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Ocean Cruises
Saga Cruises

Christmas in the Mediterranean

Saga Pearl II departing Southampton

from £3,445 22 2
Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £98 if not required
  • Full Board Full board
  • Chauffeur service Chauffeur service
  • No fly No fly

For the ultimate relaxing Christmas…

Celebrate Christmas and the New Year in style on this wonderful cruise around the Iberian Peninsula and Italy. Experience the traditional atmosphere of historic Cadiz on Christmas Eve, rejoice in all the Christmas Day festivities aboard Saga Pearl II and see in the New Year while admiring Valletta's dazzling fireworks.

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View Full Itinerary

Southampton

Embark Saga PearI II. Depart 1600.

Lying near the head of Southampton Water, a peninsula between the estuaries of the Rivers Test and Itchen, Southampton is Britain’s largest cruise port. It has been one of England’s major ports since the Middle Ages, when it exported wool and hides from the hinterland and imported wine from Bordeaux. The city suffered heavy damage during World War Two and as a result the centre has been extensively rebuilt, but there are still some interesting medieval buildings including the Bargate, one of the finest city gatehouses in England.

FactFile

Population 253,651 (estimate)
Language English
Currency British Pounds Sterling
Time Difference N/A
Climate Southampton experiences an oceanic climate, with cool winters and mild to warm summers. Its sheltered location makes it one of the UK's sunniest cities.
Ship berths at Southampton Cruise Terminal
Distance from Centre 300 yards
Distance from gangway to coach Motor vehicles can pick up and drop off passengers immediately outside the Terminal Building.

Useful Information

Shopping The city's main shopping mall is the West Quay Shopping Centre, but there are many other shopping streets in the town centre.
Shopping Opening Hours The West Quay Shopping Centre is open Monday to Friday 0900-2000, Saturday 0900-1900 and Sunday 1100-1700.
Post Office The main Post Office is at 32-34 Above Bar Street.
Tourist Office There are Tourist Information Points at the Novotel Hotel on 1 West Quay Road, and also at the SeaCity Museum.
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, with 24-hour ATMs.

Day at sea.

La Coruña

Arrive 0900. Depart 1800.

The busy port of La Coruña (A Coruña in the Galician language) is located in the far north-west corner of Spain and is the capital of the rugged region of Galicia. Boasting a rich maritime heritage, the city is famous for being the departure point for Felipe II’s doomed Armada, which was defeated by the English in 1588. British military historians also know it as the location of the Battle of Corunna that took place in 1809, when Napoleon’s troops attacked a division of the British Army led by General Sir John Moore, who lost his life in the battle and is buried in the city. In keeping with its seafaring tradition, La Coruña is also famous for the Tower of Hercules, Europe’s oldest functioning lighthouse, which dates back to Roman times and is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The town itself is well worth exploring, with its handsome squares, Romanesque churches and interesting archaeological museum. It is particularly noted for its long seafront promenade lined with elegant apartment buildings with fully-glazed balconies: these have given La Coruña the nickname of 'The Crystal City'.

FactFile

Population 280,000 (approximate)
Language Spanish
Currency Euro
Time Difference UK+1
Climate Warm, dry summers and mild winters
Ship berths at Puerto de Transatlanticos
Distance from Centre Approximately 330 yards
Distance from gangway to coach About 165 yards

Useful Information

Shopping There are some shops located 500 yards from the port area. There is also a shopping centre at El Corte Ingles, Cuatro Caminos.
Shopping Opening Hours Shopping centres usually open from 1000-2200, while smaller shops tend to open between 1000-1400 and 1630-2030.
Post Office The main Post Office is on Calle del Alcalde Manuel Casas and is open Monday to Friday from 0830-2030, and on Saturdays from 0930-1300. Stamps for postcards are also sold at 'Estancos' (tobacconists' kiosks).
Tourist Office Opposite the pier, open daily between 1000-1400 and 1630-2000.
How to Phone Home For the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, omitting the first zero.
Emergency Services Dial 112.
Banks There are numerous banks in the city centre, open from 0900-1400 on weekdays. 24-hour ATMs are widespread.

