25 October 2016
When you 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. While the country club ambiance and level of personal service remain the same, 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 Cavalcade of Culture cruise from Lisbon to Rome.
You board the Marina in the capital of Portugal with plenty of time for sightseeing before your wonderful cruise begins. Visit the ornate Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery and stroll the narrow, winding streets of the charming Alfama district. Enjoy marvelous old Sintra, a royal country retreat, and Cascais, a beautiful seaside resort. Explore medieval Obidos or make a pilgrimage to Fatima, where the Virgin Mary appeared repeatedly to three shepherd children in 1917.
Spend a fabulous day in Seville visiting the magnificent cathedral, climbing the famed Giralda Tower and strolling through the gorgeous Alcazar and its gardens. See the ceramic-encrusted Plaza de Espana and walk through the alleys of Barrio de Santa Cruz. Or today you can explore the Andalusian wine country and Jerez, the home of sherry as well as visiting charming Cadiz with its gracious squares, flower-filled parks on the city bastions and its bustling markets.
Today the Marina docks at the elegant Spanish port city of Malaga. Spend a day in Granada seeing the magnificent Alhambra Palace and Generalife Gardens, last stronghold of the Moors, or venture into the mountains to picturesque Mijas, one of Andalusia's dazzling "white" towns. Or you can stay in the city and explore delightful Malaga, its Alcazaba, Roman theatre and beautiful cathedral, or discover the charming resorts of Marbella and Puerto Banus along the famed Costa del Sol.
Lying on Spain's radiant Costa Blanca, Alicante exudes a rare beauty. Lovely Baroque buildings cluster around the historic central district. Marble plazas grace its broad waterfront boulevard, the illustrious Explanada de Espana and pristine beaches like San Juan hug the shoreline. Venture to the grand Castle of Santa Barbara overlooking the city and walk from its high towers down into the dungeon. Stop for a refreshing sangria in the Old Quarter and visit the Gravina Museum of Fine Arts.
Today you arrive at the holiday island of Majorca. Take one of a number or organised tours and explore this beautiful island beginning with the magnificent Seo Cathedral and Bellver Castle. See the windmills and impressive manor house in the verdant countryside and discover the amazing natural wonders in the Drach Caves. And for romance, visit the former Carthusian monastery in Valldemosa, where George Sand and Chopin spent a winter.
A treat in store today when the Marina docks at Barcelona. Visit the magnificent Gothic cathedral and the amazing La Sagrada Familia, Antoni Gaudí's unfinished masterpiece. Enjoy the lovely Montjuic Gardens, Gaudí's other fabulous structures, the charming squares of the old Gothic Quarter and the Ramblas, Barcelona's famed downtown shopping promenade. Or visit beautiful Montserrat and its monastery in a breathtaking setting high in the mountains.
Today you can see the sights and enjoy the views of historic old Marseille and visit the charming fishing port of Cassis. Or if you fancy going further afield, venture into the celebrated Provençal countryside with its beautiful fields of lavender and sunflowers. Explore lovely Aix or stroll through Avignon and its Papal Palace and the hilltop village of Les Baux. Again, there are lots of tours available that can be booked on board your cruise ship.
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 through this marvelous quarter and see the pink Grimaldi Palace. And if you are feeling lucky, have a flutter in the famous Casino, but don't try to break the bank! 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.
Another day, another country, when your elegant cruise ship glides into the dock at Portofino, Italy. Here you can stroll through the picturesque town and nearby Santa Margherita. You can also appreciate the stunning scenery as you take a trip to the beautiful coastal resorts of Ravello, Sestri Levante or San Fruttuoso by local boat and on foot. If you prefer to stay on board, you can relax on one of the sun decks or take part in some of the many organised activities.
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.
Your fabulous cruise comes to an end today when the Marina arrives in Civitavecchia, the port city for Rome. But before flying home visit 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. Or enjoy a drive through the lush farmlands of the Roman countryside to lovely medieval Castelgandolfo.
Inside F Grade fr £1554pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated