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Are you ready to set sail for new discoveries, a world of culture, and breathtaking views? With more ships sailing in Europe year-round than any other cruise line, explore over 120 destinations in 30 countries throughout the Mediterranean and Northern Europe.

Featured Itineraries




Visit the Statue of Liberty replica onboard MSC Seascape.


Set sail from over 40 departure ports throughout Europe and visit over 120 of the world’s most sought-after destinations.


Explore a fascinating world of culture, art, and architecture in this cosmopolitan city.



Italian style abounds in this city of ancient sites, picturesque parks, and traditional cuisine.


Discover picture-perfect gardens and canals, friendly locals, and charming maritime connections.


Venture to this walled city on the Dalmatian coast and discover a unique and storied past.



Take in Tuscany's array of distinct architecture and stunning landscapes.


This extraordinary volcanic island boasts natural beauty, fresh cuisine, and famous views.


Experience Europe’s rich history aboard a choice of modern ships, including two of our newest and most sustainable yet: MSC World Europa and MSC Euribia, which  debuts  this summer. Both are powered by LNG fuel, which significantly reduces emissions and contributes to our goals of environmental conservation.




Explore featured Mediterranean cruises.


Explore featured Northern Europe cruises.


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2023 Europe Cruises

There’s no better way to experience Europe than with Celebrity Cruises, awarded “Best Cruise Line in Europe” for the past 11 years.* Our 2023 Europe sailings introduce experiences from discovering the blue lagoon of Iceland to exploring Italy’s Amalfi Coast—and everything in between. We’re taking the Old World to new heights of luxury. New is not an understatement for this season in Europe, because our newest ship, Celebrity Beyond SM , will be sailing these waters. New itineraries and a new Scandinavian port have been added to our already exciting roster of sailings, including more 7-night itineraries than ever. So, there’s never been a better time to plan a journey filled with wonder in Europe.

We’re also excited to announce our return to some of the most popular cities in the world, including Flam, Norway, and Alexandria, Egypt—with overnight stays in Alexandria that give you the chance to explore the nightlife of the largest city on the Mediterranean. These overnight stays give you the opportunity to visit the great Pyramids and Sphinx—a bucket list experience for all world travelers. With more than 45 overnight stays in 11 dynamic cities, including Istanbul, Turkey, and Florence, Italy, you’ll find exploring these places under the stars is as thrilling as you imagined.

Our 2023 Europe sailings are open for booking now. No matter which itinerary you choose, you’ll discover the Old World on a luxury vacation filled with wonder.



Alexandria, Egypt

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Ephesus, Kusadasi, Turkey

Valetta, Malta

Jerusalem (Ashdod), Israel

Ships sailing to Europe

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Europe Cruises from $249*

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Europe Cruises

The continent of Europe is like a puzzle waiting to be solved by you. The nearly 50 nations each offer something different, perhaps a wonderful delicacy or an exciting tale of conquering knights and quirky princesses. The continent is divided into many regions. There is Northern Europe where you’ll find Scandinavian countries like Sweden and Denmark, with their rugged natural landscapes and ultra-modern architecture. The Mediterranean encompasses nations like Spain, Italy and Greece. These countries have wonderful traditions from flamenco dancing to the creation of pizza, not to mention the beautiful beaches along the coast line. Western Europe offers travelers some of the cultural highlights of Europe, with cities like Paris, London and Brussels.

Those looking to explore the interior of Europe will enjoy a river cruise on the Rhine or Danube sailing into Central Europe’s capitals like Vienna and Budapest. With each trip you’ll assemble another part of the puzzle to get the full picture of this spectacular continent.

Grand Canal in Venice, Italy


Cruises to the Mediterranean offer a chance to explore the history, art and culture of many countries where you'll find everything from centuries-old architecture to bustling streetside cafes. Whether you're seeking total escape or destination immersion, there’s a Mediterranean cruise for you.

[ Learn more about Mediterranean Cruises ]

Northern Europe Cruising

Northern Europe

Northern Europe has some of the most amazing landscapes in the world, from Norway’s majestic fjords to Finland’s famous glacial lakes. With a Northern European cruise, you can visit these sights, learn the history and experience the varied cultures of these proud European nations.

[ Learn more about Northern Europe Cruises ]

Eiffel Tower in Paris, France

River Cruises in Europe

Explore the heartland of Europe with a river cruise through the continent's major waterways, including the Danube, Rhine, Moselle, Seine and more. You'll sail by rolling vineyards, ancient castles, majestic cliffs and waterfront villages during a completely immersive European vacation experience.

[ Learn more about Europe River Cruises ]

St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, Russia

River Cruises in Russia

A river cruise in Russia will take you to big cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg, but also to the small towns lining the Volga River where you can really understand the life and culture of Russia. You'll see stunning churches, priceless art, mesmerizing ballets and vibrant markets.

[ Learn more about Russia River Cruises ]

Things to Do on a Cruise to Europe

Europe may be one of the smallest continents, but it packs a punch with several countries that have had long and famous histories. There are castles, cathedrals and exciting monuments. No matter whether you visit the countries and ports of the Mediterranean, Scandinavia or the cities that line Europe’s famed rivers, you’ll find an interesting piece of history, an incredible site and some food to die for. Featured below are some of the best ways to spend your time cruising through Europe:

Keukenhof Gardens in Amsterdam

  • Traipse through the fields of tulips in the Keukenhof Gardens, just outside of Amsterdam. Each March through May their site opens up with more than 7 million tulips, daffodils and hyacinths.  
  • Experience the amazing natural delights of Scandinavia. In the summer time they have extremely long days, where the sun seems to never set. In the winter, head north where you can see the Aurora Borealis on a clear night.  

Louvre in Paris, France

  • Live the glamorous life with a trip to the Cote d’Azur and Monaco. Here you can lounge on the beach or get dressed to the nines for an evening of gambling at the famous Monte Carlo Casino.  
  • Discover great artwork at sites like the Louvre and the Sistine Chapel. Works include masterpieces by the great European artists Van Gogh, Monet, Michelangelo, Rembrandt and Da Vinci, among many others.  

Gondola ride in Venice, Italy

  • Spend a romantic evening on a gondola ride under the Rialto Bridge on the Grand Canal in Venice, a magical city where boats replace cars.  
  • In England you can spend a full day at the Tower of London, a complex of buildings that houses the royal armory and the royal jewels. This is also the spot where King Henry VIII had his wives beheaded, and where the eventual Queen Elizabeth was imprisoned.  

Map of Europe:

Top 10 europe cruises.

  • Queen Victoria 12 NIGHT Europe - Western CRUISE Departing From Southampton, England (Dec 2023 - Dec 2024)
  • Queen Victoria 15 NIGHT Europe - Western CRUISE Departing From Southampton, England (Dec 2023 - May 2025)
  • Queen Victoria 17 NIGHT Europe - Western CRUISE Departing From Southampton, England (Dec 2023)
  • Treasure of Galapagos 14 Night Discover the Galápagos & Peru Departing From Lima, Peru (Mar 2024 - Nov 2024)
  • Treasure of Galapagos 7 Night Ecuador & Its Galápagos Islands Departing From Quito, Ecuador (Mar 2024 - Nov 2025)
  • Regal Princess 12 NIGHT Europe - Western CRUISE Departing From Southampton, England (Apr 2024 - Sep 2025)
  • Queen Victoria 20 NIGHT Europe - Western CRUISE Departing From Hamburg, Germany (Apr 2024)
  • Queen Victoria 13 NIGHT Europe - Western CRUISE Departing From Hamburg, Germany (Apr 2024)
  • Queen Victoria 8 NIGHT Europe - Western CRUISE Departing From Southampton, England (May 2024 - May 2025)
  • Queen Anne 14 NIGHT Europe - Western CRUISE Departing From Southampton, England (May 2024 - Dec 2025)

Europe: Cruise Lines

The highest forms of Western culture, art and cuisine all come from Europe. This continent with its rich traditions and customs is waiting for you to uncover it. You can experience Europe on luxury or popular cruises and you can get a different perspective of the interior of the continent on a river cruise. 




Explore the world’s most beautiful rivers, creating a lifetime of memories from AmaWaterways’ intimate, luxurious river ship.

Atlas Ocean Voyages

Discover the world in the subtle luxurious comfort of an Atlas Ocean Voyages ship, from the Arctic to Antarctica, and everywhere in between!

Avalon Waterways River Cruises

With their new Suite Ships Avalon offers the largest staterooms of any river cruise line, and a majority of their staterooms are suites with open air balconies.

Carnival Cruise Line

Fun with a capital F is what you can expect on a Carnival Cruise. With the largest fleet at sea Carnival offers sailings perfect for the whole family.

Celebrity Cruises

With innovative spaces like the Lawn and the AquaSpa Celebrity Cruises gives their customers a taste of modern luxury.


Sail like the royalty on a Cunard ocean liner. This regal line has been sailing its famed transatlantic crossings since the 1840s.

Holland America Line

Amazing food and superb service make Holland America one of the longest running cruise lines.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line pioneered freestyle cruising with a variety of specialty dining restaurants, entertainment and onboard activities, including go-kart racing!

Oceania Cruises

Epicureans are delighted by the Oceania Cruises experience where Jacques Pepin is Executive Culinary Director and the Culinary Tours introduce you to a world of flavors.

Princess Cruises

Best known for the Pacific Princess on the Love Boat, Princess Cruises has been a leading name in cruising and visits a wide range of destinations.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Offering a completely all-inclusive cruise, Regent Seven Seas is known for exquisite service on beautifully designed intimate ships, classic cruising at its best.

Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean International is known for ships with a wow factor. From ice skating rinks to zip lines, if you can think of it, you can find it on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Uniworld River Cruises

Sail through the world’s rivers in the poshest ships on the river, Uniworld’s boutique ships are designed to inspire, excite and revive your spirit.

Viking Ocean Cruises

Focusing their sailings on the culture of each cruises destination. Onboard each sailing you have lectures, demonstrations and tastings as part of a Culture Curriculum.

Viking River Cruises

Viking Rivers focuses their sailings on the culture of each cruises destination. Onboard each sailing you have lectures, demonstrations and tastings as part of a Culture Curriculum.

Europe: Departure Ports

The continent of Europe is packed with history, art and culture. A cruise here is sure to be memorable, filled with trips to see masterpieces, try authentic dishes and perhaps pick up a new language. You can cruise to Europe on a transatlantic cruise, or you can sail from major ports in the Mediterranean like Barcelona, Rome and Venice or you can explore the countries bordering the Baltic and North Seas leaving from Stockholm, Amsterdam and Southampton, which is just minutes from London. 

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

With Amsterdam’s beautiful canals and an open attitude you’ll find no shortage of interesting attractions in the capital of The Netherlands.

Barcelona, Spain

Discover imaginative architecture, impressive Spanish dishes and beautiful excursions into nature when you cruise to Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia.

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Belfast offers a different perspective to Ireland than what can be found in Dublin. This up-and-coming city is filled with beautiful sites and compelling history.

Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy

A cruise to Civitavecchia is a chance for you to hop a quick train to Rome and explore the enormous history through ruins, galleries and The Vatican museums.

Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg, Germany

A large city, Hamburg offers visitors an array of attractions. From the old buildings of the past to the vibrant red light district, there’s something for everyone cruising to Hamburg, Germany.

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul is a unique city that blends its two distinct influences – from its founding as the Christian capital of Constantinople to the Ottoman ruled Istanbul. Today you can discover both eras and the modern beauty in this thriving city.

Le Havre (Paris), France

Le Havre (Paris), France

In Northern France, explore Le Havre, a city with modern architecture and one of the most inspiring collections of Impressionist artwork.

Lima, Peru

Lima is a hidden gem offering a lot of history, beautiful architecture, sprawling beach front and a vibrant nightlife.

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon has deep cultural roots that are exposed through ruins and museum artifacts. Cruise to Lisbon and discover the culture and history of Portugal in its capital city.

Monte Carlo, Monaco

Monte Carlo, Monaco

Experience the life of the rich and famous with a trip to the glamorous spots of Monte Carlo in the tiny constitutional monarch of Monaco.

Oslo, Norway

Oslo, Norway

Enjoy the great outdoors in Oslo, the beautiful and spacious capital of Norway, where the city includes lakes, forests and lots of history.

Piraeus (Athens), Greece

Learn about the Greek gods and the early philosophy of Socrates when you visit the incredible ruins left in Athens, Greece. At night, go out and take in the culture with the modern Athenians.

Quito, Ecuador

Quito, Ecuador

Quito is a year-round destination with perfect spring-like weather and breathtaking scenery from the surrounding mountain ranges, some volcanic and some snowcapped. Old World and New World attractions blend together perfect in this historical Unesco World Heritage site.

Southampton, England

The cruise port of Southampton features tons of diverse attractions that provide insight into England’s culture and storied past, including fortresses, gardens and national parks.

Trieste, Italy

Trieste, Italy

Sit back and enjoy the sea breezes in Trieste, an Italian city that despite being close to Venice is more akin to Vienna, the capital of the Hapsburg Empire. 

Photo Gallery for Europe Cruises

Get a sweeping view of extraordinary Europe in this photo gallery that features highlights from all regions of Europe. 

Couple with Eiffel Tower Paris France

Enjoying the romantic Eiffel Tower

Fountain Di Trevi Rome Italy

Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy

Gondola on Canal in Venice Italy

Gondola sailing thorugh a canal in Venice, Italy

Gran Via shopping street in Madrid Spain Europe

Gran Via, the main shopping street in Madrid

Neuschwanstein the Fairy Tale Castle near Munich

Neuschwanstein the Fairy Tale Castle in Germany

Park Guell in Barcelona Spain

Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain

Riomaggiore fisherman village Cinque Terre Italy

Riomaggiore fisherman village Cinque Terre, Italy

Rothenburg ob der Tauber historical town Germany

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Strasbourg France

Beautiful colors in Strasbourg, France

The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican

The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican

Beautiful snowy winter scenery of Christmas holida

A beautiful night for a Christmas holiday fair

Beautiful sunrise over Amsterdam The Netherlands

Beautiful sunrise over Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Blue Mosque in glorious sunset Istanbul Sultanahme

Blue Mosque in the sunset of Istanbul

Colosseum in Rome Italy

Colosseum in Rome, Italy

Gondola near Rialto Bridge in Venice Italy

Gondola sailing near Rialto Bridge in Venice Italy

Historic Schnoorviertel at sunset in Bremen German

Historic Schnoorviertel in Bremen, Germany

Night view at St. Peters Cathedral Rome Italy

Night view of St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome, Italy

Parga boat Heaven on Earth Greece holidays

Parga boat in Greece

Seine in Paris with Eiffel Tower in autumn time

The Seine River and the Eiffel Tower

Big Ben, Houses of Parliament and Westminster Brid

Big Ben, Houses of Parliament & Westminster Bridge

Venice Grand Canal with Gondolas and Rialto Bridge

Venice Grand Canal with gondolas and Rialto Bridge

White blue Santorini view of Caldera with Domes

View of the white and blue Santorini

Couple with Eiffel Tower Paris France

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Experience a European Cruise with Airfare Credits on select sailings !

Europe's Leading Cruise Line, 15 years in a row.

There's no better way to experience the history, landmarks and culture of Europe than with our European cruise holidays . Step on board one of our award-winning ships embarking from fifteen convenient cities that are amazing destinations within themselves. Unpack once and wake up to a new city every day whilst exploring the sights, sounds and flavours of Europe, Scandinavia & Baltic , the Mediterranean , Greece , or an Italian cruise on your own timetable . Combine that with spectacular onboard entertainment, luxurious spa services, and no set dining times, and you’re bound for a good time. It's no wonder we are the World Travel Award winner for "Europe's Leading Cruise Line" 15 years in a row.

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Experience a Mediterranean Cruise


Experience a Mediterranean Cruise with Norwegian

Mediterranean Cruises

Enjoy a wide variety of itineraries and Mediterranean journeys that will allow you to visit Spain, Greece, Italy and France in one grand voyage. Cruise from Barcelona, Venice or Rome.

Greek Isles Cruises

Greek Isles Cruises

Take a holiday, cruise to Greece, and experience the beauty and magnificence of the Greek Isles for an unforgettable holiday. Explore the mainland and witness ancient history, or travel to the picturesque sun-drenched beaches of the once-powerful empire.

Experience a Northern Europe Cruise with Norwegian

Northern Europe Cruises

Sail on a Northern Europe cruise and witness the majesty and otherworldly natural beauty of this region. Cruise from London, Copenhagen, and Stockholm, amongst other departure ports, and set off on the adventure of a lifetime.

Remarkable Port Cities Cruises to Europe

Cruises to Barcelona, Spain

Cruises to Barcelona, Spain

Cruises to Venice, Italy

Cruises to Venice, Italy

Cruises to Santorini, Greece

Cruises to Santorini, Greece

Cruises to Flam, Norway

Cruises to Flam, Norway

Cruises to Reykjavik, Iceland

Cruises to Reykjavik, Iceland

Cruises to Copenhagen, Denmark

Cruises to Copenhagen, Denmark

Cruises to St. Petersburg, Russia

Cruises to St. Petersburg, Russia

Cruises to Dubrovnik, Croatia

Cruises to Dubrovnik, Croatia

Europe cruises gallery.

  • Piraeus, Greece
  • Split, Croatia
  • Corfu, Greece
  • Kusadasi, Turkey
  • Kotor, Montenegro
  • Sicily, Italy
  • Santorini, Greece
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Venice, Italy


Europe Cruises The Best of Both Worlds

Norwegian Epic Mediterranean Cruise


Barcelona, Spain Shore Excursion

During your European cruise, you have the option to partake on various excursions. Stroll along the narrow streets of the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona . Dine like a local in Valencia with a menu of traditional Paella for lunch. Visit the Alhambra in Granada , where you'll witness one of the finest examples of Moorish art in Spain. Visit Alcazar, the 14th-century fortress-palace of Moorish architectural influences, whilst in Seville . Or venture off to the Canary Islands to see the highest peak in Spain, the highest point in the Atlantic Ocean, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site when visiting Tenerife . Experience the best Spain shore excursions during your travels.

A Wide Range of Accommodation

Relax in style in Norwegian's luxurious accommodations.

Contemporary Accommodations

Experience The Haven on Norwegian Cruise Line.

The Haven by Norwegian

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Set out on the epic island-hopping vacation you’ve been waiting for onboard the best cruises for 2023, 2024, 2025 and 2026. Escape to Bermuda 's turquoise waters and famed pink sand beaches. Dance to the sound of steel drums in Curaçao . Or trek through centuries-old Maya ruins in Mexico . And make every moment count at our private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay , with record-breaking thrills and endless ways to chill — for families and couples alike. Every corner of the Caribbean is yours to explore, with the cruise line voted Best Overall for 19 years running by Travel Weekly readers. 

