Who can resist a cruise
through the Mediterranean, taking in those delightful ports along the
A number of big cruise companies cruise these warm waters including some
of Royal Caribbean’s fleet of modern ships.
These days, you can expect to be aboard a floating resort up to 15
storeys high with a variety of bars, big pools and even ice skating
The Voyager of the Seas is such a ship which departs Barcelona in the
European summer for a round trip including the
French Riviera and the
Italian ports including Pisa,
Rome and Naples. It takes 3,500
passengers with 1500 crew on board to look after guests. Royal
Caribbean also owns Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises, with plans to
build even bigger ships including one that will take 10,000 people.
The beauty of taking a Mediterranean cruise is that you don’t have to pack and unpack
all the time as you arrive in different accommodation near different destinations – instead you
travel while you sleep and wake each day to a new Mediterranean port to discover and
The ocean view accommodation rooms on Royal Caribbean ships including Voyager of the
Seas are spacious by international cruise ship standards. No single
bunks here for couples – the beds convert to a generous Queen size in a
room that includes desk, TV and a reasonable size bathroom. And there
are invisible top bunks that come down from the ceiling on either side
for families, while still leaving open space above the Queen size bed.
The Voyager of the Seas is a magnificent ship which is like being in a
small village. You have a main promenade to walk along, complete
with shops and even a vintage car sitting outside on just one of the
On other floors you’ll find numerous bars including the elegant
Champagne Bar, an English pub that features a guitarist every night and
of course the popular pool bar out in the sun that allows you to take in
the blue Mediterranean Sea or any part of the attractive Mediterranean coast you’re
cruising past on any particular day. There’s also the Sky Bar on
the 15th floor or even the Hole in One bar that overlooks the on board mini-golf
Apart from the general pool, there’s also an adults only pool and
various spa baths that allow younger and older cruisers to enjoy
themselves. Children have so many activities on the ship
including supervised rock wall climbing that they can run free and make
new friends while parents relax and have their own well-deserved break.
The dining rooms on the Voyager of the Seas can only be described as
magnificent. They are three storey restaurants with uniformed
waiters and wine waiters attending to your every wish. La Boheme is the
restaurant at the top, then down a level is Magic Flute followed by the
All food is included in your price and you can have as much as you like.
Nightly a la carte meals include fresh Atlantic salmon, Italian fare
including pasta, fillet steak and even French escargot (snails) if you
want to feel like a local as you sail the Riviera. There are
usually two nightly sittings with pre-assigned seats and alcohol can be
purchased with your meal at a reasonable price.
Breakfast and lunch can be had across most of the day in different
dining rooms which are buffet-style and delicious. The crew will
happily make you anything from an egg-white omelette to a cup of green
tea. All this with a magnificent ocean view as you get nearer to your
next exotic Mediterranean destination. If you want a snack any time of the
day and most of the night, you can find it at no additional cost.
MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE SHIP DESTINATIONS
The first stop on this cruise from Barcelona is
Nice. You actually
get off near Monte Carlo at Villefranche, where tenders take you ashore
to this charming little port. From here you can take a train
to all points including Nice and Cannes to the south and Monte Carlo to
Photo of Nice Accommodation Near Mediterranean Cruise Ship
The Voyager of the Seas
Nice itself is still a wonderful place to visit, oozing that French
charm that’s captivated royalty including Queen Victoria, who caused the
naming of the famous Promenade des Anglais. We recommend a walk along this long beachside promenade, taking in the
colourful sights of attractive beaches that while stony, are a great
place to soak up the Riviera atmosphere. At the end of the
Promenade des Anglais, you’ll find the famous Negresco Hotel, with its
uniformed doormen and its huge circular reception. Don’t miss the sight
of the world’s largest baccarat crystal chandelier hanging from the
One street back from the beach in Nice is where you’ll find great
shopping and cafes where you can watch the world go by. The
pedestrian mall here is full of well-price clothes shops with the
occasional shop full of the latest French perfumes.
