Remarkable experiences. extraordinary value.

Journey to the Tuscan Countryside

19 Nights featuring Valencia, Tuscany, Chianti Valley, and Siena Tuscany Siena

Includes: International Airfare, Hotel, Tours, Transfers and More!

Start Date: April 16, 2021
(Sailing April 17, 2021)

About This Journey

Set sail aboard Royal Caribbean’s newest ship the Odyssey of the Seas for a relaxing 13-night Transatlantic crossing from Ft. Lauderdale, with stops in Malaga and Valenica, Spain before arriving in Italy. From here begins your in-depth tour of Tuscany. There are no lines, no crowds and no tourist traps. This is the real Italy; the Italy you’ve always wanted to go back to. You’ll take a stroll through a medieval town and chat with the local butcher, learn how to make homemade pasta, and spend an afternoon meandering through a family-run vineyard (as you sip their prized wine, of course). You’ll walk in the footsteps of “Under the Tuscan Sun” writer Frances Mayes, as well as countless Italian artists who have visited these historic towns and picturesque landscapes for inspiration over the centuries. You will not be rushed nor bored; you will simply be delighted as our hosts explain their local customs and welcome you to join their table. After five nights of ‘wining and dining’ in the Tuscan countryside, you’ll sit down with your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner to reflect on la dolce vita.

Visits: Florence, Rome, Greve, Chianti Valley, Italy; Malaga, Valencia, Spain; Royal Caribbean, Odyssey of the Seas

Journey to the Tuscan Countryside

Itinerary

Start Date: April 16, 2021
(Sailing April 17, 2021)

Day Port Arrival Departure
1 Arrive Fort Lauderdale – Transfer to Hotel, Welcome Dinner
2 Transfer to Cruise Port for Embarkation 5:00 PM
3 At Sea
4 At Sea
5 At Sea
6 At Sea
7 At Sea
8 At Sea
9 At Sea
10 At Sea
11 At Sea
12 Malaga, Spain 7:00 AM 4:00 PM
13 Valencia, Spain 11:00 AM 8:00 PM
14 At Sea
15 Civitavecchia to Tuscany – Debarkation and transfer to Tuscany with en-route stop for an olive oil demonstration, tasting and welcome lunch before Hotel check-in 5:00 AM
16 Tuscany – Full day tour to Siena with lunch in the garden and traditional gelateria
17 Tuscany – Cooking class with wine pairing in Chianti Valley, visit a traditional butcher’s shop in Greve
18 Tuscany – “Under the Tuscan Sun” tour to Cortona and Montepulciano, including winery visit and tasting
19 Tuscany – Tour to the medieval towns of Volterra and Certaldo, including artist demonstration and farmhouse lunch; farewell dinner
20 Tuscany – Hotel Check-out and transfer to airport for return flight

**Please note that this itinerary is subject to change at anytime, including port of call changes. Please call a Personal Vacation Manager with any questions.

Land Program

Day 1 – Arrive Fort Lauderdale

Arrive in Fort Lauderdale and transfer to hotel. This evening, meet your fellow travelers for a Welcome Dinner. (D)

Day 2 – Fort Lauderdale Embarkation

After breakfast, check out of the hotel and transfer to the port, where you will board the Odyssey of the Seas for a relaxing 13-night cruise to Rome. (B)

Day 2–14 – Cruising onboard the Odyssey of the Seas(see below for cruise highlights)

Day 15 – Rome to Tuscany

Enjoy breakfast onboard, then disembark the ship and transfer to your hotel in the gorgeous Tuscan countryside. Along the way we will stop for a special lunch to welcome you to Italy. After check-in, you’ll have time to get settled in and enjoy the evening at your leisure. (L)

