Glories of Sicily

Glories of Sicily

From GBP £4,095

Description

The island of Sicily has an incredible wealth of treasures and a geography which lends itself beautifully to exploration by sea with most points of interest located close to the coast. Owing to its benevolent climate and superb strategic position, Sicily has been coveted, fought over and colonised numerous times with the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Byzantines and Bourbons having all made their mark. During our circumnavigation of the island aboard the MS Serenissima we will discover Sicily’s rich heritage which is the result of so many invading civilisations.

From magnificent Doric temples to great Byzantine cathedrals and bizarrely styled villas, there is so much to explore during our voyage which we have timed for September when the crowds of high summer will have departed and the temperatures will be pleasant for our guided tours. We will visit the Roman mosaics of Villa Romana del Casale, the Valle dei Templi, the superbly well-preserved Greek temples of Segesta and the Norman Royal Palace and Palatine Chapel in Palermo, the Byzantine Monreale Cathedral and the stunning Greek theatre at Taormina. We have planned some late departures from port, which gives the opportunity for dining ashore or an after dinner stroll in some towns which are particularly atmospheric in the evening. In addition, local guides and our onboard Guest Speaker will contribute greatly to your enjoyment and understanding of Sicily.

Trip Name
Glories of Sicily
Days
9
Overview
Vessel Type: Small Ship Length: 87 metres Passenger Capacity: 95 Built / refurbished: 1960 / 2013 / 2018 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. 

Itinerary



Day 1 - Day 1 London to Valletta, Malta.
Fly by scheduled flight. Arrive this afternoon and transfer to the MS Serenissima moored in Valletta. Enjoy welcome dinner and drinks on board as we sail this evening.
Day 2 - Day 2 Licata for Piazza Armerina, Sicily.
From the port of Licata we travel inland to what is regarded as the finest Roman site in Sicily, the Imperial Roman Villa of Casale, which is located close to Piazza Armerina amidst wooded rolling countryside. This huge villa was built in the 3rd century and has some stunning floor mosaics. Our return drive takes us through the province of Caltanissetta, recognised today as one of the best wine making regions in Italy thanks above all to its production of high quality, prestigious red wines including Nero D’Avola. We will break our journey at one of these vineyards and enjoy a chance to sample some wine over a Sicilian lunch. Return to the MS Serenissima in the late afternoon and sail tonight.
Day 3 - Day 3 Agrigento & Valley of the Temples.
Although handsome in its own right and awash with Medieval atmosphere, Agrigento is not our main reason for calling at this southern coast port. Close by is the Valle dei Templi, a series of Doric temples and the most captivating of Sicilian Greek remains, a grouping unique outside Greece. Surrounded in greenery of olive and almond trees, admire the Temple of Hera, the Temple of Concordia, the Dioscuri Temple, the Temple of Olympic Jove and the Temple of Hercules. After lunch on board the afternoon is free to explore Agrigento and shuttles will run from the port to the town and the excellent archaeological museum which you can explore at leisure.
Day 4 - Day 4 Trapani.
Trapani, our base for the day, was the landing point for Peter of Aragon in 1282 to start the Spanish occupation of Sicily. This morning we travel inland to explore Segesta, one of the grandest Doric monuments to survive. See the unfinished temple dating from 424 BC as well as the theatre from where you can enjoy excellent views of the countryside and distant coastline. Either return to the ship for lunch with the afternoon at leisure or continue onto Erice, famed in antiquity for its temple dedicated to the goddess of love, the Phoenician Astarte, Greek Aphrodite or Roman Venus. A tour will take us to this stunning site high above the sea and to the beautifully preserved Medieval town characterised by its winding cobblestone streets and beautiful courtyards.
Day 5 - Day 5 Palermo.
Arrive this morning in the Sicilian capital of Palermo. After breakfast we will explore the city, famous for its jumbled and picturesque streets punctuated with ornate Baroque churches, domed Arab mosques and the glittering Byzantine mosaics that reveal a unique and diverse heritage. We visit the impressive 12th century cathedral which houses the royal tombs of Henri VI and King Ruggiero. Return to the MS Serenissima for lunch and this afternoon either enjoy some time to explore independently or join an excursion to Monreale Cathedral, said to be the most beautiful Norman Church in Italy, designed and completed by William the Good in 1174. With its thick walls and powerful towers, the exterior looks like an austere fortress yet it is the interior of this great Cathedral which is its crowning glory. Here the large nave, with its side aisles and grey granite columns set off the exquisite Byzantine mosaics on the walls above the arches.
Day 6 - Day 6 Messina & Taormina.
From the nearby port of Messina we will visit Taormina, a walled town lying in the shadow of Mount Etna, Europe’s highest volcano. The town has been a popular tourist destination since the 19th century and our guided tour will include walking the characteristic alleys before visiting the 15th century Palazzo Corvaja and the impressive Greek Theatre from where there are marvellous views over the town and coast. For those who wish to enjoy longer here you will be able to take lunch independently in one of the local restaurants and spend an afternoon exploring at leisure before our coach returns to Messina. Alternatively, return to the MS Serenissima for lunch and enjoy free time in Messina before we sail this evening.
Day 7 - Day 7 Catania & Syracuse.
This morning we arrive in Catania. The architecture here is particularly impressive but a little forbidding being mainly constructed from black lava stone from Mount Etna. On a morning walking tour we will see the magnificent Piazza del Duomo which is a World Heritage Site, St Agatha’s Cathedral and the imposing 13th century Castello Ursino. Alternatively join a tour to the slopes of Mount Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano. Our drive will take us past scenic countryside, small towns and vineyards before arriving at the Silvestri Craters that were created in the eruption of 1892 and where, if weather permits, there are wonderful views. Return to the ship for lunch as we sail to Syracuse arriving in the late afternoon. Tonight we will be treated to a private concert in one of the town’s palazzos accompanied with local food and wine.
Day 8 - Day 8 Syracuse & Noto.
Syracuse was founded by the Greeks in 734 BC and by the 5th century was a political and military power throughout the Mediterranean which 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 ‘Dionysus’ 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. The afternoon is free to explore independently or alternatively join a tour to the beautiful antique town of Noto which was built in 1703. Here we will see numerous 18th century palaces of incredible architectural value including the Duomo, the Museo Civico and the Convento dei Francescani. Return to the ship for dinner and sail this evening.
Day 9 - Day 9 Valletta 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
15-09-202023-09-2020GBP £4,095Standard Stateroom
15-09-202023-09-2020GBP £4,295Classic Stateroom
15-09-202023-09-2020GBP £4,695Superior Stateroom
15-09-202023-09-2020GBP £5,195Deluxe Stateroom
15-09-202023-09-2020GBP £5,295Standard Single
15-09-202023-09-2020GBP £5,695Junior Suite
15-09-202023-09-2020GBP £6,595Owner’s Suite
15-09-202023-09-2020GBP £6,595Serenissima Suite
23-09-202001-10-2020GBP £4,695Superior Stateroom
23-09-202001-10-2020GBP £5,195Deluxe Stateroom
23-09-202001-10-2020GBP £5,295Standard Single
23-09-202001-10-2020GBP £5,695Junior Suite
23-09-202001-10-2020GBP £6,595Owner’s Suite
23-09-202001-10-2020GBP £6,595Serenissima Suite
23-09-202001-10-2020GBP £4,095Standard Stateroom
23-09-202001-10-2020GBP £4,295Classic Stateroom

