The Mediterranean has been a quintessential summer playground for sun-seeking, culturally curious, and foodie travelers forever. Whether this blissful region tops your list of “someday” dream locales or is one of your all-time favorites already, we have good news for you. In 2019, Crystal Serenity will expand her seasonal sailings through the Med, beginning in April and extending through November, meaning more time along the Côte d’Azur, Dalmatian Coast, Greek Isles, Holy Land, British Isles, and Italian Riviera. More choices are also on the roster of Mediterranean cruises, with voyages ranging from six to 13 days – 10 of which conveniently planned at seven days or less, so hectic schedules need not get in the way of luxury European dreams.
This is the land of DaVinci, Gaudí, Greek gods and goddesses, and even Brigitte Bardot. The extended time Crystal Serenity will spend along these storied shorelines affords the ideal opportunity to explore as you wish. Fully immerse yourself in the culture with itineraries focusing solely in Greece, or Croatia and the Dalmatian Coast, or get a taste of broader Mediterranean style with itineraries that visit four or five countries along the voyage. There is literally no wrong answer when cruising the Mediterranean. Every port along your journey will captivate you in some way and leave your wanderlust both satisfied and re-energized. Every. Single. One.
Here are our top 6 destinations featured on the 2019 calendar of cruises.
Paphos, Cyprus – The legendary birthplace of Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, this entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can visit remains of 12th-century villas, palaces, fortresses and tombs discovered over past centuries, but the jewels in Paphos’s crown are most definitely the spectacular mosaics found in the villas, considered to be among the finest ever discovered in the world.
Monte Carlo, Monaco – Perhaps the most glamorous destination in the Mediterranean, this tiny principality is big on making an impression. The royal Monegasque family, the Grimaldis, have ruled since 1309, now presided over by Prince Albert. From your Crystal ship, a short walk uphill takes you to the palace where you’ll be rewarded with the same sea views enjoyed by ancient settlers in one direction, and the harbor that houses some of the most opulent modern yachts and watercraft in the world in the other.
Kotor, Montenegro – Few places in the world boast such clear architectural accounts of their full histories. You’ll find this in UNESCO-listed Kotor, which rises from the Adriatic, providing ocean views as captivating as its footsteps through time. Roam the city squares and find fortifications dating from the 9th century; the Church of Saint Ana dating from the 12th century; the Church of Saint Luke from the 13th century; the Church of the Healing Mother of God from the 15th century; the Prince’s Palace from the 17th century; and Napoleon’s Theatre from the 19th century.
St-Tropez, France – Until 1956, like many of its seaside peers along the Côte d’Azur, St-Tropez and Pampelonne Beach were coveted mostly by artists and the occasional movie star of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Then, in 1956, Brigitte Bardot descended upon the secluded town, bringing her legendary beauty – and swarms of photographers and playboys – along with her. Since then, St-Tropez has remained as ideal for spotting sun-seeking celebrities as it is an idyllic perch for seaside tranquility.
Florence, Italy – This is hardly an original choice, as Florence and the surrounding Tuscan countryside have topped travelers’ favorites lists for centuries. Which is precisely why it’s on our list. If you’ve never visited this Italian mecca for all the great pleasures in life – art, food, architecture, astonishing natural beauty – this is the time. Likewise, if you have traveled here, it’s time to return, as there is always something new to explore. With treasures including works by Boticelli, Raphael and Michelangelo, the cradle of the Italian Renaissance is a “must” for every traveler’s list.
Dubrovnik, Croatia – The Dalmatian Coast is having a moment, and rightfully so. Remarkably, the massively thick walls of Dubrovnik have never been breached since they were first built in the 12th century. If you walk along the tops of the walls – which we recommend, as long as you do so cautiously – you’ll catch your breath as you encounter the sapphire blue sea that reaches forever beyond the imposing fortress. Inside the walls lie Venetian-style structures and cobbled walkways, as well as evidence of nearly a thousand years of history.
Crystal Serenity’s 2019 Mediterranean cruises are open for booking with 20 voyages through the region in all. New itineraries added for the 2019 calendar include:
- April 8, Monte Carlo to Venice, 10 days – calling in Genoa, Florence/Livorno, Rome/Civitavecchia and Sorrento, Italy; Corfu, Greece; Kotor, Montenegro; and Dubrovnik, Croatia
- April 18, Venice to Athens, 9 days – calling in Koper, Slovenia; Split and Dubrovnik, Croatia; Kotor, Montenegro; Santorini/Thíra, and Nafplion, Greece
- April 27, Round-trip Athens, 7 days – calling in Paphos, Cyprus; Rhodes/Lindos, Santorini/Thíra, Souda Bay/Chania and Mykonos, Greece;
- May 4, Athens to Rome, 7 days – calling in Nafplion and Santorini/Thíra, Greece; Valletta, Malta; and Taormina/Giardini and Sorrento, Italy
- May 11, Round-trip Rome, 6 days – calling in Florence/Livorno and Portofino, Italy; Monte Carlo, Monaco; and St-Tropez and Corscia/Ajaccio, France
- May 17, Rome to Barcelona, 6 days – calling in Sorrento, Italy; Propriano, Corsica; and Cannes and Marseille, France
- May 23, Round-trip Barcelona, 6 days – calling in Cassis and Corsica/Calvi, France; Florence/Livorno, Italy; and Monte Carlo, Monaco
- May 29, Barcelona to Dover, 12 days – calling in Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza, La Coruña and Málaga, Spain; Gibraltar, United Kingdom; Portimão, Lisbon and Oporto/Leixoes, Portugal; and Honfleur, France
- June 10, Dover to Reykjavik, 11 days – calling in Fowey, Cornwall, Belfast and Portree, Isle of Skye, United Kingdom; Liverpool, England; Dublin, Ireland; Greenock and Stornoway, Scotland; and Douglas, Isle of Man
Plan your voyage and start making your list of top destinations now!
The post MORE MED: 6 OF OUR FAVORITE LOCALES FOR THE EXTENDED 2019 SEASON appeared first on CRYSTAL INSIDER.
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