Day 16 – Tuscany – Siena

Piazza Del Campo, Siena

Piazza Del Campo, Siena

A short transfer after breakfast will bring you to the heart of the city of Siena. Enjoy a guided tour of the medieval city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For lunch, you will head to a unique garden where you may find middle-aged herbs, grown over the years based on a careful analysis of the history of the ground. Here you will dine while enjoying the peace of this green earth in the middle of the town. The garden is not a formal restaurant, but the atmosphere and care are both unique and incomparable. After lunch, you will take a walk to Piazza del Campo and tour a traditional gelateria, owned by a family that started the business in Follonica in 1982. The expert ‘Gelataio’ will explain the tricks to creating the best gelato, but will not reveal all his secrets! Head back to the hotel for a relaxing evening and dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 17 – Tuscany – Chianti Valley & Greve

Italian Cooking Class

Cooking Class, Chianti Valley

Your cooking lesson takes place at a charming location in the middle of the Tuscan vineyards. You will be greeted with a welcome drink in the garden before entering the facility and exploring. For the first cooking activity, you will concentrate on the main specialty of Italian and Tuscan cuisine—homemade pasta. The chef and his staff will provide the directions and ingredients needed to create tagliatelle and tortelli, and then give you the opportunity to try your hand at it. They will then teach you how to prepare Tuscany’s delicious rural soups—like the tasty ribollita, panzanella or pappa al pomodoro, using the precious Tuscan extra virgin olive oil and other local ingredients. Finally, we will have fun creating traditional cakes of the Chianti region, like cantucci (a kind of biscuit) served with vin santo (holy wine).

Chianti Vineyards, Tuscany

The course will conclude with a tasting of Tuscan wines to pair with the dishes, which the group will all enjoy, served along with some additional appetizers like bruschetta, fried zucchini flowers, fried polenta and toasted bread with lardo and black cabbage. With a full belly and a tipsy smile, you will board the bus and drive to the beautiful hills of the Chianti Valley. This valley is considered by many to be the heart of the Tuscan countryside, and is renowned for its famous wines. In the charming village of Greve, you will take a stroll and then visit a historical and traditional butcher’s shop to taste their homemade products. Return to the hotel for a group dinner. (B, L, D).

 

Montepulciano, Tuscany

Day 18 – Tuscany – Cortona & Montepulciano

Today you will visit lively Cortona, which is characterized by its well-preserved medieval character. Steep, cobblestone paths lead through the narrow alleyways in the historic center, then open up onto the large squares of ‘Piazza della Repubblica’ and ‘Piazza Signorelli’, where the town comes to life. Shops offer gastronomic delicacies and handicrafts, while street cafés invite one to linger. Many scenes of the famous movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” were shot here, as well as the villa of the book’s writer, Frances Mayes. You will then visit Montepulciano, another town where some scenes of the movie were shot. The city of Montepulciano is situated on a stone mountain, in whose cool stone the vintners carved out their wine cellars. Their ‘noble’ wine was already known in the 8th century as the ‘Vino dei Signori’ – wine of the nobility. You will end the day’s excursion at a local winery to enjoy a tasting of their house wines. You will end the day’s excursion at a local winery to enjoy a tasting of their house wines before returning to the hotel to refresh before dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 19 – Tuscany – Volterra & Certaldo

Volterra, Tuscany

Volterra, Tuscany

After breakfast, you will head to the hilltop city of Volterra, a former Etruscan settlement with a splendid view of the surrounding landscape. Besides the views, the city is also renowned for its alabaster, a beautiful pale stone that is soft enough to carve. Your guide will provide a tour of the most important sights of the city, then take everyone to visit an artist at his alabaster workshop. Leaving the city, you will stop at a family-run farmhouse which specializes in saffron production. After visiting the property, you will enjoy a home cooked lunch complete with saffron dishes. In the afternoon, you will visit one of Tuscany’s secret gems: the town of Certaldo, which was the hometown of Giovanni Boccaccio, author of the “Decameron” and one of first Renaissance humanists. To reach the walled historical center, you will take a short ride on a funicular railway. Then, enjoy a walk through the narrow Middle Age alleys which open onto beautiful views of the surrounding hills. The tour ends with a visit to a ceramic painting shop, where you will see an artisan at work. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 20 – Depart Tuscany

Check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport for your flight home. (B)

Note: if you wish to spend time in Florence, ask your Personal Vacation Manager about the optional hotel extension – which will add two nights hotel stay in Florence.

