What's hot this year in Europe's playground
The popularity of Mediterranean cruising shows no sign of slowing down, with a host of new ports, excursions and itineraries. Jo Austin goes in search of the best in the Med
If my worries about seasickness are ever going to be put to at bed then this is surely the moment. My evening departure from Piraeus, outside Athens, onboard the five-star Hapag-Lloyd
Europa 2 is so seamless that it is not until the early hours that I notice the open sea out of my window and realise we are on the move.
This is a ship built for the utmost comfort and on my island-hopping Mediterranean journey to Palermo my only bumpy ride is on the ship’s rib, when I am invited to circumnavigate the ship to get a fish-eye view from below her bows. I am glad I have left my camera behind!
After an alfresco breakfast in the Yacht Club Restaurant I take a look at the “Programme of the Day” that has been slipped under my cabin door and choose a shore excursion on the picture-postcard island of Santorini.
One of Greece’s most stunning islands is easily reached via a simple boat ride.
Looking down from the cliff-top into the caldera in the crystal waters of the Adriatic, I am reminded that
Santorini is still an active volcano.
I buy myself an ice cream and a brimmed straw hat and start exploring the streets of
Oia, with their white churches and iconic blue domes, which are thronging with tourists.
Drawing the crowds
Cruising in the Mediterranean continues to attract record numbers and it remains Brits’ favourite cruising destination with plenty of departures out of UK ports. While overcrowding in some ports has made a few headlines, the flip side is that some operators are now moving into new ports – such as Crystal’s maiden calls to Menorca, Monopoli and Galipoli.
Says Andy Harmer, Senior Vice-President of Membership and Director CLIA UK and Ireland: “Cruise ships are one of the more high-profile and easy-to-target flash points
From left: A view of the harbour of Kotor, Montenegro, Above: A house with flowers in Monopoli, Italy