Credit: Royal Clipper/Shutterstock

Tall ships in the Med to luxury trains in the Rockies - inside Riviera Travel’s ocean cruises

Author: Sophie Chichester

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Nothing evokes the romance of being at sea like sailing by tall ship - and Riviera Travel's Royal Clipper offers just this experience among its ocean cruise itineraries.

Travelling on the intimate-sized Royal Clipper provides the perfect opportunity to explore the Mediterranean and Dalmatian coastlines.

A Mediterranean Odyssey

Imagine: Giant white sails straining in the wind above you as the bright sun winks on the rolling waves, the smell of sea salt and sun cream as the fresh air whips around you, and the promise of succulent just-caught fish for dinner, a glass of crisp white wine on deck and adventure just around the corner.

Yep, this idyllic scene could be where you find yourself on Riviera Travel's A Mediterranean Odyssey sailing next year. So long the four walls of your own home! The 11-night trip onboard true 'Tall Ship' Royal Clipper departs June 10, 2022, from Rome - home to the ancient world’s mightiest empire.

Here you can enjoy a guided tour of the Italian capital, taking in the grandeur of the Vatican, the Trevi Fountain (don't forget to make a wish!) and some of the world’s best shopping. Why not sip a coffee in the famous Caffè Greco, once the haunt of Keats, Byron and Wagner?

Next, it's onto gorgeous, pastel-toned Sorrento (could this be what heaven looks like?) and a guided tour of thought-provoking ruined Pompeii – a city frozen in time. Then, the Royal Clipper sails to Capri - think high ochre-coloured cliffs topped with thick forest, the air full of the scent of pine forests and wildflowers and fishing boats clinking on the sea. Oh, and limoncello!

After gliding the Aeolian Islands and Stromboli, the most consistently active volcano in Europe, it's on to Sicily and Taormina, one of the most attractive hill-top villages in Italy. Don't miss the ancient Greek amphitheatre while foodies should check out the speciality food shops selling fresh pasta, olives and Sicilian wine.

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From Grecian charm to coastal Croatia

Riviera guests are then whisked off to Greece - see the amazing remains of ancient Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic Games, before travelling to the island of Corfu. Greece’s emerald isle, this beauty spot is cloaked in olive, pine and cypress trees and is well-renowned for the beauty of its spectacular coastline. Meanwhile, picturesque Corfu Town is one of the most attractive and best-preserved medieval towns in Europe and is home to two massive Venetian fortresses.

Next, visit Kotor in Montenegro and Croatia’s Dubrovnik - the glistening Pearl of the Adriatic where the main avenue, lined by unspoilt intimate cafés, is completely paved with marble. Admire the wonderful array of monasteries and beautifully decorated churches.

Sailing onwards, it's time to explore the beautiful verdant isle of Hvar, the extraordinary Dalmatian coast and Rovinj, one of the most picturesque ports on the Adriatic.

The cruise terminates in Venice, probably the most unique city in the world, where Riviera guests can enjoy a guided tour revealing the city’s most famous sights including the glorious Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s with its magnificently decorated Basilica and grandiose square, the legendary Bridge of Sighs, the Rialto and a host of other fascinating gems.

A traditional tall ship experience

Life on board the Royal Clipper is also an unforgettable experience. The traditionally built ship boasts rich hardwoods, polished brass and wrought iron fittings, marble, deep pile carpets and tasteful furnishings. The crew, from the Stewards to the Captain – all are consummate professionals, and life at sea is informal.

A big advantage of travelling on such a ship is that it's small enough to sail close to the shore where the views are stunning, plus you can visit small, fascinating ports. However, it's big enough for you to still find places to be alone if you wish, as well as enjoy the spa, gym and three pools.

Riviera Travel: Life on board the Royal Clipper is an unforgettable experience. Credit: Riviera

Cruise Atlantic Europe on a contemporary small ship

Riviera Travel’s ocean cruise itineraries don't stop there. New Riviera cruise ship World Voyager sets sail in 2022 and will offer a Cruising Atlantic Europe itinerary. The cruise departs on September 19, 2022, for 11 days and will include stops in Guernsey, France, Spain’s Basque country and Portugal.

