Join us on this European Cruise with Holland America. Grandly proportioned and recently enhanced, Holland America's Veendam combines 21st-century amenities and elegant spaces graced by a multi-million-dollar art and antiques collection. While on board, guests can learn video-editing tips at a Digital Workshop powered by Windows. Hone their culinary skills at an America's Test Kitchen cooking show or hands-on workshop. Work out in our state-of-the-art Fitness Center. Or explore fine dining in specialty restaurants. We sail south from Rome, round Italy’s boot, to Corfu in Greece to enjoy its medieval castles. We then soak in the sun-washed beauty of Kotor, Dubrovnik and Split in Croatia.
Day 1 - Fly Rapid City to Rome, Italy - Overnight Transatlantic Aircraft
Day 2 - Rome
Today we arrive Rome and explore… Rome is both a modern bustling city and an ancient open-air museum. You can walk in the footsteps of emperors, have coffee in Renaissance piazzas and see contemporary art all in one afternoon. Your sightseeing time in Rome begins at the nearby port of Civitavecchia, a seaside town with roots that stretch back to the Etruscan era. Take note of the Forte Michelangelo (both Bramante and Michelangelo had a hand in its design), and the lungomare, a lively stretch along the sea with beach clubs, bars and restaurants. Once in the Eternal City you can fill your day with museums, churches, archaeological sites, traditional trattorias, artisan shops and, of course, gelato. The Colosseum and the Vatican Museums are Rome's superstar attractions, but there are plenty of quieter gems to explore. For food lovers there are the markets in Campo de' Fiori or the slightly farther flung Testaccio. The hip neighborhood of Monti, next to the Colosseum, has a vibrant piazza scene and boutique shopping, while the Villa Borghese offers a green oasis with a view towards Saint Peter’s Basilica and the masterpiece-filled Galleria Borghese. Although Rome might not have been built in one day, you'll certainly be able to see the highlights and top things to do in Rome in 24 hours. City Tour is included.
Day 3 - Board Cruise Ship
Today we transfer to Civitavecchia, Rome and board the beautiful Veendam - our home for the next 7 nights. We set sail at 5pm before dinner this evening.
Day 4 - At Sea - Overnight Ship
Day 5 - Corfu, Greece - Arrive 8am – Depart 5pm
Corfu is the pearl of the Ionian Sea, attracting royalty from across Europe in the 19th century, and modern celebrities from all over the world ever since. The island reflects a triple heritage. As well as being undeniably Greek, the culture and food also show a clear nod towards nearby Italy, particularly Venice, whose fortresses dot the island. The British influence may be unexpected, but as they ruled the island for many years, they have left such surprises in the Mediterranean as cricket and ginger beer.The bustling atmosphere of Corfu Town remains elegant, infused with culture and history. Parts of the rest of the island have been overdeveloped, but there are still great swaths that epitomize why the Greek islands are still regarded as the most beautiful in the world, with white-sand beaches backed by verdant mountains hiding traditional old villages. It is easy to see how Corfu has inspired generations of writers: from Shakespeare, through Edward Lear, to Gerald Durrell. A true gem.
Day 6 - Dubrovnik, Croatia - Arrive 10am – Depart 11pm
On the southern end of Croatia's Adriatic coast, Dubrovnik staked its claim to glory during the 450 years it existed as the independent Ragusan Republic, shoulder to shoulder with mighty forces like Venice and the Ottoman Empire. Once a renowned seafaring, shipbuilding and trading center, today it's an enchanting tourist destination. Dubrovnik seduces sightseeing visitors with its polished (and very clean!) limestone streets, theatrical architecture, charming café, welcoming restaurants and distinctive shops along scenic side streets. The natural backdrop, much of which is protected, consists of pine and cypress forests and the shimmering Adriatic, dotted with uninhabited islands. Visitors quickly discover that the wider Dubrovnik area is just as striking as its main attraction—the Old Town. A wander around the historic heart of Dubrovnik can hit the main sights, but take it a step further (or a staircase further, really), and you'll see that people do still live in the historic quarter, even though its polished streets make it look like a museum. You may catch the sound of a piano from the High School of Music and Arts, or hear the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra rehearsing in the Revelin Fortress, or encounter school kids on a break. Life unrolls as you stroll past.
Day 7 - Kotor, Montenegro - Arrive 8am – Depart 5pm
Cruising into the Bay of Kotor, you'll be wowed by the dramatic beauty of this coastal Montenegrin town. Dreamy seafront villages are set to a backdrop of mountains plummeting into the Adriatic Sea, while the stone labyrinth of the Old Town is filled with medieval architecture and historic monuments—as well as the narrowest street in the world. The area only became part of Montenegro after WWII, and as such has a very different history to the rest of the country. Kotor escaped Ottoman rule and developed as an important Venetian trading post, before being conquered by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, France and Russia. The city pays tribute to this dynamic history with Venetian gates, Napoleon's theater and Austrian prisons all waiting to be discovered. There's a reason it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The cruise ship dock is across the street from the Sea Gate, the main entrance to the Old Town, while a conveniently located taxi stand by the harbor gates allows for easy exploration of the region.
Day 8 - Split, Croatia - Arrive 8am – Depart 5pm
Croatia’s second-biggest city oozes small-town charm, thanks to its quaint, narrow streets and the easygoing lifestyle that the Dalmatians are known for. With a busy ferry port, Split is the point of access to the many islands up and down the coast. Much of its old town is within the walls of Diocletian's Palace, a 1,700-year-old UNESCO-listed fortress on the Adriatic seafront. Roman Emperor Diocletian built the palace as his retirement home on the sea and through the centuries many conquerors have taken refuge within its thick walls. Today, Split is a lively city and home to some 200,000 residents, and getting lost in its labyrinthine streets is the best way to explore its historic heart. Stumble across lively cafés and shops tucked into its ancient palace, or venture beyond it to discover busy squares and markets, quiet trails and beautiful beaches.
Day 9 - Ravenna, (San Marino) Italy - Arrive 8am – Depart 5pm
San Marino was founded in September 301 AD by a Stonemason – Saint Marinus. Marinus had been working on the city of walls in Rimini, while also preaching the Christian gospel. At the time, The Roman empire was still Pagan. Fearing persecution, Marinus fled to the nearby Mount Titano, where he built a church and founded San Marino. It’s fortified position on the mountaintop made it a daunting prospect for any invading army.
Day 10 - Venice, Italy - Arrive 7am and disembark ship
"When I went to Venice, my dream became my address," wrote Lord Byron, just one of many famous figures who found a haven in this fantasy city. This enchanted land was built on stilts, set into the water by ancient Venetians seeking refuge from the harsh realities of landlocked life. And Venice, Italy still offers a palpable feeling of escape from the real world today. When you cruise into the lagoon and step onto what passes for solid ground, you'll still be very much on the water. Venice is a floating labyrinth of reflections, with mirror and glass sights everywhere, from glorious Venetian architecture echoed in the canal waters to the marble palaces that shimmer in the sky. And although Carnivale is only held once a year, being in Venice on any day is like going to a festival with plenty of vibrant things to do and attractions to see. Locals seem to love the many sightseeing visitors who arrive each year, and Venice will openly reveal her charms even to those who are only here for a few hours, an afternoon or a magical evening. A City tour is included.
Overnight Venice Hotel
Day 11 - Venice back to the Black Hills
An early morning departure from Venice Airport takes us back across the Atlantic Ocean and arrive back in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Starts: Friday April 26th 2019
Ends: Monday May 6th 2019
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