By Susan Sheehan
We enjoyed cruising to historic Mediterranean villages on our 7-day voyage, where quaint specialty shops and large open markets abound. The scents of handmade soaps, amazingly fresh spices and beautiful flowers drew you in. Teas, olives and pastries…fresh fish and authentic Italien Proscuitto were among the many featured items. Luscious red strawberries and golden pears were beyond compare.
Travelers flew into Barcelona, Spain on Sunday, April 21, where we boarded the Oceania Riviera, and the cruise ship departed on Sunday evening.
Monday, April 22 — Provence (Marseille), France
Excursion to Aix-en-Provence: A lovely drive into the Provençal countryside to the charming, old town of Aix-en-Provence, where we took a walking tour and explored the old Mazarin District and its elegant architecture.
Tuesday, April 23 — Saint-Tropez, France
Excursion to Peninsula of Hilltop Villages: We looped around the peninsula and took in several beautiful villages in southern France: Ramatuelle, Gassin and Grimaud. They are elevated villages with narrow streets, spectacular views and wonderful shops featuring handmade art.
Wednesday, April 24 — Monte Carlo, Monaco
Excursion to the “Jewels of Cote d'Azur”: Nice, Eze and Monaco: Comprehensive tour of the French Riviera, beginning with a drive to the coast of Nice, continuing on to see the medieval charm of Eze and then a walking tour of Monaco, where we saw the Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium, the Prince's Palace, the Monaco Cathedral and the Palace du Casino.
Thursday, April 25 — Portofino, Italy
Excursion to scenic Rapallo and Sestri Levante: We took a short boat cruise to the resort city of Rapallo and the seaside village of Sestri Levante. Afterward we had time to dine and shop in picturesque Portofino!
Friday, April 26 — Florence/Pisa/Tuscany (Livorno), Italy
Excursion to Fascinating Florence: Drove through the Tuscan countryside to get to the historic city of Florence. There we visited the Academy of Fine arts, home to Michelangelo's statue of David. We saw the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo) as our walking tour commenced through Florence and on to the Franciscan Gothic Church. We had free time to explore, dine and shop, and we had a lovely view of inner Florence at a lookout on our way back through the countryside.
Saturday, April 27 — Naples, Italy (re-routed from the scheduled port at
Excursion to ancient Pompeii: We took a scenic drive along the Bay of Naples to arrive at the remarkable ruins of Pompeii at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. We walked through the city, which was buried in ash from a devastating volcanic eruption in 79 A.D.
Sunday, April 28 — Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy
Bused from ship to airport (no excursions).