Sailing from Spain
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.
Gaudí’s crowning masterpiece, the church of La Sagrada Familia, is an utterly unique building, a soaring structure that’s rich in bizarre little details. It’s also still not finished; despite the fact that construction began in 1882, the current completion date is scheduled for 2026!
Malta’s tiny capital, established by the Knights of St John, packs in an awful lot of history considering its diminutive size. The atmospheric old streets, bathed in Mediterranean sunshine, are full of attractive honey-golden buildings, along with an impressive selection of bars and restaurants.
Sun-kissed Rhodes, the largest of the Dodecanese islands, is steeped in history; the medieval heart of Rhodes Town was once home to the crusading Knights of St John, and later fell to the Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. The hillside village of Lindos, with its pretty whitewashed houses, is another highlight.
The buzzing city of Limassol is southern Cyprus’ main port, an important commercial hub that overflows with bars, restaurants and tavernas. It’s also home to a pleasant old town and medieval castle, and serves as an excellent base for exploring the nearby Troodos mountains.
Haifa is Israel’s third city, a bustling and multicultural place where six different faiths live side by side. The city is the spiritual centre of the Baha’i Faith, and the beautiful Baha’i Gardens are a must-see. Many cruise visitors opt to skip Haifa and take an excursion to Jerusalem and Bethlehem, two to three hours’ drive away.
Egypt: Sharm El-Sheikh
Sharm El-Sheikh is Egypt’s most popular beach resort, situated on the Red Sea coast on the Sinai Peninsula. The wonderfully warm waters of the Ras Mohamed National Park offer fantastic snorkelling and diving, and other nearby attractions include the impressive Byzantine-era St Catherine’s Monastery.
Egypt: Safaga (Luxor)
Safaga is the nearest sea port to Luxor, and ships often stop here overnight to give you time to see everything. Prepare to be amazed – the thin belt of greenery along the banks of the Nile gives Luxor a lush setting for an extraordinary collection of tombs and temple complexes that hint at the magnificence of this former Ancient Egyptian capital.
Aqaba is Jordan’s principal beach resort, situated on the Red Sea coast close to the Israeli border. The main attraction in Aqaba itself is the incredible diving, though many visitors will choose to instead use the port as a jumping off point for the 'Rose City' of Petra and the desert landscapes of Wadi Rum.
Salalah is Oman’s second city, and the capital of the southern Dhofar region. Many visitors are surprised by the pleasant sub-tropical climate, which turns the city into an oasis of lush greenery during the ‘khareef’ (monsoon) season between June and September, and in many ways it’s more reminiscent of Zanzibar than Muscat.
Oman’s capital is low-rise and laid back, a far cry from the towering bling of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Take a stroll along the waterfront Corniche promenade, soak up the sun on one of the excellent beaches, or explore the mosques and forts of the atmospheric old quarter.
United Arab Emirates: Dubai
Amazing high rise buildings, extensive air-conditioned shopping malls and extraordinary man-made tourist attractions (such as indoor ski-slopes) abound in the glamorous city of Dubai, home to some of the most glitzy and expensive hotels in the world.
United Arab Emirates: Fujairah
The port of Fujairah is an important transit point for the oil that has made the Emirates so rich, though the skyline is nothing like as impressive as Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Points of interest include an impressive fort and a handful of markets, but this is unlikely to be the most exciting stop on your itinerary.
30 November - 1 December
Formerly known as Bombay, this amazing city is larger than life and packed to bursting with things to see and do. Here people of all religions and nationalities live cheek by jowl, thriving communities from all over the world with the foods, smells, languages and rituals maintained at top volume.
India: Mormugao (Goa)
The port of Mormugao is the gateway to the diminutive Indian state of Goa, famous for its golden sand beaches, hippie vibe and unique Portuguese heritage. Highlights include the beautiful colonial architecture of Old Goa, the charming capital, Panjim, and the fragrant spice farms of the interior.
Mangalore, officially known as Mangaluru, sits on the coast of Karnataka, sandwiched between Goa and Kerala. The port was an important hub for trade with Arabia and Persia, and was later colonised by both the Portuguese and the British, leaving a rich architectural legacy of mosques, temples and churches.