For meals not included in your land programs, all hotels chosen include a restaurant on property where you may relax and enjoy a meal. In addition, your guide is available to make suggestions on nearby dining, shopping or sightseeing.

Port Highlights

 

Valencia, Spain

Valencia, Spain: Start your day in Valencia by roaming the cobblestone streets of Barrio del Carmen—walk along the 11th-century city walls built by the Moors before popping to one of the neighborhood’s many restaurants for seafood-packed paella. Head to El Cabanyal, the old fishermen’s quarter near the beach, to enjoy the sunshine and fresh seafood. Then, soak in the Mediterranean sun and bright-blue waters at Malvarrosa Beach.

 
 
 

Alcazaba, Malaga

Malaga, Spain: Malaga is the gateway to the Andalusian countryside and the Costa del Sol, some of the region’s most impressive beaches. It also is home to a number of magnificent palaces, including the Moorish Alcazaba and Gibralfaro.

Journey to the Tuscan Countryside

Included Features

  • International airfare, transfers and baggage handling
  • One-night pre-cruise overnight with Welcome Dinner in Fort Lauderdale
  • Five-night post-cruise land program in Italy
    • Tuscany, Italy – five-night hotel stay
      • Welcome Lunch with olive oil demonstration and tasting
      • Full-day city tour of Siena with visit to a gelateria
      • Full-day tour of Chianti Valley and Greve with cooking class and wine pairing
      • Full-day “Under the Tuscan Sun” tour to Cortona and Montepulciano, including winery visit and tasting
      • Full-day tour to Volterra and Certaldo, including artist demonstration and farmhouse lunch
      • Farewell Dinner
  • Tour Leader throughout post-cruise land program and Local Tour Hosts during included tours
  • Most meals while on tour (see itinerary highlights) and all meals while onboard
  • 13-night sailing aboard the brand new Odyssey of the Seas
    • 10% Off Shore Excursions (see “Special Offers”)

Journey to the Tuscan Countryside

What to Expect on Your Trip

Pacing

During the cruise, you will have a total of 10 relaxing days at sea and 2 exciting days on land to explore the port cities of Spain. Pamper yourself on this stress-free transatlantic crossing, and while in port you may choose from optional shore excursions, which will allow for cultural immersion, exotic meals, and numerous activities.

Your five-night land program in Tuscany will include tours daily. The overall pace is less strenuous than most Enrichment Journeys, as the focus is not on rushing to see sights but rather simply enjoying the culture and scenery. Most days include 2 meals, allowing the third meal to be at your leisure. The hotel has a restaurant on property, where you may grab a quick bite and have the rest of the evening to relax. If you wish to go out, your guide is available to make suggestions on nearby dining.

Physical Activity

The land portion of the trip should be considered moderate to active and includes a considerable amount of walking. Enrichment Journeys will do everything in our power to ensure comfort through our third-party providers, including air-conditioned buses and comfortable accommodations where applicable. However, some areas cannot be accessed by coach, so our drivers will get you as close to sites as is legally allowed. Sensible, rubber-soled walking shoes are strongly recommended. Historical sites often do not have elevators, escalators, or ramps due to the age of the building/structure. Steps can be steep and uneven. Wheelchair access at many sites is limited to extremely limited. Based on crowds and traffic, the order of visits may be changed.

A fold-up wheelchair may be able to be stored on the bus but requires prior arrangements. Motorized wheelchairs and scooters cannot be accommodated on this group program. Guests must be able to transfer from their chair to the transportation.  Guides/drivers are not allowed to lift or push wheelchairs, so guests requiring physical assistance must travel with a companion who can assist.

