On 12-day Norwegian Jade roundtrip itineraries from Barcelona, travelers will immerse themselves in the classics of civilization while enjoying a modern travel masterpiece. The Norwegian Jade is impressive, with many innovations, especially its onboard cuisine, but it’s the itinerary that’s the biggest draw here, tracing the Mediterranean haunts of the ancient Egyptian, Roman and Greek empires, with stops in Byzantine and Christian provinces as well.
An itinerary that’s available 10 times starting November 2008 through 2009, the Jade will call at Rome, Athens, Ephesus, Alexandria and Valletta, Malta. Each of these ports is a vigorous visit, with so much to do and see, but with five days at sea that will provide welcome respite, especially after the Athens-Rome marathon with back-to-back days exploring museums, ruins and historic sites that served as the birthplaces of Western civilization.
Among these heavyweight destinations, Valletta may be the least well known, but once you’ve seen the gardens, cathedrals and fortifications of the Maltese capital, you’ll understand why the entire city has been recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
You can enjoy walking tours here, to the Upper Barracca Gardens for a panoramic view of Malta’s natural harbors and the historic cities of Senglea, Cospicua and Vittoriosa. From there, visitors have easy access to St. John’s Co-Cathedral, the conventual church of the Knights of Malta, and then to the Magisterial Palace, where the State Rooms and Tapestry Chamber are both fascinating.
The Jade was the first ship to convert to Norwegian Cruise Line’s new Freestyle 2.0. This ambitious upgrade program puts ever greater emphasis on both choice and quality, particularly in dining.
Beyond the grand dining rooms with traditional cruise-ship service, options include several fine smaller restaurants representing ethnic cuisines. Some of these venues do carry a surcharge, US$10 to US$30 per person, but the Jade has been earning high praise from such authorities as Conde Nast Traveler for its innovative cuisine.
If the Jade seems like an appealing ship, but the timing of the roundtrip itineraries from Barcelona is not convenient, consider some of the other Mediterranean cruises she makes from Athens or Istanbul. These trips usually spend more time in the Greek Isles.