Sailing from Italy
Setting sail from Naples
Naples has a reputation as a rough and ready sort of place, but there's an undeniable vitality to the city, perhaps as a result of living in the shadow of dormant Mount Vesuvius. The UNESCO World Heritage-listed city centre 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, the beautiful Amalfi coast, and the islands of Capri, Ischia and Procida.
If you are a brave driver, hire a car to tour the region; there are so many places to visit within easy reach, though this is not an experience for the faint-hearted!
Italy: Ischia Island
The picturesque little town of Amalfi was once a major Mediterranean naval power, but a devastating earthquake in 1343 cut the city down in its prime and destroyed most of its historic buildings. These days, of course, Amalfi is best known for the eponymous stretch of stunning coastline on which it sits.
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 island of Elba, just off the Tuscan coast, is where Napoleon Bonaparte was famously forced to live in exile between 1814-15. It’s hard to feel too sorry for him, though; the views from his plush Villa dei Mulini, situated high above the town of Portoferraio, are quite spectacular.
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.
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.
Italy: San Remo
During the 19th century San Remo was a popular destination for European royals in exile, and the town retains plenty of glitz and glamour. Try your luck with the high rollers at the most famous casino on the Italian Riviera, take a stroll along the promenade or lose yourself in the labyrinthine streets of the old town.
France: Nice (Villefranche)
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.
Toulon is not the sort of place you would expect to find on the Côte d’Azur, a gritty port city that’s home to France’s most important naval base. It’s not completely without charm, however, and for some travellers it may come as a breath of fresh air after the glitz of the Riviera. For the best view, take the cable car to the top of Le Faron mountain.
The little fishing village of Cassis is one of Provence's hidden gems, with a delightful little harbour where you can enjoy ‘bouillabaisse’, the famous seafood dish that was invented here. Cassis is also a base for boat trips to explore the picturesque limestone coves and inlets (known as ‘calanques’) that shape the surrounding coastline.
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.
Arriving in 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!
Your home from home
The much loved Island Sky is one of Noble Caledonia’s flagships and considered by some to be one of the finest small ships in the world.
What we love
Exceptionally spacious suites, many with their own balcony, have a traditional feel created by the wooden panelling and brass features. The finely decorated public rooms enhance the modern country-style and touches like multiple screens in the main lounge ensure presentations from the expedition staff can be enjoyed by all on what are usually in-depth and fascinating itineraries.
|Staff||75 International Staff|
|Style||An informal and congenial atmosphere on board is driven by the communal spirit of shared exploration.|
Tailor-make your trip
Our favourite hotel in Naples
We love the Excelsior – not only is it great, but also it’s the hotel in The Sopranos!
What to do in Naples
The short journey to Vesuvius, and its victims Pompeii and Herculaneum, is truly memorable.
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.