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Ocean Cruises
Saga Cruises

Local Flavours of the Mediterranean

Saga Pearl II departing Portsmouth

from £3,416 17 2
Including optional travel insurance or a discount of £98 if not required
  • Full Board Full board
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Discover the real Spain

For a taste of Spain's vibrant culture, join this spring cruise exploring the country's Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts before the rush of the summer crowds. You can taste tapas in Santiago de Compostela, explore Gaudi's legacy in Barcelona and be awed by Cadiz's devotion to the Passion on Good Friday. Saga Pearl II will also visit the smaller ports of Motril and Ibiza Town, which are out of reach to larger cruise ships. Plus, throughout your cruise, local chefs will join you on board to give you a real flavour of the places you visit.

Inspiring experiences to enjoy…

Wonder at the exquisite Moorish designs of the Alhambra in Granada, taste local delicacies and enjoy traditional food demonstrations by local chefs, and stand in awe of Arles' mighty Roman amphitheatre from Sète.

Saga price includes...

  • All meals on board, including 24-hour room service
  • A choice of wines at lunch and dinner
  • All on-board gratuities
  • Optional travel insurance and additional cancellation rights, or a reduction if not required
  • Entertainment and activities
  • Welcome cocktail party and Captain’s dinner
  • All port taxes and visas
  • UK mainland travel service to and from Portsmouth
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View Full Itinerary

Portsmouth

Embark Saga Pearl II.

Depart 1600.

Portsmouth is one of the most densely populated cities in Southern England, and is unusual as most of its built-up area occupies Portsea Island, which is linked to the mainland by road and rail bridges. Although there is a Roman fort at nearby Portchester, which was occupied later by both the Saxons and the Normans, there was no settlement on the site of Portsmouth at the time of the Domesday survey in 1086. The town developed in medieval times and received its first charter in 1194 from King Richard the Lionheart; soon afterwards it developed into a permanent naval base. It has the world’s oldest continuously used dry dock, and is home to several famous ships, including HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and the Mary Rose, which millions of television viewers watched being raised from the Solent in 1982. Portsmouth remains an important naval base and is home to a large proportion of the British service fleet. The waterfront area is now dominated by the Spinnaker Tower, 560 feet high, which is the United Kingdom’s tallest building outside London. Other things to see in the city include the house where Charles Dickens was born, and the City Museum, which contains a permanent exhibition devoted to another famous writer, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who lived in the town.

FactFile

Population 205,400 (approximate)
Language English
Currency Pound sterling
Time Difference N/A
Climate Portsmouth experiences an oceanic climate, with cool winters and mild to warm summers.
Ship berths at Portsmouth International Port
Distance from Centre ½-mile
Distance from gangway to coach Coaches can pull up immediately outside the terminal building.

Useful Information

Shopping The nearest shops to the terminal are in Gunwharf Quays, near the Spinnaker Tower.
Shopping Opening Hours Most shops are open Monday to Friday 0900-2000, Saturday 0900-1900 and Sunday 1100-1700.
Post Office The main Post Office is in Slindon Street, near Portsmouth & Southsea railway station.
Tourist Office The Tourist Information Office is on Clarence Esplanade. Telephone: 023 9282 6722.
How to Phone Home For the UK dial the full STD code followed by the subscriber's number.
Emergency Services Dial 999.
Banks All main UK banks have branches in the city centre, and there are ATMs in the Cruise Terminal.

Spend the day at sea.

Ferrol

Arrive 0900. Depart 1800.

El Ferrol has been inextricably linked to the sea for more than two millennia, being a major shipbuilding centre for most of its history. From its beginnings as a tiny fishing port in the 1st century BC, it endured conquests by Vandals, Suebis, Arabs and Christians. With the arrival of the Bourbons in the 18th century, Ferrol became a leading maritime centre, largely due to its large natural harbour on the Ferrol Inlet, an arm of the Atlantic. Now a large commercial port, Ferrol is also the gateway to the northern Spanish province of Galicia, a region noted for its green mountains, deep gorges and fast-flowing rivers. It is also well placed for visiting the medieval holy city of Santiago de Compostela. Interestingly, Ferrol's city centre is modelled on Lisbon in Portugal, a country with which it has strong historical and linguistic ties. The layout comprises of a rectangle lined with six parallel streets, with two squares on each side. These squares have the city's best shops, restaurants and bars.

FactFile

Population 80,000 (approximate)
Language Spanish
Currency Euro
Time Difference UK+1
Climate Atlantic, with pleasantly warm summers and humid winters
Ship berths at Muelle, Exterior Dock
Distance from Centre Approximately 450 yards
Distance from gangway to coach Up to 100 yards

Useful Information

Shopping The main shopping area is located in the city centre.
Shopping Opening Hours The shops are open Monday to Saturday between 1000-1400 and 1630-2000.
Post Office The main Post Office is located on the Plaza de Galicia.
Tourist Office There is a Tourist Office at the pier.
How to Phone Home For the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, but omitting the first zero.
Emergency Services Dial 112
Banks Banks are open weekdays from 0900-1400; there are also 24-hour ATMs around the city centre.

Shore excursions you may be able to enjoy:

Your stop in El Ferrol gives you a wonderful opportunity to visit the pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela with its charming old quarter and magnificent cathedral that dominates Obradoiro Square. The cathedral has become the most popular site of Christian pilgrimage after Jerusalem and Rome, and on your visit you will see the beautiful Jubilee Door (only opened each Jubilee Year), the traditional tomb of St James and the 12th-century ‘Portico da Gloria’, considered one of the world’s most important medieval works of sculpture. At Obradoiro Square you will be told more about the Cathedral and plaza and then you will have some free time to browse the local shops. Enjoy a tapas lunch and entertainment from a choral group at the Parador de los Reyes Catolicós. This elegant hotel has a variety of Renaissance, Gothic and Baroque features, and was built as a hostel for pilgrims in the 15th century.

This excursion involves walking approximately two miles, much of it over cobbled streets, with around 15 steps. Coaches are unable to access the cathedral area – there is a walk of approximately 800 yards to reach it. The journey to Santiago de Compostela should take around 1 hour, 15 minutes each way, depending on traffic. Large bags and backpacks should not be taken inside the cathedral, and access to the interior may occasionally be restricted if a service is taking place. Entrance to the Cathedral is included in the cost of the tour. Dietary requests must be advised to the Shore Excursion Manager on board ship at least 72 hours prior to arrival. The holy city of Santiago de Compostela

Your stop in El Ferrol gives you a wonderful opportunity to visit the pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela with its charming old quarter and magnificent cathedral that dominates Obradoiro Square. The cathedral has become the most popular site of Christian pilgrimage after Jerusalem and Rome, and on your visit you will see the beautiful Jubilee Door (only opened each Jubilee Year), the traditional tomb of St James and the 12th-century ‘Portico da Gloria’, considered one of the world’s most important medieval works of sculpture. At Obradoiro Square you will be told more about the Cathedral and plaza and then you will have some free time to browse the local shops.

This excursion involves walking approximately two miles, much of it over cobbled streets, with around 15 steps. Coaches are unable to access the cathedral area – there is a walk of approximately 800 yards to reach it. The journey to Santiago de Compostela should take around 1 hour, 15 minutes each way, depending on traffic. Large bags and backpacks should not be taken inside the cathedral, and access to the interior may occasionally be restricted if a service is taking place. Entrance to the Cathedral is included in the cost of the tour. The holy city of Santiago de Compostela

Explore Santiago at your own pace on this excursion. Depart your ship by coach to visit the pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela with its charming old quarter and beautiful cathedral, which dominates Obradoiro Square. The cathedral has become the most popular site of Christian pilgrimage after Jerusalem and Rome, and on your visit you can see the beautiful Jubilee Door (only opened each Jubilee Year), the traditional tomb of St James and the 12th-century ‘Portico da Gloria’, considered one of the world’s most important medieval sculptures.

Walking on this excursion is at your own discretion. On this excursion your guide will accompany you on the coach only: on your arrival you will have the remainder of the time at leisure for you to explore independently. Coaches are unable to access the cathedral area - there is a walk of approximately 800 yards to reach it. We recommend that you order a packed lunch from the ship. Bags and backpacks are not permitted inside the Cathedral. Entrance to the Cathedral is not included in the cost of this excursion. Enjoy Santiago de Compostela

Discover the natural attractions surrounding El Ferrol today, driving along the coast with its typical Galician villages and enjoying views of the nearby beaches, forests and estuaries. Begin with a panoramic tour of El Ferrol, passing the old military camp and the neo-Classical quarter which housed naval officers in the 18th century. Next, see further examples of neo-Classical architecture in the city centre, where many of the older buildings now form part of the university. You then travel along the coast to Pontedeume, which enjoys excellent views of the forest and estuaries: a short stop will be made here to give you an opportunity to take photos of the scenery. Arrive at the mouth of the estuary for refreshments in a local restaurant before the journey back to El Ferrol.

