22 October 2016
On board Oceania Cruises liner Marina you enter a world of sophistication, contemporary flair and casual elegance. From the sparkling Lalique Grand Staircase to the stunning Owner's Suites, designer touches are everywhere. Wits a country club ambiance and superb level of personal service, the ship offers multiple dining venues, of which six are open-seating gourmet restaurants with no surcharge. The Culinary Centre is the only hands-on cooking school at sea and talented artists-in-residence offer instruction as you enjoy this Stars and Shores cruise from Monte Carlo to Venice.
You board the Marina in the millionaires' playground of Monte Carlo with time to explore before you set sail. You can feel like a film star today when you drive along the famous Grand Corniche with its stunning views of Monaco and the Old City, then stroll past the pink Grimaldi Palace. And if you are feeling lucky, have a flutter in the famous Casino. Alternatively explore the wonderful old villages along the Côte d'Azur from Nice to medieval Eze or Cannes, Grasse and lovely St. Paul de Vence - each one a jewel to be savoured.
Spend a glorious day amid the fabled architecture of this Renaissance city. See the Duomo with Brunelleschi's dome, the famous baptistry, Michelangelo's magnificent statue of David, the bridges over the Arno including the Ponte Vecchio and the astonishing Uffizi Gallery. Or you can visit Pisa's superb Campo dei Miracoli and its beautiful cathedral and famed leaning tower or take a tour around some of the Tuscan countryside stopping at Siena and San Gimignano.
Today the Marina sails into Civitavecchia, the port city for Rome. Spend a memorable day in the Italian capital and revel in the magnificent monuments, from the ancient Forum and Coliseum to the splendor of St. Peter's Basilica with Michelangelo's Pieta and his breathtaking frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. And make sure you throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain to make sure you return one day. If you have explored Rome before, you can enjoy a drive through the Roman countryside to lovely medieval Castelgandolfo.
Today you can visit the beautiful island of Capri, with its stunning panoramas, villages, charming piazzas, famous Blue Grotto and the Villa San Michele. The Marina docks today in the Bay of Naples and you can also choose to visit the amazing ruins at Pompeii, take the cable car to the top of Mount Vesuvius, enjoy a cooking lesson in Sorrento or travel to the frenetic city of Naples and learn to make pizzas as the Neapolitans do.
Enjoy magnificent panoramic views on the way up to the town, where you can stroll down medieval lanes past stunning palaces. See the famed Greek theatre and its fantastic view of Mount Etna. Or take a trip to the volcano itself and get a first-hand look at cones, craters and lava streams from previous eruptions and a fantastic view over the Gulf of Catania. Venture into the countryside and its lovely hill towns, one with a Norman castle built of black lava, and visit beautiful old Catania.
Today the Marina arrives at the Greek holiday island of Corfu where you can immerse yourself in the glorious green scenery and beaches, serene monasteries, beautiful palaces, traditional mountain towns and Corfu's lovely old Venetian quarter. Or visit the ornate Achilleion Palace, built by Empress Sissi of Austria and filled with dramatic sculptures of the Greek hero Achilles. As with all ports of call, there are a range of tours that can be booked on board.
Another day, another country when the Marina arrives at Kotor in Montenegro. This is a beautiful walled medieval city of twisting, pink-paved streets, markets and architecture reflecting Byzantine to Venetian influences. Stroll through the compact old town, admire the impressive walls and tour the imposing St. Tryphon Cathedral consecrated in 1166. Lots to do on board if you fancy a break from touring or just laze on deck and soak up the sunshine.
Sometime around 300 AD, Roman Emperor Diocletian built his retirement palace on one of the loveliest spots on the Adriatic Sea. Today his palace has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the heart of Split, the city that grew up around it. Split is now Croatia's second largest city, and much of it sits on a beautiful peninsula on the island of Ciovo, a jewel on the Dalmatian Coast. Outdoor attractions include Marjan Forest Park with its zoo and there are also plenty of fine beaches nearby.
Originally built on an island surrounded by swampland that was later drained, Koper was known as Goat's Island when it was under Venetian rule. Today the once fortified Old Town of Venetian-influenced Koper has retained much of its grand architecture from the 15th to 18th centuries. The Praetor's Palace, a blend of Gothic and Renaissance styles, proudly rises above the gray limestone main square. Nearby the Postojna Caves are the most popular underground attraction in Europe, and the Predjama Castle was carved out of a limestone cliff.
A highlight of the cruise today when the Marina sails into Venice. Savour the majestic beauty of this amazing city as you glide along its canals and under its bridges, opulent palazzi and elegant churches lining the route. Discover Venice's secret quarters down narrow alleys opening into spacious campos. Admire the Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica. Visit lovely Burano and the glass factories on Murano. Or enjoy the scenic countryside with its stunning Palladian villas.
Today you wonderful cruise from Monte Carlo to Venice comes to an end. Say farewell to new found friends and possibly stay of for a few more days in Venice seeing more of the iconic sights like the Rialto Bridge and the Bridge of Sighs before heading to the airport to catch your flight home. This Stars and Shores cruise on the elegant Marina is a great way to see lots of the treasures of Europe and will leave you with a lifetime of memories.
Inside Stateroom fr £1495pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated