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Enjoy authentic tapas and dazzling architecture in Barcelona before sailing off on this unforgettable cruise around the Mediterranean. Try a plate of paella in Valencia and lounge on the boho chic beaches of Ibiza. Fall in love with the pastel-lined village of Portofino and visit the birthplace of Napoleon on the island of Corsica. Discover Renaissance masterpieces in Florence or Pisa and finish off your vacation in the alluring city of Rome, where the ruins of the Colosseum await
Formerly a sleepy Spanish city, Barcelona has recently been reborn as an eclectic fusion of the modern and medieval. This coastal city exudes European charm and welcomes multitudes of travelers every year. It’s a major destination with must-see architectural gems that date back some 2,000 years. You’ll encounter fascinating examples from the Roman Empire, the Middle Ages, the Modern masters like Gaudî, and many Cataluñian greats. Outstanding art museums can be found throughout the city, proudly displaying the works of world-renowned artists and countrymen, including Goya, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalî, and Joan Miró. For a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city center, venture to the awaiting Mediterranean Sea and all the seaside has to offer. Maybe a brisk hike in the nearby forest covered Collserola Hills or the hilltop in Montjuïc with its botanical gardens is the perfect recharge for a rollicking evening in one of the premier party capitals of the world. Round out your cruise to Barcelona dining at a tapas bar and savor a variety of delicious small dishes to share—from traditional Spanish to the more innovative.
Best known as the birthplace of paella, Valencia has steadily moved onto the radar of savvy travelers. It’s a vibrant, friendly, mildly chaotic place with two outstanding fine-arts museums, an accessible old quarter, Europe’s newest cultural and scientific complex – and one of Spain’s most exciting nightlife scenes. Whole sections of the old city, for example the Carmen Quarter, have been extensively renovated. One of the best spots for exploring Valencia’s history is at the museum L’Almoina, which opened three years ago in the Carmen on the site where Valencia was founded by the Romans in 138 B.C. Here, you can walk over glass floors, looking down at a stunning assemblage of ruins excavated in the area. The exhibition includes Roman baths, tombs and a medieval Moorish ward for plague victims.
Discover a slice of Spain not found in Barcelona or Madrid on your Valencia cruise. This city has quietly built up a great reputation of its own, namely with innovative engineering and ultra-modern architecture. A few of its notable projects include Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias (city of art and sciences); a futuristic complex that houses the family-friendly arts and science museums and the extraordinary futuristic buildings designed by local legend, Santiago Calatrava.
Cruises to Ibiza, Spain – Ibiza is an island in the Mediterranean Sea off the eastern coast of Spain that is often synonymous with world-famous mega-clubs and is a summertime meccas for many celebrities and DJs. However, you’ll find on your cruise to Ibiza that the island is simply one of the most beautiful in the Mediterranean. With mystical islets and hidden coves that beg to be explored, Ibiza Town is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walk along the ramparts of the ancient capital, D’Alt Vila and enjoy a Cava Sangria tasting. Or, spend an afternoon relaxing on the soft sands of the secluded north-coast cove.
Thanks to Ibiza’s booming club scene, an assortment of eclectic and fashionable shops have popped up and are well worth exploring. And head to Las Dalias for a market filled with merchants and artisans selling authentic Bohemian clothes. Traditional Ibiza cuisine comes from the sea and the island’s rich farmland. Stroll to just about any local bistro or restaurant for fried Ibizan fish, shellfish, lobster stew, or roasted lamb.
Whether it’s the lush beats and sounds of the summertime mega-clubs that call you to Ibiza, or the beautiful sandy beaches, there’s an abundance of culture and history to discover and experience on your Ibiza cruise.
At Sea – Cruising
While at sea, take the time to recharge before the next adventure. Lounge by the pool, be spoiled at the spa, taste the delicacies or explore the venues on-board, until we arrive at the next amazing destination.
Stroll tiny Portofino, a perfectly poised pastel village taking refuge on its own secluded peninsula. Stop at a charming café to get a bite and watch the yachts bobbing in the harbor. Explore the seductive boutiques and art galleries that line the harbor and narrow streets. Discover historic sites like the Church of St. Martin and the Castello Brown fortress. Just down the Italian Rivera awaits Cinque Terre National Park, a seascape of fishing villages carved from the cliffs. Hike through the park on 15th-century footpaths winding through olive groves and vineyards, overlooking the sparkling Mediterranean.
On the West coast of Corsica—southwest of Italy and southeast of France—lies Ajaccio, the island’s largest town. Replete with all the charm and sophistication one would expect of a French Mediterranean resort—palm trees, sandy beaches, bountiful shopping, beautiful marina and colorful cafes, bars and bistros—you would not be amiss to liken Ajaccio to the more well-known South-of-France hotspots, such as the Cote d’Azur, Cap d’Antibes or Marseille.
A great place to start your investigation of Ajaccio on your Corsica cruise is to stroll down to the Maison Napoleon, the eponymous birthplace of the iconic French military leader, and the nearby cathedral where he was christened. Famed for being Napoleon Bonaparte’s birthplace, Ajaccio tips its hat to its most famous and storied resident throughout town, from his childhood home to seafront statues, museums, and street names. Take a scenic tour to the Austerlitz Square, Iles Sanguinaires viewpoint and the narrow, picturesque streets of old Ajaccio.
Sample some of the local fresh market’s delights for in-season delicacies, pastries and the fresh fish, vegetables, cheeses, and Corsican wines. Dining in town is essentially a French experience with a bit of Italian tossed in. Be sure to try the island’s popular pork charcuterie and fritelli, the doughnut made with chestnut flowers.
La Spezia, which lies between Genoa and Pisa, and is just minutes to the east of Cinque Terre-the five fishing ports that enjoy National Park status-is home to the Palio del Golfo, an annual boat race that sees the Gulf of Poets; 13 historic villages face off against one another in celebration of the annual Festa del Mare. The town also offers fantastic shopping opportunities, as well as plenty of trattorias to enjoy local, Ligurian cuisine
Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy
Rome, Italy: Civitavecchia was settled in 108 A.D. by the Emperor Trajan and has since served faithfully as a gateway to Rome, the capital of Italy. Once the center of the Ancient World from which emperors ruled over nearly all of western civilization, Rome is still a cultural mecca. Only a few cities in the world can boast such a well-preserved level of architecture, art, and religious iconography. There’s an enormous wealth of culture and history to discover on a cruise to Rome. Visit the ancient halls of the 50,000-seat Colosseum, gaze upon the ceilings of Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, and stroll the Capitoline Museum. Roman culinary prowess is well respected and beloved the world over. Experience authentic pizza, hearty bowls of fresh pasta, excellent cheeses, wines, seafood, and delightful desserts like tiramisu and gelato at family-run trattorias that have been preparing these traditional dishes for centuries. Walk the cobblestoned piazzas making your way to narrow side streets where you’re sure to find craftsman shops and beautiful boutiques filled with gorgeous handmade accessories and homewares for keepsakes and souvenirs.
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