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Who can resist a cruise through the Mediterranean, taking in those delightful ports along the coast of Spain, France and Italy?
A number of big cruise companies cruise these warm waters including some of Royal Caribbean’s fleet of modern ships.
These days, you can expect to be aboard a floating resort up to 15 storeys high with a variety of bars, big pools and even ice skating rinks.
 
The Voyager of the Seas is such a ship which departs Barcelona in the European summer for a round trip including the French Riviera and the Italian ports including Pisa, Rome and Naples.  It takes 3,500 passengers with 1500 crew on board to look after guests.  Royal Caribbean also owns Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises, with plans to build even bigger ships including one that will take 10,000 people.

Mediterranean cruise

The beauty of taking a Mediterranean cruise is that you don’t have to pack and unpack all the time as you arrive in different accommodation near different destinations – instead you travel while you sleep and wake each day to a new Mediterranean port to discover and enjoy.
 
The ocean view accommodation rooms on Royal Caribbean ships including Voyager of the Seas are spacious by international cruise ship standards.  No single bunks here for couples – the beds convert to a generous Queen size in a room that includes desk, TV and a reasonable size bathroom.  And there are invisible top bunks that come down from the ceiling on either side for families, while still leaving open space above the Queen size bed.
 
The Voyager of the Seas is a magnificent ship which is like being in a small village.  You have a main promenade to walk along, complete with shops and even a vintage car sitting outside on just one of the floors. 
 
On other floors you’ll find numerous bars including the elegant Champagne Bar, an English pub that features a guitarist every night and of course the popular pool bar out in the sun that allows you to take in the blue Mediterranean Sea or any part of the attractive Mediterranean coast you’re cruising past on any particular day.  There’s also the Sky Bar on the 15th floor or even the Hole in One bar that overlooks the on board mini-golf course.

photo of Mediterranean Cruise Ship

Apart from the general pool, there’s also an adults only pool and various spa baths that allow younger and older cruisers to enjoy themselves.  Children have so many activities  on the ship including supervised rock wall climbing that they can run free and make new friends while parents relax and have their own well-deserved break.

DINING 

The dining rooms on the Voyager of the Seas can only be described as magnificent.  They are three storey restaurants with uniformed waiters and wine waiters attending to your every wish.  La Boheme is the restaurant at the top, then down a level is Magic Flute followed by the Carmen restaurant.
All food is included in your price and you can have as much as you like.  Nightly a la carte meals include fresh Atlantic salmon, Italian fare including pasta, fillet steak and even French escargot (snails) if you want to feel like a local as you sail the Riviera.  There are usually two nightly sittings with pre-assigned seats and alcohol can be purchased with your meal at a reasonable price.
 
Breakfast and lunch can be had across most of the day in different dining rooms which are buffet-style and delicious.  The crew will happily make you anything from an egg-white omelette to a cup of green tea.  All this with a magnificent ocean view as you get nearer to your next exotic Mediterranean  destination.  If you want a snack any time of the day and most of the night, you can find it at no additional cost.

MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE SHIP DESTINATIONS 

The first stop on this cruise from Barcelona is Nice.  You actually get off near Monte Carlo at Villefranche, where tenders take you ashore to this charming little port.  From here you  can take a train to all points including Nice and Cannes to the south and Monte Carlo to the north.

French Riviera 
Photo of Nice Accommodation Near Mediterranean Cruise Ship The Voyager of the Seas

Nice itself is still a wonderful place to visit, oozing that French charm that’s captivated royalty including Queen Victoria, who caused the naming of the famous Promenade des Anglais.  We recommend a walk along this long beachside promenade, taking in the colourful sights of attractive beaches that while stony, are a great place to soak up the Riviera atmosphere.  At the end of the Promenade des Anglais, you’ll find the famous Negresco Hotel, with its uniformed doormen and its huge circular reception.  Don’t miss the sight of the world’s largest baccarat crystal chandelier hanging from the immense ceiling.
 
One street back from the beach in Nice is where you’ll find great shopping and cafes where you can watch the world go by.  The pedestrian mall here is full of well-price clothes shops with the occasional shop full of the latest French perfumes.
 
30 minutes further south to Cannes, home of the famous Film Festival, where the beaches are white sand and decidedly more topless.  You may even spot a movie star or two in this popular Riviera town with its relaxed beach atmosphere and restaurants with good French food.  If you have time, you can even quickly venture further south to St Tropez, the beachy town made famous by Brigitte Bardot.
 
