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Seafarer's Inspiration - Miami to Rome

27th March 2024 FOR 59 NIGHTS | Sirena

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This fly cruise holiday is financially protected by OCEANIA CRUISES under ATOL 10527

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Grand Voyage | Includes Business Class flights, overseas transfers and pre-paid gratuities | FREE Wi-Fi for all bookings | PLUS choose from: 32 FREE shore excursions* | FREE drinks package* | $3,200 FREE to spend on-board*

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Please check that you can meet the conditions below in order to travel on this cruise

1) All guests need to be in possession of a valid UK passport. This is also the case on any British Isles cruises. Please click here to check your passport will still be valid on your dates of travel.

2) Please check your travel insurance meets any criteria as specified by your cruise line. You can check your cruise line requirements here. For a travel insurance quote click here. Proof of travel insurance may be required on boarding.

3) Please check the vaccination and testing requirements from the FCDO, your cruise line and any destination countries here

WHY WE RECOMMEND Canaries CRUISES

Arguably one of the world’s most popular and iconic cruise destinations, the Caribbean is a holidaymaker’s paradise. This famous archipelago is made up of a number of secluded and picturesque tropical islands, each with its own beautiful and scenic landscape alongside a laid-back local culture, all complemented by a wonderfully warm climate.

See all Caribbean Cruise Deals


The Caribbean’s many idyllic island destinations boast plenty of pristine golden sandy beaches, crystal clear ocean waters and friendly locals, so visitors will always feel welcome wherever in the region they travel. However, the islands are not limited to their natural beauty, as much of the Caribbean also has a rich local culture and an illustrious history, often on display in the form of landmarks and fascinating museums as well as charming dining venues and bustling marketplaces.

Tip: See more during your holiday with a Caribbean Cruise and Stay holiday.

The best cruises to the Caribbean usually operate during the winter months, offering travellers the chance to escape from the cold weather and arrive in a warmer and all-together more exciting part of the world, where the sun is shining and relaxation is always on the agenda.

A Caribbean cruise offers the ultimate escape for sun-lovers and anyone looking for a truly relaxing holiday in a collection of the world's most picture-perfect destinations. There really is no better way to explore this idyllic archipelago than on a cruise getaway, so why not book your luxury Caribbean journey today and start looking forward to the holiday of a lifetime?

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itinerary

1

Miami, Florida06:00 - 19:00

Miami is one of the world’s most popular holiday spots. It has so much to offer; from its countless beach areas, to culture and museums, from spa and shopping days out, to endless cuban restaurants and cafes. Miami is a multicultural city that has something to offer to everyone.

27 Mar 2024

2
3

At Sea

28 Mar 2024 - 29 Mar 2024

4

Philipsburg10:00 - 19:00

The capital of Dutch St. Maarten stretches about a mile (1½ km) along an isthmus between Great Bay and the Salt Pond and has five parallel streets. Most of the village's dozens of shops and restaurants are on Front Street, narrow and cobblestone, closest to Great Bay. It's generally congested when cruise ships are in port, because of its many duty-free shops and several casinos. Little lanes called steegjes connect Front Street with Back Street, which has fewer shops and considerably less congestion. Along the beach is a ½-mile-long (1-km-long) boardwalk with restaurants and several Wi-Fi hot spots.Wathey Square (pronounced watty) is in the heart of the village. Directly across from the square are the town hall and the courthouse, in a striking white building with cupola. The structure was built in 1793 and has served as the commander's home, a fire station, a jail, and a post office. The streets surrounding the square are lined with hotels, duty-free shops, restaurants, and cafés. The Captain Hodge Pier, just off the square, is a good spot to view Great Bay and the beach that stretches alongside.

30 Mar 2024

5

Roseau09:00 - 18:00

Although it's one of the smallest capitals in the Caribbean, Roseau has the highest concentration of inhabitants of any town in the eastern Caribbean. Caribbean vernacular architecture and a bustling marketplace transport visitors back in time. Although you can walk the entire town in about an hour, you'll get a much better feel for the place on a leisurely stroll. For some years now, the Society for Historical Architectural Preservation and Enhancement (SHAPE) has organized programs and projects to preserve the city's architectural heritage. Several interesting buildings have already been restored. Lilac House, on Kennedy Avenue, has three types of gingerbread fretwork, latticed verandah railings, and heavy hurricane shutters. The J.W. Edwards Building, at the corner of Old and King George V sreets, has a stone base and a wooden second-floor gallery. The Old Market Plaza is the center of Roseau's historic district, which was laid out by the French on a radial plan rather than a grid, so streets such as Hanover, King George V, and Old radiate from this area. South of the marketplace is the Fort Young Hotel, built as a British fort in the 18th century; the nearby statehouse, public library, and Anglican cathedral are also worth a visit. New developments at the bay front on Dame M.E. Charles Boulevard have brightened up the waterfront.

31 Mar 2024

6

Bridgetown07:00 - 14:00

Located beside the island’s only natural harbour, the capital of Barbados combines modern and colonial architecture with glorious palm tree-lined beaches and a number of historical attractions. Experience the relaxed culture of the city renowned for its British-style parliament buildings and vibrant beach life, and seek out the Anglican church and the 19th-century Barbados Garrison. The distance between the ship and your tour vehicle may vary. This distance is not included in the excursion grades.

01 Apr 2024

7
8
9
10

Atlantic Ocean Cruising

02 Apr 2024 - 05 Apr 2024

11

Porto Grande11:00 - 20:00

The crescent of volcanic islands which form the Cape Verde archipelago lie 310 miles off the Senegal coast. Despite the name (Green Cape), all the islands are barren, but they offer dramatic mountain scenery and pristine beaches. The Portuguese started colonising the islands during the 15th century and during the 16th century the archipelago became important for the supply of water and rations to boats sailing to America, Europe and Africa, and as a base for slave warehouses. The Cape Verde Islands obtained their independence from Portugal in 1975 and, although the isles may be African geographically speaking, they have retained a strong Latin flavour. Porto Grande, the port for Mindelo, is on the windward isle of São Vicente and covers an area of 88 square miles. Over 90% of the island’s inhabitants live in the capital of Mindelo, where the historic centre is characterised by old colonial houses and commemorative monuments. Please note that excursions from this port will be operated by basic minibuses: these vehicles are the best available, but lack air-conditioning, reclining seats and seat belts, and have no space for the storage of walkers or wheelchairs.

06 Apr 2024

12
13

Atlantic Ocean Cruising

07 Apr 2024 - 08 Apr 2024

14

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria08:00 - 23:00

Perhaps the prettiest of the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria is an almost circular isle with the peak of Pozo de Las Nieves, its highest point, at the centre. With a wealth of natural beauty and all the exciting attractions of city life in the capital, the island offers the best of both worlds. You will no doubt wish to see the sights of the capital’s old quarter, which dates back to the 15th century and encompassses the Vegueta and Triana districts, and wherever you go you can enjoy the glorious subtropical climate, perfect for growing exotic palms and fruits.

