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Grand European Explorer

FROM $5,029

Europe beckons with glorious history, fabled cities and spellbinding beauty. In the shadows of epic monuments, you will discover storybook towns hidden behind medieval walls, timeless gems and a taste of la dolce vita. Cruise to Europe’s most enchanting ports of call and discover with Princess the lands of legends and kings.

London (Dover), England  |   Paris/Normandy (Le Havre), France  |   La Coruna, Spain (for Santiago de Compostela)  |   Gibraltar, Great Britain  |   Barcelona, Spain  |   Sete (for Carcassonne), France  |   St Tropez, France  |   Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy  |   Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy  |   Naples, Italy (for Capri & Pompeii)  |  Sicily (Catania), Italy  |     Khios, Greece  |   Istanbul, Turkey  |   Corfu, Greece  |   Korcula, Croatia  |  Ljubljana (Koper), Slovenia  |   Venice, Italy

  • DURATION 23 DAYS
  • TYPE CRUISE
  • OPERATES SEPTEMBER 25, 2017
  • DEPARTS London (Dover), England

ITINERARY

DAY 1 London (Dover), England

Visible for miles from sea, the White Cliffs of Dover are an instantly recognizable symbol of England. Modern highways make Dover the doorstep to London – Britain’s ever fascinating capital. Visitors to this great city have a wealth of pleasures to choose from. Explore the notorious Tower of London and view the Crown Jewels. Visit Windsor Castle or see Westminster Abbey. The choices are fascinating and endless. Dover is also your gateway to Kent’s green countryside, dotted with old medieval towns and castles.

DAY 2 Paris/Normandy (Le Havre), France

Perhaps no other place in France holds more associations for English speaking visitors than Normandy. The historic Allied landings on D-Day – 6 June, 1944 – live on in the memories of British and Americans alike. Nor has Le Havre forgotten the dark days of the war. The port was nearly completely destroyed during the Normandy campaign. Today, Le Havre is France’s second largest port and the gateway to Paris, “City of Light,” the Norman countryside, and the historic landing beaches.

DAY 3 At Sea

Choose from a variety of on-board entertainment and activity options.

DAY 4 La Coruna, Spain (for Santiago de Compostela)

With La Coruña’s impressive and extensive history, visitors are often surprised at how modern the city is. It was from here that, in 1588, Spain sent its “invincible” Armada sailing. A year later, Sir Francis Drake sent those ships scrambling, burning most of the city just for good measure. Drake’s invasion was ultimately repelled by the peoples of La Coruña, inspired by the local heroine, María Pita.

In the process, La Coruña lost all of its Roman antiquities, including the Torre de Hercules, the present day monument as undergone several transformations over the centuries, the most important one carried out in 1788 by the engineer Eustaquio Giannini, who built the current façades around what remained of the Roman lighthouse, now declared a World Heritage Site. The city does, however, still offer incredible vistas, situated as it is on an outstretch of land blanketed on each side by the sea.

Be sure to visit the Ciudad Vieja, the small old town that watches over the Darsena de La Marina harbor. Here you will find many pleasant cafes from which you can people-watch. Notice that most of the streets are lined with glass covered balconies built for protection again the city’s winds and rain.

The port of La Coruña serves as your gateway to Santiago de Compostela, one of the greatest pilgrimages of the Middle Ages. As the site of the supposed shrine of St. James the Apostle, it is the third holiest site in all Christendom, following Jerusalem and Rome. Pilgrims believed that making the journey here would reduce their sentence in purgatory by one-half.

DAY 5 At Sea

Choose from a variety of on-board entertainment and activity options.

DAY 6 Gibraltar, Great Britain

The Rock crouches over the sea like an ancient stone beast, looking Sphinx-like to Africa. Beneath the white cliffs of this natural fortress grows a profusion of palm, pine, and cypress. No fewer than 600 varieties of flowers thrive here, some not found anywhere else on Earth. Gibraltar’s stunning setting is matched by its history – five countries have battled for 13 centuries to control the passage between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. The result made for a cultural melting pot. Veiled Moroccan women in caftans and vacationing Englishmen and Spaniards stroll along the narrow, steep lanes. The locals revert to a liquid Spanish when talking among themselves. And visitors to a 15th-century cathedral pass through a blue-tiled courtyard, once part of a 13th-century mosque.

DAY 7 At Sea

Choose from a variety of on-board entertainment and activity options.

DAY 8 Barcelona, Spain

The 1992 Summer Olympics revealed to the world what Europeans and seasoned travelers already knew – Barcelona is one of the world’s greatest treasures. Vibrant and earthy, commercial and cultural, this city of two million residents is the capital of Spain’s autonomous region of Catalonia. Stroll along the wide, tree-lined promenades of Las Ramblas and marvel at the spires of Gaudi’s Basilica La Sagrada Familia. Or visit the former Olympic Ring on the hill of Montjuic – also home to world-class parks, fountains and museums. Barcelona, which nurtured such artistic giants as Picasso, Dali, Miro and Casals, is definitely a traveler’s paradise.

DAY 9 Sete (for Carcassonne), France

Referred to by locals as the “Venice of Languedoc,” Sète is a small artists’ commune in southern France known for its romantic canals and charming atmosphere.

Archaeological evidence points to human presence in the region as far back as the Bronze Age, although Sète did not experience major growth until the second half of the 17th century, when King Louis XIV urged on the construction of the sea port. The digging of the Canal du Midi was to follow, an immense undertaking that would eventually enhance the region’s economy.

Although Sète was attacked by the British in the early 18th century and was nearly demolished as the Allies defended it at the conclusion of World War II, the city prevailed and serves today as a beautiful Mediterranean resort, as well as your gateway to the medieval city of Montpellier and the awe-inspiring, fairy tale castle of Carcassonne.

DAY 10 St Tropez, France

St Tropez, France : Points of Interest : Princess Cruises

St. Tropez shimmers along the storied waters of the Cote d’Azur. Its history dates to Roman times, the quaint charm of its twisting maze of picturesque streets harks back to the medieval age and its beaches figured in the Allied landings of WWII. It is the romantic allure of high-end shops, lavish yachts and trendy restaurants and bars frequented by celebrities and the attending paparazzi that keeps the town an epicenter of the social whirl. A lively town square, the Place aux Herbs, has been a center of activity for centuries. It’s just one of many popular places to see and be seen.

DAY 11 Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy

Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy : Points of Interest : Princess Cruises

Livorno is the gateway to glorious Tuscany. Visit Florence – the cradle of the Renaissance – home to the Duomo, the Uffizi and the Ponte Vecchio. Here the Medici fostered a city-state whose cultural legacy is as great as classical Athens. Giants like Dante, Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Galileo infused the West with a new creative spirit. Then there is Pisa, Florence’s rival for political power. Pisa, a brash, commercial seafaring town rivaled the great maritime powers of Venice and Genoa. The city was a leader in art and architecture second only to Florence.

DAY 12 Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy

Your gateway to the Eternal City, Civitavecchia has served as Rome’s seaport since the 13th century. The port has a long and venerable history. The emperor Trajan built a pleasure villa near the modern city, while Bernini and Michelangelo designed the harbor fortifications.

Yet the Eternal City eternally beckons. The ancient capital of the Western World and the center of Christianity for nearly 2,000 years, Rome provides an inexhaustible feast. Visit the ruins of the Forum, view the splendors of the Sistine Chapel, or climb the Spanish Steps, once the heart of Rome’s Bohemian Quarter.

Rome has been a magnet luring the world’s greatest artists, architects, and philosophers since the days of the Caesars.

DAY 13 Naples, Italy (for Capri & Pompeii)

Italy’s third-largest city, Naples is a bustling metropolis famed for it stately buildings, crowded streets, pizza – and notoriously bad traffic. However, this beautiful city is rich in centuries-old culture and customs. Naples is also your gateway to the Isle of Capri, the fabled Amalfi Coast and the ruins of Pompeii, buried in ash by the cataclysmic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D.

Naples boasts an ideal location, with both the ruins of Roman cities and the stunning Amalfi Coast in easy reach.

DAY 14 Sicily (Catania), Italy

Catania is your gateway to the majestic Mount Etna and the enchanting villages that live in its imposing 10,902-foot shadow. The towns of Taormina and Castelmola may date back to antiquity but their medieval structures are postcard perfect. For a look at Greek and Roman life be sure to visit Siracusa, home to stunning amphitheaters and Piazza Armerina, site of the spectacular Villa del Casale. But there’s much to discover in Catania, as well. Following a catastrophic eruption and earthquake in the 17th century the city was rebuilt to reflect the times. The result is a treasure trove of Baroque architecture, acclaimed as the best in all of Sicily. From its exalted history to its scenic environs Catania will never fail to delight, inspire and surprise

DAY 15 At Sea

Choose from a variety of on-board entertainment and activity options.

DAY 16 Khios, Greece

Khios is revered as the birthplace of blind Homer, the bard whose epics “Iliad” and “Odyssey” mark the very origins of Western literature. In fact, archeologists believe that Chios town has been inhabited since 2000 B.C.

During the course of its long and turbulent history, the island has been controlled by Greek and Italian city-states as well as the Roman and Ottoman Empires. (Khios was the site of an infamous 1822 massacre during the long struggle for Greek independence from Ottoman rule.) The island is also the source of mastic – an aromatic gum gathered from Khios’ lentisk tree. Mastic has been a highly prized ingredient in cosmetics and medicines since Antiquity. The island’s “Mastic Villages” were built between the 14th and 16th centuries to control and protect the trade’s enormous profits

DAY 17 Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul rises from the Bosphorus, a vision of minarets and domes sparkling in the light. The capital of vanished empires, Istanbul is a true crossroad, the only city on Earth to span two continents. This meeting place of Europe and Asia, of Christian and Muslim, is one of the great adventures a traveler encounters. Browse the stalls of the world’s largest bazaar, explore ancient mosques and churches, and gaze at the stunning jewels in the Topkapi Palace.

