However long you’re planning on going away, your vacation time is a precious commodity, so it makes sense to use that time to its fullest. Thankfully, we have made this refreshingly simple to achieve with a fly-cruise.


Adding flights to your voyage gives you more time to soak up every minute of your destination. And what better destination to spend all that extra time in than the Mediterranean? We take care of everything; once you check your luggage at the airport, you’ll find it waiting for you in your stateroom, and transfers to and from port are included for your comfort.


All the glories of this romantic, sun-kissed region are available on our voyages to the Mediterranean. As soon as you meet your ship in your chosen region, you’re all set to embark on a journey that celebrates the best of Europe. But as well as losing yourself in azure skies, historical odysseys and immaculate cuisine as you explore your port stops, we have ensured, as always, that your on board experience between each stop is just as rewarding. Fine food, first-rate entertainment, dazzling decor and luxurious touches throughout mean you’ll feel like you’re starting a new vacation every time you return to the ship, which essentially you are.


We’ve highlighted a few of the timeless cities you can discover on a Fly-Med voyage, alongside some of the many fantastic activities and experiences waiting for you on board.


The first stop on our Grand Tour is...


Istanbul, Turkey

Touristic sightseeing ships in Golden Horn bay of Istanbul and mosque with Sultanahmet district against blue sky and clouds. Istanbul, Turkey during sunny summer day; Shutterstock ID 2019353819; purchase_order: n/a; job: new-voyage; client: Cunard Digi; other: Cunard Digital Licence

Vibrant, colorful and packed with history, Turkey’s largest city is a fascinating place to explore. Geographically, it spans both Europe and Asia, and this cross-continental setting is reflected everywhere you look, from the buildings to the food served up in the city’s many outstanding restaurants.


Speaking of buildings, perhaps the most striking in the city is the stunning Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, built during the time of the Byzantine Empire and now one of Istanbul’s unmissable attractions for the historical insights it affords. After stepping back in time at Hagia Sophia, fast-forward to the present day at the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, designed by acclaimed architect Renzo Piano and listed as a seriously hot ticket for culture vultures by critics.


Elsewhere, there are opulent bazaars to wander, intricately decorated shops and stalls to browse, boat tours along the Bosphorus to board, and sticky, sublime baklava to delight in, accompanied by endless cups of rich Turkish coffee to fuel your sightseeing.


Next stop is...


Trieste, Italy

Canal grande in Trieste city center, Italy, Europe; Shutterstock ID 781019179; purchase_order: n/a; job: new-voyage; client: Cunard Digi; other: Cunard Digital Licence

While other starry Italian cities have been stealing the limelight for many years, Trieste is now finally being recognised as a wonderfully relaxed and stylish treasure. As you disembark, you’ll immediately be in the right spot, as so much of Trieste life is based around its attractive waterfront. The city’s vast stretch of coastline offers everything from buzzy continental café culture to fabulous views out across the Gulf of Trieste’s deep-blue expanse.


That the city is full of historical literary connections should tell you something about its appeal before you even arrive. James Joyce spent time here and his presence is still felt around Trieste via statues and plaques, as well as the Joyce and Svevo museums, housed in the same building and honoring both the Irish novelist and his friend and fellow author, Italo Svevo.


Once you’ve had your literary fill, enjoy the fresh air and sea views of the handsome Piazza Unità d’Italia, Europe’s largest sea-facing public square. It’s a focal point for locals and tourists alike, and the perfect place to sit and linger over a morning coffee or evening spritz.


On we sail to...


Rome (via the port of Civitavecchia)

The world-famous Italian capital is not a cruise port in itself, but is reachable via various transport modes from the port of Civitavecchia.


What is there to say about Rome that hasn’t been said before? It hardly matters, since the Italian capital is a place that rewards – perhaps even demands – repeat visits, offering more of everything on each return. Showstopping art and similarly astonishing architecture are found at every turn: this is the city of the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Vatican City, the Trevi Fountain, St Peter’s Basilica… These world-famous sights, and many more, are all essential viewing, not least for the window they provide into ancient Rome – but dig deeper and you’ll find the city’s modern-day charms just as appealing.


