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Setting sail from 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. As the saying goes, the city wasn't built in a day, and if you want to make the most of Rome you'll need to spend at least a couple of nights here. 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 Via Appia - this ancient Roman road is now part of a national park, and closed to car traffic on Sundays. Take a picnic, stroll, and visit the extraordinary catacombs.
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.
The volcanic island of Santorini (known officially as Thira) is one of the most spectacularly beautiful in the Mediterranean. The pretty village of Oia, with its whitewashed houses and windmills tumbling down the hillside, is particularly photogenic.
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 Turkish port of Kusadasi is the gateway to Ephesus, one of the most spectacular archaeological sites in the Eastern Mediterranean. This was the Roman capital of Asia Minor, and the remains constitute the most complete classical city in Europe.
Greece: Athens (Piraeus)
Athens is a city awash with historical and cultural significance, but it's much more than an open air museum; this is a dynamic, bustling metropolis, and a place where history is still very much unfolding.
Nafplion is one of the most beautiful cities on the Greek mainland, situated on the Argolic Gulf overlooked by the imposing Palamidi Fortress. The narrow streets of the old town are home to a beguiling mix of Venetian, Turkish and Greek architecture, while just offshore is the little island castle of Bourtzi.
Greece: Argostoli (Kefalonia)
Rugged Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian islands, and remains unspoilt by tourism despite earning fame as the setting for ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’. The island rewards exploration, with some splendid beaches and lovely little villages, and the vineyards here produce some excellent wines.
Corfu, known as Kerkyra in Greek, is a beautiful island of verdant hills and rocky coves, and away from the more crowded resorts it remains a sleepy and idyllic place. Don’t miss the picturesque Venetian architecture of Corfu Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Kotor sits at the head of a beautiful, fjord-like bay, hemmed in by glowering mountains. The compact, walled old town is Montenegro’s star attraction, a warren of little alleyways and shady squares that is often described as a ‘mini Dubrovnik’.
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 a 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
Sister ships Oosterdam and Westerdam, each carrying just under 2,000 guests as part of Holland America’s Vista class series, are a combination of traditional comfort with modern technology, ensuring a smooth ride and a warm welcome.
What we love
We love the distinctive gallery style décor on board the Holland America ships, ranging from classic oils to contemporary photography. The eclectic mix of fascinating art works and sculptures can be toured and enjoyed, or simply appreciated as the backdrop to your leisurely cruise.
|Crew||817 International Staff|
An appealing combination of contemporary relaxation and classic traditions mean that you can choose the venue on board to suit your mood, from formal dining to lots of more casual options, and a wide choice of entertainments and activities.
|Year Built||2003 (Oosterdam) / 2004 (Westerdam)|
|LAST REFURBISHED||2016 (Oosterdam) / 2010 (Westerdam)|
|Tonnage||82,305 grt (Oosterdam) / 82,348 grt (Westerdam)|
|Cruising Speed||24 knots|
Tailor-make your trip
Extend your stay in Rome
There are so many great hotels but we particularly love the Campo de’ Fiori, for its great location in the centre of everything.
Beat the queues
Get a private guide to help you jump the queues into the Vatican who can whizz you through the galleries to see the essentials and ensure your best view of the Sistine Chapel.
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.