Greece, Italy and Albania

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Cruise the beautiful Greek Isles of Mykonos and the historic mainland cities of Athens and Katakolon (site of the original Olympic Games), as well as the picturesque Croatian city of Dubrovnik, Sarande in enigmatic Albania, and Bari in Italy on this 7-night cruise from Venice.

Departing from iconic Venice you cruise into the Adriatic to the historic Italian city of Bari. You’ll then sail to Katakolon, close to the site of the original ancient Olympic Games before you sail to the gorgeous Greek Isle of Mykonos. Your next port of call is Piraeus, the local port for Athens before you sail back into the Adriatic and visit beautiful Sarande in Albania and Dubrovnik in Croatia. Your cruise comes to an end as you cruise back into Venice.

Inclusions

  • Flight from Dublin to Venice, Italy
  • Transfer from airport to port
  • 7 nights onboard the 4* MSC Orchestra based on 2 adults sharing
  • Fine dining on a full board basis
  • Entertainment onboard
  • Premium All-Inclusive drinks package
  • Onboard Gratuities included
  • Transfer from port to airport
  • Flight from Venice to Dublin
  • Taxes, charges and 20kg check-in bag per person

Itinerary

Day 1 Venice Italy

Following your flight, you will be transferred to the port to board the 4* MSC Orchestra.

Day 2 Bari, Italy

It’s worth doing an excursion just to wander around the old city of Bari, an entrancing jumble of streets that are possibly the most mind-bending place to walk around on your Mediterranean cruises to southern Italy.

Situated at the far end of Corso Cavour, its labyrinth of seemingly endless passages, weaving through courtyards and under arches, were originally designed to spare the inhabitants from the wind and throw invaders into a state of confusion. Here, life is lived very much outdoors, and on summer evenings it’s full of people sitting outside their kitchen doors.

On arriving in the heart of Bari’s old city, you find the Basilica di San Nicola, consecrated in 1197 to house the relics of the saint plundered a century earlier from southern Turkey via Mediterranean Sea. The real beauty of the church lies in its stonework, but best of all is the twelfth-century episcopal throne behind the altar, a superb piece of work supported by small figures wheezing beneath its weight.

Day 3 Katakolon (Olympia), Greece

A holiday to Greece during a cruise of the Mediterranean means history and myth. Katakolon is a tiny seaside town in Greece in the bay of Agios Andreas, only 20 km away from the ancient site of Olympia.

The historic associations and resonance of Olympia, which for over a millennium hosted the most important Panhellenic games, are rivalled only by Delphi or Mycenae. It is one of the largest ancient sites in Greece, spread beside the twin rivers of Alfiós and Kládhios, and overlooked by the Hill of Krónos.

The sheer quantity of ruined structures can give a confusing impression of their ancient grandeur and function, but the site itself is picturesque, definitely deserving a visit on an excursion. The entrance to the site, located just 200m from the modern village, leads along the west side of the Altis wall, past a group of public and official buildings. The Prytaneion was the administrators’ residence, where athletes stayed and feasted at official expense.

You can see the ruins of a gymnasium and a palaestra (wrestling school), used by the competitors during their obligatory month of pre-games training. Beyond these stood the Priests’ House, the Theokoleion, a substantial colonnaded building in whose southeast corner is a structure adapted as a Byzantine church. The main focus of the Altis precinct is provided by the great Doric Temple of Zeus.

Built between 470 and 456 BC, it was as large as the Parthenon, a fact quietly substantiated by the vast column drums littering the ground. The temple’s decoration, too, rivalled the finest in Athens; partially recovered, its sculptures of Pelops in a chariot race, of Lapiths and Centaurs, and the Labours of Hercules, are now in the museum.

Day 4 Mykonos, Greece

Thanks to its proximity to the mainland, Mykonos was one of the first Greek islands to become an international travel destination. During the late ’60s and early ’70s, Mykonos was famed as a haunt for the rich. The island’s nightlife – then and now – was a glittering whirl of colored lights, music, and parties. But there’s another side to Mykonos – the neighboring island of Delos. In classical mythology, Delos was the birthplace of Apollo and his twin sister Artemis. Travelers to Delos can stroll among the island’s vast ruins, which include three temples consecrated to the Sun God and the famed Lions Walk. Mykonos town features hip boutiques, restaurants, jewelry stores, souvenirs, taverns and cafés. The island’s famed windmills are found just south of the waterfront.

