PRICE BASED EX SYDNEY OR MELBOURNE
AIR ADD-ONS AVAILABLE:
Departing from Brisbane + $345 per person
THE MED AND THE GREEK ISLANDS Fly, Cruise & Stay package includes:
- Return economy class airfare from Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne to Rome
- 1 nights accommodation in a 4-star hotel in Rome with continental breakfast+
- 11 night Italy, France, Spain Malta & Greece cruise onboard MSC Poesia from Rome return
- Main Meals~ and entertainment onboard
- 2 nights accommodation in a 4-star hotel in Rome with continental breakfast+
- Air taxes, Port charges and government fees
11 Night Cruise sailing roundtrip from Rome onboard Poesia.
MSC Poesia is an innovative cruise ship with elegant style that brings traditional craftsmanship to creative designs. Step aboard and you’ll enter a refined world of comfort, from the spectacular foyer waterfall to the Zen Garden, authentic Japanese Sushi bar and opulent MSC Aurea Spa wellness centre with steam room, sauna and divine massages to pamper body and mind, it’s the perfect place to unwind.
There are many sports and fitness activities available on board, including a basketball court, tennis court, shuffleboard, state-of-the-art gym and minigolf. Kids and teens are equally well served, with their own clubs and parties, a dedicated Stone Age and Dinosaur Play Area, stunning video games and even a DJ disco! Plus there are naturally all the resort amenities you could wish for, including 3 swimming pools, 4 whirlpools and a giant poolside cinema screen.
The gourmet cuisine on board brings you specialities from around the world, but retains its Mediterranean heart, rooted in the values of the Italian slow food movement. With MSC, every succulent dish is freshly prepared with care by our skilled chef’s from prime quality ingredients.
The varied lounge bars offer similarly refreshing originality and authenticity, from the Grappolo d’Oro wine-tasting bar to the Mojito cocktail bar and sumptuous design of the cigar room.
Whether a family holiday, luxury treat or romantic escape, MSC Poesia is a ship that offers a truly inspiring cruise experience.
Highlights of this cruise:
Genoa is marvellously eclectic, vibrant and full of rough-edged style; it’s a great cruise excursion.
Indeed “La Superba” (The Superb), as it was known at the height of its authority as a Mediterranean superpower, boasts more zest and intrigue than all the surrounding coastal resorts put together.
During a holiday to Genoa you can explore its old town: a dense and fascinating warren of medieval alleyways home to large palazzi built in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by Genoa’s wealthy mercantile families and now transformed into museums and art galleries. You should seek out the Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, the Palazzo Ducale, and the Renaissance palaces of Via Garibaldi which contain the cream of Genoa’s art collections, as well as furniture and decor from the grandest days of the city’s past, when its ships sailed to all corners of the Mediterranean Sea.
The Acquario di Genova is the city’s pride and joy, parked like a giant ocean liner on the waterfront, with seventy tanks housing sea creatures from all the world’s major habitats, including the world’s biggest reconstruction of a Caribbean coral reef. It’s a great aquarium by any standards, the second largest in Europe by capacity, and boasts a fashionably ecology-conscious slant and excellent background information in Italian and English.
Just 35 km south of Genoa, there’s no denying the appeal of Portofino, tucked into a protected inlet surrounded by lush cypress- and olive-clad slopes. It’s an A-list resort that has been attracting high-flying bankers, celebs and their hangers-on for years, as evidenced by the flotillas of giant yachts usually anchored just outside. It’s a tiny place that is attractive yet somehow off-putting at the same time, with a quota of fancy shops, bars and restaurants for a place twice its size.
Are you ready to find your way around Marseille on an MSC Mediterranean cruise?
When cruising southern France, you have to know that Marseille is the most renowned and populated metropolitan area in the country after Paris and Lyon. When you alight from your MSC cruise ship, the cafés around the Vieux Port, where glistening fish are sold straight off the boats on quai des Belges, are wonderful spots to observe the city’s street life.
Particularly good in the afternoon is the north (Le Panier) side, where the terraces are sunnier and the views better. The best view of the Vieux Port is from the Palais du Pharo, on the headland beyond Fort St-Nicolas, or, for a wider angle, from Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, the city’s Second Empire landmark atop the La Garde hill. To the north of the Vieux Port is the oldest part of Marseille, Le Panier, where, up until the last war, tiny streets, steep steps Mediterranean introduction and houses of every era formed a vieille ville typical of the Côte.