The port of Kochi, commonly known as Cochin, occupies a strategic location on India’s Malabar Coast, and its history as a trading hub is reflected in the blend of European, Chinese and Arabian influences. It’s also the gateway to the idyllic Kerala Backwaters, which are best appreciated on a houseboat cruise.
Sri Lanka: Colombo
Colombo may be a little chaotic, but there is plenty to recommend Sri Lanka's colourful capital. Faded colonial architecture and beautiful Buddhist temples hint at the city's considerable history, while the excellent restaurants, lively bars and characterful streets provide the perfect introduction to contemporary Sri Lankan culture.
Myanmar (Burma): Yangon
Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, may no longer be Myanmar’s capital, but it remains the largest and most important city, and the gateway to exploring this beautiful country. Visible from all around the city is Yangon’s crowning jewel, the shimmering golden Shwedagon Paya, one of South East Asia’s most beautiful Buddhist temples.
As well as a plethora of luxury resorts, Phuket has a charming old town replete with pretty Sino-Portuguese architecture, and acts as a jump-off point for exploring nearby islands and coastline. Koh Phing Pan, better known as James Bond Island, and Ko Phi Phi are breathtakingly beautiful, as are the limestone formations that surround Krabi.
The Malaysian island of Penang is a fascinating blend of East and West, far more than just a beach destination. Lovely Georgetown, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to British colonial architecture, crumbling Chinese shophouses and incense-perfumed temples.
Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur (Port Kelang)
Malaysia’s capital is a hot and humid cultural melting pot, defined by its distinctive Malay, Chinese and Indian communities. The dazzling Petronas Towers are KL’s most recognisable landmark, while at street level you’ll find temples and mosques, elegant colonial buildings and bustling markets.
Singapore’s heritage as an important trading post means that there is a real cultural mix, with four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. Step away from the gleaming towers and you’ll find yourself transported into another world amongst the intoxicating streets of Chinatown and Little India.
The sweltering city of Semarang, on the north coast of Java, is an intriguing mish-mash of Chinese, Islamic and Dutch colonial influences. We recommend escaping the heat with a trip up into the mountains to visit a coffee plantation, or joining an excursion to the extraordinary temple complex at Borobudur.
Indonesia: Surabaya (Java)
Surabaya, situated on the northeast coast of Java, is Indonesia’s second largest city and the place where the country’s struggle for independence began. The warren-like Arab Quarter is worth exploring, though many visitors use the city as a base for visiting nearby Mount Bromo.
Indonesia: Benoa (Bali)
The beaches, spectacular volcanic scenery and lush green rice terraces lend Bali a natural beauty that seems to dovetail perfectly with the island’s distinct Hindu culture, which adorns the landscape with stunning temples.
Indonesia: Komodo Island
Komodo Island is situated within an area of spectacular natural beauty, home to the famous Komodo dragon. The stunning beaches are tinged with pink thanks to the high concentration of red coral just offshore, and the waters draw intrepid divers from all over the world.
More of a large town than a city, Darwin is less about what’s contained within the city limits and more about the huge expanse of wild landscape that’s outside it. Closer to Jakarta than Sydney, the city really does feel remote in its tropical perch.
Cooktown is a small place with a big history, named after Captain James Cook, who beached his ship the ‘Endeavour’ here in 1770 after it was damaged on a nearby reef. It’s a remote and sleepy town, and the seafront statue of Captain Cook is the main sight worth seeing.
Cairns is a buzzing tourist hub, gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. A snorkelling trip out to the reef is the most obvious excursion to take here, but other options include riding the Skyrail cableway over the rainforest canopy or swimming in the croc-free saltwater lagoon.
Australia: Airlie Beach
The lively town of Airlie Beach is backpacker central, and serves as a transport hub for the many offshore attractions of the east coast. From here you can take a trip out to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef, or visit the stunning tropical beaches of the nearby Whitsunday Islands.
Brisbane has plenty of shopping malls and, with great weather, a fantastic café culture. Amongst the steel and glass skyscrapers are some interesting historic buildings, and with plenty surrounding the city there’s enough on offer to make for an interesting short stay.
