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A Mediterranean Journey to Italy, France, and Spain
On this Mediterranean voyage, you’ll experience three distinctive countries and cultures in a week. It starts in Rome and continues to the Tuscan port of Livorno and Portofino, at the heart of the Italian Riviera. Next up is France, with stops in the chic Riviera towns of Monaco and St. Tropez—late departures at 11 p.m. from each port provides time to see them glittering at night. You’ll also spend a day in Marseille, where you can experience both the urban attractions of this large French port and venture to nearby hill towns. You’ll end your cruise in Barcelona, the capital of Catalunya and Spain’s second largest city. Its fantastical architecture and tapas scene may even persuade you to extend your post-cruise stay.           

Few cruises manage to fit such a diversity of destinations into such a short itinerary while still delivering meaningful, authentic experiences. It’s a testament to Azamara’s mission of destination immersion.
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    Day 1
    Rome
    Your cruise departs from Rome at 6 p.m., but we suggest that you arrive a few days early; Azamara can help with hotel arrangements for pre-cruise extensions. Whether you’re most interested in the sites of ancient Rome (starting with the Colosseum, Pantheon, and the Forum), the wonders of the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Basilica, or charming neighborhoods like Trastevere and Monti, you’ll have no shortage of sites to explore and meals to savor.
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    Photo By Toni Rodrigo
    Day 2
    Livorno and Florence
    Your first stop is Livorno, the major port of Tuscany and getaway to its Renaissance gem, Florence. The Glimpse of Florence excursion is a long day, at over nine hours, but every moment is filled with opportunities to marvel at artistic and architectural masterpieces. You’ll start at the Piazza del Duomo, site of the cathedral with its bell tower and baptistery, most famous for its Gates of Paradise—bronze doors with intricate scenes designed by Lorenzo Ghiberti in the 15th century. At the Piazza della Signoria, you’ll see a replica of Michelangelo’s David; your next stop, the 14th-century church of Santa Croce, is the resting place of Michelangelo as well as Galileo and other luminaries. You’ll have three hours to yourself, perhaps to take in more art at the Uffizi, stroll the lush Boboli Gardens, or shop the indie and artisan boutiques of the Oltrarno.
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    Day 3
    Portofino
    Portofino is an impossibly picturesque port, a fishing village of colorful homes around a small harbor. Today the yachts in the harbor outnumber the working fishing boats, as the town sits at the heart of the Italian Riviera.

    The Portofino Walking Tour & Brown Castle excursion gives a tidy overview. You’ll begin with the Castello Brown on a small hill overlooking Portofino. The castle’s name comes from its 19th-century owner, a British consul general to Italy. After exploring the house and its Mediterranean gardens, you’ll tour the Church of St. George where the bones of the saint are said to be buried. Then you’ll continue to the lovely piazzetta, located alongside the harbor, where you will have some leisure time to explore the town.
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    Day 4
    Monaco
    The tiny principality of Monaco is one of those countries that it’s hard to believe actually exists. Ruled by the Grimaldi family since the 14th century, it is bordered on three sides by France, with the Mediterranean to its south. The entire country is smaller than New York’s Central Park—with an outsize number of super-wealthy citizens. It’s also remembered for the fairytale story of the American actress who became Princess Grace in the 1950s.

    The Visit of Old Monaco excursion sets out from the historic heart and takes in all the main sights. You’ll visit the city’s casino and its square and then your guide will lead you up narrow streets to the Prince’s Palace. While you can’t enter the palace, you will visit the cathedral, where Princess Grace is buried, and the Oceanographic Museum, located in a Baroque revival building. After driving the route of the Grand Prix circuit, you’ll return to Casino Square, where you will have time to enjoy lunch, explore further, or try your luck at the Grand Casino.
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    Day 5
    Saint-Tropez
    The fifth day is devoted to Saint-Tropez, the quintessential beach town of the French Riviera. Celebrated by F. Scott Fitzgerald in Tender is the Night, the fishing village became synonymous with glamour when Bridget Bardot and other stars flocked here in the 1950s and ‘60s. The town maintains its allure to this day. The St. Tropez Walk & Taste excursion provides a sample of its sights and flavors. You’ll make your way along the waterfront and nearby streets with their designer boutiques, pastry shops, and leading restaurants. You’ll have a lunch of traditional dishes paired with French wines at the Auberge Des Maures and then explore St. Tropez on your own, or venture out to other towns.
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    Photo By Atout France/Robert Palomba
    Day 6
    Marseille
    You’ll be docked in Marseille, France’s major port on the Mediterranean. It has a number of sites of interest—its cathedral, harbor, and buildings by the modern architect Le Corbusier, as well as a reputation for serving some of the best bouillabaisse. But first, you’ll spend the morning getting a taste of Aix-en-Provence, about an hour north.

    The Aix-en-Provence with French Pastry Lesson excursion begins with a tour of this lovely medieval town that has charmed countless artists and writers, most notably Paul Cézanne. You’ll have lunch on your own at one of the restaurants specializing in Provencal cuisine, before meeting up with a local pastry chef, where you’ll learn to create some of France’s signature treats. You’ll be able to take some back to your ship to share with fellow Azamara guests at dinner.
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    Photo By Boris Kasimov
    Day 7
    Barcelona
    Your cruise ends with your arrival in Barcelona. This port city’s visual delights include a captivating Gothic quarter; the lovely Eixample, a masterpiece of 19th-century urban planning; and a number of works by a most unusual architect, Antoni Gaudí. The World of Gaudí with Architect excursion focuses on his buildings and is led by a knowledgeable local architect. As you’ll come to appreciate firsthand, Gaudí’s approach to modernism is characterized by its fantastic shapes inspired by animals and plants, and an eclectic and lively approach to finishes, including multicolored tiles, glass, and poured concrete forms. You’ll see some of the residential projects he created for Barcelona’s wealthiest families like the Casa Batlló and Casa Mila, and then his grand, and as of now still unfinished, masterpiece, the Church of the Sagrada Familia. Its facades are covered with strikingly modernist stone carvings representing the Nativity, the Passion, and the risen Christ. With its unconventional stained glass and palm-tree-like columns, the interior brings to mind walking through a sun-dappled forest, captured in stone and concrete.

    With your ship docked in Barcelona for the night, you can explore the city well after dark. The AzAmazing Evening—A Spanish Evening is one unforgettable experience available only to Azamara guests. At the 11th-century Sant Marçal Cerdanyola Castle, you will be greeted in the gardens by waiters with trays of canapés, goat cheese, and almonds as well as glasses of bubbly cava. A concert by Rumba Catalana, whose flamenco performances are inspired by Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen, takes place as you enjoy your drink and appetizers. The second act of the performance unfolds in a typical Spanish tavern in the castle. It’s a lively celebration of authentic music, culture, food, and drink.
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    Day 8
    Barcelona, Day 2
    You’ll need to depart the ship today, but you don’t need to depart from Barcelona. Azamara can arrange post-cruise extensions at a number of hotels in the city. Gaudi's Park Güell, the monastery of Montserrat, the museums of Montjuic, the historic neighborhoods of the Gothic Quarter and El Born are just a few of the highlights of Catalunya’s capital that may entice you to stick around. Did we mention the jamón?