Poesia, France, Spain, Gibraltar, Portugal & Italy ex Marseille Return 10 Night cruise sailing roundtrip from Marseille onboard MSC Poesia.
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10 Night cruise sailing roundtrip from Marseille onboard MSC Poesia.
MSC Poesia is an innovative cruise ship with elegant style that brings traditional craftsmanship to creative designs. Step aboard and you’ll enter a refined world of comfort, from the spectacular foyer waterfall to the Zen Garden, authentic Japanese Sushi bar and opulent MSC Aurea Spa wellness centre with steam room, sauna and divine massages to pamper body and mind, it’s the perfect place to unwind.
There are many sports and fitness activities available on board, including a basketball court, tennis court, shuffleboard, state-of-the-art gym and minigolf. Kids and teens are equally well served, with their own clubs and parties, a dedicated Stone Age and Dinosaur Play Area, stunning video games and even a DJ disco! Plus there are naturally all the resort amenities you could wish for, including 3 swimming pools, 4 whirlpools and a giant poolside cinema screen.
The gourmet cuisine on board brings you specialities from around the world, but retains its Mediterranean heart, rooted in the values of the Italian slow food movement. With MSC, every succulent dish is freshly prepared with care by our skilled chef’s from prime quality ingredients.
The varied lounge bars offer similarly refreshing originality and authenticity, from the Grappolo d’Oro wine-tasting bar to the Mojito cocktail bar and sumptuous design of the cigar room.
Whether a family holiday, luxury treat or romantic escape, MSC Poesia is a ship that offers a truly inspiring cruise experience.
Highlights of this cruise:
Are you ready to find your way around Marseille on an MSC Mediterranean cruise?
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.
You can enjoy many MSC cruise excursions from the Vieux Port. Were it not for the great metropolis of Marseille, just 30 km south, Aix-en-Provence would be the dominant city of central Provence. Aix is more immediately attractive, a stately and in parts pretty place that’s traditionally seen as conservative.
Capital of the Catholic Church during the early Middle Ages and for centuries a major artistic centre, Avignon remains another unmissable excursion. Low medieval walls still encircle Avignon’s old centre, as it nestles up against a ninety-degree bend in the Rhône river. Their gates and towers restored, the ramparts dramatically mark the historic core off from the formless sprawl of the modern city beyond.
Barcelona – Spain’s second city, and the self-confident capital and port of Catalunya – vibrates with life, and there’s certainly not another city in the country to touch it for sheer style, looks or energy.
A cruise excursion to Barcelona city centre will take you to discover its world-class art museums and its fashionable designer restaurants, bars, galleries and shops. And in Antoni Gaudí’s extraordinary church of the Sagrada Família and the world-famous boulevard that is the Ramblas, you have two sights that are high up on any Mediterranean cruise sightseeing list.
A holiday in Barcelona can start with the Ramblas, and then dive straight into the medieval nucleus of the city, the Barri Gòtic. But there are plenty of other central old-town neighbourhoods to explore too, from La Ribera – home to the celebrated Museu Picasso – to funky El Raval, where cool bars, restaurants and boutiques have mushroomed in the wake of the striking contemporary art museum, MACBA.
Even if you think you know these heavily touristed neighbourhoods well, there’s always something else to discover during an MSC excursion – tapas bars hidden down alleys little changed for a century or two, designer boutiques in renovated old-town quarters, bargain lunches in workers’ taverns, unmarked gourmet restaurants, craft outlets and workshops, fin-de-siècle cafés, restored medieval palaces and neighbourhood markets.
On Passeig de Gràcia there is Gaudí’s Casa Batlló, designed for the industrialist Josep Batlló: the stone facade hangs in folds, like skin, while on the rooftop sprout the celebrated mosaic chimneys and a little tower topped with a three-dimensional cross.
The mountain of Montserrat stands just 40km northwest of Barcelona and it’s a popular trip out from the city. Once there, you can visit the basilica and monastery buildings which fan out around an open square, and there are extraordinary mountain views from the terrace.
On any Mediterranean cruise, Gibraltar’s interest essentially lies in its novelty: the genuine appeal of the strange, looming physical presence of its rock, and the dubious one of its preservation as one of Britain’s last remaining colonies. ..
During your excursion to Gibraltar you will discover the necessarily simple town layout, as it’s shoehorned into the narrow stretch of land on the peninsula’s western edge in the shadow of the towering Rock.
Main Street (La Calle Real) runs for most of the town’s length, a couple of blocks back from the port. On and around Main Street are most of the shops, together with many of the British-style pubs and hotels. From near the southern end of Main Street you can hop on a cable car, which will carry you up to the summit via Apes’ Den halfway up, a fairly reliable viewing point to see the tailless monkeys. Although not encouraged by the cable car’s fare structure, after riding to the top it’s possible to walk back down, a pleasant twenty- to thirty-minute stroll.
From The Top of the Rock you can look over the Strait of Gibraltar to the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and down to the town, the elaborate water-catchment system cut into the side of the rock.
