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Masterpieces of the Mediterranean

Program Number: 19578RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/4/2013 - 10/13/2013;
Duration: 9 nights
Location: Italy/France/Tunisia/Spain
Price starting at: $2,977.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Ocean Cruises Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 23; 8 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 8 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

With the French Riviera as your muse, traverse the waters of the Mediterranean Sea and explore the cities and villages that served as inspiration to some of the world’s greatest artists. View the Architecture of Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona, the remains of the Carthaginian Empire in Tunisia, and the grandiose artworks of Michelangelo in Rome.

Activity Particulars

Walking on uneven ground for up to two hours at a time, totaling a few miles over the course of the day.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Barcelona (Spain), 1 nights, Aboard ms Nieuw Amsterdam, 7 nights.

Day 1:
Overnight flight from U.S.A.

Days 2-3:
Arrival Barcelona (Spain) / embark ms Nieuw Amsterdam

Experience the sights and sounds of Barcelona during a walking exploration of the Gothic Quarter and a panoramic city drive. Immerse yourself in the life and works of Antoni Gaudi during field trips to the Sagrada Familia and La Pedrera.

Day 4-5:
At Sea / La Goulette

Explore the ancient site of Carthage and view one of the richest collections of Roman mosaics at the Bardo Museum in Tunisia.

Day 6:
Palermo, Sicily

Discover the Sicilian capital and historic Roman trading center in Palermo

Day 7:
Civitavecchia / Rome

Consider the masterpieces of the Renaissance and the cultural sights of Rome during a field trip to the Vatican and a driving exploration through the city.

Day 8:

Walk along the historic streets of this fishing village in Sicily and view the work of local artists.

Days 9:
La Goulette / Tunis

Enjoy a stroll and mint tea in the blue and white village of Sidi Bou Said, beloved by European artists such as August Macke, Paul Klee and Andre Gide. Glimpse the ruins of ancient Carthage before examining Roman mosaic art at the Bardo Museum.

Days 10:
Barcelona / Disembark / Departure

A morning at the Picasso Museum offers a look into the work and life of this noted artist. Enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Catalonia Berna
  Barcelona, Spain 1 night
   MS Nieuw Amsterdam
  At Sea - MS Nieuw Amsterdam, USA 7 nights
 Hotel Catalonia Berna
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Located in a fully restored historical building, in a central position just two blocks from "La Pedrera" ( Gaudi - Casa Mila) and four blocks from Plaza Catalunya.
  Contact info: Roger de Lluria, 60
Barcelona,  08009 Spain
phone: +34 93 272 00 50
  Room amenities: Private facilities, hair dryer, in room a/c & heating, tel., Satellite TV, Minibar, Safe deposit box. Wi-fi
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, Bar, Lounge and a spacious Lobby, lift to all floors. Internet and wi-fi in public areas
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: TBD Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for details
  Check in time: 4:00 PM

 MS Nieuw Amsterdam
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: Launched from Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard in Venice on July 4, 2010, the 86,000-ton Nieuw Amsterdam celebrates the glamour and history of New York City, formerly called Nieuw Amsterdam, with its inspired interior design and art collection. Holland America Line has installed an array of works valued at over $3 million, ranging from antiques by traditional Dutch masters to creations by renowned contemporary artists. Some pieces reflect the Dutch Golden Age while others, such as the spectacular centerpiece in the atrium, express a contemporary curiosity. Adorning the ceiling of Nieuw Amsterdam is an eye-catching abstract sculpture of the inverted New York skyline made from clear translucent blocks that hang upside-down. The sculpture was created by husband and wife Italian artists Gilbert Lebigre and Corinne Roger of Creazioni Lebigre & Roger. The significant collection, which includes works by celebrated artists Andy Warhol, Richard Estes and Roy Lichtenstein, continues with astounding displays throughout the ship.
  Ship Information: Registry: The Netherlands Passenger capacity: 2,106 Crew members: 929 Gross tonnage: 86,700grt Length: 936 feet Beam: 105.8 Maximum speed: 23.9 knots
  Contact info: Corporate Headquarters
300 Elliott Ave. West
Seattle, WA 98119 USA
phone: 206-281-3535
  Facility amenities: The new ship continues several much-admired Holland America Line features, including outside-view, glass elevators at midship; the Explorations Café -- a cyber-coffee house powered by The New York Times; the Pinnacle Grill and Pinnacle Bar; the innovative Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine Magazine, where culinary experts provide cooking demonstrations and intimate classes in a state-of-the-art onboard show kitchens; an expanded Greenhouse Spa and Salon with thermal suites and hydro-pool, the largest gymnasium ever built for Holland America Line; and a youth facility that includes the teens-only Loft. In addition the ship will feature the family-style Canaletto Italian restaurant.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
This program starts in Barcelona on Day 2 at the program hotel. You will be staying at Hotel Catalonia Berna that night.
  End of Program:
This program ends in Barcelona on Day 10 after breakfast on board the ship You will be staying at MS Nieuw Amsterdam the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Holland America requires you to complete the Online Check-In Process at at least 72 hours prior to embarkation. Guests who wait to check in at the terminal risk being unable to sail even if they arrive at the terminal before the vessel leaves. You will be responsible for all costs you incur to join the vessel at the next port. For more information on the Online Check-In Process, please see the document at the back of this booklet titled "Holland America Online Check-in and Express Docs"
  Parking availability:
Parking is not available.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Taxis are available from the airport.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Barcelona
  Transportation to site: All participants who purchased their air travel through Road Scholar and arriving in Barcelona on Day 2 of the program, will be met at the airport and transferred to the program hotel.
  From End of Program
  Location:  At Sea - MS Nieuw Amsterdam
  Transportation from site: All participants who purchased their air travel through Road Scholar and departing from Barcelona on Day 10 of the program, will be met at the port and transferred to the airport upon the conclusion of your program.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Depart North America
(Friday, October 4)
 In Transit: Depart North America for Barcelona, Spain