For the cruise portion of the trip, passengers will board and leave the ship up stairways and gangways, and you may have to walk a moderate distance to transfer to train, bus and car stations. Time spent on the road and traveling can be long, so you will need to be prepared for stretches of downtime in between destinations.

Cultural Focus

The focus of this Enrichment Journey is local culture and gastronomic traditions of Tuscany. You will encounter dishes and ingredients typical to the region that you may not have encountered before, and you will be introduced to local artistry of the region. You will visit local family run establishments where traditional methods are kept and passed down from generation to generation on how to butcher, preserve and prepare certain dishes. Enrichment Journeys encourages an open mind when in unique situations and meeting people abroad. Sometimes the attractions, beaches and cities themselves can be crowded, especially while on the cruise.

Unique Factors

If you have special needs or physical limitations, you will need to check in with your personal vacation manager before booking the trip. The temperature can vary between day and night, so pack accordingly with items that can be layered. Some guests may wish to have a light sweater or windbreaker with them as temperatures can vary between the hills and valleys during your travel.

Transportation

Enrichment Journeys is committed to providing remarkable experiences at extraordinary value. As a result, airlines and routes are selected to maximize that value and may involve multiple stops and extended layovers versus non-stop or direct flights. Passengers wishing to utilize specific carriers, or direct, or non-stop, or Business Class flights, or to extend their time in any of our beginning or ending destination cities may do so by contacting their Travel Agent or Enrichment Journeys directly. We are pleased to provide Custom Airfare arrangements for an additional $50 per person. This charge allows you to add and/or customize your flights and can be applied toward any flights or upgrades you choose to purchase. The $50 charge must be paid prior to receiving an air quote.

Civitavecchia to Tuscany: 3-hour coach transfer

Journey to the Tuscan Countryside

Receive 10% off all shore excursions from Shore Excursions Group!

Journey to the Tuscan Countryside

2-night Florence Extension (post-cruise)

Although only a short distance away, this itinerary does not include any time in Florence. With this optional extension, you will stay for 2 nights in Florence after your Enrichment Journey program, giving you time to explore the city on your own before flying home. Note: tours are not included. Price of $345 per person includes:

  • 2-night hotel accommodations in Florence with daily breakfast
  • Private transfer from Tuscany to Florence hotel and hotel to airport

Journey to the Tuscan Countryside

Dates & Prices
04/16/2021 Retail Value EJ Price Savings Per Person Single Rates
Balcony (2E) $5,465 $4,099 $1,366 CALL FOR DETAILS
Spa Balcony (S4) $5,865 $4,399 $1,466 CALL FOR DETAILS
Suite CALL FOR DETAILS CALL FOR DETAILS CALL FOR DETAILS CALL FOR DETAILS

Prices are in USD.

Interested in the land program without the cruise? Call us for a quote.

Air Add-Ons
City Add-On City Add-On City Add-On
Atlanta $350 Chicago $300 Dallas $300
Los Angeles $400 John F. Kennedy $150 Miami $0
Newark $300 San Francisco $300 Washington-Dulles $250
Philadelphia $250 Seattle $450 Boston $300
– Business Class Air Available on Request
– Additional Gateways Available on Request
– Air Add-On Rates are subject to change without notice. While we try to include the most common airports by default, we have many clients coming from different parts of the country. If you desire air from an unlisted airport, you must first reserve your Enrichment Journey with one of the listed airports as your default gateway and then ask, or have your Travel Agent ask, Enrichment Journeys to provide a quote for your preferred gateway.

All prices on our website and e-Journey Travel Guide are subject to change without notice. While we make every effort to provide you the most accurate and up-to-date information, occasionally, a trip or pricing category may be misprinted or unavailable at the time of booking. In the event of an incorrect price due to typographical, photographic, or technical error, or error in pricing information received from our suppliers, we retain the right to correct the price and to refuse or cancel any bookings placed at the incorrect price. In addition, all offers, prices, and conditions of sale may be subject to change without notice including tours, included features, highlights, minimum or maximum stays, itinerary, times in port, and/or other conditions/restrictions.