09 Apr 2024

15

Santa Cruz de Tenerife06:00 - 20:00

The largest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife is a beautiful and scenic island which enjoys year-round sunshine and is dominated by Mount Teide. The mountain range runs through the centre of the island, with fertile valleys on the northern side. In the central part of the range is the gigantic natural crater of the Cañadas del Teide, about 14 miles in diameter. Santa Cruz, the island’s pretty capital, was originally a small fishing village but has now grown into a modern city, and also contains 16th-century civic buildings and ornate private mansions. Near the pier is the Santa Cruz Palmetum, a Botanical Garden covering an area of 29 acres, specialising in palms.

10 Apr 2024

16

Arrecife, Lanzarote07:00 - 16:00

A volcanic island designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Lanzarote’s dramatic landscapes were shaped by an explosive past. Today, its pretty beaches and virtual absence of rain together with duty-free shopping make the island an extremely desirable destination. The main port and capital, Arrecife, is a pleasant town with a modern seafront and colourful gardens. Outside the capital there is plenty to explore, from the dazzling white salt flats of Janubio and the rugged terrain of Fire Mountain to the eerie caves of Los Verdes and an array of unspoilt fishing villages scattered around the coast. The island is home to a great selection of restaurants and local specialities including garbanzos compuestos – a chickpea stew; papas arrugadas – potatoes with carrots, peas, ham and green pepper; and of course, plenty of fresh seafood. Please note that those planning to participate in one of the shore excursions from this port may need to take an early lunch on board ship to suit the excursion schedules.

11 Apr 2024

17

Agadir07:00 - 16:00

Shaped by the Atlas Mountains on one side, Agadir is framed on the other by a magnificent crescent-shaped beach. While little is known of the city’s origins, the Portuguese created a fortress here at the end of the 15th century, naming it Santa Cruz de Ghir. Freed from Portugal’s occupation by the Saadians in 1540, Agadir grew into a colourful and prosperous port and became newsworthy in 1911 when a German gunboat, the Panther, sailed into the bay as a protest against the division of North Africa between the Spanish and French. Morocco gained independence from the French in 1956, an event which was closely followed in Agadir by the tragic earthquake of 1960. The city, which has been rebuilt to represent the ‘new nation’, is blessed by fine sandy beaches overlooked by luxurious hotels and a great selection of cafés and restaurants. Please note that vendors in the souks can be very persistent and eager to make a sale.

12 Apr 2024

18

Casablanca09:00 - 19:00

The original settlement formed on the site of Casablanca by the Berbers became the kingdom of Anfa, and during the 15th century harboured pirates who raided the Portuguese coast. In retaliation for the attacks, the Portuguese destroyed Anfa and founded the town they called Casa Branca (white house). They remained here until an earthquake in 1755 and the town was subsequently rebuilt by Mohammed ben Abdallah, whose legacy of mosques and houses can still be seen in the old Medina. Casablanca acquired its present-day name when the Spanish obtained special port privileges in 1781. The French landed here in 1907, later establishing a protectorate and modelling the town on the port of Marseilles. Today Casablanca is Morocco’s largest city, its most significant port and the centre of commerce and industry. The city is a vibrant fusion of European, African and Arabian influences and its French colonial architecture and art deco buildings seamlessly blend in with the busy, colourful markets. Please note that vendors in the souks can be very persistent and eager to make a sale.

13 Apr 2024

19

Gibraltar10:00 - 20:00

Tagged on to the end of Iberia, the intriguing British outpost of Gibraltar is dominated by a sandy peninsula and the stunning 1,400-feet-high limestone Rock. Although small, Gibraltar has always been seen as having great strategic importance on account of its advantageous position where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean, just 12 miles from the coast of Africa. Ever popular with British holidaymakers, Gibraltar is very much a home from home, boasting excellent duty-free shopping in many familiar British high street shops. Please note: Gibraltar’s small size and narrow winding roads mean that excursions are operated by 22-seater mini-buses, accompanied by a driver/guide. Local health and safety regulations prohibit the carriage of walking aids and collapsible wheelchairs on these vehicles. If you do wish to bring a mobility aid, we can arrange the Rock Tour by taxi, which has extra space. If this suits your requirements, please advise the Tours and Travel office when you join the ship, as numbers are limited.

14 Apr 2024

20
21

Cádiz13:00 - 14:30

Believed to be the oldest town on the Iberian Peninsula, the Andalusian port of Cádiz enjoys a stunning location at the edge of a six-mile promontory. The town itself, with 3,000 years of history, is characterised by pretty white houses with balconies often adorned with colourful flowers. As you wander around be sure to take a stroll through the sizeable Plaza de Espãna, with its large monument dedicated to the first Spanish constitution, which was signed here in 1812. Cádiz has two pleasant seafront promenades which boast fine views of the Atlantic Ocean, and has a lovely park, the Parque Genoves, located close to the sea with an open-air theatre and attractive palm garden. Also notable is the neo-Classical cathedral, capped by a golden dome.

15 Apr 2024 - 16 Apr 2024

22

Portimão07:00 - 18:00

Portimão is a major fishing port, and significant investment has been poured into transforming it into an attractive cruise port as well. The city itself is spacious and has several good shopping streets—though sadly many of the more traditional retailers have closed in the wake of the global economic crisis. There is also a lovely riverside area that just begs to be strolled (lots of the coastal cruises depart from here). Don’t leave without stopping for an alfresco lunch at the Doca da Sardinha ("sardine dock") between the old bridge and the railway bridge. You can sit at one of many inexpensive establishments, eating charcoal-grilled sardines (a local specialty) accompanied by chewy fresh bread, simple salads, and local wine.

17 Apr 2024

23

Lisbon07:00 - 17:00

Set on seven hills on the banks of the River Tagus, Lisbon has been the capital of Portugal since the 13th century. It is a city famous for its majestic architecture, old wooden trams, Moorish features and more than twenty centuries of history. Following disastrous earthquakes in the 18th century, Lisbon was rebuilt by the Marques de Pombal who created an elegant city with wide boulevards and a great riverfront and square, Praça do Comércio. Today there are distinct modern and ancient sections, combining great shopping with culture and sightseeing in the Old Town, built on the city's terraced hillsides. The distance between the ship and your tour vehicle may vary. This distance is not included in the excursion grades.

18 Apr 2024

24

Vigo11:00 - 20:00

Dating from Roman times, the Galician city of Vigo has a fine natural harbour and is renowned as the biggest fishing port in the world. It is also full of history - it was in this fjord-like quay that the English and Dutch defeated the French and Spanish fleets in 1702. Today, the attractive marinas stand in contrast to the industrialised areas of the city, while further exploration will reveal the characteristic 17th-century architecture and attractive countryside beyond. The charming Old Town is a delight, with its labyrinth of winding narrow streets and shaded squares. Nearby is the Cathedral city of Tui, and further to the north is the pilgrimage centre of Santiago de Compostela, which can be reached by car in approximately 1¼ hours.

