Portofino – Windstar Cruises – A Luxury Cruise Blog http://blog.windstarcruises.com Tue, 20 Jun 2017 22:12:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 Which Riviera is Right for Me? French or Italian? http://blog.windstarcruises.com/2016/05/french-riviera-or-italian-riviera/ http://blog.windstarcruises.com/2016/05/french-riviera-or-italian-riviera/#respond Mon, 02 May 2016 17:25:54 +0000 http://blog.windstarcruises.com/?p=6078 Travel professionals get this question a lot: “Should I visit the French OR Italian Riviera? I don’t have time for both.” Well, both are beautiful and glamorous. Both have delicious cuisine (Salade Niçoise vs. Fresh Pasta with Ligurian Basil Pesto). Both have scrumptious local wine (rosés in France vs. white wines from Vermentino grapes in […]

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Travel professionals get this question a lot: “Should I visit the French OR Italian Riviera? I don’t have time for both.”

Well, both are beautiful and glamorous. Both have delicious cuisine (Salade Niçoise vs. Fresh Pasta with Ligurian Basil Pesto). Both have scrumptious local wine (rosés in France vs. white wines from Vermentino grapes in Italy). And the beaches …

If you were filling out a pro and con list, the page(s) would be full, and the score would undoubtedly be tied. It’s simply too difficult to choose, and it can be impossible to traverse the region efficiently without renting a car – which can certainly cut into that local wine consumption.

Small ship cruising often solves travel conundrums, and we can think of a few problematic travel scenarios that are more perfectly addressed with a single solution: our Glitter & Glam of the Rivieras itinerary tackles this question with a tightly curated seven day cruise voyage from Rome to Barcelona (and reverse), April through October, sailing through the French AND Italian Rivieras. So the answer to “Which Riviera?” is a resounding “Visit Both!”

Here are a few of our favorite highlights along this glittering voyage:

barcelona_cruiseBarcelona

Barcelona is always an incredible city to visit for the architecture, but 2016 marks the 90th anniversary of the death of Antoni Gaudí, whose famous Sagrada Família Cathedral finally has an end date to its more than 100-year construction phase – scheduled for 2026. Look for celebrations of this masterful architect around the city this year, as well as unique exhibitions and walking tours.

Port Vendres

Typical seaside pursuits abound in this mashup of a French and Spanish fishing village, including deep sea fishing, SCUBA diving, canoeing, and lazy days on the beach. For a bit of extra culture and eye candy, we also like to explore nearby Collioure, where Matisse and Derain lived and painted.

Sanary-sur-Mer

From Sanary-sur-Mer, it’s just a quick drive to nearby St. Tropez for a guided walking tour through the bright waterfront destination, followed by lunch and further exploration of the French Riviera. We recommend dining at La Pesquiere for a local’s-only feel and the best calamari of our lives.

CannesCannes_vacation

An insider tip (shhhhh) is that Windstar docks in Cannes on the Glitter & Glam of the Rivieras itinerary during the storied Cannes Film Festival, which is May 11-22. Some serious star spotting will be in order …

Monte Carlo

There’s more to Monte Carlo than the Grand Prix (although that is another favorite sailing of ours). Fancy cars zoom through the streets year-round, and high end shopping (or at least window shopping) is a sport. A visit to the Grand Casino is certainly not to be missed for the people watching alone, even if you don’t gamble a chip. The harbor, filled with multi-million dollar mega-yachts, is the perfect home for a Windstar yacht and easy exploration and access to this playground for the rich and famous.

D_EU_Portofino_022Portofino

Portofino is the site of Windstar’s Private Event on this sailing, treating guests to the Beloved Villa Durazzo, Pesto Demo & Tastings. Guests are ferried to charming Santa Margherita Ligure with its rich villas and grand hotels creating a magical reflection around the bay. Strolling through Italian gardens while listening to local musicians and drinking in the view of the Tigulio Gulf (and Italian wines), you may forget your Windstar yacht isn’t actually yours technically. Then it’s on to a tour through the villa and its artwork and a pesto-making class from a local chef. After all, they DID invent pesto here, so do as the locals and eat up.

