7 Night cruise sailing roundtrip from Brindisi onboard MSC Musica.
MSC Musica not only launched a new class of ecological cruise ship, she launched a new class of cruise - a spacious world of graceful lines and superlative choice, enriched by the creativity, fine natural materials and attention to detail that have always distinguished MSC Cruises. Life aboard is beautiful from the moment you step on board; from the central foyer’s three-tier waterfall to its see-through piano, floating suspended on a crystal floor above a pool of shimmering water. The designer venues on board are equally inspiring, whether you’re dancing to a band in the dazzling Crystal Lounge, pausing in the stylish Havana Club cigar lounge, treating yourself to a wine tasting, gaming in the Sanremo Casino or sitting back to a superb live show in the stunning La Scala Theatre.
Highlights of this cruise:
Once a bridging point for crusading knights and now a not to be missed stop in any Mediterranean cruises, Brindisi is still a town that makes its living from people passing through, just like you on your MSC cruise ship!
An unforgettable experience could just be to while away your holiday time in a bar or restaurant in Brindisi’s old town. The old town has a pleasant, almost oriental flavour about it, and a few hidden gems tucked down its narrow streets. Via Colonne, with its seventeenth- and eighteenth-century palazzi, runs up to Brindisi’s Duomo – a remarkable building, if only for the fact that it’s survived seven earthquakes since its construction in the eleventh century. Just outside is the Museo Archeologico Provinciale.
In addition to ornaments and statues from the necropolises that lined the Via Appia in Roman times, several rooms accommodate bronzes recovered in underwater exploration in the area, as well as finds from excavations at the archaeological site of Egnazia nearby.
Another of Brindisi’s hidden treasures is the tiny, round church of San Giovanni al Sepolcro, an eleventh-century baptistery. It’s a little dark and decrepit inside, but you can just make out some of the original thirteenth-century frescoes. And there are more frescoes, this time a century older, in the Chiesa di Santa Lucia, just off Piazza del Popolo.
Ostuni, 40 km northwest of Brindisi, is known as “the white city” and is one of southern Italy’s most stunning small towns. Situated on three hills at the southernmost edge of Le Murge, it was an important Greco-Roman city in the first century AD. The old centre spreads across the highest of the hills, a gleaming white splash of sun-bleached streets and cobbled alleyways dominating the plains below.
A holiday to Greece during an MSC cruise of the Mediterranean means history and myth. Katakolon is a tiny seaside town in Greece in the bay of Agios Andreas, only 20 km away from the ancient site of Olympia.
The historic associations and resonance of Olympia, which for over a millennium hosted the most important Panhellenic games, are rivalled only by Delphi or Mycenae. MSC Mediterranean cruises offer comprehensive excursions to Olympia. It is one of the largest ancient sites in Greece, spread beside the twin rivers of Alfiós and Kládhios, and overlooked by the Hill of Krónos.
The sheer quantity of ruined structures can give a confusing impression of their ancient grandeur and function, but the site itself is picturesque, definitely deserving a visit on an MSC excursion. The entrance to the site, located just 200m from the modern village, leads along the west side of the Altis wall, past a group of public and official buildings. The Prytaneion was the administrators’ residence, where athletes stayed and feasted at official expense.
You can see the ruins of a gymnasium and a palaestra (wrestling school), used by the competitors during their obligatory month of pre-games training. Beyond these stood the Priests’ House, the Theokoleion, a substantial colonnaded building in whose southeast corner is a structure adapted as a Byzantine church. The main focus of the Altis precinct is provided by the great Doric Temple of Zeus.
Built between 470 and 456 BC, it was as large as the Parthenon, a fact quietly substantiated by the vast column drums littering the ground. The temple’s decoration, too, rivalled the finest in Athens; partially recovered, its sculptures of Pelops in a chariot race, of Lapiths and Centaurs, and the Labours of Hercules, are now in the museum.
You can’t say you have been to Greece on holiday without seeing the natural wonder of Santoríni. As our MSC cruise ship manoeuvres into the great caldera of Santoríni (Thíra), the land seems to rise up and clamp around it.