If you prefer the glamour of Monte Carlo, this is also easily reachable from Nice.  Go to the famous Casino Royale and marvel at the latest model Ferraris and Lamborghinis you’ll see in the streets.  Take a look inside the famous Hotel de Paris and the Metropole Hotel, always popular vantage points for the spectacular Monaco Grand Prix through the rich, winding streets.

 photo of cruise ship swiming pool

Next stop is the Italian port of Livorno, where you can take a day trip to any of the wonderful Tuscan hill towns like Lucca or Cortona, or spend a few hours in the Renaissance capital of Florence.  Go to the famous Ponte Vecchio for its wall to wall gold merchants or just over the bridge the popular Flea Market where you’ll pick up furnishings including tapestries for a song.
 
The eternal city of Rome is next, but you’ll need to take a coach or train from Rome’s industrial port of Civitavecchia.  It’s a pity such a memorable city has such a forgettable port.  In Rome, make a beeline for the Vatican and St Peter’s Basiilica where you’ll find the most remarkable art by dedicated geniuses including Michelangelo.  If you go in summer, pre-arrange entry so you’re not stuck in a long queue in the sun.
 
Then take a bus, metro or cab to the other landmarks including the Coliseum, the wonderful Trevi Fountain (throw in a coin to come back some day), the remarkably preserved Pantheon temple with its atmospheric piazza, the Spanish steps and the Campo di Fiori (Square of Flowers).
Whatever you do, be careful of your valuables because of the skilled pickpockets here.  Make sure your money is out of reach in a zipped pocket or against your skin because their favourite trick is to bump you as a distraction.  Be careful of con artists who’ll dress up to get you to take a picture, then demand 10 or 20 Euros from you.  Tell them they can watch while you delete the picture that suddenly you don’t want any more.

Mediterranean cruise ship shopping mall 

The next exciting destination down the Italian  coast is Naples, a huge city where many drive like maniacs.  Our tip is to not leave the port…get off the ship then jump straight onto one of the many ferries going to the magical Isle of Capri, nearby Sorrento or  a little south to the cliff town of Positano.
See the famous Blue Grotto on Capri and marvel a the expensive resorts as you walk to town at the top of the island.
But our favourite trip is the 45 minute ferry ride around the corner to Positano, where you’ll find the wonderful beachfront Hotel Buca di Bacco with its beachfront restaurants and bars.  This hotel has recently been voted by Tripadvisor readers as the best in Europe for romance.  The relaxed yet elegant lounge areas near reception are a delight as you’re drawn to the restaurant with million dollar views and a menu that won’t break the bank.
Another beachfront restaurant worth a look is Le Tre Sorelli (the Three sisters) before you start walking up those steep steps to explore all the shops that sell everything from fashion to colourful ceramics.  And make sure you try some Limoncello, the chilled local lemon liqueur that’s a delight on a warm day.
 
Your final Italian destination on this cruise around the Mediterranean is deep in the Italian south in Palermo, the capital of Sicily.  You can walk into the city from here as taxi drivers hassle you at the port, or take an inexpensive bus.  You’ll see everything in Palermo from horse and carriage to three-wheeler mini taxis.
The best gelato in the world is found here right outside the port as you cross the busy main road , on the left corner.   Locals come here in droves for the delicious ice cream treat, and you’ll smile as you watch the enthusiastic locals standing as they eat their gelato in any of two dozen flavours.  The treat to try here is your favourite gelato in the middle of what looks like an open doughnut.

ice skating rink on Mediterranean Cruise Ship 

After another welcome day at sea to relax and finally get quality sea time to enjoy watching the blue waters of the Med by day, you arrive back in Barcelona aboard the towering Voyager of the Seas.  One thing you have to give Royal Caribbean credit for is the smooth boarding and departing procedure.
Unfortunately Barcelona’s fleet of taxis isn’t quite mobilised enough for thousands of people arriving at a time, so be prepared to wait at least half an hour in queue.  It’s worth the wait of course to see one of Europe’s prettiest cities, dominated by the famous Ramblas pedestrian walk.  There are tapas bars everywhere for delicious snacks and make sure you see the famous twisting Gaudi Cathedral that’s been nearly-finished for centuries.
 
Overall, "Voyager of the Seas" is top value for a cruise through the Mediterranean.

Best cruise ship holiday destinations are written by dedicated photo journalists, published and edited by the cruise ship holiday writers. To submit your cruise ship holiday news, contact Travel Writers of Mediterranean cruise ship holidays for free cruise ship holiday promotion.

 

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