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Saga Cruises

An Italian Premiere

Spirit of Discovery departing Southampton

from £4,499 per person 21 2
Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £75 if not required
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Experience the real Italy and more…

Be sure to claim your spot on deck as the golden honey-coloured walls of Valletta’s aptly named Grand Harbour drift into view and listen out for the friendly canon fire greeting Spirit of Discovery’s first visit here.

Join Spirit of Discovery on a memorable 21-night voyage visiting some of the most photogenic ports across the Mediterranean. One whole week is dedicated to tracing Italy’s gorgeous coastline, and we’ve arranged some entertaining experiences on board to complement your time ashore, such as Italian movie screenings. Spirit of Discovery will also visit three new Italian ports to Saga Cruising: Corigliano Calabro, Ancona and Bari. From Ancona you can embark on an expedition to the stunning Frassassi Caves before a rare visit to a local farm to try local wines right in the region they are produced.

Other highlights include the opportunity to ride through the streets of El Rocio by traditional Andalusian horse carriage, get a bird’s-eye view of Gibraltar on an optional helicopter ride and see a memorable performance of opera favourites performed in 18th-century costume by members of the Venice Opera Company in the spectacular surroundings of the Scuola Grande di San Teodoro during an overnight mooring in Venice. Plus, an overnight mooring in Valletta gives you even longer to explore this breathtaking city and leaves you free to experience the nightlife or simply enjoy the bright lights from on board ship.

Your Italian experience on board

  • Operatic performances from the Opera Boys
  • Italian film festival
  • Talks from film producer Stephen Evans
  • Fashion and designs talks from Wendy Rigg
  • Joe Stilgoe, singer, songwriter and pianist, will perform on board
  • Brigadier Hugh Willing CBE will discuss Britain’s military and colonial past
  • Pop-up foodie experiences

Overnight stays

  • Valletta, Malta
  • Venice, Italy

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View Full Itinerary

Southampton, England

Southampton, England

Embark Spirit of Discovery. Depart 1700.

At sea

Spend the day at sea.

At sea

Spend the day at sea.

Huelva, Spain

Huelva, Spain

Arrive 1000. Depart 1600. 

Arrive in the ancient Andalusian port of Huelva which is best known for launching Christopher Columbus on his 1492 voyage that led to the discovery of the New World. There are plenty of monuments and attractions dedicated to the explorer, as well as grandiose colonial British architecture leftover from the 19th-century mining boom. Explore the centre’s pretty plazas on foot or enjoy a horse-drawn carriage in El Rocio.

At sea

Spend the day at sea.

At sea

Spend the day at sea.

Valletta, Malta

Valletta, Malta

Arrive 1200 on January 28. Depart 1200 on January 29. 

Be sure to claim your spot on deck as the golden honey-coloured walls of Valletta’s aptly named Grand Harbour drift into view and listen out for the welcoming sound of cannon fire greeting Spirit of Discovery’s first visit here. The Knights of St John built the ‘new’ city on a petite peninsular in the 16th century and an overnight mooring means you can enjoy this living city’s varied sights around the clock. There are a staggering 320 monuments crammed into just 55 hectares that all fall under UNESCO’s guardianship, the most spectacular of which has to be the magnificent cathedral. Perhaps raise a glass of prosecco to toast your surroundings on a special visit to the Palazzo Parisio, an 18th-century palace whose austere facade belies its lavish interior. You’ll also have the chance to explore further afield on a choice of excursions, such as a visit to the ‘Silent City’ of Mdina or even head underground to the Byzantine-era Catacombs of St Paul.

Corigliano Calabro, Italy

Arrive 0800. Depart 1800.

Cruise inside Italy’s instep and along the Calabrian coast to Corigliano Calabro, a first not just for Spirit of Discovery but for Saga Cruises too! The old town lies a short way inland – it’s easy to spot the huddle of rustic, timeworn buildings that gather on a small hill topped by a stout castle. Perhaps explore the narrow roads that lead to the Norman Castello Ducal. It has undergone numerous renovations since the 11th century, gaining its Aragonese appearance in the 15th century, and a peek inside is well worth the entrance fee or you can enjoy fine views across the rooftops and rolling countryside beyond from its vantage point.

At sea

Spend the day at sea.

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

Arrive 0800 on February 1. Depart 1800 on February 2.