Gaunt, sheer cliffs loom hundreds of metres above the deep blue sea, nothing grows or grazes to soften the awesome view. The only colours are the reddish-brown, black and grey pumice layers on the cliff face of this, the largest island in the mini-archipelago.
A shore excursion on your MSC Mediterranean cruise can be the perfect chance to experience Firá (also known as Hóra) which clings precariously to the edge of the enormous caldera. Although Firá’s restaurants are primarily aimed at the tourist market, the food can be very good. Using a spectacular two-hour footpath along the lip of the caldera you reach the village of Imerovígli and further to the north Firostefáni, both of which have equally stunning views.
The only alternative location is Karterádhos, a small village about twenty minutes’ walk southeast of Firá. MSC Mediterranean cruises also offer excursions to Santoríni’s beaches, on the island’s east coast, which are long black stretches of volcanic sand that get blisteringly hot in the afternoon sun.
Evidence of the Minoan colony that once thrived here has been uncovered among the resorts at the ancient site of Minoan Thira at Akrotíri, on the south-western tip of the island; the site was inhabited from the Late Neolithic period through to the seventeenth century BC. The Archaeological Museum of Firá, near the cable car to the north of town, is well presented, and has a collection from the excavations of Ancient Thira.
Pireas (Piraeus) is the port of call for you during an MSC cruise to the Mediterranean. It has been the port of Athens since Classical times, when the so-called Long Walls, scattered remnants of which can still be seen, were built to connect it to the city.
Today it’s a substantial metropolis in its own right. The island ferries leaving from the port where your MSC cruise ship awaits your return are the reason most people come here; if you’re spending any time here, though, the real attractions of the place are around the small-boat harbours of Zéa Marina and Mikrolímano on the opposite side of the small peninsula.
Here, the upscale residential areas are alive with attractive waterfront cafés, bars and restaurants offering some of the best seafood in town. A shore excursion on your MSC Mediterranean cruise can be the opportunity to visit Athens too. The vestiges of the ancient Classical Greek city, most famously represented by the Parthenon and other remains that top the Acropolis, are an inevitable focus, along with the magnificent National Archaeological Museum.
The rock of the Acropolis, crowned by the dramatic ruins of the Parthenon, dominates almost every view of Athens. Surrounded by pedestrianized streets, it can be appreciated from almost every angle. Entering via the monumental double gatehouse, the Propylaia, you’ll see the elegant, tiny Temple of Athena Nike on a precipitous platform to the right, overlooking Pireás and the Saronic Gulf.
The Parthenon is the highlight, though, the first and greatest project of Pericles’ Athenian Golden Age. Originally the columns were brightly painted and the building was decorated with the finest sculpture of the Classical age, also lavishly coloured. To the north of the Parthenon stands the Erechtheion and its striking Porch of the Caryatids, whose columns form the tunics of six tall maidens.
An MSC Mediterranean cruise excursion can be the chance to discover Corfu Town, one of the most elegant island capitals in the whole of Greece.
Corfu Town comprises a number of distinct areas. The Historic Centre, the area enclosed by the Old Port and the two forts, consists of several smaller districts: Campiello, the oldest, sits on the hill above the harbour; Kofinéta stretches towards the Spianádha (Esplanade); Áyii Apóstoli runs west of the Mitrópolis (Orthodox cathedral); while tucked in beside the Néo Froúrio is what remains of the old Jewish quarter.
As you set off inland from your MSC cruise ship you’ll find that these districts and their tall, narrow alleys conceal some of Corfu’s most beautiful architecture. The New Town comprises all the areas that surround the Historic Centre.
The most obvious sights during your excursion are the forts, the Paleó Froúrio and Néo Froúrio. Looming above the Old Port, the Néo Froúrio is the more architecturally interesting of the two forts. The entrance, at the back of the fort, gives onto cellars, dungeons and battlements, with excellent views over the town and bay; there’s a small gallery and seasonal café at the summit.
The Paleó Froúrio is not as well preserved as the Néo Froúrio and contains some incongruous modern structures, but has an interesting Byzantine Museum just inside the gate, and even more stunning views from the central Land Tower. Just west of the Paleó Froúrio, the focus of town life is the Listón, an arcaded café-lined street built during the French occupation by the architect of the Rue de Rivoli in Paris, and the green Spianádha (Esplanade) it overlooks.
