Passage to Puglia & Beyond (Serenissima)

Passage to Puglia & Beyond (Serenissima)

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Here is the perfect voyage for those who love Italy, travelling in the company of a small group of like-minded travellers and sailing aboard a delightful small ship with a varied programme of interesting visits ashore. From the historic crossroads island of Malta and its lovely 16th century capital Valletta, we will sail to the wonderful Croatian port of Split, our itinerary taking us off the beaten track to many places that are beyond the reach of the mega-cruise ships. The centrepiece of our voyage is our four days spent sailing around the heel of Italy and discovering Puglia’s many gems. Based on its strategic location, the region was colonised, invaded and conquered for centuries with each dynasty leaving its mark. From prehistoric dwellings and traditional trulli abodes to splendid Baroque architecture and 15th century palazzos, we will explore the region with local guides. As we make our way along the Adriatic coast of Italy and across to Montenegro and Croatia we will call into cities and towns, learning of their intriguing history and witnessing some stunning architecture. A highlight for many will be our exploration of Kotor, Montenegro’s 14th century walled fortress town fronted by a sublime bay and surrounded by limestone cliffs, before arriving for an overnight mooring in the attractive Croatian city of Split, a fitting end to our voyage.

Trip Name
Passage to Puglia & Beyond (Serenissima)
Vessel Type: Small Ship Length: 87 metres Passenger Capacity: 95 Built / refurbished: 1960 / 2013 / 2019 MS Serenissima is a charming vessel and one of her best known and loved features of this vessel is its unique style. During a major refit the then owners commissioned Swedish interior designers to create a Gustavian style interior. This bright Swedish 18th century influenced, country house style works particularly well on a vessel of this vintage, providing intimacy and classic nautical sensibility often lacking in larger vessels. The vessel is equipped with a fleet of Zodiac landing craft allowing us to visit remote places where normal tender arrangements are not possible. The European Captain, Officers, Expedition Staff, and crew offer a first class service and have been selected for their professionalism and caring attitudes. The atmosphere on board is warm and welcoming and dedicated to discovery and relaxation. AIR-CONDITIONING The ship is air conditioned throughout. Please note that only the Serenissima Suites have individually controlled air-conditioning. DAILY PROGRAMME A Daily Programme, detailing the following day’s arrangements as well as any specific information about the day’s activities is produced onboard and delivered to your cabin each evening during the turn down service. DINING, DRINKING AND DIETARY REQUIREMENTS The Venice Restaurant onboard serves international cuisine and accommodates all guests at a single open seating. Tables seat 4 to 10 diners. In addition, there is an outside dining area for when the weather and itinerary permit. Breakfast and lunch are both buffet style, dinner is waiter service only. Complimentary (red and white) house wine, beer and soft drinks are included with lunch and dinner. Bar drinks and other beverages with meals are not included; these may be purchased onboard and paid for at the end of your cruise. Complimentary tea and coffee are available between 07:00 hours and 23:00 hours at the tea and coffee station located in the Andrea lounge. Please advise of any special dietary requests in advance. DISABLED FACILITIES The ship can accommodate passengers with mobility restrictions and wheelchair dependent passengers in cabin 407, which has a wider door and no step into/out of the bathroom and shower area. There is a lift serving decks 3 to 6, but there is no stair lift. DOCTOR A medical doctor is available on board 24 hours a day. A fee is charged for any consultations and medication prescribed. Please ensure you carry adequate supplies of any regular medications you may require.  ELECTRICITY The electrical outlets in the cabins and public areas are 220V and take a two-round-pin plug (as in continental Europe). There is a 110/220V, 60Hz outlet for electric shavers in the bathroom. We recommend that you bring an international adaptor. GRATUITIES Gratuities to crew and whilst on excursions are included in the cost of your holiday. INTERNET The onboard library has a computer equipped for email/internet access and Wi-Fi access is available in public areas, although you will require your own laptop, tablet or smartphone, and charges apply – 100mb for €15 Euros, or 500mb for €25 Euros. Please note that connection is dependent on weather conditions and location. LANGUAGE All members of the crew speak English. MONEY The following payment methods are accepted for settlement of shipboard accounts: Cash (Euros or British Pounds), Credit Card (MasterCard, Visa, American Express), Debit Card (MasterCard and Visa). Please note that personal cheques and Travellers’ Cheques are not accepted. PUBLIC AREAS • Andrea Lounge (on Deck 5). The bar is open from 11.00 until 24.00. • Harald Jarl Lounge (on Deck 5). There is a small library here with books and games. There is also a computer for public use (charges apply for internet access) • Lido area (on Deck 5) with a Jacuzzi and fitness room with two running machines • Observation Deck (access from Deck 5 lido area) • Deck 5 and Deck 6 outside seating areas SNORKELLING Snorkelling equipment is kept onboard. Please note that there is no snorkelling from Zodiacs. All snorkelling stops will operate from a beach.  TELEVISION The ship is equipped with a satellite TV system which receives 15 channels. TV reception depends on the satellite dish and on occasion it may not be possible to receive a signal. There is one central video channel on which it is possible to listen to the lectures delivered in the Andrea Lounge. There is also a channel for the ship’s camera located in front of the ship. ZODIACS Some destinations may require the use of Zodiacs to go ashore. These are usually on expedition cruises though may sometimes be used on destination cruises. 


Day 1 - Day 1 London to Valletta, Malta.
Fly by scheduled flight. Transfer to the MS Serenissima moored in Valletta and enjoy welcome drinks and dinner on board as we sail this evening.
Day 2 - Day 2 Syracuse & Noto, Italy.
Syracuse was founded by the Greeks in 734 BC and by the 5th century was a political and military power throughout the Mediterranean and rivalled Athens as the largest and most beautiful city in the Greek world. On leaving the vessel we visit the Neapolis Archaeological Park where we find a well preserved Greek theatre with seats carved from limestone. Paradise Quarry, now an attractive garden and orange grove, was the primary source of that limestone and is the site of the curious ‘Dionysius’ Ear’, a vast grotto with an amplifying resonance. We will continue to explore the island of Ortigia where we find the Temple of Apollo, considered to be Sicily’s most ancient Doric temple and the Baroque Cathedral, erected over the remains of the Temple of Minerva. This afternoon you can choose to explore independently from our central berth or alternatively join a tour to the beautiful antique town of Noto. Built in 1703 we will see numerous 18th century palaces of incredible architectural value including the Duomo, the Museo Civico and the Convento dei Francescani.
Day 3 - Day 3 Crotone.
After a morning at sea we arrive in Calabria and the port of Crotone which is on the site of the ancient Greek City of Kroton. Whilst little remains of the Greek city it was one of the most important settlements of Magna Graecia, where Pythagoras set up a school in 530 BC and whose athletes were very successful at the Olympic Games. We will take a scenic drive inland this afternoon to Santa Severina, one of Italy’s prettiest towns overlooking the Neto River valley. We will explore the majestic Carafa Castle which was built by the Normans in 1076 and is surrounded by strong, crenellated walls with a moat on three sides and contains intricate underground labyrinths and stables, with the remains of Medieval frescoes. Also see the cathedral, the beautiful Byzantine baptistery and wander the town’s tangled streets. As we return to the ship we will stop at one of the vineyards that produces famous Calabrian wine, Ciro, for a tasting accompanied by typical Calabrian food.
Day 4 - Day 4 Taranto.
Today we arrive in Puglia for our morning tour which will take us into Basilicata as we visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sassi di Matera (stones of Matera). Situated in the old town of Matera, the Sassi are prehistoric dwellings dug into the rock itself and are suspected to be some of the first human settlements in Italy. The site comprises over 1000 buildings including houses, churches, shops, workshops and monasteries covering over 1000 hectares and we will learn more about the history of the town on a walking tour of the labyrinthine streets. Return to the ship for lunch and spend the afternoon at leisure in Taranto. You may want to see the 15th century Aragonese Castle, the 11th century cathedral or the remains of the Poseidon Temple. Afterwards maybe cross the bridge to the newer town and visit the excellent archeological museum.
Day 5 - Day 5 Otranto & Lecce.
From the port of Otranto we will drive to Lecce, often referred to as ‘The Florence of the South’ with its amazing collection of Baroque architecture. A guided walk will include a visit to the beautifully decorated Santa Croce Basilica and Piazza Duomo, considered one of the finest and most impressive squares in southern Italy. We return to the ship for lunch and the afternoon is free to explore Otranto independently, maybe walk the winding streets or along the seaside promenade. The highlight is the wonderful cathedral with its Medieval mosaic floor created by the monk, Pantaleone, between 1163 and 1165. You can also see the Chapel of the Dead which shows the bones and skulls of 813 martyrs killed by the invading Turks in 1480.
Day 6 - Day 6 Monopoli.
Today we drive into the Puglian countryside which is scattered with ‘trulli’, limestone dwellings built with dome or conical roofs. We will enjoy a pleasant walk in Alberobello, a fairy-tale trulli village and a UNESCO World Heritage Site and see the St Anthony Church also built in trullo style. Afterwards we visit ‘Cantina Albea’ and its wine museum, home to pictures and old instruments used in the past for the production of wine and where we will enjoy a tasting along with a talk on the wine production. Return to the ship for lunch and this afternoon is free to return to the old town to explore independently. You may want to wander through the historic centre, visit the cathedral or see the Castello di Carlo V.
Day 7 - Day 7 Kotor, Montenegro.
Be on deck early this morning as we sail through the stunning fjord-like scenery into Kotor. On arrival at our berth, we will take a morning walking tour to explore this Medieval town and UNESCO World Heritage Site. This really is an extraordinary place full of marvellous architecture and pretty town squares. Our walk will include the 12th century Cathedral of St Tryphon, the ancient town gates, the Maritime Museum and Romanesque churches including St Luke’s. Return to the ship for lunch and enjoy the afternoon to explore at your own pace. Those feeling active may wish to take the strenuous climb to the Castle of San Giovanni which offers wonderful views over the bay and town below.
Day 8 - Day 8 Split, Croatia.
After a leisurely morning at sea we arrive in Split. This afternoon we will take a guided walk through the town including the Palace of Diocletian which was built by the emperor in 295-305 AD as his retirement villa. Much of this large building is well preserved and the palace contains Split’s Old Town within its walls, making it the only Roman palace that has been continuously inhabited since Roman times. It is a wonderful spot to wander the maze of streets. We remain moored overnight for anyone wishing to take an after dinner stroll.
Day 9 - Day 9 Split to London.
Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to London.
Day 10 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type


    • Visit Syracuse & Noto, Italy.
    • Discover Otranto & Lecce.
    • Enjoy Kotor, Montenegro.
    • Explore Split, Croatia.