Day 2: Arrival and Orientation in Barcelona
(Saturday, October 5)
 Arrive To: Arrive to Barcelona and check into hotel. Your group leader will welcome you at the airport and help with the check-in process. Please note as a general rule rooms are generally available around 2:00pm.
 Afternoon: Meet with your group leader for a welcome and orientation session at the hotel.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Hotel Catalonia Berna
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Barcelona / Gaudi's La Pedrera and Sagrada Familia / Embark Nieuw Amsterdam
(Sunday, October 6)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at hotel. Check out of Barcelona hotel.
 Morning: City Orientation & La Pedrera: After an orientation drive to see many of Barcelona's highlights, stop for a guided visit to Casa Mila. Casa Milà, popularly known as ‘La Pedrera’, is a most unusual building, constructed between 1906 and 1912 by the architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926) and declared UNESCO World Heritage in 1984. La Pedrera is probably one of the most famous buildings of the Modernista or Catalan Art Nouveau period and one of the architect Antoni Gaudí’s most ambitious works.
 Lunch: Tapas lunch at a local restaurant in Barcelona
 Afternoon: Sagrada Familia: Enjoy a guided visit inside the "Templo Expiatiorio de La Sagrada Familia". Originally conceived in a modest orthodox neo-Gothic style, the project changed direction and scale under Gaudi, who used the opportunity to reflect his own spiritual and nationalist feelings, spending most of the rest of his working life in the project. Transfer to Port Barcelona to embark the MS Nieuw Amsterdam. The ship is scheduled to depart Barcelona at 4:00 pm.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
Accommodations: MS Nieuw Amsterdam
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: At Sea / Onboard Lectures and Activities
(Monday, October 7)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Join your study leader for an exclusive presentation on art, history and culture in the Mediterranean
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: Join your study leader for an exclusive presentation on art, history and culture in the Mediterranean
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
Accommodations: MS Nieuw Amsterdam
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: La Goulette / Tunis - Roman Art in the Mediterranean
(Tuesday, October 8)

Note: There are no elevators at the Bardo Museum. Most of the exhibits are on the second and third levels. There is a 15-20 minute uphill walk to reach Sidi Bou Said from the bus parking lot. There is a fee of 1 EURO per camera at the Bardo Museum and at Carthage.

 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Visit the Punic and Roman ruins at Carthage, the center of the Phoenician civilization reputedly founded by Queen Dido. This busy city was once Rome's most dangerous enemy and bitter rival; today its ruins are scattered among the area's more modern construction. The ruins include the enormous Roman public baths near the seashore, the Tophet children's cemetary and the remains of what was once a five-story amphitheatre where Christians were sacrificed. The Punic ports and the ruins of Roman temples, monuments and columns will be your window on the history of these two great civilizations. Next, visit the Bardo Museum, which includes one of the richest collections of Roman mosaics in the world. Housed in the palace that was once the residence of the Beys of Tunis, the Bardo Museum boasts a collection of artifacts including statues and jewelry, displaying exquisite workmanship, design and variety. The coach will then take you to the bustling medina (Old Town) of Tunis. Disembark your coach to take in the organized chaos of the city - fruit stalls, water-bearers, leather merchants and carpet weavers.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in Tunis
 Afternoon: Finally you will visit Sidi Bou Said - one of the prettiest villages in Tunisia, famous for its moorish architecture of white houses with blue shutters covered in bougainvillea. A short walk uphill will bring you to the village that sits proudly atop a cliff, commanding stunning views of the Gulf of Tunis.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship.
Accommodations: MS Nieuw Amsterdam
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Palermo, Sicily
(Wednesday, October 9)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Afternoon exploration of the Sicilian capital of Palermo, once a Phoenician stronghold and a historic Roman trading center. Marvel at the the Norman Royal Palace and the Palatine Chapel as your local expert discusses the creative confluence of Latin, Byzantine and Arab cultures. Continue on to San Giovanni degli Eremiti and Palermo Cathedral, built in 1185, with its fascinating porphyry tombs.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: If time allows, explore the port of Palermo independently. The ship is cheduled to depart port at 3:00pm. In the afternoon, join your group leader for a lecture on art, history and culture in the Mediterranean.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
Accommodations: MS Nieuw Amsterdam
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Civitavecchia / Rome
(Thursday, October 10)

