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Day 1 – Barcelona, Spain – Today you set sail from Barcelona, Spain’s second city, and the self-confident capital and port of Catalunya. On this seven night Western Mediterranean Cruise aboard the MSC Meravigilia, you are an arm’s reach from the best in culture, tradition and monuments that have for centuries enriched the shores of the Mediterranean.
The Meravigilia is one of many MSC Cruise ships in the Mediterranean
Day 2 – Marseille, France – When cruising Southern France, you have to know that Marseille is the most renowned and populated metropolitan area in the country after Paris and Lyon. When you alight from your MSC Cruise Ship the cafés around the Vieux Port, where glistening fish are sold straight off the boats on quai des Belges, are wonderful spots to observe the city’s street life.
Particularly good in the afternoon is the north (Le Panier) side, where the terraces are sunnier and the views better. The best view of the Vieux Port is from the Palais du Pharo, on the headland beyond Fort St-Nicolas, or, for a wider angle, from Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, the city’s Second Empire landmark atop the La Garde hill. To the north of the Vieux Port is the oldest part of Marseille, Le Panier, where, up until the last war, tiny streets, steep steps Mediterranean introduction and houses of every era formed a vieille ville typical of the Côte.
Day 3 – Genoa, Italy – Genoa is marvelously eclectic, vibrant and full of rough-edged style; it’s a great destination. Indeed “La Superba” (The Superb), as it was known at the height of its authority as a Mediterranean superpower, boasts more zest and intrigue than all the surrounding coastal resorts put together.
Explore the old town: a dense and fascinating labyrinth of medieval alleyways home to large palazzi built in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by Genoa’s wealthy mercantile families and now transformed into museums and art galleries. Some of these museums include the Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, the Palazzo Ducale, the Renaissance palaces of Via Garibaldi which contain Genoa’s art collections, as well as furniture and decor from the grandest days of the city’s past.
Day 4 – Civitavecchia, Italy – The port of Civitavecchia is one of the largest in Italy and enjoys a millenary history due to its coves along the coast, which offered a perfect shelter for vessels, making it a natural port long before cruise ships sailed the seas, and in fact the port was known to the Romans as Centumcellae.
During your holiday in Civitavecchia you can easily visit its center on foot. Amongst the most important monuments to visit are the Forte Michelangelo, built by Bramante in the 16th century, the ancient walls of the old port, where there is a fountain in travertine marble by Vanvitelli, and the Rock, an inexpugnable fortress that has been looming over the city and port for over a thousand years.
Day 5 – Palermo, Italy – Palermo is the regional capital of Sicily, and holds an unrivalled display of Norman art and architecture and Baroque churches, combined with a warren of medieval streets and markets. With Sicily’s greatest concentration of sights, the best thing to do here is just to wander as the fancy takes you, sifting through Palermo’s jumbled layers of ancient architecture, along deserted back alleys, then suddenly emerging in the midst of an ebullient street market.
Across Via Maqueda is Piazza Pretoria, floodlit at night to highlight the nude figures of its great central fountain, with its racy sixteenth-century Florentine design. The piazza also holds the restored town hall, while towering above both square and fountain is the massive flank of Santa Caterina, Sicilian Baroque at its most exuberant, every inch of the enormous interior covered in a wildly decorative relief-work.
On the south of the island, a couple of kilometres below modern Agrigento, a series of Doric temples – the most captivating of Sicilian Greek remains and a grouping unique outside Greece – are strung out along a ridge facing the sea. Greek colonists surrounded it with a mighty wall, formed in part by a higher ridge on which stood the acropolis. The southern limit of the ancient city was a second, lower ridge and in the fifth century BC it was here, in the “Valle dei Templi”, that the city architects erected their sacred buildings.
Day 6 – Valletta, Malta – The UNESCO-protected port of Valletta, the capital of the island of Malta, is a must-see stop on this Mediterranean cruise. You can admire this port, constructed in the second half of the 16th century by the Frenchman Jean de la Valette and molded by the religious and military Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, from your MSC ship even before disembarking. The over 300 monuments rising in little more than half a mile make this a place with one of the greatest density of historical attractions to visit not mentioning other attractions such as its beaches, seaside locales and restaurants.
Valletta, enchants cruise-goers with its famous Maltese balconies, which decorate the facades of houses in its old quarter. Surrounded by a multitude of churches, which the islanders assure are as many as the days of the year, the St. John’s Co-Cathedral is one of Malta’s biggest tourist attractions.
Day 7 – Day at Sea – Today, enjoy a relaxing day at sea. This is your chance to explore the MSC Meravigilia. On board you enjoy outstanding, authentic dining options and out-of-this-world entertainment with new panoramic areas, an innovative ocean-view aft lounge, a two-deck “inside promenade” with a 5,000+ sq.ft. LED dome and a spectacular amusement area connected to an outdoor water park. You can also enjoy exclusive world-class shows in the Carousel Lounge and the multi-purpose karaoke bar, comedy club, TV Studio & Bar.
Day 8 – Barcelona & Disembark – Arriving in Barcelona, you disembark and begin your journey home.