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When it comes to planning the ultimate getaway, there are so many reasons why cruise vacations rank among the most popular travel options. First of all, they’re completely stress-free. On a cruise vacation, all the planning is taken care of by the cruise line — from the  destinations  you sail to and the  shore excursions  available at each port, to a full range of  entertainment  and activities happening onboard every day. If you’re not a planner, or if the only things you’re looking to focus on during your getaway is savoring great food, relaxing, and soaking up the sights, cruise vacations are the way to go. A cruise vacation is also a great option if you’re traveling with the whole family, especially when you opt for a Royal Caribbean cruise. All of the ships in this cruise line’s fleet offer family-friendly experiences for guests of all ages. Even little ones will find plenty of ways to play with spaces and activities designed for tots to tweens. One of the top reasons savvy travelers love cruising, though, is because of the incredible value it offers. With Royal Caribbean, your cruise fare includes access to most of the ship’s attractions, select dining venues and all of the entertainment onboard. If you want to make your  experience  even more all-inclusive, you can opt for  beverage  and  specialty dining  packages that cover drinks and dinner at some of the most exclusive restaurants in the fleet. On top of all that, the cruise line presents frequent limited-time offers and seasonal sales, making it easy to score big savings when booking your vacation.


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2024-2025 New Cruise Itineraries

Book our newest cruise vacations to our best destinations now.

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Check out our newest cruise itineraries and prepare for an array of unforgettable experiences on board with Princess. From sailings close to home to the distant shores of exotic lands. New Princess cruise itineraries not only take you to our best cruise destinations, but bring the colors, cultures and flavors on board to give you a truly immersive vacation. Start planning today to get the cruise – and the stateroom – you want!

2025 Alaska cruise itineraries

Our Alaska 2025 season promises to be our most exciting season yet. From our top-rated 7-day Voyage of the Glaciers cruise and Inside Passage sailings – including roundtrip Los Angeles – to new “Ultimate Alaska” sailings that visit less-frequented ports and include at least three days of glacier viewing, we have Alaska covered by sea. Venture further with 27 cruisetour options, each combining a 7-day cruise with multiple nights in the heart of Alaska, stays at Princess-owned wilderness lodges and scenic rail travel. It’s no wonder we’ve been named Best Cruise Line in Alaska by Travel Weekly NINETEEN TIMES!

2023-2024 Asia cruise itineraries

Let Princess whisk you to stunning cities and timeless villages on an epic voyage in Asia. Each destination tells its own story through celebrated landmarks, popular markets, culinary secrets and traditions that have been passed down for generations. Sail on Diamond Princess®, and discover why Princess was awarded “Best Cruise Line in Asia” by Porthole Magazine.

2025-2026 Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific cruise itineraries

Experience the natural wonders of Australia, the unique culture of New Zealand and the island paradises of Tahiti, Fiji and beyond with Princess in 2025–2026. You can also visit two UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Great Barrier Reef and awe-inspiring Uluru National Park, on cruisetour options that combine a multi-night land tour with a traditional cruise. Choose from three ships, including Discovery Princess®, for her maiden season in the region, as well as Crown Princess® and Grand Princess®, sailing 75 itineraries to 78 destinations.

2024-2025 California Coast cruise itineraries

Explore the landscape of the California Coast and visit world-famous cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Santa Barbara. Shop and dine along eclectic boulevards. See iconic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, Coronado Bay and Griffith Observatory. Or escape to renowned vineyards for an award-winning wine. See even more with late-night stays in San Francisco, San Diego, Victoria, Vancouver, B.C. or Los Angeles.

2025 Canada & New England cruise itineraries

Experience colonial history, charming Eastern seaboard villages and famed New England seafood when you sail Canada & New England with Princess®. Princess will sail 7-day roundtrip voyages from Boston and New York. There are also 10-day voyages between Boston and Québec and roundtrip 10-day American Heritage voyages where you’ll have the opportunity to visit Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown, as well as legendary Revolutionary War sites. You can also extend your journey on land with a crusietour that visits more of American history at places like Gettysburg and Philadelphia, or spends time in Canadian cities like Toronto (for Niagara Falls) Montréal and more.

2024-2025 Caribbean cruise itineraries

Relax on top-rated beaches, explore ancient ruins and get immersed in colorful cultures — the laidback Caribbean has lots to love for everyone. Discover the Eastern, Western or Southern Caribbean with a variety of unique itineraries and departure ports. For the first time, Princess is offering a season of 6- and 8-day Eastern and Western Caribbean voyages roundtrip from Port Canaveral on Caribbean Princess®. (Can't choose? Combine them for a 14-day sailing!) Or sail aboard the new Sun Princess® from Fort Lauderdale on 5- to 14-day voyages to see both the Eastern and Western Caribbean.

2024 Summer Caribbean cruise itineraries

Whether you're seeking top-rated beaches or ancient Mayan ruins, the Caribbean is your playground in Summer 2024. From seven-day, 10-day and 14-day summer sailings to all corners of the Caribbean to our award-winning private island resort, Princess Cays,® and onboard programs that immerse you in local life, you’ll connect with the islands in ways you never imagined.

2025 Europe cruise itineraries

Princess is celebrating its 40th anniversary of Mediterranean sailing by featuring two of its newest and largest ships – Star Princess® and Sun Princess®. Explore the best of Europe in 2025, from the British Isles to Scandinavia, the Mediterranean and beyond with itineraries from five to 33 days as you visit famous landmarks, including many UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Let local experts guide the way with foodie- and art-centric tours. Love local nightlife? Look for More Ashore late-night departures and overnight stays.

2024-2025 Hawaii cruise itineraries

Princess is the only cruise line that sails a full season roundtrip from the mainland, with a choice of roundtrip departures from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver, B.C. Immerse yourself in Polynesian culture the moment you step on board with our Aloha Spirit program. Visit the most popular islands – Maui, Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island – while only unpacking once. Plus, enjoy a More Ashore late-night stay in Honolulu on most sailings.

2024 Japan cruise itineraries

In Summer 2024, Diamond Princess® sails out of Tokyo (Yokohama) with a variety of ways to enjoy the traditions and beauty of the region. There are five opportunities to see storied local festivals, including the popular Nebuta Festival. We also have sailings that arrive when Japan’s famed spring flowers are in bloom. Sail where ancient traditions and modernity co-exist in harmony on the #1 North American Cruise Line in Japan.

2024-2025 Mexico cruise itineraries

From mariachis to margaritas, the Mexican Riviera is where it all began with our first cruise in 1965. More than 50 years later, we still visit the best ports like Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán and less-traveled jewels like Loreto and Manzanillo. Sail from Los Angeles or San Francisco on five- to 11-day roundtrip cruises, and stay overnight in Cabo San Lucas on select voyages for a taste of vibrant nightlife.

2024-2025 Panama Canal cruise itineraries

Princess offers two ways to see the epic Panama Canal, including new 12-day roundtrip sailings from Fort Lauderdale aboard Emerald Princess®, which include destinations like Costa Rica & the Caribbean, as well as Ocean-to-Ocean 15- to 23-day voyages between Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Vancouver, B.C.

2024-2025 South America & Antarctica cruise itineraries

Delight in South America’s vibrant cultures and stunning landscapes and get swept away by the breathtaking beauty of Antarctica. Experience the thrill of sailing through the Strait of Magellan, the 19th-century treasures of Buenos Aires or cruise through the icy waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula.

2025 & 2026 World cruise itineraries

Set sail across the globe on a truly epic adventure – a Princess World Cruise. On a voyage spanning more than 100 days, and travelling over 33,000 nautical miles, you’ll visit more than 40 destinations in over two dozen countries. In 2025, Island Princess will sail an 116-day World Cruise – our longest ever. Whether you sail from Los Angeles or Ft. Lauderdale, or choose 2026 options from Sydney, Australia, you’ll have the opportunity to visit 48 dream destinations, from Singapore to Egypt, throughout Europe and Iceland, to North, South and Central America and beyond.

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Baltic Cruises March 2023


The Baltic Sea boasts a myriad of highlights, each more intriguing than the last. From the historic charm of Tallinn , Estonia , to the vibrant modernity of Stockholm , Sweden , the ports of call offer a compelling mix of past and present. St. Petersburg, Russia, often dubbed the 'Venice of the North', enchants with its opulent palaces and majestic cathedrals. As you sail along these waters, gaze upon the natural spectacle of sprawling archipelagos, dense forests meeting the sea, and the mesmerizing interplay of light that the Baltic region is famed for.

Cruise lines such as Azamara Cruises , Celebrity Cruises , Crystal Cruises , Cunard Cruises , Holland America , MSC Cruises , Norwegian Cruises , Oceania Cruises , P&O Cruises , Princess Cruises , Regent Cruises , Royal Caribbean , Silversea Cruises , and Viking Cruises others offer itineraries that visit Baltic in March 2023. Easily find and compare Baltic cruises in March 2023 from Amsterdam , Bergen , Copenhagen , Dover , Hamburg , Le Havre (Paris) , Oslo , Rotterdam , Southampton , Stockholm , and Warnemunde (Rostock) , as well as other Northern European ports.

Baltic Cruise Schedule March 2023

The Baltic region is a year-round destination, with each season offering unique charms. Summer (June to August) provides long daylight hours and warm temperatures, perfect for exploring outdoor attractions and wildlife spotting. Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) present milder weather and fewer crowds, ideal for city tours and nature walks. The winter months (December to February) add a magical touch to the region, with snow-covered landscapes and a chance to see the Northern Lights.

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CroisiEurope River Cruises

Croisieurope river cruise march 2023.

CroisiEurope River Cruises

CroisiEurope River Cruises has a fleet of ships capable of taking its passengers on all the European rivers with departures available in March 2023. CroisiEurope fleet includes ships such as MS Cyrano de Bergerac , MS Michelangelo , and MS Seine Princess , with their own unique way to pamper you and indulge your senses.