Excursions

Day at sea.

Lisbon

Arrive 0800. Depart 2200.

Set on seven hills on the banks of the River Tagus, Lisbon has been the capital of Portugal since the 13th century. It is a city famous for its majestic architecture, old wooden trams, Moorish features and more than twenty centuries of history. Following disastrous earthquakes in the 18th century, Lisbon was rebuilt by the Marques de Pombal who created an elegant city with wide boulevards and a great riverfront and square, Praça do Comércio. Today there are distinct modern and ancient sections, combining great shopping with culture and sightseeing in the Old Town, built on the city's terraced hillsides. The distance between the ship and your tour vehicle may vary. This distance is not included in the excursion grades.

FactFile

Population 536,000 (approximate)
Language Portuguese
Currency Euro
Time Difference UK
Climate Hot summers and mild winters
Ship berths at Santa Apolonia, Jardim do Tabaco or Alcantara Docks
Distance from Centre Up to four miles
Distance from gangway to coach You may expect to walk a minimum of 300 yards. However, this can vary according to the berth allocated, and could be up to half-a-mile. The port may be busy with other cruise ships and the terminal is often very crowded.

Useful Information

Shopping Some shops are available in the terminals, but the main shopping area is in the city centre.
Shopping Opening Hours Most shops in the city centre open weekdays from 0900-1900; some may close on Saturday afternoons. Shopping centres are open every day, usually from 1000 onwards.
Post Office The main Post Office is at Praça dos Restauradores in the city centre, and is open Monday to Saturday from 0800-2000.
Tourist Office Located at 15 Rua do Arsenal and open most days from 0900-1900.
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 numerous banks in the city centre, open weekdays only from 0830-1500. 24-hour ATMs are widespread.

Excursions

Day at sea.

Cadiz

Arrive 0800 on December 23. Depart 2000 on Christmas Eve.

On Christmas Eve, the best decorated cabin door will be judged and in the evening, you can enjoy midnight Mass and a special carol performance by the crew’s choir.

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.

Excursions

Day at sea.

Look forward to a festive day on the ship, including brunch with champagne and mimosas, afternoon tea, evening cocktails with a special appearance from Santa Claus and, of course, Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. Afterwards sit back and enjoy a performance of ‘White Christmas’.

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.

Excursions

Day at sea.

Ajaccio

Arrive 0800. Depart 1700.

Located on the west coast of Corsica, Ajaccio has an evocative old town, stylish new district, vibrant markets of fragrant food stalls, and bayside restaurants serving mouth-watering Italian and French cuisine. Stroll through the atmospheric lanes dotted with fascinating shops and enjoy sun-blushed wines in elegant plazas. There is an abundance of museums and monuments, plus, for lovers of art, the Fesch Museum is home to a number of Italian masterpieces. As the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte, Ajaccio houses the Bonaparte Museum, formerly the residence where he was born - you can also see the impressive Cathédrale Notre Dame de la Miséricorde where he was baptised in 1771.

FactFile

Population Approximately 65.000
Language French
Currency Euro
Time Difference UK+1
Climate Hot summers and moderate, dry winters
Ship berths at Port of Ajaccio
Distance from Centre Up to 750 yards
Distance from gangway to coach Up to 550 yards

Useful Information

Shopping The main shopping area is located in the town centre.
Shopping Opening Hours Open Monday-Saturday between 0900-1230 and 1400-1800.
Post Office The main Post Office is located on Cours Napoleon.
Tourist Office Located on 3 Boulevard Roi Jérôme, close to the market place, open between 0900-1230 and 1500-1700.
How to Phone Home For the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, omitting the first zero.
Emergency Services For all emergencies dial 112.
Banks There are several banks on the Cours Napoleon and on Place Foch – most have ATMs. There is no Bureau de Change in Ajaccio and no banks offer this service.

