Viking - Christmas in the Mediterranean
Step aboard in Venice; the magical city renowned for its art, architecture and culture is the ultimate destination on your epic voyage. Watch the sunlight dapple on the water as we ease our way through the archipelago. As we will remain in port overnight, enjoy a fine restaurant, the vibrant nightlife and perhaps even a romantic evening gondola ride along the Grand Canal.
Awake and further explore central Venice on your own this morning, as you investigate the out-of-the-way passages that reveal beautiful, hidden piazzas, or cross the lagoon to Murano and Burano to view the world-renowned glassblowing craftsmen. If you didn’t take yesterday’s included guided tour you can do so today. Or opt for one of the many optional tours. Your ship sets sail just after lunch so you can enjoy a spectacular view of the lagoon as we head out to the Adriatic Sea.
Experience the age of antiquity as you wander through the center of the city that is built around the Diocletian Palace, walking through the well preserved cellars before continuing to the Ethnographical Museum. In this historic quarter, you’ll notice the results of over 17 centuries of construction, passing pre-Romanesque churches and Gothic chapels. You may also choose more natural pursuits, from a rafting trip on the Cetina River or a journey through the Croatian hinterland to the famous waterfalls of the Krka National Park. Or spend the entire day discovering the small more intimate destinations along the Dalmatian coast.
Where city meets coastline, you will sail to this beautiful 12th-century walled city in Croatia. And as it happens, George Bernard Shaw declared, “Those who seek paradise on earth should come to Dubrovnik.” We think he has a point. Enjoy an entire day to take an inclusive tour with a drive high up to catch the magnificent views of the city and countryside. Or descend to the coast and enter the city on foot through the historic Pile Gate, passing by the Sponza Palace, the 15th-century Onofrio’s Fountain and stop inside the Dominican Monastery to see Renaissance paintings. You may also wish to consider exploring the famed Dubrovnik Riviera with a cruise along the Lapad Peninsula.
Corfu (Kérkyra), Greece
Spend the entire day on the romantic island of Corfu, resplendent with charming pastel townhouses and pristine white beaches. Our well-crafted included tour takes us on a drive to Kanoni, where we will make a photo stop to view tiny Mouse Island and the Vlacherna Monastery. Following the coastline through Garitsa Bay, you will reach the UNESCO Site of the Old Town. See the fabled Esplanade, one of Europe’s largest public squares, and the Liston Promenade, once the exclusive preserve of the local aristocracy.
An island with a rich and turbulent history, Malta invites you to witness its fascinating past through the wide variety of building styles and landmarks. From the Grand Master’s Palace of the Knights of St. John to the British-era Fort Rinella to the baroque architecture of its main town of Valletta, this isle is certain to delight those who come here to explore.
You will have the morning to explore captivating Malta today. Countless civilizations have laid claim to these shores, leaving behind architectural and artistic treasures that have earned its spectacular capital, Valletta, status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the splendid St. John’s Co-Cathedral, where 375 Knights of the Order of St. John are entombed. See its highlights during an island drive. Or admire the rich medieval setting of the Grand Harbor, surrounded by imposing fortress walls.
In Naples, your choice of excursions abounds. Take in magnificent examples of Greek and Roman architecture and the Piazza del Plebiscito, the grandest public square in the city, facing the former Royal Palace of the King of Naples. Optionally, also explore Herculaneum, Italy’s “other” Pompeii, drive along the stunning Amalfi Coast, or take a trip to the summit of Vesuvius. In your spare time, sample a hot espresso, a slice of pizza (the world’s first pizzeria opened here in 1830) or a locally made limoncello.
Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy
Explore the “Eternal City” today with a local guide. You’ll marvel at the magnificent Colosseum where gladiators once battled, the historic Roman Forum, gathering place and political center of the ancients, and Vatican City. You might also choose one of our fascinating tours that highlights Rome’s treasures. Alternately, visit Tarquinia’s Etruscan necropolis or the excavated town of Ostia.
Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy
Immerse yourself in the beauty of Tuscany with an included, well-curated tour of Pisa. Alternatively, enjoy a full-day tour that combines Pisa and Florence. Begin with a scenic drive through the countryside to Florence, where you will stroll by the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. Then on to the medieval Ponte Vecchio, and the attractive Basilica of Santa Croce, resting place of Michelangelo. In Pisa, you will have time to explore the Square of Miracles, including the famous Leaning Tower, the Cathedral and Baptistery.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Enjoy a full day in Monaco, the playground for the rich and famous, as well as the gateway to the beautiful South of France. Visit medieval Monaco, stopping at the Prince’s Palace and St. Nicholas Cathedral, the burial site of the royal family, including American actress Grace Kelly. As we stay late in port, you will have time to step inside the Casino de Monte-Carlo, the most prestigious and celebrated gambling mecca on earth. As an option, venture out of town to the legendary perfumeries in Grasse, or stroll along the English promenade in glamorous Nice.
Today, enjoy a full day to walk through the small streets and lovely squares of Toulon’s Old Quarter. Pass through the Place de la Liberté and the Place Puget with its curious 18th-century fountain, stroll by the Gothic cathedral and walk through the colorful market of Cours Lafayette. Consider a visit to the coastal town of Aix-en-Provence or Cassis, famed for its dramatic vistas of the sea cliffs of Cap Canaille. Originally known as a royal port of call through the Napoleonic wars, Toulon is regarded as the gateway to Provence, the fabled countryside of wine, cheese, olive oil and lavender. Catch a whiff of lavender or the scent of bouillabaisse coming from a nearby café, where you may have to stop and indulge in those aromatics. This evening, spend Christmas Eve on board amid festive finery, holiday treats and good cheer.
Cruise the Mediterranean Sea
Merry Christmas! Spend the holiday on board as you cruise the Mediterranean Sea. Take in the sea views from the Explorers’ Lounge or reserve a soothing massage at The Spa. Attend an enrichment lecture to learn about your upcoming ports, linger over tea and scones in the Wintergarden or soak up the sun on deck.
Soak up the charm of sunny Barcelona, the Catalonian capital of culture. Stroll along Las Ramblas, take in the architectural masterpieces of Antoni Gaudi or explore the myriad side streets of the ancient Gothic quarter. If you didn’t take yesterday’s included guided tour you can do so today. Or opt for one of the many optional tours.
Awake in Barcelona, where you will be finishing your journey. From here, you can easily spend a few extra days to further explore this city and its world-class culinary delights, or discover other areas of Spain.
Want more from your trip? Ask one of our agents about adding extensions in Venice & Barcelona! See the full itinerary below and call our travel expert for dates & pricing on this itinerary.
Have yourself a Mediterranean Christmas
Join our 15-day Mediterranean Christmas cruise, with overnight stays in Venice, Malta and Barcelona. From Venice, explore Croatian Splît and Dubrovnik. Next, visit Grecian Corfu and medieval Malta. Explore Naples, Rome and Tuscany before experiencing elegant Monte Carlo and Toulon. After Christmas Day at sea, conclude your journey in Barcelona.
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