Embark your ship – Crown Princess
Barcelona combines everything that is most charming about Mediterranean cities – a relaxed pace, months of endless sunshine, unbeatable food – with the cultural and design sophistication of almost any city in the northern hemisphere. Its patchwork of architectural styles displays dark, Gothic façades next to the harlequin buildings of the Modernistas and the skyline-piercing constructions of Jean Nouvel or Herzog and de Meuron, and a day spent admiring them can be topped off with a sundowner on one of the city’s seven beaches before dinner at any number of Michelin-starred gastronomic temples or humble, family-run tapas bars.
Day 2: At Sea
Day 3: Gibraltar
Gibraltar. The Rock of Gibraltar crouches guard like, protecting the entrance to the Mediterranean from unwelcome visitors. Many countries have fought for control of this passage between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, resulting in a vibrant cultural melting pot. Narrow steep lanes are busy with English tourists, veiled Moroccan women in caftans, and Spanish residents. Stroll below the white cliffs among a profusion of palm, pine, and cypress. Go below to Gibraltar’s caves, or up above to see the Rock’s Barbary apes.
Day 4: At Sea
Day 5: Marseille
Marseille is France’s second largest city and a virtual melting pot of peoples and cultures with a salty city with a feel and culture all its own. Dominating the harbour is the infamous Chateau d’If, the rocky prison from which Alexandre Dumas’ Count of Monte Cristo escaped. Marseille is also your gateway to Provence. Also try the renowned bouillabaisse or tour the lovely towns and vineyards of Provence.
Day 6: Genoa
Genoa seen from a distance is awash with colour. The capital of Liguria it must be said is not the most glamorous piece of Italy. But its maritime heritage can never be questioned. Its harbour was alive with boats before the Roman Empire had risen – and it spent the entirety of the Middle Ages as an independent city-state, competing with Venice and Ragusa (now Dubrovnik) for trade and influence in the Mediterranean.
Day 7: Livorno (Florence/Pisa)
Livorno.is claimed to be the cradle of the Renaissance and is home to the Uffizi Gallery which is only rivalled by the Louvre for its collection of Renaissance masterpieces. You can also make your way to the world-famous tower of Pisa which took over 177 years to build and has been leaning since construction began in 1173.
Day 8: Civitavecchia (Rome)
Civitavecchia (Rome) is often described as the Eternal City and is filled with breath taking treasurers of almost every description – The Vatican’s Sistine Chapel, St Peter’s Basilica, the Colosseum, and the Trevi Fountain where a tossed coin promises your return to this city of Romance. Take a walk along the famous (and expensive) Via Veneto which came to fame in the 1960’ as the centre of la dolce vita (the sweet life) attracting jet setters from around the world.
Disembark you ship The Crown Princess