Excursions

Civitavecchia

Arrive 0800. Depart 2000.

Barely 50 miles from Rome, Civitavecchia has been the city’s chief seaport for two millennia. Some of its fortifications and piers date back to the reign of Emperor Trajan, making it one of the world’s oldest harbours: the massive Michelangelo Fort was added in 1535 by Pope Julius II. About three miles away are the ruins of the Taurine Baths, built from 123 to 136AD. Civitavecchia’s location makes it an ideal base for visiting Rome, and, with so much to see, our excursions are the ideal way to get the most out of your visit. Please note: Coaches are not allowed to stop while travelling through the capital. Many streets are narrow, and tour coaches are restricted to a few main arteries through the centre. Some famous sights like the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and Spanish Steps are not accessible by coach and can only be seen on foot. Restoration work may be in progress at various sites.

FactFile

Population 52,000 (approximate)
Language Italian
Currency Euro
Time Difference UK+1
Climate Hot summers and mild winters
Ship berths at Piers 10, 11, 12 or 25.
Distance from Centre Between 1,000-2,200 yards depending on berth.
Distance from gangway to coach Coaches park directly in front of the ship.

Useful Information

Shopping Throughout the town centre.
Shopping Opening Hours Most shops are open on weekdays between 0900-1300 and 1600-1930.
Post Office At 11, Via Giordano Bruno, in the town centre. Open weekdays from 0900-1800 and Saturdays 0900-1200. Closed on Sundays.
Tourist Office There is an information booth at the shuttle-bus stop. The main office at 42 Viale Garibaldi is open weekdays 0830 - 1330 and 1600 - 1900.
How to Phone Home For the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, but omitting the first zero.
Emergency Services Dial 113 (police) or 118 (ambulance).
Banks Open weekdays between 0900-1300 and 1445-1545. 24-hour ATMs are available.

Excursions

Day at sea.

Valletta

Arrive 0800 on New Year's Eve. Depart 0100 on New Year's Day.

There will be an early evening Captain’s cocktail party followed by a ‘Black & White’ dinner. You can then ring in the New Year while watching a colourful firework display over the Grand Harbour – you'll have a great view from on board Saga Pearl II. Plus you can savour a glass of champagne during a traditional bagpipe rendition of ‘Auld Lang Syne’. On New Year’s Day, enjoy a late brunch with Buck’s Fizz while in the evening, the officers and staff will perform a memorable pantomime.

Malta’s capital city was built by the Knights of St John in 1565 and named after the French Grand Master of the Order, La Vallette. It is a great place to explore on foot as it is full of historical sights and many shops, cafés and restaurants. St John’s Co-Cathedral is certainly worth a visit, its resplendent interior making it one of Malta’s most important treasures. The city itself is a masterpiece of Baroque architecture with narrow streets leading to pretty courtyards, and with fountains and statues dotted throughout, including Republic Square’s monument to Queen Victoria, an echo of British Imperial influence on the island. The Grand Harbour, one of the world’s deepest natural harbours, adds to Valletta’s charm and mystique. Please note:The ship’s berth is at the bottom of a steep hill, so you will need to walk uphill or take a taxi into the centre of Valletta. Current regulations prohibit tour vehicles from re-entering the port following the excursions, resulting in a walk of up to 500 yards back to the ship.