This tour involves walking a total distance of approximately 150 yards. There are also around three steps at the restaurant. Explore Galicia's Coastline

Visit Santiago de Compostela on foot, just like a pilgrim! Leaving the port, travel by coach to your starting-point along the Way of St James, where you collect your walking stick and scallop shell - symbols of the Camino - before you begin your stroll alongside meadows, farms and eucalyptus groves towards Santiago. This walk will be long enough to give you a good impression of what it is like to walk the Camino de Santiago across Northern Spain. Arriving in Santiago - the end of the Way and the goal of any pilgrim - your guide will give a brief explanation about the Cathedral and other places associated with the pilgrimage. You have time to discover this historic city at your leisure before returning to the port.

This excursion involves a walk of approximately four miles, partly along cobbled streets and partly along a long-distance footpath: the surface of this may be uneven, dusty or muddy depending on the season and the weather. Comfortable, supportive walking shoes are essential, and you should be prepared for changeable weather. Sticks are provided. Entrance to the Cathedral is not included in the cost of this excursion. A packed lunch can be supplied by the ship on request: a light tapas lunch is served at the Parador in Santiago de Compostela. Follow the Camino de Santiago!

Spend the day at sea.

Spend the day at sea.

Motril

Arrive 0800. Depart 1800.

Motril is located in the Spanish region of Andalucia on the Costa Tropical. It is the biggest town on the Costa with a thriving commercial, fishing and leisure port. An hour and a half's drive east of Malaga and within easy reach of the magnificent Sierra Nevada mountain range, Motril makes an ideal base for exploring the many delights of the Andalucian coastline and its hinterland. Halfway between the resorts of Malaga to the west and Almeria to the east, nestling in the foothills of the Sierra Lujar mountains, Motril is at the heart of one of the most fertile and productive agricultural areas of Spain. The Costa Tropical takes its name from its sub-tropical climate which enables the cultivation of exotic fruits and crops such as sugar cane, oranges, lemons, apples, avocadoes, mangoes and bananas. One of the sights of Motril is the 17th-century church of Nuestra Señora de la Cabeza, dedicated to the town's patron saint.

FactFile

Population 61,000 (approximate)
Language Spanish
Currency Euro
Time Difference UK+1
Climate Hot, dry summers and mild winters
Ship berths at Muelle de Levante or Dique de Levante
Distance from Centre 1¼ miles
Distance from gangway to coach 55 yards

Useful Information

Shopping The best shops are in Avenida Rodríguez Acosta and other streets near the Parque de los Pueblos de América
Shopping Opening Hours Most shops are open from 0930-1330 and 1730-2030 on weekdays and 0930-1330 on Saturdays
Post Office The main post office is at 35 Avenida de Salobreña
Tourist Office The Tourist Office is on Plaza de las Comunidades Autónomas
How to Phone Home Dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, but omitting the first zero
Emergency Services Dial 112
Banks Banks are open from 0800-1400 on weekdays - most have 24-hour ATMs

Shore excursions you may be able to enjoy:

Leaving Motril, head inland to the city of Granada, which stands about 2,100 feet above sea level, in the shadow of the mighty Sierra Nevada. The Moors occupied Granada from the 8th century AD until 1492. On arrival, your first stop is at the Generalife, a small summer palace set in beautiful gardens. It is approached through an avenue of cypress trees, and is noted for its flowerbeds, box hedges, myrtle bushes and fountains. The gardens also enjoy lovely views of the city and mountains. Continuing to the Alhambra, visit this magnificent palace that, despite later alterations and restoration, remains one of the world’s finest examples of medieval Islamic architecture. From floor to ceiling, almost every inch of its glorious interior is covered with floral or geometric patterns or Arabic script. Ceilings are decorated with stucco stalactites, and highlights include the Hall of the Ambassadors and the Court of the Lions. Leaving the Alhambra, drive to the Albaicín Quarter, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where your guide takes you for a walking tour through the narrow streets of whitewashed houses. Your walk ends at a ‘cave restaurant’ in the Sacromonte district, where you enjoy a tapas-style lunch with Sangria and water, accompanied by a traditional Flamenco show, before returning by coach to Motril.

This tour involves walking nearly two miles, partly over steep or uneven ground and cobblestones, with 200 steps at the Alhambra and about 60 in the Generalife Gardens. Some steps can be avoided if you choose not to visit all areas. Comfortable walking shoes and sunscreen are recommended. The coach journeys to and from Granada usually take about one hour each way, and participants will need to transfer from the main tour coach to a smaller vehicle for the drive to the Albaicín Quarter. Dietary requests must be advised to the Shore Excursion Manager on board ship at least 72 hours prior to arrival. Visit the stunning Generalife Gardens

Frigiliana has been voted the 'prettiest village in Andalusia' by the Spanish tourism authority. It is also of historical interest as the hill above the village, El Fuerte, was the scene of the final bloody defeat of the Moors of La Axarquía in their rebellion in 1569. The village is a maze of narrow cobbled streets lined with whitewashed houses. On their wrought-iron balconies may be seen numerous flower-pots filled with bright red geraniums. Small, shaded squares have benches where you may sit and relax, while the village bars are popular with visitors who come to taste the local wine. There are also a number of interesting shops selling local pottery and ceramics, including plates decorated with distinctive Arabic designs. You enjoy a guided walking tour of the village, followed by free time and included refreshments, before heading back to Motril.

Participants should expect to walk up to one mile, with some uneven surfaces, steps and steep gradients. Comfortable walking shoes and sunscreen are recommended. The coach journeys to and from Motril take about one hour each way. A pretty street in Frigiliana

Leaving Motril, enjoy a panoramic drive through some of Andalusia’s typical ‘white villages’ with their distinctive whitewashed houses perched on the hillsides. Your destination is the Ron Montero rum distillery, a 45-year-old family business that has an excellent local reputation and is believed to be the most southerly distillery of its kind in Europe. Sugar cane plantations were formerly widespread in this part of Spain: the plant was introduced by the Arabs over 1,000 years ago, and the Montero family owned the last sugar cane factory to operate in Europe. At the cellars, you enjoy a professional show cooking demonstration, where you can see typical Andalusian ‘piononos’ being prepared. A traditional Spanish dessert, these small pastries originated in the little town of Santa Fe, near Granada. A pionono consists of a thin layer of pastry rolled into a cylinder, flavoured with different kinds of syrup to give it a sweet and pleasant taste, covered with toasted cream. It is normally eaten in one or two bites, and you will be able to enjoy these delicacies yourself before heading back to the ship.

This tour involves walking a total distance of about 500 yards, with a few steps. Comfortable shoes are recommended. Please note that the public conveniences at the distillery can only be accessed by negotiating a flight of ten steps. Taste some delicious Spanish piononos!

Cartagena

Arrive 0800. Depart 1800.

A Mediterranean city and naval station located in the Region of Murcia, southeastern Spain, Cartagena’s sheltered bay has attracted sailors for centuries. The Carthaginians founded the city in 223BC and named it Cartago Nova; it later became a prosperous Roman colony, and a Byzantine trading centre. The city has been the main Spanish Mediterranean naval base since the reign of King Philip II, and is still surrounded by walls built during this period. Cartagena’s importance grew with the arrival of the Spanish Bourbons in the 18th century, when the Navidad Fortress was constructed to protect the harbour. In recent years, traces of the city’s fascinating past have been brought to light: a well-preserved Roman Theatre was discovered in 1988, and this has now been restored and opened to the public. During your free time, you may like to take a mini-cruise around Cartagena's historic harbour: these operate several times a day, take approximately 40 minutes and do not need to be booked in advance. Full details will be available at the port.

FactFile

Population 217,340
Language Spanish
Currency Euro
Time Difference UK+1
Climate A warm, semi-arid climate with an average temperature of 20°C
Ship berths at Cartagena Pier
Distance from Centre ¼-mile
Distance from gangway to coach The coaches park right by the gangway.

