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Day 1 – Venice, Italy – Today, you set sail from Venice a unique city, and every bit as beautiful as its reputation would suggest. You will be cruising the Eastern Mediterranean aboard the MSC Poesia. Once you step aboard you’ll enter a refined world of comfort, created to surprise and delight. There’s so much to enjoy; from the spectacular foyer waterfall to the Zen Garden, authentic Japanese Sushi bar and opulent MSC Aurea Spa wellness center with steam room, sauna and divine massages to pamper body and mind, it’s the perfect place to unwind.
The gourmet cuisine on board brings you specialties from around the world. Experience the Mediterranean flair firmly rooted in the values of the Italian slow food movement, as you’d expect of an MSC cruise. Every succulent dish is freshly prepared with care by our skilled chef’s from prime quality ingredients.
MSC Magnifica is one of several ships cruising the Eastern Mediterranean
Day 2 – Bari, Italy – Bari, an ancient city just waiting to be discovered. Wander around the old city of Bari, an enchanting jumble of streets that are possibly the most mind-bending place to walk around in Southern Italy. Situated at the far end of Corso Cavour, its labyrinth of seemingly endless passages, weaving through courtyards and under arches, were originally designed to spare the inhabitants from the wind and throw invaders into a state of confusion. Here, life is lived very much outdoors, and on summer evenings it’s full of people sitting outside their kitchen doors.
On arriving in the heart of Bari’s old city, you find the Basilica di San Nicola, consecrated in 1197 to house the relics of the saint plundered a century earlier from southern Turkey via Mediterranean Sea. The real beauty of the church lies in its stonework, but best of all is the twelfth-century Episcopal throne behind the altar, a superb piece of work supported by small figures wheezing beneath its weight.
Day 3 – Katakolon (Olympia), Greece – Katakolon is the thousands-year old cradle of sport. This tiny seaside town in Greece in the bay of Agios Andreas is only miles away from the ancient site of Olympia. The historic associations and resonance of Olympia, which for over a millennium hosted the most important Panhellenic games, are rivalled only by Delphi or Mycenae.
Day 4 – Mykonos, Greece – Mýkonos is the quintessential image of the Cyclades. In summer most people head out to the beaches during the day, so early morning or late afternoon are the best times to wander the maze of narrow streets. The labyrinthine design was supposed to confuse the pirates who plagued Mýkonos in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and it has the same effect on today’s visitors. From your cruise ship you’ll pass the archaeological museum on your way into town, which was specially built in 1905 to display artifacts from the cemeteries on Rínia Island, opposite Delos.
Day 5 – Piraeus (Athens), Greece – Pireas (Piraeus) has been the port of Athens since Classical times, when the so-called Long Walls, scattered remnants of which can still be seen, were built to connect it to the city. Today it’s a substantial metropolis in its own right. If you’re spending any time here, though, the real attractions of the place are around the small-boat harbors of Zéa Marina and Mikrolímano on the opposite side of the small peninsula. Here, the upscale residential areas are alive with attractive waterfront cafés, bars and restaurants offering some of the best seafood in town.
Day 6 – Sarande, Albania – Thanks to one of the most beautiful natural environments of the entire Albanian coast, with its beaches of small natural stones and a wonderful blue sea, Sarande – near the border with Greece, from its seaside you can see Corfù – has become one of the most appreciated tourist destinations in the Ionian Sea. This coastal city is one of the most modern in the entire region, and offers visitors, in addition to the sea, many historical and environmental beauties to be admired.
Among the most relevant points of interest are the ruins of ancient Onchesmos (as Sarande used to be called), the remains of the city of Foinike, the Roman archaeological site of Butrint that was recently renovated and restored to its former glory and the nineteenth-century Ali Pasha Tepeleni Castle, one of Albania’s landmark buildings, an imposing square structure overlooking the Adriatic Sea.
Day 7 – Dubrovnik, Croatia – A walled, sea-battered city lying at the foot of a grizzled mountain, Durovnik is Croatia’s most popular cruise destination, and it’s not difficult to see why. Thisa medieval town was reshaped by Baroque planners after a disastrous earthquake of 1667; Dubrovnik’s historic core seems to have been suspended in time ever since.
Walk through the city and admire the Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary, inside there are a couple of Italian paintings, including Titian’s polyptych The Assumption behind the main altar. Immediately south of Luža – the square centre of the medieval town – is the Rector’s Palace, former seat of the Ragusan government.
The current palace is a masterpiece of serene proportion, fringed by an ornate arcaded walkway held up by columns with delicately carved capitals. Entered via a narrow passageway is the fourteenth century Franciscan monastery, whose late Romanesque cloister is decorated with rows of double arches, topped by a confusion of human heads and fantastic animals.
Day 8 – Return to Venice & Disembark – This morning you arrive back in Venice. Once you disembark the ship, you depart for home.