Journey to the Tuscan Countryside

The following hotel list is preliminary and subject to change. Although we contract for hotels a year or more in advance, unforeseen circumstances do occasionally require a change of hotel. Should it be necessary to change a hotel, one of equal quality or value will be substituted and you will receive confirmed hotel information with your final itinerary.

Accommodations
Crowne Plaza Fort Lauderdale Cruiseport

455 State Road 84
Fort Lauderdale , Florida 33316

Phone: 1-954-523-8080

Discover Crowne Plaza Fort Lauderdale Hotel Airport/Cruise Port and experience the modern traveler’s choice for Fort Lauderdale hotels at the airport. Fort Lauderdale cruisers and vacationers have made this property a top choice since 2012 for our exemplary convenience, trusted name and amazingly friendly team. In addition, the Crowne Plaza Fort Lauderdale received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2014. Enjoy excellent service and boutique-style accommodations.

Hotel Certaldo

Via del Molino 74, 50052, Certaldo (FI) – Italy

Telephone: +39 0571 651261

E-Mail: info@hotelcertaldo.it

Hotel Certaldo was established with the renovation of an old watermill of 1500 AD, built upon the Elsa river. It visibly retains many elements of style and architecture of the old flour mill. The mill is today an elegant and comfortable 4-star hotel placed in the heart of Tuscany, in the Chianti region. It is a place where tradition has positively evolved to an ambient with all comforts and offers a happy mix of emotions and situations.

Odyssey of the Seas

There’s never been a cruise ship that maxes out memory making like Odyssey of the Seas℠. Whether you’re taming waves on the FlowRider®, kicking back at the totally reimagined pool deck, savoring bold global flavors onboard, or turning up the party vibes late at night—you’ll never run out of things to do onboard Odyssey of the Seas℠.

Journey to the Tuscan Countryside

Preparing for Your Trip

Money Matters

How you handle your currency and financials while on the trip is up to you. Some people prefer to exchange all their money in advance, while others will rely solely on credit cards. Consider calling your bank ahead of time to make them aware of your international travel, especially when using cards or withdrawing money.

ATM Machines

These are often readily available, especially in major cities. Some will charge fees on top of what your hometown bank may charge for using ATMs abroad. Look for well-marked machines that have the Visa or MasterCard symbols.

Foreign Banks

Currency can be exchanged at most banks, if needed. Ask a local host or tour manager if there is a nearby bank that is open.

Credit Cards

During your trip, you’ll find that most major credit cards are accepted. Call your specific card issuer ahead of time to find out its limitations and benefits overseas.

Incidentals

Do be aware that some additional charges for mini-bars, laundry and room service will not be included in the tour package. Plan accordingly for these extra charges.

Packing Guidelines

Pack as simply as possible for easy transfers and customs screenings. Check with your domestic and international carriers regarding baggage guidelines, allowances, and check for additional fees. All bags will be screened before boarding flights and the cruise ship.

What to pack

Basics and layers are key to a comfortable Journey. Be sure to check the weather in the destinations you will visit, and pack accordingly. There are always unpredictable variables as well, so make sure you have one sturdy jacket and an outfit for a formal occasion too, just in case.

Here are a few key items to take on your trip:

  • Raincoat/poncho
  • Hooded jacket/fleece pullover
  • Pants with pockets
  • Skirt with pockets
  • Hat with visor & sunscreen/bug spray
  • Warm socks
  • Sturdy sandals
  • Practical shoes for walking/easy hiking
  • Extra pair of prescription sunglasses and/or glasses (if needed)
  • Camera(s)

Have back-ups for everything to avoid disappointment. Charge batteries in advance and bring extra film or digital memory cards. If bringing a high-end camera, consider investing in insurance to protect your asset.

