Each year, between June and December, two of Cunard’s iconic ships sail the historic and sun-soaked waters of the Mediterranean. Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria will embark on 15 Mediterranean itineraries in 2016, each of them ranging in length from 7 to 21 nights and all of them available with local departures from regional airports. If the chance to fly straight to the sun and see more of a the world for less annual leave isn’t enough to tempt you, maybe you’ll be swayed by the thought of turning one amazing holiday into two, thanks to Cunard’s pre and post-cruise Land Tours.
Here’s what you can expect when you extend Cunard’s Fly-Med cruises in some of the world’s most iconic cities.
Arguably the Mediterranean’s most historic city, Athens has helped shaped modern civilisation. Spend two nights in this ancient Classical Greek City, starting your explorations with a guided tour of the Acropolis and Acropolis Museum. A panoramic drive through the scenic Greek hills brings Hadrian’s Arch and the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior into view, before time is set aside to stroll the cobbled alleyways of the Plaka District. Lunch is a traditional Greek affair, enjoyed in a local taverna.
East meets west in Istanbul, where a thriving modern city sits among the shadows of Imperial treasures. The 5* Sura Hagia Sophia Hotel will be your base for two nights in the city, the highlight of which is a full day sightseeing tour of the Greek Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and the Byzantine mosaics. Unearth the glittering jewels of Topkapi Palace, before heading to the Grand Bazaar; one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world. Time in Turkey is incomplete without sampling the local delicacies, so you’ll enjoy a traditional Turkish lunch too.
Italy’s ‘Eternal City’ is fascinating and with a £1.4m restoration of the Trevi Fountain completed in 2015, there has never been a better time to visit. In addition to featuring as a greatly-anticipated port of call of Cunard’s Mediterranean itineraries, Rome is the perfect place to enjoy a little pre or post-cruise romance. Visit the imposing Colosseum and Roman Forum, lose yourself in great squares, making sure to throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain to all but guarantee a return visit. Make the most of time set aside for shopping the world renowned avenues of Via Condotti, Via Borgognona and Via Frattina, and enjoy a guided tour of Vatican City and St Peter’s Basilica. When in Rome, eat pasta, or so the saying (sort of) goes, so you’ll enjoy a carb-loaded three course lunch in a local trattoria too.
If your Cunard Mediterranean Fly-Cruise is in celebration of a special occasion, Venice is the perfect place to start or end in the most romantic of style. Golden sunsets over peaceful canals, bridges coaxing you across to see what awaits at the other side and, of course, gondola rides through a maze of waterways. The Saturnia Hotel will become your home from home for your two-night stay in the Venetian lagoons, your location just 5 minutes from St Mark’s Square making early morning coffees and late-evening people watching a breeze. ‘Skip the line’ at St Mark’s Basilica, before diving into all the pizza and pasta and fresh seafood your heart desires at a local trattoria. Visit Murano Island, home to the 16th century’s celebrated Murano glass, before heading back to Venice Island with a scenic trip along the iconic Grand Canal.
Historic, artistic, delicious; there are endless ways to describe Barcelona. Famed as the home of Antoni Gaudi, the city is now a living and breathing portfolio of his work. The Sagrada Familia is arguably one of architecture’s most iconic buildings, whilst Park Güell is a colourful testament to Gaudi’s expertise. Set across a full day, your guided tour of the city will show you the artist’s most celebrated works, as well as taking you to the popular Poble Espanyol museum. Refuel with tapas for lunch, served with a side of sangria naturally, before venturing through the picturesque gardens that cover the hillsides of Montjuic Mountain. Come evening, head to Las Ramblas to see how the city comes alive once the sun sets, before taking your pick of the bars and restaurants that litter the chic waterfront.
Are you planning a Mediterranean Cruise for 2016? Jet straight to the sun with a Cunard Fly-Med cruise and receive a complimentary stateroom upgrade on select itineraries, thanks to Cunard’s Ultimate Upgrade promotion. Call Bolsover Cruise Club today for more information.