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 - 14 Aug 2023
Time at Port: from 8 AM to 5 PM
As Croatia’s second-largest city, Split is an integral tourist hotspot in the Adriatic Sea. The unique setting of coastal mountains and bright blue ocean makes for the perfect backdrop to a cruise holiday, while the city itself has a very homely, local feel. Stroll past high-rise, rustic apartments and discover the many hidden gems and highlights such as Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that will leave you in awe.
Things to do in Split:
As one of the most well-preserved sites of Roman architecture in the world, it’s no wonder this fortress is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Now home to many shops, restaurants and apartments, the palace is a beautiful place to wander, day or night.
Krka National Park
Home to breath-taking waterfalls and lush, thriving forest, Krka National Park is a must visit for lovers of the outdoors. Discover over 800 species of plant life, over 200 species of bird and 18 species of bat, as well as the tiny island of Visovac.
The central square of the palace, Peristil Square was once the perfect space for opera theatre and now provides the scenery for a delicious cup of coffee. Towering above is the 57-metre belfry where, once climbing the steps, visitors will find gorgeous views across town.
St Duje's Cathedral
This excellent example of beautifully-preserved ancient Roman architecture is where you’ll find the bell tower, treasury and even a crypt. Built in the 4th century, it houses many artefacts, sculptures , carvings and murals.
For breath-taking views out across the city, Marjan Park is the place to be. The walk up from Old Town Split is fairly easy, and visitors will find a café as well as the lookout point. From here, you can continue the hike to the Church of St Nicholas, a beautiful, small stone church.
Campanile Bell Tower
Built in 1100 AD, this beautiful Romanesque bell tower stands at 60 metres tall with sweeping views of the city and mountains. Though this landmark may not be for the faint of heart, climbing the many steps is well worth it to admire the landscape at the top.
A must visit for fans of the hit series, Game of Thrones, Klis Fortress is well worth a visit just for the spectacular views alone. With over two thousand years of history, the ruins are fascinating to explore for all ages and provide fantastic photo opportunities.
DAY 4 - 16 Aug 2023
Time at Port: from 8 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.
DAY 5 - 17 Aug 2023
Time at Port: from 7 AM to 7 PM
Known for unrivalled views, sparkling blue sea and iconic bleached-white architecture, Santorini is a truly unforgettable destination. A stroll down one of the many cobbled streets and along the volcanic-sand beaches is the perfect way to spend a romantic evening, while kids and families will love taking the plunge from a caldera cruise and exploring the colourful markets. Finally, don’t forget to delve into Santorini’s past at the many museums on offer.
Things to do in Thira, Santorini:
Located in the centre of Fira, the Archaeological Museum of Thera is a must visit for insight into the civilizations that came before present day, featuring artefacts from the Archaic, Roman, Geometric and Hellenistic periods, including Byzantine works of art.
Thira, as the capital of Santorini, is the gem of the area and boasts fantastic nightlife and restaurants with mouthwatering food. Here you can feel and be part of the action as it all takes place.
Museum of Prehistoric Thera
Home to the artefacts found at multiple archaeological sites such as Akrotiri, some of these excavations were discovered as early as 1867. Visitors will find numerous temporary and permanent exhibitions offering insight into the prehistoric age of Thira.
Santorini Cable Car
Before the cable car, tourists to Santorini would have to climb the winding stairs to the capital or ride by mule. Now, this mode of transport offers stunning sights of the land and sea on the way up, as well as access to the volcano.
If you are looking to get a better look at the local geography, Santorini Volcano is a fantastic place to start with regular boat trips to look at the powerful effects that a volcano can have on the local environment.
DAY 6 - 18 Aug 2023
Time at Port: from 9:30 AM to 8 PM
The sleepy seaside village of Katakolon is perhaps one of the biggest tourist highlights of Greece, thanks to its close proximity to Ancient Olympia. With sparkling turquoise waters, numerous traditional tavernas and the warmth of a friendly, local community, Katakolon is the perfect place to explore on foot in the sunshine, where you’ll find museums, bars, restaurants and souvenir shops, as well as horse-drawn carriage rides and even a Beer Bike!
Things to do in Katakolon:
Home to over 463 ancient works, this museum is rich with fascinating history and culture of Ancient Greece. Featuring exhibits covering the second millennium BC until the 5th century AD, you’ll find pieces that were used throughout the ancient Olympic Games.
Archaeological Site of Olympia
Featuring excavations from the Bronze age to the Byzantine era, this huge site provides an impressive insight into the history of Ancient Greece. You'll find sites such as the Ancient Stadium where the Olympic Games were held, the Temple of Hera, and the Temple of Zeus.
The Temple of Zeus
The beautiful ruins of The Temple of Zeus is a major historical site. Despite it being destroyed it still is a fantastic portal to the past giving you a major insight into the gods of old.
This fantastic free museum is dedicated to the physicist, engineer, inventor and astronomer, Archimedes of Syracuse. Home to just some of his inventions and reconstructions, it’s well worth a visit, especially for those curious about his expert creations.
Just a short walk from the archaeological site, the Archaeological Museum hosts artefacts that were discovered in Olympia. With over 3,500 years of history to discover, this small but fascinating museum will take you back in time to Ancient Greece.
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.