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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.
Port-Vendres is a bustling fishing port on the coast of French Catalonia, close to the Spanish border and a short drive from the picturesque town of Collioure. It’s a great destination for seafood lovers, and the surrounding vineyards produce some excellent wines.
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.
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.
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.
Nice enjoys a marvellous setting on one of the most glorious stretches of the Côte d’Azur, the sweeping Bay of Angels, so it’s no wonder that tourists have been flocking here since the 19th century.
Arriving in Genoa
Genoa has a legendary seafaring heritage, and was once a powerful maritime republic. However, the city's most famous son, Christopher Columbus, was spurned by the Genoese elite when he came looking for funds for his expedition, and his discoveries for the Spanish Crown played no small part in Genoa's downfall. Modern Genoa is Italy's largest sea port, and the atmospheric, labyrinthine streets of the old town are filled with dazzling architecture that harks back to the city's golden age, although some neighbourhoods are admittedly a little rough around the edges.
Your home from home
The Azamara Journey, Quest & Pursuit are excellent small ships that offer a welcoming and relaxed club-like atmosphere.
What we love
This trio of sister ships 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 on board relax and enjoy a vibrant array of inclusions.
|Crew:||408 International staff|
|Style:||Relaxed club-like atmosphere|
|Year built:||Journey & Quest 2000, Pursuit 2001|
|Last refurbished:||Journey & Quest 2016, Pursuit 2018|
|Cruising speed:||18.5 knots|
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.