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You’ll start in Rome, see the Vatican highlights and immerse yourself in La Dolce Vita, take a train to Florence to discover amazing art and culture and that’s just the start of this 14-day wonderful European adventure that takes in eight of the top places to visit around the Mediterranean. While the weather from Spring through the Autumn is almost invariably ideal, even in the winter months the weather is generally very mild so you have a wide choice of times to visit.
* Various itinerary options are available. See full itinerary for details. Package price varies according to season and departure city.
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After spending a few days in Italy, you embark on a wonderful 7-night Mediterranean cruise. From the comfort of your floating resort, you’ll be taking in grand cultural sights, picturesque villages, sunny beaches and regional cuisines. The Mediterranean has numerous advantages over other cruising areas, with its diversity of cultures, peoples, languages and history. Nowhere else can such an array of culture and history be found in such a relatively small area.
This is a first-class travel itinerary that's fully flexible. Want more or fewer days or you want to include a special destination or activity? No problem, we’ll customise a travel plan for you.
This itinerary is fully customisable to suit your requirements. Add comprehensive, best-in-class, travel insurance for just $199 per person* valued at over $600 per couple.
This itinerary is fully customisable to suit your requirements. Your personal travel consultant is available to discuss changes and additions that will enhance your travel experience.
Lonely Planet is renowned for its first-hand approach, up-to-date maps and commitment to providing the best information for travelers. Lonely Planet authors are experienced, insightful travel experts. They personally research the places they write about - both in the first and in subsequent editions - and provide essential travel details along with a wealth of insider information and first-hand tips.
You will receive this guide to help you gain the most out of your holiday. Recommendation: Take the time to read suggestions for things to see and do before you leave home. Take your Lonely Planet guide with you in your luggage.
* All prices are per-person on a twin-share basis and all bookings are subject to availability. Price and deposit amount varies according to travel date. A flight cost provision (allowance) applies. Total price after Getaway Cash credits and Australian Escapes Free Flights Vouchers is generally payable as follows: Deposit on booking, balance 120 days prior to departure. Packages can be priced for families and groups on request. All prices are estimates only. A firm quote (travel plan) with payment terms will be submitted for consideration prior to booking. Standard (retail) price comparisons are with similar packages offered elsewhere or what would be payable by a non-member for the same package. Flight pricing included in packages or other estimates is based on travel from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane. Travel can be arranged from any other major centre and for any number of people. Travel insurance pricing if stated is based on two travellers aged 69 years or less as at the date of departure from Australia. Surcharge applies for travellers aged 70 years and over. Full booking terms and conditions are available here.
If you have never been to Italy before, or you would like to return and do a Mediterranean cruise, this could be an excellent value holiday for you. We’ll take care of all the details so you’ll have a smooth-running travel experience. Consider extending your stay to take in the South of France. We recommend three nights in Nice, France with day tours to St. Tropez, Cannes and Monte Carlo.
"Oh the places you’ll go." - Dr. Seuss
Welcome to the ancient city of Rome. When you arrive you'll be met by your transfer driver who will take you to your central Rome hotel. Depending on your arrival time, this could be a great opportunity to head to Piazza Navona for your first Italian meal. 2 nights central Rome, breakfast
“A heady mix of haunting ruins, awe-inspiring art and vibrant street life, Italy’s hot-blooded capital is one of the world’s most romantic and inspiring cities.” Lonely Planet
The result of 3000 years of ad hoc urban development, Rome's cityscape is an exhilarating spectacle. Ancient icons such as the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Pantheon recall the city’s golden age as caput mundi (capital of the world). Few cities can rival Rome's astonishing artistic heritage. The result is a city awash with priceless treasures.
A trip to Rome is as much about lapping up the dolce vita lifestyle as immersing yourself in art and culture. Idling around picturesque streets, whiling away hours at streetside cafes, people-watching on pretty piazzas – these are all an integral part of the Roman experience. Eating out is one of Rome's great pleasures and the combination of romantic alfresco settings and superlative food is a guarantee of good times.
Skip-the-Line: Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Tour:
Slip through a special, reserved entrance to experience the wonders and history of the Vatican first hand. With a small group and an expert guide, marvel at the majestic interiors of St. Peter's Basilica, gaze up at the timeless frescoes of the Sistine Chapel's famous ceiling, and admire High Renaissance paintings in the Raphael Rooms.
Today you'll embark on the 1 hour 45 minute train journey to Florence (Firenze). Trains are not only a relaxing way to see Italy, they are possibly the fastest means of travel after flying, and you get to see some of the country along the way. After checking into your Florence hotel, you'll have your first opportunity to wander the streets of this charming city. There's a lot to see and your Lonely Planet guide will help you make the most of your first day here.
“Cradle of the Renaissance, romantic, enchanting and utterly irresistible, Florence (Firenze) is a place to feast on world-class art and gourmet Tuscan cuisine.” Lonely Planet
Few cities are so compact size or so packed with extraordinary art and architecture masterpieces at every turn. The urban fabric of this small city, on the banks of the Arno river in northeastern Tuscany, has hardly changed since the Renaissance and its narrow cobbled streets are a cinematic feast of elegant 15th- and 16th-century palazzi (palaces), medieval candle-lit chapels, fresco-decorated churches, marble basilicas and world-class art museums brimming with paintings and sculptures by Botticcelli, Michelangelo et al. Italy's fashion industry was also born and bred here. If you want to buy an Italian Leather jacket you would visit Peruzzi Leather for the biggest range at the best prices.
Day trip to Pisa:
Leave Florence behind and see Pisa’s cultural and historical highlights on this 5-hour tour. Learn about the city's mysterious origins as you stroll around the glorious Square of Miracles (Piazza dei Miracoli) and don’t miss your opportunity to pose for photos by the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Today we leave Florence and travel by train to Genoa in Italy's north. The train trip itself takes in some marvellous scenery along the Cinque Terre and ranks as one of the world's most scenic train trips.
While in Genoa you can explore the old town with its' museums and art galleries. The Acquario di Genova is the city’s pride and joy, parked like a giant ocean liner on the waterfront, with seventy tanks housing sea creatures from all the world’s major habitats, including the world’s biggest reconstruction of a Caribbean coral reef. You can also take a day trip to Portofino, tucked into a protected inlet surrounded by lush cypress- and olive-clad slopes. It’s an A-list resort with lots of natural beauty and a big heart.
Today you'll have free time after hotel check-out to visit parts of Geno that you still have on your list. You can board the cruise ship from around 3pm for 6pm departure. You'll cruise overnight and arrive at the port of Civitavecchia near Rome.
During your visit to Civitavecchia you can easily walk to the city centre. Amongst the most important monuments to visit are the Forte Michelangelo, built by Bramante in the 16th century. Civitavecchia’s main square is a typical Italian piazza with a fountain in the centre. There you can enjoy the local seafood cuisine, from poached baby octopus to fried rocket to stuffed squid or the pizza alla civitavecchiese with anchovies and garlic.
With Sicily’s greatest concentration of sights, and the biggest historic centre in Italy bar Rome, Palermo is a complex, multilayered port that can easily feel overwhelming if you try to do or see too much in one Mediterranean cruise visit. The best thing to do here is just to wander as the fancy takes you, sifting through Palermo’s jumbled layers of crumbling architecture, along deserted back alleys, then suddenly emerging in the midst of an ebullient street market.
You can admire this port from your ship even before disembarking. The over 300 monuments rising in little more than half a square kilometre make this a place with one of the greatest density of historical attractions to visit during a cruise, not mentioning other attractions such as its beaches, seaside locales and restaurants. An excursion to the island can start right from its capital, Valletta, which enchants the cruise-goer with its famous Maltese balconies, which decorate the facades of houses in its old quarter. Surrounded by a multitude of churches, which the islanders assure are as many as the days of the year, the St. John’s Co-Cathedral is one of Malta’s biggest tourist attractions.
Time to take advantage of the ship's facilities, entertainment and activities. Or just do not much at all.
A visit in Barcelona can start with the Ramblas, and then dive straight into the medieval nucleus of the city, the Barri Gotic. But there are plenty of other central old-town neighbourhoods to explore too, from La Ribera – home to the celebrated Museu Picasso – to funky El Raval.
Even if you think you know these neighbourhoods, there’s always something else to discover during an excursion – tapas bars hidden down alleys little changed for a century or two, designer boutiques in renovated old-town quarters, bargain lunches in workers’ taverns, unmarked gourmet restaurants, craft outlets and workshops, fin-de-siècle cafés, restored medieval palaces and neighbourhood markets.
Marseilles is a 2000-year-old port city rising above the sandy shores of the Côte d’Azure to take in the artsy, old world charm of its opera house and its many museums and galleries. Be sure to try a steaming bowl of bouillabaisse—filled to the brim with today’s catch—and enjoy the same seaside view once admired by Impressionists like Pierre-August Renoir and Paul Cézanne. While walking the cobblestone streets, be sure to enjoy the quietude of the Basilique de Nôtre-Dame de la Garde, the city’s 150-year-old cathedral, before making your way over to the Old Port for a stroll.
Every great holiday must come to an end and you'll be left with so many memories of the diverse places and cutures you have experienced. The cruise ship docks at 8am and disembarkation starts around mid-morning. Later you'll catch a flight back to Rome where you'll spend one more night in this delightful city.
Today we depart Europe. Alternatively you could extend your stay and visit other parst of Italy or France. For your return to Australia, consider a stop-over in Singapore or Dubai to break the trip.
This will have been one of your favourite holidays; affordable, comprehensive and diverse.
"Hi, have finally returned. Wonderful, wonderful trip. We think we loved Paris and its age/artworks but all was full of laughter fun and learning. Paris apartment was beautiful, & quiet when windows were closed, which wasn't bad anyway. The street is full of lots of restaurants and cafe's. (we also loved Shakespeare & co bookshop.) Fruit and chocolates in most rooms and champagne which I think we only drank in Brussels. we were ready for bed everywhere else though we almost had it for morning tea at Amsterdam on check in. Magnificent. Cheers." Val C.
"Have just returned from our wonderful trip to the UK. Just wanted to say a huge thanks for your organisation, we had the best holiday ever, an absolutely marvellous time, the tour was magnificent. We would recommend the Trafalgar Britain and Ireland Winter delights tour to anyone who wants to do adventurous travel, learning about other countries, and making friends. The coach was actually over half full of Aussies! Thanks so much for organising such a memorable holiday for us." Lee D.
"Deb and I are very grateful for the work you have put into our holiday. 10 days in and we are blown away by the quality and location of the motels and apartments. Many thanks." Jen W.
"My husband and I have recently returned from a holiday to Canada and Alaska booked through Australian Escapes. The itinerary was planned to take in all aspects of the holiday we required. The travel transfers worked seamlessly and the accommodation was at a standard that met our expectations of comfort and location. We absolutely loved the cruise and surprise upgrade to our stateroom. From our experience with this recent trip I would recommend Australian Escapes." Margaret & Bill T.
"We've arrived back safely after a thoroughly enjoyable trip where all the arrangements ran like clockwork, for which we want to thank you and your team, especially Sonya and Skye. We'd have no hesitation in recommending you and Volga Dream cruises to anyone who asks. Kind regards and thanks again." Irene and Blake S.
"I want to thank you for all the accommodation you arranged for us during our holiday in North Queensland in August. It was all excellent. The transfers went very smoothly too and we couldn’t have been more pleased with our holiday. Thank you for making everything so easy." Gloria K.
"My life has been like a whirlwind since I got back. I am now on holidays and catching up with people that I have not had time to contact since coming back. Thank you so much for organising my trip to The States and Canada for me. I had a great time and everything went really well. All flights went well. The hotel you booked me into in Champaign was a really old home with beautiful gardens, all done up and run by two gay guys. It was really quaint and I loved it. I had a great time, everything went without a hitch, I loved all the accommodation that you organized for me and I would like to wish you a happy Christmas and all the best." Marlene S.
"A message of thanks to you and your staff. The holiday went off without any problems and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and and had a wonderful time. Again many thanks." Dianne D.
"We are back and rested after a hectic few weeks (away), but everything worked out extremely well. Thanks so much for all your organisation – once you get used to the trains and buses, life becomes easy. Once again, thanks to you and the team for all the organisation from both Lorraine and I – we really enjoyed the holiday. All the best." Bob C.
"We just wanted to let you know that the arrangements you put in place for us in WA worked beautifully. You said the Margaret River accommodation was exceptional and it certainly was both in terms of location and facilites. Thanks again." Betty and Clancy S.
Read more reviews from Product Review.com.au below.
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