10 Tips for Your First Mediterranean Cruise

Oct 13, 2023
mediterranean trips

10 Tips For Your First Mediterranean Cruise


Welcome back to Byte Size Cruises! We are a small travel agency outside of Philadelphia, PA and we look to bring you all the latest and greatest on cruise vacations. If you are interested in a European cruise, this post is for you! Here are our top 10 tips for your first Mediterranean cruise. 


  1. Get Travel Insurance

We’ve talked about this a lot before and it is equally essential if you are going on a cruise in Europe: get travel insurance! Any time you are leaving the United States, it is incredibly important that you invest in this. If there are any issues with your travel plans, your flight is delayed, your luggage is lost, there is a cancellation, etc. your travel insurance will be there to help. It is also critical in the event of an emergency, a sickness, or an injury where you need to quickly return home. You can get travel insurance through the cruise line as well as through a private company. If you have questions about this, feel free to give us a shout! We will happily provide recommendations of companies we trust. 


  1. Use a Travel Agent

When you’re traveling overseas it’s always a good idea to consult a travel agent. A travel agent will not only understand the cruise lines, but also knows the airlines, hotels, etc. Remember, if you go online and book right through the cruise line their primary focus is the cruise. They are not experts; they are just people who are booking your cruise for you. A travel agent will be able to explain to you all the ins and outs of each port you are traveling to, make sure you are set with flights, as well as make sure you are knowledgeable on what kind of paperwork is required. They can also help you with setting up all the little details, traveling from the airport to the hotel, choosing the right cabin, etc. As a bonus, often by going through a travel agent you can get access to extra perks such as a cabin upgrade or onboard credit. (Photo 1)


  1. Arrive EARLY!

This is the most common sense tip we share and it is essential to ensuring a stress free start to your vacation. You always want to make sure you arrive 1 to 2 days early for your cruise; the earlier the better when you’re traveling overseas. Not only is there a time difference you need to be aware of, you’ll also want to buffer in extra time just in case there are any cancellations or delays. Remember, if you’re flying to Europe out of the United States, there might not be more than one or two flights per day to your destination. If there is a cancellation or delay of any kind and you haven’t built in any buffer time, there is a likelihood you’ll miss the departure time for your cruise. 


  1. Pick the Right Cruise Line

This is another reason to use a travel agent. Be picky about the cruise line you choose when traveling overseas! Make sure you know the different itinerary options and understand how long you’ll be at each port. Mediterranean cruises really are just a taste of each little town you stop in; most likely you’ll only be there for a few hours. Have clear expectations ahead of time. Do you want to be on a larger ship or smaller? Are you bringing your family with you? Each ship is designed to accommodate a different audience and a travel agent can help you choose the right cruise line and itinerary for your best vacation. (Photo 2)


  1. Research the Ports

Make a plan ahead of time for each stop you are going to make while on your cruise. Now, when you’re going to the islands like the Caribbean it can be fun to just wing it and see what adventure you can find when you get off the ship. When you’re going to Europe, you’re going to want to research ahead of time and have an idea of what you’re going to encounter. Remember, you’re going to be in another country. Be prepared! Do you have the correct currency? Do you understand the safety precautions you need to take while you are there? It’s also important to know some basic language and customs of the local culture out of respect (more on this later.) You will only have a few hours at port to see and experience all the things you are interested in. Have a plan ahead of time or risk missing out. 


  1. Choose Your Start and End Ports Carefully!

Take a look at the itineraries available and choose your departure city and ending location carefully. Choose places you are interested in! In the case you arrive early or are able to stay late, you’ll want to be sure you’re in a desirable location. 


  1. Choose Your Excursions Wisely

If you are going to go on excursions while on a Mediterranean cruise, choose them wisely. Whether the adventure is hosted by the cruise line or an outside company, some of these excursions are several hours long and it might take up the entire time you are at that port. Now, this is totally fine, as long as you are okay with that! Just set your expectations accordingly.

If you book an excursion through the cruise line they will make sure you get back to the ship in time for departure and if anything happens that delays you the ship will wait for you. This is not the case with an outside company. If you book an adventure outside of the cruise ship, you’ll need to be responsible for your time and make sure you are back and on board before departure. Be very careful if you do this and make sure you plan accordingly. (Photo 3)


  1. Be Respectful

This should go without saying, but take the time to learn a bit about the culture of each port you will be stopping at and honor their customs. Most of the countries you stop at in the Mediterranean will have English speakers there, but don’t take that for granted. Learn the basics, both to make your experience easier and out of respect for the people who live in that country. Remember, when you are overseas you are not just representing yourself but also every American to the people you interact with. Be kind and do your best to respect the traditions of the people who live there. 


  1. Check Transaction Fees

Check in with your bank about fees for using your credit or debit cards abroad and plan accordingly. You also may need to notify these companies ahead of time if you are leaving the country so they don’t flag the international purchases as fraudulent. Lastly, we recommend having some euros with you just in case! If you stop in a market or village, the farm stand or food truck most likely will only accept cash. 

  1. Immerse Yourself! 

Take the time to enjoy the different ports you stop at and immerse yourself in the culture. Ask the cruise staff for their favorite local places and, like we mentioned, do your research. Don’t be afraid to try new things, meet new people, and experience new foods. 


Those are our top 10 tips for your first Mediterranean cruise! Have you been on a European cruise? Anything you would add? We would love to hear from you! Comment below. 



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