Orchestra, Italy, Greece, Albania & Croatia ex Venice Return
7 Night cruise sailing roundtrip from Venice onboard MSC Orchestra.
|25/07/20||Venice, Italy||04:30 PM|
|26/07/20||Bari, Italy||10:30 AM||05:00 PM|
|27/07/20||Katakolon, Greece||11:00 AM||05:00 PM|
|28/07/20||Mykonos, Greece||08:00 AM||07:00 PM|
|29/07/20||Athens (Piraeus) Greece||07:30 AM||04:00 PM|
|30/07/20||Sarande, Albania||12:00 PM||08:00 PM|
|31/07/20||Dubrovnik, Croatia||09:00 AM||03:00 PM|
|01/08/20||Venice, Italy||08:30 AM|
7 Night cruise sailing roundtrip from Venice onboard MSC Orchestra.
Combining spacious, elegant interiors with the variety for which our Musica Class is renowned, MSC Orchestra promises your dream cruise. Because life aboard can be just what you want it to be.
If relaxation is your goal, there’s ample deck space to unwind in the sun or in the superb Body and Mind Spa, with pampering Turkish baths, saunas and a myriad of magical massages.
Active types have a Sports Centre with Gym, 5 stunning pools and even a jogging track that lets you keep a constant pace, undisturbed out in the fresh sea breeze.
MSC Orchestra also takes you on an exciting culinary journey, ranging from the Shanghai Chinese Restaurant with authentic Dim Sum specialties to the Four Seasons gourmet Italian dining experience and La Piazzetta, where you can discover the finest pizza outside Naples.
The designer venues on this ecological ship make every moment a special occasion, whether dancing to the live music in the leopard-style Savannah Bar, tempting lady luck in the Palm Beach Casino or catching a spectacular show in the equally spectacular Covent Garden Theatre.
Kids can go wild to their heart’s content in the Jungle Adventure playroom, while teens get their own Teen’s Club. Whatever your age and dreams, you can be sure they’ll come true for you, your friends and family on a cruise like no other with MSC Orchestra.
Highlights of this cruise:
MSC Cruises shore excursions can be a clever option for visiting the monuments that draw the largest cruise crowds in Venice: the Basilica di San Marco – the mausoleum of the city’s patron saint – and the Palazzo Ducale – the home of the doge and all the governing councils.
Certainly these are the most dramatic structures in Venice: the first a mosaic-clad emblem of Venice’s Byzantine origins, the second perhaps the finest of all secular Gothic buildings. But you would be rewarded for visiting every parish: a roll-call of the churches worth visiting would feature over fifty names, and a list of the important paintings and sculptures they contain would be twice as long.
Enjoy your cruise holiday in Venice walking in Piazza San Marco: the only piazza in Venice, all other squares being campi or campielli. Its parades, festivities and markets have always drawn visitors, the biggest attraction once being the trade fair known as the Fiera della Sensa, which kept the Piazza buzzing for the fortnight following the Ascension Day ceremony of the Marriage of Venice to the Sea; nowadays the Piazza is the focal point of the Carnevale shenanigans.
The coffee shops of the Piazza were a vital component of eighteenth-century high society, and the two survivors from that period – Florian and Quadri – are still the most expensive in town. The glass-blowing industry is what made Murano famous all over Europe, and today its furnaces constitute Venice’s sole surviving manufacturing zone.
Murano’s street-level premises are given over almost entirely to shops selling glasswork, and it’s difficult to walk more than a few metres on this island without being invited to step inside a showroom. Some of them have furnaces attached, and you shouldn’t pass up the chance to see these astoundingly skilful craftsmen in action.
It’s worth doing an excursion just to wander around the old city of Bari, an entrancing jumble of streets that are possibly the most mind-bending place to walk around on your Mediterranean cruises to 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.
Leaving the coast, curious-looking trulli are dotted throughout the Murge area of Puglia. Cylindrical, whitewashed buildings with grey conical roofs tapering out to a point or sphere, they are often adorned with painted symbols. The thick walls insulate equally against the cold in winter and the summer heat, while local limestone is used to make the two-layered roofs watertight.
Seventy kilometres inland, Matera, situated on the edge of a ravine at the eastern end of Basilicata, dates from the Middle Ages when monks built rock-hewn churches and monasteries into what are now called the Sassi an intricate series of terraced caves. Later, farmers, seeking safety from invasions, also settled in the Sassi, fashioning their homes, stables and shops out of the rock, creating one of Italy’s oddest townscapes and its most significant troglodyte settlement.
A holiday to Greece during an MSC cruise of the Mediterranean means history and myth. Katakolon is a tiny seaside town in Greece in the bay of Agios Andreas, only 20 km 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. MSC Mediterranean cruises offer comprehensive excursions to Olympia. It is one of the largest ancient sites in Greece, spread beside the twin rivers of Alfiós and Kládhios, and overlooked by the Hill of Krónos.
