It’s no wonder the makers of Hollywood blockbuster Captain Corelli’s Mandolin chose Kefalonia as one of the film’s backdrops. The island is all tree-studded hills, which…Time in port: 09:00 - 17:00
Like the old saying goes, ‘beauty comes from within’. Today, you’ll find out why, as you explore some of Kefalonia’s most famous caves. Researchers believe Drogarati Cave is around 150-million-years-old, but it was only discovered 300 years ago. You’ll find orange and yellow-tinted stalactites and stalagmites inside. It’s also got a 900-square-metre great hall, which regularly holds musical events, thanks to the excellent acoustics. Opera singer Maria Callas was one of the famous names that sung in the chamber. Next, you’ll visit the subterranean Melissani Lake, where you'll hop on a rowing boat across its bright blue waters. Here, you can see the sun’s rays hit the lake, giving the whole cave a blue-coloured glow. Look up and you’ll see trees ringing the cave’s opening, over 100 feet up. On your way back to port, keep your eyes peeled for sheer white cliffs and crescent-shaped beaches.
Legend has it the Monastery of Agios Andreas houses the sole of Saint Andrew’s right foot. You’ll get to inspect for yourself on this tour. The church is believed to date back to the 13th-century. Inside, everywhere you turn is painted with colourful biblical scenes and there’s a huge chandelier hanging from the ceiling. But, the highlight is the silver casket containing the remains of the church’s saint. Next, you’ll head around the corner to the Robola Wine Cooperative. Here, you’ll be taken through the wine-making process from grape-picking to bottling, before tasting a selection of white, red and rosé wine. Your final stop is in Kourkoumelata – a picture-perfect village with a heart-warming history. After the 1953 earthquake destroyed most of the village, a local ship-owner paid to reconstruct all the buildings to their neo-classical glory. You can wander through and admire the beautifully-tended gardens, elegant villas and sweeping sea views.
It’s often hailed as Captain Corelli’s Kefalonia. And you’ll get to visit one of the blockbuster’s most memorable locations, the world-famous Myrtos Beach. You’ll start with a trip to underground Melissani Lake. It was only discovered in 1951, but artefacts from the 3rd-century BC have been recovered here, from animal horns to tiles and slates. The 1953 earthquake caused the cave’s roof to fall in, so you’ll get an impressive light display as the sun reflects off the turquoise waters. You can take a boat out onto the lake, to get a closer look at the cave’s stalactites. Next, it’s time for a photo stop at Myrtos Beach. This mile-and-a-half-long curve of white pebbles is the setting for several scenes of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Your final stop is in Fiskardo village, where you’ll stroll past brightly-coloured Venetian buildings and waterfront tavernas, before heading back to port.
You’ll feel like you’ve switched continents when you dine at this restaurant. It offers a pan-Asian selection of curries and noodle dishes, a separate sushi menu, plus bespoke dishes created by master chef Ian Pengelley exclusively for Marella Cruises. This is one of the ship's speciality restaurants, so there's a charge to dine here – plus, we recommend you make a reservation in advance.
You’ll be whisked to sunny Spain when you dine in this section of The Mediterranean, which specialises in tapas dishes for dinner. Or you can take your taste buds over to Portugal and try espetadas – meat or veg skewers – for a little extra. It's open at lunchtime, too, for light bites, like sandwiches and jacket potatoes.
The main waiter service restaurant is a good-looking place, with a gold-and-grey colour scheme and floor-to-ceiling windows. Menu-wise, you can expect traditional dishes with a modern twist.
Striped with vineyards, this little island is best known for its wine – the grapes here make a fantastic red. It’s pretty off the beaten track, so you won’t find hordes…Time in port: 08:00 - 18:00 | Tender to shore
For most of the last 3,000 years people assumed that Homer's 'Iliad' was fiction and that Troy never existed. Then, in 1870 the German archaeologist Schliemann began excavations that unearthed stonewalls and battlements. His work convinced the world that Troy was more than just a legend. On this tour you’ll see with your own eyes the ancient walls and ruins that inspired the Hollywood movie starring Brad Pitt. And you can gaze across to the waters of the Dardanelles and the hills of Gallipoli beyond. Step back in time as your guide tells you fascinating facts about the city of Troy, which was demolished and reconstructed nine times. This is the place where the famous Trojan War took place, the first ever war between the east and the west. Take a look at a modern version of the 'Wooden Horse', used by the Greeks to trick the Trojans. The original played a pivotal role in the city's fall.
