Cruise Holidays - Attheta Travel

I am proud to be certified by CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) as an Elite Cruise Counselor. The Cruise Counselor Certification Program is CLIA's most comprehensive training which requires agents to successfully complete a number of compulsory training courses and exams, attend cruise conferences, and conduct ship inspections. Anita Thompson, Attheta Travel, dba Cruise Holidays.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Popular Italian Ports

Those who cruise to Rome and Venice expect to be awed; but, those same vacationers are often pleasantly surprised by how much they enjoy visiting some of Italy’s lesser-known ports, such as Florence, Amalfi and Sorrento.

It’s not possible to actually sail into Florence, which is located a 75-minute drive inland from the port of Livorno in northern Tuscany. After docking at Livorno, your cruise line may provide shuttle buses to Florence or tickets for the train that leaves from the Piazza Grande.

Florence was a center of culture during the Renaissance, and walking through the historic areas can feel like a trip back to the time when Michelangelo created exquisite sculptures, paintings and architecture. The artist’s iconic sculpture of David is housed at the Galleria dell Accademia, and the Uffizi Gallery has a fantastic collection of Italian masterpieces. At the city’s immense Gothic cathedral, the Duomo, you can climb more than 400 steps into the dome and be rewarded with a fabulous view. The River Arno, crossed by low bridges, offers countless photo opportunities.

Many cruise fans have heard of the famously scenic Amalfi Coast, but may not know that the town of Amalfi is worth a visit in itself. The town, originally a summer getaway for the Roman aristocracy, is beautifully situated between sparkling water and steep mountains.

One of the most popular attractions in and around Amalfi is the Emerald Grotto, a sea cave that fills with a lovely emerald-green light. Also popular is the town’s Duomo, which features a notable combination of Arabic and Norman architecture. Pause to look at the bronze doors, cast in Constantinople in 1066. Then, hop on a tour bus or hire a driver to take you along Amalfi Drive, considered to be one of the most scenic drives in the world; or, take a ferry to the island of Capri.

The town of Sorrento, perched on a cliff top, is a hub for shore excursions to Pompeii or Naples. However, cruise passengers who choose to stay in town will find delightful ways to spend their time.

Like Amalfi, Sorrento began as a popular retreat for the wealthy and powerful of the Roman Empire. Wander through the charming streets, stopping as you like to explore the small shops that sell everything from fine leather goods and Murano glass to locally-made limoncello. Have your camera ready – there are many scenic overlooks of the coastline below. Then, relax in an open-air cafĂ© and enjoy a pizza baked in a wood-fired oven or some creamy gelato amid the scent of lemon trees.

To reserve your place on a cruise that visits these and other wonderful Italian ports, talk with your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.