Backpackers might not think of cruising as an option, but for Europe there are some excellent advantages.
You save on local transport, accommodation on the boats includes all your food and entertainment and the cruise boat docks close to most of the main sights. If you look around there are some very low fares on offer for Med cruising.
For most ports, cruise liners dock very close to the city centre and often an easy walk to the main tourist sights. Where time is short all the cruise companies offer short tours that meet the boat and drop you back in time to continue the cruise.
One of the big questions is which route to take and probably best chosen by looking at the various cruises on offer. Some cruises are one way and others a return journey. A one way cruise is an excellent way to save money and to travel from say Athens to Barcelona and then continue backpacking overland.
For cruises in the Eastern Mediterranean means stops in the Greek Islands, Turkey, Egypt, Croatia, and Cyprus. The main starting ports are Venice and Athens but there are others and many combinations that you can take.
The Western Mediterranean covers Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Morocco, and Tunisia with starting points in cities that include Rome and Barcelona.
Most cruises vary in length from a week to the longer four weeks cruises where all the main Mediterranean ports are taken in and the cruise will cover both Europe and North Africa. For backpackers the week long cruises offer good value and will cover many of the main places that most of us want to visit.
The main cruise season is between April and October although some winter cruises are offered.
There are so many cruise ports and hard to pick the best.
A few that stand out are Nice in France with the long beach front and many cafes. Close by is Monaco the second smallest country in the world.
Florence in Italy is not a port but served by Livorno about an hour away and a popular cruise destination. Rome is well worth seeing and a good place to start a cruise. Naples is the entry port for Pompeii and Mount Venus. Venice is one of the must see places and the cruise boat docks close to the many attractions.
In Greece Santorini with the white washed stone buildings and blue roofs makes the perfect postcard. Athens of course is one of those places that most backpackers want to see and served by the port of Piraeus a short train read from the centre of Athens.
Many cruise ships stop in Corfu the second biggest Ionian Island.
Barcelona makes the perfect starting point or end point. There is much to see in Barcelona and a cruise stop over might not be long enough.