FactFile

Population 403,500 (approximate)
Language English and Maltese (Malti)
Currency Euro
Time Difference UK+1
Climate Hot summers and mild winters
Ship berths at Pinto Wharf or Deep Water Quay
Distance from Centre Two-thirds of a mile, up a steep hill
Distance from gangway to coach 100 yards (approximate)

Useful Information

Shopping There is shopping at Valletta Waterfront, but the main shopping area is in the city centre.
Shopping Opening Hours Most open weekdays between 0900-1230 and 1600-1900, and Saturday from 0900-1300. They are usually closed on Sundays.
Post Office The main Post Office is located opposite Auberge de Castille and opens weekdays from 0815-1545, and Saturdays 0815-1230.
Tourist Office There is a Tourist Information Office within the cruise terminal.
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 two ATMs along the Valletta Waterfront. In the city centre there are several banks, open weekdays from 0830-1400.

Excursions

Day at sea.

Day at sea.

Gibraltar port

Arrive 0800. Depart 2200.

Tagged on to the end of Iberia, the intriguing British outpost of Gibraltar is dominated by a sandy peninsula and the stunning 1,400-feet-high limestone Rock. Although small, Gibraltar has always been seen as having great strategic importance on account of its advantageous position where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean, just 12 miles from the coast of Africa. Ever popular with British holidaymakers, Gibraltar is very much a home from home, boasting excellent duty-free shopping in many familiar British high street shops. Please note: Gibraltar’s small size and narrow winding roads mean that excursions are operated by 22-seater mini-buses, accompanied by a driver/guide. Local health and safety regulations prohibit the carriage of walking aids and collapsible wheelchairs on these vehicles. If you do wish to bring a mobility aid, we can arrange the Rock Tour by taxi, which has extra space. If this suits your requirements, please advise the Tours and Travel office when you join the ship, as numbers are limited.

FactFile

Population 30,000 (approximate)
Language English
Currency British Pounds Sterling
Time Difference UK+1
Climate Generally mild with winter temperatures averaging 12ºC
Ship berths at Western Arm, North Mole
Distance from Centre Approximately one mile
Distance from gangway to coach Approximately 275 yards

Useful Information

Shopping The main shopping area starts at Casemates Square.
Shopping Opening Hours Most shops are open Monday to Saturday from 0930-1800.
Post Office The main Post Office is located on Main Street; there is a postbox outside the cruise terminal and stamps can be purchased from the terminal café.
Tourist Office Located within the cruise terminal.
How to Phone Home For the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, but omitting the first zero.
Emergency Services Dial 190/199
Banks There are several banks on Main Street and 24-hour ATMs are also available.

Excursions

Day at sea.

Day at sea.

Day at sea.

Southampton

Arrive 0800. Disembark Saga Pearl II after breakfast.

Lying near the head of Southampton Water, a peninsula between the estuaries of the Rivers Test and Itchen, Southampton is Britain’s largest cruise port. It has been one of England’s major ports since the Middle Ages, when it exported wool and hides from the hinterland and imported wine from Bordeaux. The city suffered heavy damage during World War Two and as a result the centre has been extensively rebuilt, but there are still some interesting medieval buildings including the Bargate, one of the finest city gatehouses in England.

FactFile

Population 253,651 (estimate)
Language English
Currency British Pounds Sterling
Time Difference N/A
Climate Southampton experiences an oceanic climate, with cool winters and mild to warm summers. Its sheltered location makes it one of the UK's sunniest cities.
Ship berths at Southampton Cruise Terminal
Distance from Centre 300 yards
Distance from gangway to coach Motor vehicles can pick up and drop off passengers immediately outside the Terminal Building.

Useful Information

Shopping The city's main shopping mall is the West Quay Shopping Centre, but there are many other shopping streets in the town centre.
Shopping Opening Hours The West Quay Shopping Centre is open Monday to Friday 0900-2000, Saturday 0900-1900 and Sunday 1100-1700.
Post Office The main Post Office is at 32-34 Above Bar Street.
Tourist Office There are Tourist Information Points at the Novotel Hotel on 1 West Quay Road, and also at the SeaCity Museum.
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, with 24-hour ATMs.

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.


Christmas in the Mediterranean

Saga Pearl II departing Southampton

from £3,445 22 2
Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £98 if not required