What are the Different Types of European Cruises?

Elise Czajkowski
Elise Czajkowski

European cruises come in many variations. The most common types are Mediterranean, Northern European, and river cruises throughout continental Europe. There are also transatlantic cruises starting in the United States.

Istanbul, Turkey, might be a stop on an Eastern Mediterranean cruise.
Istanbul, Turkey, might be a stop on an Eastern Mediterranean cruise.

Most Mediterranean cruises are categorized as western or eastern Mediterranean. Western Mediterranean cruises typically travel to Spain, France, and Italy. Some go as far west as Portugal. They will often begin and end in Barcelona or Rome. Popular destinations for a western Mediterranean cruise are the French Riviera, Naples, Gibraltar, and Lisbon.

The Mediterranean Sea offers an assortment of European cruises.
The Mediterranean Sea offers an assortment of European cruises.

Other European cruises tour the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Often, these cruises will also include Italy, commonly beginning in Rome. These cruises will normally visit Greece, Turkey, and Croatia. Common stops include Athens, Olympia, Dubrovnik, Istanbul, and some of the Greek Isles.

Some cruises tour the Black Sea. These tours often include many of the same stops as an eastern Mediterranean tour, including Greece, Turkey, and Croatia. In addition, a Black Sea cruise will commonly stop in the Ukraine and Bulgaria.

Estonia might be visited on a northern European cruise.
Estonia might be visited on a northern European cruise.

Northern European cruises include several different tours. A popular northern cruise tours Scandinavia, often with a focus on Norwegian fjords. The fjords are inlets off the western coast of Norway. Other popular destinations on a Scandinavian tour are Copenhagen, Oslo, and Helsinki.

Another popular northern cruise is the Baltic Sea. This tour allows for stops in major Scandinavian cities like Copenhagen, Helsinki and Stockholm, while also stopping in Russia and other Baltic countries such as Estonia. These tours often visit St. Petersburg.

Many European cruises tour the British Isles, visiting England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. These tours will often leave from London. Common stops along the way are Dublin, Belfast, Edinburgh, and Loch Ness.

Visitors to Paris often take cruises along the River Seine.
Visitors to Paris often take cruises along the River Seine.

River cruises throughout Europe are another option. River cruises travel major rivers such as the Seine, the Danube, and the Rhine. Since many European capitals are built on rivers, this option creates the the opportunity to visit many capital cities in one trip.

Transatlantic cruises are another popular option for European cruises. These typically depart from a city on the eastern coast of the US and dock in any number of western European cities in the UK, France, Spain or Italy. Often, these cruises will include a stop at a mid-Atlantic island, such as Bermuda.

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    • Istanbul, Turkey, might be a stop on an Eastern Mediterranean cruise.
      By: EvrenKalinbacak
      Istanbul, Turkey, might be a stop on an Eastern Mediterranean cruise.
    • The Mediterranean Sea offers an assortment of European cruises.
      By: Mikael Damkier
      The Mediterranean Sea offers an assortment of European cruises.
    • Estonia might be visited on a northern European cruise.
      By: Scanrail
      Estonia might be visited on a northern European cruise.
    • Visitors to Paris often take cruises along the River Seine.
      By: Doin Oakenhelm
      Visitors to Paris often take cruises along the River Seine.
    • Baltic Sea cruises often stop in Stockholm, Sweden.
      By: lesniewski
      Baltic Sea cruises often stop in Stockholm, Sweden.
    • Many cruises in the Aegean Sea visit Santorini and other dramatic Greek islands.
      By: scasti11
      Many cruises in the Aegean Sea visit Santorini and other dramatic Greek islands.
    • River cruises are popular throughout continental Europe.
      By: ilynx_v
      River cruises are popular throughout continental Europe.