The sheer quantity of ruined structures can give a confusing impression of their ancient grandeur and function, but the site itself is picturesque, definitely deserving a visit on an MSC excursion. The entrance to the site, located just 200m from the modern village, leads along the west side of the Altis wall, past a group of public and official buildings. The Prytaneion was the administrators’ residence, where athletes stayed and feasted at official expense.
You can see the ruins of a gymnasium and a palaestra (wrestling school), used by the competitors during their obligatory month of pre-games training. Beyond these stood the Priests’ House, the Theokoleion, a substantial colonnaded building in whose southeast corner is a structure adapted as a Byzantine church. The main focus of the Altis precinct is provided by the great Doric Temple of Zeus.
Built between 470 and 456 BC, it was as large as the Parthenon, a fact quietly substantiated by the vast column drums littering the ground. The temple’s decoration, too, rivalled the finest in Athens; partially recovered, its sculptures of Pelops in a chariot race, of Lapiths and Centaurs, and the Labours of Hercules, are now in the museum.
When sailing on an MSC cruise to the Mediterranean Sea, 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. When you alight from your MSC cruise, getting lost in its convoluted streets and alleys is half the fun of the place.
From your cruise ship you’ll pass the archaeological museum on your way into town, which was specially built in 1905 to display artefacts from the cemeteries on Rínia Island, opposite Delos. A shore excursion on your MSC Mediterranean cruise can be the opportunity to discover Mýkonos’s museums and mansions. Lena’s House is a completely restored and furnished merchant home from the turn of the twentieth century.
The Folklore Museum, housed in an eighteenth-century mansion, crams in a larger-than-usual collection of bric-a-brac, including a basement dedicated to Mýkonos’s maritime past. The museum shares the promontory with Mýkonos’s oldest and best-known church, Paraportianí, a fascinating asymmetrical hodgepodge of four chapels amalgamated into one. Beyond the church, the shoreline leads to the area known as Little Venice because of the high, arcaded Venetian houses built right up to the water’s edge on its southwest side.
Together with the adjoining Alefkándhra district, this is a dense area packed with art galleries, trendy bars, shops and clubs. Beyond Little Venice, the famous windmills look over the area, renovated and ripe for photo opportunities.
Pireas (Piraeus) is the port of call for you during an MSC cruise to the Mediterranean. It 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. The island ferries leaving from the port where your MSC cruise ship awaits your return are the reason most people come here; if you’re spending any time here, though, the real attractions of the place are around the small-boat harbours 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. A shore excursion on your MSC Mediterranean cruise can be the opportunity to visit Athens too. The vestiges of the ancient Classical Greek city, most famously represented by the Parthenon and other remains that top the Acropolis, are an inevitable focus, along with the magnificent National Archaeological Museum.
The rock of the Acropolis, crowned by the dramatic ruins of the Parthenon, dominates almost every view of Athens. Surrounded by pedestrianized streets, it can be appreciated from almost every angle. Entering via the monumental double gatehouse, the Propylaia, you’ll see the elegant, tiny Temple of Athena Nike on a precipitous platform to the right, overlooking Pireás and the Saronic Gulf.
The Parthenon is the highlight, though, the first and greatest project of Pericles’ Athenian Golden Age. Originally the columns were brightly painted and the building was decorated with the finest sculpture of the Classical age, also lavishly coloured. To the north of the Parthenon stands the Erechtheion and its striking Porch of the Caryatids, whose columns form the tunics of six tall maidens.
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.
One of your MSC Cruises destinations in the Mediterranean, this coastal city is one of the most modern in the entire region, and offers its 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. Walking through the streets of Sarande, you will experience the typical atmosphere of a popular tourist attraction with numerous hotels.
An MSC Cruises excursion will take you on a visit to the karst spring of Syri Kalter with its famous Blue Eye, a blue pond reminiscent of the iris of a human eye. This watering hole is at the center of a splendid oak forest, perfect for having a picnic and enjoying the cool embrace of Mother Nature. In this area there is also the Mesopotam monastery, which dates from the thirteenth century and is the only Byzantine church in a good state of conservation in all of Albania.
Characterized by a special plan of a single nave with two apses, this ancient place of worship is dedicated to St. Nicholas (Shën Kolle).
A walled, sea-battered city lying at the foot of a grizzled mountain, Dubrovnik is Croatia’s most popular cruise destination, and it’s not difficult to see why. Waiting to be valued on an MSC Mediterranean cruise excursion its essentially 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 loggia 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.
You can admire the prettiest corners of Dubrovnik before boarding the boat for Sveti Jakov beach, a smallish stretch of pebble at the bottom of a cliff on the Mediterranean, reached by steps which descend from the coastal path midway between St Jacobs’s Monastery and the Belvedere hotel. Fantastic views backtowards the Old Town. West-facing, so catches the afternoon and evening sun, amazing to relax in the sun on your holiday.
Some 20km south of Dubrovnik stretches the Konavle, a ribbon of fertile agricultural land squeezed between the mountains on one side and the sea on the other. It is a restfully scenic place to drive through, and offers a couple of rewarding village stop offs to boot; traditionally the Konavle formed the rural hinterland of the Dubrovnik Republic, keeping the city supplied with fresh victuals.
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