Art and Culture on the French & Italian Rivieras

Art and Culture on the French & Italian Rivieras

From GBP £4,495


The British love affair with the French and Italian Rivieras dates back to the 18th century and the days of the Grand Tour and it is not surprising when you consider the charms on offer coupled with the wonderful climate. Our itinerary is very much a classic that has been enjoyed over the decades but with some interesting variations such as our calls into Roses, La Seyne Sur Mer and Viareggio. It combines some ‘must see’ sites together with some smaller places and, with so many experiences on offer, we have planned our time carefully to ensure there is adequate opportunity to relax on board, join the guided excursions and explore under your own steam.

We begin our voyage with visits to Roses, from where we explore the Medieval town of Figueres, and Côte Vermeille, famous for its beautiful coastline. Next, from the great port city of Marseille there will be the option to visit Aix-in-Provence, where we will learn about the artist Paul Cezanne, or to spend the day in Avignon and visit the expansive Palais des Papes. Before leaving Provence we also visit the pretty port of La Seyne Sur Mer where we take a boat trip around the hidden bays of Les Calanques. Capture the essence of the Côte d’Azur in the beautiful city of Nice and, once in the Italian Riviera with its breathtaking coastal scenery, explore the Ligurian capital of Genoa, rich in maritime history and an archaeological heritage that speaks of its former glory. We have also included the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Porto Venere and the lovely Tuscan town of Lucca.

It is difficult to imagine a better time than the month of September for such a cruise and, with relatively crowd free sites and cooler temperatures, our voyage promises to be a relaxing and informative journey. Immerse yourself in the artistic, historical and cultural gems and explore the stunning harbours and charming villages that we will pass along the way.

Trip Name
Art and Culture on the French & Italian Rivieras
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 Barcelona, Spain.
Fly by scheduled flight to Barcelona. On arrival transfer to the port of Tarragona to embark the MS Serenissima. Enjoy welcome drinks and dinner as we sail tonight.
Day 2 - Day 2 Roses.
The former Greek colony of Roses is our base for a day on the Costa Brava. We will travel inland to Medieval Figueres, an impressive town of Modernist and Neoclassical architecture that is most renowned as the birthplace of Salvador Dali. Our tour includes the impressive 18th century castle of St Ferran and the old city walls before continuing to the Dali Theatre Museum. Designed by Dali himself, the museum takes us through the life of the artist. Return to the MS Serenissima for lunch and this afternoon we will travel along the coast to the archaeological site of Empuries. Founded by Greek merchants in the 6th century BC as Emporion, it was a commercial hub and became a major port. In 218 BC the town was taken by the Romans who built an even greater city above the Greek town.
Day 3 - Day 3 Port Vendres, France.
The ‘Cote Vermeille’, or rocky coast, is one of the most beautiful parts of the Mediterranean and has inspired some of the world’s most famous artists. This morning we will drive the short distance to Collioure which has always been a source of inspiration for artists. Here we will have time to explore the colourful streets, visit the local artist studios and the 12th century Royal Castle. After lunch on board, the afternoon is free to explore Port Vendres at leisure.
Day 4 - Day 4 Marseille.
From our berth in Marseilles, we will offer a choice of excursions today. You can choose to head inland to Aix en Provence which was founded by the Romans in the 1st century and is renowned as the home of artist Paul Cezanne. We will visit his studio which still houses his equipment and the objects he used for models and the Jas de Bouffan estate, Cezanne’s parents’ country house which contains many of the painter’s celebrated works. We will continue to the ‘Terrain des Peintres’ which is located on the heights of Aix en Provence, a few hundred metres from the Atelier Cezanne. It is famous for the wonderful views of the Montagne Sainte Victoire which Cezanne often painted in the latter part of his life. After lunch in a local restaurant we will spend some time in Aix with its leafy boulevards and public squares lined with 17th and 18th century mansions. Alternatively spend the day in Avignon, the great City of the Popes which boasts a number of splendid museums, churches and palaces. Our guided walking tour will include the Palais des Papes, one of the wonders of Provence and the largest and most important Medieval Gothic buildings in Europe, built in the 14th century as a fortified palace for the pontifical court. We also visit the cathedral and the famous Pont Benezet, a bridge that spans the Rhone between Villeneuve les Avignon and Avignon, and the Pont du Gard, one of the wonders of antiquity, built by Agrippa in 19 BC in order to provide the city of Nimes with fresh water from the Uzes area.
Day 5 - Day 5 La Seyne Sur Mer.
Arrive this morning in the port of La Seyne Sur Mer and enjoy a boat trip to Les Calanques, stunning fjord-like inlets carved into the limestone that stretch along the coast from Marseilles to Cassis. Return to the ship for lunch and this afternoon there will be an excursion inland to the hilltop Medieval village of Le Castellet. This remarkable stronghold, formerly owned by the Lords of Les Baux, has well preserved ramparts, a carefully restored 12th century church and a castle dating back to the 11th century. We will have time to explore the village and its winding streets before enjoying a wine tasting at one of Le Castellet’s centuries-old vineyards. Return to the MS Serenissima and set sail for Nice during dinner.
Day 6 - Day 6 Nice.
This morning we will have a choice of excursions. You may wish to join a drive along the coast to the charming village of Eze perched on a rocky peak overlooking the Mediterranean. Fortified in the 14th century we will have some time to wander the cobblestone streets, admire the beautiful stone buildings and enjoy the magnificent views. Alternatively visit the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. Built in 1900 in Italian palazzo style and surrounded by magnificent gardens, it houses an unbelievable collection of works including tapestries, furniture, candelabras, terracottas, porcelains and Chinese vases. Return to the ship for lunch and spend the afternoon at leisure to explore Nice independently. Maybe choose to visit one of the city’s museums dedicated to artists such as Henri Matisse or Marc Chagall, walk amongst the charming architecture of the old city or enjoy a stroll along the palm tree lined Promenade des Anglais.
Day 7 - Day 7 Genoa, Italy.
Many regard Genoa as having the largest historic city centre in Europe as a result of having been, for centuries, a powerful commercial seaport and city-state. It was the birthplace of Christopher Columbus and its maritime roots have fostered a dialect that has absorbed elements of Neapolitan, Calabrese and Portuguese over the centuries. Our morning walking tour through the historic town centre will include the Piazza de Ferrari and the Palazzo Ducale. We will visit the Cisterne del Ducale, the ancient cellars of the palace, where we will enjoy a light buffet of typical Genoese fare such as bruschetta and focaccia accompanied by some local wine. This afternoon will be at leisure to explore independently or relax on board. After an early dinner we will make the short walk to the Palazzo Doria Pamphili where we will discover the magnificent hidden treasures of this jewel of Italian Renaissance. This exclusive, private visit will also include a classical concert and cocktail before we return to the MS Serenissima.
Day 8 - Day 8 Porto Venere.
This morning we will arrive in the port of Porto Venere, situated in the Gulf of Poets which was once popular with writers such as Byron, Shelley and DH Lawrence. The Shelley’s lived in nearby Lerici in an isolated old boathouse, Casa Magni, and it was to here that Byron used to swim across the bay from his home in Porto Venere. Explore the town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where the charming harbour is lined with brightly coloured houses and narrow Medieval streets that lead up the hill to a castle. Alternatively, on a full day tour, explore the Cinque Terre, a series of five villages along the coast which until recently were accessible only from the sea or via an ancient network of footpaths. We will board local boats and sail past the villages of Riomaggiore, Corniglia and Manarola before we step ashore and explore the picturesque villages of Vernazza and Monterosso. Please note that the vessel will be at anchor today and Zodiacs or local tenders will be used to transfer ashore.
Day 9 - Day 9 Viareggio.
From the port of Viareggio we will make our way inland to the lovely town of Lucca. Hidden behind imposing Renaissance walls it boasts delightful cobbled streets, handsome piazzas and shady promenades. Our tour will include the San Martino Cathedral and the Puccini Museum. After lunch in a local restaurant we will be treated to a private concert in the Santa Caterina Church before we return to the MS Serenissima. Please note that the vessel will be at anchor today and Zodiacs or local tenders will be used to transfer ashore.
Day 10 - Day 10 Pisa to London.
Disembark this morning in Livorno and transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to London.
Day 11 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
19-09-202328-09-2023GBP £4,495Standard Stateroom
19-09-202328-09-2023GBP £4,795Classic Stateroom
19-09-202328-09-2023GBP £5,195Superior Stateroom
19-09-202328-09-2023GBP £5,695Deluxe Stateroom
19-09-202328-09-2023GBP £5,695Standard Single
19-09-202328-09-2023GBP £6,195Junior Suite
19-09-202328-09-2023GBP £6,595Owner’s Suite
19-09-202328-09-2023GBP £6,895Serenissima Suite


    • Port Vendres
    • Marseille
    • Nice
    • Viareggio