Useful Information

Shopping The main shopping area is approximately ¼-mile from the port, along the main street (Calle Mayor).
Shopping Opening Hours 0930-1330 and 1630-1930 Mondays to Fridays. On Saturday afternoons and Sundays most shops are closed.
Post Office Postcards and stamps can be purchased in the Town Hall Square from the 'Estanco' (tobacconist's kiosk).
Tourist Office The Tourist Office is located in the town hall.
How to Phone Home For the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, but omitting the first zero.
Emergency Services Diall 112.
Banks Banks are located in the town centre and are open from 0830 - 1400 Monday to Friday.

Shore excursions you may be able to enjoy:

Discover the highlights of Cartagena by boarding a rubber-tyred ‘trolley train’ that takes you through the city’s streets. Originally settled in 223 BC, Cartagena flourished under Roman, Muslim and Arab rule, and today offers the visitor a variety of sights that reflect more than 3,000 years of history. Leaving the port area, you enter the historic city centre, where you can admire one of the city’s most surprising archaeological discoveries from the exterior: the Roman Theatre. Discovered only in 1988, this great structure shows how important Cartagena was in Roman Spain, and its complete excavation and restoration has been a driving force for the regeneration of what was formerly a run-down area of the city. Your trolley train also takes you up to Parque Serrano, where you can see the exterior of the Castillo de la Concepción, a medieval castle that appears on the city’s coat-of-arms. Returning to the city centre, pass the Naval Museum and the18th-century Arsenal Building before pausing for refreshments in the Town Hall Square, the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. Relax and admire the splendid neo-Classical façade of the Town Hall and the fine Modernist buildings on the square, before taking the trolley train back to the port.

You will need to walk approximately 200 yards at the Town Hall Square, over level ground. Any further walking at photo-stops is at your discretion. Take a trip on the Trolley Train

This tour takes you to the town of Elche, known in the local Valenciano language as 'Elx', famous throughout Spain for its ancient palm forest. Home to more than 300,000 trees, the forest is said to have been planted by the Phoenicians in 300BC and part of it is now an enclosed private garden. Discover the delightful Huerto del Cura or Priest’s Garden, home to an abundant variety of plants and cacti. The trees are not purely aesthetic as they are still the town’s chief industry - they produce dates, and the fronds are in demand all over the country for Palm Sunday processions. You will also see the Imperial Palm, a tree with a trunk divided into eight branches. From here, continue to the blue-domed Baroque Basilica of St Mary, which was built between 1672 and 1784 on the site of a former mosque. The richly-decorated main doorway is the work of Nicolás de Bussy, a sculptor born in Strasbourg in 1651 who spent most of his life in Spain. This magnificent church is the setting for the most important event in the town’s religious calendar - the 'Mystery of Elche’ passion play. Performed every year on August 14 and 15, the play is recognised by UNESCO as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Before leaving Elche, spend some time in the Municipal Park, bequeathed to the city in 1661 by landowner Nicolás Caro. This beautiful park is dotted with fountains and ponds, and, in addition to the inevitable date palms, includes bougainvillea, rosewood, magnolias, poplars, fig and banana trees, and even a rare tulip tree from Gabon.

You should be prepared to walk just over one mile over reasonably level ground. There are five steps at the entrance to the Basilica. Comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen and insect repellent are recommended. The coach journeys between Cartagena and Elche take approximately 1¼ hours each way. Cacti and date palms in Elche

This tour starts with an exploration of the coastline of Cartagena, visiting La Manga del Mar Menor. Literally meaning ‘The Sleeve’, La Manga is an unusual geographical phenomenon: a thin strip of land about 15 miles long and 450 yards wide that separates the Mediterranean from the saltwater lake known as the Mar Menor or ‘Little Sea’. Stop for photos at the fishing village of Cabo de Palos, situated at the south end of La Manga. Of particular interest is the lighthouse, which is built of grey stone and is 265 feet high. Standing on a rocky headland, it took two years to build and was first lit on January 31, 1865. Continuing by coach along the peninsula of La Manga, you will see the beach, which extends for 13 miles and is very popular with holidaymakers and sunbathers. They refer to La Manga as the ‘Paradise Between Two Seas’, and consider the Mar Menor to be the world’s largest swimming pool. Since the 1960s numerous hotels and apartment complexes have been built along this narrow strip of land. Returning to Cartagena, stop for a short walking tour of the city, which is located on a fine natural harbour. Stroll past the monument of the Heroes of Cavite, dedicated to Spanish sailors who died in the 1898 Spanish-American War, and walk along the pedestrianised main street, while listening to the commentary from your guide. Pause to enjoy a drink of hot chocolate in a café by the impressive City Hall, which was built in 1900 and is listed as a Spanish National Monument.

The tour of La Manga is panoramic: any walking at photo-stops is at your discretion. There is an optional walk of about 150 yards to the lighthouse, with five steps. The city sightseeing in Cartagena is entirely on foot and covers approximately 400 yards, almost all of which is over level paved ground. Comfortable shoes and sun protection are recommended. Cartagena's imposing City Hall

Enjoy a drive through the countryside of the Murcia region to see the natural wonder of the Mar Menor. This inland sea was formed after an accumulation of sediment created a barrier of sand between the land and the Mediterranean. Stop at Cabo de Palos to see the tall, impressive lighthouse: its light has warned sailors of the dangers of this treacherous shore since 1865. Continue to the coastal resort of La Manga, which has boomed since the 1970s with the construction of numerous hotels and apartments. Enjoy a little free time here to take in the views of the Mar Menor on one side and of the Mediterranean on the other. Your next stop is at the Bodega Serrano. This family-run winery is tucked away from the normal tourist trail in the small town of Pozo Estrecho. Here you will be shown how wines are produced, before enjoying a tasting session, accompanied by some typical regional tapas. You may also purchase wine if you wish to take home a bottle or two. Suitably refreshed, return by coach to your ship in Cartagena.

You will need to walk approximately 550 yards at the winery, over level paved ground or hard-packed sand, with four steps to negotiate. There is an optional walk of about 150 yards to the lighthouse, with five steps; further walking at Cabo de Palos and in La Manga is at your discretion. Comfortable shoes and sun protection are recommended. Cabo de Palos Lighthouse

Depart Cartagena by coach for a journey through the foothills of the Sierra Carrascoy. Your destination is the city of Murcia, capital of the province of the same name. Settled by the Moors in the 9th century and conquered by the Christians in the 13th century, this bustling city offers an array of architectural delights. Your first stop is the Monastery of the Virgin of Fuensanta, the Patroness of Murcia. From here you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Murcian orchards, which produce more fruit and vegetables than any others in the Mediterranean. Continuing to the city, you stop to visit the Cathedral in the main square. This comprises work in three different architectural styles: Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque. Next to the Cathedral you can view the exterior of the Bishop’s Palace. From here you continue to another of Murcia’s historic buildings, the Royal Casino. Located in the city centre not far from the cathedral, the Casino dates from 1847 and is in a mixture of different architectural styles, with interiors modeled on Roman and Moorish buildings. Declared a National Historic Building in 1983, it was completely refurbished between 2006 and 2009, when all the original decorative features were restored. Leaving the Casino, you pass through the Squares of Santo Domingo and Romea, and have some free time for a stroll on your own before returning by coach to Cartagena.

This tour involves walking slightly over one mile along mostly level ground, with 25 steps at the shrine and inside the cathedral. Comfortable shoes and sun protection are recommended. The Baroque façade of Murcia Cathedral

Discover the highlights of Cartagena, originally settled in 223 BC. The city has flourished under Roman, Muslim and Arab rule, and today offers a vast cultural legacy. Your walking tour begins at the pier. Walk along the sea wall to reach the Town Hall Square and the main avenue, admiring interesting modernist buildings from the beginning of the 20th century. You then continue to the Roman Theatre, the most important archaeological site in the region. The theatre is in the heart of Cartagena, but was lost for more than 1,500 years: it dates back some 2,000 years to the heyday of Cartagena's period as an important Roman city. Built on one of the highest hills in the city, its tiered rows of seats were dug out of the rock so that 6,000 spectators had a view of the stage. After seeing the theatre, you have the choice of returning to your ship with your guide or staying in the town centre to explore on your own.

This excursion is entirely on foot and covers approximately one mile, almost entirely over level paved ground, although there are some cobblestones and uneven surfaces when you reach the Roman Theatre. An escalator provides access to the Roman Theatre. Comfortable shoes and sun protection are recommended. Cartagena's well-preserved Roman Theatre

Ibiza

Arrive 0800. Depart 2000.

The third-largest of the Balearics after Majorca and Minorca, the island of Ibiza offers a landscape of incomparable beauty. It has numerous valleys, and a craggy coastline with numerous coves and bays, as well as fine beaches bordered by pine trees. As the ship docks, the town walls rise dramatically like an extension of the cliffs that protect the port. Historically Ibiza was ruled by the Phoenicians and the Romans prior to its conquest by the Moors in 990AD; King Jaime I of Aragon took the island in 1235 and brought numerous Catalonian settlers here. The town is divided into two distinct areas: the ancient hilltop settlement of D’Alt Vila and the more modern Eixample district by the seafront. In recent years Ibiza Town has become known for its trendy club scene, attracting top DJs, record producers and thousands of young people between the months of June and October.

FactFile

Population 48,500 (approximate)
Language Spanish and Catalan
Currency Euro
Time Difference UK+1
Climate Hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters with summer temperatures ranging from 20°C to 35°C.
Ship berths at Port of Eivissa, Ibiza Town or Dique Botafoch
Distance from Centre Between 200 yards and 2 miles depending on berth
Distance from gangway to coach Between 10 and 100 yards

Useful Information

Shopping There are numerous shops in the port area.
Shopping Opening Hours Many shops are open between 1000-1400 on Sundays.
Post Office Closed on Sundays. Stamps may be bought from 'Estancos' (tobacconists' kiosks).
Tourist Office Located at Vara del Rey, 13 Bajo, 07800 Ibiza.
How to Phone Home For the UK dial 0044 followed by the full STD number, omitting the first zero.
Emergency Services Dial 112.
Banks Banks are closed on Sundays, but you will find branches with 24-hour ATMs on Avinguda Ignasi Wallis and Avinguda de Espanya.

Shore excursions you may be able to enjoy:

The old district of Dalt Vila stands on a hill that dominates the city, and is one of the main justifications for Ibiza being designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here is a maze of narrow cobbled streets, tiny alleyways, Gothic churches and other old buildings all enclosed by ancient fortifications. At the centre, towering above everything, are the beautiful 14th-century Cathedral of Santa Maria d´Eivissa and the Renaissance-style castle. Underneath is one of the largest underground cemeteries in the world - the necropolis of Puig des Molins, which dates back to the Phoenician period, several centuries before the Christian era. Your tour coach takes you to the city’s highest point for a visit to the Cathedral and its museum. Afterwards, follow your guide back downhill through the narrow lanes back to the port.

The coach parks near the Cathedral, where you will need to walk through a tunnel, climbing about 40 uneven stone steps to reach the Cathedral. The tour involves walking approximately two miles over partly uneven surfaces and cobbled streets with numerous steps. Comfortable non-slip walking shoes and sunscreen are recommended, and clothes that cover the knees and shoulders should be worn when visiting the Cathedral. Admission to the Cathedral interior may be restricted in the unlikely event of our tour coinciding with a religious service. Ibiza's fortified Old Town

Visit Ibiza’s unspoiled sister island and enjoy stunning views of her countryside on this exciting tour. After a short transfer to the ferry port by shuttle-bus, take the ferry for the 45-minute crossing to Formentera, a beautiful island whose beaches, clear waters and lovely climate make it a jewel in the Mediterranean. Once you have moored at the port of La Savina, join your coach for a tour around Formentera. Head first to San Francisco Xavier, the capital, to explore and maybe go shopping. Continue afterwards to San Ferran des Roques and then to the Mirador de la Mola, a viewpoint from where you can see the whole island, along with Ibiza: truly a spectacular sight. Stop briefly at the island’s lighthouse and then drive to Es Pujols, where you have a little free time. Your final stop is to view the sea flats of Las Salinas, before you board the ferry back to Ibiza, where a bus will take you back to the pier.

This tour involves walking approximately one mile, over uneven pathways, sand, cobbled streets and other surfaces that may be slippery. There will be a few steps to negotiate when getting on and off the ferries, which are public boats and not exclusive to Saga. We regret that this tour is not suitable for those with walking difficulties. There is no commentary during the ferry crossings. Casual, lightweight clothes, comfortable shoes and sunscreen are recommended. There are very few public conveniences on Formentera although there are facilities on the ferry. You may wish to bring a towel and swimming costume if you wish to swim or sunbathe at Es Pujols: any activities on the beach or in the sea are undertaken at your own risk. No refreshments are included: you may wish to bring a packed lunch from the ship, or purchase food and drink in Formentera. Operation of this tour is subject to the prevailing sea and weather conditions. Formentera Lighthouse

Get away from the crowds and discover the hidden corners of Ibiza on this fascinating tour. Visit some of the island’s most beautiful and secluded bays, swim in the crystal clear waters, and visit a typical Ibizan finca. Leaving the pier, head first to Es Cubells, a quiet bay off the main road, where you can enjoy magnificent panoramic views over the sea towards the neighbouring island of Formentera. Next, continue to Cala D´Hort, where the arc-shaped golden beach boasts uninterrupted views of the majestic island of Es Vedrá - one of Ibiza´s most beautiful natural sights. Your next stop is at the beach of Cala Conta, where you can cool down with a dip in the beautiful crystal clear blue water. Leaving the sea, head to Ca´n Costa, where you visit a traditional finca with a country house that is 400 years old. It is a fine example of typical Ibizan architecture; whitewashed, its thick walls and small windows ensure that it remains cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Indeed, Ibiza is known as the ‘white island’ owing to the colour of its houses. After visiting the finca, taste some typical local produce, such as ‘sobrasada’ and ‘butifarra’ sausages, cheese, dried fruit, liqueurs and wine, before returning to the pier.

This excursion does not involve walking any great distance, although during the guided tour of the finca you will need to spend one hour standing or walking as you follow your guide through the house; for this reason, we have graded this tour as 'Moderate'. Walking at Es Cubells and Cala D´Hort is at your discretion, and you are free to swim, relax or stroll at Cala Conta. However, any walking at these stops is likely to involve uneven surfaces or cobblestones. We recommend that you wear casual clothes and comfortable shoes, and that you bring a swimming costume, towel and sunscreen. Sunbeds and umbrellas are available on the beach. Any activities on the beach or in the sea are undertaken at your own risk. Look across to the island of Es Vedrá

Discover Ibiza far away from the tourist routes on this half day 4x4 adventure: an unmissable opportunity to discover unusual places inaccessible by coach. Leaving the pier, you drive inland by four-wheel drive vehicle. Driving mostly off-road, see parts of the island far from the recent tourist developments, discovering areas that have remained unchanged for the last 100 years. Over trails and roads, reach every scenic corner that Ibiza has to offer. The route has been designed for you to see the beauty of nature, passing through small country settlements, green valleys and gorges between the mountains and the cliffs. At the end of the tour you stop at a beach, where you have approximately one hour to relax, sunbathe or swim and enjoy the crystal-clear waters.

As changing rooms are limited or non-existent, those wishing to go swimming are advised to wear their costumes under their clothes. You should also bring sunscreen and a towel. Any activities on the beach or in the sea are undertaken at your own risk. Soft-top vehicles are used on this tour, and it is subject to cancellation at short notice in the event of bad weather. The drive is unsuitable for those with neck, back, hip or knee problems owing to the very bumpy terrain, and these vehicles have no handrails or space to store wheelchairs. The standard of vehicle may vary by make and model, some having no seat belts and steep access steps: for this reason, we have graded this tour as 'Moderate'. Prior to our port call, the Shore Excursion Manager will request a meeting of all participants booked on this tour. A 4x4 adventure on Ibiza

Journey to San Juan, which boasts some of the island’s most unspoilt countryside. In the centre of the town you can visit a church built in typically Ibizan style. The next stop is at Cala San Vicente, a beautiful cove, which is now a tourist centre with modern hotels with villas climbing steeply up the hillside from the sea. You pass San Carlos and some of Ibiza’s most beautiful beaches, before arriving at Santa Eulalia, a long-time favourite haunt of painters and writers. Once a trading post for the rich farms of the north-eastern part of the island, it has now become the main tourist resort on Ibiza’s east coast. The old white church on the hilltop is surrounded by cube-shaped houses, which are typical of Ibizan architecture. The village attracts artists as it looks different from each direction, and changes hue at different times of the day. A stop will be made for refreshments before you return to the ship.

This tour involves walking approximately 650 yards, with about 20 steps. We recommend that you bring sunscreen and wear comfortable shoes. Enjoy views of the north of the island

Spend the day at sea.

Sète

Arrive 0800. Depart 1800.

