Lake Como is one of Italy’s most idyllic locations, with visitors flocking here from all over the world for many centuries. The serene beauty of the lake and surrounding shores offers a level of peace and tranquillity that can be hard to find in today’s modern world, which is why so many people come to take a deep breath and relax. As well as amazing views, the Lake Como area has a rich history and many fascinating sites to see. These include Piona Abbey, Como Cathedral, and San Fedele Church – all of which display intricate architecture of varying styles and periods. Wander around the streets imagining years gone by, and take time to simply enjoy the beauty of the surroundings.
Things to do in Train - Lecco / Como to Venice Mestre:
Located in the original site of a Romanesque church, the building of Como Cathedral began ten years after the Milan Cathedral, in the late 14th century. Statues of Pliny the Elder and his nephew Pliny the Younger welcome visitors; standing proudly on the façade of the building. These are now sheltered by glass cases to avoid further environmental damage. Inside there are important tapestries and paintings depicting various saints and biblical/historical scenes.
This gorgeous and peaceful location is an ancient fishing village with a romantic and calm atmosphere, where visitors can come and enjoy the slow pace of life. The area has a rich and interesting history, in no small part due to the rivalry with nearby commune Como. It is home to the Villa Monestero, a convent founded in the early 13th century by some religious folk who had escaped from Comacina Island during the Milan/Como war at this time.
Located close to Lake Como’s shoreline, Piona Abbey is believed to date back to as early as the 7th century, as documents attesting to its existence have been found from around this time. The impressive structure is stood on top of Olgiasca Hill, and boasts interesting architecture and frescos. There is also a small shop selling natural wares made by the resident monks such as honey, liquor, cream, and medicinal herbs.
San Fedele Church
The Basilica di San Fedele was built in the year 1120, and is believed to stand on top of ruins of an older place of worship. Found in the main town square – the Piazza San Fedele – the church has long been important in the town’s history. The architecture is Romanesque style, but the façade was refurbished in 1914 and now includes a Renaissance style window.
Referred to by many as the ‘Pearl of Lake Como’, the picturesque town of Bellagio offers a quintessential Italian atmosphere, gorgeous views, and a number of interesting historical and architectural sites. Wander down cobbled streets, take a look at the 12th century Chiesa San Giacomo, and admire the Villas Serbelloni and Melzi. Villa Serbelloni was first built in the 15th century, and over the years has been a gorgeous holiday home and hotel at Lake Como. Many famous figures have stayed there including John F Kennedy, Winston Churchill, and Al Pacino. Today the property is owned by the Rockefeller Foundation.
DAY 2 - 27 Oct 2024
Time at Port: from 11 AM to 8 PM
It’s easy to see why Dubrovnik is one of the best highlights on a Mediterranean cruise. In 1979, the city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its beautifully preserved ancient architecture that you’ll love to spend hours exploring. Fans of the hit series Game of Thrones will particularly love to recreate their favourite scenes filmed here, while history and art enthusiasts will adore the fortresses and museums.
Things to do in Dubrovnik:
This small and intimate beach provides a quiet getaway from the crowds. Relax in the sun watching the locals play water polo, before taking a dip in the crystal clear waters and exploring the nearby cliffs and caves.
If you are looking for something relaxing but also to spend some time exploring, head along the sandy beaches and rocky paths where you’ll find Sunj beach. Here the waters range from beautiful crystal blue to alluring green where you can swim and relax under the sun with a wide range of bars to pick from.
A short ferry ride from Dubrovnik Old Town, Lokrum Island is a fantastic place for a day trip. With a beautiful botanical garden planted in the 19th century, the ruins of a Benedictine monastery and spots for swimming in the sea, you’ll love exploring this tiny island.
At 37 meters above the sea, Fortress Lovrijenac offers impressive views across the landscape. Used as a filming location for Game of Thrones, the fortress played an important role in protecting the Old City, which visitors will learn about as they explore the grounds.
Muralles de Dubrovnik
Covering 1,940 metres with 6 fortresses, the Walls of Dubrovnik are a must visit for Game of Thrones fans and lovers of architecture. Visitors can join walking tours of the walls which take approximately two hours and offer unrivalled views over the city from the forts.
St John Fortress
One of the most important forts in the Walls of Dubrovnik, it now houses the Maritime Museum and Aquarium, containing artefacts, paintings and documents telling the history of city. The aquarium, meanwhile, is where you’ll find marine life that thrives in the waters off Croatia.
DAY 3 - 28 Oct 2024
Time at Port: from 8 AM to 6 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 4 - 29 Oct 2024
Time at Port: from 8 AM to 5 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 5 - 30 Oct 2024
Time at Port: from 9 AM to 6 PM
Messina is a coastal city located in the north-east of Sicily and overlooks the homonymous strait, which separates the region from the rest of the Peninsula. Founded by the Greeks in the 8th century BC, a few years before Rome, it is said that the strait was the home of Scylla and Charybdis, two sea monsters described by Homer in the Odyssey. In Messina you can admire the Duomo, the Astronomical Clock and the rich Regional Museum which houses works by famous artists.
Things to do in Messina, Sicily:
The Cathedral of Messina was consecrated in 1197 and stands in the Piazza del Duomo. Its peculiarity is the different architectural styles that distinguish it: in fact, Romanesque, Norman, Gothic, Neo-Gothic and Baroque elements coexist.
The Astronomical Clock of Messina is an integral part of the city's Cathedral. It was built in 1933 at the behest of Archbishop Angelo Paino during the restoration of the bell tower and is freely inspired by the one in Strasbourg.