Tucked away in plain sight near central Rome is Monti, an arty and fashionable neighborhood strewn with hip cafés, quirky vintage stores and classy cocktail bars. It’s a gem of a place to stroll through but often missed, making uncovering it even more of an occasion. And for all Rome’s awe-inspiring buildings, it’s worth journeying outside the center to enjoy the open spaces, particularly Villa Doria Pamphilj. In this sprawling public park, you’ll find a pine forest, huge washes of green land and more splendid architecture, including baroque-style Casino del Bel Respiro, complete with secret garden.


And so we come to our final port of call...


Barcelona, Spain

Few places represent the Mediterranean ideal better than Barcelona. The Catalan capital’s bright streets, bustling local bars, cutting-edge art galleries and beach life combine to produce a dynamic city that’s impossible not to fall in love with. Culturally, there’s a dizzying amount to fit in. Antoni Gaudí’s intoxicating modernist architecture defines a part of Barcelona’s aesthetic, crowned by his unfinished and magnificent masterpiece, La Sagrada Família, and there are museums dedicated to fellow artistic visionaries Picasso and Joan Miró, plus all manner of contemporary art spaces.


Dining is serious business in Barcelona, and the city’s restaurants offer everything from Catalan specialities (try escalivada – roasted, smoky peppers and aubergine in olive oil) to almost any global cuisine you can name. End with a digestif at a vermuteria to drink vermouth with the locals. Just leave time for a trip to one of the beaches etched along Barcelona’s three-mile coastline – the perfect escape from the bustle of Barcelona, with the added bonus of being mere minutes away from your ship when it’s time to return.

Our Cunard Queens will be your home from home as you sail the Mediterranean, where you’ll enjoy magical days on board as wonder-filled as your ports of call. Welcome to...


Your Fly-Med voyage

Spoil yourself in the many inviting dining venues, unwind as you enjoy your ship’s premium entertainment schedule and get a taster of what’s to come on your trip in the Mediterranean-inspired Winter Garden (unique to Queen Victoria) or Garden Lounge (found on board Queen Elizabeth) – bright, airy spaces peppered with exotic greenery and designed for relaxing – and made even more atmospheric by a starlit ceiling come nightfall, thanks to the glass roof. It’s yet another thoughtful touch that demonstrates our track record of going that extra mile with the service we offer guests.


The tranquillity continues with our wellness offerings at Mareel Wellness & Beauty, where our ocean-inspired treatments help you achieve total relaxation. Ease into a traditional Swedish massage, let a hot-stone massage work its magic on your muscles or choose from a range of other therapies designed to rejuvenate and refresh. And once on board, you know you can expect so much more to explore and enjoy on your voyage.



When sailing with us, dining is a key ingredient in elevating your vacation to the next level. A wide range of individually-themed venues ensures there is exquisite food available to suit every palate, served in resplendent settings. Dependent on your grade of stateroom, there’s the classically elegant Britannia, the pinnacle of fine dining at the Queens Grill, and the flawless service of the Princess Grill. Or you can dine on deck alfresco with a sunset background, creating an evening you’ll never forget – just some of the many choices.


For those who want to fully embrace the flavors of the Mediterranean, the Riviera menu allows diners to experience the bold flavors, colors and textures of Mediterranean cuisine, with familiar favorites as well as a selection of contemporary creations to choose from. Incorporating authentic Mediterranean produce, it includes fragrant herbs, freshly harvested vegetables and indulgent desserts, offering the very best of the culinary delights of the region. And if you are a Grills guest, then you can enjoy some alfresco dining in the Grill restaurants, perfect for a spot of lunch while soaking up the sun.



If you haven’t taken in one of our shows before, rest assured that when it comes to entertainment, our reputation for being a cut above really shines. For a taste of Broadway on the Med, take a seat at the Royal Court Theater, which hosts a variety of professional dance, theater and cabaret productions. Or hone your fancy footwork at ballroom and Latin dancing sessions in the sumptuous Queens Room ballroom, accompanied by a live orchestra (complimentary lessons are available). These should set you up for Gala Evenings, also held in the ballroom, such as the unmissable Venitian Masquerade Ball. These events reflect our high style and allow guests to experience a truly grand and unforgettable night. Elegance is all around, chandeliers sparkle and live music sets the scene for a roaring celebration of your time at sea.

You can book your Mediterranean voyage online today, and purchase your Shore Experiences via My Cunard (accessible once you have your booking reference).


Article first published in Cunarder (Summer 2023 edition).

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