Portoferraio

Like Napoleon Bonaparte, we could be exiled in lovely Portoferraio on Elba Island, if we just had access to the island’s gelaterias every day. Seriously, this is the best gelato in all of Italy, as our well-traveled crew can attest. Don’t be afraid to try perfectly unusual flavors, like ricotta with caramelized figs.

RomeRome

We love that this itinerary begins and ends in some of the most exciting cities in the world. It’s the perfect complement to all the smaller villages and outposts on the Rivieras. Rome doesn’t disappoint, so whether guests are simply jetting through on their way to the airport for the flight home or extending their trip with a visit to the Pope, Windstar is able to arrange for either scenario.

Have you ever experienced the French Riviera or Italian Riviera? Did you have a favorite? Tell us in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Considering a Cruise in Europe? Don’t Miss This Sale. http://blog.windstarcruises.com/2016/03/considering-a-cruise-in-europe-dont-miss-this-sale/ http://blog.windstarcruises.com/2016/03/considering-a-cruise-in-europe-dont-miss-this-sale/#respond Tue, 29 Mar 2016 00:29:04 +0000 http://blog.windstarcruises.com/?p=5889 Just in time for summer, we are very excited to announce our largest savings on Windstar itineraries in Europe, ever! Our brand new “Pick Your Perk in Europe” promotion is live, meaning if you weren’t sure whether to take a trip to Europe this summer/fall, the choice just got a lot easier. The “Pick Your […]

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Just in time for summer, we are very excited to announce our largest savings on Windstar itineraries in Europe, ever! Our brand new “Pick Your Perk in Europe” promotion is live, meaning if you weren’t sure whether to take a trip to Europe this summer/fall, the choice just got a lot easier.

The “Pick Your Perk” promotion gives our guests the choice between The Yacht VIP Package, an all-inclusive onboard savings package of up to $1,700 per stateroom, or two free hotel nights, pre or post cruise. The Yacht VIP package includes Windstar’s beverage package as well as complimentary unlimited Wi-Fi and daily gratuities for both guests.

We designed the “Pick Your Perk” promotion for your convenience: to be sure that you have a vacation that really is “180 Degrees from Ordinary.” The “Pick Your Perk” promotion runs on 15 unique itineraries in the most sought-after destinations in Europe including the French, Italian and Spanish Rivieras, the chic Amalfi and Dalmatian coasts, and iconic Greek and Turkish Isles. In addition to the choice between two free hotel nights or the Yacht VIP package, we are offering low cruise fares on sailings ranging from $1,799 to $3,599 per person, double-occupancy for 6- to 13-day cruises across the Mediterranean and beyond.

Below are several itineraries that offer the “Pick Your Perk” promotion, including a brand new itinerary on Star Pride for 2016.

Just Announced –Treasures of the Greek Isles Greece Cruise Vacation

Aboard Star Pride, these two newly announced cruises sails roundtrip from Athens, Greece roundtrip on June 9 and September 4. The seven-day cruise stops in six Greek ports along the way including Santorini, Kusadasi, Patmos, Nafplio, Monemvasia and Mykonos. In addition to the off-the-beaten-path ports of call, this itinerary boasts full days in the Greek Isles with late evening visits in Santorini, Kusadasi with a sumptuous Private Event in the evening at the Ephesus ruins, Patmos, and Mykonos. Under the Pick Your Perk promotion, the two free hotel nights, pre- or post- cruise, include a stay at St. George Lycabettus in Athens or equivalent hotel. Cruise fares start at $2,599 per person, double occupancy.