Note: Modest attire is required; knees and shoulders must be covered.

 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: In the Eternal City, enter the vast expanse of St. Peter's Square through Bernini's Colonnade, and step into Christendom's largest church, St. Peter's Basilica. In the apse in the splendid gilt and bronze throne, also designed by Bernini. Take time to see the Pieta, Michelangel's masterpiece in white marble. Leaving the Vatican, drive along the Tiber River, passing Aventine Hill for a view of the imposing remains of the imperial Palaces and the Circus Maximus. Pass by the Forum where vestiges of the Roman Empire remain. visit the Colosseum and drive by Venice Square, the heart of Rome with tis flamboyant memorial to King Victor Emanuel. Stop at the Trevi Fountain where King Neptune's tritons guard the sparkling waters of Rome's most beloved monument. Toss in a coin to ensure your return to the Eternal City! Note: This field trip does not visit the Vatican Museum or the Sistine Chapel. The use of an audio headset (included) will enhance your experience.
 Lunch: Lunch at a restaurant in Rome
 Afternoon: After lunch enjoy some free time to explore on your own before transferring back to the ship.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
Accommodations: MS Nieuw Amsterdam
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Italy
(Friday, October 11)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: A Taste of Tuscany: A 45-minute drive will bring you to the walled city of Lucca for a walking tour to the beautiful Cathedral of San Martino,the Piazza Anfiteatro, the Church of San Frediano, Guinigi's Tower and the outside of the Church of San Michele. Browse on your own during some free time, then meet back up in the Piazzale Verdi to leave Lucca by coach.
 Lunch: Stop at a typical farmhouse to enjoy a Tuscan lunch
 Afternoon: From Lucca, it’s just 15 minutes by coach to Villa Torrigiani—one of the most important and beautiful houses in the Lucchese territory, with beautiful fountains and trees. Step inside the villa; then, you will have time to stroll in the garden on your own.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
Accommodations: MS Nieuw Amsterdam
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Toulon, France
(Saturday, October 12)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Begin by driving through the lovely Provencal countryside to the charming ancient town of Aix. Your guide will lead you on a walking tour of the Cours Mirabeau - one of the city's wide avenues shaded by 200-year old trees. Built on the site of the city's medieval ramparts, the trees form a verdant tunnel to protect pedestrians from the heat of teh Provencal sun. On your walk you will notice the elegant facades of the mansions along teh Cours, with their wrought iron balconies and finely-carved doorways. View the old Mazarin District begun by Archbishop Michel Mazarin in 1646. Originally inhabited by artisans and separated from other parts of the city, it later attracted the nobility and is noted for its walled gardens. Discover beautiful St. Sauveur Cathedral, with its many different and contrasting architectural styles. This eclectic legacy of building is the result of structural additions and renovations done between the 5th and 18th centuries. Most notable are the 12th-century Romanesque nave, where bits of a Roman-era wall were used in a new wall, and the 15th-century Gothic portal.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant
 Afternoon: Return by coach to the ship in Toulon
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
Accommodations: MS Nieuw Amsterdam
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Barcelona / Disembark
(Sunday, October 13)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board before disembarkation.
 Morning: Disembark the ship and transfer to the airport. To allow time for the ship to clear customs, passengers to disembark and the transfer to the airport, we do not recommend booking flights that depart before 12:00 noon
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

A Traveller's History of Spain

Author: Juan Lalaguna

Description: A swift survey from prehistory through the Romans, Goths and Moors to the present.

Ancient Rome: Art, Architecture, and History

Author: Ada Gabucci (Editor)

Description: This lively, illustrated survey of Ancient Rome's monuments, history and art is a terrific introduction.

Antonio Gaudi, Master Architect

Author: Juan Bassegoda Nonell

Description: This lavish little collection of Gaudi's work captures the evolution, imagination and exuberance of one of the most influential architects of the 20th century.


Author: Michael Dibdin

Description: Zen is called to the Vatican to investigate the death of Prince Ludovico Ruspanti, who plunged from the roof of St. Peter's Basilica.