You can enjoy many MSC cruise excursions from the Vieux Port. Were it not for the great metropolis of Marseille, just 30 km south, Aix-en-Provence would be the dominant city of central Provence. Aix is more immediately attractive, a stately and in parts pretty place that’s traditionally seen as conservative.
Capital of the Catholic Church during the early Middle Ages and for centuries a major artistic centre, Avignon remains another unmissable excursion. Low medieval walls still encircle Avignon’s old centre, as it nestles up against a ninety-degree bend in the Rhône river. Their gates and towers restored, the ramparts dramatically mark the historic core off from the formless sprawl of the modern city beyond.
Barcelona – Spain’s second city, and the self-confident capital and port of Catalunya – vibrates with life, and there’s certainly not another city in the country to touch it for sheer style, looks or energy.
A cruise excursion to Barcelona city centre will take you to discover its world-class art museums and its fashionable designer restaurants, bars, galleries and shops. And in Antoni Gaudí’s extraordinary church of the Sagrada Família and the world-famous boulevard that is the Ramblas, you have two sights that are high up on any Mediterranean cruise sightseeing list.
A holiday in Barcelona can start with the Ramblas, and then dive straight into the medieval nucleus of the city, the Barri Gòtic. But there are plenty of other central old-town neighbourhoods to explore too, from La Ribera – home to the celebrated Museu Picasso – to funky El Raval, where cool bars, restaurants and boutiques have mushroomed in the wake of the striking contemporary art museum, MACBA.
Even if you think you know these heavily touristed neighbourhoods well, there’s always something else to discover during an MSC excursion – tapas bars hidden down alleys little changed for a century or two, designer boutiques in renovated old-town quarters, bargain lunches in workers’ taverns, unmarked gourmet restaurants, craft outlets and workshops, fin-de-siècle cafés, restored medieval palaces and neighbourhood markets.
On Passeig de Gràcia there is Gaudí’s Casa Batlló, designed for the industrialist Josep Batlló: the stone facade hangs in folds, like skin, while on the rooftop sprout the celebrated mosaic chimneys and a little tower topped with a three-dimensional cross.
The mountain of Montserrat stands just 40km northwest of Barcelona and it’s a popular trip out from the city. Once there, you can visit the basilica and monastery buildings which fan out around an open square, and there are extraordinary mountain views from the terrace.
The UNESCO-protected port of Valletta, the capital of the island of Malta, is one of the must-see stops for every Mediterranean cruise of merit.
You can admire this port, constructed in the second half of the 16th century by the Frenchman Jean de la Valette and moulded by the religious and military Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, from your MSC ship even before disembarking. The over 300 monuments rising in little more than half a square kilometre make this a place with one of the greatest density of historical attractions to visit during a cruise, not mentioning other attractions such as its beaches, seaside locales and restaurants.
An excursion to the island can start right from its capital, Valletta, which enchants the cruise-goer with its famous Maltese balconies, which decorate the facades of houses in its old quarter. Surrounded by a multitude of churches, which the islanders assure are as many as the days of the year, the St. John’s Co-Cathedral is one of Malta’s biggest tourist attractions.
The National Museum of Archaeology, on the other hand, hosts prehistoric artefacts found on the island. By the Grand Harbour, one can visit the underground passages of Auberge de Castille and the beautiful Baracca Gardens, which overlook the harbour; at night, when the city gates would close, its porticoes served as shelter for travellers. To get a taste of the life of Malta’s ancient nobility, visit Casa Rocca Piccola.
A 16th century Palazzo now the residence of the 9th Marquis De Piro, it has period furnishings and has a bomb shelter built for protection against bombings during the Second World War. The set of the film Popeye can still be seen from Malta’s largest beach, as well as the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mellieha with a fresco of the Blessed Virgin Mary with Christ; according to tradition, Saint Luke, who was shipwrecked on the island with Saint Paul, is the author of this Byzantine-style fresco.
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.
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.
The best way to arrive in Iráklion is from the sea on an MSC cruise ship. It’s the traditional approach and is still the one that shows the city in its best light, with Mount Yioúhtas rising behind, the heights of the Psilorítis range to the west and, as you get closer, the great fortress guarding the harbour entrance and the city walls encircling and dominating the oldest part of town.
Iráklion has superb fortifications, a fine market and atmospheric old alleys to visit when you alight from your MSC cruise. Virtually everything you’re likely to want to see lies within the north-eastern corner of the walled city. The massive Venetian walls, in places up to 15m thick, are the most obvious evidence of Iráklion’s history.