Istanbul has dominated the Straits of Bosphorus for 25 centuries. As Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, it was a metropolis of stunning splendor when the great cities of Europe were mere villages.

DAY 18 Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul rises from the Bosphorus, a vision of minarets and domes sparkling in the light. The capital of vanished empires, Istanbul is a true crossroad, the only city on Earth to span two continents. This meeting place of Europe and Asia, of Christian and Muslim, is one of the great adventures a traveler encounters. Browse the stalls of the world’s largest bazaar, explore ancient mosques and churches, and gaze at the stunning jewels in the Topkapi Palace.

Istanbul has dominated the Straits of Bosphorus for 25 centuries. As Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, it was a metropolis of stunning splendor when the great cities of Europe were mere villages.

DAY 19 At Sea

Choose from a variety of on-board entertainment and activity options.

DAY 20 Corfu, Greece

The lush and verdant island of Corfu lies in the Ionian Sea, midway between Greece and Italy. The island has a long and colorful history. First colonized by the city-state of Corinth, Corfu has been ruled by the Romans, the Venetians, the French and the English. Corfu Town boasts fortresses bearing the insignia of the Venetian Republic, an esplanade lavishly planted by the French during the Napoleonic Wars, and an English cricket pitch. The island also offers some of the finest coastal scenery in the entire Mediterranean.

Corfu’s old town is a mixture of the medieval and the modern. The Esplanade, planted with palms and eucalyptus by the French, leads to the English cricket pitch.

DAY 21 Korcula, Croatia

Legend has it that the great Venetian explorer Marco Polo was born in Korcula town in 1254, in a stone house near St. Mark’s Cathedral. The legend may well be true – the Venetian Republic dominated the Adriatic for centuries, and the cathedral, after all, is named for Venice’s patron saint. But the Venetians were just one of the peoples to have left their mark on Korcula. Lying off the Dalmatian coast almost halfway between Split and Dubrovnik, the island has seen rulers come and go, from the Roman Empire to the Venetian Republic, from the Ragusan Republic to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Prehistoric ruins dot the landscape. This is an ancient and storied landscape.

And what a landscape it is! Korcula still boasts that clarity of sea and sky that is the hallmark of the Dalmatian Riviera. The island interior is crowned with rocky hills, pine forests and the aromatic chaparral of the Mediterranean. The shore runs from rocky, secluded coves to fine, broad strands while offshore islands boast beautiful bays and reefs. Centuries of agrarian tradition and experience have made Korcula’s reputation as an important producer of premium wines and olive oil. Whether the traveler comes seeking art and culture, scenic beauty, or adventure, Korcula offers a rich and rewarding experience.

DAY 22 Ljubljana (Koper), Slovenia

Slovenia’s largest port possesses a long and colorful history. Over the course of two millennia, the city has been ruled by the Roman Empire, the Republic of Venice, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Italy and Yugoslavia. Koper’s history has been well-preserved in its city center, which boasts well-preserved medieval squares, a 15th century Venetian palace and Slovenia’s largest cathedral.

Koper is also your gateway to Slovenia proper. Ljubljana, the nation’s capital, is a mere 90-minute drive away. The political and cultural heart of Slovenia, Ljubljana is a graceful city of Baroque and Art Nouveau architecture and bridges. The region surrounding Koper is also home to Slovenia’s largest cave and the Lipica Stud Farm, home of the legendary Lipizzaner horses.

Slovenia is a seismically active country. In 1511 and 1895, Ljubljana was devastated by massive earthquakes. Rebuilding resulted in the city’s distinctive architecture.

DAY 23 Venice, Italy

Rising from the waters of the Laguna Veneta, Venice has long – and rightly – been regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Napoleon, who had an eye for acquisitions, once described St. Mark’s Square as the finest drawing room in Europe. Certainly, no other site can quite match its superb campanile, Doge’s Palace and recumbent lions. Just over two miles in length, the Grand Canal is lined with stunning buildings that reflect the city’s unique heritage. Cruise through its winding canals on a gondola or watch the bronze Moors on the clock tower strike the passing hours as they have for 500 years – Venice is an unparalleled experience.

The city began life as a refuge from barbarian invasions. By the Crusades, Venice’s dominion extended throughout the Adriatic and Mediterranean. The winged lion – symbol of St. Mark – flew over palaces and fortresses from Gibraltar to the Black Sea.

DAY 24 Venice, Italy

Rising from the waters of the Laguna Veneta, Venice has long – and rightly – been regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Napoleon, who had an eye for acquisitions, once described St. Mark’s Square as the finest drawing room in Europe. Certainly, no other site can quite match its superb campanile, Doge’s Palace and recumbent lions. Just over two miles in length, the Grand Canal is lined with stunning buildings that reflect the city’s unique heritage. Cruise through its winding canals on a gondola or watch the bronze Moors on the clock tower strike the passing hours as they have for 500 years – Venice is an unparalleled experience.

The city began life as a refuge from barbarian invasions. By the Crusades, Venice’s dominion extended throughout the Adriatic and Mediterranean. The winged lion – symbol of St. Mark – flew over palaces and fortresses from Gibraltar to the Black Sea.

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