Last year, embarking on a Mediterranean cruise was an unforgettable experience, and the route from Barcelona, Spain to Civitavecchia, Rome, Italy is no exception. For this 11-day voyage, it takes you on a whirlwind adventure, allowing you to explore some of the most fascinating ports along the way. From historical landmarks to breathtaking natural beauty, here are the highlights of each port of call on this remarkable journey.
But before even boarding the cruise ship, we decided to explore the embarking port for a few days to feel the ground and culture of Barcelona all the way from California. And since it was late evening when the plane landed, a driver was waiting by the arrival, holding our name. If you have a transfer, private or with others, please find your name among the rest who are waiting for their ride so you can relax at your hotel.
On the first night, we went straight to bed to re energize. Take note that there is a time difference of 9 hours from California to Barcelona and it’s best to take a day off to get started feeling new. With a good night’s sleep even if it’s daytime in California, thanks to jet lag it was easy to sleep.
The next day, feeling fresh and ready to explore, our first stop was food! Since it is our first morning, pastries would be good to try and it was good! So many choices but the first day’s goal was to get to Sagrada Familia Church.
This grand church stands in Barcelona as an icon, Sagrada Familia it’s called. A masterpiece of Gaudi, it was quite unplanned as it is still ongoing construction despite it’s already a work of art. From the start it started construction, it’s still going until today. Such a work of art. For an architect, it would be time to scratch their heads and maybe call for distress because for years it’s been a building site and no sight for completion,
Don't despair my friend as it's worth a visit to see it stand with towering spires and intricate design, you’ll smile and feel awe, the unending art of the divine. You can’t even take a picture of the whole church if you don’t stand far from it!
Stroll around the next day like a local. Tried more of their food from restaurants to street food, Barcelona has so much to offer and then it was time to embark on our Mediterranean Cruise.
Mediterranean Cruise Ports
Here are the ports of call during this remarkable journey.
1. La Seyne-Sur-Mer (Toulon), France
Located on the French Riviera, La Seyne-Sur-Mer is a charming port town offering a blend of history and stunning coastal scenery. Spend your day exploring the historical Old Town, where narrow streets are lined with colorful buildings and quaint cafes. Don't miss the chance to visit Mont Faron, a scenic mountain offering panoramic views of the coast and the city of Toulon.
2. Genoa, Italy
Genoa, the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, is a city steeped in history and rich in maritime heritage. Take a stroll through the atmospheric Old Town, known as La Genova Vecchia, to admire the grand palaces and narrow alleyways. Visit the stunning Cathedral of San Lorenzo and explore the vibrant Porto Antico, a revitalized harbor area with an array of restaurants, museums, and the famous Aquarium of Genoa.
3. Livorno (Florence & Pisa), Italy
Livorno acts as the gateway to two iconic Italian cities, Florence and Pisa. While Florence is renowned for its art and architecture, including the famous Duomo and the Uffizi Gallery, Pisa is instantly recognizable for its leaning tower. Take a shore excursion to these historical gems and immerse yourself in the exquisite art, magnificent architecture, and rich cultural heritage they offer.
4. Kotor, Montenegro
Prepare to be captivated by the breathtaking beauty of Kotor as your ship navigates through the stunning Bay of Kotor. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for its well-preserved medieval architecture, charming cobblestone streets, and marvelous churches. Climb the stone fortifications that lead up the hills for panoramic views of the bay, or simply meander through the old town and soak up the enchanting atmosphere.
5. Corfu (Kerkyra), Greece
Corfu, the jewel of the Ionian Sea, boasts a lush landscape dotted with ancient ruins and picturesque villages. Explore the UNESCO-listed Old Town of Corfu, characterized by its Venetian-style architecture and narrow alleys lined with vibrant tavernas and shops. Take a leisurely stroll along the Spianada Square, the largest square in the Balkans, or venture further afield to discover stunning beaches and idyllic countryside.
6. Messina, Sicily, Italy
Messina, located in northeastern Sicily, is a city brimming with history and cultural treasures. Marvel at the astronomical clock tower, known as the Bell Tower, which puts on an extraordinary show at noon. Wander through the Piazza del Duomo to admire the magnificent Cathedral of Messina, and discover its impressive artwork and stunning architectural details.
7. Naples (Pompeii), Italy
Naples, a city that effortlessly combines ancient history with bustling modern life, is a gateway to one of the most remarkable archaeological sites in the world - Pompeii. Step back in time as you explore the remarkably preserved ruins of this ancient Roman city, buried under ash and pumice for centuries after the eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius. In Naples itself, don't miss the opportunity to sample authentic Neapolitan pizza and explore the charming Spaccanapoli district.
8. Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
As your cruise comes to an end, you'll arrive in Civitavecchia, the port city that serves as a gateway to the Eternal City of Rome. And it is indeed a gateway to explore the many popular places you see featured by many. From ancient ruins such as the Colosseum and the Roman Forum to renowned landmarks such as the Vatican City and the Trevi Fountain, Rome offers an endless array of treasures to explore. Immerse yourself in the rich history, art, and culture of this iconic city before bidding farewell to your Mediterranean adventure.
The highlight in Rome was the St. Peter’s Basilica Inside sneak peak. In the early morning, the group entered St Peter's Basilica from the back of the Church. This entrance is specifically for the group going inside with a guide. From there, we walk in awe, admiring the many paintings from wall to wall. Some areas are prohibited from picture taking. There is a fine if caught taking pictures, so beware.
Another day, we explored Rome on our own to feel like locals would be. We walk, pray, dine, and shop but keep our purses close to us to discourage the pick pocketers roaming around the city. It's just a different culture and it's good to be aware of your surroundings when traveling overseas while having fun exploring the city.
Embarking on a Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona to Civitavecchia is an opportunity to uncover the diverse cultures, architectural marvels, and natural beauty that grace the shores of this enchanting region. Each port of call presents unique experiences, ensuring an unforgettable journey filled with cherished memories.