With a series of canals and bridges, it's easy to see why Sète is often described as the 'Little Venice of the Languedoc'. The largest fishing port in France, the town has a typically Mediterranean air with a fleet of fishing boats and trawlers lining the quay. Set between the Mediterranean Sea and the Thau Lagoon, famous for its oysters, the town is separated from the Cap d'Agde by eight miles of fine, sandy beaches. It also boasts good weather most of the year, with an average of 300 clear days annually. Sète has a very ancient history, with vestiges of life from the Bronze Age and Roman Empire. Until 1927, this harbour town was actually known as 'Cette'. With its quaint character and charm, it is no wonder that artists such as François Desnoyer and Robert Combas chose to live in the town, and it remains a hub for contemporary artists, with a number of world-class galleries. Seafood plays a big part here, with dishes such as stuffed mussels and cuttlefish in red pepper sauce all delicious local specialities. Sète also makes an ideal base for visiting the fortified medieval hilltop city of Carcassonne.

FactFile

Population 43,500 (approximate)
Language French
Currency Euro
Time Difference UK+1
Climate Temperate
Ship berths at Quai d'Alger
Distance from Centre Approximately 250 yards
Distance from gangway to coach Up to 25 yards

Useful Information

Shopping There are shops located at rue Gambetta.
Shopping Opening Hours Shops are typically open Monday to Saturday from 1000-1900. Most close on Sundays, but some souvenir shops may remain open.
Post Office There is a Post Office located on Boulevard Daniel Casanova which opens Monday to Saturday between 0900-1230 and 1430-1730
Tourist Office The Tourist Office is located by the fishing port area on 60 Grand Rue Mario Roustan
How to Phone Home Dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, but omitting the first zero
Emergency Services For all emergencies dial 112.
Banks Société Générale is located on Quai de la Résistance which opens weekdays between 0900-1200 and 1400-1600. ATM available

Shore excursions you may be able to enjoy:

Departing from Sète, your journey will take you to Aigues Mortes, a fortified city located in the heart of the Petite Camargue, built in the 13th century and standing quite alone in a melancholy landscape of ponds, sea marshes, and saltpans. Aigues Mortes originally served as a departure harbour for the crusades of St Louis. Its Constance Tower is one of the most majestic pieces of architecture from medieval times, and served as a lookout post to fend off the Saracens. Enjoy a guided walking tour which will cover the history of the town, then set out to explore at your leisure and stroll through the charming town on your own, before the return journey back to your ship.

Comfortable walking shoes are recommended for this tour. There is approximately half a mile of walking over cobblestone and uneven ground during this tour. There are very few public toilet facilities in France; passengers can use the facilities in bars as long as drinks are purchased. Aigues-Mortes

The impressive fortified medieval city of Carcassonne is one of the jewels of the Languedoc, and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A fortified settlement has existed at the top of the hill since pre-Roman times, but what survives today is unmistakably medieval. Journey to the town, and upon arrival enjoy a guided tour – the streets and buildings are remarkably preserved, and a visit here is like stepping back in time. Following this, spend the next couple of hours at leisure, taking in the sights and perhaps stopping for lunch. Just some of the attractions you can discover include the domineering fortress surrounded by 52 fairytale towers and ramparts, as well as Marcou Square and the Basilica of St Nazaire.

There is extensive walking of up to two miles on this excursion, often over cobbled streets. It is not suitable for passengers with walking limitations. The drive to Carcassone should take around two hours each way, depending on traffic. Lunch is not included in this tour, allowing you to dine out independently in the venue of your choice. Alternatively, you can request a packed lunch from the ship. Discover Carcassonne's medieval city walls

Sit back and enjoy a drive to Montpellier, a city where a thousand years of trade and culture account for an energetic spirit. Montpellier’s university was founded in the 13th century and known for its excellent medical school. On arrival begin a one-hour walking tour through the old part of the city which dates back to the 12th century. Buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries line narrow streets and quaint squares. Time permitting; you will have free time at the Place de la Comédie, Montpelier’s central hub. Continue with a short drive to Château Flaugergues. The Chateau of Flaugergues, is a splendid “folly” of the 18th century and property of the Count and the Countess Henri de Colbert who will welcome you for an exclusive visit. The château was built by Étienne de Flaugergues, a Montpellier financier. It has a monumental staircase decorated with Brussels tapestries (the life of Moses), high-class furniture and old paintings. Soak up the atmosphere as you taste the wines produced by the estate before returning to your ship.

This majority of this tour in Montpellier is entirely by foot, walking for nearly one mile on generally flat terrain with cobbled streets and occasional steps. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended for this tour. Montpellier's Three Graces Fountain in Place de la Comédie

Departing from the port of Sète, enjoy a sightseeing drive of this city influenced by Greek and Roman culture before going up to Mount St Clair. Overlooking Sète, the Mediterranean Sea and Thau Lagoon, you will appreciate the outstanding view from Mount St Clair. The French writer Paul Valéry named Sète, his native town, ”The Singular Island” as it is surrounded by these bodies of water. From here you can also visit the chapel of Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette that was built on the site of an ancient fortress by Louis XIII and has fairly recent frescoes. Continue onto Marseillan via the coastal road where you will have a photo stop in this small fishing port before continuing to Bouzigues on the edge of the Thau Lagoon. Bouzigues has been a centre for oyster and mussel production as far back as the ancient Greeks and produces 13,000 tonnes of oysters and 3,000 tonnes of mussels every year.

There is approximately 200 yards of walking on this excursion: most sightseeing is from the coach. Sète's colourful harbour

Barcelona

Arrive 0800. Depart 2200.

Barcelona is a stylish and dynamic city with spectacular Mediterranean scenery and an infectious party atmosphere, best experienced in the mosaic-paved Ramblas area, the city's social hub, filled with open-air cafes, street entertainers and flower displays. During the summer months the city is abuzz with festivities, and the sunshine can be enjoyed virtually throughout the whole year. Awash with culture and art, Barcelona has been home to many famous artists including Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró and the eccentric architect Antoni Gaudi, whose surprising and striking work can be seen throughout the city. Look out for his beautifully-coloured and detailed buildings, which seem to grow organically out of the ground. Please note that recent changes to traffic regulations mean that tourist coaches are banned from the streets around the Sagrada Familia, and we cannot therefore stop for photographs of the basilica.

FactFile

Population 1.7 million (approximate)
Language Spanish and Catalan
Currency Euro
Time Difference UK+1
Climate Warm, dry summers and winters with balanced temperatures
Ship berths at Moll Adossat or Moll de Barcelona (World Trade Centre)
Distance from Centre Two miles from Moll Adossat or half-a-mile from Moll de Barcelona.
Distance from gangway to coach You can expect to walk between 200 and 650 yards: this will vary according to the berth allocated. The port may be busy with other cruise ships and the terminal is often very crowded.

Useful Information

Shopping The main shopping area is Catalunya Square.
Shopping Opening Hours Most are open Monday to Saturday between 1000-1400 and 1630-2000.
Post Office Stamps can be purchased from tobacconists.
Tourist Office Located in the south east corner of Catalunya Square, marked by a big red 'i' sign.
How to Phone Home For the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, but omitting the first zero.
Emergency Services Dial 112
Banks Open weekdays only from 0830-1400. 24-hour ATMs are widely available.

Shore excursions you may be able to enjoy:

Leaving Barcelona, you head out into the Catalan countryside to the village of Sant Sadurni d’Ánoia to discover the secrets of Spanish Cava. The Codorníu family had been producing still table wines since the 16th century, but in 1872 their descendant Josep Raventós Fatjó produced his first bottle of sparkling wine, and Cava was born. Your tour of the cellars includes a visit to Codorníu’s magnificent headquarters, set in beautiful landscaped gardens. Designed by the distinguished Catalan architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch and nicknamed the ‘Cathedral of Cava’, it is now listed as a Spanish National Monument. Here you can see learn about the history of this fascinating company and how they have adapted the traditional French Champagne method to produce their distinctive and famous wines. Your tour concludes with a Cava tasting, and you will have the opportunity to buy a bottle - or two - to take home, before returning to your ship.

