From the pristine beaches and ancient ruins of the Eastern Mediterranean to the artsy and flavorful countries of the Western Mediterranean, this region is easily one of the most diverse in the world. Revel at Spanish and Italian architecture, soak up some sun in Greece, explore antiquities in Istanbul and Malta or get a taste of the French countryside on the outskirts of Nice, Monte Carlo or Cannes. Some Med itineraries dip down into northern Africa; the Canary Islands are also a popular stop for repositioning cruises.

What is the best time to cruise to the Mediterranean?

The Mediterranean is part of Europe, and as such, summer is the most popular time to cruise, but sailings are offered through the shoulder seasons of spring and fall -- and even into December. The late autumn months can be surprisingly mild, and are a much calmer time to cruise to the Med. For more information: Best Months to Cruise the Mediterranean.

What cruise lines go to the Mediterranean?

A wide variety of large, small and luxury lines cruise the romantic ports of the Mediterranean. These include Viking Ocean Cruises, Norwegian, MSC, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Holland America, Crystal and Azamara.

What are some things to do in the Mediterranean?

Cruises to the Mediterranean are typically divided into Eastern and Western itineraries. The Western Med includes Italy, Monaco, France and Spain, with plenty of museums, culinary tours, wineries, cathedrals and architecture to ogle. The Eastern Mediterranean contains historic attractions including the ruins of Greece and Turkey, along with sacred sites in Israel or active pursuits hiking Montenegro or Croatia. For more: Best Western Mediterranean Shore Excursions.

Do you need a passport to take a cruise to the Mediterranean?

Yes.

What should I pack for a cruise to the Mediterranean?

Be sure to pack comfortable clothing -- and especially shoes -- for long days of sightseeing. However, Europeans tend to dress with a bit of panache; to fit in, pack a stylish scarf or hat, and maybe leave your lanyards and socks and sandals at home.