern waters, the area called the Levant.
To the ancient Greeks and more especially to the Romans, for whom the Mediterranean was at the heart of their empire, it became “Mare Internum”, the “Interior Sea” and later the Italians named it “Mare Nostrum”. Our Sea.
The name “Mediterranean” which means “in the middle of the land”, does not appear to have come into general use until the beginning of the Christian era.
The name admirably describes this almost-landlocked sea, while it also gives some prominence to the “terra”, the land that surrounds it.
All this seems to suggest that the Mediterranean Sea may have some kind of unifying influence on the countries, which border it or come closely within its scope.
Some of Europe’s earliest and most powerful ancient civilisation flourished within the Mediterranean region and their traces remain in the many archaeological sites and in the monuments, architecture, art writing and music they created.
There are countless churches, galleries and museums with works of art ranging from the Renaissance masters to the 20th century pioneers.
Palermo retains traces of the many civilisations that battled to possess it – the Phoenicians, the Greeks, the Carthaginians, the Romans and the Normans.
Tunis is different with the Medina, a labyrinth of shops and covered passageways, and the ruins of Carthage.
Barcelona has Roman city walls, Gothic palaces and cathedrals that exist in harmony with the strange and intriguing works of Barcelona’s 19th century architectural genius, Gaudí.
Throughout the length and breadth of the Mediterranean are scattered many hundreds of islands of varying degrees of size and importance.