Brought to you by: Craig Farrell, National Business Development Manager

Ship: PONANT, Le Jacques Cartier
Sailing Dates: 16 October 2021 – 7 x nights
Destination: Sicily and Southern Italy
Itinerary: Epicurean Delights of Sicily and Southern Italy – Malta to Rome


  • Tasting our way through Italy. Being a food and wine based cruise we had an Italian guest chef onboard – Denny Imbroisi – who delivered 2 incredible gala dinners. We also had tastings with our two Italian Wine experts onboard the ship. Everyday at least one of the shore excursion options had a wine and food element. We had the very best of Italian AND French food and wine on this cruise – what a dream!
  • Visiting Mount Etna.  Standing atop an active Volcano was quite a thrill. The landscape is like another planet. It wasn’t erupting when we were there, but we were lucky enough to sail past Stromboli Volcano while it was erupting at night – Mother natures fireworks show!
  • Visit to Pompeii. It was tough to choose only one tour while we were in Naples. I visited Pompeii which was incredible. Really amazing to see a snapshot in time from so long ago. Walking the streets and visiting some of the homes and other buildings, you can really imagine what life was like 2 thousand years ago.
  • Pizza making in Sorrento. We visited a working farm where they produce their own olive oil, cheese, wine, etc. After a look around we had a lesson on Margherita pizza making and made our own lunch!
  • Overnight in Valetta. The voyage departed from Valetta so I flew in a day before, which I highly recommend to do for those who have always wanted to visit Malta – and take it from me, it does live up to the hype! I can’t wait to go back and explore further on my next adventure.

Top Tips

1. Arrive in Europe at least 2-3 days prior to your cruise departure date. Allow time for PCR testing, and you’ll also be completely over the jetlag before you board.

2. Print out your vaccination certificate. You never know when you phone battery might die so it’s great to carry this in your back pocket.

3. Be flexible. Situations are changing all the time in terms of Covid-safe requirements around Europe. What might be necessary in one port of call may not be in the next.

4. Small has never looked so good. Le Jacques Cartier carries only 160 guests as a maximum, so even though every guest on board had to be tested for Covid-19 after boarding, we had all the results back and departed on time. This was a requirement because we were cruising to Italy, and may not be the case next year.

5. I’d never sailed in Europe in October before. There is never a bad time to cruise in the Mediterranean – but I must admit it was a beautiful time of year in terms of cooler temperature and less crowds.

6. Book early. The further out you book with PONANT the less you pay, without exception. Don’t miss out as Europe 2022 is filling up fast!

7. I wasn’t ready to leave after seven nights! Consider booking back to back Mediterranean voyages to maximise your time, especially after not being able to visit Europe for a couple of years.