Battle of the cruises: the Med versus the Caribbean
By Anna Bird
The Med and the Caribbean: they're the classic cruise destinations. But if we pinned you down and made you choose, which would be your favourite? Both regions have so much to offer, whether you want to feel the sand between your toes or immerse yourself in local culture. Just for fun, we've taken a look at each destination's best bits, so you could pick if you really had to.
Have an adventure
Mediterranean cruises: Experience something amazing in the Med. Try exhilarating helicopter flights over iconic cityscapes and island scenery. Explore a subterranean world in Majorca's beautiful Caves of Drach. Climb active volcanoes like Mounts Etna and Vesuvius in Italy. And discover breathtaking scenery on an enlightening jeep safari.
Caribbean cruises: The Caribbean is home to some amazing wildlife, so make the most of it. Swim with dolphins for a real once-in-a-lifetime experience. Journey to the bottom of the sea on a fascinating submarine tour or go whale watching and hope to see these amazing creatures leap out of the water. Head into the rainforest on a canopy adventure or climb Jamaica's famous Dunns River Falls.
Uncover the past
Mediterranean cruises: The Med positively bubbles over with ancient history. See dramatic ruins sitting side-by-side with contemporary life in Rome, from the Colisseum to the Roman forum. Explore the amazing remains of Pompeii and Herculaneum, cities devoured by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius over 2,000 years ago. Or visit the many historical sites of Greece and Cyprus, most famously Athens' Acropolis.
Caribbean cruises: From pirates to colonialism, the Caribbean has a multi-layered history of its own. You'll often find yourselves following in the footsteps of Christopher Columbus, in places like the Dominican Republic's capital, Santo Domingo, which he founded. The islands are dotted with colonial forts and reminders of the slave trade, including the sugar plantations where Africans were forced to work.
Mediterranean cruises: Home to so much of the world's iconic art and architecture, the Mediterranean has more than a few cultural wonders to keep you busy. Feast your eyes on the Michaelangelos and da Vincis in Florence's Uffizi Gallery, admire Barcelona's dazzling structural design, wander around Dubrovnik's city walls and visit the glamorous casinos of Monte Carlo.
Caribbean cruises: With colourful resorts, vibrant towns and a carnival spirit, Caribbean cruises will introduce you to the laidback lifestyle of these feel-good islands. Experience the British traditions of Barbados, covet the pretty pastel-coloured buildings of the Bahamas, and soak up the reggae rhythms of Jamaica, the proud home of Bob Marley.
Mediterranean cruises: The Med's filled to the brim with stylish shopping. Take a day trip to Milan and spend a fortune in the designer boutiques, poke around quirky shops in Barcelona or bargain-hunt in Ibiza's bohemian markets. From the Greek islands to the French Riviera, Mediterranean resorts are home to quaint seaside shopping, from countless leather bags to traditional pottery.
Caribbean cruises: If you're looking for a bargain, you're in the right place. The Caribbean's duty-free shopping gives you the perfect excuse to treat yourself to something sparkly, with fabulous jewellery including big names from Cartier to Tiffany's. Choose from pretty trinkets in silver, diamonds, or local amber and larimar, an unusual turquoise stone found in the Dominican Republic.
Food and drink
Mediterranean cruises: Home to freshly caught seafood, juicy citrus fruit, tasty olives and ripe tomatoes, not to mention the local wines; every place you visit in the Med has its very own culinary style. Enjoy leisurely meals in Spanish tapas bars, Italian trattorias, Greek tavernas and French bistros, and be sure to sample the ice cream in every port you visit. If your cruise offers them, wine tasting tours and cookery classes are a great way to discover local flavours.
Caribbean cruises: Caribbean cuisine has a totally tropical taste, made with only the freshest ingredients and a pinch or two of spice. Think tasty fish caught that very morning, dishes with a kick like barbecued Jerk chicken and delicious exotic fruit from pineapple to papaya. Try a bit of everything, from lobster in exclusive restaurants to conch fritters from roadside stalls, and wash it all down with the famous local rum.
Hit the beach
Mediterranean cruises: Whether you want to pose on the shores to be seen on or relax in secluded coves, the Med has the beach for you. Expect golden sands made for your bucket and spade and wide promenades perfect for a seaside stroll. Mediterranean cruises offer some of the best beaches in the business, including those on the French and Italian Rivieras and the Balearic and Greek islands.
Caribbean cruises: This is what people come to the Caribbean for. The islands' beaches are what paradise is made of, with their sugary white shores, swaying palm trees and turquoise seas. Find pure escapism on the pink sands of the Bahamas, catch a boat to sandy islets like the Dominican Republic's Cayo Levantado and enjoy the party atmosphere of the beaches of Jamaica and Barbados.
Make a splash
Mediterranean cruises: You'll find plenty of fun-filled water parks all over the Med, so you can whizz down slides, float around lazy rivers and splash about in wave pools to your heart's content. Make the most of the beautiful blue sea and take a tour on a catamaran, spend a day sailing or try out the watersports closer to shore, from windsurfing to parasailing.
Caribbean cruises: See colourful fishes darting beneath you on a glass bottom boat, as you float above intricate coral reefs. Or jump into the clear, warm waters of the Caribbean and swim with them yourselves: this part of the world is famous for its snorkelling and scuba diving. For an adrenaline rush, try river tubing and float along in an inflatable dinghy.
No, we can't decide either. Looks like we'll just have to try both. Check out the best Caribbean cruises and Mediterranean cruises at Cruise.co.uk
Anna Bird is travel copywriter at Click with Technology, a cutting-edge travel website provider.
CWT offers a range of services to the travel industry, including professional programming, cutting-edge web design, search engine marketing and creative content writing
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Views expressed in the article are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of CaribbeanChoice, its staff or members.