Access to the cellars is via a small 'road-train' and a level walk of approximately 600 yards, but visitors also need to negotiate two or three flights of stairs, so we regret that this tour is not suitable for those with walking difficulties. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Inside the 'Cathedral of Cava'

Leave the port and head towards Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, a town in Catalonia’s Alt Penedès region that is centre for the production of the famous Cava sparkling wine. This is also the place where Casa Simón has been making artisanal chocolate since 1840, before the first bottle of Cava ever appeared in Sant Sadurní. Even today, many of Simón Coll’s production methods still have their own, distinctive character, thanks to the company’s ways of working that have become established over many decades. The firm has always been a major innovator, and its factory combines traditional know-how with state-of-the-art technology, creating some of Europe's most prestigious chocolate products. The Simón Coll Chocolate Experience will immerse you in the fascinating world of chocolate. Using an audio-visual show with spectacular images, it takes you to a journey into the origins, culture, history and manufacturing process of Simón Coll’s chocolate. See one of the factory's production lines, and have the opportunity to taste chocolates straight off the line: a unique experience! Leaving the factory, continue towards Barcelona to view some of the city’s highlights from your coach, stopping for photos at the Mirador de Alcade and at the Olympic Port before returning to your ship.

This excursion involves walking about 500 yards; at the Simón Coll Chocolate Experience you will spend about 50 minutes indoors, during most of which time you will be seated in a showroom, from where you may stand up and get nearer to the production line in order to view it more closely. Any further walking at photo-stops is minimal and entirely at your discretion. We cannot guarantee that chocolate production will be taking place at the time of your visit. Visit Simón Coll’s Chocolate Factory

Relax as your guide shows you the city´s highlights from the comfort of a coach, making brief stops at some of the main sights of interest so you can take photographs if you wish. Leaving the port, head first to Montjuïc Hill, site of the great International Exhibition of 1929. A stop will be made at the Mirador del Alcalde viewpoint, a belvedere overlooking the sea that offers spectacular panoramic views over the city. The Mirador was laid out in 1969 and features a sculpture by Josep Cañas showing Catalan dancers performing the popular Sardana folk dance. You next visit the Gothic Quarter, the oldest part of the city. Your coach stops at the Plaça de Catalunya, where your guide will take you for a walk to the impressive medieval cathedral, dedicated to the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia. Leaving the Gothic Quarter, re-join your coach and continue to the Olympic Village, built for the 1992 Olympic Games. In the years immediately after the Olympics, this district lacked the feel of a real neighbourhood, as many shops were still vacant. Now it has developed into a proper ‘barri’, as the quarters of Barcelona are known. Nearby is the Parc del Fòrum, a cultural and commercial district, where you will have a little free time to relax and perhaps go shopping before returning to the ship.

You will need to walk approximately 1,400 yards on this excursion, most of which is along level paths and pavements in the city centre. Admission to the Cathedral is not included. The dress code to enter the Cathedral is strictly enforced: if you wish to go inside, please make sure that you dress respectfully with your shoulders and knees covered. This tour does not pass the Basilica of La Sagrada Familia. The guide and driver reserve the right to make changes on the day in the event of heavy traffic. The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia

Barcelona’s heritage includes buildings from many different periods, but the city is especially rich in examples of Art Nouveau architecture. Antoni Gaudí in particular was responsible for some of the city’s most distinctive structures. On this guided tour, you visit the Basilica of La Sagrada Familia Basilica, his unfinished masterpiece, which is one of the city's most popular tourist attractions. Construction of this church will continue for at least another decade, but it has already become Barcelona's most important landmark. Your next stop is at Park Guell. Here Gaudí created a public park full of imagination, fantasy and colour, integrating architecture into the natural surroundings. After visiting this delightful oasis with its colourful benches, mosaics and pavilions, continue to Pastelerías Mauri for a leisurely lunch in the wonderful setting of this historic pastry shop or ‘pastelería’. Opened in 1929 on a busy corner in the Eixample quarter, with its regular grid plan of square city blocks, Pastelerías Mauri has changed little since then. The interior with its counters and display cases is still in the original modernist style of the 1920s, and the tea rooms have have delighted customers with their cakes and pastries for almost 90 years. Have free time for shopping or sightseeing after lunch, before heading back to the ship.

Most sightseeing is on foot: you should expect to walk approximately two miles over level ground with some cobbles and kerbs, and you will need to remain standing for periods of time while your guide gives a commentary. This tour must be booked prior to departure, as tickets for Park Güell and La Sagrada Famililia must be purchased 14 days in advance. Once tickets are purchased, this tour is non-refundable. Dietary requests must be advised to the Shore Excursion Manager on board ship at least 72 hours prior to arrival. Pastelerías Mauri in Barcelona

Visit the sacred mountain of Monserrat or 'Sawtooth Mountain', where you can admire spectacular views over the mountain ridge. Although relatively small by Spanish standards - less than six miles long and 4,280 feet high - this mountain is very distinctive, and the barren peaks of this unique and isolated crag resemble fingers reaching into the sky, as if in prayer. Your coach takes you north from Barcelona along the Llobregat Valley to the railway station at Monistrol, where you join the train. After the 15-minute ascent on this modern rack-and-pinion railway, reach the famous monastery, which was founded to commemorate the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the mountain. Although it was largely rebuilt in the 19th century, the abbey still houses the much-venerated statue of the Black Madonna, said to have been found by shepherds in a cave in the 9th century. Once at the top of the mountain you will be issued with a ticket that allows you entry to the Monserrat Audio-Visual Exhibition. You can also taste of the local Aromas de Monserrat liquor, and, if you are lucky, listen to a performance by the Escolania Boys Choir, one of the oldest choirs in Europe. Finally, after visiting the Basilica, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before returning down the mountain by coach to Barcelona, where you re-join your ship.

You will need to walk approximately 750 yards, with about five steps. If you wish to walk up to the Sanctuary of the Black Madonna, where the statue is located, you will need to negotiate a flight of 60 steps. The journey to Montserrat should take around 1½ hours each way. The choral performance cannot be guaranteed. Dietary requests must be advised to the Shore Excursion Manager on board ship at least 72 hours prior to arrival. Montserrat, the 'Sawtooth Mountain'

Barcelona’s cityscape has been influenced by numerous architects and planners, but none have left their mark in quite the same way as Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926). This guided tour will show you his main masterpieces in the city, starting with a drive to Park Güell. This garden-city project was commissioned by Eusebi Güell, and, although it was never completed, what was built is full of imagination, fantasy and colour. Every detail of the park, including the colourful benches, mosaics and pavilions, expresses Gaudí’s desire to integrate architecture into the natural surroundings. Continue next to the Sagrada Familia, Gaudí's unfinished masterpiece, which is one of Barcelona's most popular tourist attractions and greatest landmarks. Work on this monumental church started on 19 March 1882, based on a project by the diocesan architect Francisco de Paula del Villar (1828-1901). At the end of 1883, Gaudí was commissioned to continue the work, a task which he did not abandon until his death in 1926. Gaudí himself said: "The expiatory church of La Sagrada Família is made by the people and is mirrored in them. It is a work that is in the hands of God and the will of the people." Already designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a Minor Basilica by Pope Benedict XVI, it is hoped that the church will be completed by 2026, the centenary of Gaudi's death.

This tour involves walking a total distance of about one mile, with some cobblestones and uneven ground, and numerous steps to negotiate. You should also expect to remain standing for quite long periods while your guide gives a commentary. This tour must be booked prior to departure, as tickets for Park Güell and La Sagrada Familia must be purchased 14 days in advance. Once tickets are purchased this tour is non-refundable. Park Güell in Barcelona

Tarragona

Arrive 0800. Depart 1800.

The ‘Spanish Rome’, Tarragona was founded in 218BC as a military base and soon developed into an important Roman city, which became the capital of the largest province of the Empire. The Emperor Augustus spent some time here, and the poet Martial wrote admiringly about Tarragona and its seaside location. The town was captured by the Moors in 711AD and reconquered by a Christian army in 1116. Work on the present-day cathedral started in 1171. Today the city is known as an industrial centre, port, tourist destination and the seat of a university. Its Roman remains include an amphitheatre and traces of the forum; objects excavated from the ruins are displayed in a fascinating modern archaeological museum. In the city's medieval quarter, still partly surrounded by ancient walls, is the cathedral, a mixture of the Romanesque and Gothic styles, with elegant vaulted cloisters that surround a delightful garden. The historic centre of Tarragona is a maze of narrow streets and alleyways, which are inaccessible to coaches. Exploring the city centre involves walking up or down steep slopes and/or negotiating flights of stone steps.

FactFile

Population 143,000
Language Spanish and Catalan
Currency Euro
Time Difference UK+1
Climate Warm, dry summers and winters with balanced temperatures
Ship berths at Prolongació Contradic de Llevant
Distance from Centre Approximately 2 miles
Distance from gangway to coach The coaches park directly by the ship’s gangway.

