For centuries, Venice stood at the crossroads of culture between the Byzantine and Roman worlds. The city the great traders and philosophers created is an extraordinary place. From the elegant carved gondolas and vaporetti that ply the Grand Canal to the magnificent Piazza San Marco bustling with life – Venice is unique in all the world. Great works of art are housed here, in the Accademia with its Renaissance masters and the collection of Peggy Guggenheim in her canal-side palazzo. The Basilica di San Marco and the Doge’s Palace are must-sees. After that, follow where your feet take you, over romantic bridges, to shops selling precious glass, to small cafés for a cappuccino or Campari. Board your ship this evening and settle into your luxurious cabin as your ship embarks on an exciting European cruise.
Pula is the largest city in Istria, Croatia, situated at the southern tip of the peninsula. Like the rest of the region, it is known for its mild climate, tame sea, and unspoiled nature. The city has a long tradition of winemaking, fishing, shipbuilding, and tourism. Pula has also been Istria's administrative center since ancient Roman times. The city is best known for its many surviving ancient Roman buildings, the most famous of which is its first century amphitheatre, sixth largest in the world and locally known as the Arena. This is one of the best preserved amphitheatres from antiquity and is still in use today during summer film festivals.The natural beauty of Pula's surrounding countryside and turquoise water of the Adriatic have made the city an internationally popular summer vacation destination. Roman villas and temples still lie buried among farm fields and along the shoreline of the dozens of surrounding fishing and farming villages. The coastal waters offer beaches, fishing, wreck dives to ancient Roman galleys and World War I warships, cliff diving, and sailing to unspoiled coves and islands large and small.
As the largest Croatian city on the Adriatic coast and a major transport hub, Split emanates a vibe that is boisterous rather than relaxing. Its massive port sends ferries out to the Dalmatian islands and beyond, adding to the constant bustle. Despite Split’s broad-shouldered stance, a strong Mediterranean style prevails. Diocletian’s Palace is a World Heritage site that alone makes a visit to the city worthwhile. Within the palace’s ancient walls in the center of town rises the majestic cathedral, surrounded by marble streets lined with shops. The western end of Split consists of a mountain park with beaches below and pathways above. A refurbished promenade lined with cafés makes for a pleasant stroll along the harbor, and the coastal mountains set against the blue Adriatic make for a memorable view.
Nestled on the Adriatic coast, Dubrovnik is a beautifully preserved fortifed town. Its ancient medieval walls contain a sparkling white Old City, filled with 15th-century churches, peaceful Franciscan cloisters, a cathedral with works by Raphael and Titian, and a fascinating Maritime Museum. One of Dubrovnik’s main attractions is the sea swim from the quiet, rocky beaches on either end of the city, or catch a boat to the wooded island of Lokrum nearby.
Possessing one of the Mediterranean's most distinctive and striking landscapes, the walled town of Kotor nestles at the head of southern Europe’s deepest fjord. The steep mountains plummeting straight into the Adriatic are, by themselves, an excellent reason to visit the area. Besides its natural beauty, the area has numerous historic churches that reflect Byzantine and Venetian design styles, mansions, flower gardens and fortifications that have created one of the most unforgettable destinations in the Balkan region. Exploration can commence at Stari Grad (Old Town). Located under the lee of a mountain, it is a labyrinth of cobbled lanes linking small squares that contain some of those ancient churches and former aristocratic mansions. Major landmarks around Kotor include St. Tryphon's Cathedral, and the Fortress of St. Ivan.
Relax aboard the Wind Surf as your ship cruises the Adriatic Sea toward Italy.
This ancient city of cobblestone streets and friendly people is the gateway to the sunny island of Sicily, a mountainous and rugged place which remains in the shadow of its still-active volcano, Mt. Etna. In addition to its own enchanting landscape, Messina is the launching point for visits to the classical ruins at Taormina and the Church of the Black Madonna in Tindari.
Ischia is a volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples. Some sights worth seeing are the Church of Soccorso (a tiny white-washed church located in the square on the Punta del Soccorso in Forio, that looks out onto the crystal clear sea), and Castello Aragonese (a castle located on a small island near Ischia Ponte). There are many wonderful beaches located here as well, namely Lido di Ischia and Cartaromana beach.
2,500 years of history are woven into the fabric of modern Rome. You can feel it in the glory of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. Or as you wander sidestreets that open onto piazzas, fountains, Bernini sculpture, and elegant courtyards. Famous treasures are legion in Rome: the Colosseum…the Forum…St. Peter’s Cathedral…the Trevi Fountain…the Spanish Steps. Take time out between sights to do as the Romans do: enjoy a three-hour lunch, shop, people-watch, or savor the best gelati in the world. Disembark this morning for your continued journey home.