You will be met at Fiumicino Airport by your Scenic Tours Representative and transferred* to your centrally located hotel. (Please schedule flights to arrive before midday). Today’s Included excursion is an afternoon walking tour to see many famous sights for which Rome is renowned, including the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona. Included SCENIC FREE CHOICE Dining: This evening, choose to dine at one of three superb local restaurants.
Two Night Stay: Rome
We begin today’s Included sightseeing at the Vatican City. See the huge wealth accumulated through the centuries during our visit to the Vatican Museums and the breathtaking Sistine Chapel. The highlights here are Michelangelo’s Last Judgement and Old Testament Frescoes. We then enter the world’s largest church – St. Peter’s Basilica, and emerge into St. Peter’s Square.
This morning we leave the Eternal City and venture to Pompeii, which lay buried under tonnes of ash following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Our Included tour enables us to appreciate the incredible level of civilisation enjoyed by the ancient Romans. We continue on to Sorrento, perched dramatically on cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. SCENIC ENRICH: Tonight we enjoy traditional Italian food at a home hosted dinner.
Two Night Special Stay: Sorrento
Today choose from one of the following Included SCENIC FREE CHOICE activities choose: (1) a funicular ride to Capri town for a journey around the island; or (2) see the beautiful rock formations as we cruise to the Meravigliosa grotto and the White grotto before sailing through the famous Faraglioni rock to Marina Piccola bay; or (3) visit the countryside and take part in a Pizza cooking class; we travel to hills of the Sorrentine Peninsula and visit a local farm, where a family member takes us around, and reveals insights into Limoncello liqueur, fresh mozzarella cheese and olive oil production; then you’ll learn the art of making delicious Italian pizzas, topped with the farm-fresh ingredients, after which you get to eat them, of course
We view medieval hill towns, olive groves and vineyards which characterise the central Italian landscape en-route to Tuscany. Famous red grape varieties are grown in the renowned Chianti region around Siena, which we visit. Enjoy the sights of this well-preserved medieval city including the Torre della Mangia, the Duomo and the famous heart of the town, the Piazza del Campo. We then make a short but pleasant journey to medieval San Gimignano, famous as the city of 14 towers.
Overnight Stay: San Gimignano
Our Included orientation tour of San Gimignano will feature the main square, dominated by the Communal Palace and the Duomo. SCENIC ENRICH: We visit a Tuscan farmhouse where we will be shown the cantina and learn the techniques of wine and oil production used in the area. A typical rustic lunch will feature the local produce and wines. A brief journey to Florence brings us to our next centrally located hotel.
Two Night Special Stay: Florence
Today we enjoy an Included guided walking tour of the city, starting at the Academy of Fine Arts to admire Michelangelo’s David. We then see the Duomo with its spectacular exterior of marble panels. A walk onto the stunning Ponte Vecchio and through Piazza della Signoria will take us back to the historic centre. SCENIC FREE CHOICE choose from one of the following Included tours: (1) an excursion to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower; or (2) take a guided tour of the Uffizi Gallery featuring works by the Italian masters. This evening we enjoy exquisite Italian cuisine in one of Florence’s finest restaurants.
SCENIC ENRICH: A truly memorable day awaits as we journey to the Cinque Terre. We journey by rail from Manarola to Riomaggiore, then continue by boat to Monterosso, visiting stunning villages along the way. We continue through the Italian Riviera before heading to the town of Stresa, situated on the shores of Lake Maggiore.
Two Night Stay: Stresa
This morning we cruise across Lake Maggiore to the Borromean Islands. On our Included tour we visit the Isola Bella, featuring outstanding gardens and the summer palace of the Borromean family. The stately residence contains priceless Lombard paintings and Flemish tapestries. SCENIC ENRICH: We continue our cruise of the tranquil waters to the tiny and picturesque fishermen’s island, Isola delle Pescatore, for a delightful traditional lunch. We cruise back to Stresa where your afternoon is at leisure.
