NEW TRIP

Sicily and the Barbary Coast

Classical Civilization and Mediterranean Charm Aboard the Serenissima

Sicily and the Barbary Coast route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $6745  
Length: 18 days
Arrive: Valletta, Malta
Depart: Casablanca, Morocco
Lodging: 16 nights aboard a deluxe 107-guest vessel
Meals: all meals on board including house wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Small Ship Cruising, Walking
Trip Level: 17-day cruise, cultural explorations and walking tours
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Choosing the Right Trip

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References

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Set sail to explore the huge and beautiful island of Sicily, then ply the Barbary Coast of North Africa to discover incredibly well preserved Greek and Roman ruins by the sea in Tunisia and Algeria, finishing with a voyage along Morocco’s exotic coast from Tangiers to Casablanca. Sicily's grand Greco-Roman temples, the idyllic isles of Panarea and Lipari, the ruins of the great city of Carthage in Tunisia, and the souks of Morocco are all on this wonderful voyage.

Itinerary

Day 1
Valletta, Malta

Transfer to the MS Serenissima, moored in Valletta, at 4pm. Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. Sail this evening.

Day 2
Agrigento, Sicily

Although handsome in its own right and awash with medieval atmosphere, Agrigento is not our main reason for calling at this southern coast port. Close by is the Valle dei Templi, a series of Doric temples and the most captivating of Sicilian Greek remains, a grouping unique outside of Greece.

Day 3
Trapani / Erice / Segesta

From our berth in Trapani, we travel to the nearby town of Erice, famed in antiquity for its temple dedicated to the goddess of love, the Phoenician Astarte, Greek Aphrodite or Roman Venus. A tour will take us to this stunning site high above the sea and to the beautifully preserved medieval town. After a local lunch, we continue to Segesta to view one of the grandest Doric monuments to survive, the unfinished temple dating from 424 BC, which sits atop a hill.

Day 4
Palermo, Sicily

After breakfast, we tour Palermo, famous for its jumbled and picturesque streets punctuated with ornate Baroque churches, domed Arab mosques and the glittering Byzantine mosaics that reveal a unique and diverse heritage. We visit the impressive 12th century cathedral and the Palatine chapel in the Norman castle; today the building serves as the seat of the Sicilian government. The Archaeological Museum showcases one of the richest collections of Punic and Greek art in Italy. This afternoon is free to explore independently or perhaps join an optional excursion to visit the remarkable medieval mosaics in the cathedral at Monreale. We moor overnight for anyone wishing to enjoy an evening ashore.

Day 5
Cefalu, Sicily

We depart from Palermo at breakfast time and enjoy a morning at sea before arriving in Cefalu at lunch. Cefalu is of Greek origin; its name, meaning “head,” derives from its perch on a precipitous rocky headland. An afternoon walking tour includes the splendid Norman-Arab Cathedral, begun in 1131 and famous for its mosaics, including a superb image of Christ Pantocrator. We also visit a medieval wash-house and the Osterio Magno, the 11th century residence of King Ruggiero II. Enjoy some free time to explore this photographic town independently before we return to the MS Serenissima.

Day 6
Panarea & Lipari, Aeolian Islands

This morning we enjoy the benefit of our small ship as we arrive at the picturesque island of Panarea. Take a stroll through San Pietro, a romantic hidden village of whitewashed houses, flower-filled balconies and narrow lanes and learn about the history of the island, which is thought to have connections with the Minoan civilisation. On Lipari, we will find an amazing collection of ruins from the prehistoric through to the Roman period. Lipari town is a thriving little place, prettily located between two harbors. Our afternoon tour includes a visit to the upper town set within fortress walls, a drive around the volcano, followed by a visit to the Archaeological Museum, with its impressive relics from nearby excavations.

Day 7
Taormina, Sicily

From the nearby port of Giardini Naxos, we visit magnificent Taormina, a walled town lying in the shadow of Mount Etna, Europe’s highest volcano. The town has been a popular tourist destination since the 19th century and our guided tour will include the impressive Greek theatre, from where there are marvellous views over the town and coast. Sail this afternoon.

Day 8
Catania, Sicily

We have a full day to explore Catania in the shadow of Mount Etna. The architecture here is particularly impressive but a little forbidding, being mainly constructed from black lava stone. On a morning walking tour, we will see the magnificent Piazza del Duomo, a World Heritage Site, St Agatha’s Cathedral, and the imposing 13th century Castello Ursino. This afternoon is free for further exploration, perhaps a visit to the remains of the Roman amphitheatre or the colourful fish market, with its picturesque stalls. Sail over dinner to Syracuse, arriving late this evening.

Day 9
Syracuse, Sicily

Syracuse was a city that once rivaled Athens as the largest and most beautiful city in the Greek world. We have a choice of tours today. Either visit the Archaeological Zone and a well-preserved Greek theatre with seats carved from limestone. The Paradise Quarry, now an attractive garden and orange grove, was the primary source of that limestone and is the site of the curious ‘Dionysus’ Ear,’  a vast grotto with an amplifying resonance. Alternatively, drive to the Baroque town of Noto, built in 1703. We will see numerous 18th century palaces of incredible architectural value including the Duomo, the Museo Civico and the Convento dei Francescani. We enjoy lunch on board and an afternoon at sea as we sail to Tunisia.

Day 10
Sousse, Tunisia

After a morning at sea, we arrive in Sousse for our excursion to El Djem. We will explore its great Roman amphitheatre, built in the 3rd century AD to accommodate 35,000 spectators. Later, visit the excellent museum with its collection of mosaics.

