A six star voyage is of course all about a luxurious cruise experience, from the gourmet cuisine you’ll enjoy on board and the dedicated waiter service to the extreme comfort of your suite and the attentions of your own white-gloved butler. The good news is that it’s possible to complement that luxurious on-board experience on your days a shore, as many of the world’s cruise regions offer you the chance to explore many of its most opulent palaces. Read on to find out more about how you can discover even more luxury on a six star cruise.
Doge’s Palace, Venice
The Mediterranean is one of the world’s most popular cruising destinations and Venice one of its most popular ports. The city is brimming with both atmosphere and places of huge historic interest but the most spectacular of these is the Doges Palace. The Doge of Venice was the ruler of the once mighty Republic of Venice during the Medieval and Renaissance periods and this stunning building will give you a fascinating glimpse into the history, daily life and lifestyle of the doges through the years. Each room you visit is grander than the next, with spectacular ceiling frescos and works of art awaiting you at every turn.
Pic: Charissa Fay
Topkapi Palace, Istanbul
Another palace to see if you’re on an Eastern Mediterranean cruise or one which explores the Middle East is this masterpiece. Once the residence of Turkey’s Ottoman sultans, it’s the city’s largest palace and naturally a popular tourist attraction. It’s part of the Historic Areas of Istanbul UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s finest examples of Ottoman opulence. These days it’s a museum and there are hundreds of rooms to explore as well as fantastic architecture, porcelain, murals and treasures to behold, most noted of which are none other than Muhammed’s cloak and sword.
Palace of Versailles
If you’re on a European cruise which calls at the French port of Le Havre, you’ll have the opportunity to take an excursion to Versailles and see for yourself its spectacular palace. In French it’s known as the Chateaux of Versailles but this name gives the impression of it being a castle, which it certainly isn’t, hence the anglicised name. During the late 1600s and much of the 1700s, this spectacular building was the seat of French power when Louis XVI moved from Paris and today, it’s another UNESCO World Heritage Site and popular attraction. Perhaps the most celebrated room in the palace is the jaw-droppingly beautiful Hall of Mirrors but there are a wealth of other apartments, suites and chapels to explore.
Royal Palace and Armoury, Stockholm
A Baltics cruise is another way to explore some truly historic European cities rich in fantastic architecture and attractions. Stockholm is a Baltic itinerary mainstay and the Royal Palace and Armoury, located in the city’s old town, the perfect place in which to spend some of your time if you find yourself in port. This 18th century Baroque gem stands on the very land where the city began and there are over 600 rooms to see. You can explore the lavish state apartments and rooms of the palace itself and also the many exhibits on display in the armoury housed in the palace’s cellar, such as gold-embroidered costumes and ornate wedding outfits.
Summer Palace, Beijing
If you’re on a Far East cruise which includes a visit to China’s bustling, culture-packed capital, then a trip to the sprawling Summer Palace is a must. This 290-acre complex was once the summer residence of emperors-past and offers much to explore and a welcome retreat from the hustle-bustle. Expansive, beautiful gardens and a lake are yours to explore, while Longevity Hill is where you’ll find the majority of palace buildings including the stunning Cloud-Dispelling Hall, the Hall of Happiness and Longevity and the literally unmissable 41-metre Tower of Buddhist Incense.
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Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi
It’s quite possible you’ll find yourself in Abu Dhabi on your Middle East cruise and though the region has more than its fair share of historic buildings, it’s an all-together more modern palace that is one of Abu Dhabi’s most popular attractions. The Emirate’s Palace is in fact a huge conference centre and luxury hotel and is one of the most expensive hotels ever built. This isn’t just your average luxury place to stay though. The lobby boasts a beautifully-ornate dome and though it was only completed in 2005, the architecture is sympathetic with the region. Areas such as the restaurants, shops and gardens are open to the public and afternoon tea in the palace is a popular activity.
If all this talk of gilded opulence has whet your appetite for more, then visit our destination pages to find out more about the cruise regions mentioned and of course, our cruise deals page to find out more about the many exciting itineraries we have available.