Setting sail from 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 Peggy Guggenheim Collection houses an eclectic assortment of works from the likes of Picasso, Magritte and Jackson Pollock. There is also a lovely garden facing on to the Grand Canal, with a rather rude sculpture of a rider on horseback.
Beyond Ancona’s gritty and somewhat unappealing port you’ll find a surprisingly attractive old town, with impressive Roman ruins and Renaissance palazzi. Ancona is also the gateway to Le Marche and the charming UNESCO-listed town of Urbino, birthplace of the artist Raphael.
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.
Busy, noisy and a little bit scruffy, Catania is Sicily’s second city, poised perilously in the shadow of Mount Etna. In recent years gentrification has taken hold, and the city’s many beautiful palazzi and baroque churches have been restored to their former glory. Eating out here is also a real treat.
Salerno is the capital of the Campania region, an attractive city at the eastern end of the Amalfi Coast. The historic centre and beautiful seafront promenade are well worth exploring, and the ruins at nearby Paestum make for an interesting day trip.
Arriving in 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.
Plan ahead to make the most of your time – Rome is an exhausting city to visit so you need to pace yourself. There are plenty of parks, gardens and squares to relax and enjoy time out.
Your home from home
Sleek and stylish, Le Boréal, Le Soléal, L'Austral and Le Lyrial are wonderful small ships which blend luxury, intimacy with a discreet elegance and a tasteful décor.
What we love
The muted natural tones that make up the modern and minimalist interior of these excellent small ships are enhanced by playful splashes of colour which creates some of the most stylish ships we've seen. The accommodation is flexible; staterooms can be combined to create expansive suites and the restaurants live up to the outstanding gastronomic reputation that you'd expect from a French flag cruise line.
|Style||Refined with a wonderful mix of a modern super yacht and nautical tradition, all with a French flair.|
Tailor-make your trip
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.
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.