What are the Different Types of European Cruises?

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.

Baltic Sea cruises often stop in Stockholm, Sweden.
Baltic Sea cruises often stop in Stockholm, Sweden.

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.

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

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.

River cruises are popular throughout continental Europe.
River cruises are popular throughout continental Europe.

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.

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

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.

Many cruises in the Aegean Sea visit Santorini and other dramatic Greek islands.
Many cruises in the Aegean Sea visit Santorini and other dramatic Greek islands.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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