23 October 2016
Few places in the world pack in as much culture per square meter as Europe does. Cities here are some of the oldest in the world, places where even today art, food and history come together in a mix of sensory delights. The Mediterranean coast has even more than its share, due in no small part to the region's rich nautical heritage . . . making this country-hopping cruise on Carnival Vista an amazing way to see the region by sea.
You board the Carnival Vista in Barcelona with plenty of time to explore before you set sail. From monuments in Romanesque and Renaissance styles to Gothic spires and contemporary curves, there's little surprise Barcelona was the creative playground of acclaimed architect Antoni Gaudi. This city is a feast for the eyes and the palate, alike, and be sure not to miss spots like the La Rambla, Port Vell and especially Gaud's Sagrada Familia Cathedral. You'll also find fun beach bars overlooking the Med and sleek Spanish designer stores.
Your first port of call, Marseilles, is France's second largest city, its biggest port on the Med, a melting pot of peoples and cultures and a place where you'll notice striking contrasts. Dominating the harbour is the infamous Chateau d'If, the rocky prison from which Alexandre Dumas' Count of Monte Cristo escaped. Marseilles is also your gateway to Provence where you can explore the countryside around Arles and Avignon, as immortalised by Van Gogh and Picasso. Climb to Basilique Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde for a panoramic vista of the city.
Today you dock at Livorno, the gateway to beautiful Tuscany and the cities of Florence and Pisa. In Florence, you'll find some of the world's greatest works of art in the Uffizi Gallery, from masters like Leonardo da Vinci and Boticelli. You can't leave without seeing Michelangelo's David, the Ponte Vecchio or the Duomo, whose terrace offers breathtaking views of Florence's red-tiled roofs and narrow medieval lanes. Then there's Pisa, with its famous Leaning Tower and Palazzo Agostini houses.
In ancient times it was said that all roads lead to Rome - but in your case, the seaport of Civitavecchia is how you get there. Another memorable day today when you can see The Vatican's Sistine Chapel roof painted by Michelangelo, the Colosseum with its lurid history, and, of course, the Trevi Fountain, where a tossed coin promises your return. Other places not to be missed in the Eternal City are the atmospheric Centro Storico, St. Peter's Basilica dome for panoramic views of Rome and the flowery Spanish Steps.
One of the oldest cities in the world, Naples and its surrounding area has over thousands of years contributed innovations to not only the culinary and visual arts, but the development of everything from language to music. Today, you'll immediately feel the friendly spirit of this sunny metropolis as you sample its historic sights, fabulous shopping galleria and irresistible cuisine. But don't limit yourself to the city itself - Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii, the spectacular Amalfi Coast, and the romantic isle of Capri's famous Blue Grotto are all just a short distance away.
The only fun day at sea on the cruise so a good time to make the most of all that this state of the art cruise ship has to offer. There are so many new features on the Carnival Vista which offers great dining, pools and spas for all the family. The entertainment is second to none and you should check out the new SkyRide, Imax big screen cinema, Serenity adults only lounge, Punchliner comedy club, the Waterworks and the Havana Bar. And the kids will have endless fun in Camp Ocean.
Today's destination Crete is the most highly populated of Greece's 6,000 islands. From the breathtaking mountain vistas of Psiloritis to the beaches of Vai, which look like a scene straight out of a Hawaiian postcard, there's something for all tastes on Crete. In fact, it's so nice that even the Minotaur of ancient Greek mythology made it his home base. Today you can still find plenty of relics of the past left behind by Venetian and Turkish invaders. Heraklion is the gateway to the breathtaking 4,000 year-old Minoan ruins at Knossos.
Another day, another Greek Island. Nicknamed "the sun island" Rhodes can be found basking between Crete and Turkey in the Aegean Sea. With its subtropical climate and natural beauty, it has become one of the most popular holiday destinations in Greece. The ancient city has a classical stadium and the ruins of the Temple of Apollo. The walled "old city" area has medieval buildings harking back to the Crusades. Visit Mandaraki Harbour, where The Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, once stood guard.
Today the Carnival Vista docks at Kusadasi in Turkey, gateway to the amazing world famous ruins at Ephesus. The Greco-Roman world comes alive here and after more than 150 years of excavation the city's recovered and renovated structures have made Ephesus Europe's most complete classical metropolis. Here you can see the amazing amphitheatre and the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient world. And there's still 80 per cent of the city yet to be unearthed!
This history-rich destination can not only claim to be the home to Olympics throughout the ages, from the first-ever event to the 2004 summer Game, but also the birthplace of democracy. To this day, Athens is a city as rich in history as it is immersed in mythology, with ancient feats of architecture like the Acropolis, Parthenon and Temple of Olympian Zeus mingling with modern museums, cafes and shops across the Athenian landscape. It's a one-of-a-kind destination and a wonderful place to end a wonderful cruise.
This morning your super cruise around the Mediterranean comes to an end. Say farewell to new found friends and after leaving the ship see some more of the sights of Athens and do some last minute souvenir shopping before heading to the airport to catch an onward flight or begin your journey back home. This 10 night cruise on the Carnival Vista is a great way to see some of the great European cities, world famous sights and two of the most beautiful Greek islands.
Inside Stateroom fr £743pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated