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.
DAY 426 Jul 2023
Time at Port: from 10 AM to 8 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 527 Jul 2023
Time at Port: from 7 AM to 8 PM
As Crete’s largest city and popular for its association with many popular Greek myths and characters such as Minos, Daedalus, Ariadne, Theseus and the infamous labyrinth, it’s no wonder Heraklion boasts numerous museums teeming with artefacts found across the island. One of the most notable sites is the Palace of Knossos, Europe’s oldest city and home to grizzly tales of the minotaur, while the modern landscape is thriving with vibrant nightlife, shopping and dining.
Things to do in Heraklion, Crete:
Both a research centre and an aquarium that the whole family will love, Cretaquarium features numerous tanks dedicated to ocean ecosystems around the world, including the deepest depths, the tropics and more. Visitors can take a guided tour or explore at their own leisure.
Heraklion Archaeological Museum
One of the best museums in the world for Minoan art, Heraklion Archaeological Museum covers over 5,500 years of Crete’s history. Featuring intricate artefacts and relics from the Minoan civilization, discover the ancient history of the island at this informative museum.
Historical Museum of Crete
Covering the 4th century AD up to WWII, the Historical Museum of Crete features intricate sculptures, iconic paintings and ancient ceramics, as well as the reconstruction of a Cretan rural home. Visitors will also find a café with indoor and outdoor seating.
Palace of Knossos
Also known as The Labyrinth, Knossos is Crete’s largest Bronze Age archaeological site, and Europe’s oldest city. Take a tour of this fascinating site, said to have once been home to a terrifying Minotaur, as well as the palace of King Minos.
DAY 729 Jul 2023
Time at Port: from 7 AM to 2 PM
Found on the southeast edge of Italy, Bari has long been a large and bustling port town which boasts some fascinating history. There are plenty of religious buildings to see which house the relics of various saints – including those of St Nicholas (Santa Claus), and Saint Columba of Ireland. It’s also worth exploring the Old Town and Piazza Mercantile, to get a flavour of traditional Bari life complete with fresh Italian cooking, children playing football, and of course plenty of wine. In the piazza is also the ‘colonna infame’, which dates back to the first century AD. It’s here where criminals were held in years gone by to be ridiculed and punished.
Things to do in Bari:
St. Nichola's Basilica
Dating back to the 12th century, Basilica di San Nicola, was originally built to house the remains and relics of St Nicholas (popularly known as Santa Claus), which were stolen around that time from Myra in Turkey. The arrival of the important relics is re-enacted every year in May, when locals arrive to the port by boat with an icon-style painting of the saint. This basilica is an important pilgrimage among Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians.
Although less famous, many say that Bari Cathedral is actually a more important building than Basilica di San Nicola in Bari. It was built in the 12th-13th centuries, on the site of another cathedral that was destroyed by King William I of Sicily in the mid-12th century. It is dedicated to San Sabino, whose relics were brought to the area in the 9th century and are now stored in the cathedral. Some relics of Saint Columba of Ireland are also kept here.
It’s believed that the original castle structure was built around 1130-1135, by the Norman King Roger II of Sicily, only to be destroyed by William I of Sicily in 1156. Then King Frederick II of Sicily rebuilt it in the 13th century. Today visitors can explore some of the castle, where art exhibitions and events are often held. There is also a permanent collection of plaster cast replicas of 11th to 17th century artefacts.
Bari Old Town
Known locally as Bari Vecchia, the old part of the city is full of quaint streets and charming architecture. It provides the quintessential Italian atmosphere of narrow roads, children playing football, laundry hanging overhead, and the smells of delicious food being prepared. The streets of Old Bari can lead you to or away from the main square (Piazza Mercantile), where attractions such as the Basilica di San Nicola are located.
The main square of the old town, Piazza Mercantile is a vibrant social hub of eateries and bars and has been since medieval times. In around the 14th century traders came here to sell their wares – although today’s marketplace is not located here – and it quickly became the place to eat, drink, and be merry. There is some important architecture surrounding the square too, such as the 13th Colonna Infame, and the 16th century Palazzo del Sedile (old town hall and clock tower).
Column of Justice
Otherwise known as the Colonna Infame – or infamous column – this menacing lion statue and column are situated in one corner of Piazza Mercantile. The lion wears an inscribed collar reading ‘Custos Iusticiae’ – or ‘Keeper of Justice’, and represents law and order, and protection of the city. The lion dates back to around the first century AD, but the column was not installed until the 16th century. It is believed that debtors and other small-time criminals were once tied to the column to be publicly shamed and ridiculed.
Customer reviews for MSC Opera
Based on 48 reviews
Value for money
I have travelled on this ship before, however the customer service is not has good as it used to be. Also the choice of food in the restaurant is not very good and when there is a formal night, no choice at all, not good if you have allergies, or vegetarian etc. The room was clean and comfy, and the countries we visited, lovely, however I am not too sure if I will be using MSC again.
6 Aug 2019
Good ship was my first cruise
16 Jul 2019
Cuban cruise 15 nights. MSC Opera. Just returned from a lovely holiday, definitely the best way to see Havana and live in relative comfort. There is however a few points to observe if your planning this trip. If you fly Air Euorpa via Madrid it’s worth mentioning there is no complementary drinks London to Madrid. After a 2 hr wait you then finish the flight with them on the 10 hr trip to Havana. The seat pitch is minimum, the entertainment system was rubbish, mine didn’t work going and all I got coming back was the map with your location. I can assure you it moves very slowly. If the opportunity arises to change the airline grab it. I have since found out you can go with Air France via Paris, which may well be worth while. The gratuities on the ship are €10 per day per person, they are removable. What is not is the mandatory 15% service charge on drinks and services. Draft lager was €6.33 for 0.4L. Cheapest all day drink package on board is €29 per person per day. You do the maths. Every time you enter Cuba you need a visa provided by the ship. First one is free, if you do 14 days you’ll need another two which charges your onboard account with another €30 per person.
7 Mar 2019
Disappointed with the overall experience as a first cruise - spoilt by the weather and unusual storms in the Mediterranean - last minute booking and had to upgrade to an exterior Fantastica cabin - reasonably comfortable but small for the money paid - lacked armchairs to relax in and impressed as 'cramped. Was told by Iglu salesperson that we would have an opening patio door - we didn't and not even an opening window to let any fresh air into the cabin and so completely reliant on the air conditioning consequently on 24/7 - relatively noisy - so made getting off to sleep difficult and with long periods of rain - air was damp and clammy so we both returned to UK with bad colds. Breakfasts were ok - good and plentiful choice but lacking in overall quality - evening meals good - service efficient but we were allocated our table with no chance of moving from a 2 to a 4 to 6 people sitting in order to develop the comaradary one goes cruising to experience. Drinks package a complete rip off - with branded drinks charged for additionally and when I complained and managed to cancel after 3 days of negotiations, faced with a 15 per cent service charge on all bar drinks - also £20 per day service charge excessive as an addition but able to cancel as we tipped waiters and cleaners separately to ensure they benefitted. Overall not a bad experience but it is obviously a money making trip and one has to be careful about extras and the drinks packages need careful thought because they are presented as 'non cancellable' and the whole package at approx 350 to provide Euros each per weeek to provide 'branded drinks and, allegedly fully inclusive - (we elected for 26 Euros per day)is hard to justify if one is not a seasoned drinker - might try a different ship - Opera ok very clean and furnishings in good condition but a little 'dated' - packed a lot into a little time - one week - shame about the weather and the onboard prices akin to top hotel rates but surroundings and waitress service don't justify / live up to the premium.
14 Nov 2018
Terms and Conditions
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.