Fantasia, Mediterranean ex Rome Return 7 Night Cruise sailing roundtrip from Rome (Civitavecchia) onboard MSC Fantasia.
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7 Night Cruise sailing roundtrip from Rome (Civitavecchia) onboard MSC Fantasia.
The MSC Fantasia is stylish and ecological, balancing the warmth and comfort of the Mediterranean atmosphere with cutting edge design.
At its heart you’ll find a real stone piazza complete with an espresso bar serving freshly-baked pastries and authentic gelati - the perfect place to take a moment away from bargain hunting in the chic boutiques and duty-free centre nearby.
Enjoy the metropolitan atmosphere of our designer-themed lounge bars with gourmet specialities and varied entertainment, including a piano bar, jazz bar and Sports Bar with videogames and live event screenings. The restaurants offer an unforgettable dining experience, from the grand Il Cerchio d’Oro and the intimate Red Velvet with real Murano glass chandeliers to El Sombrero’s Tex-Mex and cocktails.
Highlights of this cruise:
The port of Civitavecchia is one of the largest in Italy and is, of course, a destination of MSC Cruises in the Mediterranean. Civitavecchia enjoys a millenary history due to its coves along the coast, which offered a perfect shelter for vessels, making it a natural port long before cruise ships sailed the seas, and in fact the port was known to the Romans as Centumcellae.
During your holiday in Civitavecchia you can easily visit its centre on foot. Amongst the most important monuments to visit are the Forte Michelangelo, built by Bramante in the 16th century, the ancient walls of the old port, where there is a fountain in travertine marble by Vanvitelli, and the Rock, an inexpugnable fortress that has been looming over the city and port for over a thousand years.
In Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, Civitavecchia’s main square, one can admire the majestic baroque cathedral dedicated to St. Francis, built at the end of the 18th century on a smaller church which could no longer host a rapidly growing community.
Piazza Leandra, set in the historic centre, is a typical Italian piazza with a fountain in the centre, dedicated to Leandro, an elderly seaman of the Middle Ages who convinced his fellow citizens to settle on the Mediterranean coast in spite of the incursions by Saracen pirates.
There are a host of bars and restaurants for a taste of seafood cuisine, from poached baby octopus to fried rocket to stuffed squid or the pizza alla civitavecchiese with anchovies and garlic. The Taurine Baths, of the even more ancient Etruscan period, are a grand archaeological site just a few kilometres outside the city, a site that we recommend to the cruiser with a passion for ancient history.
A holiday to Italy with MSC Cruises is the perfect chance to visit the regional capital of Sicily. A fascinating, bustling, colourful port, Palermo yet holds an unrivalled display of Norman art and architecture and Baroque churches, combined with a warren of medieval streets and markets.
With Sicily’s greatest concentration of sights, and the biggest historic centre in Italy bar Rome, Palermo is a complex, multilayered port that can easily feel overwhelming if you try to do or see too much in one Mediterranean cruise visit.
The best thing to do here is just to wander as the fancy takes you, sifting through Palermo’s jumbled layers of crumbling architecture, along deserted back alleys, then suddenly emerging in the midst of an ebullient street market.
Select an area (La Kalsa, or the sprawling markets of Ballarò), and enjoy your cruise excursion.
Across Via Maqueda is Piazza Pretoria, floodlit at night to highlight the nude figures of its great central fountain, with its racy sixteenth-century Florentine design. The piazza also holds the restored town hall, while towering above both square and fountain is the massive flank of Santa Caterina, Sicilian Baroque at its most exuberant, every inch of the enormous interior covered in a wildly decorative relief-work.
On the south of the island, a couple of kilometres below modern Agrigento, a series of Doric temples – the most captivating of Sicilian Greek remains and a grouping unique outside Greece – are strung out along a ridge facing the sea. Greek colonists surrounded it with a mighty wall, formed in part by a higher ridge on which stood the acropolis. The southern limit of the ancient city was a second, lower ridge and in the fifth century BC it was here, in the “Valle dei Templi”, that the city architects erected their sacred buildings.
From an MSC ship on the Mediterranean Sea, the view of Cagliari, Sardinia’s capital and main port, is striking. Crowned by its historic nucleus squeezed within a protective ring of Pisan fortifications, Cagliari’s setting is enhanced by the calm lagoons to the east and west of the city, a habitat for cranes, cormorants and flamingos.
During your excursion to the centre of Cagliari, the promenades along Via Manno are the smartest you’ll see in Sardinia. These then drop down to the noisier Piazza Yenne and Largo Carlo Felice, around which most of the shops, restaurants, banks and hotels are located. At the bottom of Cagliari, the porticos of portside Via Roma shelter more shops and bars.
Cagliari’s main attractions are the archaeological museum with its captivating collection of nuraghic statuettes, the city walls with their two Pisan towers looking down over the Mediterranean Sea and the port, and the cathedral – all within easy distance of each other. There are also a sprinkling of Roman remains, including an impressive amphitheatre, while nearby excursions include Nora, the most complete ancient site on Sardinia, and the islands of Sant’Antioco and San Pietro.
