The name of this itinerary sums up your journey perfectly – you’re about to see some of the most majestic destinations that Italy and Croatia have to offer! From the archaeological marvel of Pompeii to Split’s UNESCO-listed Diocletian Palace, hop off your cruise ship and start exploring back in time!
* The order of the itinerary may differ depending on your chosen departure date and airport.
Day 1 - Naples (for Pompeii & Capri), Italy
If Rome is Italy's heart, then Naples is definitely its soul. This is where you begin your journey to discover Europe's Adriatic splendours. Naples, like Venice, is right on the water – so the cruise terminal is within easy reach of the city centre, and the port is just a 15-minute taxi or bus journey from the airport. Your transfers are included with Marella Cruises, so all that's left to do is plan what you're going to see first!
Bustling and filled with the soundtrack of humming street markets, nothing stirs the senses like a walk in Naples. You can't visit this historical city without trying its seafood pasta, as well as its delicious handmade-dough pizzas. If you're a keen shopper, you'll also enjoy the city's vast shopping district.
Make sure to visit the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. One of the world's most preserved Roman sites, this city was engulfed in volcanic ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Another must-see is Mount Vesuvius, the only active volcano in Europe that you can ascend right to the very top! The area also features vineyards and wine tasting.
Day 2 – At sea
After a busy first day of your Adriatic Splendours Itinerary, you'll be wanting to have some downtime and take full advantage of the facilities on board Marella Explorer 2. She boasts 14 decks, nine restaurants, 10 bars, a pool, spa, casino, gym and Broadway show lounge – you'll be spoiled for choice!
Grab some surf and turf at a steakhouse before indulging in a relaxing facial at Champneys Spa, and then dance the night away at Indigo Club. There's a great spot to unwind on deck, too – cocoon chairs and Balinese beds give The Veranda a luxurious setting in which to watch the sun set.
Day 3 - Split, Croatia
Time in port: 08:00 - 17:00
Take a walking tour and discover Dalmatia’s largest city on foot. Tour a multitude of shops and elegant seafront cafes, before walking with your guide from the pier towards Split's old quarter, where you'll find the impressive third-century Diocletian’s Palace, the Temple of Jupiter and other sights with fascinating history.
Day 4 - Venice, Italy
Time in port: 08:00 - 18:00
Visit one of the world's most romantic Adriatic cities in all its splendour, and of course, no trip to Venice is complete without taking a gondola ride through the city's winding canals. Visit St Mark's Square, the Bridge of Sighs and the Rialto Bridge, or explore the bustle of the city's vibrant shops, cafés and bars. Don't forget to stop for a plate of local fare, bigoli in salsa – a signature dish of Venice with long, thick strands of pasta in an anchovy-and-onion sauce... delizioso!
Day 5 – Ancona, Italy
Time in port: 08:00 - 17:00
Explore this colourful harbour city that's home to striking architecture, bustling shops and a multitude of museums and cathedrals. The area's most notable attraction is the pentagonal Lazzaretto of Ancona – an 18th-century fortress on an artificial island used during the First World War. Nowadays, it's used as a tactile museum where you can touch and feel the exhibits. Also worth visiting is the the Arco di Traiano (Arch of Trajan), constructed between 114 and 117 AD to honour the Roman Emperor Trajan.
Day 6 – Dubrovnik, Croatia
Time in port: 07:00 – 15:00
One of Croatia's most iconic cities, lose yourself in the history and beauty of Unesco-listed Dubrovnik. Step into this walled city through Pile Gate and take a walk through the city's cobbled streets. Shop for Croatian rose liqueur, carob brandy and local Bajadera chocolate, soak up the atmosphere in the city's Old Town, or visit the Maritime Museum.
Day 7 – Messina (For Mount Etna), Sicily
Time in port: 12:00 – 18:00
A rustic, age-old city, Messina is home to delicious fare, winding backstreets and luxurious boutiques. If you visit the Piazza del Duomo at midday, you'll see the world’s largest mechanical clock. No visit to Messina is complete without visiting Mount Etna, Europe's largest active volcano. Take a funicular railway up to the Silvestri crater for epic views of Sicily and the Gulf of Catania.
Day 8 – Naples, Italy
After a week of exploring these Adriatic hotspots, you'll be whisked back to Naples with so many memories to treasure. All that's left to do is to book another of our many Mediterranean cruises for your next trip – suitcases at the ready!