Sailing from Netherlands
Setting sail from Amsterdam
Amsterdam is one of our very favourite cities to visit, as well as also being a perfect base to explore the nearby landscape of windmills and dikes. The Amsterdam canal belt is now officially recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and from them there are so many neighbourhoods to explore, such as the Jordaan with its higgledy-piggledy streets and its famed garden courtyards (hofjes). There are also a wealth of famous museums and galleries to choose from, such as the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum and the Anne Frank House, not to mention some more, shall we say, quirky options.
Explore by water, or by bicycle to get a feel for the city – a hop on hop off canal boat, or rented bike or pedalo will do the trick.
United Kingdom: Tilbury
Tilbury is not the world's most glamorous port, but the location on the Essex bank of the Thames, a short distance from the M25, means that it’s a convenient jumping off point for central London and the South East. The only real point of interest in Tilbury itself is the 16th century fort, situated just along the river from the cruise terminal.
Belgium: Zeebrugge (Bruges)
Zeebrugge’s main attraction is its proximity to Bruges. This beautifully preserved old town is a magical maze of winding cobbled lanes, narrow canals and gorgeous gabled houses, and it’s no wonder so many visitors throng the streets in summer.
France: Le Havre
Le Havre was more or less flattened during World War II, which makes the city’s UNESCO World Heritage status all the more remarkable. Rebuilt by the Belgian architect Auguste Perret, Le Havre is now characterised by a striking modernist style; don’t miss the towering, concrete Église St-Joseph.
Ireland: Dun Laoghaire (Dublin)
The city of Dublin has something for everyone with great shopping, beautiful Georgian architecture, lovely parks, galleries and museums. Everywhere you go you will be bowled away by the jovial Irish welcome. Don’t miss the chance to sample a local pint of Guinness.
Waterford is Ireland’s oldest city, over 1,000 years old, with a fascinating Viking and Norman heritage that is still discernible in the narrow streets of the ‘Viking Triangle’. The city is also famous as the home of Waterford crystal, and the glass-making industry here dates back to the late 18th century.
Bordeaux sits at the centre of the world's most famous wine region, and is home to a beguiling blend of beautiful buildings, sophisticated gastronomy and high culture. It's a marvellous place to spend some time, whether it's a day sampling wines, an evening at the opera or a night on the tiles.
France: Bordeaux (Le Verdon)
It’s not so long ago that Bilbao was a grim and unappealing place, scarred by heavy industry, but the Basque Country’s biggest city has reinvented itself as a cultural hub since the opening of the shimmering Guggenheim Museum in 1997.
Gijón is the largest city in the Asturias region of northern Spain, an important industrial port but also a lively and youthful place, ideally positioned for exploring the Costa Verde. The most interesting area is the historic fishing village of Cimadevilla, which sits on a peninsula that divides the bay in two.
Blessed with a dramatic setting on the steep banks of the river Douro, Portugal’s second city is currently enjoying something of a renaissance, and is best known as the home of the country’s most famous export, port wine.
Spread across steep hillsides that overlook the Rio Tejo, Lisbon’s colourful cityscape includes Gothic cathedrals, majestic monasteries and quaint museums. But for many the best times will be had wandering the narrow lanes of Lisbon’s lovely backstreets, with their great local food, wine and music.
The crumbling, sun-baked seafront city of Cádiz is said to be the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the western world, founded by the Phoenicians around 1100 BC. Although the city lacks any obvious landmarks, it’s rich in atmosphere, and plays host to one of Spain’s most colourful carnivals.
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 Barcelona.
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.
Monaco: 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. This little principality enjoys a lovely setting, the villas and penthouses tumbling down the hillside towards the sweeping blue expanse of the Mediterranean.
Italy: Florence / Pisa (Livorno)
The faded port town of Livorno serves as a gateway to Tuscany’s star attractions. Wonderful Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance, is resplendent with beautiful architecture and unrivalled artistic treasures, while nearby Pisa is of course famous for its precarious Leaning Tower.
Italy: Rome (Civitavecchia)
One of the world’s great cities, Rome continues to dazzle and delight visitors with a potent mix of architectural marvels, continent-defining history and buzzing nightlife. The Colosseum, the Vatican and the Forum are among the big ticket items, with the crowds to match, though in truth you will find history around almost every corner.
The UNESCO World Heritage-listed centre of Naples rewards exploration, and in addition to the many cultural treasures waiting to be unearthed Neapolitans are rightly proud of their food; this is where you’ll find the best pizza in Italy. The city also acts as a gateway to the fascinating remains of Pompeii and Herculaneum, and the beautiful Amalfi coast.
We never fail to be moved when we see the terracotta roofs and honey-golden walls of Dubrovnik, and a stroll around the perfectly preserved old town is a highlight of any visit to the Dalmatian coast. Make sure you take the time to walk around the walls and soak up the marvellous sea views.
Arriving in Venice
Venice is a city like no other, a marble maze of turquoise canals criss-crossed by beautiful bridges, overflowing with palaces, churches and charming little piazzas. No matter how many times you've seen it in photographs, that first glimpse of the Grand Canal will simply take your breath away; it hardly seems credible that such an eye-popping scene could exist outside of a Canaletto painting. Of course Venice is a city that draws big crowds, especially in summer, but don't let this put you off; even the busiest areas are never more than a few steps from a quiet courtyard or a secluded square.
The long, long queues for St Marks might put you off, but just book online in advance for timed entrance and bypass the exhausted tourists.
Your home from home
Purpose built for Oceania and bursting with style, sister ships Marina & Riviera are the perfect combination: small enough to be friendly and large enough to offer great facilities.
What we love
Above all, we love the fact that these ships are packed full of fabulous stuff - loads of amazing dining options, a collection of amazing artworks, wonderful learning opportunities and great accommodation. All of this is combined with the Oceania signatures: well-designed port intensive itineraries, great food, and a relaxed ambience.
|Crew||800 International Staff|
|Style||Easy going and unpretentious, and at the same time stylish and oozing quality, Oceania's O class ships are a great choice for inquisitive and engaged travellers who enjoy good food.|
Tailor-make your trip
Two nights in Amsterdam
There is a fantastic range of canal front hotels to choose from, but we love the new Waldorf Astoria.
Visit windmills in Zaanse Schans, the flowers at Keukenhof, or the cheese market in Alkmaar.
Our favourite hotel in Venice
The Metropole is an old favourite for its quieter location and lovely lagoon views.
See more of the Veneto
If you’ve time, take the train to Padova and visit the Scrovegni Chapel.