With the Mediterranean remaining the number one choice of destination for UK cruisers, we thought it might be interesting to take a closer look at some of the preconceptions, and indeed lesser known facts about this popular part of the world.
Home to the Original Shopping Mall
Holidaying in the Mediterranean will inevitably involve some souvenir-buying, and most tourists will visit local markets and bazaars for these. But did you know that today’s large, commercial shopping malls actually originated in the Mediterranean? The first complex of this type was constructed in Rome by Emperor Trajan, in the early part of the 2nd century. His emporium is thought to have been filled with all kinds of wares, from spices and foods, to clothing and material.
The Same Festivals Celebrated Differently
Festivals like Easter and Christmas are celebrated in most Mediterranean countries. At these times you’ll notice traditions like those in the UK, such as street parades and glittering decorations, but there also some less familiar customs:
• In Valencia, Spain, for instance, you might see flour-throwing on December 28th – The Day of the Innocents
• On Easter Saturday in Corfu you’ll need to keep your wits about you, to avoid injury during the popular pottery-smashing ritual
The Med is Home to some of the UK’s Favourite Foods
Most visitors to the Mediterranean like to explore new foods and try all the best local cuisine, and it may come as a surprise to learn that in fact, many of the most popular foods we eat in the UK have origins here. It’s no secret that favourites like pizza and pasta hail from Italy, but there are also some treats that might not be expected:
• Fruit cake and bacon are thought to have first been introduced by the Romans in Italy
• ‘Fish and Chips’ actually originated in Portugal and Spain
• It’s thought that the creation of pies began with the Ancient Greeks
Mediterranean Languages Have Influenced English
Many European languages have borrowed words from one another throughout history, and the English language itself has been shaped by a great number of words from the Mediterranean.
• French - we have France to thank for words like ‘menu’ and ‘restaurant’
• Spanish - Spain has given us the likes of ‘mosquito’, ‘patio’, and ‘vanilla’
• Italian - we use ‘camera’, ‘temperature’, and ‘zero’, from Italy
• Greek - ‘Phobia’, ‘ethos’, and ‘plethora’ all have origins in the Greek language.
Over 20 Countries and States Have Mediterranean Coast
When we think of ‘The Mediterranean’, it’s not uncommon to mention the likes of Spain, France, Italy, and Greece, but in fact, more than 20 recognised states enjoy the warmth of the Mediterranean Sea on their shores. Here are a few more to explore on a Mediterranean cruise:
Cruising in the Mediterranean
As a long-standing, popular holiday destination, and with plenty of pretty ports to choose from, it makes sense that a great number of cruise companies offer itineraries in this part of the world. The UK’s favourite cruise line, P&O Cruises, offers a brilliant range of itineraries in and around The Med. This could be a great option for families, not only because of P&O Cruises’ onboard features, but also because Mediterranean countries are just a short flight from the UK. Or, if you’d prefer not to fly however, P&O Cruises also offer no-fly cruises departing from the UK.
Family Cruising in the Mediterranean
What makes P&O Cruises perfect for a family cruise in the Mediterranean?
5 ships in P&O Cruises' fleet of 8 have been designed with the wants and needs of families in mind, which means that they offer some of the best activities, entertainment, and family-friendly dining options at sea. Children are welcome in all onboard restaurants, each serving a wide variety of foods to cater for guests of all ages. The entertainment on the ships has also been well thought out to appeal to everyone. The stunning Once upon a time show is a particular favourite among families.
If you do fancy spending a special evening together, without the little ones, be sure to take advantage of P&O Cruises’ onboard kids club: The Reef. This is split into four age groups thereby ensuring that each child can access activities and entertainment materials suitable for them. This might be a soft play area, puzzles, books, or video games for example.
Another great aspect of cruising with P&O Cruises in the Mediterranean is the excursions. P&O Cruises offer a fantastic range, from exploring Rome’s infamous colosseum, taking a trolley train ride in Malta, to river rafting in Croatia, there will undoubtedly be something to suit every age group. Discover just how many places you could see, and what adventures you could have with your family on a P&O Cruises' Mediterranean cruise.