The area at the top of the Rock, containing the Apes’ Den, St Michael’s Cave and other sights, is called the Upper Rock Nature Reserve. To walk down from The Top of the Rock (20min), follow Signal Station Road and St Michael’s Road to O’Hara’s Road and the Mediterranean Steps – a very steep descent most of the way down the east side, turning the southern corner of the Rock. You’ll pass through the Jews’ Gate and into Engineer Road, from where the return to town is through the Alameda Gardens.
Strung out over a series of hills facing the glistening waters of the broad estuary of the Tejo, Lisbon is one of Europe’s most handsome cities. Although its modern suburbs are ungainly, the historic centre is relatively compact and easy to explore in just a day when your MSC cruise takes you to the Lisbon.
The oldest part of the city, the warren of streets that make up the Alfama, sits below the spectacularly sited Moorish Castelo de São Jorge, its ruined walls facing another hill, the Bairro Alto or upper town, famed for its bars, restaurants and vibrant nightlife. The valley between these hills makes up the Baixa., or lower town.
The tall, imposing buildings that make up the Baixa (Lower Town) house some of Lisbon’s most interesting shops and cafés. A shore excursion on your MSC Mediterranean cruise can be the opportunity to reach via a narrow walkway the impressive Torre de Belém (Tower of Belém), an iconic symbol of Lisbon. It typifies M anueline style that was prominent during the reign of King Manuel, its windows and stairways embellished with arches and decorative symbols representing Portugal’s explorations into the New World.
Built as a fortress to defend the mouth of the River Tejo, it took years to complete, though when it opened in 1520 it would have been near the centre of the river – the earthquake of 1755 shifted the river’s course. Today, visitors are free to explore the tower’s various levels, which include a terrace facing the river from where artillery would hav ed been fired.
You can then climb a very steep spiral staircase up four lev el – framed view of the river – to a top terrace where you get a blowy panorama of Belém.
The elegant central zone of Málaga – a stop-off on your MSC cruise of the Mediterranean – is largely pedestrianized with the focal point, marble-paved Calle Marqués de Larios, lined with fashionable stores, its most elegant thoroughfare.
Plaza de la Constitución, Málaga’s main square, hosts a monumental fountain flanked by slender palms and the terraces of numerous cafés and restaurants. Málaga centre has a number of interesting churches and museums, not to mention the birthplace of Picasso and the Museo Picasso Málaga, housing an important collection of works by Málaga’s most famous son.
Perched on the hill above the town are the formidable citadels of the Alcazaba and Gibralfaro, magnificent vestiges of the seven centuries that the Moors held sway here.
Málaga is also renowned for its fish and seafood, which can be sampled at tapas bars and restaurants throughout the city, as well as at the old fishing villages of El Palo and Pedregalejo, now absorbed into the suburbs, where there’s a seafront paseo lined with some of the best marisquerías and chiringuitos (beachside fish restaurants) in the province.
The impressive Alcazaba is the place to make for if you’re joining a shore excursion. Clearly visible from your cruise ship, to the left of its entrance on c/Acazabilla stands the Roman Theatre accidentally discovered in 1951, and – following excavation and restoration – now a venue for various outdoor entertainments.
The citadel, too, is Roman in origin, with blocks and columns of marble interspersed among the Moorish brick of the double- and triple-arched gateways. Above the Alcazaba, and connected to it by a long double wall (the coracha), is the Gibralfaro castle. Like the Alcazaba, it has been wonderfully restored and now houses an interesting museum devoted to its history.
Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy
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.
Genoa is marvellously eclectic, vibrant and full of rough-edged style; it’s a great cruise excursion.
Indeed “La Superba” (The Superb), as it was known at the height of its authority as a Mediterranean superpower, boasts more zest and intrigue than all the surrounding coastal resorts put together.
During a holiday to Genoa you can explore its old town: a dense and fascinating warren of medieval alleyways home to large palazzi built in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by Genoa’s wealthy mercantile families and now transformed into museums and art galleries. You should seek out the Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, the Palazzo Ducale, and the Renaissance palaces of Via Garibaldi which contain the cream of Genoa’s art collections, as well as furniture and decor from the grandest days of the city’s past, when its ships sailed to all corners of the Mediterranean Sea.
The Acquario di Genova is the city’s pride and joy, parked like a giant ocean liner on the waterfront, with seventy tanks housing sea creatures from all the world’s major habitats, including the world’s biggest reconstruction of a Caribbean coral reef. It’s a great aquarium by any standards, the second largest in Europe by capacity, and boasts a fashionably ecology-conscious slant and excellent background information in Italian and English.
Just 35 km south of Genoa, there’s no denying the appeal of Portofino, tucked into a protected inlet surrounded by lush cypress- and olive-clad slopes. It’s an A-list resort that has been attracting high-flying bankers, celebs and their hangers-on for years, as evidenced by the flotillas of giant yachts usually anchored just outside. It’s a tiny place that is attractive yet somehow off-putting at the same time, with a quota of fancy shops, bars and restaurants for a place twice its size.