One of the most idyllic locations in Italy, ‘Lake Garda’ conjures up images of perfectly blue, peaceful waters, beautiful dominating mountain scenes, and quaint streets with pastel coloured buildings. It’s a fabulous destination to simply relax and breathe deeply, enjoying a glass of wine and some wonderful Italian food with amazing views at every turn. In addition to the picturesque tranquillity, the Lake Garda area also boasts some interesting sites to go and explore. These include the Roman ruins, ‘Grotte di Catullo’, and Castello Scaligero.
Train - Desenzano Del Garda to Venice Mestre:
Sirmione and Castello Scaligeri
The beautiful Comune of Sirmione has had a varied and interesting history, in part due to its strategic position at the south of Lake Garda. One of the main landmarks in the area is the Castello Scaligero, whose history is widely disputed. People have claimed that the castle was built as far back as the late BC years however other historians have rebuffed this. What is known is that the noble Scaliger family of Verona were owners by the mid-13th century, and they made renovations to turn it into a fortress to protect the commune.
Grotte di Catullo: ruins of Roman Villa
To the south of Lake Garda is Grotte di Catullo – sometimes referred to as the Catullus Caves. These are the remains of an ancient Roman villa, which date back to around the first century BC into the first century AD. The complex has been named after the poet Gaius Valerius Catullus (84-54 BC) of Verona, because his poem – Carmen 31 – is believed to be a reflection on Sirmione, where the ruins are situated. Today visitors can explore the museum and find other Roman relics in the close by museum.
Desenzano del Garda
This pretty town on the south coast of Lake Garda has been a popular spot for visitors for centuries. In fact it is believed that the wealthy families of Verona holidayed here as early as the first century AD, when many Romans had mansions in the area. As well as stunning scenery, things to see here include a medieval castle, Roman ruins, and a wonderful antique market.
Riva del Garda
A beautiful town found on Lake Garda’s northern coast, Riva del Garda is sometime called the ‘Jewel of Lake Garda’. The place offers some incredible views, not only of the lake but also of the Gruppo di Brenta mountain range. Explore the intricate network of streets, and see sights including the Torre Apponale – a 13th century clock tower which was once connected by an underground tunnel to the historic Rocca di Riva fortress.
DAY 7 - 16 Oct 2023
Time at Port: from 1 PM to 7 PM
Nestled among the mountains, Kotor provides the setting for a picturesque cruise holiday. A walk around Old Town Budva will take you past timeless architecture, while San Giovanni Castle has the best photo opportunities. Kotor is not just for relaxing and scenic strolls though, with Aquapark Budva providing a fun-filled day for all the family. Don’t forget to stop by the many charming eateries in between for an authentic taste of Kotor cuisine too.
Things to do in Kotor:
If you are looking for a secluded beach tucked away in serenity by beautiful rock coves, head to Jaz Beach where you’ll be able to sunbathe and relax.
St Tryphon’s Cathedral
After being restored numerous times following earthquakes, St Tryphon’s Cathedral continues to represent the expertise of Roman architecture. With many stunning artefacts and decorations, this cathedral is well worth exploring.
Lovćen National Park
A short drive from Kotor, Lovćen National Park is home to imposing mountains including the spectacular Mount Lovćen standing 1,749 metres high. With no shortage of outdoor adventures to discover, visitors will love quad biking and zip lining in particular.
With countless boutiques, authentic eateries, and bars as well as a quaint museum teeming with ancient artefacts, Old Town Budva is a delightful place to explore. Enjoy dessert from a charming bakery, admire the view from the citadel and bask in the peace and quiet.
San Giovanni Castle
After climbing 1,350 stairs to a height of 1,200 metres you’ll find this impressive fortress built between the 9th and 19th centuries. With Byzantine and Venetian roots, this structure is beautifully preserved and teeming with fascinating history to discover.
Nestled in lush surroundings with views over the town nearby, Aquapark Budva is perfect for spending a hot afternoon cooling off. The park features multiple pools and waterslides to suit a range of ages, as well as a restaurant, bars, shops and lockers.
DAY 8 - 17 Oct 2023
Time at Port: from 8 AM to 3 PM
One of Greece’s most verdant islands and perfect for a family holiday with charming architecture, an impressive fort and a 16th century church, Agios Spyridhon. Mount Pantokrantor rears up in the north of the island and all around the edges are sandy beaches and small villages. Whether you’re here to top up a tan on the stunning Loggas Beach or eager to discover the gorgeous monuments, Corfu has something for everyone.
Things to do in Corfu:
This hidden gem will provide the perfect getaway from bustling crowds. If you’re looking to relax in a quaint fishing village, enjoy traditional Corfiot cuisine on the waterfront and take a dip in the vibrant waters, Agni Bay is the place for you.
Surrounded by imposing cliffs, Loggas Beach – otherwise known as Sunset Beach – is one of the most beautiful spots in Corfu. You won’t find wild water sports here, instead you’ll witness breath-taking sunsets and take a dip in the warm, gentle water.
Saint George Church
Built in 1840 for British troops serving in Corfu, the Church of St George now hosts only two services each year, as well as occasional exhibitions. With views out over Garitsa Bay, this church resembles an ancient Greek temple and provides great photo opportunities.
Found on a tiny islet close by to the airport of Corfu, Vlacherna Monastery dates back to around the 17th and 18th centuries. The beautifully preserved building is a great photo opportunity particularly at sunset, and the perfect place to take a romantic stroll.
DAY 9 - 18 Oct 2023
Time at Port: from 11:59 AM to 8 PM
Just a short distance from Athens, Piraeus is the biggest port in the Mediterranean and sees over 20 million cruisers each year. This port city is a perfect example of life by the sea, boasting an impressive harbour and authentic seafood dining, as well as the rich and fascinating history of ancient Greece. Whether you’re looking to discover archaeological findings or just want to relax in the sun at a friendly café, Piraeus is the place to be.
Things to do in Athens (Piraeus):
Agia Triada Church
Despite being a modern construction, Agia Triada features Byzantine architecture as well as an impressive dome that is visible from every spot within the church. Overlooking the port of Piraeus, Agia Triada is a must visit to discover the history of the town and take in the tranquillity.
This vibrant and colourful district is nestled on top of a hill with views out over the bay. A walk around this neighbourhood will take you to quaint cafes, neoclassical architecture, Prophet Elias church and the Veakeion outdoor theatre.
Covering the Mycenaean period to the Roman era, the Piraeus Archaeological Museum offers artefacts excavated from Piraeus’ landscape, as well as collections donated from other sites. Visitors will discover monuments, statues, artwork and more.
One of only three surviving Liberty ships, the SS Hellas Liberty is a fascinating vessel to explore. This floating maritime museum was presented to the public in 2010 and covers a range of exhibits people of all ages will enjoy.
With stunning views of the Saronic Gulf and the beautiful vessels moored in the harbour, the bay of Zea is the perfect place to go for a walk, enjoy a delicious coffee and take in the sunshine. You’ll find many hidden gems here, including ancient walls.
Mykonos Town, Mykonos
DAY 10 - 19 Oct 2023
Time at Port: from 7 AM to 5 PM
Whether you’re in the mood for stretching out on an idyllic beach, itching to explore the maze of streets in search of seafood, or even looking to dance the night away at a seaside superclub, Mykonos has something for everyone. History buffs will be fascinated by the archaeological site of Delos, while Mykonos Windmills provide the perfect holiday snap. A romantic dinner along Little Venice is a must for couples- especially at sunset.
Things to do in Mykonos Town, Mykonos:
This row of 18th century fishing houses looks out onto the crystal clear sea, providing beautiful views both day and night. Though they aren’t fishing houses anymore, the shops, restaurants and bars that have replaced them still give a very enchanting waterfront experience.
Boasting plenty of sun-kissed beaches, including Fokos and Kapari beaches, there's plenty of space and options for a relaxing day on the sand by the blue sea.
Paraportiani Church is one of the most photographed churches in the world, and it’s easy to see why. The whitewashed structure stands out vibrantly against the ocean backdrop, creating fantastic photo opportunities and a romantic place to take a stroll.
Featured on many postcards you’ll find in Greece, the Mykonos Windmills are an iconic sight of the island. Once vital to the economy, the seven windmills are now a beautiful spot to take photos and explore- particularly at sunset.
Day or night, Matoyianni Street is bustling with shopping, dining and bars. It’s the perfect place to find handmade souvenirs, such as jewellery and even sandals, as well as other designer boutiques. Visitors will also love the live music here!
Delos Archaeological Site
This small island is one of the most prominent archaeological sites in Greece, and is simply teeming with mythological and historical insights. Visitors will marvel at the artefacts exhibited here, including sculptures of Apollo and Artemis.
DAY 11 - 20 Oct 2023
Time at Port: from 10 AM to 6 PM
The island of Kefalonia has flourished after falling victim to a devastating earthquake in 1953, where almost every structure was demolished. Now, Argostoli is a thriving port city with shopping, restaurants, an active harbour and warm, friendly locals. You’ll find no shortage of traditional seafood, a quaint church, and a Blue Flag-awarded sandy beach. If you’re looking for a laid-back cruise holiday with plenty of sun, Argostoli is the place for you.
Things to do in Argostoli, Kefalonia:
The Archaeological Museum of Kefalonia
The Archaeological Museum of Kefalonia has seen its fair share of wear and tear but remains standing even today. Packed full of historical artefacts, it's home to a rich collection of historical finds from several excavation sites around the island, dating from prehistoric to Roman periods.
Historical and Folklore Museum
Housed on the ground floor of Korgialenios Library, the History and Folklore Museum of Argostoli is dedicated to the studies of historical Kefalonia. Visitors will find artefacts such as household items, embroidery and photographs, as well as works of art.
The Church of Saint Spiridonas is dedicated to the protector of Kefalonia and is one of the most central churches in the city. Take a look inside to see the renowned golden wood temple, housed here after surviving the 1953 earthquake.
Makri Yialos Beach
Just a short distance from the centre, Makri Gialos beach is a vast sandy expanse with ample facilities to spend a whole day here. Visitors will find a bar, restaurant and the chance to try your hand at water sports to make the most of the crystal clear, clean water to swim in.
Hotel stay included
Europa or similar
3 star hotel
10 Oct 2023
3 nights stay
Best Western Hotel Tritone or similar
4 star hotel
13 Oct 2023
2 nights stay
Customer reviews for Explorer of the Seas
Based on 97 reviews
Value for money
Cruise was fab!
2-5 cruisesPromenade View Interior
7 Jan 2023
Once again Royal Caribbean through Iglu turns up trumps. The whole process was like clockwork and the new process of checking in through the Royal app makes the procedure at the port effortless. Once again we were on board by 11.30am, 'it must be time for lunch'.
7 Dec 2022
In general the cruise was good value for money. However... Royal Caribbean could be more considerate to passengers and their wallets! For example the “recommended“ rates for gratuity payments to the housekeeping and dining room staff were exhorbitant. Also the few shops were very limited and the merchandise was expensive high-end luxury goods. Drinks also were very expensive. If you were not a sunbather there was little to do on board during sea days; the “library“ was little more than a collection of half empty shelves offering rather tatty volumes, mainly fiction novels perhaps donated by previous guests. A maximum of three or four jigsaw puzzles were available and only one had a full complement of pieces! The same puzzles were worked on repeatedly by guests who could have been offered a larger selection. The food was very nice and exceptionally plentiful, although a higher level of cuisine was available at extra cost, of course! The main dining room meals were excellent and the waiters very attentive and friendly, always with a ready smile. Our stateroom, interior, was extremely small and the wardrobe space very limited given that we had brought clothes for three formal nights and other smart casual outfits over a 14 day period plus there was no Launderette or self ironing facility provided. A next day laundry service was available at considerable extra cost. The beds were very comfortable and the room was very quiet and we slept really well. Our cabin housekeeping chap was very hardworking, friendly and helpful. The staff were all very friendly, courteous in the extreme from the captain through to the ship’s crew, housekeeping and dining room staff. Hand washing Hygiene levels were also extremely high which was good to see. The theatre shows were good in the main, comedians were very good, especially on the last night. Would we travel with Royal Caribbean again? Probably not, (unless we had a very good deal)!
12 Oct 2019
Overall the cruise was fantastic. However we booked this cruise in Sept/Oct 2018 and where travelling as part of a large group, all on different bookings and all who booked after us but also with Iglu. We did not receive any time dining as apparently 'its first come first served'. Considering we booked a good 8 months before the rest of our group surely we should of had this? Staff were not very helpful with this issue except Ben the restaurant manager who tried to accommodate us best he could. In the end we had to stick with 6pm dining which was not ideal and if we wanted to dine with our group they then had to come and sit with us.
*Handcrafted Cruise & Stay Holidays - Flash sale £50p is valid for New bookings Only made by 28th February 2023 with a Minimum Spend £1599pp
All offers and prices are subject to change and availability at time of enquiry. Prices are based on two passengers sharing unless otherwise stated and are subject to the Tour Operator's terms and conditions. Cabin and Flight supplements may apply. Other supplements may apply in addition to the price shown above. Flight details, timings and routing may be subject to alteration. Other tour operator charges may also apply. Any Onboard Spending money or drinks package value shown will be per cabin, again based on two sharing.
Note: On 13 January 2018, new European legislation is being adopted in the UK which as result will mean that we may change our required method of payment at our discretion, irrespective of how any deposit or prior payment was made.