Luggage Screening Process

To pass through screening, have liquids either in small containers and bagged, or in checked luggage. All valuables necessary for the trip should be on your person at all times, if possible. This includes medications and documentation. We recommend one main bag and a carry-on, per airline guidelines for weight and size.

Labeling

Have all your bags labeled with your name and address clearly marked. Add something to you luggage that is recognizable in the event your bags are misplaced. You may also consider marking your bags with “Enrichment Journeys” for efficiency.

Carry-on items

In many countries, including the US, large liquid containers are not allowed in carry-ons. On the way back into The States, food or agriculture items are prohibited. If you have questions about a certain item, visit www.tsa.gov for a list of items that cannot be packed.

Airport transfers

Airport transfers are included as part of your Enrichment Journey. Local representatives will advise you of the departure time from your hotel the night before departure. Generally speaking, arrangements have been made to have you at the airport approximately three hours in advance of departure, though this may vary depending on local circumstances. At the end of the cruise, an airport transfer will also be provided. Please advise your Personal Vacation Manager if you do not require transfer arrangements at the time of booking your Journey.

Cell phones

Some cell phones will work overseas, but incur additional charges for the use. Choose whether you would like to add an international plan by calling your carrier, or consider purchasing a pay-as-you-go phone overseas. However, in some destinations, many smartphones and tablets can pick up wireless Internet for free.

Protecting the Value of Your Travel Investment

Enrichment Journeys offers a comprehensive travel insurance package you can purchase alongside your trip. It eases the mind and lets you cancel your trip for a covered reason up until the departure date with a full refund of the Journey.

The insurance covers a wide variety of incidents, including travel delay, emergency medical services, and even baggage delay. You will also receive a pre-existing medical conditions waiver if travel insurance is purchased within 14 days of your initial deposit. For a full list of coverage provided, visit the FAQ section of the website.

Medical Issues and Handicaps

As with any extensive trip abroad, our excursions with Enrichment Journeys will require some physical capabilities, including transfers from cruise ships, walking on cobblestone streets and navigating through some busy cities with guides. Although we encourage all types of travelers to join us, we do ask you are aware of your own physical limitations. Unfortunately, we cannot provide individual care to those who may have walkers, wheelchairs or other aids. Enrichment Journeys also cannot accommodate pregnant women past their six month gestation period. Please speak with one of our Personal Vacation Managers to see if certain itineraries are suitable for you and your needs. We are happy to suggest other viable options for you that are more accessible.

Per the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, travelers have the right to be reasonably accommodated in terms of tours in public situations. However, the laws do not apply for trips and outside the United States. So you must let Enrichment Journeys know ahead of time of any physical limitations, including information added to our questionnaire that needs to be filled out by all passengers. Failure to inform Enrichment Journeys of these limitations could result in refusal to participate, whether it be at the airport through the airline, on board the ship or at the accommodations booked.

If you have any sort of prescription medication, this should be a number one priority in packing. Bring extra, just in case. A small medical kit is also advisable for quick access to remedy minor aches and pains.

Briefing sessions

A local host or tour manager will be happy to guide you through the trip and answer all of your questions. Upon arrival to your destination, an Enrichment Journeys representative will meet with the group and go over items such as the daily schedule, weather and local customs.

Hotels

All hotels booked by Enrichment Journeys are held to a high standard of comfort and quality, in accordance to international accommodation standards and rating systems. However, each accommodation varies so you may experience various types of properties throughout your excursions.

Journey to the Tuscan Countryside

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Journey to the Tuscan Countryside

Regional Information

Travel Documentation

Have your passport and visas ready and available at all checkpoints. Scan and copy these documents to print out. It is recommended that you e-mail a copy to yourself and someone back home in the event these documents are misplaced. Also, it may be worth bringing an international ID or license.

Passport and Visa

To travel internationally, you must have a passport in good condition, and it must be valid for at least 6 months after the last day of your trip. Visa requirements change frequently and for various reasons. As a result, our Personal Vacation Managers are not always able to provide visa information. The best way to obtain up-to-date information regarding visa requirements is to visit the official US government website for Americans traveling abroad, Travel.State.Gov (Canadian citizens should visit https://travel.gc.ca/, for all other countries please visit your government website or local embassy), which details specific information on the countries you would like to visit, including visa requirements.

