Top five all-new European cruise excursions for 2020

From a zip-line over the Croatian Alps to Catalonia’s human towers, here are five of the best new port excursions around the Mediterranean to uncover the region’s diverse character.

By Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Published 10 Dec 2019, 11:29 GMT
Portofino harbour.
Docking in Portofino harbour allows cruisers to tour the picturesque coast overlooking the Ligurian Sea in the north west of Italy.
Photograph by Getty

Cruise getaways are as much about the on-board experience as they are about the time spent discovering the ports of call, and the scenic Mediterranean is full of on shore treasures. Seven Seas Splendor, the new ship set to join Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ fleet in 2020, does more than simply take guests to the destinations; a range of new port excursions available at no extra charge to cruisers sailing on its inaugural season will uncover the region’s postcard-perfect shorelines, UNESCO-recognised cultural heritage and mouth-watering cuisine. 

1. Take a scenic flight to a gourmet restaurant in Monaco

Head ashore at Monte Carlo and fly up and away in a helicopter for a journey over the Provence countryside. Touch down at chef Alain Ducasse’s restaurant, La Bastide de Moustiers, for a lunch set within a 17th-century country house, amid lavender bushes and olive trees. Dine on mouth-watering dishes before taking yet another scenic flight back to Monaco, soaring over hilltop villages and clary sage fields.

2. Meet Catalonia's human towers in Valls, Spain

One of the strangest excursions from Barcelona gives an intriguing insight into the UNESCO-honoured tradition of building human castells — towers of peoplein Catalonia. First documented in 1801, the activity is now a competitive sport with teams awarded points based on the height of their human towers. Meet and assist competitors in the town of Valls as they climb onto (and sometimes fall off) each other's shoulders to train for the next competition.

A view of the Mediterranean and the port of Monte Carlo from the highest point of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, a commune in southeastern France between Monaco and Menton.
Photograph by Getty

3. Drive a classic car along the Ligurian coast in Italy 

Dock next to the superyachts bobbing in Portofino harbour and get behind the wheel of an iconic vintage automobile in search of la dolce vita, touring the immensely picturesque coast overlooking the Ligurian Sea in the north west of Italy. Enjoy lunch at one of the seafood restaurants lining the lesser-known seaside towns of Rapallo and Camogli before enjoying the scenic road trip back to the ship in Portofino.

4. Zip-line through the Croatian Alps

Once ashore in Split, it's just a 30-minute drive to Mount Kozjak, in the heart of the Dalmatian Dinaric Alps, where you can soar through the air on zip-lines and walk over towering treetops via a 300ft-high suspension bridge. Catch your breath at the imposing stronghold Klis Fortress, seat to many Croatian kings and a film location for Game of Thrones, taking in the stunning views of the Dalmatian islands in the distance.

5. Learn the secrets of a Michelin-starred restaurant in France

Sail into the French Riviera port of Antibes with an empty stomach for this excursion — a cooking class at the Michelin-starred villa restaurant of chef Alain Llorca, widely considered the founder of French haute cuisine. Restaurant Alain Llorca is the place to learn how to emulate the legendary chef's dishes, combining a taste of Provence with recipes from his native Catalonia. The finale is tasting the dishes on the terrace overlooking the charming town of Saint Paul de Vence.

How to do it

Sixty-five new shore excursions spanning nine countries across the Mediterranean and Northern Europe are available exclusively to guests sailing aboard Seven Seas Splendor on its inaugural season. The new all-suite, all-balcony ship is set to join Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ fleet in February 2020.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises provides an all-inclusive luxury experience, from gourmet food, personalised service and rousing nightly entertainment to port fees and flights. The company also offers a range of free shore excursions in every port of call.

Prices for European cruises vary.

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