Day 1: NICEPassengers are welcome to board at 5:00 p.m. We'll set out on an optional tour of Nice. Throughout the centuries, Nice has attracted people from all over the world because of its lovely climate and unrivaled beauty. The city has a thousand surprises in store: monuments, churches, gardens and footpaths, museums, artists, local crafts, and internationally renowned cuisine with the unmistakable flavors of garlic, olive oil, and basil. The best way to get to know Nice is by strolling through it and experiencing sites such as the Cours Saleya or the elegant old quarter lined with boutiques and restaurants. After the excursion, you’ll return on board the ship. Tonight we’ll enjoy dinner and an evening of activities
The ship will cruise to Corsica overnight.
Day 2: AJACCIOThe ship will begin to cruise to Corsica. We’ll take in the beauty of the Gulf of Porto, which has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, admire the red cliffs and maquis underbrush in the Scandola Nature Reserve, and glide by the Gulf of Girolata and the dazzling Calanques de Piana. Feel free to attend the lecture about the natural beauty found on and around this Mediterranean island: The Beauty of the Island
Summed up in Five Ports of Call. Corsica is best experienced through its beauty, its culture, and its people.
As LA BELLE DES OCEANS enters its first Corsican port, join us on the deck for a tasting of traditional myrtle liqueur and a pastry.
In the afternoon, we offer two optional excursions:
CLASSIC package: Ajaccio and the Îles Sanguinaires. Ajaccio, the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte, has a rich and historical past. We’ll visit the city’s main sites, including the high court building, the Cours Napoleon, the bronze Monument to Napoleon and His Brothers, and the Place d’Austerlitz—where legend has it Napoleon visited often as a child to see the statues of the glorious soldiers in battle. Our next stop will be the Pointe de la Parata and a stroll through this exceptional natural area. From here, you’ll get a glimpse of the Îles Sanguinaires, an archipelago of four lava-rock islands just off the coast. As a haven for many native species of plants and animals, the islands are an integral part of Corsica’s natural and cultural heritage. The ruins and sea-sculpted landscapes on the Pointe de la Parata bear testimony to Corsica’s hardy history.
DISCOVERY package: Free time in the picturesque fishing port of Cargèse. Cargèse is a kaleidoscope of history and Corsican beauty. If the village seems a bit out of place, it is because it wasn’t built by native Corsicans. Several hundred Greeks, deciding to flee the tyranny of the Ottomans in their homeland, settled in this area in the 17th century. Other than the magnificent views and scenery, Cargèse is known for its two churches that face one another. The Latin Catholic church was built in 1825. Subsequently, the Greek Catholic church was founded in 1846 by the descendants of the first colonists who wanted to follow the Greek rites. The village also has three Genoese towers that were built to protect the inhabitants from any invasions. The distant towers communicated with each other using torches as warning signals. One of the best ways to get a true feel for this village is to stroll down its streets, pop into a few boutiques, and sip a
drink at an outside table.
Tonight’s meal and entertainment will have genuine Corsican flair! This evening is a great opportunity to get to know the island through its songs and dances.
Day 3: AJACCIOJoin us for an optional excursion for both packages: A visit to the Maison Bonaparte, a national museum. Napoleon Bonaparte, the French military leader and emperor, was born in this house on August 15, 1769. The museum retraces the history of the Bonaparte family in Corsica as well as the series of exiles they experienced. This is a great opportunity to learn about the former emperor's life. The visit will begin on the third floor, where you’ll learn about Corsican life at the end of the 18th century, Bonaparte’s parents, his childhood, and his last visit to Corsica on his return from Egypt in 1799. The rooms on the second floor exhibit the decor under Napoleon III. Other exhibits address Bonaparte’s death, the legends built around him to glorify his actions, and Napoleon III’s visits to Ajaccio during the Second French Empire.
CLASSIC package:The sights and scents of Corsica We’ll cross the maquis—the Corsican underbrush exploding with a potpourri of flowers and plants—for a visit to Corsica PAM in Ocana. Paul and Jean-Pierre Caux built their essential oil business from scratch in the village they grew up in. The lovely surroundings and the panoramic view from the terrace are a great place to discover the secrets of their famous oils. We’ll then visit the honey farm Jardin des Abeilles to learn more about beekeeping. An informative walk in the forest and along the Prunelli River brings you to the center of the maquis, where you’ll be able to breathe in the earthy scents emanating from the heather, arbutus, fig, box, holly, and alder trees. At the end of our tour, you’ll enjoy tasting a selection of honey from the farm.
DISCOVERY package: An afternoon at Mare E Sol or Argent Beach. Chill at one of the white beaches
close to Ajaccio and take a dip in the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea! Small huts offer a variety
of food and snacks during your pause.