Inclusions

    • Travelling with You
    • Dr Steve Kershaw. Dr. Steve Kershaw is a tutor in Classics for Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, an accredited lecturer for The Arts Society (ex-NADFAS), and lectures for the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Early Medieval: 300
    • 1250 and The Classical World and Classical Revivals courses. His publications include The Penguin Dictionary of Classical Mythology, A Brief Guide to the Greek Myths, A Brief Guide to Classical Civilization, A Brief History of the Roman Empire, and A Brief History of Atlantis: Plato’s Ideal State. He is the author and tutor for Oxford University’s on-line courses in Greek Mythology and The Fall of Rome. In 2016 he appeared as an Expert Contributor to The History Channel’s ‘Barbarians Rising’ series, and he has travelled widely in the world of the Greeks and Romans, both physically and intellectually. Dr Steve Kershaw will be on the following tour dates: 15 to 23 September 2020
    • Travelling with You
    • George Hart. After graduating with degrees in Classics and in Egyptian Art and Archaeology from University College London, George Hart joined the staff of the British Museum. His career involved lecturing on Ancient Egypt, the Levant and the Bronze-age and Classical civilisations of the Mediterranean world. His interests include the spread of Phoenician and Greek colonies, especially in Sicily and the Western Mediterranean. He has accompanied tours to many archaeological sites around the Mediterranean and North Africa. He is also an accredited lecturer for The Arts Society. He took early retirement from the British Museum to devote more time to writing and travelling. George Hart will be on the following tour dates: 23 September 2020 to 1 October 2020

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