Optional tours are available from most ports for an additional charge.
Day Barcelona, SpainDeparts 05:00 PM On the northeast coast of Spain, overlooking the Mediterranean, Barcelona is a vibrant port city, packed with centuries of iconic art and architectureGaudí and Picasso both called it homeand lined with sunny white-sand beaches. Explore the Catalan capital's tourist attractions and historic neighborhoods, Modernisme and world-renowned art museums, galleries and local crafts shopssome of which are centuries old and stock traditional Catalan wares. After you see the sights, there are lively tapas bars around every corner where you can stop for a drink, a café amb llet (Catalan for espresso with steamed milk) or a snack, no matter the hour. Green spaces for picnics, long walks and respite from the hustle and bustle are scattered throughout Barcelona's attractions: There's Gaudí's mosaic-decorated park, a neoclassical maze at the Laberint d'Horta, as well as plenty of high places (mountains, monuments and edifices) where sightseeing visitors can take in the view. A short trip from Barcelona by car or train, luxury outlets, cava wineries, a mountaintop abbey and the sandy beaches of the Mediterranean coast await.
Day Palamos, SpainArrives 08:00 AM Departs 11:00 PM "Palamós is a quaint fishing village turned summer-vacation spot along Spains sun-drenched Costa Brava. The town still thrives on fishing: Visitors can peruse the fish market and view the day's catch at the bustling harbor, or check out the nearby Fishing Museum to learn more about both Palamós's past and the history and techniques of angling around the world. (Make sure you sample the local prawns at one of the town's seafood restaurants.)
Palamós is also a convenient departure point for attractions around the region, from wine and olive oil tastings in the countryside to the home and museums of legendary Catalan artist Salvador Dalí. Ancient historic sites dot the landscape up and down the coast, including the Greek and Roman ruins at Empúries and the medieval Castle of Begur. For an infusion of urban culture, plan a day trip to nearby Girona, where narrow, cobbled lanes wind around an imposing Gothic cathedral. Or simply take a stroll to one of the nearby beaches to swim and sunbathe along the Mediterranean coast.
Day Sete, FranceArrives 08:00 AM Departs 05:00 PM "The quiet, old fishing village of Sète, known as the Venice of Languedoc for its canals, is a fine antidote to some of the splashier destinations along Frances Mediterranean coast. Connected to the rest of France by the Canal du Midi, Sète in the past was a vital port in the spice trade. Since the early 19th century the towns identity has been marked by waves of immigrants from Italy, mostly Neapolitans who brought their recipes and strongly affected the local French dialect.
With a handful of fine museums, Sète puts a remarkable emphasis on the arts and culture for a town its size. But just strolling the Canal Royal and watching boats pass under all its lovely stone and iron bridges, many of which swing open, can be satisfying enoughfollowed, of course, by a canalside meal of bourride sètoise, the local monkfish stew, or just by a sip of coffee or an aperitif as the sun sets. Sète also serves as an ideal base from which to visit other famous nearby cities in the Languedoc and Provence regions.
Day Monte Carlo, MonacoArrives 08:00 AM Departs 11:00 PM "The tiny and wealthy principality of Monaco, ruled by Prince Albert II, is dominated by the attractions in the resort quarter, Monte Carlo, with its casino, internationally acclaimed Opera House and the Triangle dOr shopping area. The cliffs of Le Rocher de Monaco rise above the Mediterranean, the strategic stronghold of the Grimaldi family of Genoa who assumed power of this unstable region in 1297. The principality was a quiet backwater until the 1850s when trains put the sun-soaked destination within easy reach of affluent French and British travelers looking for an escape and relaxing things to do. Prince Charles III quickly understood what it would take to seduce the new tourists, and created a Belle Epoque resort featuring the mythic Casino de Monte-Carlo.
Sitting on the coast like a precious gemstone, Monte Carlo and Monaco still draw an international jet-set crowd. The Palace commands from Monaco-ville, called Le Rocher by locals, and high-rises make the most of precious land with public elevators in lieu of sidewalks in this steep country. Superyachts fill the port, ultraluxury cars dominate the road and outrageous jewels sparkle under the night sky in an eternal promise that in some places, fairy tales really do come true."
Day Toulon, FranceArrives 08:00 AM Departs 06:00 PM "The sun-dappled port of Toulon lies at the very heart of the French Riviera, halfway between Marseille and St.-Tropez. The pleasant city of some 200,000 has a long history. It was settled as early as the 7th century B.C.E. by Greek colonists, followed by the Romans in the 2nd century B.C.E. The city is best known as a center for the French Navy, beginning in the 15th century and continuing to today. The harborfront fortifications are only the most obvious reminders of this legacy.
Toulon's cityscape was shaped by the preeminent city planner of the 19th century, Baron Haussmann. Before he reimagined Paris, Hausmann was the prefect of Var (the region of which Toulon is the capital) and the citys upper town served as a trial run of his ideas on urban design. Buildings from that era include Frances second-largest opera house as well as the Galeries Lafayette and a number of stately streets and squares."
Day Ajaccio, Corsica, FranceArrives 08:00 AM Departs 06:00 PM "Most famous as the birthplace of a diminutive, strong-willed local who went on to become known simply as Napoleon, the port of Ajaccio is Corsicas small, walkable capital. The roots of this city on the islands western coast are said to go back to another strong man, the Greek hero Ajax.
Only 200 miles from its parent France, you might as well be in another country on Corsica, where everything from the food to the language is unique. Anchored by a magnificent citadel and a fine Baroque cathedral, Ajaccio is filled with pastel buildings whose wooden shutters keep out the Mediterranean sun, while its streets, plazas and statues are all marked by Napoleons aura."
Day Livorno (Florence/Pisa), ItalyArrives 07:00 AM Departs 07:00 PM "The Renaissance-era port city of Livorno, Italy, gateway to Pisa, Florence and the rest of the attractions of Tuscany, is characterized by its solid 16th-century Fortezza and the charming canal network known as Venezia Nuova. Itï¿½s also famous for cacciucco, a spicy fish stew.
To the north of Livorno, not far from the mouth of the river Arno, lies Pisa, an attractive university city best known for its Leaning Tower. Some 60 miles to the east, and also set on the Arno, is Florence, Tuscany's capital. The concentration of artistic treasures and cultural things to do in Tuscany, from museums and cloisters to bridges and chapels, is second to noneï¿½but there is lots more besides sightseeing in Florence. The food and drink culture in Florence takes in tripe stands and hole-in-the-wall wine bars as well as embracing gourmet restaurants and plenty of down-to-earth family-run trattorias. The shopping scene offers the designer stores of Via Tornabuoni and Via Roma, but there are plenty of quirky, independent boutiques too. And then there is Florenceï¿½s traditions of leather work, marbled paper, book-binding and furniture restoration. Explore the sights of the arty Oltrarno neighborhood for artisan workshops, great cafï¿½s, bars and restaurants and an authentically Florentine atmosphere.
Day Civitavecchia (Rome), ItalyArrives 07:00 AM Originally built by Emperor Trajan who had a villa here, Civitavecchia has flourished as a major port for Rome since the 13th century. Today it is an important ferry terminal and for many travelers the gateway to the Eternal City, Rome. The Renaissance fortifications that surround the harbor area were begun by Bramante and completed by Michelangelo in 1535.