Cruise the Adriatic to Venice whose effortless beauty has captured the imagination of travellers for centuries. Look forward to two full days exploring this unique city by foot, water taxi and, of course, gondola, Venice’s emblematic watercraft. Along with 160 canals, it features outstanding monuments such as the domed Basilica di San Marco and the Campanile di San Marco, and boasts breathtaking views, such as that from the elegant Rialto Bridge. Art lovers can seek out some of Venice’s greatest treasures on a tour that reveals the Italian masterpieces inside Scuola Grande di San Rocco and the Museum of 18th-Century Venice housed inside Ca’Rezzonico Palace before cruising along part of the Grand Canal by water taxi.

Ancona, Italy

Ancona, Italy

Arrive 0800. Depart 1700. 

Founded by Syracusan colonists around 390 BC, Ancona is only re-emerging as contender on Italy’s tourist scene. Surrounded by Umbria’s idyllic pastoral scenery, that’s easily on a par with neighbouring Tuscany, this bustling market town boasts great beaches as well as some impressive historic attractions. Perhaps take a close up look at the white marble facade of the Cathedral of San Ciriaco, view valuable Iron Age artefacts inside the National Archaeological Museum of the Marches or peer up at the restored Roman Trajan's Arch which was built in 115. Alternatively, head underground on an excursion to the Frasassi Caves to explore tunnels and vaulted caverns plastered with slender stalactites that dangle above mounds of stunted stalagmites. Afterwards, enjoy an exclusive visit to a nearby farm to sample local produce, including some wine.

Bari, Italy

Bari, Italy

Arrive 0800. Depart 1500.

The lively capital of Apulia has been an important port since Norman times. Head straight to the cobbled streets of the old district to discover its best sights which include the Basilica di San Nicola, the archetype of Norman churches across the region and where the relics of St Nicholas are kept! Other note worthy attractions include the 12th-century Duomo and the 12th-century Norman-Swabian castle. Alternatively, visit Putignano on exclusive excursion encompassing a visit to the Cartapesta Factories and a nobleman’s townhouse. Gain an insight into the secret year-long preparations that make the town’s annual carnival such a showstopper with a talk by a cartapestai master, learning about the history of Europe’s oldest carnival, and see how the topical papier-mâché floats and characters are crafted. Afterwards, you can channel your inner aristocrat by donning period costumes and tour a restored mansion in character followed by an Apulian banquet (don’t worry, dressing up is optional).

At sea

Spend the day at sea.

Cagliari, Sardinia

Cagliari, Sardinia

Arrive 0800. Depart 1600.

3,000 years in the making, Sardinia’s hillside capital creates quite the impression as you arrive by sea. From a beautiful beach, to an array of museums and monuments, there’s plenty to see and do. Explore the narrow, winding streets that lead up to the old quarter and discover the two white stone medieval towers and wander through the 16th-century church. Alternatively, join a tour of the coastal ruins of Nora, where you can see ancient mosaics.

At sea

Spend the day at sea.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

Arrive 1200. Depart 2100.

You’ll know your journey is nearing the end when Gibraltar’s hard-to-miss Rock glides into view. Spend the afternoon exploring this unique British territory where you’ll see signs of home in the red post boxes and high streets shop. Catch the cable car to the top of the Rock for fantastic views and to see the cheeky Barbary apes that like to run amok, enjoy a boat trip in search of dolphins or treat yourself to high tea at the Rock Hotel, another of Gibraltar’s iconic attractions.

At sea

Spend the day at sea.

At sea

Spend the day at sea.

At sea

Spend the day at sea.

Southampton, England

Southampton, England

Arrive 0700. Disembark Spirit of Discovery after breakfast.

Joining you on board

On-board talks from film producer Stephen Evans
Stephen Evans has produced many Italian-themed films.

A little bit about Stephen

Stephen began his career as a member of the London Stock Exchange and later spent time lecturing to various schools about the Stock Exchange. Then in 1989, he found himself at the wrong house, at the right time. Here Stephen met a young actor who he had never heard of, but, impressed by his ‘chutzpah’, he decided to finance his embryonic theatre company. The young actor was Kenneth Branagh, who also brought in Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi and Geraldine McEwan to direct plays. Then the company moved into films. As a stockbroker Stephen had three major actors as clients and together with Kenneth Branagh, made three movies: ‘Henry V’, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ and ‘Peter’s Friends’. Following this Stephen and Kenneth amicably separated. Stephen moved on to make ‘Madness of King George’ and took over Renaissance Films. To date, Stephen has produced 18 films, but aspires to make more.