When you alight here from your MSC cruise you can also enjoy an excursion to the sixteenth-century church of Áyios Spyrídhon and some buildings dating from French and British administrations.
Sailing on an MSC cruise to the Mediterranean Sea you can see perched on the edge of a majestic bay, the medieval Old Town of Kotor; it’s the undisputed jewel in Montenegro’s crown.
Though no longer Europe’s best-kept secret, Kotor’s sudden elevation to the tour-cruise league has failed to dim the timeless delights of its cobbled alleyways and secluded piazzas. Enclosing cafés and churches galore, the town walls are themselves glowered down upon by a series of hulking peaks.
Down below, a harbour now bustling with sleek yachts marks the end of the Bay of Kotor, made fjord-like by the 1000m cliffs that rise almost vertically from the serene waters. Kotor’s charms are best appreciated by heading to the Old Town, without map, and getting lost in the labyrinthine streets. You’ll likely start your excursion entering through the Sea Gate, next to the harbour, where your MSC cruise ship awaits your return, and emerge onto the main square, Trg od Oružja.
Cafés spill out from glorious buildings, the most notable of which are the old Rector’s Palace and a leaning clock tower. Burrow through the streets and before long you’ll end up at St Tryphon’s Cathedral, backed by a wall of mountains and perfect for photos; it’s well worth the entry fee for a peek inside.
Elsewhere there are several churches that merit a look, as well as a fascinating Maritime Museum, a repository of nautical maps and model ships. The old fortress walls sit proudly above the town, and make for a rewarding climb. Allow at least ninety minutes for the round-trip to St Ivan’s Castle, from which you’ll have tremendous views of the fjord.
MSC Cruises shore excursions can be a clever option for visiting the monuments that draw the largest cruise crowds in Venice: the Basilica di San Marco – the mausoleum of the city’s patron saint – and the Palazzo Ducale – the home of the doge and all the governing councils.
Certainly these are the most dramatic structures in Venice: the first a mosaic-clad emblem of Venice’s Byzantine origins, the second perhaps the finest of all secular Gothic buildings. But you would be rewarded for visiting every parish: a roll-call of the churches worth visiting would feature over fifty names, and a list of the important paintings and sculptures they contain would be twice as long.
Enjoy your cruise holiday in Venice walking in Piazza San Marco: the only piazza in Venice, all other squares being campi or campielli. Its parades, festivities and markets have always drawn visitors, the biggest attraction once being the trade fair known as the Fiera della Sensa, which kept the Piazza buzzing for the fortnight following the Ascension Day ceremony of the Marriage of Venice to the Sea; nowadays the Piazza is the focal point of the Carnevale shenanigans.
The coffee shops of the Piazza were a vital component of eighteenth-century high society, and the two survivors from that period – Florian and Quadri – are still the most expensive in town. The glass-blowing industry is what made Murano famous all over Europe, and today its furnaces constitute Venice’s sole surviving manufacturing zone.
Murano’s street-level premises are given over almost entirely to shops selling glasswork, and it’s difficult to walk more than a few metres on this island without being invited to step inside a showroom. Some of them have furnaces attached, and you shouldn’t pass up the chance to see these astoundingly skilful craftsmen in action.
I1 - Interior Bella
|Request||AU$ 1,691||AU$ 2,004||AU$ 3,833|
I2 - Interior Fantastica
|AU$ 1,649||AU$ 1,817||AU$ 2,154||AU$ 4,133|
O1 - Ocean View Bella (Partial View)
|AU$ 1,684||AU$ 1,857||AU$ 2,204||AU$ 4,233|
O2 - Ocean View Fantastica
|AU$ 1,799||AU$ 1,984||AU$ 2,354||AU$ 4,533|
B1 - Balcony Cabin Bella
|Request||Request||AU$ 2,404||AU$ 4,633|
B2 - Balcony
|AU$ 1,949||AU$ 2,151||AU$ 2,554||AU$ 4,933|
B3 - Balcony Cabin Aurea
|Request||AU$ 2,784||AU$ 3,304||AU$ 6,433|
FLA - SuperFamily Fantastica
|AU$ 2,080||AU$ 2,715||AU$ 3,985||Request|
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