Are you keen to discover Europe’s picturesque landscapes and age-old cultural landmarks? We’ve compiled a selection of the best itineraries for a european cruise, as a foretaste of the numerous cruise options available. All aboard!
Israel & Mediterranean Cruise
A stop in Israel – Photo credit: Flickr – Dennis Jarvis
Are you tempted to explore the wonders of the Mediterranean? Embark on this awe-inspiring, best itinerary for a European cruise across the Mediterranean sea, taking from Athens to Rome via Cyprus, the Israeli coast, Crete and Malta. On day 1, explore the historical city of Athens, boasting an impressive history that stretches back more than 3,000 years. Be sure to visit the Acropolis and the Parthenon, some of the world’s most breathtaking ancient ruins.
Day 2 brings you the beautiful island of Mykonos, home to whitewashed villages and pristine sandy beaches.
On day 3, discover the island of Rhodes, the largest of Greece’s Dodecanese islands, packed with an eyeful of ancient ruins. After visiting the city of Limassol on the southern coast of Cyprus, the cruise takes you on a 3-day tour to the sacred city of Jerusalem (Ashdod) and Haifa.
Finally, the journey takes you to Chania (Souda) in Crete, one of Greece’s most beautiful towns. Inhabited since the Bronze Age, and home to numerous archeological ruins, Chania features a range of chic boutiques, handicraft shops, restaurants, and cafes. On day 11, the ship drops anchor at Valletta, the capital of Malta, one of Europe’s most important harbors, surrounded by masterful fortifications. This UNESCO World Heritage destination is packed with cultural attractions, excellent food, and tasty wines made from local vineyards. This Mediterranean cruise ends with the magnificent city of Rome, once the center of Western civilization, replete with historical landmarks and countless cultural attractions.
Scandinavia & Russia Cruise
A stop at Helsinki – Photo credit: Flickr – johnlsl
Let yourself be tempted by the charms of the North and embark on this cruise into Scandinavian and Russian territories. The cruise departs from Amsterdam, the charming capital city of the Netherlands, exuding a contemporary atmosphere within a gorgeous 17th-century setting, packed with first-class museums and elegant Dutch architecture.
On day 3, the ship arrives in Rostock’s Warnemunde district a charming seaside town only three hours north of Berlin. Make sure you take the time to visit the vibrant and storied German capital which still features remnants of the historic Berlin Wall.
Day 5 takes you to Helsinki, the Finnish capital, founded in 1550 by King Gustavus Vasa of Sweden. Explore the city’s neoclassical city center housing splendid streets featuring many parks. Located in the heart of Helsinki, the harbor provides easy access to the city’s best tourist attractions.
Next stop: Russia’s fascinating city of St Petersburg (days 6 and 7), replete with majestic palaces, cathedrals, bridges, and parks. Finally, the ship returns eastward, with halts planned in Estonia’s treasure-filled and remarkably preserved city of Tallinn, as well as the stylish and culturally rich city of Stockholm in Sweden, and finally Copenhagen, Denmark’s cosmopolitan capital city, the birthplace of ‘hygge’ – the Danish concept of coziness and comfort. The best itinerary for a European cruise? It’s definitely worth a try.
British Isles Cruise
A stop in Glasgow – Photo credit: Flickr – Thorsten Hansen
Leaving from Amsterdam, the beautiful Dutch capital, this cruise takes you on a journey across the British Isles. The first stop takes you to Dover, where you can admire the area’s spectacular chalky white cliffs, the magnificent hilltop Dover Castle, and the archaeological site of the Roman Painted House.
Day 4 takes you to Inverness, the largest city of the Scottish Highlands, where you can try your luck in spotting the elusive Loch Ness monster. On day 6, immerse yourself in the dynamic, sophisticated and creative atmosphere of Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city. The city is proud of its working-class industrial heritage, which shines through its elegantly refurbished buildings.
The same can be said of Belfast (day 7), the ship’s next halt, which has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years, as well as Liverpool (day 8), the birthplace of the legendary Beatles, filled with art galleries, museums, and great restaurants.
Finally, the cruise would not be complete without a stopover in the thousand-year-old city of Dublin (day 9) where eminent poets and writers once dwelled, and Cork (days 10 and 11) dubbed the ‘real capital of Ireland’ by locals due to its attractive blend of tradition and modernity.
Norwegian Fjords Cruise
Geirangerfjord – Photo credit: Flickr – Tristan Taussac
We’ve selected the Norwegian Fjords cruise as one of the best itineraries for a European cruise. Departing from the port of Southampton – one of the world’s largest natural harbors – this cruise brings you close to Norway’s breathtaking fjords.
First stop: the history-infused, wonderfully preserved city of Bergen. Nestled in an idyllic natural setting surrounded by beautiful mountains, Bergen is one of Norway’s most popular tourist spots and a leading cultural destination. The cruise moves on further north to Ålesund, also one of Norway’s most popular tourist destinations and the country’s most important fishing harbor. Blessed with an awe-inspiring picturesque setting, surrounded by fjords and the high peaks of the Sunnmøre Alps, Ålesund offers a wealth of cultural attractions.
On day 5, marvel at the rugged beauty of Geiranger. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Geirangerfjord boasts some of the most breathtaking scenery anywhere in Norway. Before returning to Southampton, the cruise ventures south of Bergen on day 6 towards the bustling city of Stavanger, the country’s third largest city, with roots dating back to the 12th century. Take the time to visit this vibrant cultural hub, featuring historic museums, old churches, and surrounded by gorgeous natural scenery.
Iberian Peninsula Cruise
A stop in Lisbon – Photo credit: Flickr – Maria Eklind
This sun-filled European cruise takes you from the port of Southampton to Rome in 11 days. The journey begins in Southampton, a bustling port city packed with an array of shopping facilities, great restaurants, and pubs. A convenient place to explore surroundings: London is only an hour away by train, and the splendid Isle of Wight is accessible via a ferry ride.
Next stop: the Basque city Bilbao, where you can visit the iconic Guggenheim Museum, before wandering through the streets of Bilbao’s old town to find excellent tapas(local delicacies).
On day 4, the cruise takes you to La Coruña, the perfect place to relax on the promenade-bordered beach, explore the cobbled lanes of the old town, or indulge in a shopping treat. The cruise continues on to Lisbon, the storied capital of Portugal with a history that extends back before the Roman Empire, complete with quaint neighborhoods, beautiful beaches, and great food to delight your taste buds.
Day 7 takes us to Gibraltar, home to the great Rock of the same name, before moving on to the island of Palma de Mallorca, boasting a picturesque coastline, dramatic cliffs offering spectacular viewpoints, and pristine coves with crystal-clear waters. Arguably one of the best itineraries for a European cruise.
This post was done in partnership with Celebrity Cruises but all opinions are my own