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Eastern Mediterranean cruise review with MSC

The windmills of Mykonos, the Akropolis of Athens, and the picturesque canals of Venice awaited the passengers on the Eastern Mediterranean cruise route of the MSC Magnifica. A luxurious vessel, launched in 2009 and belonging to the Musica-class of cruise ships took us on a fabulous adventure across the Eastern Mediterranean sea. Spoiled with the best food and surrounded by pure luxury we set sail in Venice and headed towards Bari. Keep on reading to learn more about my first (but not last) cruise experience in this Eastern Mediterranean cruise review.

Eastern mediterranean cruise review collage of pictures greece and italy

First port of call: Venice

After a short and well-organized embarkation process and a mandatory safety drill, it was finally time to explore the ship a bit and check out our cabin. We had a modern and comfy inside cabin. I was absolutely not bothered by the lack of windows in our cabin. The complete darkness made me fall into a super deep and relaxing sleep every night.

Our first stop on the ship was checking out the buffet with endless amounts of delicious food served almost 24/7. We grabbed some cocktails and went to the upper deck while our vessel sailed out of the beautiful canals of Venice. We had an amazing view of the city while we enjoyed our first meal.

In the evening we found ourselves in one of the more formal restaurants for a three coursed dinner. We were seated at a bigger table with other German speakers. So, we quickly made new acquaintances and shared stories about former trips. The food during dinner settings is definitely next level. There is quite a choice for every course, and you are not limited to only choosing one. Needless to say, we gained quite some weight on our first cruise.

Eastern mediterranean cruise first stop Venice canals

Next port of call: Bari

Bari is a beautiful city in the Italian region Puglia. After the ship was anchored we were allowed to disembark and explore the city by ourselves. Sadly the weather was not great so we decided to make this a small shopping trip. The city of Bari was very lovely, it combined seaside charm with archaeological and historical richness.

The cruise company itself offered day trips to Matera, Alberobella, the Caves of Castellana and Polignano al Mare. Since we are not big fans of guided tours we opted out of booking official excursions.

In hindsight, I have to add that even though following a guided excursion might seem very touristic, it can be pretty practical. Spontaneously organizing transportation to further away places does not always work out nicely. Plus you always have to keep in mind to be back in time before the ship leaves.

Hello, Greece!

After another night of blissful sleep under deck, we woke up on the shores of the Peloponnesian sea about to dock in the famous town of Katakolon. A short cab ride away we discovered the beautiful ruins of the UNESCO world heritage of Olympia.

This is one of the most important archaeological sites in the history of Greece. You can see the hippodrome, the Temple of Zeus, the gymnasium, and the great stadium. Back on shore we spent some time oceanside, enjoying the beautiful blue Ionian sea and eating some ice cream.

Collage of 4 pictures and text Eastern Mediterranean cruise review

Visit the dramatic ruins of the Parthenon on the Acropolis

Our next stop Athens proved to be one of my favorite stops. The port of Piräus is just outside the city of Athens and only a small cab ride away. We usually found nice people from the boat that wanted to share a ride with us at every port.

We wandered around the beautiful city of Athens and climbed the Acropolis. As students back then we did not have to pay an entrance fee.

The view was simply magical and we enjoyed diving deep into the history of Greece. After a coffee with an amazing view of the Acropolis we headed back to our ship to continue our journey.

Acropolis of Athens

See the famous white windmills of Mykonos

After a huge breakfast at our favorite buffet, we headed out to the island of Mykonos. The island is fairly small and we could easily explore it on foot. We saw the beautiful and famous white windmills of Mykonos. Then, we wandered along the picturesque streets and finally enjoyed a coffee overlooking the stunning turquoise sea.

Mykonos ended up being my favorite port during the cruise. Everything on the island was very relaxed and we could really take in the beautiful scenery without a rush. Sadly we had to leave after a beautiful day of exploring and headed towards our last stop, Dubrovnik.


Discover Kings Landing (Dubrovnik) – last port Eastern Mediterranean Cruise

I admit, when we arrived in Dubrovnik, I had never heard of the famous TV show Game of Thrones. I was simply happy to discover the beautiful little city, with its ruins overlooking the Adriatic Sea.

The town is filled with 16th-century buildings and beautiful limestone streets. You can discover a beautiful Gothic-Renaissance Church or simply walk along the city’s rooftop wall.

The most famous attraction of the city is definitely the Game of Thrones walking tour. You can see all the fantastic spots where the series was filmed. I would have definitely taken that tour if I had known the series back then.

Walls of Dubrovnik, Aerial shot
Credit: Pexels

All good things come to an end – Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Review

After a fun day in Dubrovnik we headed back towards Venice. I absolutely enjoyed my first cruise and I have already decided that it was not gonna be my last.

The cruise ship was luxurious, the food was amazing and the common areas were very relaxed. There are always things to do or explore on the giant swimming hotel, so a feeling of claustrophobia will never have a chance to creep in. Learn more about MSC.

Lastly, I have to admit, that there were a lot of retired people on that particular cruise, because it was in the middle of the off-season. In general, I would say that cruising is becoming a lot more popular amongst young people. I have definitely made some great friends and celebrated some amazing parties on board of cruise liners.

I can definitely vouch for cruises being a very luxurious and nice way to travel. Seeing a new city or even country every day leaves you speechless. It gives you a huge amount of impressions in a relatively short amount of time.

The interior of the entire MSC fleet strongly resembles a luxury resort. It fulfills every wish you could possibly have after a long day of exploring or a relaxing day at sea.

What is the best month to cruise the Eastern Mediterranean?

Personally, I would strongly recommend going in May, June or September. The months of July and August are the busiest months of the year. Therefore the ships are very crowded. Also, it can become quite hot during the day, so exploring might be very hard on the body. There are no school holidays in the off-season in Europe, so the chance of many children is also small.

However, I would not recommend visiting before May or after September. With the winds on deck, it can become too chilly to fully enjoy the experience on the ship. While inside pools are nice, nothing beats lying on the cruise deck and watching the ocean on a sunny day!


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