All days not listed are spent at sea enjoying the excellent facilities on board Marco Polo. Ports of call may be subject to change.
Board Marco Polo in Bristol Avonmouth, today, before she sets sail at the start of a great maritime adventure. Settle into your cabin, and perhaps join some of your fellow passengers for drinks before your first dinner aboard.
The Portuguese capital, Lisbon, is Marco Polo's first port. Stroll the narrow streets of the Alfama district with its steep stairways leading up to St George’s Castle, and climb aboard one of the city’s famous trams. See the extraordinary Manueline architecture of the Belem quarter, and the striking modern buildings of the Baixa.
This morning Marco Polo docks in Casablanca, renowned for its connections with the celebrated movie, but today a world away from Humphrey Bogart’s sleepy town. Startlingly modern, but retaining a sense of the past in its ancient medina, the city offers wonderful beaches, some designer shopping and the fascination of the gigantic Hassan II Mosque. Today also offers up the chance to join an unforgettable shore excursion to Marrakech to explore the tiny stores, alleys and hidden courtyards of the souks, and its vast, bustling square, the Djemaa El Fna.
The volcanic isles of the Cape Verde archipelago are fast becoming a popular holiday haven, despite (or perhaps because of) their remote position. Today Marco Polo calls at Sao Vicente's pretty capital, Mindelo, and there’ll be the chance to spend the day exploring this colonial outpost filled with pretty, colourful houses, or perhaps take a trip inland.
Explore one of the world’s remotest settlements, the tiny British Overseas Island Territory of St Helena, famously the home-in-exile of Napoleon Bonaparte and accessible only by sea until the recent opening of its notoriously windswept airport. Marco Polo drops anchor off the capital, Jamestown, and you'll have an opportunity to head ashore and discover this fascinating island.
Marco Polo's first African call is the Namibian port of Walvis Bay, nestled amongst vast sand dunes on a beautiful coastal lagoon. One of the world’s most important wetland areas, the area is a hibernation ground for migratory species and home to countless birds including pelicans and flamingos. Enjoy a fascinating day, perhaps taking a four-wheel drive excursion to explore.
Your second Namibian call is the remarkable colonial outpost of Luderitz. Despite being on the edge of the great Namib Desert, the buildings here bear a striking resemblance to those you'd find in a traditional Bavarian town. There's even a typical Lutheran church. Step ashore, and perhaps join an optional excursion to deserted diamond town Kolmasdorp, at the edge of Sperrgebiet National Park.
It's worth rising early today so you can head out on deck to watch as Marco Polo arrives in Cape Town - one of the world’s most beautiful port-cities. While here, why not take in the view (weather permitting) from the summit plateau of Table Mountain, visit poignant Robben Island. or browse the shops and stores along the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront? There will also be the chance to follow the Garden Route east across the Western Cape on an overnight optional excursion.
Cruising around the Cape of Good Hope and on past Cape Agulhas, Africa’s southernmost point, Marco Polo heads to Mossel Bay. Enjoy the afternoon in this pleasant harbour town, or join an excursion, perhaps to Knysna beside its huge warm-water lagoon.
Marco Polo arrives in the bustling, friendly city of Port Elizabeth, a hugely popular beach-resort, today. Modern "PE" still offers glimpses of Victorian grandeur amid its colourful attractions, and you will also be able to choose from some fascinating shore excursions - perhaps to lush Tsitsikamma National Park or the famed Addo Elephant National Park - on your day here.
Cosmopolitan Durban, with its surfers’ beaches and its seafront boulevard, welcomes Marco Polo today. The optional shore excursions available will include the chance to visit the Shakaland Cultural Village, where the traditions of the Zulu nation are celebrated and explained, and the chance to join an overnight safari-stay in world-famous Kruger National Park (re-joining the ship in Richards Bay tomorrow).
Today’s final South African call before Marco Polo cruises north into the Indian Ocean, in KwaZulu-Natal’s Richards Bay, brings an unmissable optional opportunity to head into the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve, world famous as the refuge that saved the white rhino from extinction, for a Big Five safari game drive. You'll also have the chance to cruise the waters of the St Lucia Estuary, home to hippos and crocodiles.
The first of Marco Polo’s Indian Ocean island calls is the volcanic French outpost of Reunion. Here ‘Le Port’, as Pointe des Galets is more commonly known, is gateway to a lush, rugged interior and to the determinedly Gallic capital, St Denis. Enjoy an afternoon of rest and relaxation in this wonderful place.
Marco Polo arrives in Port Louis, Mauritius, the capital of the stunning island that was the home for millions of years to the now-extinct dodo. Today the island is renowned as one of the world’s most exquisite holiday destinations and as a haven for protected species. Spend the day in the bustling city exploring this colonial gem, or take an excursion into the beautiful countryside beyond.
Spend a lazy day enjoying the laid-back atmosphere of the French island outpost of Mayotte, set in azure waters between Madagascar and the Comoros Isles. The delightful capital Mamoudzou, with its harbour and covered market, is gateway to some stunning beaches.
The exotic wonders and pure-white sands of Zanzibar await your arrival, today. Head ashore on the main island, Unguja, to explore endlessly enthralling Stone Town's grand waterfront and labyrinthine maze of narrow streets. Poignant reminders of the East African slave trade, the scents of spices and the all-pervading mix of Africa and the East give Zanzibar a unique and charming atmosphere.
