Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Explore The Ancient Med With Fred!

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ guests can escape the chill of the autumn and head for sunnier climates and warmer waters on Black Watch’s 28-night ‘Ancient Monuments of the Mediterranean’ voyage, departing from Dover on October 19. A history-lover and sightseer’s dream, this cruise uncovers ancient lands and some of the best-known architectural wonders in the world.

The first port of call is Lisbon, Portugal’s bustling capital. Here, guests can expand their knowledge of the Alcobaca Cistercian Monastery, or discover the history of Alcobaca and its connection to medieval Portugal at this World Heritage Site, before exploring the charming little town.

Black Watch then visits La Goulette (for Tunis) in Tunisia; the medina is its historic heart, with a network of alleys, souks and the Eighth Century Al-Zaytuna Mosque, a direct contrast to the palm trees and café terraces of the new town. Close-by are the ruins of Carthage and Sidi Bou Said, quite possibly Tunisia’s most beautiful village.

Next stop is Izmir, in Turkey, before reaching iconic Istanbul. Ornately-decorated buildings rub shoulders with art galleries, museums, restaurants and boutiques. Guests can visit the Topkapi Palace, or take a tour of the Byzantine heritage of the city, taking in some of the impressive monuments and mosques; a highlight is the Basilica Cistern, a huge underground reservoir built in 532 AD.

After calling at Canakkale, where guests can join a tour to the fabled city of Troy, Black Watch makes its first call in Greece at Volos, which boasts many exquisite finds from the early 20th Century and modern archaeological excavations at the Volos Archaeological Museum and Makrinitsa. The voyage then heads to Greece’s main commercial port of Piraeus, which has practically melded with Athens. The awe-inspiring Parthenon, sitting atop the Acropolis, Cape Sounion, Corinth and Delphi – with its impressive Temple of Apollo – make this one of the most historically-significant destinations on this cruise.

Next up are Kalamata and Itea, before reaching Corfu. Here, guests can relax on a tour to the Achilleion and Corfu Old Town, where the beautiful Greek countryside teems with orange, lemon, cypress and olive groves.

Black Watch then continues to Valletta, the cosmopolitan capital of Malta, known for its fortifications, architectural appeal and Grand Harbour. Guests can also gain a better understanding of the vital role Malta played in the two World Wars by visiting the Malta at War and National War Museums.

The final destination is Gibraltar, with a tour to the must-see World War II tunnels, which were excavated between 1939 and 1944, as an extension to the Great Siege Tunnels of 1779 to 1783. In total, these stretch for more than 30 miles. Black Watch then sets sail on her return voyage to Dover.

Guests on this cruise can take advantage of Fred. Olsen’s great-value ‘all-inclusive’ drinks upgrade package at just £10 per person, per night, and enjoy their holiday in style without any budget worries. Prices for this cultural cruise start from £1,372 per person (subject to availability), based on two adults sharing an inside, twin-bedded cabin, and include all accommodation, all meals and entertainment on board, and port taxes.

For further information on Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, visit or call 0800 0355 150 (Mon-Fri, 8am-8pm; Sat, 9am-5pm; Sun, 10am-4pm).

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