19 Apr 2024

25

Cruising The Bay Of Biscay

20 Apr 2024

26

Saint-Malo08:00 - 18:00

Thrust out into the sea and bound to the mainland only by tenuous man-made causeways, romantic St-Malo has built a reputation as a breeding ground for phenomenal sailors. Many were fishermen, but others—most notably Jacques Cartier, who claimed Canada for Francis I in 1534—were New World explorers. Still others were corsairs, "sea dogs" paid by the French crown to harass the Limeys across the Channel: legendary ones like Robert Surcouf and Duguay-Trouin helped make St-Malo rich through their pillaging, in the process earning it the nickname "the pirates' city." The St-Malo you see today isn’t quite the one they called home because a weeklong fire in 1944, kindled by retreating Nazis, wiped out nearly all of the old buildings. Restoration work was more painstaking than brilliant, but the narrow streets and granite houses of the Vieille Ville were satisfactorily recreated, enabling St-Malo to regain its role as a busy fishing port, seaside resort, and tourist destination. The ramparts that help define this city figuratively and literally are authentic, and the flames also spared houses along Rue de Pelicot in the Vieille Ville. Battalions of tourists invade this quaint part of town in summer, so arrive off-season if you want to avoid crowds.

21 Apr 2024

27

Southampton06:00 - 18:00

Lying near the head of Southampton Water, a peninsula between the estuaries of the Rivers Test and Itchen, Southampton is Britain’s largest cruise port. It has been one of England’s major ports since the Middle Ages, when it exported wool and hides from the hinterland and imported wine from Bordeaux. The city suffered heavy damage during World War Two and as a result the centre has been extensively rebuilt, but there are still some interesting medieval buildings including the Bargate, one of the finest city gatehouses in England.

22 Apr 2024

28

Cruising The North Sea

23 Apr 2024

29

Rosyth09:00 - 18:00

Edinburgh is to London as poetry is to prose, as Charlotte Brontë once wrote. One of the world's stateliest cities and proudest capitals, it's built—like Rome—on seven hills, making it a striking backdrop for the ancient pageant of history. In a skyline of sheer drama, Edinburgh Castle watches over the capitalcity, frowning down on Princes Street’s glamour and glitz. But despite its rich past, the city’s famous festivals, excellent museums and galleries, as well as the modern Scottish Parliament, are reminders that Edinburgh has its feet firmly in the 21st century. Nearly everywhere in Edinburgh (the burgh is always pronounced burra in Scotland) there are spectacular buildings, whose Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian pillars add touches of neoclassical grandeur to the largely Presbyterian backdrop. Large gardens are a strong feature of central Edinburgh, where the city council is one of the most stridently conservationist in Europe. Arthur's Seat, a mountain of bright green and yellow furze, rears up behind the spires of the Old Town. This child-size mountain jutting 822 feet above its surroundings has steep slopes and little crags, like a miniature Highlands set down in the middle of the busy city. Appropriately, these theatrical elements match Edinburgh's character—after all, the city has been a stage that has seen its fair share of romance, violence, tragedy, and triumph. Modern Edinburgh has become a cultural capital, staging the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe Festival in every possible venue each August. The stunning Museum of Scotland complements the city’s wealth of galleries and artsy hangouts. Add Edinburgh’s growing reputation for food and nightlife and you have one of the world’s most beguiling cities. Today the city is the second most important financial center in the United Kingdom, and the fifth most important in Europe. The city regularly is ranked near the top in quality-of-life surveys. Accordingly, New Town apartments on fashionable streets sell for considerable sums. In some senses the city is showy and materialistic, but Edinburgh still supports learned societies, some of which have their roots in the Scottish Enlightenment. The Royal Society of Edinburgh, for example, established in 1783 "for the advancement of learning and useful knowledge," remains an important forum for interdisciplinary activities. Even as Edinburgh moves through the 21st century, its tall guardian castle remains the focal point of the city and its venerable history. Take time to explore the streets—peopled by the spirits of Mary, Queen of Scots; Sir Walter Scott; and Robert Louis Stevenson—and pay your respects to the world's best-loved terrier, Greyfriars Bobby. In the evenings you can enjoy candlelit restaurants or a folk ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee, a traditional Scottish dance with music), though you should remember that you haven't earned your porridge until you've climbed Arthur's Seat. Should you wander around a corner, say, on George Street, you might see not an endless cityscape, but blue sea and a patchwork of fields. This is the county of Fife, beyond the inlet of the North Sea called the Firth of Forth—a reminder, like the mountains to the northwest that can be glimpsed from Edinburgh's highest points, that the rest of Scotland lies within easy reach.

24 Apr 2024

30

Kirkwall, Orkney Islands10:00 - 19:00

In bustling Kirkwall, the main town on Orkney, there's plenty to see in the narrow, winding streets extending from the harbor. The cathedral and some museums are highlights.

