This region is everything in the Mediterranean Sea that is east of the east cost of Italy, including Greece, Turkey and bits of the Ukraine and Russia. The three most famous ports in this part of the world are probably Athens (Piraeus), Venice and Istanbul which each have so much to offer in terms of the three different ancient traditions of architecture and strands of European and Asian culture. Some cruise itineraries will choose to travel solely or mainly through the Eastern Mediterranean but may also include ports from the Western half of the Sea, such as Rome and Barcelona.
Croatia and the Baltic states are increasingly popular as cruise destinations
And you can also expect to see more ships calling at Montenegro (Kotor) in the future as well as more frequent stops to Croatia and the Ukraine. Most itineraries visiting the region will attempt to create an experience which allows cruisers to sample some of the history of the region without skimping on the many beautiful beaches of the Adriatic. However, if you would prefer to focus on one or the other this is definitely possible and there are many more laid back cruises which focus almost exclusively on the Greek islands like Corfu.
If, on the other hand, you’ve ever wanted to see the Parthenon (a sight that overwhelmed Sigmund Freud when he first visited) or learn more about Greek history from the National Archaeological Museum then most cruises will give you that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Meanwhile in Istanbul, experience the famous architectural wonders of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia or shop in the stalls of the centuries-old Grand Bazaar.
Less well known, perhaps, is the walled city of Dubrovnik in Croatia with the famous city walls that made it one of the most impressive fortifications of Medieval Europe. The city as a whole has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979 and there’s plenty to see within: two monasteries, an ancient synagogue and some of Europe’s finest cafes.
The region is hot all year round and there are lines operating there during all seasons. The high season Summer is too hot for all but the most die-hard sun-lovers and many people prefer both the climate and the prices of the Autumn and the Spring. This is probably the best time for the majority of people to take a cruise to the region with the reduced sea traffic also helping to make it a better experience.