Best Cruises to Italy from the UK

By Rachel James / September 24, 2017
italy cruises

5 Cruises that go to Italy

Cruise Company

Departure

View full Itinerary & Price

Royal Caribbean

Southampton

Celebrity Cruises

Sothhampton

P&O

Southampton

Fred Olsen Cruises

Various UK

MSC Cruises

Various UK

Note: Most cruises that go to italy will have the country as one of many  countries in the Med.

If you are looking to cruise ONLY around Italy, you will need to fly direct and pick up one of the cruises below:

Italy has long been a destination of choice for UK holidaymakers; indeed it is the fifth most-visited country in the world. Known locally as lo Stivale (the Boot), Italy has many and varied attractions that keep on drawing in the tourists. So, what has Italy got for you? When choosing a cruise from the UK there is so much to consider: do you want fine food, romantic locations, historical landmarks, culture or a bit of everything?

Cultural cruises

Italy has the cachet of being the country with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 53 in total ranging from the Piazza del Duomo (with its Leaning Tower of Pisa) to the Castel del Monte to the gravity defying Amalfi Coast town buildings. A big plus for cruises going to Italy from the UK is the number of heritage sites that adorn the extensive coastline.

The big items on your tick list should include the Colosseum in Rome among its number. This oval amphitheatre is the largest in the world and at its peak is said to have held 80,000 spectators. Constructed from early concrete and sand this massive building is over 1,900 years old. Even in its ruined state the Colosseum is a thing of wonder and awe.

For a site less well-known how about the Terrazza Mascagni in Livorno, West Italy? Beautifully sculpted buildings and walkways on this waterfront terrace are the ideal places to watch the sun setting and view expanses of sand and sea.

Oceania Cruises offer a 9 day cruises from Venice to Rome. View details

Beaches and Nature cruises

Italy doesn’t fare well for airborne pollution creation when compared to its European neighbours. This fact spurred the Italian government to protect and increase its green spaces to almost 10% of its land area with national and regional parks (of which there are 20 and 140 respectively). It may come as a surprise, then, that Italy has the highest biodiversity of fauna in all of Europe with 57,000 different species recorded to date and these account for a third of the European total. Little wonder that so many tourists visit to see so many endemic animals and birds, many unique to this country.

Windstarcruises have some options for stopping on lots Italian coasts.

Volcano cruises

Mount etna

Italy is the only mainland European country to have an active volcano, Vesuvius – the one responsible for the devastation of Pompeii on AD 79. Two further volcanoes are on the neighbouring island of Sicily, Mount Etna and Stromboli (one of the Aeolian Islands). There are a further ten or so dormant and extinct volcanoes that line the western coast of the mainland. Themed excursions with the volcano enthusiast in mind are popular and you can visit the island of Vulcano, hike up the active volcano known as Gran Cratere and keep your fingers crossed that it won’t erupt at least until you get back to your ship!

Pompeii and Herculaneum are the two cities smothered in ash during Vesuvius’ eruption 2,000 years ago. If you can take your mind away from the tragedy of the event, the frozen snapshot of Roman history is really fascinating. Many tours and gift shops are in the vicinity and there are some interesting – if touristy – attractions to see.

Noble Calidonia off a dedicated Sicily cruises here

Venice cruise

The capital of the Veneto region, Venice is a coastal city in north east Italy. Nearly 120 islands are connected by the world-famous canals and 500 bridges that attract 20 million tourists each year. Visiting Venice is pretty much an ideal cruising destination in that everywhere is so easy to access from the docks. Getting around is by walking or the water-bus (vaporetto), a gondola is the archetypal Venetian vehicle but it’s more for the romantic couple than an efficient mode of transport. No visit to Venice would be complete without a visit to the St Mark’s Square’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace and the Bridge of Sighs. If retail therapy is for you then taking a walk across the bijou-shop-festooned Rialto Bridge can be an interesting diversion. There are also some truly fantastic eateries in the region and you are spoiled for choice.

Most cruises solely around Italy will start in Venice.

Cinque Terre cruise

The northwest coast of Italy boasts the Cinque Terre (Five Islands), a UNESCO World Heritage site now celebrating this status with its 20th anniversary. A cruise here will open up a world of cunningly crafted fishing villages built across intriguingly chiselled, artificially terraced sheer cliff faces. Once a tourist-free locale, Cinque Terre is unfortunately becoming more commercialised as its popularity with visitors increases. A fascinating railway line, dating from the 19th Century, is cut directly into the rock and wends its way through the islands and around their perimeter – it’s one of the best means to explore the islands. The Fortezza del Priamàr is a 16th Century fortress and prison that now opens its doors as a museum of antiquity and prides itself on being open to coincide with cruise visitors.

See Oceaniacruises for this cruise.

Cuisine cruises

Italian cuisine is rightly regarded as some of the best on the planet but did you know that the experience begins on the cruise ships? Each cruise company presents their version of hot (or cold!) antipasti and restaurant quality meals. Jamie Oliver, the Tuscan Grille, the Palo and the Manfredi are just some of the notable eateries on board.

On the shoreline there is the amazing Eolo – a seafood restaurant with fine dining, friendly waiting staff and a view from the Amalfi coast to die for! The Ristorante La Sponda in Positano has Michelin-quality food, welcoming staff, and opulent surroundings. For something more unusual the Gargano peninsula on the eastern coast boasts the Al Trabucco da Mimi in Peschici. This is a precarious-looking restaurant that extends out from the coast on a pier-style promontory so that the sea is on three sides! One big attraction of the Trabucco is that they catch fresh fish daily.

From your cruise to Italy you will pick up so many new experiences and learn so much. And you might just learn that a cruise to any part of the country gives you a snapshot of history, culture, people, nature and dining that you surpass what you thought was possible!

About the author

Rachel James