Mediterranean to Barcelona
Day 1 - Barcelona One of the busiest cruise ports in the Mediterranean, the seaside city of Barcelona is known for its iconic architecture, colourful culture, and world-class drinking and dining. Explore Antoni Gaudí’s surreal Sagrada Família, the famous boulevard of the Ramblas, the medieval Barri Gótic, and the Museu Picasso. But there’s even more to discover in this sprawling Spanish city, an MSC Mediterranean Cruises destination: from hidden tapas bars and fabulous food markets to Europe’s biggest football stadium.
Day 2 - Cannes A holiday to France with MSC Cruises is the perfect chance to visit Cannes. With its immaculate seafront hotels and exclusive beach concessions, glamorous yachts and designer boutiques, Cannes is in many ways the definitive Riviera resort, a place where appearances count, especially during the film festival in May. The not particularly attractive seafront Palais des Festivals is the heart of the film festival but also hosts conferences, tournaments and trade shows. Despite its glittery image, Cannes works surprisingly well as a big seaside resort, with plenty of free, sandy public beaches. Promenade de la Croisette is certainly the sight to see during your excursions, with its palace hotels – the Martinez and Carlton – on one side and their private beaches on the other. It’s possible to find your way down to the beach without paying, but not easy (you can of course walk along it below the rows of sun beds). The old town, known as Le Suquet after the hill on which it stands, provides a great panorama of the curve of Cannes’ bay. On its summit stand the remains of the fortified priory lived in by Cannes’ eleventh-century monks, and the beautiful twelfth-century Chapelle Ste-Anne. The Musée de la Castre, in the remains of Cannes’ eleventh-century priory, holds an extraordinary collection of musical instruments from all over the world, along with pictures and prints of old Cannes and an ethnology and archaeology section. MSC Mediterranean cruises also offer excursions to Nice. Since reaching its zenith in the belle époque of the late nineteenth century, it has retained its historical styles almost intact: the medieval rabbit warren of Vieux Nice, the Italianate facades of modern Nice and the rich exuberance of fin-de-siècle residences dating from when the city was Europe’s most fashionable winter retreat.
Day 3 - Genoa 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.
Day 4 - La Spezia Overlooking the 'Gulf of the Poets', lies the Italian naval city of La Spezia, an MSC Mediterranean Cruises destination. Here, a maze of atmospheric streets lead to an impressive commercial harbour with glamorous yachts and pretty palm trees. This bustling Liguria port boasts historical churches, museums, and gardens. Nearby, Cinque Terre, Pisa, and Florence are just waiting to be discovered.
Day 5 - Civitavecchia Discover the culture and colour of Civitavecchia, an MSC Mediterranean Cruises destination. This Italian gem is an enjoyable flight from many European and non-European cities. Celebrated for its 16th-century Michelangelo Fort, ancient Taurine Baths, and marble Vanvitelli fountain, the port is a convenient starting point for visiting Rome, Italy’s regal and romantic capital.
Day 6 - At Sea
Day 7 - Palma de Mallorca The port city of Palma, an MSC Mediterranean Cruises destination, lies on the south coast of Mallorca. Founded in 124 B.C., Palma is celebrated for its medieval streets, jaw-dropping architecture, and ancient fortified walls. See buildings such as the Cathedral of Santa Maria which features designs by Gaudí and one of the world’s largest stained-glass windows, or the Gothic Bellver castle with its circular centre and eye-catching towers.
Day 8 - Barcelona One of the busiest cruise ports in the Mediterranean, the seaside city of Barcelona is known for its iconic architecture, colourful culture, and world-class drinking and dining. Explore Antoni Gaudí’s surreal Sagrada Família, the famous boulevard of the Ramblas, the medieval Barri Gótic, and the Museu Picasso. But there’s even more to discover in this sprawling Spanish city, an MSC Mediterranean Cruises destination: from hidden tapas bars and fabulous food markets to Europe’s biggest football stadium.
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