Embark on a European river cruise with CroisiEurope River Cruises in March 2023 and discover the history, architecture, art and culture ot the Europe.  Unpack your bags once and enjoy the changing scenery from your stateroom balcony as you sail with CroisiEurope River Cruises. Sail through multiple countries and charming European towns on Dordogne , Garonne , Po , and Seine River in March 2023. Easily find and compare all CroisiEurope River Cruises river cruises in March 2023.

Browse the best European river cruise itinerary in March 2023 onboard one of ships from CroisiEurope River Cruises fleet. CroisiEurope has a fleet of more than 50 luxury and well-equipped cruise ships, sailing on the 39 most beautiful waterways in Europe. The ship's accommodation capacity varies from 100 to 180 passengers, depending on its design. Explore the various riverside city sites of France, Italy, Spain, Germany, and Belgium on rivers such as the Siena, Po, Douro, Danube, and Rhine, where you can explore music, culture, and breathtaking landscapes.

CroisiEurope River Cruise Schedule March 2023

CroisiEurope Seine 4-day route

4-day Seine River Cruise from Paris

Ms seine princess, croisieurope.

Date: March 2, 2023

Ports of Call: Paris, Paris La Defense, Paris Montmartre, Paris; View Itinerary

CroisiEurope Po 5-day route

5-day Po River Cruise from Venice

Ms michelangelo, croisieurope.

Ports of Call: Venice, Mazzorbo, Venice, Chioggia, Venice; View Itinerary

Date: March 5, 2023

Date: March 6, 2023

Date: March 8, 2023

Ports of Call: Paris, Paris Saint Germain-des-Pres, Paris Rungis, Paris; View Itinerary

Date: March 10, 2023

Date: March 11, 2023

CroisiEurope Elbe 9-day route

9-day Elbe River Cruise from Berlin

Ms elbe princesse, croisieurope.

Date: March 12, 2023

Ports of Call: Berlin, Wusterwitz, Magdeburg, Wittenberg, Meissen, Dresden, Litomerice, Kralupy, Prague; View Itinerary

CroisiEurope Vltava 9-day route

9-day Vltava River Cruise from Berlin

Ms elbe princesse ii, croisieurope, 9-day elbe river cruise from prague.

Ports of Call: Prague, Prague, Litomerice, Dresden, Meissen, Wittenberg, Genthin, Berlin, Berlin; View Itinerary

9-day Vltava River Cruise from Prague

Date: March 14, 2023

Date: March 17, 2023

Date: March 18, 2023

Date: March 20, 2023

CroisiEurope Douro 8-day route

8-day Douro River Cruise from Porto

Ms vasco de gama, croisieurope.

Date: March 22, 2023

Ports of Call: Porto, Regua, Vega de Terron, Salamanca, Barca dAlva, Pinhao, Porto, Porto; View Itinerary

Date: March 23, 2023

CroisiEurope Douro 6-day route

6-day Douro River Cruise from Porto

Ms amalia rodrigues, croisieurope.

Ports of Call: Porto, Regua, Pinhao, Porto, Guimaraes, Porto; View Itinerary

8-day Douro River Cruise from Lisbon

Ms gil eanes, croisieurope.

Date: March 24, 2023

Ports of Call: Lisbon, Lisbon, Coimbra, Porto, Regua, Pinhao, Porto, Guimaraes, Porto; View Itinerary

MS Miguel Torga, CroisiEurope

Date: March 25, 2023

Date: March 26, 2023

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Reader's Digest

Reader's Digest

12 Best Mediterranean Cruises for Exploring Europe’s Hottest Destinations

Posted: November 27, 2023 | Last updated: November 27, 2023

Explore the Mediterranean on a cruise

Having recently completed my fourth Mediterranean cruise, it dawned on me that there's a reason I enjoy exploring Europe by sea so much: I absolutely love waking up in a new country every morning and getting a taste of so many different cultures, cuisines, architectural styles, languages and historical landmarks all in one trip. Sure, there's a time and a place for doing a deep dive into a single country or city, but there's a lot to be said for initially taking a more surface-level approach—especially if it's your first time in Europe. It can help you decide where you'd like to do a longer stay next time. Another reason to love Mediterranean cruises? The waters are typically calm, unlike in the open ocean, making it a prime location for anyone who suffers from seasickness.

I've cruised the Mediterranean on some of the best cruise lines , including a recent Greek Enchantment itinerary on Holland America Line that took me from Venice to Athens via multiple stops in Croatian ports and such Greek islands as Santorini and Rhodes. Though it's often billed as one of the best cruises for couples , I actually took my dad, and we enjoyed every minute of it. (There were plenty of multigenerational families and friend groups on board, so we certainly didn't feel awkward amid the perceived romance of the locale.)

What follows are my favorite cruises , based on my personal experience and expertise as a travel writer who has been on 18 cruises (and counting), as well as on user reviews and ratings.

What's the best time to take a Mediterranean cruise?

Logically, summer seems like the best time for a Mediterranean cruise. But there are a few reasons why this may not be ideal in reality. First, because summer is the high season in Europe, you'll often face premium cruise pricing due to the laws of supply and demand.

Beyond that, crowds will be heavy in the ports of call during the high season. (The day we were in Santorini, there were four other ships in port, and the line to take the gondola up for those who didn't book an excursion was nearly two hours.) These crowds can make it difficult to take great pictures or move freely near landmarks, and concerns about pickpockets increase in crowded settings. Plus, you may have a tough time getting into restaurants or major attractions if you didn't book ahead.

Finally, the weather can be downright miserable in the summer, with soaring temperatures and high humidity making even the most relaxing tours uncomfortable. And if that doesn't convince you, know that many places in Europe don't have air conditioning.

My advice after making a few seasonal mistakes over the years? Go during the shoulder season , which is the spring (March through May) or fall (mid-September through October). You'll be rewarded with fewer crowds, lower prices, more temperate weather and an overall more enjoyable experience.

How we chose the best Mediterranean cruise ports

Mediterranean cruise is a catchall phrase for the general region, but there are many different areas within this 2,500-mile stretch of intercontinental water—and each one offers a unique set of ports of call. There's the Western Mediterranean, with popular sailings between Barcelona and Rome and stops all along Italy's boot (including Rome and Florence).

In the Eastern Mediterranean, you'll find cruises that visit Greece and Turkey. Stops in the Adriatic Sea (the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea and your access to Croatia and Venice) are often included in these sailings.

Finally, some Eastern Mediterranean Holy Land cruises spend time in Israel, Egypt and Cyprus. Some of my personal favorite ports of call include Rhodes, Greece; Civitavecchia, Italy (northwest of Rome); the Croatian cities of Dubrovnik and Split; Kusadasi, Turkey; the French cities of Nice and St. Tropez; the Spanish cities of Barcelona and Valencia; Valletta, Malta; Taormina, Sicily; and Sorrento, Italy. Ready to sail in to your own port of call? Read on for the best Mediterranean cruises for 2024.

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Best for midpriced Greece and Turkey

Holland america line's greece & adriatic antiquities cruise.

With a slightly more upscale clientele that skews a bit older than some other brands, Holland America Line excels at comfortable cruises that hit some of the hottest ports of call in Turkey and the Greek Islands. And while the line has numerous ships in the Mediterranean, the Oosterdam is an excellent choice for your Mediterranean cruise—it holds just shy of 2,000 passengers, and its 2016 remodel makes it a perfectly contemporary option.

Holland America partners with local vendors who offer a wide variety of shore excursions geared toward an array of activity levels, including lunches at the private home of a local family, coach sightseeing tours and walking tours that immerse you in both ancient history and modern culture. Its 10-Day Cruise to the Mediterranean showcases Turkey and Greece, with additional stops in Egypt and Cyprus. And it takes place during October, an ideal time to visit.

  • Hits all the hot spots in Greece and Turkey
  • The midsize ship is easier to navigate
  • Incredibly friendly crew members
  • Although it's not an adults-only cruise , it caters to the over-50 crowd, so there are typically fewer kids
  • More expensive than competitors such as Princess and Royal Caribbean
  • Smaller ship means fewer dining venues and onboard activities

Best for ultra-luxury Croatian cruising

Seabourn's jewels of the dalmatian coast cruise.

Here's a handy cruise tip : Don't discount smaller ships. They really foster a sense of intimacy. On a Mediterranean cruise with Seabourn , guests experience the best that the sea and the countries have to offer, all with an extremely elevated touch. Allow Seabourn to turn the Mediterranean into your nearly private playground as you explore the Dalmatian Coast, a region along the western edge of Croatia.

You begin and end your seven-day cruise in one of the most perfectly preserved medieval cities: Dubrovnik. Surrounded by ancient city walls, it's possibly the most iconic and picturesque city on the coast (if you've seen Game of Thrones , you know just how magical this real-life King's Landing is). This cruise makes its way up the Adriatic Sea, with stops in beautiful Korcula (famous for its wine-making), Hvar (known for its hilltop fortress) and Zadar (take in the Roman architecture and Venetian gates). Your ship, the Seabourn Encore , holds just 300 guests but has a casino, spa and numerous dining venues.

  • All accommodations are ocean-front suites
  • All dining and drinks (even alcohol) included
  • It's rare to see young children
  • Dress code enforced (no jeans at dinner, even on "casual" nights)

Best for budget-friendly Western Mediterranean

Msc's cruise to the western mediterranean.

