Beyond the now-crumbling walls of Taormina stone, the alluring blue of the bay acts as a backdrop that no set designer could conjure. Where once Greek tragedies of Sophocles and Euripides played out, today film festivals and concerts hold the crowds in their thrall. For although centuries have passed, the human penchant for drama remains, as eternal as the tides that turn below.
This was the best holiday we have ever had and we hope to do it again in a couple of years time.
R & J Whittle, Gourmet Italy
As we fly out with Emirates this evening, we are bound for a cornucopia of cultural and epicurean delights in some of the world’s best dressed destinations.
Touching down on the French Riviera in Nice today, we journey through sun steeped landscapes on the way to Aix-en-Provence. Amid classy boulevards and peaceful plazas, we are led up the elegant garden path to our Provencal manor house hotel, Le Pigonnet, where we’ll enjoy three wonderful nights. As our journey melts away, the afternoon is free to bathe in the golden hues and garden oasis of our hotel, enjoy the chatter of locals over a game of petanque or stop for a refreshment at one of the city’s cafes.
Today, we elicit the charms, treasures and simple pleasures of one of France’s most famous regions. Abandon yourself to history within Avignon’s Pope’s Palace then continue to Fontaine de Vaucluse to visit the ‘closed valley’ and an ancient paper mill. Then, after exploring the Roman Theatre of Orange and the Pont du Gard aqueduct and museum, it’s time to tour and quaff vintages at a Chateauneuf du Pape wine cellar.
Thinking of ‘friends, Romans, countrymen’… this morning we set out to trace a Roman legacy throughout the mountainous Alpilles, Saint-Remy de Provence and Les Baux-de-Provence regions. A tour and tasting at a local olive mill precedes lunch, then we brush up on Roman history among the age defying landmarks of Arles. Afterwards, we visit the open air museum of Bories Village near Gordes, stop at Senanque Abbey and visit Coustellet’s Lavender Museum. We return to our hotel, where dinner and an evening of relaxation beckons.
Providing an introduction to the glitzy charms of the French Riviera, Grasse leaves us charmed by its renown as the world’s perfume capital. Then it’s on to Nice, stretching sleek along the Cote d’Azur. After lunching at Le Negresco, a grand beachfront hotel, we are drawn to the glamour of Monte Carlo in the principality of Monaco. Our ship, Silver Muse, cuts a svelte figure among the harbour’s finest, as we are welcomed aboard this evening with de rigeur finesse. After dinner on board, perhaps step out to see how Monte Carlo dazzles by night.
Arrive 12.00pm – Sail 11.00pm
Since the glitterati of the roaring 20s, the racy Riviera lifestyle of the Cote d’Azur has never failed to seduce. How will you live the high life today?
This afternoon, soak up more of St Tropez’s sizzling seaside scene or return to the sanctuary of your ship.
Arrive 8.00am – Sail 5.30pm
Tucked away from the windy ferocity of the region’s notorious Mistral, the delightful harbour of Sanary-sur-Mer is all pastel hues and rainbow coloured boats. But it’s the canvas clad markets that turn our heads, packed to the gills with the ocean’s bounty.Here, we tour the town’s Diving Museum and historic chapels, all with wonderful views. Working up an appetite, we return for lunch on board to muse over what to explore this afternoon.
Barcelona, with its intricate byways and boulevards, sparked the imagination of Gaudi, Dali, Picasso and Miro. Today, we discover this vibrant Catalunyan capital on a walking tour. For lunch we will savour paella packed with frutos del mar and fluffy bomba rice. Afterwards, Gaudi’s modernista buildings disarm us on a tour and the fantastical spiral towers of his masterpiece, Sagrada Familia, make way for sweeping city views. Tonight the treats continue as we discover the best of Barcelona’s coveted culinary scene as we feast with expert food journalists who live by what they eat.
Still love the view but on the look out for a fresh perspective? Today offers the opportunity for you to see beyond Barcelona.
Arrive 8.00am – Sail 6.00pm
Oranges, paella and Moorish history leap to mind in Valencia. Yes, this is the harbour city from which Spain’s favourite rice dish heralds. It also does ancient and modern architecture with a flourish.
Arrive 8.00am – Sail 5.00pmAs we dock in Cartagena, it’s a wonder how many seafarers must have done so before us. Spain’s largest naval base has been a strategic harbour or trading post to Phoenicians, Romans, Moors and Christians over the centuries. Today, we explore the city’s historic arsenal before an afternoon to peruse as we please.
Arrive 8.00am – Sail 7.00pm
An all day sensory feast awaits in and around Malaga, which proves itself to be a self styled capital of art and food.
