(Southern Italy Cruise)
Experience a harmonious balance between conventional cruising and private yachting, along with an exciting voyage of discovery, unraveling the wonders of Sicily, Malta and Reggio di Calabria. Discover the natural and historical treasures of Taormina, Reggio di Calabria, Syracuse. Each day you will discover a new port of call, a hidden cove with crystal blue waters to cool you, a glimpse of ancient history to amaze you and rich cultural diversity to intrigue you.
Cruise Departure Dates (2014):
Valletta-Valletta: Apr 28, May 5,12,19,26, Jun 2,9, Sep 29, Oct 6,13
Catania-Catania: Apr 26, May 3,10,17,24,31, Jun 7, Sep 27, Oct 4,11,18
Meet your driver and English speaking assistant for an airport transfer.
Enjoy a private full day tour with vehicle and English speaking guide. In the morning you drive inland to the village of Mosta, whose Church of St. Mary has the third largest unsupported dome in all of Europe. Continue on to Mdina, ancient capital of Malta, and a town of great historical charm, much of it painstakingly rebuilt after a devastating earthquake in 1693. Includes entrance fee to Mdina Cathedral.
Meet your driver and English speaking assistant for a port transfer.
Welcome aboard!Take some time to get settled in to your stateroom and to explore the length of the ship. A Welcome dinner is planned for this evening. Overnight in port.
Port charges are included in your itinerary.
Today you'll sail to Gozo Island. Enjoy a swim stop at one of Gozo's beautiful beaches prior to arrival at Gozo Harbor.
Gozo is an island of the Maltese archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. The island is part of the Southern European country of Malta; after the island of Malta itself, it is the second-largest island in the archipelago. It is rich in historical locations such as the Ggantija temples which, along with the Megalithic Temples of Malta, are the world's oldest free-standing structures and also among the world's oldest religious structures. There are many beaches on the island and seaside resorts popular with tourists and locals alike. The most popular are Marsalforn and Xlendi Bay. Gozo is considered one of the top diving destinations in the Mediterranean and a centre for water sports.
Optional Excursion (not included):With a group guide, you can visit the Citadel and its Baroque Cathedral, our Lady of Ta Pina Basilica, the St. George Basilica, and the Cathedral Museum. Enjoy a short wine tasting prior to re-boarding the ship.
Arrive at Syracuse today, one of the most prestigious cities in the Hellenistic World, when it rivaled Athens.
Syracuse is a historic city in southern Italy, the capital of the province of Syracuse. The city is noted for its rich Greek history, culture, amphitheatres, architecture and association to Archimedes, playing an important role in ancient times as one of the top powers of the Mediterranean world; it is over 2,700 years old. Syracuse is located in the south-east corner of the island of Sicily, right by the Gulf of Syracuse next to the Ionian Sea.
Optional Excursions (not included):A group guide will take participants to the spectacular 15,000-seat Greek theatre, the elliptical Roman amphitheatre, the Archaeological Museum, the Temple of Apollo, the Fountain of Aretusa, and the Cathedral, which incorprates remains of the famed Temple of Athena. A second excursion heads inland into Sicily's southeast region, known for its Baroque towns. You can visit exquisitely preserved Noto, a jewel of a town situated on a plateau.
Arrive at Lipari today.
The largest population centre on the island of Lipari is Lipari town. Around the Marina there is an abundance of cafes, restaurants and night clubs and in the morning, a popular activity is to wander down to savour a traditional Lipari breakfast: granita caffe con panna e brioche (coffee on crushed ice with a brioche or bread).The town on this island is the only true town in the whole archipelago.
Optional Excursion (not included):A group excursion will visit the 16th century castle, 17th century cathedral, and see ancient tombstones with Neolithic stones at their side, or the ruins of Greek walls and Roman villas.
Today you'll sail to Vulcano Island, famous for its majestic volcano crater and the mud baths. You also sail to Panarea, a quaint old style Aeolian Island. In the evening, sail slowly past the island of Stromboli famous for its live volcano. The sight of live lava eruptions is not to be missed.
Panarea is the second smallest (after Basiluzzo) of the eight Aeolian Islands, a volcanic island chain north of Sicily. In recent years, the island has become known internationally for its celebrity visitors. Panarea and the entire Aeolian chain were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000.
Today you'll arrive to Catania, Sicily, where you'll overnight in port.
Catania is a city and port located on the east coast of the island of Sicily. The city has had a long and eventful history, having been founded in the 8th century BC. In the 14th century and the Renaissance, Catania was one of Italy's most important and flourishing cultural, artistic and political centres, including having witnessed the opening in 1434 of the first university in Sicily. Today, Catania is one of the main economic, touristic and educational centres in the island, being an important hub of the technological industry, thus gaining the nickname of the "European Silicon Valley".
Optional Excursion (not included):A group walking excursion this morning will embark through the main area of the city to discover its hidden treasures; the Baroque Cathedral with St. Agatha’s Chapel, the “Fontana dell’ Elefante” built by using ancient decorative elements such as the lava of Mount Etna. Proceed through Via Crociferi to Piazza Stesicoro to find yourselves amid Catania’s Churches’ Baroque architecture and the monument of Vincenzo Bellini, the great Italian romantic composer.
Guests are taken to Taormina today for a group of optional excursions.
The natural beauty of the medieval mountaintop town of Taormina is so great, that despite overdevelopment in the last 50 years, it has not spoiled its grandeur. The view of the sea and Mt Etna from its jagged cactus-covered cliffs is as close to perfection as a panorama can get, especially on clear days when the snow-capped volcano's white puffs of smoke are etched against the blue sky.
Optional Excursion (not included):Group tour of Taormina, a city with endlessly winding medieval streets and secluded gardens hidden by stone walls. Stroll along the Corso Umberto, lined with piazza, duomos and palazzo such as the Palazzo Santo Stefano. Later, a guided tour of the ancient Greek Theater with wonderful views out to the sea. In the afternoon, an optional excursion departs for Mt. Etna, the highest point in Sicily, and a live volcano.
Upon arrival back to Valletta, you'll disembark from your ship and bid farewell to your fellow cruisemates.
The Grand Hotel Excelsior (5*) is ideally located on the doorstep of a UNESCO World Heritage Site – the Capital City of Valletta, with all its major attractions, culture, art treasures, and historical architectural gems. This acclaimed Valletta Malta hotel prides itself in providing the discerning traveller with magnificent accommodation, breathtaking views of Marsamxett harbour and Manoel Island, and an unforgettable dining experience. Its central position allows for easy travel to all parts of the Maltese islands.
S/C Panorama is a 3 masted sail cruiser which can accommodate up to 49 passengers in 25 cabins. The "Panorama" was launched in 1993 and was renovated in 2009. This state of the art sail cruiser has performed several Atlantic Ocean crossings and has sailed from the Seychelles to Monte Carlo and from the Black Sea to Tunis and offers the highest standard of accommodation and comfort safety.
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