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Italy Luxury Small Ship Cruises

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Italy is the quintessential Mediterranean cruise destination. Italy's eastern coast and countries like Croatia and Greece access the Adriatic Sea. Or, sail west towards France and Spain, visiting Sardinia and Corsica. Float through Venice on a gondola, navigating romantic canals. Disembark in Civitavecchia, 50 miles from Rome, and wander the cobblestone streets to see the Roman Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, and the ruins at the Roman Forum. Or take a pilgrimage to the Vatican City, where St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and Michelangelo will leave you breathless. Experience Sicily and Malta by circumnavigating both, tasting wine and local Italian cuisine. Contact one of our Mediterranean cruise specialists today to plan the perfect cruise that fits within your schedule and budget to Italy.

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10 Best Italy Small Ship Cruises for 2022-2023

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10 Best Luxury Italian Cruises for 2022-2023

Trip NameFromDaysNext DepartureSummary
Corsica & Sardinia$1695012May 3, 2023Each 12-day roundtrip cruise of the Mediterranean from Naples aboard Sea Cloud is crafted to offer the authentic experience of sailing a true …
Mediterranean: Civitavecchia to Valletta$71159May 22, 2023Explore Mediterranean hot spots on this incredible 8-day Sea Cloud II adventure. Beginning in Rome, this cruise visits the islands of Capri, Amalfi, …
Sicily & the Gulf of Naples$478011Oct 22, 2022Sorrento, on Italy’s southern coast, presents a sun-kissed introduction to an 11-day itinerary celebrating Sicily aboard Emerald Azzurra on this …
A Circumnavigation of Sicily with Smithsonian Journeys$58609May 4, 2023During this 9-day cruise around Sicily aboard the new luxury expedition ship Le Bougainville, you will be able to explore mythical places at the …
Bari to Civitavecchia$54009 Discover the beauty of the southern Mediterranean on a nine-day cruise exploration that takes you from Bari to Civitavecchia, aboard Silver …
Southern France and the Italian Riviera by Sea – with Smithsonian Journeys$56309Oct 8, 2023This 9-day Southern France and Italian Riviera cruise with Smithsonian Journeys sails from Barcelona to Civitavecchia on the Le Champlain. Explore …
On a Course of Longing through Bella Italia$71159May 22, 2023Explore Mediterranean hot spots on this incredible 9-day Sea Cloud II adventure. Beginning in Civitavecchia, this cruise visits the islands of …
From sublime Istanbul to Venice the Serenissima$589010Aug 17, 2022Give in to the temptation of an exceptional cruise between the Bosphorus and the stunning Istanbul, and Venice and the shores of the Adriatic Sea. …
From the French Riviera to the Turkish Riviera$528011Oct 24, 2023This 11-day cruise aboard Le Jacques-Cartier combines stunning scenery and cultural discoveries between the French Riviera and the Turkish Riviera. …
From Sublime Istanbul to Venice the Serenissima$488010Aug 4, 2023Sail the Mediterranean between Turkey, Greece, Montenegro, Croatia, and Italy onboard Le Lyrial for ten days. Be charmed by an extraordinary cruise …
Italy Ships

Top 6 Italian Small Cruise Ships for 2022-2023

Ship NameMax PassengersFromSummary
Sea Cloud64$4875With occupancy for just 64 guests, the Sea Cloud is a modern and elegant windjammer outfitted with modern amenities and uniquely decorated cabins. …
Royal Clipper227$870The Royal Clipper is the largest full-rigged sailing ship in the world, carrying just 227 privileged guests aboard. She offers the ultimate tall ship …
Le Bougainville184$4280Experience a luxurious setting where the main focus is of authenticity and passion for travel. Le Bougainville is an environmentally-friendly …
Le Laperouse184$5280Experience the luxurious settings that Le Laperouse offers while you enjoy the authenticity and passion for travel on each itinerary. Its …
Sea Cloud II94$4390The Sea Cloud II is a legendary windjammer comparable to her sister ship, the Sea Cloud. Featuring her own unique character, the Sea Cloud II …
Star Flyer170$1590The Star Flyer is a stylish vessel designed to accommodate 170 passengers in an intimate and comfortable atmosphere. This true clipper ship reflects …

Top 4 Venice River Cruises on the Po River Delta for 2022-2023

Italy Travel Articles

Italy Travel Guide & Cruise Tips

Italy Cruise Highlights

Perhaps no country captures the relaxing classical atmosphere of the Mediterranean better than Italy. Ever since it was the seat of the powerful Roman Empire, its influence has been felt throughout the world, in art, architecture, and even language. As you tour this ancient country on a small ship cruise, you will have the chance to visit the cities and sites that make Italy what it is today. 
  • Venice - the city of bridges and canals that takes you back to Italy's yesteryear, where you'll see the Byzantine Doge's Palace and maybe enjoy a classic gondola tour. 
  • Rome (Civitavecchia) – the country's capital city and home to the Roman empire's most famous ruins, like the Colosseum and the Forum. The Vatican City is home to St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the administrative headquarters of the Catholic Church.
  • Sicily - the Mediterranean's largest island is the off the southern coast of Italy, and home to its own unique culture, cuisine and wines.
  • Sardinia - is a picturesque island with a rugged coastline in the middle of the Mediterranean with almost 2,000 km of coastline, sandy beaches and a mountainous interior with ample hiking opportunities. Thousands of nuraghi, mysterious Bronze Age stone ruins shaped like beehives dot the countryside.  
  • Naples & The Amalfi Coast - here, you can visit the harrowing sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum, where artifacts from the violent eruptions of Mt. Vesuvius are well preserved.
  • PortofinoA tranquil seaside village home to unforgettable cafes, restaurants, and shopping.
  • Escape to the quaint Mediterranean island paradises of PortoferraioPonzaLipari, or Sorrento.
The Best Time to Visit Italy 

The best times of the year to visit Italy are either in the spring (April-June) or the fall (September-October), when temperatures are warm but comfortable, there is less tourist traffic, and prices are a bit lower than during the busy summer season. 

Here's a look at what travel is like in Italy each season:
  • May-October, late spring through early fall, has the best weather in Italy.
  • March-April & November are the shoulder season months when you can get the best deals and discounts on Italian cruises.
  • April-June & September are ideal times to visit coastal Venice, Rome, and Naples.
  • April-October is a great season to plan your trip to Sicily. 
  • March-May or October are the best time for a tour of Italy's vineyards.

Best Italy Small Ship Cruise Lines for 2022-2023

  • European Waterways is headquartered in Berkshire, England, and operates a fleet of 17 river cruising vessels throughout Europe's rivers and canals. Discover the fascinating world of barging through the historic Po Valley in Italy aboard the stylish 20-passenger vessel La Bella Vita.
  • Silversea Cruises. A luxury cruise line with headquarters in Monaco and is a subsidiary of the Royal Caribbean Group. Silver Cloud has one of the highest crew-to-guest and space-to-guest ratios in expedition cruising. With her 20 zodiacs and ten kayaks, possibilities are almost limitless. 
  • Star Clippers Americas recreate the legendary clippers that crossed the oceans in the 19th century and, in doing so, offer people the chance to experience the unique thrill of sailing the Mediterranean aboard its three tall ships, the Royal ClipperStar Flyer, and Star Clipper.
  • Ponant combines superb itineraries with five-star hotel service. Cruise along Italian shores on an exceptional luxury cruise aboard Le Bougainville to discover the highlights of this stunning western Mediterranean coastline
  • Sea Cloud Cruises has always preserved and shaped the true value of windjammers. The wind and waves' beat determines the rhythm and direction of life on board. The Sea Cloud II perfectly combines spaciousness for up to 94 passengers with the lifestyle of a private yacht.
  • Emerald Waterways offers a delectable selection of dining options horizon-expanding excursions and first-class service, every holiday generously stocked with extras. The superyacht  Emerald Azzurra measures 110 meters in length and can comfortably accommodate 100 guests.
  • CroisiEurope. A French independent family business for 45 years, has established itself as the European leader in river cruises and specialized in intimate-sized cruises on rivers. The size of the 154 passenger MS Michelangelo allows it to cruise the Venetian Lagoon and moor close to Saint Mark's Square. 
  • Variety Cruises. A private cruise operator company based in Athens features small ships that offer ocean view cabins and unobstructed 360° views of nature's wonders and splendors. The 44-guest Harmony G features a spacious lounge with ample space, dining areas decorated with warm colors, large windows offering pristine views of all destinations, shaded areas, an outdoor bar, and loungers. 
  • Lindblad Expeditions has been a responsible travel and sustainability leader for over 50 years.

Italy Crurise FAQs

Why should I choose an Italy cruise?
On an Adventure Life cruise around Italy, you will have the opportunity to see the Mediterranean from a unique perspective – aboard a comfortable sea-going ship. These tours are gaining popularity against the alternative land-based tours, because of the many advantages, like not having to pack & unpack at every new city, saving time traveling between various destinations since your hotel literally floats along with you and takes advantage of evenings & nights to travel long distances, and offering all-inclusive prices that cover lodging, transportation, tours, and all meals. 

What should I look for on a small ship cruise?
Whether you are cruising on a long style river vessel or a classic yacht, we guarantee you comfort and a touch of the luxurious on your Italian cruise. All vessels feature ample cabins, a dining area where you will enjoy exquisite meals and a full service bar, and a sun deck from which to enjoy the sea breeze and fantastic views. Very few vessels offer amenities like pools, hot tubs, or exercise rooms, but since most of the time will be spent exploring on land, you likely won't even notice. 

Are there 5-star river vessels in Europe?
While we don't feature any boats that are considered five stars due to their smaller size and limited amenities, we are confident that the hand-picked itineraries aboard these comfortable vessels will not disappoint. From gourmet cuisine to expert local guides, this is sure to be a vacation that you consider a five star experience.

Should I get a room with a balcony?
You should weigh the benefits and disadvantages. If having a private balcony in your room is important to you, then go for it. But be aware that this often takes the price up much higher than the other rooms and the balconies can actually cut into the cabin space. A good alternative would be to get a room with panoramic floor to ceiling windows. Remember, all of our featured boats have a sundeck from which you can enjoy the fresh sea air of the Italian coast.

What is dining like?
Fine dining and savory flavors are one of Italy's most famous exports, so you know that on a cruise around the coastal regions of this Mediterranean country you will enjoy some of the old country's most exquisite dishes prepared by expert local chefs. 

Do Italian cruises ever visit destinations that aren't on the coast?
Yes! In fact, many Italian destinations are further inland. Your boat will dock at one of the port cities and you will take a short ride on a luxury coach towards your final destination.

Will my vessel have WiFi?
Your vessel will likely have WiFi, but it's not standard on all boats yet. River ships tend to have good connections, but if you are cruising the open Mediterranean, you might be far out of range of a signal.

What kind of power outlets are there? Will I need a converter?
European power operates on 220v electricity, as opposed to the 110v in North America. You will not need power converters since most devices accept both power levels, however you will need either three pronged British style plug adapters or two round prong European style plug adapters. It might be a good hack to tape your plugs to the adapters so as not to forget them when packing up.

Are cruises in Italy a good family vacation?
Italy cruises can be a fun way to spend a family vacation in Europe. Wine tasting tours are generally for families with children over 18 years of age, of course, so for families traveling with teens and children, the featured active tours are the best option. 

Do Americans and Canadians need a passport and visa to travel to Italy?
All citizens of North America traveling to Europe need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months. In recent years, it has not been necessary to apply for a visa before traveling to Europe if you plan to stay less than three months, however, this situation may change in the future. See current European visa requirements.
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