Day 11
Carthage, Tunisia

From the nearby port of Tunis, drive to the site of Carthage, founded in the 8th century BC. See the Phoenician remains of Tophet, the sanctuary of the gods Tanit and Baal, as well as some interesting monuments from the Roman era. Later, explore the Bardo Museum, which houses some renowned Roman mosaics.

Day 12
Annaba, Algeria

Settlements have existed here from Phoenician times, but it was Rome that left the most powerful legacy and it was here that St. Augustine chose to live out his last years. It was known by various names over the centuries---Hippo Regius, Hippone, Annabe, Bone, and now Annaba. We will explore the site of Hippo Regius, seeing the largest and oldest Roman forum in North Africa and the baths dedicated to Septimius Severus. There will also be an opportunity to see some of this charming city, which is surrounded by hills and has at its heart an elegant colonial-period center.

Day 13
Algiers, Algeria

From our berth in Algiers, we drive to the magnificent coastal site of Tipaza. Originally a Carthaginian trading centre and vital trading post the site contains Phoenician, Roman, and Byzantine ruins. We have the morning to explore the site before continuing for lunch in a local restaurant. This afternoon, we return to the ship via the Tombeau de Cretians and Monument to the Martyrs, which towers over the botanical gardens and down to the port below.

Day 14
At Sea

Relax onboard and attend a lecture or two.

Day 15
Tangier, Morocco

Having passed the Straits of Gibraltar this morning, we arrive in Tangier, a city dating back to the Phoenicians in the 7th century BC. Our guided tour will lead through the medina, with its narrow alleyways and stepped passages to the old citadel. Later, visit the Dar el Makhzen, a former palace of the sultans and now an excellent antiquities museum.

Day 16
Casablanca, Morocco

After a morning at sea, we arrive in Casablanca at lunchtime. This afternoon we drive around Casablanca’s most important sights, including the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Place des Nations. The highlight of our tour, however, is a visit to the Hassan II Mosque, the largest religious monument in the world after Mecca. It took 3,300 traditional Moroccan artisans to create the beautiful mosaics, marble floors, and the splendid wood ceilings. The mosque also has the world’s tallest minaret, soaring 200 metres above the city. Time permitting, we make a final stop at the Central Market to browse the colourful stalls. Moor overnight.

Day 17
Casablanca

Disembark this morning.

Note: This cruise is not an exclusive Wilderness Travel departure. The itinerary, lecturers, and other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the ship operator.

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What the Trip is Like

The trip is rated Level 1, Easiest, and is appropriate for anyone in good health who is physically active. Some excursions involve a fair amount of standing and walking—often over rough ground and sometimes uphill. Mobility is essential, as small boats and tenders are occasionally used for disembarkation and re-embarkation.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

Departures

2015
Oct 18-Nov 4, 2015  Serenissima

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2015

Cruise Rates by Cabin Category
Per person, double occupancy

CategoriesCruise Price
Inside Twin $6,745
Standard Twin $7,585
Standard Sole occupancy $7,585
Superior Twin $8,185
Deluxe Twin $8,935
Junior Suite $9,950
Executive Suite $9,955
Owner's Suite $10,795

Deck Plan

Cabin Descriptions

There are eight different grades of cabin arranged over five decks, and with the exception of the five inside cabins, all staterooms feature either windows or portholes. Because of the very nature of the ship, the cabins do vary in shape and size, adding to the vessel’s overall charm. Choose from the cozy inside cabins of approx 10 square metres, to the sumptuous newly built executive suites of 25 square metres boasting private balconies, minibar and all the modern conveniences.

  • The standard staterooms range in size from 109-176 square feet.
  • The superior staterooms range in size from 125-211 square feet.
  • The deluxe staterooms range in size from 162-274 square feet.
  • The junior suites range in size from 225-233 square feet.
  • Owner’s suites are 244 square feet.
  • The dedicated inside single cabins range in size from 106-124 square metres, and the dedicated standard single cabins range in size from 76-137 square metres.

Trip Cost Includes:

  • 17 night cruise aboard the Serenissima
  • all meals on board including house wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
  • Noble Caledonia onboard team including guest speaker
  • Shore excursionsgratuities to crew and while on excursions
  • Transfers
  • Port taxes

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

  • Travel Insurance
  • Optional excursions
  • Visas

Trip Payment Schedule*

At time of reservation: 10% of trip cost
100 days prior to departure: Balance

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

More than 90 days prior to departure: 10% of trip cost
70-89 days prior to departure: 40% of trip cost
50-69 days prior to departure: 60% of trip cost
30-49 days prior to departure: 80% of trip cost
15-29 days prior to departure: 90% of trip cost
14 days or less: 100% of trip cost

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Serenissima

With her small size—just 107 passengers—the Serenissima can navigate into small, remote ports inaccessible to the big cruise ships. Facilities onboard include two lounges, restaurant, small library with two computers for internet access, fitness room, and Jacuzzi, Outdoor areas include a spacious observation deck with 360-degree views of the passing scenery, and for added comfort, the vessel features stabilizers. The atmosphere onboard is warm and welcoming, and the emphasis is not on round-the-clock entertainment and dining, but instead on thoughtful itineraries, relaxation, time spent with like-minded passengers, and discovery. After a day of adventure and exploration, returning to the comfort of the sophisticated Serenissima and its friendly crew is a real pleasure. An open bridge policy means you have the chance to visit the Captain and Officers during your voyage. There is a doctor onboard, and staff are trained in first aid.