If you're traveling to the Mediterranean from the United States, your airfare could likely be more expensive than the cruise per person. Still, budget-conscious vacationers will appreciate the overall affordability of booking a cruise with MSC. Choosing a round-trip itinerary from Civitavecchia (near Rome) means you can use the money you save on the cruise to spend a few days sightseeing in one of the most impressive capital cities in Europe. With cruise dates from April into October 2024, you'll easily be able to select a shoulder season date and avoid the summer rush.

The MSC Seaview handles many of the Western Mediterranean itineraries, and it's possible to upgrade to the MSC Yacht Club on this ship for an enhanced experience that includes everything from 24/7 butler service and exclusive venues to an all-inclusive package and signature dining. Plus, you'll hit many of the most popular ports in Spain, France and Italy on this seven-night cruise in the Western Mediterranean, including Barcelona, Cannes, Cinque Terre and Portofino.

  • Plenty of Mediterranean offerings for less than $800 per person
  • Loyalty club members save 5% on many sailings, so it pays to stay loyal
  • Kids clubs for infants through teens for family-friendly vacations
  • Low-cost fare increases quite a bit once you add drinks and a Wi-Fi package
  • Dress code for "elegant" nights enforced in the main dining room

Best for affordable, family-friendly Italy

Royal caribbean's western mediterranean cruise.

Who wouldn't want to see the Colosseum in Rome, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Blue Grotto in Capri, the Grand Canal in Venice and various UNESCO World Heritage sites all on one trip? You can go on those excursions and more on Royal Caribbean's seven-night Western Mediterranean cruise , which heavily features Italy's most famous landmarks. Plus, you'll spend some time in Sicily and France before ending in Barcelona—add a few post-cruise days here to check La Sagrada Família and the Picasso Museum off your bucket list.

With the lower price point of this cruise, you might be able to bring the whole family, and there's plenty on board to keep everyone busy, from surf simulators and ice-skating shows to laser tag and a youth program.

  • Interior cabins start at less than $800 per person
  • Fa mily-friendly cruise with an onboard rock-climbing wall, waterslides and a teen lounge
  • Recently refurbished ship
  • Higher-capacity ships may feel crowded

Best for luxury in the Greek Islands

Crystal's istanbul to athens cruise.

Just refurbished in 2023, the 740-passenger Crystal Serenity has all ocean-view rooms and somehow manages to offer nine restaurant concepts onboard. It's also a great cruise option for people with disabilities—eight of the rooms meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

Beginning with a couple days in Istanbul, this impressive 12-night itinerary winds its way through the most beautiful Greek Islands and cities, including Santorini (with its iconic white buildings and blue rooftops), Mykonos, Thessaloniki (guests are treated to an overnight stay here, which is a wonderful way to enjoy a city's evening culinary scene and nightlife), Volos, Paros, Spetses, Nafplion and Athens.

Optional shore excursions include visits to archaeological sites, interactive farm-to-table cooking experiences, wine tastings and breakfast with locals. A highlight in Kusadasi, Turkey, is touring the ancient city of Ephesus (one of the best preserved in the world) and visiting the House of the Virgin Mary. On your day at sea, be sure to stop by the Aurora Spa for relaxing and rejuvenating treatments that will help you sail through the rest of your busy itinerary.

  • Dedicated butler in every stateroom and suite
  • Onboard dining includes a venue by Michelin-starred chef Nobuyuki (Nobu) Matsuhisa
  • The smaller ship can overnight in some ports
  • Pricey, and shore excursions cost extra
  • Formal nights require cocktail attire (gowns, suits, tuxedos and dress shoes)

Best for shorter Mediterranean itineraries

Norwegian cruise line's 4-night cruise to the western mediterranean.

Many cruise lines focus on seven- to 14-day itineraries in the Mediterranean, making it hard to find an option if you don't have a full week or two for your vacation. Enter Norwegian Cruise Line, which offers an abbreviated four-day cruise for those looking to get a quick taste of cruise life. Aboard the Norwegian Escape , which was just refurbished in 2022, you'll journey from Barcelona to Rome's northwestern neighbor Civitavecchia, with stops in Cannes and Florence.

With four ports in four days, you can make the most of your sightseeing along the French Riviera and Tuscan region of Italy, allowing time to explore Michelangelo's David, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Vatican, among other ancient relics and historic monuments. Onboard, there's a large assortment of dining options, bars and lounges, and a spa with a thermal lounge and snow room (kept at 14 degrees).

  • Four-night cruise is perfect for shorter stays
  • Offers studio rooms priced for solo travelers (no single supplement)
  • Exclusive cabins and elite perks (like butler service and a private sundeck) available with an upgrade to the Haven
  • No enforced dress code
  • May encounter long lines at dining venues and for evening entertainment with 4,226 passengers
  • A la carte fees can quickly add up on an otherwise lower fare

Best for cruising Spain on a sailboat

Windstar's spanish symphony cruise.

It's always a good time to visit Spain —there's just so much to see and do in Spain. That's why a cruise a smart way to visit. Windstar's 10-day itinerary begins in Barcelona, taking passengers to the Spanish island of Majorca before cruising on to Cartagena, Almeria, Málaga and Gibraltar. You'll sail through the Strait of Gibraltar before visiting Cadiz and ending in Lisbon, Portugal. Be sure to spend some extra pre-cruise time in Barcelona and post-cruise time in Lisbon because you won't have time on the actual cruise to explore these cities.

Take in a Flamenco show, go sightseeing by Segway or enjoy wine tasting on the various shore excursions. One special onboard experience you won't get with other cruise lines: During the sail away from each port, Windstar dramatically unfurls the ship's sails while playing Vangelis's "1492 Conquest of Paradise"—it's a majestic (and somewhat emotional) moment each day when most passengers gather on deck for the show.

  • The Wind Surf is the world's largest sailing ship (with seven sails and five masts)
  • Only holds 342 passengers, making for an intimate vibe
  • Fabulous spa with massage styles from various cultures
  • Not as many daytime activities or nighttime entertainment options onboard as big ships

Best for sailing on the newest ship

Princess's mediterranean with france and italy cruise.

Cruise enthusiasts are all buzzing about the newest ship to join the Princess fleet: the Sun Princess . And good news: Now is your chance to be among the first passengers to enjoy this world-class beauty in its inaugural season. During your days at sea, you can fully explore the Park19 activity zone, a top deck space with a ropes course, hang-gliding ride, climbing structure, hammock area, splash zone, recreational court and jogging track. Or hang out at the Dome, which is a pool during the day but a stage at night for acrobatic performances.

But you're also here to see the Mediterranean, so you'll need to maximize your time off the ship too. Your cruise begins in Barcelona, with stops in Gibraltar, Marseille, Genoa and Florence before culminating in Civitavecchia, near Rome. Princess does an excellent job with shore excursions, offering everything from pesto tasting in Genoa and wine tasting in Gibraltar to more strenuous activities, such as a bicycle tour through Marseille or climbing the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

  • Brand-new ship with all the bells and whistles
  • Affordable fare, especially if you catch a promotion
  • Expansive spa area with a wide array of treatments
  • I wish there was one less day at sea and one more stop in France on this itinerary

Best for small-ship Adriatic and Aegean Adventures

Viking's empires of the mediterranean cruise.

You may know Viking from its European river cruises , but it has specific ships for ocean cruises that'll knock your socks off. Its Empires of the Mediterranean itinerary takes you to nine destinations through five countries—Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro and Greece—for a full immersion in the best of the Adriatic and Aegean seas.

Dying to travel to Greece? You'll visit the wonderfully underrated Greek island of Corfu along the way, and you'll have enough time in Athens to see the Panathenaic Stadium, Temple of Zeus and Acropolis. The fare is steeper with Viking than with most, but you get a lot more for the money, such as free shore excursions and Wi-Fi, covered port taxes and fees, ground transfers with a Viking Air purchase, enrichment lectures, access to the spa and fitness center, self-service laundry, 24-hour room service, and beer, wine and soft drinks with lunch and dinner.

  • Good introduction to the Adriatic and Aegean regions
  • All cabins are Verandas
  • Complimentary excursion at each port and free Wi-Fi
  • No guests under age 18 permitted
  • High price point

Best for affordable 10-day voyages

Carnival's europe from civitavecchia (rome) cruise.

In 2024, Carnival Cruise Line is expanding its offering of seasonal European sailings on its 2,200-guest Carnival Legend . Fans of this affordable cruise line will find many of the signature venues they know and love, including Guy's Burger Joint, the BlueIguana Cantina, the RedFrog and Alchemy bars, WaterWorks Aqua Park and the Punchliner Comedy Club—plus time to enjoy them during this itinerary's two days at sea.

For this cruise, you'll begin just outside Rome in Civitavecchia, then head to Turkey, make several stops in Greece (including the beloved islands of Santorini and Mykonos), wrap up with a few more Italian ports of call (including Naples, the birthplace of pizza) and end back where you started. You'll be traveling in October, which is one of the best months to visit this region, thanks to mild weather and fewer crowds.

  • Get 10 days in the Mediterranean during an ideal month for less than $1,000
  • Kids club and teen club, plus an adults-only retreat for some alone time
  • Carnival often runs sales with reduced rates and onboard credit
  • Charges for extra amenities add up quickly, so keep those in check to mind your budget
  • Ship received cosmetic updates in 2022 but could use a more comprehensive update

Best for hitting the region's top cultural hubs

Oceania cruises' mediterranean culture capitals, barcelona to istanbul.

Over the course of 10 days in cool and uncrowded November, passengers aboard the  Oceania Cruises'  Riviera will be treated to a trip that covers nearly the entire east-west expanse of the Mediterranean. Beginning in Barcelona and ending in Istanbul, this voyage stops in the Spanish port of Palma de Mallorca; both Marseille and Nice in France; Rome, Capri and Sicily in Italy; and Philippi in Greece.

Tour UNESCO World Heritage sites, sunbathe on the Côte d'Azur, visit Pompeii, stroll the spice market and Grand Bazaar of Istanbul and roam the lavender fields in Provence—you'll be steeped in culture every step of the way. Onboard, guests have access to hands-on cooking classes, free Wi-Fi, treatments at the Aquamar Spa, a fitness center, a running track and sports deck, guest speakers, shows and afternoon tea with a classical string quartet and pastry carts filled with finger sandwiches, sweet treats, classic scones with clotted cream and English jams.

  • Visit five countries in one cruise
  • Elegant experience (including a Lalique grand staircase) with gourmet cuisine
  • Ship was refurbished in 2022
  • Although inside staterooms are affordable, balconies and suites are quite expensive

Most comprehensive Greece voyage

Celebrity's best of greece cruise.

On most cruises to Greece, you'll hit a couple islands and maybe Athens, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Celebrity recognized that there are more things to do in Greece , so it set out to create an itinerary you won't find from many of its competitors: an 11-night Best of Greece cruise roundtrip from Athens. And did we mention it's priced around $1,000 per person?

You'll have full days in Volos, Thessaloniki, Rhodes (which has some lovely beaches, including Faliraki, with about 3 miles of sandy coastline), Santorini and Mykonos, along with a day in Limassol, Cyprus' second-largest city, and Ephesus, Turkey. You'll end the trip in Athens, where you'll have an overnight stay, which means you can have a traditional Greek dinner off the ship at your leisure. During your two sea days, lounge by the pool and soak in that Mediterranean sunshine, grab a gelato at Café al Bacio or spoil yourself at the spa.

  • See the best of Greece in a single cruise
  • Stops in Cyprus and Turkey for extra cultural exploration
  • Many kids and teens activities, including youth clubs
  • Attractive pricing, but watch out for extra fees
  • Ship was refurbished in 2018, but online reviewers say it could use a full remodel

The post 12 Best Mediterranean Cruises for Exploring Europe’s Hottest Destinations appeared first on Reader's Digest .

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This 3-year cruise around the world is called off, leaving passengers in the lurch

Bill Chappell

europe cruise march 2023

When the Life at Sea cruise line failed to purchase the German cruise ship AIDAaura, seen here in 2020, its plans for a worldwide cruise embarking in November began to unravel. Marit Hommedal/NTB Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

When the Life at Sea cruise line failed to purchase the German cruise ship AIDAaura, seen here in 2020, its plans for a worldwide cruise embarking in November began to unravel.

They were promised the world. But cruise company Life at Sea recently told customers who bought passage on a three-year voyage that rather than visiting 140 countries, their trip was called off.

Those customers are now scrambling to make new plans for where they will live for the next three years — and to extract refunds from the cruise line. The intense fallout is drawing comparisons to infamous debacles such as the Fyre Festival — the "luxury" music festival that was more like a "disaster relief area."

Here's what to know about the cruise around the world that was called off

What was promised? The world.

The original itinerary mapped 1,095 days of travel, heading from Istanbul to Europe and then to South America and the Caribbean. Passengers would then pass through the Panama Canal before seeing the U.S. West Coast, Hawaii and Alaska and then head west across the Pacific.

"We are going to be following summer the entire time that we go around the world," then-Life at Sea CEO Kendra Holmes told prospective passengers in a Zoom webinar in September.

$73,499-Per-Guest World Cruise Sells Out In Less Than 3 Hours

$73,499-Per-Guest World Cruise Sells Out In Less Than 3 Hours

Voyagers were to see seven continents, visiting 140 countries. They would spend roughly 300 days at sea, 795 days at port and have 413 overnight port stays, Chief Operating Officer Ethem Bayramoglu of Miray Cruises, the Turkish parent company of Life at Sea, said in that online session.

Along the way, they would explore wonders of the world, visit UNESCO World Heritage sites and have plentiful chances to go diving and snorkeling, the company said.

The three-year voyage was to begin on Nov. 1, departing from Istanbul. Some passengers reportedly only learned of the cancellation after arriving in Turkey.

What are customers saying?

"Some people read the headlines and think, 'Oh, that was a scam,' but I really did my homework before I put a deposit down," Keri Witman of Cincinnati told NPR. She had attorneys check the company's background, for instance.

Witman, who owns a marketing agency named Clever Lucy, was planning to work remotely aboard the ship, using its Starlink internet service. And as a single woman, she had been looking forward to exploring the world with a group.

"Having a like-minded community of people that all were interested in travel at the ready was really appealing to me," she said.

When the cruise missed its planned departure date, the company promised to resolve lingering issues. But after further delays, the trip was canceled.

Witman says the company has begun the refund process, accepting her requests for other expenses to be paid, from airfare to the costs of foreign visas. But some of her fellow customers seem more frustrated.

20 years ago, the supersonic passenger jet Concorde flew for the last time

20 years ago, the supersonic passenger jet Concorde flew for the last time

"Still waiting for my refund. And now you've gone belly up?" a woman who identified herself as a Life at Sea customer said recently on the company's Instagram account . The woman, a retired educator, did not respond to NPR's message seeking further comment.

Former flight attendant Meredith Shay was looking forward to the trip as a centerpiece of her retirement.

"How did I feel about it?" Shay said in an interview on ABC's Good Morning America . "Devastated, disappointed, sad. I packed up my belongings, put them in storage, sent four boxes to Miray Cruises."

Witman says she also shipped boxes to have on the cruise, back in early October.

"I'm following them along on my AirTags today," she said. "They're on their way back."

How much did the Life at Sea cruise cost?

The cheapest packages started at $196,000 for a single traveler, and $231,000 for couples, according to the company's website . Costs ranged much higher for guests staying in premium rooms.

In exchange, passengers — or residents, as the company called them — were promised a long list of amenities, including an onboard hospital and doctor. Some cabins could host cats; travelers were also promised high-speed internet, free dining, alcohol and laundry service, and "enrichment seminars."

Terms of the deal help illuminate the would-be passengers' financial and logistical plight. Life at Sea set initial deposits at 30% of the overall cost. Under its 12-month payment plan, the first draw came due one month ahead of the sail date.

And rather than portioning the cruise for sale in smaller stages, the company required customers to commit to the full three years.

"Our residents are changing their lives for this opportunity, and we are honored to be a part of their personal journeys," Holmes said in June .

A wide range of passengers had booked cabins.

"The age group is split pretty much between 35 and 85" years old, and the passengers included a large number of Americans, Holmes said.

Paradise Lost: Luxury Music Festival Turns Out To Be Half-Built Scene Of Chaos

The Two-Way

Paradise lost: luxury music festival turns out to be half-built scene of chaos, did the cruise line actually have a ship.

"In two days' time, we own this vessel," Life at Sea itinerary planner Robert Dixon said in late September , speaking in a promotional video from the bridge of a ship he called the "MV Lara."

But the company wasn't able to close that deal, and the ship in question — the 20-year-old AIDAaura — was instead sold in November to Celestyal, which specializes in Mediterranean cruises.

Miray's attempts to purchase the ship dragged on for weeks, and it eventually stalled after investors balked, according to a company message obtained by CNN and other outlets.

In Warmer Climate, A Luxury Cruise Sets Sail Through Northwest Passage


In warmer climate, a luxury cruise sets sail through northwest passage.

"If you're focused on the ship, this is not the journey for you," Holmes said in the September webinar. But two months later, she would leave her leadership post at Life at Sea and Miray, as plans for the ambitious cruise unraveled.

Holmes was trying to allay concerns about the quality of the vessel. But it seems that it was the company's focus, not the public's, that was the problem.

Warning flags went up earlier this year, when the company changed course from its initial plan to refit one of its ships, the MV Gemini. For the lengthy worldwide voyage, it planned to deploy the larger "MV Lara" — a ship that never materialized.

What does the cruise company say now?

It's complicated. On Sunday, Miray Cruises issued a statement in Turkish , denying that the cruise is canceled. Instead, the company said the voyage is postponed — and it blamed a lack of enough passenger bookings, rather than problems finding an appropriate ship.

But responding to a social media comment about that same statement, the company sought to clarify that its other operations are unaffected — and in doing so, it stated , "The cancellation in question is related to our 3-year world tour project."

The company said that anyone requesting a refund will get one, and that it will reimburse travel expenses related to the cruise. Miray also says it plans to mount a similar trip next year.

Witman, for one, says she's still interested in a worldwide cruise.

"There are two other companies that have been working on a similar concept" that have also run into delays, she said.

19-Hour London To Sydney 'Test Flight' Shows How To Make Long Hauls Tolerable

19-Hour London To Sydney 'Test Flight' Shows How To Make Long Hauls Tolerable

"I think one of them will make it happen in 2024," Witman said. "And I'm hopeful that it will, because I'd like to be on it. I still believe in the concept. I think it's a really perfect opportunity for me."

Despite the setback, Witman says she's been able to form connections with other would-be passengers, who have been keeping in touch via apps and group texts. Some of them are even making plans to travel together this winter.

"I don't regret at all going down this path," Witman said. "It moved me forward in a way that I wouldn't have done without this instigation. And I'm really thankful for it. I'm disappointed, but I'm ready to go for whatever opportunity comes up next."

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A Three-Year Cruise Is Canceled for Lack of a Ship

Passengers will not be visiting Machu Picchu, the Pyramids of Giza or indeed be going anywhere.

Two people walk by a large blue-and-white cruise ship, the AIDAaura. A wooden railing is in the foreground.