25 Apr 2024

31

Stornoway, Isle of Lewis07:00 - 14:00

Tour description Stornoway, Scotland The Isle of Lewis and Harris is the northernmost and largest of the Outer Hebrides-the Western Isles in common parlance. The island's only major town, Stornoway, is on a nearly landlocked harbor on the east coast of Lewis. It's the port capital for the Outer Hebrides and the island's cultural center, such that it is. Stornoway has an increasing number of good restaurants. Lewis has some fine historic attractions, including the Calanais Standing Stones-a truly magical place. The Uists are known for their rare, plentiful wildlife. Stornoway. Besides being the island's main entry point for ferries, Stornoway is also Lewis's main arts center. You'll find some good restaurants in town if you want to have lunch off the ship. The town can be explored by bicycle if you are so inclined. Local rental shops can give you advice on where to ride, including a route to Tolsta that takes in five stunning beaches before reaching the edge of moorland. An Lanntair Arts Centre. The fabulous An Lanntair Arts Centre has exhibitions of contemporary and traditional art, as well as a cinema, a gift shop, and a restaurant serving international and Scottish fare. There are frequent traditional musical and theatrical events in the impressive auditorium. Kenneth St.. Black House. In the small community of Arnol, the Black House is a well-preserved example of an increasingly rare type of traditional Hebridean home. Once common throughout the islands-even into the 1950s-these dwellings were built without mortar and thatched on a timber framework without eaves. Other characteristic features include an open central peat hearth and the absence of a chimney-hence the soot and the designation black. On display inside are many of the house's original furnishings. To reach Arnol from Port of Ness, head south on the A857 and pick up the A858 at Barvas. Off A858, 21 mi southwest of Port of Ness. Admission charged. Calanais Standing Stones. These impressive stones are actually part of a cluster of several different archaeological sites in this area. Probably positioned in several stages between 3000 BC and 1500 BC, the grouping consists of an avenue of 19 monoliths extending northward from a circle of 13 stones, with other rows leading south, east, and west. Ruins of a cairn sit within the circle on the east side. Researchers believe they may have been used for astronomical observations, but you can create your own explanations. The visitor center has an exhibit on the stones, a gift shop, and a tearoom. On an unmarked road off A858. Admission charged. Dun Carloway. One of the best-preserved Iron Age brochs (circular stone towers) in Scotland, Dun Carloway dominates the scattered community of Carloway. The mysterious tower was probably built around 2,000 years ago as protection against seaborne raiders. The Dun Broch Centre explains more about the broch and its setting. Off A857. Gearrannan. Up a side road north from Carloway, Gearrannan is an old black-house village that has been brought back to life with a museum screening excellent short films on peat cutting and weaving. For a unique experience, groups can rent the restored houses. Leverburgh. At Leverburgh you can take the ferry to North Uist. Nearby Northton has several attractions; St. Clement's Church at Rodel is particularly worth a visit. MacGillivray Centre. Located in a round building overlooking the bay, the MacGillivray Centre gives insight into the life and work of William MacGillivray (1796-1852), a noted naturalist with strong links to Harris. MacGillivray authored the five-volume History of British Birds. This is a great location for a picnic (there are tables for just such a purpose). A walk to a ruined church starts at the parking lot. A859, Northton. Seallam! Visitor Centre and Co Leis Thu? Genealogical Research Centre. The center is where you can trace your Western Isles ancestry. Photographs and interpretive signs describe the history of Harris and its people. The owners organize guided walks and cultural evenings weekly between May and September. Off A859, Northton. Admission charged. St. Clement's Church. At the southernmost point of Harris is the community of Rodel, where you can find St. Clement's Church, a cruciform church standing on a hillock. This is the most impressive pre-Reformation church in the Outer Hebrides; it was built around 1500 and contains the magnificently sculptured tomb (1528) of the church's builder, Alasdair Crotach, MacLeod chief of Dunvegan Castle. Rodel is 3 mi south of Leverburgh and 21 mi south of Tarbert. A859, Rodel. Port of Ness. The stark, windswept community of Port of Ness, 30 mi north of Stornoway, cradles a small harbor squeezed in among the rocks. Butt of Lewis Lighthouse. At the northernmost point of Lewis stands the Butt of Lewis Lighthouse, designed by David and Thomas Stevenson (of the prominent engineering family whose best-known member was not an engineer at all, but the novelist Robert Louis Stevenson). The structure was first lighted in 1862. The adjacent cliffs provide a good vantage point for viewing seabirds, whales, and porpoises. The lighthouse is northwest of Port of Ness along the B8014. Shopping Harris tweed is available at many outlets on the islands, including some of the weavers' homes; keep an eye out for signs directing you to weavers' workshops. Harris Tweed Artisans Cooperative. The Harris Tweed Artisans Cooperative sells stylish and quirky hand-crafted tweed clothing, hats, accessories, all made by artists belonging to the cooperative. 40 Point St., Stornoway. Borgh Pottery. At Borgh Pottery, open from Monday to Saturday 9:30 to 6, you can buy attractive hand-thrown studio pottery made on the premises, including lamps, vases, mugs, and dishes. Fivepenny House, A857, Borve.

26 Apr 2024

32

Greenock08:00 - 22:00

Trendy stores, a booming cultural life, fascinating architecture, and stylish restaurants reinforce Glasgow's claim to being Scotland's most exciting city. After decades of decline, it has experienced an urban renaissance uniquely its own. The city’s grand architecture reflects a prosperous past built on trade and shipbuilding. Today buildings by Charles Rennie Mackintosh hold pride of place along with the Zaha Hadid–designed Riverside Museum.Glasgow (the "dear green place," as it was known) was founded some 1,500 years ago. Legend has it that the king of Strathclyde, irate about his wife's infidelity, had a ring he had given her thrown into the river Clyde. (Apparently she had passed it on to an admirer.) When the king demanded to know where the ring had gone, the distraught queen asked the advice of her confessor, St. Mungo. He suggested fishing for it—and the first salmon to emerge had the ring in its mouth. The moment is commemorated on the city's coat of arms.The medieval city expanded when it was given a royal license to trade; the current High Street was the main thoroughfare at the time. The vast profits from American cotton and tobacco built the grand mansions of the Merchant City in the 18th century. In the 19th century the river Clyde became the center of a vibrant shipbuilding industry, fed by the city’s iron and steel works. The city grew again, but its internal divisions grew at the same time. The West End harbored the elegant homes of the newly rich shipyard owners. Down by the river, areas like the infamous Gorbals, with its crowded slums, sheltered the laborers who built the ships. They came from the Highlands, expelled to make way for sheep, or from Ireland, where the potato famines drove thousands from their homes.During the 19th century the population grew from 80,000 to more than a million. And the new prosperity gave Glasgow its grand neoclassical buildings, such as those built by Alexander "Greek" Thomson, as well as the adventurous visionary buildings designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and others who produced Glasgow’s Arts and Crafts movement. The City Chambers, built in 1888, are a proud statement in marble and gold sandstone, a clear symbol of the wealthy and powerful Victorian industrialists' hopes for the future.The decline of shipbuilding and the closure of the factories led to much speculation as to what direction the city would take now. The curious thing is that, at least in part, the past gave the city a new lease of life. It was as if people looked at their city and saw Glasgow’s beauty for the first time: its extraordinarily rich architectural heritage, its leafy parks, its artistic heritage, and its complex social history. Today Glasgow is a vibrant cultural center and a commercial hub, as well as a launching pad from which to explore the rest of Scotland, which, as it turns out, is not so far away. In fact, it takes only 40 minutes to reach Loch Lomond, where the other Scotland begins.

27 Apr 2024

33

Belfast08:00 - 20:00

Before English and Scottish settlers arrived in the 1600s, Belfast was a tiny village called Béal Feirste ("sandbank ford") belonging to Ulster's ancient O'Neill clan. With the advent of the Plantation period (when settlers arrived in the 1600s), Sir Arthur Chichester, from Devon in southwestern England, received the city from the English Crown, and his son was made Earl of Donegall. Huguenots fleeing persecution from France settled near here, bringing their valuable linen-work skills. In the 18th century, Belfast underwent a phenomenal expansion—its population doubled every 10 years, despite an ever-present sectarian divide. Although the Anglican gentry despised the Presbyterian artisans—who, in turn, distrusted the native Catholics—Belfast's growth continued at a dizzying speed. The city was a great Victorian success story, an industrial boomtown whose prosperity was built on trade, especially linen and shipbuilding. Famously (or infamously), the Titanic was built here, giving Belfast, for a time, the nickname "Titanic Town." Having laid the foundation stone of the city's university in 1845, Queen Victoria returned to Belfast in 1849 (she is recalled in the names of buildings, streets, bars, monuments, and other places around the city), and in the same year, the university opened under the name Queen's College. Nearly 40 years later, in 1888, Victoria granted Belfast its city charter. Today its population is nearly 300,000, tourist numbers have increased, and this dramatically transformed city is enjoying an unparalleled renaissance.This is all a welcome change from the period when news about Belfast meant reports about "the Troubles." Since the 1994 ceasefire, Northern Ireland's capital city has benefited from major hotel investment, gentrified quaysides (or strands), a sophisticated new performing arts center, and major initiatives to boost tourism. Although the 1996 bombing of offices at Canary Wharf in London disrupted the 1994 peace agreement, the ceasefire was officially reestablished on July 20, 1997, and this embattled city began its quest for a newfound identity.Since 2008, the city has restored all its major public buildings such as museums, churches, theaters, City Hall, Ulster Hall—and even the glorious Crown Bar—spending millions of pounds on its built heritage. A gaol that at the height of the Troubles held some of the most notorious murderers involved in paramilitary violence is now a major visitor attraction.Belfast's city center is made up of three roughly contiguous areas that are easy to navigate on foot. From the south end to the north, it's about an hour's leisurely walk.