Useful Information

Shopping The main shopping area is around Rambla Nova in the city centre.
Shopping Opening Hours Typically weekdays 0900 - 1430 and 1700 - 2030, although many larger shops observe longer hours.
Post Office Located at Carrer Soler 25. Open weekdays from 0830 - 2030.
Tourist Office Located at Carrer Major 39. Tel: (+34) 97 725 0795.
How to Phone Home Dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, but omitting the first zero
Emergency Services Dial 112 for general emergency or 061 for medical emergències and ambulances.
Banks There are several banks with ATMs located along Rambla Nova.

Shore excursions you may be able to enjoy:

The Cistercian Route leads inland from Tarragona and links a number of medieval monasteries, two of which you will visit on this tour. Start with a drive to Poblet, founded in 1150 by Count Ramón Berenguer IV of Barcelona. Like many Cistercian monasteries, it is in an isolated location. Inside its walls are the main church, monks’ quarters, cloisters, a former Royal palace and the tombs of six former Kings of Aragon and their wives. A community of monks still lives in Poblet, and the complex has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site since 1991. Your tour includes a visit to the abbey church, built in the Romanesque style, which is crowned by an octagonal Gothic lantern tower added in 1330. The magnificent alabaster altarpiece by Damián Forment is one of the highlights of the interior. From Poblet, continue to the Monastery of Santes Creus. Established by a Papal decree in the 12th century, this monastery enjoyed its greatest splendour in the 13th and 14th centuries. King Peter III of Aragon and his son James II were buried here, and you can see their mausoleum, in addition to the simple Romanesque church built to a Latin cross plan. The cloisters, unusually, were built by Reynard of Fonoll, a British architect, and are in the English Gothic style. As Santes Creus no longer has an active monastic community, you may visit the Chapter House, the 12th-century laundry and even the monks’ dormitory, where formerly the monks slept on straw mattresses on the floor.

You should expect to cover just over one mile on foot: this includes walking approximately 400 yards from the coach park to the monastery at Santes Creus and back. There are several flights of steps at each of the monasteries, including 73 steps at Poblet Monastery. The journeys from the port to Poblet and back from Santes Creus can take up to 1¼ hours each way, depending on traffic. Sunscreen and insect repellent are recommended. Poblet Monastery

The Ebro Delta is Catalonia’s most important wetland area and is worth visiting at any time of the year. Heading south-west from Tarragona passing the town of Deltebre and rice fields, you reach this flat and mysterious Natural Park, where you leave your coach and board a boat for a short cruise along the River Ebro. Sailing down the Ebro River is a pleasant way to enjoy the scenery in peace and quiet, passing lush riverbanks. This was also the traditional means of transport for villagers living along the river. Your mini-cruise lasts approximately one hour and takes you along the final ten miles of the longest river in Spain, between Buda Island and El Cava. Afterwards, re-join your coach and head to the Apiarian Interpretation Centre at El Perelió, where modern technology enables you to look into the fascinating world of the bee. This multi-media exhibition will introduce you to the beekeeping world, showing how recent developments are increasing and improving the production of honey. The tour ends with a visit to the store, where you can see live bees and enjoy a honey tasting.

The boats used on this excursion may vary in size and design, but they normally have upper and lower decks, linked by a steep flight of stairs. Boarding and disembarking will usually involve walking up or down a few steps depending on the tide. You may need to walk about 150 to 200 yards between the coach and boat. Visiting the Apiarian Interpretation Centre requires a walk of approximately 200 yards on level ground, with approximately 19 steps: a lift is available. Sightings of birds and other wildlife cannot be guaranteed. We recommend that you bring binoculars and a light jacket,in addition to sunscreen and insect repellent. Take a cruise on the Ebro Delta

Visit the sacred mountain of Montserrat or ‘Sawtooth Mountain’, which is the principal religious shrine in Catalonia and a symbol of Catalan identity. A two-hour drive by coach takes you to Monistrol, where you join the spectacular rack-railway for the 15-minute ascent to Montserrat. The barren peaks of this unique and isolated crag, 4,280 feet high, resemble fingers reaching into the sky. On arrival, visit the basilica, which was founded in the 11th century to house the miraculous statue of the Black Madonna that had been found by children in a nearby cave in 880AD. Inside the basilica you can see this famous statue, and, if time permits, listen to the singing of the renowned Escolania Boys Choir, one of the oldest choirs in Europe. After leaving the church, visit the interesting Montserrat Museum, where you can see works by artists as diverse as Caravaggio, Tiepolo, Monet, Degas, Dalí and Picasso. There is also an interactive audio-visual exhibition that shows visitors what life is like for the abbey’s community of monks. Enjoy a taste of the local ‘Aromas de Montserrat’ liqueur and an included buffet lunch before returning by coach to Tarragona.

The excursion requires walking up to 1½ miles, with 60 steps to access the Black Madonna in the basilica, although this is optional. The journey to Montserrat should take around two hours each way. The choral performance cannot be guaranteed. Dietary requests must be advised to the Shore Excursion Manager on board ship at least 72 hours prior to arrival. Montserrat, the 'Sawtooth Mountain'

The most important coastal city in Southern Catalonia, Tarragona is rich in Roman and Medieval remains and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Your tour of this ancient city starts with a panoramic drive past the Balcó del Mediterrani to the Portal del Roser, one of the old city gates, where you can stop to admire the City Walls - the oldest Roman construction in Spain. A walking tour with your guide takes you to the beautiful square known as Plaza de la Font and to the Gothic Cathedral, built on the site of a Roman temple. It was declared a National Monument in 1905. Visit the interior of this magnificent building before continuing on foot to the Roman Circus, formerly used for horse and chariot races: it was originally 355 yards long and 125 yards wide, and could accommodate over 30,000 spectators. Entrance is included to the remains of the Circus. The underground vaults that supported the rows of seats are well-preserved and are the largest that survive from any Roman circus. Your walk continues to the Balcó del Mediterrani viewpoint, where you look down on the ruins of the Roman amphitheatre. Dating from the 2nd century AD, this structure hosted numerous gladiatorial combats. In the centre of the arena stand the ruins of a Visigoth basilica, built in the 6th century to honour Bishop Fructueux and his two deacons who were martyred on this spot by the Romans in 259AD. You have free time at the Balcó del Mediterrani before returning to your ship.

This excursion involves walking just over one mile, partly over uneven ground and cobblestones. All sightseeing is on foot. There are a number of short flights of steps in the Roman Circus, and the Cathedral is reached by a flight of 15 stone steps. A further flight of 95 steps at the Circus may be avoided by taking a lift. Comfortable walking shoes, insect repellent and sunscreen are recommended. Access to the interior of the Cathedral may be restricted if a service is taking place. Tarragona Cathedral

The city of Tarragona, formerly the Roman Colony of Tarraco, was one of the main towns on the Via Augusta road, which crossed the Iberian peninsula from North to South. Today the city has some of the best-preserved Roman remains in Spain. To build the city and its monuments, the Romans used several quarries, the largest of which, El Mèdol, can still be visited today. It consists of a huge pit over 600 feet long, where the marks left by quarrymens’ tools 2,000 years ago may still be seen. In the centre of the quarry is a tall column of stone left untouched, which is known as the Needle of El Mèdol. Many trees and shrubs now grow in the quarry, which enjoys a very mild micro-climate. Leaving the quarry, drive three miles west of Tarragona, where, amid a forest of pine trees, you can see the impressive Aqueduct of Les Ferreres. With its two levels of arches, this is one of the finest surviving Roman aqueducts and is 711 feet long and 88 feet high. It brought water from the River Francolí to the public baths, fountains and private houses of ancient Tarragona.

Visiting the Quarry of El Mèdol involves walking a minimum of 200 yards. Those wishing to walk from one end of the quarry to the other and back can expect to walk about 500 yards, but the path is relatively smooth and level. The stop at the aqueduct is for photos only. Sunscreen and insect repellent are recommended. The Aqueduct of Les Ferreres, Tarragona

Spend the day at sea.

Cadiz

Arrive 0800. Depart 1800.

Believed to be the oldest town on the Iberian Peninsula, the Andalusian port of Cádiz enjoys a stunning location at the edge of a six-mile promontory. The town itself, with 3,000 years of history, is characterised by pretty white houses with balconies often adorned with colourful flowers. As you wander around be sure to take a stroll through the sizeable Plaza de Espãna, with its large monument dedicated to the first Spanish constitution, which was signed here in 1812. Cádiz has two pleasant seafront promenades which boast fine views of the Atlantic Ocean, and has a lovely park, the Parque Genoves, located close to the sea with an open-air theatre and attractive palm garden. Also notable is the neo-Classical cathedral, capped by a golden dome.