30 minutes further south to
Cannes, home of the famous Film Festival, where the beaches are white sand and decidedly more
topless. You may even spot a movie star or two in this popular
Riviera town with its relaxed beach atmosphere and restaurants with good
French food. If you have time, you can even quickly venture
further south to St Tropez, the beachy town made famous by Brigitte
If you prefer the glamour of Monte Carlo, this is also easily reachable
from Nice. Go to the famous Casino Royale and marvel at the latest
model Ferraris and Lamborghinis you’ll see in the streets. Take a
look inside the famous Hotel de Paris and the Metropole Hotel, always
popular vantage points for the spectacular Monaco Grand Prix through the
rich, winding streets.
stop is the Italian port of
Livorno, where you can take a day trip to
any of the wonderful
Tuscan hill towns like Lucca or Cortona, or spend a
few hours in the Renaissance capital of Florence. Go to the famous
Ponte Vecchio for its wall to wall gold merchants or just over the
bridge the popular Flea Market where you’ll pick up furnishings
including tapestries for a song.
The eternal city of Rome is next, but you’ll need to take a coach or
train from Rome’s industrial port of Civitavecchia. It’s a pity
such a memorable city has such a forgettable port. In Rome, make a
beeline for the
Vatican and St Peter’s Basiilica where you’ll find the
most remarkable art by dedicated geniuses including Michelangelo.
If you go in summer, pre-arrange entry so you’re not stuck in a long
queue in the sun.
Then take a bus, metro or cab to the other landmarks including the
Coliseum, the wonderful Trevi Fountain (throw in a coin to come back
some day), the remarkably preserved Pantheon temple with its atmospheric
piazza, the Spanish steps and the Campo di Fiori (Square of Flowers).
Whatever you do, be careful of your valuables because of the skilled
pickpockets here. Make sure your money is out of reach in a zipped
pocket or against your skin because their favourite trick is to bump you
as a distraction. Be careful of con artists who’ll dress up to get
you to take a picture, then demand 10 or 20 Euros from you. Tell
them they can watch while you delete the picture that suddenly you don’t
want any more.
The next exciting destination down the Italian coast is Naples, a
huge city where many drive like maniacs. Our tip is to not leave
the port…get off the ship then jump straight onto one of the many
ferries going to the magical Isle of Capri, nearby Sorrento or a little
south to the cliff town of Positano.
See the famous Blue Grotto on Capri and marvel a the expensive resorts
as you walk to town at the top of the island.
But our favourite trip is the 45 minute ferry ride around the corner to
Positano, where you’ll find the wonderful beachfront Hotel Buca di Bacco
with its beachfront restaurants and bars. This hotel has recently
been voted by Tripadvisor readers as the best in Europe for romance.
The relaxed yet elegant lounge areas near reception are a delight as
you’re drawn to the restaurant with million dollar views and a menu that
won’t break the bank.
Another beachfront restaurant worth a look is Le Tre Sorelli (the Three
sisters) before you start walking up those steep steps to explore all
the shops that sell everything from fashion to colourful ceramics.
And make sure you try some Limoncello, the chilled local lemon liqueur
that’s a delight on a warm day.
Your final Italian destination on this cruise around the Mediterranean
is deep in the Italian south in Palermo, the capital of Sicily.
You can walk into the city from here as taxi drivers hassle you at the
port, or take an inexpensive bus. You’ll see everything in Palermo
from horse and carriage to three-wheeler mini taxis.
The best gelato in the world is found here right outside the port as you
cross the busy main road , on the left corner. Locals come
here in droves for the delicious ice cream treat, and you’ll smile as
you watch the enthusiastic locals standing as they eat their gelato in
any of two dozen flavours. The treat to try here is your favourite
gelato in the middle of what looks like an open doughnut.
After another welcome day at sea to relax and finally get quality sea
time to enjoy watching the blue waters of the Med by day, you arrive
back in Barcelona aboard the towering Voyager of the Seas. One
thing you have to give Royal Caribbean credit for is the smooth boarding
and departing procedure.
Unfortunately Barcelona’s fleet of taxis isn’t quite mobilised enough
for thousands of people arriving at a time, so be prepared to wait at
least half an hour in queue. It’s worth the wait of course to see one
of Europe’s prettiest cities, dominated by the famous Ramblas pedestrian
walk. There are tapas bars everywhere for delicious snacks and
make sure you see the famous twisting Gaudi Cathedral that’s been
nearly-finished for centuries.
Overall, "Voyager of the Seas" is top value for a cruise through the