We pass pine trees and rolling hills this morning as we approach Verona, famous as the home of the tragic lovers, Romeo and Juliet. With our local guide we visit the amazingly intact Roman arena, built in the first century AD and still in use. We will also see Juliet’s balcony, the Piazza Bra and the ornate tombs of the Scaligeri family. Then on to Venice – the most unique city in the world, built on 117 low-lying islands. We cruise up the Grand Canal by private motor launch past ornate Palazzos and Palladian churches to our superbly located hotel. Tonight we enjoy a highlight dinner at Antico Pignolo, a traditional restaurant located alongside one of the city’s canals.
Three Night Special Stay: Venice
With our local guide this morning we explore the stunning 17th century St. Mark’s Square with its cafés. We visit St. Mark’s Basilica with its incredible Byzantine architecture and enter the gothic Doges’ Palace, after which we view the famous Bridge of Sighs. SCENIC ENRICH experience a romantic gondola serenade, enjoy this iconic Venetian experience whilst gliding under ancient bridges amongst the breathtaking canals. Included SCENIC FREE CHOICE this afternoon choose from the one of the following tours: (1) a private lagoon island cruise; or (2) a guided tour of the Guggenheim Museum.
Board your luxury Holland America cruise ship, the ms Nieuw Amsterdam.
Next Twelve Nights: Cruising
Set sail into the Adriatic Sea this morning.
Spend a leisurely day as you familiarise yourself with the ship’s extensive facilities or simply relax on deck.
The small fishing village of Katákolon is your gateway to mystical Olympus, site of the original Olympic Stadium where winners were crowned with a laurel wreath. In ancient times Olympia was a renowned place of worship, and you are still able to visit the Temple of Zeus – one of the few remaining Wonders of the Ancient World.
The port of Piraeus is your gateway to the wonders of Athens. Perhaps explore the Acropolis with its famous Parthenon dating back to the 5th century B.C., Constitution Square, Hadrian’s Arch, the Olympic Stadium and more. Europe’s oldest city awaits with countless sights to explore at your leisure.
Today cruise through The Dardanelles, a narrow strait in north-western Turkey that separates the Gallipoli peninsula from the mainland of Asia, as we approach Istanbul. Cruising into Istanbul you will see the worlds only two-continent metropolis, the largest city in Turkey, has an incredibly rich history and culture.
There are many places you can explore in this magical city. Perhaps visit Hagia Sophia the most magnificent example of Byzantium architecture, which boasts a massive dome, a lengthy nave, and an interior decorated with precious stones and pillars from Ephesus; or Topkapi, a former palace of the Ottoman sultans and now a museum with an extraordinary collection of artefacts and jewels including the Topkapi Diamond; or the Blue Mosque, featuring six graceful minarets, whose superb interior is decorated with more than 20,000 blue Iznik tiles; and a trip to Istanbul would not be complete without wandering through the evocative Grand Bazaar, the largest covered market in the world with over 4,000 shops.
This morning we cruise into the Mytilene harbour, situated on a majestic island of Lesbos. Founded in the 11th century BC, Mytilene was part of Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, before it became part of the Kingdom of Greece in 1912. You will have an opportunity to explore Lesbos today, an authentic Island with lovely fishing villages, beautiful beaches and landscape dominated by olive groves.
Not far from the port at Kusadasi lies Ephesus, one of the best-preserved archaeological sites in the classical world. It is home to the one remaining pillar from the Temple of Artemis – an Ancient Wonder of the World. You can also see the amphitheatre where St Paul preached to the Ephesians.
Your harbour on this island was created by a volcano in 1500 BC, and the effect is still explosive: steep cliffs rise 1,000 feet from sea level, where cubist white houses glow in the Aegean sun above black pebble beaches.
Our destination for today is Cephalonia, the largest island of the Ionians and considered to be one of the most beautiful. It is a mountainous island with impressive landscapes, dense vegetation, long golden sandy beaches, traditional villages, beautiful orthodox churches and archaeological ruins.
Time today to relax on deck and make the most of your favourite pastimes on board the ship.
This morning you disembark from the ship and transfer* to the airport for your onward or homebound flight. (Please do not book departure flight prior to midday).
*Check transfer entitlements with your travel agent. For guests who have already received documentation - refer to your booking summary.