Though their fabric is incredibly well preserved, access is virtually nonexistent. El Greco Park, to the right as you approach Platía Venizélou, is crowded with cafés and bars, while opposite, on the left, are some of the more interesting of Iráklion’s older buildings including the church of Áyios Títos and the Venetian city hall with its famous loggia, both almost entirely rebuilt. Just above this stands the church of San Marco, its steps usually crowded with sightseers spilling over from the nearby platía.
Knossós, 5km south of Iráklio on a low, largely artificial hill, was by far the largest of the Minoan palaces, thriving more than three and a half thousand years ago at the heart of a highly sophisticated island-wide civilization: it’s an excursion not to be missed on any MSC Mediterranean cruise to Greece.
As soon as you enter the Palace of Knossós through its West Court, it is clear how the legends of the labyrinth grew up around it. Even with a map and description, it can be very hard to work out where you are.
Athens (Piraeus), Greece
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.
Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy
The port of Civitavecchia is one of the largest in Italy and is, of course, a destination of MSC Cruises in the Mediterranean. Civitavecchia enjoys a millenary history due to its coves along the coast, which offered a perfect shelter for vessels, making it a natural port long before cruise ships sailed the seas, and in fact the port was known to the Romans as Centumcellae.
During your holiday in Civitavecchia you can easily visit its centre on foot. Amongst the most important monuments to visit are the Forte Michelangelo, built by Bramante in the 16th century, the ancient walls of the old port, where there is a fountain in travertine marble by Vanvitelli, and the Rock, an inexpugnable fortress that has been looming over the city and port for over a thousand years.
In Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, Civitavecchia’s main square, one can admire the majestic baroque cathedral dedicated to St. Francis, built at the end of the 18th century on a smaller church which could no longer host a rapidly growing community.
Piazza Leandra, set in the historic centre, is a typical Italian piazza with a fountain in the centre, dedicated to Leandro, an elderly seaman of the Middle Ages who convinced his fellow citizens to settle on the Mediterranean coast in spite of the incursions by Saracen pirates.
There are a host of bars and restaurants for a taste of seafood cuisine, from poached baby octopus to fried rocket to stuffed squid or the pizza alla civitavecchiese with anchovies and garlic. The Taurine Baths, of the even more ancient Etruscan period, are a grand archaeological site just a few kilometres outside the city, a site that we recommend to the cruiser with a passion for ancient history.
*Conditions Apply: Prices are per person, capacity controlled and listed in Australian dollars twin share including port taxes. Prices may fluctuate if surcharges, fees, taxes or currency change, and may be withdrawn at any time. Prices shown here are not shown in real time. While we endeavour to keep our pricing as up-to-date as possible, the advertised prices shown here may differ from the live prices in our booking system. The prices shown are for a cash payment. Credit card fees of up to 2.5% will apply. Offer correct as at 31Jan19 and subject to live availability at time of booking. Prices are per person twin share based on best available cruise fare, inclusive of all discounts unless otherwise stated. All offers are capacity controlled and can be withdrawn or modified at any time without notice and subject to availability at time of booking. Outside and Balcony cabins may have obstructed views and Suite cabins comprises Junior Suites, Mini Suites and any other type of suite that represents the best value for each cruise. Unless otherwise stated, all packages containing airfare will require full airfare and taxes within 24 hours of reservation and cancellation/amendment conditions apply. Air taxes are included in package price and are subject to change depending on departure city. Unless otherwise stated, onboard gratuities are NOT included. ~Specialty restaurants may incur a surcharge. Cabins are based on guarantee and cabin number will not be assigned until documentation or embarkation. +Hotels in certain cities must charge local government tax directly to guests upon checkout which cannot be collected in advance by our agency. All passports, vaccinations and visas are the responsibility of the travelling guest to secure prior to departure from Australia. Some cruise lines reserve the right to impose a fuel levy if the NMEX price reaches a certain level - please check with your consultant at time of booking. Cruise deposit, amendment and cancellation conditions apply. Travel agent service fees not included. Special conditions apply - please ask for full details at time of enquiry. Offer ends 28Feb19 or until sold out/withdrawn from sale. Please note only residents with an Australian address are eligible to book Australian rates in Australian dollars. This cruise package is provided by Seven Oceans Cruising, please ask your travel agent to contact us for more information.