28 Apr 2024

34

Dublin08:00 - 22:00

Dublin is making a comeback. The decade-long "Celtic Tiger" boom era was quickly followed by the Great Recession, but The Recovery has finally taken a precarious hold. For visitors, this newer and wiser Dublin has become one of western Europe's most popular and delightful urban destinations. Whether or not you're out to enjoy the old or new Dublin, you'll find it a colossally entertaining city, all the more astonishing considering its intimate size.It is ironic and telling that James Joyce chose Dublin as the setting for his famous Ulysses, Dubliners, and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man because it was a "center of paralysis" where nothing much ever changed. Which only proves that even the greats get it wrong sometimes. Indeed, if Joyce were to return to his once-genteel hometown today—disappointed with the city's provincial outlook, he left it in 1902 at the age of 20—and take a quasi-Homeric odyssey through the city (as he so famously does in Ulysses), would he even recognize Dublin as his "Dear Dirty Dumpling, foostherfather of fingalls and dotthergills"?For instance, what would he make of Temple Bar—the city's erstwhile down-at-the-heels neighborhood, now crammed with cafés and trendy hotels and suffused with a nonstop, international-party atmosphere? Or the simple sophistication of the open-air restaurants of the tiny Italian Quarter (named Quartier Bloom after his own creation), complete with sultry tango lessons? Or of the hot–cool Irishness, where every aspect of Celtic culture results in sold-out theaters, from Once, the cult indie movie and Broadway hit, to Riverdance, the old Irish mass-jig recast as a Las Vegas extravaganza? Plus, the resurrected Joyce might be stirred by the songs of Hozier, fired up by the sultry acting of Michael Fassbender, and moved by the award-winning novels of Colum McCann. As for Ireland's capital, it's packed with elegant shops and hotels, theaters, galleries, coffeehouses, and a stunning variety of new, creative little restaurants can be found on almost every street in Dublin, transforming the provincial city that suffocated Joyce into a place almost as cosmopolitan as the Paris to which he fled. And the locals are a hell of a lot more fun! Now that the economy has finally turned a corner, Dublin citizens can cast a cool eye over the last 20 crazy years. Some argue that the boomtown transformation of their heretofore-tranquil city has permanently affected its spirit and character. These skeptics (skepticism long being a favorite pastime in the capital city) await the outcome of "Dublin: The Sequel," and their greatest fear is the possibility that the tattered old lady on the Liffey has become a little less unique, a little more like everywhere else.Oh ye of little faith: the rare ole gem that is Dublin is far from buried. The fundamentals—the Georgian elegance of Merrion Square, the Norman drama of Christ Church Cathedral, the foamy pint at an atmospheric pub—are still on hand to gratify. Most of all, there are the locals themselves: the nod and grin when you catch their eye on the street, the eagerness to hear half your life story before they tell you all of theirs, and their paradoxically dark but warm sense of humor. It's expected that 2016 will be an extra-special year in the capital, as centenary celebrations of the fateful 1916 Easter Rising will dominate much of the cultural calendar.

29 Apr 2024

35

Holyhead08:00 - 18:00

Once a northern defense post against Irish raiders, Holyhead later became best known as a ferry port for Ireland. The dockside bustle is not matched by the town, however, which maintains just a small population. Nonetheless, thousands of years of settlement have given Holyhead rich historical ruins to explore, with more in the surrounding hiking friendly landscape.

30 Apr 2024

36

Waterford08:00 - 17:00

The largest town in the Southeast and Ireland's oldest city, Waterford was founded by the Vikings in the 9th century and was taken over by Strongbow, the Norman invader, with much bloodshed in 1170. The city resisted Cromwell's 1649 attacks, but fell the following year. It did not prosper again until 1783, when George and William Penrose set out to create "plain and cut flint glass, useful and ornamental," and thereby set in motion a glass-manufacturing industry long without equal. The famed glassworks closed after the 2008 financial crisis, but Waterford Crystal has triumphantly risen again from the flames in a smaller, leaner version, opened in 2010 and now relocated to the Mall.

01 May 2024

37

Plymouth08:00 - 18:00

Best known as the port from which Sir Francis Drake and the port which the Pilgrim Fathers set sail from, Plymouth is awash with history. Walk down its cobbled streets, step back in time and discover the historical landmarks and sites.

02 May 2024

38

Southampton06:00 - 18:00

Lying near the head of Southampton Water, a peninsula between the estuaries of the Rivers Test and Itchen, Southampton is Britain’s largest cruise port. It has been one of England’s major ports since the Middle Ages, when it exported wool and hides from the hinterland and imported wine from Bordeaux. The city suffered heavy damage during World War Two and as a result the centre has been extensively rebuilt, but there are still some interesting medieval buildings including the Bargate, one of the finest city gatehouses in England.

03 May 2024

39

Saint-Malo08:00 - 18:00

Thrust out into the sea and bound to the mainland only by tenuous man-made causeways, romantic St-Malo has built a reputation as a breeding ground for phenomenal sailors. Many were fishermen, but others—most notably Jacques Cartier, who claimed Canada for Francis I in 1534—were New World explorers. Still others were corsairs, "sea dogs" paid by the French crown to harass the Limeys across the Channel: legendary ones like Robert Surcouf and Duguay-Trouin helped make St-Malo rich through their pillaging, in the process earning it the nickname "the pirates' city." The St-Malo you see today isn’t quite the one they called home because a weeklong fire in 1944, kindled by retreating Nazis, wiped out nearly all of the old buildings. Restoration work was more painstaking than brilliant, but the narrow streets and granite houses of the Vieille Ville were satisfactorily recreated, enabling St-Malo to regain its role as a busy fishing port, seaside resort, and tourist destination. The ramparts that help define this city figuratively and literally are authentic, and the flames also spared houses along Rue de Pelicot in the Vieille Ville. Battalions of tourists invade this quaint part of town in summer, so arrive off-season if you want to avoid crowds.

04 May 2024

40

Cruising The Bay Of Biscay & English Channel

05 May 2024

41
42

Bordeaux08:00 - 16:00

Bordeaux as a whole, rather than any particular points within it, is what you'll want to visit in order to understand why Victor Hugo described it as Versailles plus Antwerp, and why the painter Francisco de Goya, when exiled from his native Spain, chose it as his last home (he died here in 1828). The capital of southwest France and the region's largest city, Bordeaux remains synonymous with the wine trade: wine shippers have long maintained their headquarters along the banks of the Garonne, while buyers from around the world arrive for the huge biennial Vinexpo show (held in odd-number years).Bordeaux is, admittedly, a less exuberant city than many others in France, but lively and stylish elements are making a dent in its conservative veneer. The cleaned-up riverfront is said by some, after a bottle or two, to exude an elegance reminiscent of St. Petersburg, and that aura of 18th-century élan also permeates the historic downtown sector—“le vieux Bordeaux"—where fine shops invite exploration. To the south of the city center are old docklands undergoing renewal—one train station has now been transformed into a big multiplex movie theater—but the area is still a bit shady. To get a feel for the historic port of Bordeaux, take the 90-minute boat trip that leaves Quai Louis-XVIII every weekday afternoon, or the regular passenger ferry that plies the Garonne between Quai Richelieu and the Pont d'Aquitaine in summer. A nice time to stroll around the city center is the first Sunday of the month, when it's pedestrian-only and vehicles are banned.

