Cruising The Western Mediterranean

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It’s one of those classic blue-sky days the Côte d'Azur is renowned for, and as the ship approaches Cap Ferrat she slows and bears starboard - we’re ahead of schedule and cruise at a very leisurely speed along one of the most famous coastlines in the world. Perched along the rugged cliffs are mansions, grand villas and historic hotels which bounce the bright sunlight back across the water. It is time to don the designer shades, order a glass of champagne, and be a part of the French Riviera party set - even if just for a day or two. Before long we’re cruising past the Musée Océanographique, perching dramatically on a cliff, and then the grandeur of Monte Carlo reveals itself, bathed in sunshine with the casino as its heart, and arcing gracefully down the steep slope to its beautiful harbour. Magnificent yachts of multimillionaires, and billionaires, jostle for supremacy along the harbour front and the cruise ship docks on the edge of the flotilla, towering 

Seven Seas Voyager

We were enjoying a western Mediterranean cruise, which was a decadent way to experience European culture and its visual delights. And as we discovered there was more to it than the hedonistic playground of Monte Carlo and surrounds. Our arrival into the millionaire playground was simply the flamboyant finale of seven days on board Regent’s Seven Seas Voyager, which was as much about history and culture as it was martinis and Maseratis. It’s hard to believe that some guests on board the Voyager opt to pass on the shore excursions; their reasoning being that they want to enjoy the facilities of one of the most modern and luxurious cruise ships afloat. Along with sister ship, Seven Seas Mariner, she was one of the world’s first all-suite/all-balcony six star cruise ships to cruise the globe, and her elegant design and sheer comfort helped Regent Seven Seas Cruises numerous awards. All of the ship’s suites have a private teak balcony with at least two deck chairs and a table. The balconies are private and give the feeling of being on your own private yacht; and with cocktails in hand it’s the perfect way to capture some stunning ocean sunsets between ports. 


Departing from the Italian port of Civitavecchia near Rome, this itinerary took in Livorno (for Florence), the French island of Corsica and charming port city of Marseille, the Spanish Balearic islands of Ibiza and Mallorca, and Monte Carlo. Each day offered a different type of overwhelming experience and prior to the glitz and glamour of the French Riviera, it was an opportunity to walk in the footsteps of some of Europe’s greatest artists, poets and conquerors against the backdrop of some of the most important, and beautiful, architecture in the world.The city that gave birth to the Renaissance, Florence, is one of those places that warrants a week of exploration but a full day is enough to cover much of one of Europe’s most remarkable cities. Standing sentinel over a place that really hasn’t changed much physically since the 16th century is the Campanile - an 84 metre gothic bell tower with more than 400 very steep steps. Built in the 14th century at time when human beings were much shorter than they are now, the climb up is a test of endurance and not for anyone who’s even slightly claustrophobic. But the views from the top are more than worthwhile - from the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, capped by the Dome, to the Tuscan Hills in the distance, the red roofs of Florence and its church spires - this is a landscape that inspired the likes of Michelangelo, Dante and Botticelli. Down at street level, Florence is no less breathtaking and it seems that at the end of every cobbled street there’s a piazza with famous statues, museums, historical buildings and al fresco cafés to sit down, have a real espresso, and take it all in.

Corsica And Marseille

From walking in the footsteps of the artists and poets of the Renaissance, to the birthplace of one of Europe’s great conquerors, each day brings a new and enriching experience - and Corsica is a beautiful island which pays homage to its most famous inhabitant, Napoleon Bonaparte. Though distinctly French in flavour, its strategic location made Corsica and its capital Ajaccio a prize possession among Mediterranean powers, and much of the architecture is Italian with impressive citadels, bridges and churches. The southern port city of Marseille, however, is French through and through, and proved a revelation. Most travellers to the region give Marseille a wide berth but they’re missing out on an authentic French port with real charm and an energetic feel. From the markets of the Vieux Port where an elderly female crooner serenades visitors with Edith Piaf covers, to the fishermen who sell from the back of their boats to the wonderfully laid back café culture - it’s France without the “attitude”.


By the time we’d reached Ibiza and Mallorca, we were expecting to finally be disappointed, but the two Spanish islands were as much of a surprise as Marseille - renowned for a clubbing culture and a reputation as a beery favourite for British tourists, each of them had an “old town” which was elegant, with winding cobbled streets, loads of great cafés and original 17th century architecture. In fact Ibiza Town’s medieval city, Dalt Vila, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. Monte Carlo proved a fitting end to the cultural overload of a week’s “work”, and all that remained to do was sit back, relax and watch a  dramatic sunset make way for the city lights to illuminate the magnificent backdrop.


Joanna Hall


  • 5
    Love Regent

    Posted by Kaye T on 11th Dec 2018

    We've cruised with Regent once before here in Australia and it was a great cruise.....loved the ship, the food, the great staff. Hubby and I can't wait to go again, possibly in Europe next year as we're planning to visit family in Denmark. This cruise you wrote about looks amazing, some great destinations there.

  • 5
    Bucket List

    Posted by Ariana on 4th Dec 2018

    Always wanted to do a cruise like this.....Regent looks like an amazing brand, although I'm sure everyone on board is pretty old LOL. Still it's on the bucket list....I have family in Spain and Portugal so it would be fun to perhaps catch up with them while cruising.