Visit 9 Ports in 8 Days: Classic Italy & Dalmatian Coast

venice-cruiseAboard the Star Breeze, Star Legend, Star Pride or Wind Surf, these 14 cruises take place June 25; July 3 and 11; August 2, 18 and 27; September 3, 4, 11, 22, 23 and 29; and October 1 and 5. The eight-day Rome to Venice journey (or reverse) features exciting ports of call including Rovinj, Split, and Dubrovnik, Kotor, Giardini Naxos, and Capri. Exclusive complimentary Windstar Private Events on these cruise takes place in either Dubrovnik with delicious Croatian wines and folklore entertainment at Park Orsula in Dubrovnik with stunning views of the surrounding islands; or in Giardini Naxos with lunch and a tour of a family-run Sicilian winery. The two free hotel nights, pre- or post- cruise, include stays at the Ambasciatori Palace or Savoy Hotel in Athens. Cruise fares start at $2,499 per person, double occupancy.

Iconic Adventures of the Greek Isles & Turkish Delights Athens-cruise

Aboard Wind Star, these 20 sailings occur on May 7, 14 and 21; June 11 and 18; July 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30; August 6, 13, 20 and 27; September 3, 10 and 24; and October 1, 8 and 15. The seven-day Athens to Istanbul (or reverse) itinerary includes the iconic Greek Isles of Mykonos, Santorini, and Rhodes, as well as the Turkish coast with stops in Bodrum and Kusadasi, where guests can visit the House of Mary. Interesting shore excursions abound on this journey, including SCUBA diving in Bodrum for beginning or advanced divers, as well as culturally rich experiences such as visiting ancient Ephesus, an UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the greatest outdoor museums in Turkey. The two free hotel nights under the promotion, pre- or post- cruise, include stays at St. George Lycabettus in Athens or Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul, or equivalent. Cruise fares start at $2,299 per person, double occupancy.

Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous: Glitter & Glam of the Rivieras

Monaco harborAboard Star Breeze, Star Legend, Star Pride or Wind Surf, these 12 sailings take place May 2, 16 and 26; June 11; July 2 and 19; August 1, 20 and 27; and October 14, 19 and 26. The seven day sailing from Barcelona to Rome (or reverse) dances along the French and Italian Rivieras with “bucket list” stops including Portofino, Portoferraio, Cannes, Monte Carlo, Sanary-sur-Mer, and Port Vendres. A popular shore excursion in Portofino includes a trip to the renowned Splendido Hotel overlooking the picturesque harbor of the tiny resort. A favorite of the rich and famous, the hotel is known for its superb Italian cuisine, which guests enjoy along with wine, olive oil, bruschetta, sorbet, coffee, and traditional pastas. The two free nights under the promotion, pre- or post- cruise, include stays at Wilson Hotel & Hotel Indigo in Barcelona and Ambasciatori Palace & Hotel Savoy in Rome, or equivalent. Cruise fares start at $2,099 per person, double occupancy.

Riviera Rendezvous on Spanish Serenade Sailings:spain cruise vacation

Aboard Star Breeze, Star Legend or Star Pride these seven sailings take place June 2; July 9 and 17; August 19; October 20; and November 2 and 13. The eight-day voyage from Lisbon to Barcelona (or reverse) includes stops in Palma de Mallorca, Almeria, Malaga, Gibraltar, Seville, and Portimao. Windstar’s complimentary Private Event on these cruises takes place in lovely Palma de Mallorca tucked in the heart of the old quarter, guests are treated to an evening tour of a modern palace enjoying artwork by Rodin, Dali, and other famous painters. Tapas are then enjoyed on the terrace along with local vermouth, wine, and beer, followed by a performance by Mallorcan folk dancers. The two free nights under the promotion, pre- or post- cruise, include stays at the InterContinental in Lisbon and the Wilson Hotel & Hotel Indigo in Barcelona, or equivalent. Cruise fares start at $2,299 per person, double occupancy.