06 May 2024 - 07 May 2024

43

Bilbao08:00 - 16:00

Time in Bilbao (Bilbo, in Euskera) may be recorded as BG or AG (Before Guggenheim or After Guggenheim). Never has a single monument of art and architecture so radically changed a city. Frank Gehry's stunning museum, Norman Foster's sleek subway system, the Santiago Calatrava glass footbridge and airport, the leafy César Pelli Abandoibarra park and commercial complex next to the Guggenheim, and the Philippe Starck AlhóndigaBilbao cultural center have contributed to an unprecedented cultural revolution in what was once the industry capital of the Basque Country.Greater Bilbao contains almost 1 million inhabitants, nearly half the total population of the Basque Country. Founded in 1300 by Vizcayan noble Diego López de Haro, Bilbao became an industrial center in the mid-19th century, largely because of the abundance of minerals in the surrounding hills. An affluent industrial class grew up here, as did the working class in suburbs that line the Margen Izquierda (Left Bank) of the Nervión estuary.Bilbao's new attractions get more press, but the city's old treasures still quietly line the banks of the rust-color Nervión River. The Casco Viejo (Old Quarter)—also known as Siete Calles (Seven Streets)—is a charming jumble of shops, bars, and restaurants on the river's Right Bank, near the Puente del Arenal bridge. This elegant proto-Bilbao nucleus was carefully restored after devastating floods in 1983. Throughout the Casco Viejo are ancient mansions emblazoned with family coats of arms, wooden doors, and fine ironwork balconies. The most interesting square is the 64-arch Plaza Nueva, where an outdoor market is pitched every Sunday morning.Walking the banks of the Nervión is a satisfying jaunt. After all, this was how—while out on a morning jog—Guggenheim director Thomas Krens first discovered the perfect spot for his project, nearly opposite the right bank's Deusto University. From the Palacio de Euskalduna upstream to the colossal Mercado de la Ribera, parks and green zones line the river. César Pelli's Abandoibarra project fills in the half mile between the Guggenheim and the Euskalduna bridge with a series of parks, the Deusto University library, the Meliá Bilbao Hotel, and a major shopping center.On the left bank, the wide, late-19th-century boulevards of the Ensanche neighborhood, such as Gran Vía (the main shopping artery) and Alameda de Mazarredo, are the city's more formal face. Bilbao's cultural institutions include, along with the Guggenheim, a major museum of fine arts (the Museo de Bellas Artes) and an opera society (Asociación Bilbaína de Amigos de la Ópera, or ABAO) with 7,000 members from Spain and southern France. In addition, epicureans have long ranked Bilbao's culinary offerings among the best in Spain. Don't miss a chance to ride the trolley line, the Euskotram, for a trip along the river from Atxuri Station to Basurto's San Mamés soccer stadium, reverently dubbed "la Catedral del Fútbol" (the Cathedral of Football).

08 May 2024

44

La Coruña09:00 - 18:00

La Coruña, the largest city in Spain's Galicia region, is among the country's busiest ports. The remote Galicia area is tucked into the northwest corner of the Iberian Peninsula, surprising visitors with its green and misty countryside that is so much unlike other parts of Spain. The name "Galicia" is Celtic in origin, for it was the Celts who occupied the region around the 6th-century BC and erected fortifications. La Coruña was already considered an important port under the Romans. They were followed by an invasion of Suevians, Visigoths and, much later in 730, the Moors. It was after Galicia was incorporated into the Kingdom of Asturias that the epic saga of the Pilgrimage to Santiago (St. James) began. From the 15th century, overseas trade developed rapidly; in 1720, La Coruña was granted the privilege of trading with America - a right previously only held by Cadiz and Seville. This was the great era when adventurous men voyaged to the colonies and returned with vast riches. Today, the city's significant expansion is evident in three distinct quarters: the town centre located along the isthmus; the business and commercial centre with wide avenues and shopping streets; and the "Ensanche" to the south, occupied by warehouses and factories. Many of the buildings in the old section feature the characteristic glazed façades that have earned La Coruña the name "City of Crystal." Plaza Maria Pita, the beautiful main square, is named after the local heroine who saved the town in 1589 when she seized the English standard from the beacon and gave the alarm, warning her fellow townsmen of the English attack.

09 May 2024

45

Porto07:00 - 16:00

Lively, commercial Oporto is the second largest city in Portugal after Lisbon. Also called Porto for short, the word easily brings to mind the city's most famous product - port wine. Oporto's strategic location on the north bank of the Douro River has accounted for the town's importance since ancient times. The Romans built a fort here where their trading route crossed the Douro, and the Moors brought their own culture to the area. Oporto profited from provisioning crusaders en route to the Holy Land and enjoyed the riches from Portuguese maritime discoveries during the 15th and 16th centuries. Later, port wine trade with Britain compensated for the loss of the spice trade and the end of gold and gem shipments from Brazil. In the 19th century, the city went through a period of new prosperity with the rise of industries. In its wake followed the building of workers' quarters and opulent residences. Since the declaration of Oporto as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the city aims to build up a cultural reference that will provide it with a new image, based on deep historical roots. Among the attractions that make Oporto such an interesting place are its graceful bridges spanning the Douro River, a picturesque riverfront quarter and, most notable, its world-famous port wine lodges. Although Oporto is a bustling centre and home to many different businesses, the source of its greatest fame is the rich, sweet fortified red wine we know as port.

10 May 2024

46

Lisbon07:00 - 15:00

Set on seven hills on the banks of the River Tagus, Lisbon has been the capital of Portugal since the 13th century. It is a city famous for its majestic architecture, old wooden trams, Moorish features and more than twenty centuries of history. Following disastrous earthquakes in the 18th century, Lisbon was rebuilt by the Marques de Pombal who created an elegant city with wide boulevards and a great riverfront and square, Praça do Comércio. Today there are distinct modern and ancient sections, combining great shopping with culture and sightseeing in the Old Town, built on the city's terraced hillsides. The distance between the ship and your tour vehicle may vary. This distance is not included in the excursion grades.

11 May 2024

47

Tangier10:00 - 18:00

Tangier can trace its origins back to the Phoenicians and ancient Greeks. It was named after Tinge, the mother of Hercules’ son, and its beginnings are embedded in mythology. It was subsequently a Roman province, and after Vandal and Byzantine influences, was occupied by the Arabs with Spain, Portugal, France and England also playing a part in the city’s history. With such a diverse past it is perhaps not surprising that Tangier is such an individual city. Overlooking the Straits of Gibraltar, the city lies on a bay between two promontories. With its old Kasbah, panoramic views, elegant buildings, squares and places of interest, there is much to discover in both the new and old parts of the city.

