Mediterranean Europe has a long and proud sporting history, which makes it a perfect cruise destination for sports fans. Whether you love football or golf, rugby or tennis, take your pick of one of these Med cruises.
Photo Credit – DMussy
Royal Caribbean: 5 October 2014, 7 nights
ROUTE: Barcelona (Spa); Marseille (Fra); Villefranche (Fra); La Spezia (Ita); Rome (Ita); Naples (Ita); Barcelona (Spa)
This cruise offers a both club and international rugby union. Although it starts and ends in Barcelona, better known for a different code of football, its first stop is Marseilles. The local rugby union club here was the last home of legendary All Black winger Jonah Lomu, while it’s also close to Toulon, winner of both the 2013 and 2014 Heineken Cups when captained by Jonny Wilkinson. Go to watch Toulon today and you’ll still see big names like Frenchman Mathieu Bastareaud, South African Bryan Habana and Australian Drew Mitchell.
From here, the cruise continues down to Rome in Italy, which is where the national team play (at the Stadio Olimpico). While they are not currently a force at the highest level, an impressive showing at the 2013 Six Nations, where they beat France 23-18 and Ireland 22-15, showed they are going from strength to strength.
Photo Credit – Pablo Herrero
Costa Cruises: 26 October 2014, 9 nights
ROUTE: Savona (Ita) – Malaga (Spa) – Casablanca (Mor); Cádiz (Spa);
Lisbon (Por) – Valencia, Barcelona (Spa); Savona (Ita)
This cruise takes in some of the best golfing in Continental Europe. It starts and ends in the Italian port of Savona, within reach of the Robert Trent Jones-designed Royal Park I Roveri, one of Italy’s most challenging courses. Then it makes the first of two stops in Andalusia, Spain, which has some of the finest golf courses in Europe, including the Valderrama, home of the 1997 Ryder Cup, and the spectacular seaside Sotogrande.
Next is Casablanca in Morocco (a short trip from the Gary Player-designed Mazagan golf course) and Lisbon in Portugal (close to the famous championship golf course Praia del Rey), before the cruise ship swings back around to drop anchor on the Spanish coast again. First, Valencia serves up El Saler – once voted the best course in Continental Europe – followed by Barcelona with arguably Spain’s top golf course, PGA Catalunya.
Photo Credit – Antonio Cinotti
Cunard: 14 November 2014, 7 nights
ROUTE: Rome, Florence/Pisa (Ita); Monte Carlo (Mon); Provence (Fra); Barcelona (Spa); Rome (Ita)
The Olympic Games began life on the Mediterranean coast, as Olympia in Ancient Greece put on a series of Olympiads, involved varied sports such as sprints, long-distance foot races, boxing and wrestling. Although the next two Summer Olympics take place outside of Europe, there are other ways to see big international athletics competitions in the Med – and this cruise takes in some of the best. It starts and ends in Rome, which in June 2015, will host Europe’s first Diamond League meeting of the year – and will later visit Monte Carlo in Monaco, which has its own Diamond League meeting the following month. For the uninitiated, the IAFF Diamond League is a series of track-and-field events that are each vital a part of the athletics calendar.
In between these two Diamond League highlights, the cruise also stops in Florence and Barcelona, home to two of the continent’s most picturesque marathons; while another stop in Provence means cruisers will be within reach of the 2015 World Masters Athletics Championships in Lyon. All in all, the ideal athletics cruise.
Photo Credit – Alessandro Silipo
Norwegian Cruise Line: 14 January 2015, 10 nights
ROUTE: Rome (Ita) – Olympia, Athens, Ephesus (Gre) – Kusadasi, Izmir, Istanbul (Tur) – Naples, Rome (Ita)
There’s no better cruise for football fans, as this itinerary takes in four of the Med’s most traditional soccer cities. It starts and ends in Rome, where Serie A incumbents Roma and Lazio vie for supremacy at the Stadio Olimpico. Then it continues on to Athens in Greece, where one-time European Cup finalists Panathinaikos now rule the roost over fallen giant AEK Athens. And next comes Istanbul, home to three icons of European football – Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and Be?ikta? – and probably the most boisterous fans on the continent.
Last but not least, on its way back to Rome, the ship stops at Naples – home to the one-and-only Napoli. With two Serie titles, five Coppa Italia wins and one UEFA Cup victory, it is the most successful football club in Southern Italy. Take a stadium tour while you have a chance – they are currently looking for a new home!
Photo Credit – DWS
P&O Cruises: 22 April 2015, 7 nights
ROUTE: Venice (Ita); Kotor (Mon); Kerkyra (Cor); Rome (Ita); Monte Carlo (Mon); Genoa (Ita)
There may not be any Grand Slams on the Mediterranean coast, but there are two men’s tournaments from the next category down – the ATP World Tour Masters. This cruise will allow you to visit both of these.
The first tennis-related stop on the tour is Rome, home of the Italian Open, which has been held in the Foro Italico sports complex every May since 1930. This clay-court event has been won a record seven times by Rafael Nadal – though he lost in the most recent final to Novak Djokovic (who has won three times himself). The cruise then continues to Monaco, home of the Monte-Carlo Masters. It is also a clay court event, held just before Rome, and has also been dominated by Nadal – he won eight in a row between 2005 and 2012! So any tennis fans – or, indeed, any Rafael Nadal fans – might want to book their place on this cruise today.
All of these cruises are available to book now through Bolsover Cruise Club, so get in touch with us today.