Stephen Evans

Discover the world of fashion with Wendy Rigg
Wendy will give a series of talks about fashion and design.

A little bit about Wendy

Wendy studied fashion and knitwear design at Ravensbourne College in London and worked as a designer selling her collections to Joseph, Harvey Nichols and Macy’s in New York. Her designs featured in Vogue, Tatler, I-d and The Observer, and one of her designs was worn by Madonna in the 1980s. Wendy’s career began at the iconic teen magazine Jackie and she has worked for 40 years as a Fashion Editor and stylist for some of the UK’s biggest selling weekly and monthly magazines including Good Housekeeping, Woman & Home and Saga. Wendy has styled many celebrities including Carol Vorderman, Tess Daley, Oti from Strictly, Vanessa Feltz, and the stars of Coronation Street and Eastenders.

Wendy Rigg

Learn about Britain’s military and colonial past with Brigadier Hugh Willing CBE

A little bit about Hugh

Hugh Willing was a professional soldier for 36 years before retiring in 2007. Born and brought up in Kenya but latterly educated in Britain, he spent his teenage years in Nigeria and Ghana. He joined the British Army in 1971 and served with the Royal Green Jackets and 2nd KEO Gurkha Rifles around the world. His service in the Mediterranean included two years in Gibraltar with the Garrison Battalion, two years in the Eastern Sovereign Base Area of Cyprus as the Battalion Commander, and tours in Italy and Bosnia with the NATO Stabilisation Force. During his final posting in Oman as the Defence Attaché at the British Embassy, he was closely involved in supporting British operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and in the Horn of Africa. A Swahili, Arabic and Gurkhali speaker he has travelled widely in Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, Arabia and the Far East both in a military and private capacity.

Brigadier Hugh Willing CBE

Enjoy the rhythms of jazz with Joe Stilgoe
Performing live on board, Joe will definitely have you tapping your toes.

A little bit about Joe

Joe Stilgoe is an internationally acclaimed singer, pianist and songwriter. He has created a fresh sound for jazz in the 21st century, and has released six albums, three of which have topped the UK Jazz chart.

Joe has appeared in festivals, jazz clubs and concert halls. He works extensively on radio and has performed in theatre productions of High Society and Guys And Dolls. As a composer and lyricist, Joe wrote music and lyrics for musicals The Jungle Book and The Midnight Gang. Joe also hosted BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year, and appeared on Bargain Hunt.

Joe Stilgoe

The Opera Boys will perform on board
Enjoy two performances on board.

A little bit about the Opera Boys

The boys have trained at some of the United Kingdoms’s finest music schools, and have each become highly successful performers in their own right. Between them they have performed lead roles on London’s West End and on Broadway in New York; and have performed as backing vocalists to some of the world’s superstars including Russell Watson, Robbie Williams, Tom Jones and Elton John.

With beautiful vocal arrangements, spectacular close part harmony and a great line in humour, The Opera Boys have been delighting audiences all over the world with their unique show combining powerful and emotional music with humorous, engaging and light-hearted entertainment.

Opera Boys

Explore Ashore

Plan your excursions and time ashore with our expert concierge team on board. Here's some inspiration for this cruise...

Top secret

From Bari you can join an exclusive behind-the-scenes carnival experience. Meet the secretive master-builders of the Putignano Carnival who create incredible painted papier mâché centerpieces before ambling through an exquisitely restored mansion – you can even don lavish costumes for the occasion. Top off the day at a sumptuous banquet dining on regional dishes.

In Venice, our expert Explore Ashore team can arrange…

an exclusive walking tour of the fairy-tale stradas, bridges and landmarks in search of the island’s treasured masterpieces. These include Tintoretto’s Miracle of the Bronze Serpent in the Scuola Grande di San Rocco and works by Bellini and Titian. An overnight mooring in this ‘floating city’ also gives you the chance to enjoy a memorable performance of opera favourites performed in 18th-century costume by members of the Venice Opera Company.

Cagliari’s natural sights

If you’re looking to get back to nature, be sure to ask our Explore Ashore team for local insight. For example, they recommend heading east of Cagliari to a saline lagoon that’s populated by thousands of flamingos.


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.


An Italian Premiere

Spirit of Discovery departing Southampton

from £4,499 per person 21 2
Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £75 if not required