Fred Olsen’s Balmoral will sail from Southampton on July 16, on a 16-night cruise, which coincides with one of Italy’s great celebrations.
From the middle to the end of July, the important religious festival of Noiantri takes place in Rome’s Trastevere district, one of the liveliest areas of the city.
The festival creates a colourful spectacle of dancing, parades and fireworks, centred on the statue of the Vergine del Carmine, which is carried through the streets, with great ceremony, from its home in the church of Sant’ Agata, for the duration of the festival.
Balmoral will call at Civitavecchia, the closest port to Rome, before berthing at Livorno, for excursions to two more of the great Italian cities, Florence and Pisa.
She will then stop off at the less well-known, but no less fascinating port of Portoferraio, on the island of Elba, famous as Napoleon’s prison, before the Battle of Waterloo.
Other destinations include Naples, the Sardinian port of Cagliari, and Gibraltar. The ship’s return voyage is broken by a visit to the Spanish port of Almeria, with the cruise finishing back in Southampton