Looking for luxury cruise itineraries that offer overnights in port, giving you more time to explore a destination? Luxury Travel Advisor has found some great options in iconic European cities.
For wine and culinary enthusiasts, Bordeaux, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is always a hit. On its June 5, 2021 sailing from Lisbon, Portugal to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Seabourn’s 450-passenger Seabourn Sojourn overnights at both London (Greenwich) and at Bordeaux. Other calls are Gijon and Bilbao, Spain; Hendaye (Biarritz), St. Malo (Le Mont Saint Michel) and Cherbourg (Normandy), France; Zeebrugge (Brussels), Belgium; and Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
A highlight among the shore options in Bordeaux is Seabourn’s “Bordeaux City & Wine Chateau: A UNESCO Partner Tour.” Cruisers will depart the pier for a scenic drive past the Cathedral of Saint Andre, Palais Rohan (Bordeaux’s City Hall) and other historic sites, before traveling to a nearby vineyard / estate to visit the cellars, learn about winemaking and enjoy a tasting. Or, for an even more scenic option, offering gorgeous wine country views from a bird’s-eye view, try Seabourn’s “The Medoc Vineyards by Helicopter with St. Emilion Views” excursion; highlights include aerial views of Chateau Margaux, Chateau Latour, Chateau Mouton Rothschild and Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, as well as the lovely St. Emilion region.
Cathedral of Saint Andre will be a top attraction for Seabourn guests visiting Bordeaux in 2021.//Photo: Getty Images
Departing June 3, 2021, Oceania Cruises will be offering a 10-day “Celtic Thrones” itinerary from Southampton on the 684-passenger Oceania Sirena, which includes an overnight in Dublin (Dun Laoghaire). Also included in the itinerary are Portland, England; Cork (Cobh), Glengarriff and Galway, Ireland; Londonderry and Belfast, Northern Ireland, plus a day spent at sea.
During your two days of Dublin port time, book the relaxing half-day “Oceania Exclusive - River Cruise & Dublin Sights” excursion with only 10 to 16 other guests, so to receive a higher level of personal attention and the flexibility provided by small group travel. Guests will cruise within Dublin onboard the river vessel, Liffey Voyager, while learning about the city’s history, from the Vikings’ arrival to its fast-paced development in recent centuries.
In Dublin, Oceania Sirena guests will get an opportunity to visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral.//Photo: Getty Images
Next, cruisers will take a Dublin motorcoach tour, taking in the Georgian squares of Merrion and Fitzwilliam, stopping for photos at Dublin’s colorful doors and viewing St. Patrick’s Cathedral, before driving by Guinness’ brewery, stopping at Phoenix Park and more.
Florence and Pisa, Italy
For cruisers who love Italy and seek two full days in Florence, one option is Azamara’s seven-night “Italy Intensive” voyage sailing April 24, 2021 from Monte Carlo, Monaco, to Rome (Civitavecchia). The 694-passenger Azamara Journey makes a Livorno (Florence / Pisa) overnight call and also sails to Santa Margherita, Portoferraio (Elba), Amalfi and Sorrento.
While Livorno has its own charms, travelers who love Florence will relish two days in the city for museum-hopping, a cooking class or a stroll to peruse historic sites. A bonus? Guests will enjoy the line’s complimentary AzAmazing evening, “An Operatic Evening at the Goloni Theatre,” opened in Florence in 1847. Cruisers can enjoy soprano vocalists, performing works by famous Italian composers.
Azamara Journey’s April 2021 itinerary will give guests two days to savor the sights of Florence.//Photo: Getty Images
For archaeology buffs, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ 15-night “Sacred Lands & Treasures” voyage from Jerusalem (Haifa), Israel, to Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy, includes an overnight call in Istanbul, Turkey, plus another overnight call in Haifa, among many other port calls. The 700-passenger Seven Seas Voyager departs May 28, 2021. In Istanbul, the line’s “Magnificent Legacies with Spice Market” excursion will visit the Rustem Pasa Mosque, famed for red Iznik tiles; Chora Museum, a former Greek Orthodox Church with Bible-themed mosaics and frescoes; Basilica Cistern with a barrel-vaulted brick roof supported by 300-plus columns; and the bustling Spice Market.
Regent’s Seven Seas Voyager will have an overnight call in Istanbul, Turkey in May 2021.//Photo: Getty Images
Some lines also offer longer voyages with overnight calls. Holland America Line’s 24-day “Mediterranean Empires” cruise on the 1,964-passenger Zuiderdam is a good example. Departing Barcelona, Spain, for Venice, Italy, on October 28, 2021, the ship overnights in Istanbul mid-voyage and at Venice as the voyage ends. This cruise also includes island-hopping in Greece, a call at Korcula, Croatia, and many other ports of call.
While bigger ships dock at Southampton or Dover for London calls, smaller, oceangoing vessels can sometimes sail directly into London, docking at Tower Bridge on the Thames River — and that’s just what Silversea Expeditions offers. Sailing on a “London-Tower Bridge to London-Tower Bridge” itinerary roundtrip from London on May 17, 2021, Silversea’s luxurious, 274-passenger Silver Wind overnights in London on both the first and last nights, giving cruisers plenty of time to explore museums, enjoy afternoon tea ashore, shop or catch an evening performance in London’s West End theater district.
