• Vivo Travel Design

These immersive Mediterranean experiences go beyond the ordinary

Imagine the warm Adriatic air, a citrus-scented breeze, or a sunny afternoon ride through the Provençal countryside with the top down. I know, it’s hard to resist: The Mediterranean has long inspired and beckoned travelers.

And while Mediterranean aspirations may currently look more like homemade Aperol spritzes in our own kitchens rather than butler-delivered ones on cruise-ship balconies, I can’t wait to get back to the Italian coast, taking in those colorful cliffsides from the sea.

If you’re dreaming of a late 2021 or 2022 voyage that calls on one of the region’s many ports, now is the time to plan on a Mediterranean cruise for generous cancellation policies, extra perks and the best availability.

These nine experiences below are just a small sampling of what a Mediterranean cruise can offer. Oceania’s Go Local, Food & Wine Trails, and Wellness Discovery tours let cruisers dive deeper into the Med – through ancient bodies of water, into the kitchens of soon-to-be friends, and well beyond anything expected.

Soak in a pearl bath in Kotor. Founded in 1949, Montenegro’s Igalo Institute offers peloid spa treatments that use mineral-rich healing mud from the Bay of Igalo. A circulation-boosting “pearl bath” hydromassage, in which bubbles wrap around the body like a string of pearls, follows.

Eat like the Florentines do. In Florence’s hip Oltrarno district, travelers will be ushered into an 1870s cast-iron building that houses the two-level San Lorenzo Market filled with mouthwatering Florentine delicacies – there will be lampredotto, cheese, salami, gelato, and so much more.

Tap into the healing powers of honeybees in Seville. On a family-run beekeeping farm in the countryside outside of Cádiz, Spain, travelers can sample natural apitherapy products and try a holistic apitherapy wellness session, which uses bee honey, venom, pollen, and other ingredients.

Pedal through the Valencia suburbs. Admire the thirteenth-century buildings in residential El Cabanyal, then continue to the seaside agricultural town of Alboraya for some paella-tasting. Travelers will finish with a breath of salt air as they cycle the promenade on Malvarrosa Beach.

Soak up history in Rome’s thermal baths. Dante, Michaelangelo, and many Roman pontiffs once idled in the salt, calcium, and magnesium-packed waters of the ‘Terme dei Papi,” or the Thermal Baths of the Popes estate fed by the Bullicame spring. The outdoor pool stretches more than 20,000 square feet.

Sniff out black truffles in Provence. With a truffle-hunting dog at their side, travelers will help search for the “diamonds of the kitchen” outside the village of Rognes. The guide may shave pieces off the truffle you just found so you can taste them right there in the woods and also taste them later prepared in different ways and paired with wines from the region. Be well on Corfu. On a centuries-old estate on Greece’s “Emerald Island,” travelers will take part in a half-day of restorative activities (think yoga, meditation, and more, paired with a nutritious, locally sourced, and chef-prepared meal) – all designed to promote wellness and ease tension. Feast on a Greek lunch in Rhodes. In a cozy taverna in the medieval UNESCO city of Rhodes, cruisers will sip ouzo and watch fresh fish cook over an open fire. After, cruises will have time to explore the Old Town’s castles and cobblestone alleys. Learn ancient techniques from local anglers on Malta. After a transfer across the island to the seaside fishing village of Marsaxlokk, travelers can meet local fishermen who will teach them how to catch lampuki, otherwise known as mahi mahi. Next, they head to Tarturan Restaurant near the harbor to watch (and help) the chef prepare their lunch.

Adapted from Virtuoso with Oceania Cruises 2020

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