The 11 Best European Cruises

by  Dana McMahan | Aug 2, 2016

Americans have always had a fascination with the concept of the “Grand European Tour,” where you set off in search of discovery, exploration, new sites to see, and flavors to savor. But then you hit the age-old question when it comes to these kinds of Continental migrations: Does your dream European vacation have too many must-sees in too many spread-out cities? Covering such a collection of can’t-miss cities by land takes more time than most of us have. The solution? Hit a new spot every day by traveling at sea. It just makes sense, especially in places like the Mediterranean and Baltic seas, where the civilizations grew up around the water. There’s no denying it: A European cruise is the best version of a modern day incarnation of the old Grand Tour. Pack once, and you can be off to Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Florence, Rome, and Athens all in one unforgettable trip. Or, take the northern route and you can see everything from Oslo to Copenhagen and Stockholm … maybe even those stunning Norwegian fjords, all under the spectacular Midnight Sun. On a cruise, you don’t even have to plot the route, figure out transportation between cities, book train tickets, or rent cars. First, you do have to pick your playground and your priorities. How do the ancient cities of Istanbul and Athens sound? History lovers can take an exotic Eastern Mediterranean cruise for a taste of the near East combined with ancient Greece, where you can wander the Grand Bazaar and marvel at the Acropolis.

Italy's Cinque Terre / iStock / MartinM303

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