Explore the Adriatic via Venetian Passageways:

Corinth-CanalAboard Star Breeze, Star Legend or Star Pride, these six cruises occur on June 16; August 26; September 20, 26 and 30; and October 9. The nine-day journey from Venice to Athens (or reverse) explores the Adriatic on a voyage along the ancient trade routes through the narrow Corinth Canal, to the ancient oracle of Delphi and into the stunning fjords of Montenegro. With port visits in Nafplio, Itea (Delphi), Katakolon, Butrint National Park, Kotor, Dubrovnik, and Hvar, the itinerary also boasts incredible shore excursions from gondola rides in Venice to off-roading on Hvar Island and kayaking the city walls of Dubrovnik. The two free nights under the promotion, pre- or post-cruise, include stays at St. George Lycabettus in Athens, or equivalent hotel. Cruise fares start at $2,499 per person, double occupancy.

The limited time offer must be booked by April 14 on 85 select cruise departure dates from April through November 2016. Follow the link for a full listing of available cruise itineraries under the Pick Your Perk limited-time promotion. Have a perk-y day!

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Splendido Olive Oil & Lunch Shore Excursion http://blog.windstarcruises.com/2015/05/splendido-olive-oil-lunch-shore-excursion/ http://blog.windstarcruises.com/2015/05/splendido-olive-oil-lunch-shore-excursion/#respond Wed, 27 May 2015 17:34:44 +0000 http://blog.windstarcruises.com/?p=4520 There’s no shortage of beauty in Portofino, nor a lack of delicious bites to be devoured. The best combination of the two, however, is at the incredible Hotel Splendido. On Windstar’s shore excursion, Splendido Olive Oil & Lunch, you are whisked away from the main square of Portofino by minivan shuttle to the stunning Belmond […]

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There’s no shortage of beauty in Portofino, nor a lack of delicious bites to be devoured. The best combination of the two, however, is at the incredible Hotel Splendido.

olive oil taste
olive oil taste

On Windstar’s shore excursion, Splendido Olive Oil & Lunch, you are whisked away from the main square of Portofino by minivan shuttle to the stunning Belmond Hotel Splendido, a glamorous retreat set overlooking the picture-perfect harbour of Portofino. You’re allowed to roam the lush grounds of the property while being served Bellini cocktails and delicious passed and stationed appetizers, including fried anchovies, squash blossoms, local olives, almonds, and more. The only thing that can steal your eyes away from the private yachts below is the promise of seeing a celebrity lounging by the pool. This is the sort of place you’re visiting.
Known for its superb Italian cuisine, you know you are in good hands when seated on the hotel’s patio for lunch and a brief demonstration by the maître d’, who walks you through a tasting of different types of olive oil. Who knew the flavors could be so distinct and unique? You try each again and note to buy a better variety next time at your home supermarket…

The most gorgeous bruschetta is then served with fat, juicy mozzarella balanced atop fresh tomatoes and grilled bread, followed by a traditional trofie (pasta) with pesto sauce. An olive oil sorbet with hazelnut brittle then appears atop a citrus ring of Italian ice. White wine and mineral water are continually refilled throughout the lunch, making you guess how much of each you have consumed, and coffee/tea round up the perfect dining experience.BruschettaSplendidoView
You ponder retuning by minivan to the harbor to enjoy the rest of the day, and you briefly consider the 15 minute leisurely walk back to Portofino, before a fellow guest suggests an alternate path. It may be the white wine talking, but you accept this proposal to hike from the Hotel Splendido to San Fruttuoso Abbey, a seashore monastery in a hidden cove near Portofino. The two hour hike (at times a mere walk) meanders along the coastline, exposing impossibly beautiful vistas at each turn. You arrive at the abbey just in time to catch the last 15-minute ferry ride back to Portofino, marveling at your luck.

Abbey
Abbey

It just may be the perfect day in the Italian Riviera.
This excursion is available on Yachting the Riviera and Glitter & Glam of the Rivieras.

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