A new cruise offering from Smithsonian Journeys and PONANT

Trace the Mediterranean coasts of France and Italy, exploring Provence, the Côte d’Azur, the Italian Riviera, and Cinque Terre. Venture to the medieval walled towns of Carcassonne and Lucca, and trace the legacies of great artists from Cézanne and Van Gogh in Provence to Michelangelo in Florence.

Starting at: $5,860 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The village of Portofino
 Palais des Papes, Avignon, France
 Panorama of Florence at dusk
 Duomo at the historic center of Florence
 The Tuscan hill town of Volterra
 The village of Vernazza, along the Cinque Terre
 The cathedral at Lucca
 The legendary tower of Pisa
 The village of Portofino on the Italian Riviera
 Market square in Old Town, Aix-en-Provence
 Medieval Carcassonne, France
 The medieval city and castle of Carcassonne
 The medieval fortifications of Carcassonne
 The Rock of Monte Carlo with the Prince's Palace

Southern France and the Italian Riviera by Sea

From Barcelona to Civitavecchia on the 184-guest Le Champlain

9 days from $5,860

A new cruise offering from Smithsonian Journeys and PONANT

Trace the Mediterranean coasts of France and Italy, exploring Provence, the Côte d’Azur, the Italian Riviera, and Cinque Terre. Venture to the medieval walled towns of Carcassonne and Lucca, and trace the legacies of great artists from Cézanne and Van Gogh in Provence to Michelangelo in Florence.

or Call 855-330-1542

Overview

2023 Post-Cruise Program — 3 Days, 2 Nights

This program is specially designed to orient you to the treasures of Rome and to introduce you to some of its most important monuments. 

Day 1 – Disembark / Civitavecchia / Rome

After breakfast aboard, join your guide for the 90-minute drive into Rome, where your exploration of the Eternal City begins with a panoramic tour of its major monuments—the Caracalla Baths, Tiberina Island, Circus Maximus, St. Angelo Castle, and Villa Borghese Park. Then, leaving the coach behind, follow your guide on a walking tour of some of the most famous piazzas and fountains in Rome, including the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and Navona Square.

After lunch at a local restaurant, continue your tour of Rome's ancient ruins, as your guide explains their relation to twelve centuries of cultural, political, and religious history. Your final stop will be at the Colosseum, iconic symbol of Imperial Rome, where you will enjoy VIP access to the floor of the arena where gladiators, Christians, and wild beasts once battled to the death before an audience of more than 50,000 spectators. Rejoin your coach for the short ride to the historic Sina Bernini Bristol, your home for the next two nights. Dinner is independent and at your leisure.

Sina Bernini Bristol

Day 2 – Rome

Breakfast at the hotel is followed by a specially crafted tour of the Vatican. Begin your discovery of this center of Catholic Christianity in the Vatican City Gardens, open only to VIP visitors. The gardens contain a variety of fortifications and monuments, dating from as early as the 9th century and set among vibrant flower beds, topiary, green lawns, and forest. See the Vatican Radio Station and the Academy of Science, and enjoy a singular view of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel from the rear.  

Briefly visit the Vatican Museums before entering the world-famous Sistine Chapel, where you will see Michelangelo's fresco of The Creation of Adam. Continue to the interior of St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world, where Michelangelo's Pieta and the beautifully carved Bernini Pulpit are among the many works of art on display. The rest of day is yours to explore the city on your own or to enjoy the amenities of the hotel. Lunch and dinner are independent and at your leisure.

Sina Bernini Bristol

Day 3 – Rome / Home 

After breakfast at the hotel and check out, transfer to the airport for flights homeward.

Your hotel:

Located in heart of Rome, the historic Sina Bernini Bristol is one of the most renowned 5-star hotels in the Eternal City. Once the hotel of choice for Russian Tsars, Princes of Wales, the Rockefellers, and the Vanderbilts, the Bernini Bristol enjoys a privileged location between Piazza Barberini and Via Veneto, just a few minutes’ walk from the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. The bedrooms are well appointed in classic and contemporary style. Each room features an Italian marbled tile bathroom, satellite TV, a safe, minibar, and hairdryer. The hotel has a rooftop restaurant with panoramic views, as well as a spa and fitness center.

Your program includes:

  • 2 nights at the Sina Bernini Bristol (or similar)
  • Transfer and luggage handling from the pier to the hotel on Day 1
  • Transfer and luggage handling from the hotel to the airport on Day 3
  • Lunch on Day 1
  • Breakfast on Days 2 and 3
  • Sightseeing and programming as noted in the itinerary
  • Local English-speaking guide
  • Gratuities for the drivers and local guides

Your program does not include:

  • Transfer from the hotel to the airport on any day other than the scheduled program departure day
  • Personal expenses and other services and meals not mentioned as included in the program

Please note:

  • It is imperative that your flight departure details are communicated at least 30 days prior to the beginning of your cruise in order to secure your transfer from the hotel to the airport.
  • Late check-out is available depending on availability and at a supplement. An additional night is possible, upon request and depending on hotel availability. Please contact reservations or your travel agent for further details.
  • The official currency is the Euro. Credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, shops, and restaurants.
  • This post-cruise program is offered as a package. There will be no refunds for unused accommodations, meals, or excursions.
  • Program is offered on a space available basis and is subject to change without notice. 

Itinerary

Day 1 — Barcelona, Spain

Arrive in Barcelona and transfer to the port. Embark our ship and begin your voyage north toward France. (D) 

Day 2 — Carcassonne, France

Dock in Sète and travel inland to the fortified medieval city of Carcassonne. Spend the day discovering the ramparts, turrets, and towers of this World Heritage site and learn about its restoration at the hands of 19th-century architect Viollet-le-Duc, said to have invented modern restoration techniques. (B,L,D) 

Day 3 — Marseille and Provence

Anchor in Marseille, France’s oldest city, and travel into Provence on your choice of excursions. Tour the boulevards and squares of Aix-en-Provence, an elegant university town known for its baroque architecture and for its native sons Émile Zola and Paul Cézanne. Or visit Arles, once a bustling Roman city founded by Julius Caesar. See its impressive Roman amphitheater, and trace the steps of Vincent Van Gogh, who spent one of the most prolific periods of his career in the city. Or drive along the Rhône to Avignon, seat of the papacy for much of the 14th century. Visit the extraordinary Papal Palace and enjoy time to explore the charming old town. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Nice, St. Paul de Vence / Eze and Monte Carlo, Monaco

Sail along the Côte d’Azur to Nice, named a World Heritage site in 2021. Explore this cosmopolitan seaside city, long considered a winter resort for Europeans, and visit a museum dedicated to one of its most famous residents: Marc Chagall. Alternatively, head to Monaco for a tour of chic Monte Carlo, then journey to the picturesque hilltop town of Eze for a stroll along its medieval streets. Or travel to St. Paul de Vence and view the modern art at the Maeght Foundation. (B,L,D) 

Day 5 — Portofino, Italy and the Italian Rivier

Cruise past the elegant resort towns that dot the rugged shores of the Italian Riviera. Anchor in the picturesque fishing village of Portofino, and take a walking tour of its winding lanes, lined with houses painted in warm hues. Then enjoy time at leisure to explore this magical spot on your own. (B,L,D) 

Day 6 — Cinque Terre or Lucca and Pisa

Take in stunning views of the five tiny villages known as the Cinque Terre during an early morning sail. Then set off in private boats from Porto Venere to visit two of the villages - Monterosso and Vernazza - on foot. Or travel into Tuscany to discover the historic walled town of Lucca and visit Pisa, once an important Roman port now known best for its famously leaning tower. (B,L,D) 

Day 7 — Florence or Volterra

Immerse yourself in the spectacular Renaissance city of Florence, encountering some of its most iconic artistic treasures, from Brunelleschi’s dome to Michelangelo’s David. Tour the city’s piazzas and churches, and learn how the city of the de Medicis shaped art history. Alternatively, ascend to hilltop Volterra and visit Roman ruins and the Etruscan Museum, where an impressive collection of artifacts traces the rich legacy of this ancient civilization. (B,L,D) 

Day 8 — Bonifacio, Corsica, France

Follow the coast of Corsica to the fortress town of Bonifacio, perched on cliffs high above the sea. Set off into the labyrinthine streets of the medieval Citadel, visiting churches and historic monuments. Or choose to ride a local boat along the coast, exploring grottos tucked within the dramatically eroded limestone cliffs. (B,L,D) 

Day 9 — Civitavecchia, Italy

After breakfast, disembark in Civitavecchia, northwest of Rome, and transfer to the airport for your flight home. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

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