You may also use a third-party visa service, such as Expedited Travel. These services require an additional service fee but make the process of applying for a visa much simpler.

Note: as of March 2020, U.S. and Canadian passport holders traveling to Europe’s Schengen Zone will have to obtain an electronic travel authorization (ETIAS) starting January 1, 2021. US citizens will have to apply for an ETIAS prior to their travel towards Europe, in order to be allowed to enter the territory. More information can be found at https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/etias/

Vaccinations

Vaccinations are recommended to protect one’s health from preventable diseases abroad. It is always good to have routine vaccinations up to date when traveling for ailments such as chickenpox, measles, and the flu shot. Use your own discretion when deciding on what vaccinations to have based on your preferences and personal medical history. During your Enrichment Journeys tour, the utmost care will be taken with prepared food, atmosphere and other elements, so the likelihood of contracting diseases is scarce.

For a list of recommended vaccinations based on destination, visit https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel or feel free to contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention directly at 1-800-232-4636.

Electric Current

You will need an adaptor for some parts of your trip.  To see what the plugs will look like at your destination, visit https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/ and click on each country from the right menu.

You may also need to use a converter. Most countries outside of North and Central America use 220-240 V, whereas the U.S. and Canada use 110 V. However, most chargers these days have a box that will act as a converter so that it can be used in all countries around the world. If your charger says “Input: 100-240V, 50/60 Hz” then you do NOT need to use a converter (but you may still need an adapter so that the plugs fit in the socket).

Some hotels may have two and three-pronged outlets to use for various appliances. Ship cabins also have outlets for you to use with their converter. However, we recommend having at least one or two adapters with you, as we cannot guarantee that all hotels will be able to accommodate this.

Local Currency

Spain and Italy use the Euro (€), currency code EUR

Please visit https://www.oanda.com/currency/converter/  for the current exchange rate.

How you handle your currency and financials while on the trip is up to you. Some people prefer to exchange all their money in advance, while others will rely solely on credit cards. We suggest having at least some local currency with you during the trip, at least enough to take a taxi if needed. Consider calling your bank ahead of time to make them aware of your international travel, especially when using cards or withdrawing money.

Tipping Guidelines

Tipping is always appreciated but not always required. European destinations, though, usually require less tipping than would be appropriate stateside. Expect several instances throughout the hospitality industry that allow for tipping. Have small bills ready for hotel staff, boat crew, restaurant servers, drivers, guides, and baggage handlers.

Gratuities are included for group meals, at hotels, and at airports. If you have a meal outside the itinerary or hire a resident driver, a few dollars in the local currency is customary. The host, guide, or tour manager can be tipped roughly $8.00-$12.00 USD per person, per day, as can any ship staff member (which is often split at the end of the day by all). Drivers can be tipped $5 USD per person, per day.

For more information about when and how much to tip in each country, feel free to speak with your tour guide at the start of your Journey. A good reference for international tipping is https://www.cntraveler.com/stories/2008-11-11/etiquette-101-tipping-guide.

Time Differences

Please be aware that you may be crossing through several time zones throughout your Journey. To view a time zone map, visit https://m.worldtimezone.com/m-index12.php.

Climate

With the tour covering mostly coastal regions, you will most likely come in contact with breezes, occasional rain, wind and/or damp environments. Check the weather online before embarking for an up-to-date look at the conditions in major destinations.