Day 5 Athens (Piraeus), Greece

Athens is the capital of Greece. It was also at the heart of Ancient Greece, a powerful civilization and empire. The city is still dominated by 5th-century BC landmarks, including the Acropolis, a hilltop citadel topped with ancient buildings like the colonnaded Parthenon temple. The Acropolis Museum, along with the National Archaeological Museum, preserves sculptures, vases, jewelry and more from Ancient Greece.

Day 6 Sarande, Albania

Thanks to one of the most beautiful natural environments of the entire Albanian coast, with its beaches of small natural stones and a wonderful blue sea, Sarande – near the border with Greece, from its seaside you can see Corfù – has become one of the most appreciated tourist destinations in the Ionian Sea.

Day 7 Dubrovnik, Croatia

Regardless of whether you are visiting Dubrovnik for the first time or the hundredth, the sense of awe never fails to descend when you set eyes on the beauty of the old town. Indeed it’s hard to imagine anyone becoming jaded by the city’s limestone streets, baroque buildings and the endless shimmer of the Adriatic, or failing to be inspired by a walk along the ancient city walls that protected the capital of a sophisticated republic for centuries.

Although the shelling of Dubrovnik in 1991 horrified the world, the city has bounced back with vigour to enchant visitors again. Marvel at the interplay of light on the old stone buildings; trace the peaks and troughs of Dubrovnik’s past in museums replete with art and artefacts; take the cable car up to Mt Srđ; exhaust yourself climbing up and down narrow lanes – then plunge into the azure sea.

Day 8 Venice Italy

Your cruise comes to an end as you sail back into gorgeous Venice. Following disembarkation you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to Ireland.

Accommodation

MSC Orchestra

Every element combined to perfection

Combining spacious, elegant interiors with the variety for which our Musica Class is renowned, MSC Orchestra promises your dream cruise. Because life aboard can be just what you want it to be. If relaxation is your goal, there’s ample deck space to unwind in the sun or in the superb Body and Mind Spa, with pampering Turkish baths, saunas and a myriad of magical massages.

Active types have a Sports Centre with Gym, 5 stunning pools and even a jogging track that lets you keep a constant pace, undisturbed out in the fresh sea breeze.

MSC Orchestra also takes you on an exciting culinary journey, ranging from the Shanghai Chinese Restaurant with authentic Dim Sum specialities to the Four Seasons gourmet Italian dining experience and La Piazzetta, where you can discover the finest pizza outside Naples.

The designer venues on this ecological ship make every moment a special occasion, whether dancing to the live music in the leopard-style Savannah Bar, tempting lady luck in the Palm Beach Casino or catching a spectacular show in the equally spectacular Covent Garden Theatre.

Kids can go wild to their heart’s content in the Jungle Adventure playroom, while teens get their own Teen’s Club. Whatever your age and dreams, you can be sure they’ll come true for you, your friends and family on a cruise like no other with MSC Orchestra.

Extra Information

Booking Remarks

  • Inclusive of taxes and service charges as indicated
  • Non-refundable or transferable booking deposit of €250 per person (full payment due at 16 weeks from departure)
  • Optional Insurance available (call for details)
  • All Inclusive drinks package can be pre-booked from €29 pppn (call for details)
  • Prices are correct at time of going to press, flight & fuel supplements may apply depending on availability of negotiated airfares.

  Cost per person: €1,289pp
  Number of nights: 7

03 Oct 2020 Inside €1289
03 Oct 2020 Oceanview €1419
03 Oct 2020 Balcony €1549
10 Oct 2020 Inside €1289
10 Oct 2020 Oceanview €1419
10 Oct 2020 Balcony €1549
17 Oct 2020 Inside €1289
17 Oct 2020 Oceanview €1419
17 Oct 2020 Balcony €1549

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  Call:  (01) 294 1000

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