JOIN US FOR AN OPTIONAL full-day excursion to the Calanques de Piana and the village of Porto (pre-booking only). Our coach will travel along the picturesque coastline dotted with rocky inlets until we reach Porto. Enjoy some time exploring the village before we jump on a local boat that will take us to Cap Rosso, where the sheer cliffs and rock sculptures of the Calanques de Piana seem to jet up from the water and radiate a red hue along the coastline. We’ll return to Ajaccio by coach.
At the end of the day, we'll begin to cruise to Bonifacio. We'll enjoy dinner and an evening of entertainment.
Day 4: BONIFACIOOptional excursion for both packages:
This morning, we’ll set out on a guided tour of Bonifacio. Bonifacio is rich with a history told along its small streets and paths, the thousand-year-old fortress, and the sturdy stone homes perched high above the sea waves. The descent (and subsequent ascent) of the King of Aragon’s Stairway will provide some of the best views on the trip (187 steps).
In the afternoon, join us for an optional excursion to the nature reserve on the Archipelago of Lavezzi.
The islands are scattered with sculpted granite boulders and impressive cliffs.
In the evening, we’ll have dinner at a traditional inn in the heart of the Corsican inland. Whether we sit by the fireplace or under the immense cork oak trees, we’ll be welcomed by the owners who will explain their history and their love for this island. Corsican music and songs will accompany dinner—a delicious, inseason composition made of local products.
Day 5: PORTO VECCHIOThis morning, we offer two optional excursions:
CLASSIC package: Set out on an optional guided tour of Porto-Vecchio. The old town includes the ruins of a 16th-century citadel and gorgeous views of the marina.
DISCOVERY package: A trip to Palombaggia Beach (with the possibility of a picnic lunch from the ship). Palombaggia Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Crystal-clear waters, islands dotting the horizon, white sand, and umbrella pines are waiting just for you. Water sports enthusiasts can rent jet skis or pedal boats. Restaurants and snack bars provide a good assortment of food and beverages.
In the late afternoon, we'll begin to cruise towards Bastia. Take advantage of a quiet moment to catch some rays poolside or to enjoy a treatment in our wellness salon. More active passengers can keep in shape in the fitness center, and History buffs can attend the lecture in the lounge: Pascal Paoli - Island Patriot.
Day 6: BASITAToday, we offer two optional excursions:
CLASSIC package: Cap Corse Located to the north of Bastia and Saint-Florent, Cap Corse is a 25-milelong promontory with several attractive fishing villages, gorgeous coastline, and a couple of good beaches. We’ll cross through some of the most charming villages on the island, including the adorable fishing village of Erbalunga, lovely Santa Severa, the typical village of Luri, and beautiful grove-lined Pino. We’ll stop off in Patrimonio for a tasting of wine, cold cuts, and cheese at the Montemagni estate. Although Corsica has a mostly Mediterranean climate, it experiences great contrasts in weather because of its location and mountains. Its wine, though, truly benefits from the warm summers and exceptional sunshine.
DISCOVERY package: Enjoy a full day of free time in Saint-Florent (lunch not included). Saint-Florent is a seaside city built on the cliffs overlooking the mouth of the Aliso River and the gulf that bears its name. This former Roman city has become “the place to be” on the island, earning its nickname as the “Corsican Saint-Tropez.” Take advantage of a full day in Saint-Florent to stroll through the labyrinth of streets and small squares lined with stone homes and oleander bushes. The cathedral and the citadel are definitely worth the detour, as is the lively harbor front.
At the end of the day, we’ll continue to cruise towards l’Ile-Rousse. Join us for a lecture in the lounge: The Bonapartes: A Corsican Family.
Day 7: L'ILE ROUSSEThis morning, we offer two optional excursions:
CLASSIC package: An optional tour of Calvi and its citadel. You’ll discover its large marina and immense bay surrounded by unique landscapes and often snow-capped mountains. We’ll then head towards Notre Dame de la Serra to get a magnificent view of the gulf. Our tour will continue at the citadel. The symbol of the town of Calvi, it was built during the Genoese occupation.
Discover the old villages in the Balagne Region. These are the fertile hills of the island—commonly referred to as the Corsican gardens—where more than thirty villages are perched on cliffs or hidden in narrow valleys.
DISCOVERY package: Kick back at Bodri or Ghjunchitu beach. These sublime beaches are both heaven on earth nestled between the azure sea and the wild maquis. Enjoy a moment of real fun and relaxation, either by catching some rays or exploring the tide pools in the coves.
We’ll then spend the afternoon crossing the Mediterranean to Nice. Join us for a lecture in the lounge: How Corsica Became Part of France. As we bid goodbye to Corsica, join us on the Sun Deck for a cocktail and take in one last glimpse of the beauty of the island. Don’t think of it as a goodbye, but as a reason to go back. Tonight is our festive gala evening.
Day 8: NICEEnjoy breakfast on board this morning before disembarking at 9:00 a.m. End of our services.