Guernsey is the first shop, where travellers can ogle welcoming marinas, cobbled streets and charming spires while in France there are stops at chic Saint-Malo, picture-perfect Belle Île and Port Médoc, world-renowned by wine fanatics for the ‘Route des Châteaux’.

In Spain, San Sebastián and Santander offer a true taste of the history, culture and landscapes that make the Basque Country a popular year-round destination. Then, over in Porto, Cascais and Lisbon in Portugal, local experts will shine a light on what makes this part of the world so special.

A small vessel, World Voyager has room for 190 passengers onboard plus 109 crew members – so you’re guaranteed attentive service and oodles of attention from crew - and it can sail right into the heart of the smaller ports, coves and bays.

There's plenty to keep everyone entertained on board, from a spa and pool to the fully glazed domed Observation Lounge and movie screenings. Restaurants include Mystic Restaurant and the informal Lido Café while breakfast is a hot and cold buffet.

In Porto, Portugal, local experts will shine a light on what makes this part of the world so special. Credit: Shutterstock

Discover Canada and Alaska on an unforgettable cruise

This 16-day itinerary is the perfect bucket list trip for adventure seekers keen to discover wildlife and immerse themselves in awe-inspiring landscapes.

Guests can expect seven nights on Holland America Line ship MS Koningsdam (full board), two days on luxurious Rocky Mountaineer train and three-star hotel accommodation.

The trip combines Canada, the world’s second-largest country, with a cruise to Alaska, the largest state in the US. The tour begins in Calgary where you can soak up the Rocky Mountains, Canada's crowning glory and home to bears, majestic elk, moose and beaver and vast forests. Expect opaque lakes of stunning emerald green and turquoise, carpets of wildflowers and towering glaciers.

After a stop at Banff, you board the Rocky Mountaineer - the ultimate way to travel through the beautifully rugged terrain of Alberta and British Columbia. You'll travel the ‘road of steel’ that is the great Trans-Canadian rail, crossing high passes, deep ravines and innumerable spectacular bridges.

On board there are comfortable reclining seats, with plenty of legroom, and large panoramic windows while the excellent onboard commentary highlights the intriguing history of the towns en route and the building of the railway itself.

Next, it's on to the Pacific coast and Vancouver with its gleaming glass skyscrapers and fascinating and cosmopolitan metropolis encircled by water and mountains. The city, alongside Sydney, Cape Town and San Francisco, ranks as one of the world’s most naturally beautiful panoramas.

Canada: Expect opaque lakes of stunning emerald green and turquoise, carpets of wildflowers and towering glaciers.

Adventure awaits on a cruise of Alaska

From here, guests embark MS Koningsdam. The seven-night voyage includes two days at sea sailing the calm, sheltered waters of the famed Inside Passage. In Alaska, passengers visit the historic ports of Skagway and Ketchikan, where the prospectors of the 1890’s Klondike gold rush took their first steps towards riches or heartache!

A whole day is spent sailing the pristine waters of Glacier Bay which contains eight tidewater glaciers and extraordinary twelve-storey walls of ice in countless shades of blue and white from which huge blocks up to 200 feet high occasionally break loose! If you're lucky you might also catch sight of humpback whales!

There's the additional opportunity to book from a huge selection of shore excursions including glacier helicopter flights, bear and whale-watching, fishing, kayaking, hiking and even dog-sledding.

The 2,650-passenger MS Koningsdam was launched in 2016 and boasts more outside Oceanview and Verandah staterooms than most other ships in Alaska. Dining options include the two-tier Vista dining room while more intimate speciality dining options include the Pinnacle Grill, Canaletto Italian restaurant, the Pan-Asian Tamarind restaurant and Rudi’s Sel de Mer French brasserie.

Other ship facilities include a two-tier theatre, the Crow’s Nest observation lounge, a piano bar and sports bar, the Explorer’s Lounge where complimentary newspapers, books and internet are available, the Greenhouse Spa and hair salon with its steam room and ‘hydro’ pool, a covered pool and a large open observation deck.

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