Here’s a holiday that promises to really liven up next Australian winter: it’s a 20-night fly-cruise-and-stay, beginning with a four nights in Rome and ending with a couple of nights in Venice, both in four-star hotels. In between, a 14-night Greek, Turkey and Italy cruise aboard Royal Princess, round-trip from Rome, visits top destinations in the Mediterranean.
Royal Princess, the new-generation cruise liner operated by Princess Cruises, was named by Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, when launched two years ago.
The holiday is ‘Ancient Ruins and Mediterranean Sun’ from Worldwide Cruise Centres (worldwidecruisecentres.com.au). It costs from A$6899 twin share per person, including flight from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth to Rome and return flight from Venice.
The price is valid for booking till the end of October 2015 unless sold out earlier. A bonus US$85 in onboard credit is provided per twin cabin aboard Royal Princess.
The holiday begins with a flight to Rome on 30 May 2016. In Italy’s capital, four nights in a four-star hotel, with breakfast each day, give time to explore Rome and the countryside of Tuscany. An included Ancient Rome tour lets you skip the ticket queue and enter the Colosseum to hear tales of gladiators, of the mock sea-battles staged by Nero, of executions and more. Walk along the Via Sacra inside the Roman Forum and see the temple housing the altar where Julius Caesar was cremated.
Venture beyond Rome with a full-day Tuscany countryside tour. It starts in Rome’s Piazza del Popolo and heads to the Etruscan town of Montepulciano. A wonderful day sees you visit the Abbey of Sant’Antimo and the town of Pienza in the Tuscan hills, pausing to tuck into a gourmet lunch with wine tasting at an authentic Tuscan farm.
Savour Rome at leisure before boarding Royal Princess, your home for the next two weeks. This new-generation, 3600-passenger, 17-deck, 141,000-ton ship exemplifies the best Princess Cruises can offer. Special features include a top-deck, glass-bottomed, over-the-water SeaWalk – described by one British newspaper as “a design so obvious one wonders why no-one thought of it before”.
The ship also offers private poolside cabanas that appear to float on the water and a Chef’s Table Lumiere that surrounds diners in a curtain of light. All shipboard main meals (excluding specialty restaurants) are included, as is most entertainment aboard.
First port of call is Naples, known for architecture, music and gastronomy; then Heraklion, capital of Crete, largest of the Greek islands, famed for its Minoan Palace of Knossos. Half a day in the Turkish port town of Kusadasi lets you visit Ephesus, one of Asia Minor’s best-preserved Greek-Roman cities. A few days later, you’ll have a full day here.
Next, Istanbul, melting pot of Eastern and Western cultures and faiths, and Mykonos in the Cyclades, perhaps the best-known Greek Island of them all, with its gleaming white houses, churches and windmills set against dark blue sea.
Explore Athens, birthplace of Western Civilisation, full of fun restaurants and classical wonders. Visit the volcanic isle of Santorini.
Other cruise highlights include Valletta, capital of Malta and smallest national capital in the European Union. A day in Messina gives a taste of the rugged beauty of Sicily. Revisit Naples before disembarking at Civitavecchia, port of Rome. A private car transfers you from the pier to Rome Termini station, from where a First Class train journey whisks you to incomparable Venice.
Time to explore this city of canals, composed of over 120 islands in the Adriatic Sea. An included walking tour lets you skip the queue and enter St Mark’s Basilica directly. Outside, maybe sip coffee in St Mark’s Square and take a romantic canal cruise by gondola to discover why novelist Truman Capote remarked that “Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go”.
After all those wonders, time to fly back home to Australia.
To find your local Worldwide Cruise Centres agent go to: