Friday 28 October 2022

Marella Idyllic Italia itinerary review (2022)

You might know I recently got back from the Idyllic Italia cruise on the Marella Explorer - I had the best time, and I have a lot of content to create. I recently shared an overview of the ship herself, which has been a really popular post. Thank you if you've read that one! Today I want to talk about the specific itinerary, which doesn't come around very often but is an absolutely lovely trip...

Corfu Town

We sailed from, and returned to, Corfu. As we only had a week on the ship, and with our flight times being what they were, we didn't actually get the chance to explore Corfu Town on this cruise. However, I know a few people did and really enjoyed it. Corfu airport is an absolute nightmare at the moment, with huge queues and plenty of delays, so bear that in mind! There's not much else to say about Corfu Town on this cruise, but there you go.

Valletta, Malta

I've been to Malta a couple of times when I was younger, but never really explored Valletta - our first stop on the Idyllic Italia itinerary - all that much. It's a fascinating place to visit and a brilliant port; you can walk right into the town from the ship, which is what we did. Around a 10 minute walk from the port you'll find the Barrakka Lift, which opened in 2012 and costs 2 euros. This gets you from street level up into the Upper Barrakka Gardens with its beautiful harbour views; from here, you simply walk round to the city centre! We had booked an Underground Valletta tour, so we wandered around and enjoyed the architecture for a bit before heading to our meeting point.

Here we donned caps with head torches attached, and descended beneath the city where we learned about the tunnels below Valletta and their creation, by knights, and use in the second world war. Valletta was the location of the heaviest sustained bombing attack, and these tunnels with their little carved out shelters were used for protection. It was a fascinating tour and we really enjoyed it, even if I did slip and fall down some steps down there. Oops!

Excursions from Valletta

There are three TUI excursions available from Valletta. These are:

Malta Panoramic
Highlights of Malta
Harbour Cruise

Messina, Italy

I visited Messina on my very first cruise, back when Marella was called Thomson, and I fell in love with its stunning astronomical clock. We didn't book a tour or anything here, and again you can literally cross the road from the port and find yourself in the main square. The clock goes off at midday, a whole song and dance with these moving gold figurines, and it's absolutely beautiful. We then decided to pay the 8 euros to climb a few flights of stairs inside the clock; this gives you an insight into how the mechanisms work, and when you reach the roof you're treated to the most stunning views of Messina and the harbour.

In the afternoon I decided to jump on a tram and go to the Regional Museum of Messina; I paid 8 euros to get in, and it's a big art gallery with loads to see including some ancient ruins beneath the building which have been opened up. The main reason I wanted to go was to see the Caravaggio paintings they've got there, which was well worth it!

Excursions from Messina

There are also three TUI excursions available from Messina. These are:

Mount Etna
Godfather Villages (Savoca and Forza D'Agro)


Naples, Italy

Our third port of call on the Idyllic Italia was Naples; we had originally booked a half day tour to Sorrento (dreamy) but when the tickets came through it had changed to a full day tour. We had other plans and also knew we'd have a busy day the following day so we decided to cancel our tour. Instead, we ventured out into Naples for the day - it's another port where the city is more than reachable from the port itself, so we just walked off. Firstly we went to see Castel Nuovo, which is pretty striking, and then we made our way to the bus stop because we had a tour booked of the St Gennaro catacombs.

The bus was fairly easy to navigate (I used an app to get our tickets) and we got off at Basilica del Buon Consiglio; this is really beautiful, so we snapped some pictures and then headed to the tour office which has a cafe, toilets, gift shop etc. The tour itself was fantastic; it's run by a non-profit organisation who massively give back to local community projects, and they also have a completely accessible tour which you can book. Highly recommend!

This was our Naples highlight; the rest of the city is far too busy for me personally, and I found it all really stressful. We made our way back to the city centre and went on a funicular, which was exciting, to see some panoramic views, which were lovely, but all in all I'd recommend booking an excursion if Naples is on your Marella itinerary...

Excursions from Naples

You can do a few different excursions from Naples on the Idyllic Italia cruise:

Sorrento & Pompeii
Vesuvius & Pompeii


Rome, Italy

Of course, no Idyllic Italia itinerary is complete without the country's capital, Roma. The 'eternal city' is so beautiful, and we'd booked the Rome On Your Own tour for our day here. It took us around 2 hours from Civitavecchia on the coach, then we had the day to ourselves to explore. Having visited Rome twice before we decided to skip both the Colosseum and the Vatican Museums; instead we opted to try and visit as many Angels and Demons locations as we could. I think we did a great job...
✅ Vatican City
✅ Fountain of the Four Rivers
✅ Castel St Angelo
✅ Pantheon
✅ Santa Maria del Popolo

You can do an organised Angels and Demons tour, but we managed it pretty well on our own. We went to Castel St Angelo first thing when we arrived, and we were glad we did; it's around 12 euro entry, and there's plenty to see within the castle walls, but the real highlight is the cafe and rooftop with their incredible views out over the Vatican. It got sooooo busy, we definitely timed it right - so if you want Vatican views, definitely go here but get there early!

Excursions from Rome

The three TUI excursions offered from Civitavecchia on the Idyllic Italia itinerary are:

Rome on your Own
Express to Rome
Rome - All in One Day


My overall thoughts

I think this is a balanced and varied itinerary, especially if you want to see a lot of Italy. You'll likely get to sail past Stromboli, as we did, which was an amazing experience for sure. Sail-in and sail-out at Valletta is one of the most beautiful I've ever experienced, which is what adds to it being such a good port to visit. There are 2 days at sea on this cruise, which I personally *love* and overall I just think Idyllic Italia is a brilliant itinerary!

I absolutely loved this itinerary, being a sucker for Italy/art/history. The Marella Idyllic Italia itinerary is definitely one I'd recommend if you can get a spot - the captain said it's not one they do very often, so I feel very lucky to have cruised it. Have you been to any of these ports on a cruise?

No comments:

Post a Comment