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Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the port capital of Tenerife, the largest of Spain’s seven Canary Islands. The city showcases incredible sights such as the Plaza de Espana, the church of St. Francis of Assisi, and the soaring white wave auditorium, the Auditorio de Tenerife. This quintessential Canary Island’s town is a colourful MSC Mediterranean Cruises destination where you can soak up the sun, dine in style, or take a dip in glittering waters.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Las Palmas is a city (and municipality) on the island, Gran Canaria, which is one of the Canary Islands (Spain) located 210 kilometers off the northwestern coast of the African continent within the Atlantic Ocean. It is also the capital city of the province of Las Palmas and the co-capital of the autonomous community of the Canary Islands, sharing this status with Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The city was founded on June 24, 1478, with the name “Real de Las Palmas” by Juan Rejón, head of the invading Castilian army, before engaging in war with the local Guanches (aboriginal people of the Canary Islands). In 1492, Christopher Columbus anchored in the Port of Las Palmas (and spent some time on the island) on his first trip to the Americas. He also stopped on the way back to Spain. Today, a museum is named after him -Casa Colón – in the Vegueta area of the city. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is today a cosmopolitan city. It has five beaches (Las Canteras, Las Alcaravaneras, San Cristobal, El Confital and La Laja) and a big seaport (Puerto de la Luz harbor) that was very important during the 70s and early 90s (and benefited greatly from the closure of the Suez Canal during the Arab-Israeli conflict).
The fine port of La Coruña centres on a narrow peninsula that juts from Spain’s northern coast, 64km north of Santiago.
A broad headland curves in both directions from the end of that peninsula to create two large bays: one facing across to Ferrol, and sheltering a large harbour, the other lying open to the Atlantic, lined by a long sandy beach.
In the dynamic city in between, a five-minute walk by way of old stone alleyways, with tantalizing restaurants, tapas bars and nightspots jostling for attention, takes you from bustling modern port – where your MSC cruise ship awaits your return – to relaxed resort. The heart of La Coruña, poised between the old city and its modern sprawl just inland from the port, is the colonnaded Praza de María Pita. The narrow and atmospheric streets of the old town wind around the Romanesque churches of Santiago and Santa María del Campo, and are shielded from the sea by a high wall.
The distinctive glass-fronted galleries of the sea-facing buildings, rising six storeys high along the Avenida da Marina in front of the port, form a magnificent ensemble
. They were originally designed so local residents, whose lives were intertwined with the ocean, could watch the activity of the harbour in shelter.
When sailing the Nothern Europe with MSC Cruises, the most obvious excursion from La Coruña is Santiago de Compostela, which ranks among the most beautiful cities in all Spain. A superb mix of twisting stone lanes, majestic squares and ancient churches, interspersed with countless hidden nooks and crannies, Santiago’s medieval core remains a remarkably integrated whole, all the better for being very largely pedestrianized.
Despite its pummelling by the Luftwaffe and some disastrous postwar urban sprawl, the thousand-year-old city of Southampton has retained some of its medieval charm in parts and reinvented itself as a twenty-first century shopping centre in others, with the giant glass-and-steel West Quay as its focus.
Core of the modern town is the Civic Centre, a short walk east of the train station and home to the excellent Southampton City Art Gallery that’s particularly strong on contemporary British artists. The Western Esplanade runs alongside the best remaining bits of the old city walls.
Rebuilt after a French attack in 1338, they incorporate God’s House Tower, at the southern end of the old town in Winkle Street, which currently houses the Museum of Archaeology. Best preserved of the city’s seven gates is Bargate, at the opposite end of the old town, at the head of the High Street; it’s an elaborate structure, cluttered with lions, classical figures and defensive apertures. A shore excursion on your MSC Northern Europe cruise from Southampton can be the opportunity to discover the capital of England, London.
For the visitor, London is a thrilling place. Monuments from the capital’s glorious past are everywhere, from medieval banqueting halls and the great churches of Christopher Wren to the eclectic Victorian architecture of the triumphalist British Empire. You can relax in the city’s quiet Georgian squares, explore the narrow alleyways of the City of London, wander along the riverside walks, and uncover the quirks of what is still identifiably a collection of villages.
The capital’s great historical landmarks – Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London and so on – draw in millions of tourists every year.
Located between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, Hamburg will fascinate you from the moment you first set eyes on its elegant and austere buildings looking onto the port, one of the largest in Europe.
When you reach this destination on an MSC Cruise of Northern Europe, you can get a taste of its glorious history. Hamburg is a cosmopolitan, wealthy and fashionable city, with an aggressive economy, that still prides itself of the title “free Hanseatic city”.
It has, in fact, never cut its umbilical cord with maritime trade that has its heart in the port where your cruise liner will be waiting for you. Many tourist come here to visit the Reeperbahn, the red light district, but if you want to take in the atmosphere of the city, you shouldn’t miss an excursion to Speicherstadt (Warehouse Town), where the cobbled streets, gables and turrets combine to make the area on the other side of Zollkanal (Tax Canal) a world apart from the city opposite.
Another city icon, St Michaelis, at the western edge of the city centre by Ludwig-Erhard-Strasse, is Hamburg’s iconic church and no wonder. More than any other building, the “Michael” mirrors the city’s irrepressible spirit. Burned down after a lightning strike in1750, it was rebuilt in Baroque style under Ernst Georg Sonnin but it again accidently caught fire in1906.
In 1945, the Allies obliterated the roof and decor of church number three. Reconstructed again to Sonnin’s plans, it is now the finest Baroque church in North Germany. Probably the most gratifying attraction during an excursion on an MSC Cruise is the scenery you can admire from one of the best views over Hamburg: the 360-degree panorama takes in Speicherstadt, the container port and shipping on the Elbe, the Alster lakes, and the five spires of the churches and Rathaus.
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