By Victor Mather

If you’re going to organize a three-year round-the-world cruise, a good first step is probably to acquire a ship.

For months, Life at Sea Cruises has been signing up travelers, taking their money and marketing this unusual offering, which it announced in March.

Its website, which was promoting the cruise as of Monday, described the ship, the MV Lara, and promised visits to the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids of Giza, Machu Picchu and the Taj Mahal.

Prospective passengers might pause before booking, though, when they see that the voyage was already supposed to set sail on Nov. 1. And they may be more alarmed to learn that the ship, under its original name, the AIDAaura, was acquired in mid-November by Celestyal Cruises, not by Life at Sea.

The day after that sale, Life at Sea announced it was canceling its round-the-world voyage.

Miray Cruises, the parent company of the cruise line, said it could not afford the $40 million to $50 million that was being asked for the ship and said that investors had dropped out because of the unrest in the Middle East, CNN reported .

Neither Life at Sea nor Miray responded to requests for comment on Monday. The cruise itinerary and links to book passage remained live.

Phileas Fogg hustled around the world in 80 days, but this trip was expected to be leisurely — a Magellan-like time frame of three years.

The cruise was originally set to leave from Istanbul, then take an extended tour of the Western Hemisphere before arriving in Asia in August 2024.

The South Pacific and Australia would fill much of 2025, followed by India. In 2026, the cruise was to have visited Africa, then Europe before finishing in late 2026, three years after it began.

The cruise was charging between $38,513 to $98,226 per person per year for double occupancy, so a couple planning to take the full circumnavigation would pay a minimum of $230,000, a cost appreciably lower per day than many long-term cruises.

Holland America, for example, charges roughly $180 per person per night for its 128-day cruise, which would be almost $400,000 for a three-year voyage for a couple.

The MV Lara, as it was to be named, was to have had a capacity of 1,266 passengers, with 80 percent of them expected to be booked, the company said. Less than half of the cabins appeared to be booked as of Monday morning.

The cruise was initially delayed to Nov. 11, then to Nov. 30, and its departure city was changed to Amsterdam. Then it was canceled outright on Nov. 17.

Passengers were promised repayment in monthly installments through February, CNN reported. It quoted several passengers, whom it did not name, saying they were dismayed by the cancellation after planning their next three years around it.

Miray said it had considered shifting the cruise to one of its other ships but decided that ship was too small.

The leisurely three-year window for the planned cruise was unusual and drew outsize news media attention. Cunard’s round-the-world cruise, aboard the Queen Mary 2, lasts for three months.

Victor Mather covers sports as well as breaking news for The Times. More about Victor Mather

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Three-year cruise people sold homes to go on is cancelled weeks before departure

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A three-year world cruise which passengers paid up to £90,000 to go on has been cancelled weeks before setting sail – because there’s no ship.

Life at Sea Cruises announced the voyage, designed to house remote workers and retirees, in March and took on extra passengers in June after saying it had acquired a larger ship.

The cruise promised to visit 145 countries, allowing passengers to visit 13 of the 14 ‘wonders of the world’ and offering activities like scuba diving.

But after delaying the initial departure date of November 1, the cruise was cancelled altogether on November 17.

Many passengers, some of whom didn’t renew rental leases or sold their homes, have been left without a home after the cruise fell through.

One passenger, who wanted to remain anonymous until they got their refund, told CNN : ‘There’s a whole lot of people right now with nowhere to go, and some need their refund to even plan a place to go – it’s not good right now.’

The ?Life at Sea? ship will set sail from Istanbul in November, traveling to 375 destinations, with stops in 135 countries across all seven continents.

‘I’m very sad, angry and lost,’ said one passenger. ‘I had the next three years of my life planned to live an extraordinary life, and now [I have] nothing. I’m having a hard time moving forward.

‘I was proud and feeling brave, now I don’t trust anyone or anything. I know it’ll work out and life will go on, but I’m uncertain of the direction.’

Another said they felt ‘incredibly sad and incredibly betrayed’.

‘The company seems to have no consideration about what they’ve done to our lives,’ they said, ‘I never imagined I’d be in this position as a senior citizen.’

They also lamented the loss of community that had been built in the run-up to the cruise: ‘I was looking forward to building friendships – that’s what made it different from a regular cruise. We were all of the same mindset and all started with the same thing in common.’

A third, speaking just before the cruise was confirmed as cancelled, said they were feeling ‘let down, deceived and betrayed’.

111 cabins had been sold on the ship, and some passengers are stuck in Istanbul, Turkey, where the cruise was set to depart from.

The voyage was first announced in March, with prices set at $30,000 (£23,700) per year. After announcing they’d acquired a larger vessel with 200 more cabins, they increased the price of the trip to $38,513 (£30,400) per year.

But in a message to passengers Vedat Ugurlu, owner of Life at Sea’s parent firm Miray, said the purchase of the larger ship had fallen through.

He said: ‘Miray is not such a big company to afford to pay $40-50 million for a ship.’

The company, he said, had ‘presented the project to investors, and had official approval from some of them to buy the vessel,’ but after making the down payment those investors ‘declined to support us further due to unrest in the Middle East’.

A day later, Chief Operating Officer Ethem Bayramoglu added: ‘Although we are all disappointed and frustrated that we didn’t sail this time, it is important to us that you feel positive overall about your experience with us.

‘Vedat in particular is still hopeful that Miray will someday soon have an option for you to consider.’

Life at Sea says it will refund passengers, who put down deposits of tens of thousands of dollars – but repayment won’t start until next month, and it will be made in monthly instalments.

The company is also promising to pay for hotel rooms and return plane tickets for passengers in Turkey. checked the Life at Sea website and it’s currently still possible to book cabins on the cancelled cruise.

Life at Sea has been contacted for comment.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected] .

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Ukraine war latest: Russian general 'blown up by landmine'; US official drops hint over likely timing of Putin peace deal

Vladimir Putin is unlikely to take any steps towards peace until the results of the US election, a top US official has said. Listen to a Sky News Daily podcast about the risk of war "fatigue" to Ukraine while you scroll.

Wednesday 29 November 2023 18:46, UK

  • Putin 'will not make peace in Ukraine until US election results'
  • Russian general 'blown up by landmine' - report
  • Russia has 'amassed large missile stockpile'
  • Bad weather slowing Russia's campaign to take Avdiivka
  • Russian man jailed for writing 'No to War' in snow
  • Finland closes entire border with Russia
  • Analysis: 'We won't put up with it' - Helsinki's message to Moscow
  • Explained: What is happening at key Avdiivka battleground?
  • Live reporting by Emily Mee

The French foreign ministry intends to complete a security agreement with Ukraine early next year.

Officials in Paris have been negotiating with Kyiv for months.

The agreement is intended to set out how support will flow from France to Ukraine on humanitarian and military aid, and financial assistance.

Spokesperson Anne-Claire Legendre said today she is hopeful of the bilateral security guarantee accord being finalised at the start of 2024.

As of 2pm local time today, Finland has closed its last remaining border crossing with Russia. 

Finland decided yesterday to close all border checkpoints over concerns Moscow is using migrants to wage "hybrid warfare" to destabilise the NATO country.

The Raja-Jooseppi crossing point in Finland's Arctic Lapland region is located some 250 kilometres (155 miles) from the northern Russian city of Murmansk. 

No migrants attempted to cross the border at the checkpoint today, a deputy commander with the Finnish Border Guard said.

Finnish authorities say some 1,000 migrants without visas or valid documentation have arrived at the border since August, which Helsinki has accused Russia of being behind. 

Media reports are suggesting a top Russian general has been killed at the frontline in Ukraine. 

Russian Major General Vladimir Zavadsky's death was reported by Ukrainian military officer Colonel Anatoly Stefan. 

Other reports have said he was blown up by a landmine. 

This has not yet been verified or confirmed by Russian officials - although Moscow rarely comments when its generals are killed. 

Turkey has told Sweden it expects to ratify its accession to the Western military alliance within weeks, Sweden's foreign minister has said. 

However, Turkey has denied it has given a timetable for the ratification. 

Sweden asked to join NATO last year alongside Finland, but Turkey blocked the bids due to its assertion the two countries were protecting groups it deems terrorist organisations. 

Turkey endorsed Finland's membership bid in April but still has not done the same for Sweden. 

Swedish foreign minister Tobias Billstrom said: "I had a bilateral with my colleague, the [Turkish] foreign minister... where he told me he expected the ratification to take place within weeks." 

A Turkish diplomatic source told Reuters news agency that foreign minister Hakan Fidan did not comment on a timeline for Sweden's accession during his bilateral talks.

Palestinian militant group Hamas says it has released two Russian citizens held hostage in the war-torn territory of Gaza at the request of Vladimir Putin.

"In response to the efforts of the Russian president, the Islamic resistance movement Hamas released on Wednesday two detainees holding Russian citizenship who were handed over to the Red Cross a short while ago," al Qassam Brigades, Hamas's military wing, said. 

The Red Cross then handed the two hostages over to representatives from the Russian foreign ministry, the statement added. 

The Ukrainian foreign minister has rejected a journalist's suggestion the war is in a stalemate. 

Taking questions on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in Brussels, Dmytro Kuleba told the reporter that "there is no stalemate" before moving on to another question.

Tensions previously arose between Ukraine's political and military leadership after the commander-in-chief of the country's armed forces suggested the war had reached a stalemate.

General Valery Zaluzhny said: "Just like in the First World War, we have reached the level of technology that puts us into a stalemate... there will most likely be no deep and beautiful breakthrough."