12 May 2024

48

Almería08:00 - 18:00

Soak up the sun on one of the numerous exquisite beaches lining this Mediterranean haven. Visit the astonishing Alcazaba, a medieval fortress high on the ridge overlooking the extraordinary city. The revered wall paintings in the caves of Velez Blanco offer fascinating insights into an ancient people. See where the historic and modern merge on a stroll down the Paseo de Almeria.

13 May 2024

49

Alicante07:00 - 16:00

The provincial capital of the Valencian Community serves as a gateway to the huge influx of tourists that flock to the Costa Blanca resorts every year. Alicante is popular with holidaymakers who arrive for the warm, Mediterranean climate and seemingly endless golden beaches. However, there is much more to this city than sand and sun. With a picturesque waterfront, a hugely impressive castle, buzzing nightlife and a rich, complex history, Alicante is a fascinating destination all year round.

14 May 2024

50

Barcelona07:00 - 19:00

The infinite variety of street life, the nooks and crannies of the medieval Barri Gòtic, the ceramic tile and stained glass of Art Nouveau facades, the art and music, the throb of street life, the food (ah, the food!)—one way or another, Barcelona will find a way to get your full attention. The capital of Catalonia is a banquet for the senses, with its beguiling mix of ancient and modern architecture, tempting cafés and markets, and sun-drenched Mediterranean beaches. A stroll along La Rambla and through waterfront Barceloneta, as well as a tour of Gaudí's majestic Sagrada Famíliaand his other unique creations, are part of a visit to Spain's second-largest city. Modern art museums and chic shops call for attention, too. Barcelona's vibe stays lively well into the night, when you can linger over regional wine and cuisine at buzzing tapas bars.

15 May 2024

51

Valencia08:00 - 21:00

Valencia, Spain's third-largest municipality, is a proud city with a thriving nightlife and restaurant scene, quality museums, and spectacular contemporary architecture, juxtaposed with a thoroughly charming historic quarter, making it a popular destination year in year out. During the Civil War, it was the last seat of the Republican Loyalist government (1935–36), holding out against Franco’s National forces until the country fell to 40 years of dictatorship. Today it represents the essence of contemporary Spain—daring design and architecture along with experimental cuisine—but remains deeply conservative and proud of its traditions. Though it faces the Mediterranean, Valencia's history and geography have been defined most significantly by the River Turia and the fertile huerta that surrounds it.The city has been fiercely contested ever since it was founded by the Greeks. El Cid captured Valencia from the Moors in 1094 and won his strangest victory here in 1099: he died in the battle, but his corpse was strapped into his saddle and so frightened the besieging Moors that it caused their complete defeat. In 1102 his widow, Jimena, was forced to return the city to Moorish rule; Jaume I finally drove them out in 1238. Modern Valencia was best known for its frequent disastrous floods until the River Turia was diverted to the south in the late 1950s. Since then the city has been on a steady course of urban beautification. The lovely bridges that once spanned the Turia look equally graceful spanning a wandering municipal park, and the spectacularly futuristic Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències (City of Arts and Sciences), most of it designed by Valencia-born architect Santiago Calatrava, has at last created an exciting architectural link between this river town and the Mediterranean. If you're in Valencia, an excursion to Albufera Nature Park is a worthwhile day trip.

16 May 2024

52

Palma de Mallorca08:00 - 22:00

If you look north of the cathedral (La Seu, or the seat of the bishopric, to Mallorcans) on a map of the city of Palma, you can see around the Plaça Santa Eulàlia a jumble of tiny streets that made up the earliest settlement. Farther out, a ring of wide boulevards traces the fortifications built by the Moors to defend the larger city that emerged by the 12th century. The zigzags mark the bastions that jutted out at regular intervals. By the end of the 19th century, most of the walls had been demolished; the only place where you can still see the massive defenses is at Ses Voltes, along the seafront west of the cathedral.A torrent (streambed) used to run through the middle of the old city, dry for most of the year but often a raging flood in the rainy season. In the 17th century it was diverted to the east, along the moat that ran outside the city walls. Two of Palma's main arteries, La Rambla and the Passeig d'es Born, now follow the stream's natural course. The traditional evening paseo (promenade) takes place on the Born.If you come to Palma by car, park in the garage beneath the Parc de la Mar (the ramp is just off the highway from the airport, as you reach the cathedral) and stroll along the park. Beside it run the huge bastions guarding the Almudaina Palace; the cathedral, golden and massive, rises beyond. Where you exit the garage, there's a ceramic mural by the late Catalan artist and Mallorca resident Joan Miró, facing the cathedral across the pool that runs the length of the park.If you begin early enough, a walk along the ramparts at Ses Voltes from the mirador beside the cathedral is spectacular. The first rays of the sun turn the upper pinnacles of La Seu bright gold and then begin to work their way down the sandstone walls. From the Parc de la Mar, follow Avinguda Antoni Maura past the steps to the palace. Just below the Plaça de la Reina, where the Passeig d'es Born begins, turn left on Carrer de la Boteria into the Plaça de la Llotja (if the Llotja itself is open, don't miss a chance to visit—it's the Mediterranean's finest Gothic-style civic building). From there stroll through the Plaça Drassana to the Museu d'Es Baluard, at the end of Carrer Sant Pere. Retrace your steps to Avinguda Antoni Maura. Walk up the Passeig d'es Born to Plaça Joan Carles I, then right on Avenida de La Unió.

17 May 2024

53

Mahón, Menorca08:00 - 18:00

The capital of Menorca since 1721, Mahon has a impressive natural deep water harbour, which is one of the largest in the world. This, coupled with its strategic location, has made it a stronghold for many nations throughout history. Mahon has an abundance of historical buildings, the oldest being the Arch of Saint Roc which is all that remains of the wall that once encircled the whole town. The island was occupied by the British during the 18th century and Lord Nelson is thought to have stayed there. Indeed, San Antoni Mansion, located on the north side of the harbour, houses a collection of Nelson memorabilia. The legacy of colonial rule can be seen in the muted Georgian style of some of the buildings, but Mahon still boasts attractive examples of neo-Classical, Baroque and Romanesque architecture. With narrow streets to explore, pleasant shaded squares and welcoming pavement cafés, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Please be aware that most shops in town close for a siesta between 1330 and 1730.

18 May 2024

54

Sète09:00 - 19:00

The fishing village of Sète serves as gateway to Montpellier, in the North. Other noteworthy destinations in this area include Carcassone, Aigues Mortes, the Abbaye de Fontfroide, and Pezenas. For a look at the real fisherman's life, however, stay right where you are. Sète is the Mediterranean's biggest fishing port. Canals winding through town make it fun to stroll around, and there are a number of good walking paths leading to the beach (about 30 minutes to the west). Although it's small and unspectacular, Plage de la Corniche has calm, pristine waters that are perfect for swimming. For a panoramic view of the area, climb Mont St-Clair or Les Pierres Blanches and pick a beach to settle down on.