Almost all the sightseeing you’ll want to do on your holiday in Cagliari is encompassed within the old Castello quarter, on the hill overlooking the port. The most evocative entry to this is from the monumental Bastione San Remy on Piazza Costituzione, whose nineteenth-century imperialist tone is tempered by the graffiti and weeds sprouting out of its walls. It’s worth the haul up the grandiose flight of steps inside for Cagliari’s best views over the port and the lagoons beyond.
Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Palma is a vibrant place and a world away from the heaving tourist enclaves of the surrounding bay.
MSC Cruises shore excursions can be a clever option to enjoy Palma. Finding your way around Palma is fairly straightforward once you’re in the city centre. The obvious landmark to see in Palma on your cruise holiday is the Catedral, which dominates the Mediterranean Sea waterfront and backs onto the oldest part of the city, a cluster of alleys and narrow lanes whose northern and eastern limits are marked by the zigzag of avenues built beside – or in place of – the city walls.
Five hundred years in the making, Palma’s Catedral is a magnificent building and a surprising one, too, with its interior featuring modernista touches designed by Antoni Gaudí. The original church was built following the Christian reconquest of the city, and the site taken, in fulfilment of a vow by Jaume I, was that of the Moorish Great Mosque. Essentially Gothic, with massive exterior buttresses to take the weight off the pillars within, the church derives its effect through its sheer height, impressive from any angle but startling when glimpsed from the waterside esplanade.
Opposite the cathedral entrance stands the Palau de l’Almudaina, originally the palace of the Moorish walis (governors) and later of the Mallorcan kings. The interior has been painstakingly restored, but its rabbit warren of rooms and corridors has been left comparatively bare, the main decorative highlight being a handful of admirable Flemish tapestries, each devoted to classical themes.
With an MSC excursion, you can catch a boat across from Sant Elm’s minuscule harbour to the austere offshore islet of Sa Dragonera, an uninhabited chunk of rock some 4km long and 700m wide, with an imposing ridge of sea cliffs dominating its north-western shore.
For many, Valencia’s enviable perch on the Mediterranean Sea would be enough of a draw in itself. Spain’s third-largest city and one of the main ports of call on an MSC Mediterranean cruise, Valencia has finally shaken off its former slightly provincial reputation.
In the last decade and a half, the vast, iconic Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias cultural complex has been established, the state-of-the-art metro has continued to expand and dozens of hip new bars, restaurants and boutiques have injected new life into the historic centre. Valencia has also fully redeveloped its beach and port area, as is evident even from your cruise ship.
Nevertheless, despite its size and stylista cachet, Valencia retains an unpretentious if tangibly charged air. Valencia has long boasted some of the best nightlife in mainland Spain. The most atmospheric area of the city is undoubtedly the maze-like Barrio del Carmen (in Valenciano “de Carmé”), roughly north of the Mercado Central to the Río Turia, extending up to the Torres de Serranos and west to the Torres de Quart. This once-neglected quarter continues to undergo regeneration, as buildings are renovated and stylish cafés open up next to crumbling townhouses, all of which makes for an incredibly vibrant, alternative neighbourhood.
The oldest part of Valencia is almost entirely encircled by a great loop of the Río Turia, which is now a landscaped riverbed park. In 1956, after serious flooding damaged much of the old town, the river was diverted. The ancient stone bridges remain, but the riverbed now houses cycle ways, footpaths and football pitches, as well as the astonishing Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias, Europe’s largest cultural complex.
The architecture itself is simply stunning: it’s well worth the effort getting here to take in the eye-catching buildings surrounded by huge, shallow pools.
When cruising southern France, you have to know that Marseille is the most renowned and populated metropolitan area in the country after Paris and Lyon. When you alight from your MSC cruise ship, the cafés around the Vieux Port, where glistening fish are sold straight off the boats on quai des Belges, are wonderful spots to observe the city’s street life.
Particularly good in the afternoon is the north (Le Panier) side, where the terraces are sunnier and the views better. The best view of the Vieux Port is from the Palais du Pharo, on the headland beyond Fort St-Nicolas, or, for a wider angle, from Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, the city’s Second Empire landmark atop the La Garde hill. To the north of the Vieux Port is the oldest part of Marseille, Le Panier, where, up until the last war, tiny streets, steep steps Mediterranean introduction and houses of every era formed a vieille ville typical of the Côte.
Genoa is a city and a seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria.Famous as the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, Genoa remains a bustling seaport. The city's Renaissance heritage is preserved in splendid palaces overlooking the harbor.
The Old Quarter of Genoa, is especially enthralling for those who like to explore. It is best to travel on foot through the narrow streets (called carruggi) which are meticulously kept, as are the expansive palazzi (mansions) of medieval merchants which line them. Around the Palazzo Reale, many shops sell Turkish carpets and the best of silk.
Other attractions in Genoa include the Palazzo Ducale now used for exhibitions and concerts, the Via Garibaldi art gallery and the original waterfront or Porto Antico. The waterfront is also full of atmosphere and there are many bars and restaurants where one can watch the world go by. The 16th century lighthouse, the Lanterna, which rises over 120 meters (325 steps!) above the sea, can be seen 50 kilometers away, and has guided mariners to the port for 100s of years.