Explore the Mediterranean By Land and Sea

written by | Posted on January 8th, 2013

Norwegian Jade.

Cruise lines are expanding options for travelers throughout the Mediterranean, introducing new shore excursions, ports of call and itineraries for the year that lies ahead.

Travelers looking to explore Italy can choose from Norwegian Cruise Line’s new Italian Cruisetours, in-depth land tours that can be added on to the Norwegian Jade’s 7-day Eastern Mediterranean & Greek Isles or Adriatic cruises from Venice or Norwegian Epic’s 7-day Eastern Mediterranean cruises from Civitavecchia, Italy.

“Italy is an amazing destination that offers so many unique experiences,” says Kevin Sheehan, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line. “With our new Europe cruise tours, Norwegian guests now have the opportunity to travel into the heart of the country and explore the authentic side of Italy along with their cruise.”

The tours are offered in association with Gate 1 Travel and feature an English-speaking Italian tour manager, first-class hotels, time for optional exploring, whisper technology-enhanced touring, some meals including wine and mineral water, and air-conditioned motor coach transportation.

Travelers can also choose from the 15-day Classic Italy Cruisetour, which starts in Venice and goes to Pisa, Florence and Rome, with rates starting at $2,688 pp for a balcony stateroom on Norwegian Epic; the 14-day Wine & Art of Northern Italy Cruisetour, which goes through the wine region of Piedmont and into Cinque Terre and Parma, with rates starting at $3,085 pp for a balcony stateroom on Norwegian Jade; the 5-day Italian Lakes & Parma, which highlights Milan and Parma, as well as Bellagio and Lake Como; and the 11-day Rome & The Vatican, which starts at $1,774 pp for a balcony stateroom on the Norwegian Epic, and takes guests into historical sites in Rome and Vatican City.

For more information, call (866) 234-7350 or visit ncl.com.

Louis Cruises is offering new shore excursions for its 8-day, 7-night Greece and Turkey itinerary, which includes a new overnight stay in Mykonos. The cruise has four new excursions—two in Greece and two in Turkey.

Cape Sounion & the Temple of Poseidon ($51 for adults; $30 for children) is a half-day excursion in Lavrion, Greece that takes visitors to the Temple of Poseidon. On the full-day Byzantine Heritage & Bazaars tour ($90 for adults; $51 for children), visitors are taken through Istanbul on a sightseeing drive through the business center; the Kariye Museum; the spice market for lunch and shopping; and to the Grand Bazaar. Ancient Ephesus & The Terrace Houses ($77 for adults; $46 for children) is a half-day excursion in Kusadasi, Turkey and travelers can see excavations at the ancient site, including monuments like the Forum and the Library of Celsus. Lastly, St. John’s Monastery & Grotto of the Apocalypse ($59 for adults; $33 for children) takes visitors on a half-day excursion in Patmos to the UNESCO site of The Monastery of Saint John the Theologian in the village of Chora and to the Grotto of the Apocalypse.

Smart Rates start at $1,069 pp including port charges of $262. For more information, call (877) 568-4787 or visit louiscruises.com.

Crystal Cruises is now offering visits to Canakkale, Turkey; La Spezia, Italy; and Castellon de la Plana, Spain with 7- to 13-day itineraries.

“New adventures are part of Crystal’s signature travel experience, even in such a popular cruising area as the Mediterranean,” says Jack Anderson, senior v.p. of sales and marketing.  “After sailing for more than two decades, we’re thrilled to still be finding novel destinations for our guests to discover, and combine them with much beloved locales to which they also love returning, time and time again.”

On the 13-day Mediterranean Medley from Rome to Lisbon on Crystal Serenity, guests can go on the new Crystal Adventures Gaudi Jewel: The Church at Colonia Guell excursion ($99), a 4-hour trip that allows visitors to take in the colony, located near Barcelona, and the church designed by Antoni Gaudi. Meanwhile, on the 7-day Monte Carlo to Barcelona Cote d’Azur Collection voyage, travelers can go on the Historic Hanbury Botanical Garden excursion ($107) to see the gardens located in Italy near Ventimiglia or see the Village of St. Agnes & WWII Fort in the medieval village in France ($148).

All-inclusive Book Now fares start at $3,110 pp when booked by Feb. 28. For more information, call (800) 446-6625 or visit crystalcruises.com.