19 May 2024

55

Saint-Tropez08:00 - 18:00

At first glance, it really doesn't look all that impressive. There's a pretty port with cafés charging €5 for a coffee and a picturesque old town in sugared-almond hues, but there are many prettier in the hills nearby. There are sandy beaches, rare enough on the Riviera, and old-fashioned squares with plane trees and pétanque players, but these are a dime a dozen throughout Provence. So what made St-Tropez an internationally known locale? Two words: Brigitte Bardot. When this pulpeuse (voluptuous) teenager showed up in St-Tropez on the arm of Roger Vadim in 1956 to film And God Created Woman, the heads of the world snapped around. Neither the gentle descriptions of writer Guy de Maupassant (1850–93), nor the watercolor tones of Impressionist Paul Signac (1863–1935), nor the stream of painters who followed (including Matisse and Bonnard) could focus the world's attention on this seaside hamlet as did this one sensual woman in a scarf, Ray-Bans, and capris. Vanity Fair ran a big article, "Saint Tropez Babylon," detailing the over-the-top petrodollar parties, megayachts, and Beyoncé–d paparazzi. But don't be turned off: the next year, Stewart, Tabori & Chang released an elegant coffee-table book, Houses of St-Tropez, packed with photos of supremely tasteful and pretty residences, many occupied by fashion designers, artists, and writers. Once a hangout for Colette, Anaïs Nin, and Françoise Sagan, the town still earns its old moniker, the "Montparnasse of the Mediterranean." Yet you might be surprised to find that this byword for billionaires is so small and insulated. The lack of train service, casinos, and chain hotels keeps it that way. Yet fame, in a sense, came too fast for St-Trop. Unlike the chic resorts farther east, it didn't have the decades-old reputation of the sort that would attract visitors all year around. For a good reason: its location on the south side of the gulf puts it at the mercy of the terrible mistral winter winds. So, in summer the crowds descend and the prices rise into the stratosphere. In July and August, you must be carefree about the sordid matter of cash. After all, at the most Dionysian nightclub in town, a glass of tap water goes for $37 and when the mojo really gets going, billionaires think nothing of "champagne-spraying" the partying crowds—think World Series celebrations but with $1,000 bottles of Roederer Cristal instead of Gatorade. Complaining about summer crowds, overpricing, and lack of customer service has become a tourist sport and yet this is what makes St-Tropez—described by the French daily newspaper Le Figaro as the place you can see "the greatest number of faces per square meter"—as intriguing as it is seductive.

20 May 2024

56

Monaco08:00 - 22:00

The 202-hectare Principality of Monaco is located east of France’s Mediterranean coast. Known for its royal family, especially Prince Albert of Monaco, its casinos and racetracks and for being a wealthy state with no applied taxes. Monaco is reachable by air through the French airport of Nice Côte d'Azur, located approximately 16 miles from the principality.

21 May 2024

57

Portofino08:00 - 18:00

One of the most photographed villages along the coast, with a decidedly romantic and affluent aura, Portofino has long been a popular destination for the rich and famous. Once an ancient Roman colony and taken by the Republic of Genoa in 1229, it’s also been ruled by the French, English, Spanish, and Austrians, as well as by marauding bands of 16th-century pirates. Elite British tourists first flocked to the lush harbor in the mid-1800s. Some of Europe's wealthiest drop anchor in Portofino in summer, but they stay out of sight by day, appearing in the evening after buses and boats have carried off the day-trippers.There's not actually much to do in Portofino other than stroll around the wee harbor, see the castle, walk to Punta del Capo, browse at the pricey boutiques, and sip a coffee while people-watching. However, weaving through picture-perfect cliffside gardens and gazing at yachts framed by the sapphire Ligurian Sea and the cliffs of Santa Margherita can make for quite a relaxing afternoon. There are also several tame, photo-friendly hikes into the hills to nearby villages.Unless you're traveling on a deluxe budget, you may want to stay in Camogli or Santa Margherita Ligure rather than at one of Portofino's few very expensive hotels. Restaurants and cafés are good but also pricey (don't expect to have a beer here for much under €10).

22 May 2024

58

Propriano, Corsica08:00 - 18:00

Propriano is a commune in the Corse-du-Sud department of France on the island of Corsica. It is situated on the Valinco Gulf.

23 May 2024

59

Livorno07:00 - 20:00

Livorno is a gritty city with a long and interesting history. In the early Middle Ages it alternately belonged to Pisa and Genoa. In 1421 Florence, seeking access to the sea, bought it. Cosimo I (1519–74) started construction of the harbor in 1571, putting Livorno on the map. After Ferdinando I de' Medici (1549–1609) proclaimed Livorno a free city, it became a haven for people suffering from religious persecution; Roman Catholics from England and Jews and Moors from Spain and Portugal, among others, settled here. The Quattro Mori (Four Moors), also known as the Monument to Ferdinando I, commemorates this. (The statue of Ferdinando I dates from 1595, the bronze Moors by Pietro Tacca from the 1620s.)In the following centuries, and particularly in the 18th, Livorno boomed as a port. In the 19th century the town drew a host of famous Britons passing through on their grand tours. Its prominence continued up to World War II, when it was heavily bombed. Much of the town's architecture, therefore, postdates the war, and it's somewhat difficult to imagine what it might have looked like before. Livorno has recovered from the war, however, as it's become a huge point of departure for container ships, as well as the only spot in Tuscany for cruise ships to dock for the day.Most of Livorno's artistic treasures date from the 17th century and aren't all that interesting unless you dote on obscure baroque artists. Livorno's most famous native artist, Amedeo Modigliani (1884–1920), was of much more recent vintage. Sadly, there's no notable work by him in his hometown.There may not be much in the way of art, but it's still worth strolling around the city. The Mercato Nuovo, which has been around since 1894, sells all sorts of fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, and fish. Outdoor markets nearby are also chock-full of local color. The presence of Camp Darby, an American military base just outside town, accounts for the availability of many American products.If you have time, Livorno is worth a stop for lunch or dinner at the very least.

24 May 2024

60

Civitavecchia07:00 - 19:00

Italy's vibrant capital lives in the present, but no other city on earth evokes its past so powerfully. For over 2,500 years, emperors, popes, artists, and common citizens have left their mark here. Archaeological remains from ancient Rome, art-stuffed churches, and the treasures of Vatican City vie for your attention, but Rome is also a wonderful place to practice the Italian-perfected il dolce far niente, the sweet art of idleness. Your most memorable experiences may include sitting at a caffè in the Campo de' Fiori or strolling in a beguiling piazza.

25 May 2024

(This holiday is generally suitable for persons with reduced mobility. For customers with reduced mobility or any medical condition that may require special assistance or arrangements to be made, please notify your Cruise Concierge at the time of your enquiry, so that we can provide specific information as to the suitability of the holiday, as well as make suitable arrangements with the Holiday Provider on your behalf).

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This website will provide you with information on the financial protection that applies in the case of each holiday and travel service offered before you make your booking. At the time of booking, our Cruise Concierge will also confirm the financial protection applicable to your specific holiday. Please ask us for further information should you require it. The flight inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. The cruise-only holidays on this website are financially protected by ABTA. Please see our booking terms and conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate, click here. SixStarCruises acts as a retail agent to you and also as a disclosed agent of the holiday provider (the Organiser of the holiday).