Arrive 8.00am – Sail 11.00pm
Today we distil the delights of Cadiz and Jerez, or Seville.
Back aboard, we dine out on our sea of discovery and wave adios to all we’ve adored about Spain.
Arrive 8.00am – Sail 6.00pm
As we disembark in the Portuguese harbour of Portimao, the supple lilt of a new language rolls off the tongue of locals around us.Today we tune into Portugal’s affluent Algarve coastline, which gleams invitingly before us. The lovely resort town of Lagos was the launchpad for many a foray into uncharted waters during the Age of Discoveries, and we happily navigate through its nautical history before meandering along the rugged coastline to Ponta da Piedade.
We arrive in Lisbon, a luminous capital of sunshine. Here, yellow trams, twisting lanes and terracotta rooftops effortlessly blend time worn traditions with progressive exuberance. Here, we embark on our selected course of discovery.
Our final dinner aboard is a time to regale fellow travellers with holiday favourites.
We enjoy our last breakfast aboard Silver Muse, before Lisbon greets us with a tasty slice of cafe culture on a gourmet tour. We can try it all, from salty cod fish cakes to creamy custard tarts, washed down with port, ginja (a local liqueur) and wines. Replete from all we’ve seen and savoured, we’re welcomed to the refined sanctuary of Pestana Palace this afternoon.
We take off for Madeira, a paradise of lush botanical wonder and old world charm. On arrival, we head for the clifftop colonial splendour of Belmond Reid’s Palace, where we’ll stay three nights. A welcome drink awaits on the terrace, ahead of a leisurely historic walking tour of the city.
Our full day excursion proves it’s well worth the effort to head for the hills today. Inland, tucked among emerald valleys, are levada walks and vertiginous views. While at the foot of the Ribeira Brava gorge, you’ll find a huge statue of Christ that reminds you of the open armed guardian that towers over Rio de Janeiro. And we can’t miss an opportunity to visit the framed houses that hug the contours of the mountains of Santana.
By now, we’ve had a chance to sample the medley of scenery and sights that Madeira proffers, so it’s off to the market today, to discover the island’s bountiful produce. We round it all off with a tasting at Henrique e Henrique, producer of some of the world’s best Madeira wines. Our Farewell Dinner tonight is aboard a private cruise as the sun’s warm embers slowly sink below the horizon.
It’s ‘adeus’ one last time as we make the picturesque journey to the airport after breakfast for our flight back to Lisbon. From here, we board our flight home via Dubai with Emirates.
The magic of the Mediterranean lifestyle is not lost on us when we return home. We resolve to sample new flavours, celebrate with family and friends, and even take a siesta once in a while!
Imagine a trip where you won’t have to lift a finger, or worry about bringing your wallet.
Sightseeing in each destination is included. Select Options even allow you to tailor aspects of the touring to your individual tastes when there are multiple touring options.
Classic Veranda Suite
Located in different areas on the ship, these veranda suites all feature a teak veranda with floor-to-ceiling glass doors and patio furniture, sitting area, marbled bathroom and vanity, full-sized bath and a separate shower, as well as a walk in wardrobe.
Pivotal to the Silver Muse dining experience, this elegant bar and grill incorporates the best that the sea has to offer. Created to temper your taste buds, designer dishes such as royal crab, blue lobster and Verbena infused red snapper in a sea salt crust are showcased alongside the best steaks offshore.
Unlock the hidden treasures of the spice markets of Mumbai, whet your appetite with the exoticism of Thailand and temper your taste buds with the cuisine of Vietnam. Elegant and exquisite dishes bursting with Asian essence awaken your gastronomic senses and immerse you in an expansive tapestry of the palate.
Madame features a bespoke menu by top chefs from the Relais & Châteaux team, and is the highest expression of excellence of French dining that Silver Muse has to offer. The ambience is one of chic contemporary style.
Based on per person, twin share in a Classic Veranda Suite – from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane flying with Emirates. Prices from other cities are available on request.
Cruise & Land Only guests join in Aix-en-Provence for dinner on Day 2 and depart Lisbon after breakfast on Day 20.
Supplements (add to base tour cost, per person, twin share)
Superior Veranda Suite $400
Deluxe Veranda Suite $800
For details of other suite upgrades, please contact one of our Tour Sales Consultants.
Single Suite Supplements including hotels (add to base tour cost)
Classic Veranda Suite $8,520
Superior Veranda Suite $10,490
Deluxe Veranda Suite $10,790
Single suites at above prices are limited. For details of other suite upgrades, please contact one of our Tour Sales Consultants.