Cruise Europe: A Continent of Culture and Cruise Ports
Europe is a fascinating continent which fills the space between Asia and the Atlantic, Africa and the Arctic. It is an amalgamation of endless cultures, languages, histories and ethnicities, and a wonderful place to cruise, as each port offers something different and amazing! From the glaciers of Norway to the sunny islands of Greece, a Europe cruise can take in so many amazing sights and experiences.
Cruising Holidays in Europe: What's on Offer?
Almost anything one could wish for in a holiday, that's what's on offer! Europe can offer something for any taste. These are a few of the most popular stomping grounds for cruises in Europe:
In the north, the scandinavian countries are known for their wonderful scenery and clean, safe cities. Cities like Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen make wonderful cosmopolitan ports stops full of culture, food, history and architecture. Until recently these have been overlooked as tourism hotspots, but they are fast becoming favoured destinations, helped along by the great infrastructures and friendly atmospheres. The major draw for cruises to northern Europe, however, are the fjords of Norway. Many ships visit these incredible landscapes, and call in at the charming cities and towns of Geiranger, Kristiansand, Stavanger, Flam and Alesund.
The British Isles are also becoming a cruise destination. History lovers will not be able to resist a cruise around England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland. The cities of the British Isles are not the tropical paradises that many may associate with a cruise holiday, but they are bustling, urban and full of history and things to see and do. Ships often dock in Southampton (from where one can take a day tour to London), St Peter Port, Cobh, Dublin, Inverness, Edinburgh and Liverpool, as well as a few other smaller destinations. Often a British Isles cruise will also hop across to the mainland to stop at Le Havre or Cherbourg.
The Mediterranean is another hugely popular cruising ground. In the western Mediterranean, ships generally cruise to the ports of Spain, France and Italy. The highlights here are the big, colourful and lively city of Barcelona, the sophisticated beachy cities on the French Riviera, the flashy Monte Carlo, and the gorgeous Amalfi Coast of Italy. From the ports on Italy's coast, day trips can be taken to Rome and Florence. The western Med is a favourite cruise ground for the opportunity to visit famous and beautiful cities, and also to visit the romantic countries of Spain, France and Italy in one voyage!
The eastern Mediterranean offers an exotic and warm Europe cruise. Venice is a hotspot for these cruises- in fact, they often leave from or terminate there. The focus is generally on the Adriatic countries and Greece, all of which offer up some incredible beaches and history. Dubrovnik and Split are the most common Croatian ports of call, and in Montenegro the ships call in to the beautiful Gulf of Kotor and city of Kotor. In Greece, Athens provides the urban fun, whilst the islands mean clear turquoise water, rocky shorelines and stunning beaches.
River cruises in Europe are a popular option, with the network of winding waterways making many inland cities available by river boat. Try a Europe river cruise for calm sailing and plenty of port stops along the way.
The Cruise Lines: Companies Cruising in Europe
All cruise lines except the very small and specialised ones cruise in Europe! P&O UK, Cunard and MSC are traditionally Europe-based cruise lines, but ships of all lines will be seen plying the waters of the Mediterranean and the North Sea! Anyone can cruise Europe without having to branch out from their favourite cruise line.
Of course, smaller ships can access ports that bigger ships can't. If you are looking for an in-depth expedition, try Silversea, Azamara Club, Seabourn or Regent Seven Seas. These luxury lines often offer extensive enrichment programs and lectures on the ports of call, so they are a great option for those who like to learn, and of course for those who prefer the lap of luxury!
Cruise Sale Finder has the best deals on a wide range of cruise lines and Europe cruises. Check out the variety of different styles of European cruising and destinations to find the one which works for you.