The ancient city of Troy dates back some 4,000 years. What started as a Bronze Age settlement had stints under Greek, Roman and Byzantine rule, before it finally turned to ruin. It’s most famous for its starring role in Greek mythology, as the setting for the 10-year-long Trojan War. Today, you’ll pick a path around the ruins, which include ancient carvings, dwellings and an amphitheatre, before heading to the site’s dedicated museum in the nearby town of Canukkale. Here, you’ll find exhibits of ceramics, statues and terracotta artwork from the old city. There’s also an interesting collection of Byzantine and Ottoman coins, plus amazingly well preserved costumes from days gone by.
You’ll explore the ancient Acropolis of Assos today, which rests high on a clifftop above the seaside city of Behramkale. Once a sought-after metropolis, Assos has been passed through the hands of the ancient Greeks, the Romans, and the Persians since its origins in the 7th century BC. Nowadays, it’s in a state of ruin, but historians have made out the remains of a gymnasium, a theatre and a fortress, as well as a tiny old harbour. Your guide will steer you around the relics, before letting you loose on modern Behramkale, at the bottom of the hillside. It’s a place of terracotta rooftops and tree-lined avenues, and it’s full of sea-facing spots where you can grab a coffee and watch the world go by.
Trip over reminders of the past in ancient Athens, where cultural treasures twinkle back at you at every turn. It’s a real gold medal winner of a city.
- Scale the…
Time in port: 08:00 - 17:00
Leave the port of Piraeus behind and head for the captivating city of Athens. You’ll pass by the main sights, like Constitution Square, or ‘Syntagma Square’ as it’s also known, the Houses of Parliament, the Neoclassical-style university buildings, the Royal Palace and the Old Olympic Stadium of Athens. The stadium’s built entirely of marble and offers up a great view of the Acropolis in the distance. The real highlight of this tour comes next, when you arrive at the foot of the magnificent Acropolis, one of the most famous and photographed ancient monuments in the world. Set off on a walking tour, split into several stages, and let your guide explain its history to you. Once you get to the top, you’ll get some free time to wander round, admiring the ancient temples of Athena Nike and the towering Parthenon. Don’t forget your cameras for the breathtaking views of the city below.
Leave the port of Piraeus behind and head for the captivating city of Athens. You’ll pass by the main sights, like Constitution Square, or ‘Syntagma Square’ as it’s also known, the Houses of Parliament, the Neoclassical-style university buildings, the Presidential Palace and the Old Olympic Stadium of Athens. The stadium’s built entirely of marble and offers up a great view of the Acropolis in the distance. Afterwards, carry on to the traditional part of the city at the foot of the Acropolis, known as Plaka, where you’ll get some free time to explore. Soak up the atmosphere as you wander through the tangled maze of streets or pull up a chair in one of the pretty open-air cafes. It’s a great place to pick up some souvenirs as the shops in Plaka stay open all day.
Get ready to be impressed. The Corinth Canal marries up the Gulf of Corinth in the northwest with the Saronic Gulf in the southeast. It’s 3.9 miles long and its width varies from 69 feet at the bottom to 82 feet at the water's surface. Before it was built, ships sailing between the Aegean and the Adriatic Sea had to circumnavigate the Peloponnese, adding another 185 miles to their journey. On this fascinating tour you’ll drive to Isthmia, around 1 hr's drive, where a boat will be waiting to whisk you off. Sit back, relax and enjoy the views as you sail through this famous canal. Along the way, your guide will tell you interesting facts about the way it was built. Afterwards, you’ll take the bus to the bridge of the canal for a photo-stop, before heading back to your ship.
This quiet, quaint pocket of Greece is the place to escape modern life. Hugging the coast along Messinia and the Main peninsula, it’s a collection of great beaches and…Time in port: 08:00 - 15:00
This one takes you back in time. The tour begins with a short drive to the Arcadian Gate, an impressive structure that once acted as an entrance to the ancient city of Messini. There’ll be a short stop, so you can take some photos before getting back on the coach. From here, you’ll head for the archaeological site of Messini, which dates all the way back to 146 BC. You’ll find plenty in the way of treasures here, including an almost-intact theatre, the ruins of a 3rd-century temple, a time-worn sanctuary and a Byzantine monastery. You’ll have an hour to explore, before moving on to the pretty village of Messini, about ten minutes away. Making our stop at Messini quaint village, you’ll have some time to wander around its square with just enough time to grab a traditional coffee, before making your way back to the ship.
For a different way of exploring a port of call, try one of our bike tours. This way, you can really get to know a destination and see the places that bus tours can't reach. You'll be led around by a guide, who'll give you the lowdown on all the sights.