Many countries outside of North America use Celsius. Here is a °C to °F quick reference guide:

-5° C = 23° F     5° C = 41° F     15° C = 59° F    25° C = 77° F    35° C = 95° F

0° C = 32° F      10° C = 50° F    20° C = 68° F    30° C = 86° F    40° C = 104° F

High/Low in Fahrenheit
JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Valencia 61/49 63/42 67/45 70/49 76/56 82/63 87/68 87/69 83/64 75/56 67/47 62/42
Siena 48/39 48/39 54/43 59/46 68/54 73/61 81/66 81/66 73/61 66/55 55/46 48/41
Rome 54/38 57/38 62/43 66/47 75/56 83/62 89/67 89/66 81/60 72/53 62/46 55/40

Practice the Local Language

Knowing a few phrases in the local vernacular can be a wonderful way to connect with people and feel immersed in the culture. Here are some fun phrases:

Italy: Italian

  • Buon giorno (Bwohn JOHR-noh): Hello
  • Come sta? (Koh-meh STAH?): How are you?
  • Non c’è problema (Non cheh proh-BLEH-mah): No problem.
  • Mi scusi (Mee SKOO-zee): Excuse me
  • Grazie (GRAHT-tsyeh): Thank you
  • Sì (SEE): Yes
  • No (Noh): No
  • Uomini (WOH-mee-nee): Men’s (restroom)
  • Donne (Dohn-NEH): Women’s (restroom)
  • Che tempo fa? (Keh TEHM-poh fah): How is the weather?

Visit https://www.17-minute-world-languages.com/en/italian/ for more phrases with sound.

Spain: Spanish

The region of Catalonia, including Barcelona, has two official languages: Spanish and Catalan. Although the locals understand Spanish, daily activity is conducted in Catalan and there is a fierce pride in their Catalonian heritage. The same is true for both Andorra and Palma de Mallorca. In Valencia, you will see and hear both Spanish and Catalan. The phrases below overlap in both languages, but many other common phrases can different.

  • Hola (OH-lah): Hello
  • Si (see): Yes
  • No (noh): No
  • Gracias (GRAH-syahs): Thank you

Visit https://www.17-minute-world-languages.com/en/spanish/ for more phrases with sound.

Fun Facts

Check out these interesting facts about the destinations you will visit on your Journey.

Italy

  • The name Italy comes from the word “italia”, meaning “calf land.” This is due to the bull being a symbol of the ancient Southern Italian tribes.
  • Tuscany has a long wine history; it can be traced back to the 5th century BCE. Grapes were first cultivated by the Etruscans nearly 3,000 years ago, grown in such wide abundance that they were often sold overseas and quickly became the area’s most trusted cash crop. 80% of all wines produced in Tuscany are produced with red grapes, the vast majority of which use Sangiovese as a grape.
  • Italy is approximately 116,400 square miles, including the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, which is slightly larger than Arizona.

Spain

  • The first novel was written by a Spaniard. Cervantes’ Don Quixote, written in 1605, is considered to be the first modern novel.
  • The first known stapler was made in the 18th century in Spain’s Basque region for the French King Louis XV – and every single staple was engraved with the royal emblem. Spain has also given the world the mop and bucket (1956) and the astronaut’s spacesuit (1935).
  • Spain includes a number of islands including Mallorca, Tenerife, Ibiza and Gran Canaria. Many can be found in the Canary Islands, an archipelago off the northwest coast of Africa.

Recommended Reading List 

Looking to learn more about the cultures, lifestyle and fun found in foreign destinations you are about to visit? We recommend these following books:

Books

  • Italy: The Italians by Luigi Barzini
  • Italy: Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes (also a movie)
  • Italy: The Rise and Fall of the House of Medici by Christopher Hibbert
  • Italy: A Room with a View by E.M. Forester (also a movie)
  • Spain: Cities of Spain by David Gilmour
  • Spain: Iberia by James A. Michener
  • Spain: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Travel Guides

Films

  • Italy: Eat Pray Love (2010)
  • Italy: Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)
  • Italy: Roman Holiday (1953)
  • Italy: Gladiator (2000)
  • Italy: Angels and Demons (2009)
  • Italy: La Dolce Vita (1960)
  • Spain: Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2009)

Journey to the Tuscan Countryside

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