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Setting sail from Barcelona
Barcelona, the cosmopolitan capital of Catalonia, is one of our favourite ports of call. From the warren-like medieval streets of the Barri Gòtic to the fantastical modernist architecture of Antoni Gaudí, from the dizzy heights of Mount Tibidabo to the golden sands of Barceloneta, there's never a dull moment in this most beguiling of cities. Take a stroll along the Ramblas, soak up the wonderful art of Picasso and Miró, or watch Lionel Messi work his mesmerising magic at the Camp Nou. Barcelona is truly a city with something for everyone.
For the ultimate boozy lunch head to Can Paixano, also known as La Xampanyeria, where local residents, office workers and the odd adventurous tourist crowd around the bar and tuck into sandwiches washed down with Cava.
The down-to-earth port of Sète, sandwiched between the Mediterranean and the Etang de Thau lagoon, is a working town rather than a tourist hotspot, though the canals and colourful buildings have a certain charm. It’s also a great spot for a seafood lunch, and a visit to the nearby citadel of Carcassonne is a popular excursion.
The rumbustious port of Marseille often gets a bad press, but the city has been transformed in recent years, with a host of new cultural attractions. The vibrant Vieux Port remains at the heart of life in Marseille, however, and is the best place to begin your exploration of the city’s many historic sights.
The pretty Provençal fishing village of Sanary-sur-Mer is an agreeable place to spend a day, with a clutch of historic buildings and a lively open-air market. Sanary also has a fine literary heritage, home to a number of exiled German writers during the 1930s, and it was here that Aldous Huxley wrote ‘Brave New World’.
France: Saint Tropez
Ever since Brigitte Bardot put Saint Tropez on the map with the seminal ‘And God Created Woman’ in 1956, this diminutive fishing village on the French Riviera has been a magnet for the international glitterati.
The Corsican port of Calvi is a popular summer destination for both sun-seeking tourists and the yachts of the super-rich, with a swanky harbour and five miles of beautiful beach. The town is said by some to be the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, and the skyline is dominated by the imposing 15th century Genoese citadel.
Few ports conjure up images of glitz and movie star glamour quite so readily as Cannes. May is when the glitterati roll into town for the Film Festival, but there’s still plenty to divert you the rest of the year, including the old quarter, Le Suquet, and the dazzling Croisette.
Arriving in Monte Carlo
Renowned for its casino, its Grand Prix and its oligarch-friendly tax policies, Monte Carlo is glamour and hedonism personified, with a price tag to match. Wedged between Italy and France on the Côte d'Azur, this little principality enjoys a lovely setting, the villas and penthouses tumbling down the hillside towards the sweeping blue expanse of the Mediterranean. Most visitors won't feel the need (or be able to afford) to stay more than a day or two, but the Prince's Palace and the Oceanographic Museum are both well worth a visit. Enter the casino at your own risk...
Make sure you’re outside the Prince’s Palace by 11.55 am sharp for the daily Changing of the Guard ceremony; it’s a wonderful spectacle that always draws a crowd.
Your home from home
Not too big yet not too small, Azamara Journey & Quest are excellent small ships which offer a welcoming and relaxed club-like atmosphere.
What we love
Azamara Club Cruises are focused on providing destination immersion by spending as much time in port as possible, with itineraries designed to include overnight stays and late evening departures. Enjoy more time to discover the local culture and when back onboard relax and enjoy the host of inclusions.
|Crew||408 International Staff|
|Style||Relaxed, club-like atmosphere|
Tailor-make your trip
Where to stay in Barcelona
The lovely Hotel Arts on the sea front is perfectly located for a pre- or post-cruise stay, and has great restaurants too.
Take a day trip to the attractive city of Girona, with its fascinating mix of Gothic, Moorish and Modernist architecture, as well as an exceptionally well preserved Jewish Quarter.
Where to stay in Monte Carlo
We prefer the Monte-Carlo Bay to the city hotels, lovely sea views and next to the beach.
See Monte Carlo in style
If you like luxury or performance cars, rent one - a Ferrari or a Lamborghini - and drive along the Corniche.