This year’s selection for the top ten Mediterranean ports has been released with Barcelona stealing the top spot. The CRUISE Show’s panel of 14 judges, comprised of leading experts from the cruising industry, recognised the increasing popularity of the region and compiled the list in time for the CRUISE Show, to be held at Olympia, London on 27-28 March.
Top contenders included Venice, Ibiza and Istanbul, all ports which have benefitted from the increasing popularity of Mediterranean cruises. According to the Passenger Shipping Association, 2010 saw over 600 000 Britons cruising the region, a number expected to increase in upcoming years. This year, an unprecedented number of cruise ships will be stopping in the region, a fact the experts attribute to the history, the beaches, and the proximity of the cities to the United Kingdom.
Top 10 Mediterranean Ports
Barcelona: “What a city! So much to do and see, with so much culture, restaurants to suit all tastes and amazing shopping – everything from local markets to designer shops.”
Stephen Moffett, MSC
Venice: “Arriving or leaving Venice by ship is a “must”, as is visiting the city. Being there is simply amazing. Cultural enthusiasts, casual sightseers and shoppers alike are more than catered for as there is so much to do and see.”
Lol Nichols, Fred Olsen
Ibiza: “The island is one of my all-time favourite places as it’s stylish and sophisticated, yet laid back and chilled. Take a taxi to one of the fabulous beaches in the south and head into Ibiza Town for a late afternoon drink.”
Jonathan Beaumont, Travel Channel
Mykonos, Greece: “One of the most cosmopolitan islands in Greece, known for its sandy beaches and diverse and intense nightlife. Sit in the shadow of a café and watch as native fishermen and jet-set Europeans pass by.”
Andy Harmer, Windstar
Istanbul: “The port exemplifies the meeting of east and west with its majestic domes and soaring minarets. Immerse yourself in the vibrant and fragrant Grand Bazaar or visit the iconic St Sophia or Blue Mosque.”
Joanna Boxall, Cunard
Dubrovnik: “A beautiful idyllic setting which rightfully earns the city the title of “The Pearl of the Adriatic”. The cobbled streets and terraces in the old town are reminiscent of Venice without the water.”
Claire Riches, NCL
Santorini: “One of the few really touristic ports of call that delivers everything it promises; charming tavernas, an adventure-laden opportunity to ride donkeys up a steep mountain and spectacular cliff-top views.”
Carolyn Spencer Brown, Cruise Critic
Portofino: “Candy-coloured houses and designer shops packed around a tiny harbour that’s a favourite of the rich and famous. Climb the steep, pine-clad hills for views of your ship then treat yourself to an Italian ice cream.”
Kelly Brooks, Star Clippers
Corfu: “The port is close to the fascinating and large old town with its labyrinth of shops, tavernas and bars. A great base for exploring this beautiful Greek island with it stunning beaches and crystal blue seas.”
William Gibbons, Passenger Shipping Association
Villefranche: “I fell in love the first time I saw this French seaside town and my feelings have never changed. Sitting by the water, a glass of wine in hand, listening to the gentle lapping of the waves is truly heaven on earth.”
Jane Archer, freelance cruise journalist.
The CRUISE Show features all of the major and specialist cruise lines. It takes place at The Grand Hall, Olympia on Saturday, March 26, from 10am-5pm and on Sunday, March 27, from 10am-4pm.
For full details and to book tickets call visit www.cruisingshow.co.uk or call 0871 620 4024.
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