Days 39 and 40
Marco Polo arrives on the East African mainland, to spend two days in Mombasa, Kenya’s second-largest city. From here you'll be able to join one of your cruise’s most memorable optional shore excursions, and spend a night in the Tsavo East Park, enjoying close-up encounters with some of the world’s most endangered and revered species on guided game drives. Alternatively, enjoy guided tours of Mombasa’s fascinating Old Town and historic Fort Jesus, or head to the spectacular beaches.
The tiny capital of the Seychelles, Victoria, is beautifully set against a backdrop of forested hills. Step ashore to explore the streets of the town, visit the verdant Morne Seychellois National Park nestled in the rugged interior or head to one of the stunning beaches to relax on the white sands and in the crystal-clear, azure waters. Later, enjoy a balmy evening ashore as Marco Polo spends the night here.
Another sun-kissed day brings another idyllic island, as Marco Polo anchors off Praslin, home to Anse Lazio’s picture-postcard-perfect crescent of a beach and the UNESCO-listed Vallee de Mai nature reserve, which some consider the original Garden of Eden, and which is undoubtedly a paradise for bird lovers.
Today Marco Polo calls in bustling Male, the island capital of the idyllic Maldives archipelago. Dominated by the dome of the Friday Mosque, Male is a wonderfully colourful place to explore and an easy base from which to visit one of the outlying islands.
Spend a full day Colombo, the colourful Sri Lankan capital and ancient trading port. Take the opportunity to explore the bustling city's restored Fort area and the ancient street markets of Pettah, or perhaps take an optional shore excursion into the lush, temple-dotted countryside.
Kochi (also known as Cochin) on India’s southwestern coast is built across a series of islands. A trading port for centuries, the city has a distinctly European feel, especially in Fort Cochin. It is also the port from which you can depart on a three-day excursion overland to discover Delhi and Agra, home to the Taj Mahal, before re-joining Marco Polo in Mumbai.
This morning Marco Polo calls at Mormugao, principal port of the state of Goa, which nestles on a peninsula that juts out into the Arabian Sea. Step ashore for a taste of Goan life before re-boarding Marco Polo as she continues north.
There's another chance to see an astonishing city spead out before you early this morning, as Marco Polo arrives in teeming, cacophonous Mumbai. In the city formerly known as Bombay you’ll discover sweeping Marine Drive, the monumental arch of the Gateway of India and the colonial splendour of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Explore the grand former Prince of Wales Museum and the vast, Gothic fantasy of the Victoria Terminus railway station - all highlights on today’s optional shore excursion. Passengers who have visited Delhi and Agra will re-board the ship here.
After a few days relaxing aboard your floating home, you’ll arrive in Salalah, the perfume capital of Arabia. The Sultanate of Oman’s second city, this ancient settlement nestles amid a landscape of frankincense trees and coconut palms. Step ashore to explore, or perhaps to visit the ruins of the ancient fortified town of Sumhuram at Khor Rori.
From the Red Sea port of Safaga, an optional full-day excursion will take you to Luxor, once the ancient Egyptian capital Thebes. Discover temples at Luxor and Karnak, the vast columns of the Hypostyle Hall, and the awe-inspiring Valley of the Kings - where Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb. You’ll also visit the Temple of the female pharaoh, Hatshepsut, and gaze in awe at the twin Colossi of Memnon, which once stood guard at the entrance to a vast temple.
Today brings another unforgettable optional excursion - from the luxurious Jordanian port of Aqaba into Wadi Rum’s mesmerising desert landscape and to the extraordinary Rose-Red City of Petra. Etched into the sandstone cliffs and hillsides, the lost city’s extraordinary buildings are among the most unforgettable sights on Earth.
Passage through the world’s most famous - and busiest - waterway, the Suez Canal, brings Marco Polo into the Mediterranean, where a final quintet of calls brings the opportunity to discover yet more wonders a little closer to home.
Another extraordinary, exciting day awaits at Ashdod, gateway to Israel and the Holy Land. Optional shore excursions include coastal resort city Tel Aviv, with its ancient neighbour Jaffa. Alternatively, travel into the Judean Hills to Jerusalem itself to discover the Wailing Wall, the labyrinthine souks of the Old City and Christianity’s holiest shrine, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Marco Polo’s final Mediterranean island call is Malta, with its stunning natural Grand Harbour at Valletta. Explore the surrounding streets, or head into the rugged interior - perhaps to the haunting ’silent city’ of Mdina.
A morning call in Gibraltar brings a first real taste of home. Wander past familiar British shops on Main Street, or perhaps to take the cable-car to the top of the Rock for views across the Straits to Africa.
Marco Polo makes her final European call at historic A (or La) Coruna. The ill-fated Spanish Armada sailed from here, but today it is a lively port with a thriving fishing industry. Explore the atmospheric medieval quarter and stroll the seafront, or join an optional excursion to Santiago de Compostela, destination of pilgrims and arguably the world’s first tourist destination.
Marco Polo arrives in Cobh this morning for a wonderful final day in Cork. Join our optional shore excursion to discover this historic capital of southwest Ireland, or head into the beautiful rolling countryside to the fashionable resort of Kinsale, famed for its fine food and sea fishing, or to famous Blarney Castle, just north of the city.
Early this morning, Marco Polo sails into the Bristol Channel and ties up in Avonmouth, at the end of a wonderful adventure and the start of a delightful British spring.