Unlike last year’s vacation on a river cruise, this year (2018) I went on an ocean cruise. An additional change involved who was traveling. In addition to going with my wife, I also went with my mother on Viking’s Iconic Western Mediterranean cruise from Rome to Barcelona.
- July 21: Travel to Rome – Day One
This day’s travel didn’t work out quite like we planned, ending up with spending the night in Charlottesville, North Carolina.
- July 22-23: Travel to Livorno
A late start to Europe ended up with a train ride across the Italian landscape.
- July 24: Florence & Pisa
Immerse yourself in the beauty of Tuscany with an included, well-curated tour of Pisa. Alternatively, enjoy a full-day tour that combines Pisa and Florence. Begin with a scenic drive through the countryside to Florence, where you will stroll by the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. Then on to the medieval Ponte Vecchio, and the attractive Basilica di Santa Croce, resting place of Michelangelo. In Pisa, you will have time to explore the Square of Miracles, including the famous Leaning Tower, the Cathedral and Baptistery.
- July 25: Monte Carlo
Enjoy a full day in Monaco, the playground for the rich and famous, as well as the gateway to the beautiful South of France. Visit medieval Monaco, stopping at the Prince’s Palace and St. Nicholas Cathedral, the burial site of the royal family, including American actress Grace Kelly. As we stay late in port, you will have time to step inside the Casino de Monte-Carlo, the most prestigious and celebrated gambling mecca on earth. As an option, venture out of town to the legendary perfumeries in Grasse, or stroll along the English promenade in glamorous Nice.
- July 26: St. Tropez
I enjoyed the beach hike a lot, but the stop in St. Tropez has been dropped from future cruises, so I couldn’t copy any text here.
- July 27: Marseille
Visit Marseille, France’s oldest city, rich in timeless treasures. Discover its atmospheric Old Port, overseen by two 17th-century fortresses. The picturesque quay was built on the order of Louis XII and Louis XIII and is one of the world’s most romantic walks. As you explore, take in the beauty of its natural harbor, dotted with elegant yachts. Marvel at the church of Notre Dame de la Garde and Palais Longchamp, or venture to Aix-en-Provence with its tree-shaded squares and wide boulevards.
- July 28: Barcelona
Awake in Barcelona and explore the Catalonian capital. Start on Las Ramblas, the mile-long leafy pedestrian boulevard. Or take a turn through the myriad side streets of the Gothic Quarter, where the ancient and the modern sit side by side, perfect for a leisurely stroll. Or head to the Passeig de Gràcia, a boulevard renowned for its architecture, including works by Antoni Gaudí. Or opt for one of the many optional tours.
- July 29-30: Travel Home
Spending way too much time at Barcelona Airport and with American Airlines.