FactFile

Population 130,000 (approximate)
Language Spanish
Currency Euro
Time Difference UK+1
Climate Hot summers and mild winters
Ship berths at Muelle Ciudad
Distance from Centre Between 100-1,000 yards, depending on the berth.
Distance from gangway to coach The coaches park directly by the ship's gangway.

Useful Information

Shopping The main shopping area is near the harbour, within the Old Town. The Corte Ingles is a well-known department store, located opposite the Old Town.
Shopping Opening Hours Between 0930-1330 and 1730-2030 weekdays and 0930-1330 on Saturdays. Shops close on Sundays.
Post Office The main Post Office is located in the heart of the Old Town, near the Plaza de las Flores.
Tourist Office There is a small tourist information centre on Paseo de Canalejas, by the Cruise Terminal. The main Tourist Office is located in the city centre on Avenida Ramón de Carranza.
How to Phone Home For the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, but omitting the first zero.
Emergency Services Dial 112.
Banks There are several banks opposite the harbour which open from 0800-1400 on weekdays – most have 24-hour ATMs.

Shore excursions you may be able to enjoy:

Discover the historic and beautiful Andalusian city of Seville on this full-day excursion, which starts with a panoramic sightseeing tour. See the Plaza de España and nearby Maria Luisa Park, the Paseo de las Palmeras and Expo 92, now a cultural area featuring many museums. You then arrive at the Gothic Cathedral where you explore the magnificent interior with its 138-feet-high central nave, the tomb of Christopher Columbus, and the Giraldo, a 12th-century bell tower that was formerly a minaret from an old mosque. You will then make the short walk to the 14th-century Alcázar, built as a royal residence and still used by the royal family. Explore its gardens, jewel-like interior and Mudéjar decor before walking through the Barrio de Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz was originally the old Jewish quarter of the city, characterised by its maze of narrow streets, whitewashed houses and picturesque patios. Enjoy some free time here before pausing for lunch at a local restaurant. Afterwards, return to Cádiz and your ship.

This excursion packs in a great deal of sightseeing and involves walking approximately two miles over flat ground and cobblestones, with a number of steps. The journeys to and from Seville take approximately 1½ hours each way, and you should be aware that the first comfort stop will not be made until you reach the cathedral, around 2¼ hours after leaving the ship. To make it easier to hear your guide, headsets will be provided in Seville. Dietary requests must be advised to the Shore Excursion Manager on board ship at least 72 hours prior to arrival. The Plaza de España in Seville

Leave the port and travel by coach via Puerto Réal and Puerto de Santa María to Jerez de la Frontera, the Andalusian city that has given its name to sherry. Although it is less than 20 miles from the Portuguese frontier, the town’s name refers to the border that existed until 1492 between Christian Spain and the Muslim Kingdom of Granada. The countryside around Jerez may appear barren and inhospitable during the long, hot summer, but local conditions are ideal for cultivating the grapes that produce the three main varieties of sherry. On arrival, visit the Bodega Williams & Humbert, founded in 1870 by Sir Alexander Williams, an enterprising young Englishman. Here you watch an exciting equestrian performance in the winery's own magnificent exhibition ring. After this introduction to the world of horses, enjoy a tour of what is probably Europe’s largest wine cellar, and learn about the history, production and ageing of wines, concluding with a tasting of three different types of sherry. Leaving Jerez, head back to Cádiz, where your coach will take you on a short panoramic city tour, passing the 17th-century Puerta de la Tierra, Caleta Beach, the Plaza de España and the tree-lined Alameda Apodaca, before returning to the port.

The visit to Williams Bodega involves walking approximately 500 yards at a reasonably leisurely pace, with some periods of standing. Seats are provided at the equestrian show. All sightseeing in Cádiz is from the coach. Watch an Equestrian Performance in Jerez

This tour starts with a panoramic drive around Cádiz, the oldest continuously inhabited city in Spain. The historic town centre is still surrounded by fortifications, dating mainly from the 18th century, and inside the walls it has changed little over the past 300 years: few buildings are more than three or four stories high, and the Cathedral dome and the 17th-century Tavira Tower still dominate the city. Following your tour, proceed to a local ‘tablao’- an Andalusian tavern - for an authentic flamenco performance. Flamenco originated as the music of Spanish gypsies, incorporating both Western European and North African influences. Sit back and enjoy a traditional performance of its staccato, balletic dances, haunting ballads and fiery guitar music. While enjoying the music and dancing, you will be served wine and local ‘tapas’ - small plates of Serrano ham, cheese and Spanish omelettes. You can even try some flamenco dancing for yourself! Following this cultural and gastronomic experience, your coach will take you back to the port.

You will need to walk about 200 yards from the coach stop on the Plaza de España to the flamenco venue, and the same distance back again. This is partly over cobbled streets, so comfortable, flat-soled shoes are recommended. No visit to Andalusia is complete without a flamenco show

Andalusia has a rich cultural heritage that encompasses the production of sherry, flamenco music, and a varied landscape of lush valleys, barren plains, forests, mountains, marshland and coast. On this panoramic tour through the countryside you can catch a glimpse of this unique land. Leaving the pier, you travel south past the town of Chiclana, now a popular golf centre and beach resort, and then head inland to Medina Sidonia, a very ancient hill town that was home to Alonso Pérez de Guzmán, one of the leaders of the Spanish Armada. Your journey takes you along part of the Ruta del Toro (Route of the Bull), and in the fields you will see some of the area’s famous bulls, bred for fighting in the arena. As you go deeper into the countryside, passing olive groves and villages of whitewashed houses, your guide will tell you about local agriculture and the history of bull fighting. After a scenic drive lasting about one-and-a-half hours, you reach Jerez de la Frontera, famous as the home of sherry, flamenco dancing and purebred Andalusian horses. Stop here for a short walk in the town centre followed by refreshments, before returning via the direct road to Cádiz. Here, your coach will take you on a short panoramic drive around the city centre, viewing the old city walls and the dome of the Cathedral, before returning to your ship.

You will need to walk approximately 200 yards in Jerez de la Frontera, over level, paved ground. All other sightseeing is from the coach. A Glimpse of Old Cádiz

Spend the day at sea.

Spend the day at sea.

Spend the day at sea.

Portsmouth

Arrive 0800.

Disembark Saga Pearl II after breakfast.

Portsmouth is one of the most densely populated cities in Southern England, and is unusual as most of its built-up area occupies Portsea Island, which is linked to the mainland by road and rail bridges. Although there is a Roman fort at nearby Portchester, which was occupied later by both the Saxons and the Normans, there was no settlement on the site of Portsmouth at the time of the Domesday survey in 1086. The town developed in medieval times and received its first charter in 1194 from King Richard the Lionheart; soon afterwards it developed into a permanent naval base. It has the world’s oldest continuously used dry dock, and is home to several famous ships, including HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and the Mary Rose, which millions of television viewers watched being raised from the Solent in 1982. Portsmouth remains an important naval base and is home to a large proportion of the British service fleet. The waterfront area is now dominated by the Spinnaker Tower, 560 feet high, which is the United Kingdom’s tallest building outside London. Other things to see in the city include the house where Charles Dickens was born, and the City Museum, which contains a permanent exhibition devoted to another famous writer, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who lived in the town.

FactFile

Population 205,400 (approximate)
Language English
Currency Pound sterling
Time Difference N/A
Climate Portsmouth experiences an oceanic climate, with cool winters and mild to warm summers.
Ship berths at Portsmouth International Port
Distance from Centre ½-mile
Distance from gangway to coach Coaches can pull up immediately outside the terminal building.

Useful Information

Shopping The nearest shops to the terminal are in Gunwharf Quays, near the Spinnaker Tower.
Shopping Opening Hours Most shops are open Monday to Friday 0900-2000, Saturday 0900-1900 and Sunday 1100-1700.
Post Office The main Post Office is in Slindon Street, near Portsmouth & Southsea railway station.
Tourist Office The Tourist Information Office is on Clarence Esplanade. Telephone: 023 9282 6722.
How to Phone Home For the UK dial the full STD code followed by the subscriber's number.
Emergency Services Dial 999.
Banks All main UK banks have branches in the city centre, and there are ATMs in the Cruise Terminal.

Please note

All excursions mentioned are optional, at an additional cost, and are subject to availability and change. Some of the highlights detailed may only be seen on optional excursions or by exploring independently.


Local Flavours of the Mediterranean

Saga Pearl II departing Portsmouth

from £3,416 17 2
Including optional travel insurance or a discount of £98 if not required