Piazza del Duomo
The Piazza del Duomo is one of the central points of Messina: here you can admire the Duomo, the Astronomical Clock and the Statue of the Immaculate Conception, a white marble sculpture created by the sculptor Giuseppe Buceti between 1757 and 1758.
Santissima Annunziata dei Catalani
The Church of the Santissima Annunziata dei Catalani rises between via Cesare Battisti and via Garibaldi on the remains of a pagan temple. The beginning of the construction dates back to the 12th and 13th centuries and boasts a clear Byzantine style with Arab-Norman influences.
Messina Regional Museum
The Regional Museum of Messina was established in 1806 and since then illustrates the figurative art of Messina from the 12th to the 18th century. You can admire the Resurrection of Lazarus, a famous painting by Caravaggio, and several works by Antonello da Messina.
Palma De Mallorca
DAY 7 - 01 Nov 2024
Time at Port: from 8 AM to 6 PM
On the coast of the largest Balearic island, this sun-soaked seaside city dates back to the 13th-century and is a must visit for any adventurer. A simple stroll will take you on a journey back in time, past breath-taking architecture, medieval history, bustling markets and to an endless array of authentic eateries. With so many hidden gems amongst iconic landmarks, places like Casa Antiguo are the best bet for a true taste of Palma culture.
Things to do in Palma De Mallorca:
Le Seu Cathedral
Found in the heart of Palma, La Seu is a stunning Catalan Gothic style cathedral, with renowned architect Antoni Gaudí contributing to its intricate design. Featuring 61 stained-glass windows, the building flooding with coloured light inside is simply a must.
Castell de Bellver
Built in the 14th century, Bellver Castle is surrounded by lush pine woods and houses an insightful museum of Palma’s municipal history. Visitors will love taking a walk around the moat before admiring the view out over the city and bay from the rooftop.
The quaint, winding cobbled streets of Casco Antiguo are the perfect place to lose yourself in the culture of Palma. Discover gothic bookshops, antique boutiques and must-see tourist sites such as La Seu and Es Baluard Contemporary Art Museum.
Es Baluard Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art
Showcasing a wide range of art throughout history, Es Baluard Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art is a must visit to discover the cultural heritage of Mallorca. With works by Picasso, Magritte and more, you’re bound to find your new favourite piece.
DAY 8 - 02 Nov 2024
Time at Port: from 6 AM to 6 AM
This vibrant seaside city is home to unforgettable architecture and creative scenes from renowned artists. The buildings you’ll find here are unlike anything you’ve ever seen, such as Park Güell and Casa Batllo, while foodies will be spoilt for choice with 20 different Michelin star restaurants. At the end of a busy day of shopping enjoy the energetic nightlife, or relax on the beach with newfound friends. Whatever your interests, Barcelona has the perfect itinerary for you.
Things to do in Barcelona:
Visiting Las Ramblas is an absolute must when in Barcelona. Visitors can experience the weird and the wonderful, from the Museu de l’Erotica to the Miró Mural, in between trying a range of authentic tapas bars and cafes before a much needed siesta.
Although the Sagrada Familia is not technically complete, it’s still an impressive sight to behold. Designed by the renowned architect Antoni Gaudí, this spectacular Basilica hosts many masses, events and a place to simply marvel at in wonder.
Barcelona City History Museum
Home of the cultural heritage of Barcelona, the Barcelona City History Museum manages several sites of interest including archaeological sites and historic houses. Visitors will discover the Roman colony, prehistoric Spain, Barcelona’s Jewish community and more.
Comprising of vibrant gardens and beautiful architecture, Park Güell was designed by Antoni Gaudí and officially opened in 1926. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its outstanding showcase of Gaudí’s genius design, Park Güell makes a wonderful place to go for a walk.
Another one of Antoni Gaudí’s masterpieces, Casa Batllo is a truly eye-catching building to explore. Visitors are able to explore this fantastic showcase of the designer’s work, and even enjoy live music and other events on the roof terrace.
This modernist building was the last residence to be designed by Antoni Gaudí and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can explore the building with an audio guide, and even enjoy rooftop shows on a romantic evening.
One of Barcelona’s oldest beaches, Sant Sebastià Beach features everything you need for a fantastic day in the sun. With indoor and outdoor pools, changing rooms and amenities for lounging, visitors can go for a dip, enjoy an ice cream and find dinner all in one area.
Camp Nou Stadium
With capacity for over 99,000 people, Camp Nou is the largest stadium in Spain and cathedral to the Catalans’ second religion- the beautiful game! Visitors can catch an exciting game of football here or take a guided or un-guided tour of the grounds.
Customer reviews for Explorer of the Seas
Based on 95 reviews
Value for money
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.
7 Oct 2019
For an older ship this was in excellent condition. Apart from a few damaged chairs in the star lounge and light bulbs out in the theatre it was top class. Entertainment was excellent and cruise director was one of the best. Crew were right on it and and any minor problems were fixed immediately. Painting and cleaning went on at every port. Voyager class is a large ship with shopping centre promenade plenty of panoramic lifts and ice ring mini golf climbing wall kids centre etc. Approximately 4000 passengers. We prefer freedom dining but this isn’t preferred by Royal Caribbean who try to get you to set a time. We understand this is required for most things on the larger RC ships. Theatre lounges etc where entertainment is on. We normally cruise with princess but this is the third time with RC and overall I would say excellent.
21 Sep 2019
Ship in need of maintenance, rust on paintwork wood on the balcony railing very bad, more bare wood than varnish, food in the main dining room poor, never seen the main dining room so empty, prices for everything very expensive, certain places on the ship were overcrowded could not get seats would not recommend this ship for a cruise.
*Handcrafted Cruise & Stay Holidays - Flash sale £50p is valid for New bookings Only made by 31st January 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.