Volodymyr Zelenskyy later strongly rebuffed this and accused the general of making "the aggressor's job easier".

Russia's defence ministry claims its forces have taken control of a village in eastern Ukraine. 

Khromove, which Russia calls Artyomovskoe, is on the western outskirts of Bakhmut and had a pre-war population of 1,000 people. 

Sky News cannot immediately verify this report. 

Pictures have emerged of Russian military activity in the north of Bakhmut.

The Russian defence ministry shared images of military vehicles operating in the area and smoke rising into the sky. 

Bakhmut was captured by pro-Russian forces in May this year after months of intense fighting. 

A Ukrainian HIMARS strike on a police station in Russian-controlled territory has killed four officers and injured another 18, Russian state news agency TASS said. 

A local police spokesperson said five officers were critically wounded in the strike on a facility in the village of Yuvileine, Kherson.

Sky News is unable to independently verify this report. 

Fighting in the southern region has intensified in recent months, with Ukrainian forces making a number of incursions on the Russian-held eastern bank of the Dnipro river.

A Russian court has sentenced a man to 10 days in prison after he used his finger to write "No to War" in snow.

Dmitry Fyodorov was found to have written the note on a snow-covered turnstile at the entrance to an ice-skating rink at Moscow's Gorky Park on 23 November. 

Police who detained him decided his actions could amount to a civil offence under a law which targets anyone deemed to have acted publicly to discredit Russia's armed forces.

Russia has cracked down heavily on dissent since its invasion of Ukraine, and critics say nearly 20,000 people have been detained.

Mr Fyodorov, who admitted in court that he'd written the anti-war slogan, was handed 10 days in jail for disobeying the police and allegedly refusing to go to a police station, something he denied.

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europe cruise march 2023

DeSantis Faces Critical Decision on Cruise Ships in Key West

DeSantis Faces Critical Decision on Cruise Ships in Key West

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  • Environment

DeSantis Faces Critical Decision on Cruise Ships in Key West

Since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, when cruise ships filled with sickened passengers were blocked from U.S. ports, residents in Key West, Fla., have been trying to limit the size and number of vacation vessels on the tiny island, using the momentum created during the pandemic to argue for continuing restrictions on cruise vessels.

Activists flooded City Commission meetings, protested on the dock, collected signatures and managed to pass three ballot measures in 2020 imposing stricter controls to protect the marine environment and limit passengers to 1,500 a day — only to see the state Legislature, with the approval of Gov. Ron DeSantis, void the new restrictions the following year.

Now the wealthy hotelier who operates Key West’s cruise ship port is doubling down, asking the state for permission to expand, which would allow bigger ships with more passengers to operate legally out of the port.

The issue will soon land on the desk of Mr. DeSantis, who has received nearly $1 million in campaign donations from the pier’s owner. It represents a tough balancing act for the Republican governor, a 2024 presidential candidate who has touted his environmental record but has also been a booster of Florida’s tourism industry.

Safer Cleaner Ships, the organization behind the move to keep large cruise ships out of Key West, recently fired another salvo: It filed a whistle-blower lawsuit against the local port owner, Pier B Development Corp., citing state records it said showed the company had underpaid millions of dollars in state fees and taxes. The Florida attorney general’s office dismissed the suit in part on jurisdictional grounds, a decision that activists said was a sign of continuing state support for a campaign donor, the owner of one of the country’s largest private hotel chains.

For Mr. DeSantis, whose policies are under scrutiny during the presidential campaign, a decision on whether to authorize expanded cruise ship operations calls for weighing environmental concerns as well as potential revenues from his state’s biggest industry in a petition that comes from a major campaign donor.

The issue has been a contentious one in Key West, with many people whose livelihoods depend on cruise ship visitors accusing the ballot measure proponents of “class warfare” and of not welcoming the lower-income tourists who book passage on the giant vessels. Local retail outlets, tour guides and harbor pilots argued that hotels on the island are expensive and cruise ships open the area to people who might not otherwise be able to afford to visit.

The cruise industry, meanwhile, quietly funded a campaign against the 2020 ballot measures , The Miami Herald reported, warning residents that a reduction in cruise ship revenues could lead to drastic cuts in policing and other public services.

Before the pandemic, nearly a million people a year were visiting Key West aboard cruise ships. But when Covid-19 brought that to a halt, the city’s $2.4 billion tourism industry — responsible for 44 percent of its jobs — did not collapse.

Instead, hotel tax revenue rose 15 percent, and with 1.4 million arrivals, the airport set a record in 2021.

“People said, ‘If you limit cruise ships it will kill business! Jobs!’ That’s been proven false by the passage of time,” said Arlo Haskell, one of the anti-cruise ship group’s founders.

The activists have focused on the waters around the Florida Keys, which they argue improved significantly during the pandemic without a constant stream of cruise ships churning up sand and threatening coral reefs — an argument that resonated for a broad range of Key West residents.

Safer Cleaner Ships collected 2,500 signatures on the ballot measures to change the city charter; they each passed with majorities of over 60 percent.

In the months after the election, 11 companies owned by the pier operator, Mark Walsh, donated a total of nearly $1 million to Mr. DeSantis’s political committee, The Miami Herald revealed.

Months later, Mr. DeSantis signed legislation that prohibited any local ballot measure from restricting marine commerce. Opponents were outraged, with many publicly calling it “pay to play.”

Mr. DeSantis’s office declined to comment on the issue, as did Mr. Walsh, whose lawyer, however, said the companies’ donations were in support of the governor’s general pro-tourism stance, especially during Covid-19.

In response to concerns that cruise ships were damaging coral reefs, Mr. Walsh urged the city in a 2021 letter to “look at the science, and what is currently being done to restore the reef environment,” an effort to which he offered to contribute.

The city settled on a compromise, prohibiting ships from mooring at the two docks the city controls. That left the privately owned dock, Pier B, operated by Mr. Walsh’s company, as the only dock available to cruise vessels. The cutback resulted in a 50 percent drop in cruise ship traffic, an outcome the anti-cruise ship activists saw as positive but which tourism business owners described as a substantial blow.

Edwin O. Swift III, president of Historic Tours of America, said his business, which offers trolley tours of the city, has been down 40 percent.

“The whole thing is being mishandled by the politicians,” he said.

The Safer Cleaner Ships group decided to dig further into the cruise dock company’s operations, and after combing state databases, filed a lawsuit alleging that the company had misreported the revenue it had earned. Using the amount of disembarkation fees Pier B had paid to the city, the group calculated that the company had underpaid the state at least $5 million in lease payments and “hundreds of thousands more” in taxes from disembarkation fees. “That’s the public’s money,” Mr. Haskell said.

The lawsuit was filed under seal in 2022 as a whistle-blower case under the Florida False Claims Act, which empowers citizens to sue on behalf of state or local governments. The state attorney general’s office unsealed the suit last week, telling The Times that the state had investigated the matter and decided not to pursue the case.

Chase Sizemore, a spokesman for the office, said the group’s claims were not within the jurisdiction of the False Claims Act, and that many of the allegations regarding lease fees had been “investigated and lacked merit.” The tax revenue allegations, he said, had been referred to the appropriate agency for follow-up.

Jon Moore, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the agency that manages the lease, said a recent audit found “no issues” of concern related to the whistle-blower claims.

Pier B officials said they only recently learned of the tax and fees lawsuit. Matt Redstone, an assistant controller at Mr. Walsh’s company, Ocean Properties, said that it had paid all fees owed to the state.

Bart Smith, a lawyer who represents Mr. Walsh in Key West, said claims made by Safer Cleaner Ships in its lawsuit were “false and without merit,” adding that the company had corrected the manner in which it reported revenue.

“Unfortunately, there is one group who is willing to disparage and cast false statements or misrepresentations without consequence in order to meet their political aims and financial pursuits,” Mr. Smith said. “Pier B will continue its efforts to support the Key West community, environment and especially reef restoration in the Florida Keys.”

Already, ships larger than what is allowed under Pier B’s existing lease with the state have been docking in Key West, a fact that came to light when cruise ship opponents last year photographed a number of large ships docked at the pier and reported it to state and federal authorities.

Mark Kincaid, an engineering consultant who works for Mr. Walsh, acknowledged that ships larger than what was allowed under the lease were docking at the pier, a legacy of practices that he said began before the city closed its own docks to cruise ships.

The company’s latest request for more space is designed to bring it “into compliance” but will not make any practical difference, Mr. Kincaid said.

The state last year issued a temporary permit allowing the expansion to accommodate bigger ships, but it expires in June.

The issue of what, if any, environmental damage is caused by cruise ships continues to be a contentious one. Each side has competing scientists arguing its point.

William Precht, a coral reef specialist hired by Mr. Walsh, provided photographs showing living coral reefs even at the dock where the ships port. Any sand kicked up by the ships dissipates before it can damage the reefs, he said.

“In my 40 years of working on the Florida reef tract, there haven’t been any reefs killed by cruise ships,” he said.

The Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary, a federally administered agency charged with protecting waters in the area, said in a statement that studies showing healthy reefs growing vertically on the pier do not take into consideration the coral on the sea floor that may be harmed by sand churned up by the ships.

And other scientists have cautioned that the sand threatens even coral reefs that are further from the port. “That channel is not Vegas: What happens there doesn’t stay there,” said Henry O. Briceño, director of Florida International University’s Water Quality Monitoring Network, who conducted a study on the area that has been cited by cruise ship opponents. “What happens there goes to the coral reef.”

The governor, who has called the reefs a “state treasure,” is expected to make a decision with his cabinet in December.

The post DeSantis Faces Critical Decision on Cruise Ships in Key West appeared first on New York Times .

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