Mediterranean from Genoa
Day 1 - 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 2 - At Sea
Day 3 - At Sea
Day 4 - Kusadasi Kuşadası is a beach resort town on Turkey’s western Aegean coast. A jumping-off point for visiting the classical ruins at nearby Ephesus (or Efes), it’s also a major cruise ship destination. Its seafront promenade, marina, and harbor are lined with hotels and restaurants. Just offshore on Pigeon Island is a walled Byzantine castle that once guarded the town, connected to the mainland via causeway.
Day 5 - At Sea
Day 6 - Istanbul A shore excursion on your MSC Mediterranean cruise can be the opportunity to discover İstanbul which stands astride two continents, Europe and Asia. As if its spectacular geographical location were not enough, it can also boast of being the only city to have played capital to consecutive Christian and Islamic empires, a role that has shaped the region’s history for more than 2500 years and bequeathed to İstanbul a staggering wealth of attractions. Most cruise visitors spend all their holiday time in Sultanahmet, home to İstanbul’s main sightseeing attractions: the church of Aya Sofya, the greatest legacy of the Byzantine Empire; the Topkapı Palace, heart of the Ottoman Empire; and the massive Sultanahmet Camii (Blue Mosque). Here also are the ancient Hippodrome, the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art (housed in the former Palace of İbrahim Paşa), the eerily lit Yerebatan Sarnıcı, a fascinating Byzantine underground cistern, and the Grand Bazaar (Kapalı Çarşı), the largest covered bazaar in the world. The monumental architecture, attractive parks and gardens, street-side cafés, and the benefits of a relatively traffic-free main road combine to make this area pleasant for both sightseeing and staying on an MSC Mediterranean cruise excursion. İstanbul’s Ottoman-era Grand Bazaar gets more than its fair share of souvenir-hungry visitors. The area around it, however, is relatively little explored, which is a shame as it holds some very worthwhile attractions, from the historic Cembirlitaş Hamamı, one of the best Turkish baths in the country, to the city’s very best mosque, the hilltop Süleymaniye Camii. The best single reason to head across to the Asian shore of the city is to experience a Bosphorus cruise. The views from the Bosphorus are superb, with domes and minarets dominating the skyline of the Old City, and skyscrapers the business districts beyond Beyoğlu.
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