Culture Smart! Tunisia

Author: Gerald Zarr

Description: A concise guide to local customs, etiquette and culture with a short overview of the land and people along with practical travel advice.

Fodor's Rome's 25 Best

Author: Fodors

Description: This shirt-pocket guide includes a map of the city and essential information on its highlights.

Gothic: Architecture, Sculpture, Painting

Author: Rolf Toman

Description: A marvelously illustrated, oversized survey of Gothic architecture, cathedrals and castles across Europe.


Author: Ross Leckie

Description: Leckie's first novel vividly recreates the testosterone-fueled life and times of Hannibal, including the great general's conquest of the Alps with men, horses and elephants. The Punic wars trilogy continues with Scipio (TUN32) and Carthage (TUN21), $12.95 each.

M, The Man Who Became Caravaggio

Author: Peter Robb

Description: A masterful biography of the Renaissance painter by the author of "Midnight in Sicily."

Matisse and Picasso, The Story of their Rivalry and Friendship

Author: Jack Flam

Description: Jack Flam explores the compelling, competitive, parallel lives of these two artists and their very different attitudes toward the idea of artistic greatness, toward the women they loved, and ultimately toward their confrontations with death.

Mediterranean by Cruise Ship

Author: Anne Vipond

Description: The best-selling, compact guide, featuring excellent local maps, hundreds of color photographs, concise background information and recommended excursions for ports-of-call throughout the Mediterranean.

Painting in Spain 1500-1700

Author: Jonathan Brown

Description: Velazquez and El Greco are but a few of the Spanish artists discussed in this in-depth study of the art produced during Spain's golden age.


Author: Gustave Flaubert, A.J. Krailsheimer (Translator)

Description: A highly fanciful romance set in the ancient city of Carthage at the height of the Punic Wars.

Spain, A Traveler's Literary Companion

Author: Peter R. Bush (Editor)

Description: These 30 short stories form a who's who of contemporary Spanish literature, including writers from Galicia, Leon, the Basque Country, Madrid and Barcelona.

The Ancient Mediterranean

Author: Michael Grant

Description: Grant explores the realms of archaeology, geography, art and economics to sketch this classic portrait of the ancient world, from prehistory through the Roman Imperium, and the influence on western civilization.

The Art of the Renaissance

Author: Peter Murray

Description: A classic, illustrated survey of the world of the Renaissance and its art. With chapters on Florence and its artists, the Netherlands, early illustrated books and many individual artists.

The Genius in the Design

Author: Jake Morrissey

Description: The intriguing, true story of Bernini, Borromini and the rivarly that transformed Baroque Rome.

The Leopard

Author: Giuseppe Di Lampedusa

Description: Evoking a lost world of privilege and tradition, Giuseppe Di Lampedusa's memorable tale, set on a rural Sicilian estate during the days of independence, follows the world-weary Don Fabrizio, Prince of Salina. A classic, now in a 50th anniversary edition.

The Lost Painting

Author: Jonathan Harr

Description: The absorbing account of the rediscovery of Caravaggio's Taking of Christ (painted in 1602 and famously lost to history until 1990) by a young graduate student at the University of Rome. The book is appealing on many levels, not least as a police procedural (with the benefit of being all true). Harr provides masterful detail not just on the search but also the art historians, scholars and others on the trail.

The Middle Sea

Author: John Julius Norwich

Description: A marvelous writer who has already tackled Byzantium, the Normans in Sicily and Venice, Norwich spins his magic in this story of culture, trade and politics, royalty and rulers, wars and religion in the Mediterranean.

The Shadow of the Wind

Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Description: Set in the brooding atmosphere of post-WW II Barcelona, this gripping story-within-a-story has it all: murder, doomed love and a mysterious book which draws the young hero, Daniel Sempere, into the city’s dangerous underworld.

The Wine-Dark Sea

Author: Leonardo Sciascia, Avril Bardoni (Translator), Alberto Mobilio (Introduction)

Description: A collection of 13 stories, all set in the celebrated writer's native Sicily and featuring mafiosi, carabinieri and villagers.

Tunis, The Land and the People

Author: Ernst Von Hesse-wartegg

Description: Originally published in 1882, Chevalier de Hesse-Wartegg, an Austrian diplomat and great traveler, describes his encounters with the military, Jewish women, Berbers and other people of Tunis in surprisingly modern, unprejudiced terms.

Tunisian Mosaics, Treasures from Roman Africa

Author: Aicha Ben Abed Ben Khader

Description: Accompanied by 134 glorious color illustrations, this book includes a history of Roman Africa and the rise of Mediterranean mosaics, an overview of mosaic sites and museums and a chapter on methods of preservation.

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