Marilyn Foster: Cruising to exotic ports in Italy and Greece should be in your future

The new 100-passenger super yacht Emerald Azzurra cruises by Portofino, Italy.

The new 100-passenger super yacht Emerald Azzurra cruises by Portofino, Italy.

 It’s amazing how slow 2020 and the first half of 2021 seemed to pass and now the days seem to be flying by.
While we think we have time to plan travel for 2022 and beyond, there’s such a pent-up demand for travel that I recommend you find that trip you have been longing to go on and put down a deposit to hold your space.
As 2020 taught us, we’d better check off those bucket list destinations while we still can. Life can be pretty tenuous.
Perhaps because it has been so hot outside, I am thinking of cool breezes and bodies of water, and this gets me to thinking about how much I love cruising on small ships.
I haven’t yet addressed cruising opportunities in Europe for those who are ready to leave the continental U.S. Cruising can be a challenge if there are thousands of people on one of those super ships, so for those who love more intimate ships that can navigate and dock in smaller ports, there are three cruises that might be of interest.
Let me introduce you to Emerald Cruise Lines newest super yacht – the Emerald Azzurra that holds no more than 100 passengers – and the smaller 36-passenger yacht M S Swallow cruising the Adriatic coast of Croatia. These ships offer far more personal attention to each passenger for the same cost as the larger ships and offer easy on/easy off in each port rather than having to tender from the ship to port wasting precious time.
Our preferred tour operator, Mayflower Cruises and Tours, is owned by Emerald Cruises so we are able to book these new ships through them.
We have a few cabins left on one of our more popular small yacht tours that will be cruising along the coast of Croatia departing May 6 with stops at islands not seen unless you cruise. I was a passenger on a similar yacht a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed every moment. Our yacht docked right in the various harbors and after dinner we were able to explore the cities on our own.
This is a 13-day trip including 23 meals beginning with an overnight in Vienna and then on to Slovenia where we will spend two nights with another night in Plitvice Lakes before arriving in Split to board the yacht. The flight home will be from Dubrovnik.
New to cruising this year is the amazing modern 100-passenger super yacht Azzurra. The Chamber has chosen to book the cruises to Greece and Italy.
The 11-night Aegean Gems cruise departs on Feb. 24 beginning in Athens where you board your ship that will be your comfortable lodging and restaurant the entire time. You’ll unpack only once and enjoy 32 meals on board, be treated like royalty, and stop in exotic ports to include three ports in Turkey including Istanbul before venturing down to three of Greece’s most famous islands: Rhodes, Santorini, and Mykonos. This tour does not feature Athens though you can stay later or arrive early.
In November 2022, the Azzurra will be cruising from Rome to the Gulf of Naples and Sicily. Again, this is a full 11 days with boarding in Rome and then on to Sorrento and Palermo for two nights before cruising to Trapani on what is called the serene side of Sicily. Then on to Porto Empedocles and then to Valetta, Malta before returning to Italy via Catania and Naples and then back to Rome. There are 29 meals included as well as all tours including a wine tasting tour in Malta.
I am encouraging all travelers to get their COVID shots, for this will be the gold standard for future travel. Showing proof of having the vaccination may eliminate the need for frantically having to search for places for a COVID test at your own expense. Of course, like everything else with this pandemic, the CDC or countries can change rules at any moment.
I am not a fan of large ships, but sure do enjoy meeting fellow travelers on small ships like the Azzurra and the M S Swallow. What a great way to celebrate some special occasion that will allow a lifetime of memories.
Please call the Chamber at 882-1565 for information on pricing and availability.
Marilyn Foster loves the sun and water and enjoys cruising to exotic destinations. At 92, she is still enjoying traveling almost anywhere.


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