One or our favourite cities in the world, we love pretty much everything about Sydney. Offering outdoor living at its best, the city is known for the excellent beaches but offers so much more, including a thriving and varied food scene inspired by Asian and European flavours.
The sleepy town of Eden, on the beautiful and unspoilt Sapphire Coast, was once an important whaling town. Nowadays the waters of Twofold Bay are a whale watching hotspot, and this is one of the best places in the world to see humpback whales during their spring migration.
Australia: Phillip Island
Culturally sophisticated and fashionably hip, Melbourne combines edgy street art with gold rush era architecture while offering excellent restaurants and top museums. If you have time, check out some of Victoria's other attractions, including the beautiful 12 Apostles and the excellent wines of the Yarra Valley.
Situated on Tasmania’s northwest coast, Burnie is an important industrial centre, though in recent years the city has been reinventing itself as a creative hub. Watch local artisans at work at the Makers Workshop, learn about the city’s industrial history at the Burnie Regional Museum, or take a trip out into the scenic surrounding countryside.
New Zealand: Dunedin
Visitors to Dunedin are amazed by the extraordinary Victorian and Edwardian buildings dating back to the gold rush, which bring to mind the city's Scottish roots - not least when the sound of the pipes echoes through the streets.
New Zealand: Akaroa
The name Akaroa means ‘long harbour’ in Maori, and this sleepy town on the southern side of the Banks Peninsula is situated on a beautiful natural harbour created when a volcanic crater collapsed into the sea. The first Europeans to settle here were French, and the town still has a decidedly Gallic flavour.
New Zealand: Wellington
New Zealand’s cosmopolitan capital is arguably the country’s most likeable city. Hemmed in by forest-clad hills, Wellington is compact and easily walkable, with a lovely waterfront area where you’ll find the must-see Te Papa national museum. The city is also renowned for its strong winds, so make sure you hold on to your hat!
New Zealand: Napier
When Napier was destroyed by an earthquake in 1931 the city was rebuilt entirely in the Art Deco style, making this a fascinating architectural time capsule. It’s a lovely, sunny seaside city, and a visit to the surrounding Hawke’s Bay wine region makes for an enjoyable day trip.
New Zealand: Gisborne
Gisborne is the first city on earth to greet the sun each morning, and it’s also a popular destination for foodies and wine lovers, known as the unofficial ‘Chardonnay capital of New Zealand’. This is a great place to enjoy some beach time, learn about Maori culture or grab a surfboard and catch some waves.
New Zealand: Bay of Islands
The beautiful Bay of Islands is scattered with some 150 undeveloped islands, an idyllic landscape of bright skies, secluded beaches and clear blue waters. The bay was also the site of the first permanent British settlement in New Zealand, and it was here that the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 between the British Crown and the Maori chiefs.
Arriving in Auckland
Auckland offers a buzzing waterfront and a vibrant arts scene, and provides a fascinating introduction to New Zealand's proud cultural heritage. The centre is home to excellent shopping and a number of fantastic restaurants, while the north of the city has a distinctly more laid-back vibe, and to the west is the city's oldest wine region.
Standing 328 metres tall, the Sky Tower offers the best view of the city from the observation deck or from its two restaurants.
Your home from home
When luxury goes exploring, you are on a Regent ship. Seven Seas Explorer takes the Regent experience one step forward.
What we love
Just 750 guests enjoy the perfect balance of space and intimacy on Seven Seas Explorer. With plenty of comfort and great value for money, she steps up the classic Regent luxury offering with their signature spacious accommodation, a relaxed and unpretentious style and loads of good dining choices. The most all-inclusive of all luxury lines.
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Regent Seven Seas offers luxury without pretensions - not too dressy, and with lots of focus on the itineraries. So - with their excellent all-inclusive offer - you might get off the ship without having to pay a single further penny!
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 Auckland
There are some great luxury lodges within easy reach of the city. In the city itself we like the Langham.
About 3 hours north of the city is the Bay of Islands, an area of pristine islands and turquoise water as well as small towns of historic and cultural interest.