The Eastern Med, a history-stuffed region at the crossroads of where Europe meets Asia, is a must-see for those who want to explore the ancient world. It's not all blasts from the past though; there are plenty of vibrancy and vigor around for those who thrive on more modern energy.
The islands of dramatic Greece, shaped by the sea and the elements, spill over in myth, history and geological drama. Every island has its own inimitable personality, from Santorini, the sunken part of which is said to be the mythical lost land of Atlantis, to Mykonos, which not only appeals to younger visitors with its nightlife, but also has plenty of art, culture and history. Then there's Corfu, known for its great beauty, and Athens, dominated by the Acropolis and Parthenon -- structures that have been around for centuries.
Turkey is like an open museum, home to some of the world's oldest archaeological ruins, as well as glorious beaches and plenty of culture. Kusadasi is the port city for Ephesus, where the Temple of Artemis was one of the Wonders of the Ancient World, while Izmir, once called Smyrna and rumored to be where Homer was born, has a bustling commercial center and is athrob with opportunities to eat, drink and relax. Immense Istanbul, the capital, has a mind-boggling mass of palaces, temples, mosques and markets to discover.
Read on to discover more of what a cruise to the Eastern Mediterranean entails.
--By Gilly Pickup, Cruise Critic contributor