Silver Wind also calls at Dublin and doesn’t depart until 10 p.m., so guests can go ashore in the early evening. How about popping into historic Temple Bar with Ireland’s largest whiskey collection and traditional Irish music daily? This voyage also calls at St. Peter Port, Guernsey; St. Mary’s and Tresco, Isles of Scilly; Milford Haven and Skomer Island, Wales; Fort William, Scotland; several remote Hebridean isles; and the Isle of Man (Douglas), U.K.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Motorsport racing fans will get “revved up” with an overnight in Monte Carlo during Formula 1’s Monaco Grand Prix. The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection offers this in both 2021 and 2022, while Windstar Cruises’ 342-passenger Wind Surf will sail into Monte Carlo during race week on a seven-night roundtrip Rome itinerary, departing May 19, 2021. Wind Surf’s overnight stay will allow racing fans to spend two days soaking up the action. Good to know: Fares include Grand Prix tickets and a visit to the pits. Windstar also brings a Formula 1 racing host onboard and guests enjoy a Grand-Prix-themed cocktail reception and dinner, plus a race day brunch. Pretty cool!
With that said, Monte Carlo brims with nighttime action throughout the year. On July 26, 2022, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ 500-passenger Europa 2 will sail from Monte Carlo to Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, and overnight in Monaco on embarkation day. Guests can get settled and head out sightseeing in the evening — perhaps for blackjack or the slots at the Casino of Monte Carlo. Departing at 9 a.m. the next day, Europa 2 calls at Antibes, France; Portofino, Livorno (Florence), Portoferraio (Elba) and Sorrento, Italy; and Saint-Florent and Bonifacio, Corsica, France.
And for what promises to be a “different” voyage experience for adults only (ages 18-plus), Virgin Voyages’ second ship, Valiant Lady, will sail on August 8, 2021 on a seven-night “French Daze & Ibiza Night” itinerary, likely appealing to “party animals.” Sailing roundtrip from Barcelona, guests can enjoy overnight calls at both Monte Carlo and Ibiza, Spain, plus visits to Marseilles, France and Olbia, Italy.
For another option, SeaDream Yacht Club’s 112-passenger SeaDream II sails from Civitavecchia (Rome) to Barcelona on October 30, 2021. The ship overnights at Monte Carlo, and calls at Porto Santo Stefano and Portofino, Italy; Cannes and Cassis, France; and Roses, Costa Brava, Spain. During the Monte Carlo stay, guests can head out on several excursions: One will take them to the top of Monaco’s Rock and the Old City, to the cathedral with the tomb of Princess Grace & Prince Rainier III and to view the Prince’s Palace (the official royal residence). Cruisers will also gaze at the rugged Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat promontory and visit “Villa Ile-de-France,” a museum displaying Baroness Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild’s private collection of art, porcelain, furniture, carpets and tapestries.
While larger cruise ships will often call at Cadiz, Spain, so cruisers can head for Seville, 75 miles away, smaller vessels can sail directly into Seville via the Guadalquivir River. One example? The 228-passenger Scenic Eclipse does so on Scenic’s 12-day “Wonders of Iberia and Western Europe” itinerary from Barcelona to Amsterdam, departing May 22, 2021. During the Seville overnight stay, a Scenic Enrich excursion will take guests to one of Seville’s oldest bullrings for an exclusive equestrian flamenco show. On another day, cruisers can choose between such Scenic Freechoice activities as exploring Seville’s Alcazar (royal palace), sherry tasting in Jerez or touring Cordoba; or, with Scenic Discovery, they can head out on a biking excursion.
Scenic’s 12-day “Wonders of Iberia and Western Europe” itinerary in May 2021, will offer an overnight stay in Seville.//Photo: Getty Images
St. Petersburg, Russia
Overnighting in St. Petersburg is Princess Cruises’ 11-day “Scandinavia & Russia” cruise roundtrip from Copenhagen, Denmark, on multiple 2021 departure dates. The 3,660-passenger Sky Princess arrives at 6:30 a.m. one day and departs at 6 p.m. the next. Guests will also visit Oslo, Norway; Berlin (Warnemunde), Germany; Tallinn, Estonia; Helsinki, Finland; and Stockholm, Sweden.
In St. Petersburg, Princess offers more than two dozen shore excursions, several in the evening, including a “Special Evening of Russian Ballet,” a Russian folkloric evening or an “Evening at Catherine Palace.”
In St. Petersburg, Princess offers more than two dozen shore excursions.//Photo: Getty Images
For cruisers seeking maximum time ashore, though, some lines offer a “double overnight,” meaning up to three days for exploring a city. On July 8, 2021, Crystal Cruises’ 980-passenger Crystal Serenity sails a 12-night voyage from Stockholm, Sweden to London (Dover) with a “double overnight” in St. Petersburg, plus overnights at both Stockholm and Copenhagen and calls at Helsinki, Finland; Tallinn, Estonia; and Warnemunde, Germany (for Berlin).
Crystal’s shore excursions range from a “St. Petersburg Introduction” to several Hermitage State Museum tours and a guided bicycling tour. Guests can opt for Crystal’s 18-hour “Moscow by High Speed Train” excursion or a more robust 40-hour “Crystal Overland Adventure — Overnight in Moscow” with included transportation, a Moscow hotel stay, evening entertainment and two days of touring, including Red Square and the Kremlin, the State Tretyakov Gallery and the city’s Metro with magnificent station architecture.
Crystal Serenity will set sail for a 12-night voyage from Stockholm, Sweden to London (Dover) on July 8, 2021.
Also offering a double overnight in St. Petersburg is Viking Cruises during its 10-night “Russia and the Baltic Sea” voyage aboard the 930-passenger Viking Jupiter, sailing from Stockholm to Copenhagen on June 6, 2021 and June 2, 2022. This cruise also includes a double overnight in Stockholm, Sweden, and a single overnight in Copenhagen, Denmark. Other ports of call include Tallinn, Estonia; Visby, Sweden; and Bornholm, Denmark.