Sicily (Palermo), Italy
When you cruise to Sicily, you’ll visit the largest island in the Mediterranean and a region of Italy that doesn’t see as many visitors as the mainland to the north. Sicily is an autonomous region with a culture all its own, which is showcased in its spicy cuisine, unique architecture, and Sicilian language.
Sicily cruises stop in some of the most beautiful parts of the island, where you’ll find ancient Greek cities and temples, Medieval old towns, and sweeping sea and mountain views. Combine a port stop with a shore excursion to experience some of Sicily’s vibrant arts and music culture, and you’ll finish your Mediterannean cruise vacation with a newfound respect and appreciation for this lovely area of Italy.
History collides with the present in Sicily, where you’ll find vibrant cities close to ancient architecture and art. These contrasting elements, along with the island’s beautiful natural scenery, including its famous volcano, make Sicily an interesting and exciting place to explore.
The Greek Theatre of Taormina isn’t the only ancient site to see in Sicily. One of its many noteworthy landmarks, the Valley of the Temples, is the largest archaeological site in the world. Visit the Regional Archaeological Museum in Palermo to see smaller ancient artifacts.
Situated atop a rocky promontory, Taormina is one of the jewels of Sicily. Look for one-of-a-kind jewelry while you walk through Piazza Vittorio Emanuele and around the historic medieval quarter. Taormina is also home to the remains of an ancient Greek theatre with incredible sea views.
The majestic Mount Etna, located in eastern Sicily, juts up 10,991 feet into the air. Its tall volcanic peak can be seen on the horizon from many areas of the island. The active volcano is estimated to have erupted over 200 times since 1,500 B.C. The volcanic soil around Mount Etna produces delicious wines.
Our Sicily cruises sail to three different ports of call. Depending on your itinerary, you’ll visit Palermo, Messina, or Catania. Each of these ports offer a different taste of Sicily’s beauty and culture.
The best Sicily shore excursions introduce you to the culture and history of the region. Whether your idea of a great time in port includes Sicilian cuisine, city life, or natural wonders, the shore excursions offered on our Sicily cruises will provide you with an unforgettable day.
Sample some exquisite Sicilian cuisine on a food-based shore excursion. Take a cooking class in Palermo and learn how to make traditional Sicilian dishes. On a shore excursion to Mount Etna from Messina, taste some of the famous local cannolis. You can also visit Sicily’s wine region for a wine and food pairing experience.
Experience the beauty of Taormina from a different perspective on a scenic cruise and soak in gorgeous views of the coast. Opt for a shore excursion that includes a stop at the shimmering Blue Grotto, where your boat will sail into a sea cave with water illuminated in a mesmerizing shade of bright blue.
If you don’t want to travel far, opt for a shore excursion that will take you around the island’s cities. See the Roman Amphitheater, Collegiata Church, and University Palace in Catania. Explore the capital of Palermo and its old town with its beautiful cathedral, and marvel at Messina Cathedral and its astronomical clock.
Take a comfortable bus ride along Sicily’s Ionian Coast, where you’ll learn about Homeric myths and legends, visit Aci Castello and its black lava Norman Castle, see pretty citrus groves, and have plenty of time to take in the beauty of the rugged coastline.
Sicily is hot in the summer. Wear light, breathable clothing and consider packing a water bottle with a battery-operated fan built onto it for kids to use in port. It will keep them cool and entertained.
Most locals (who refer to themselves as Sicilian, not Italian) speak both Sicilian and Italian, but you’ll likely find that many do not speak English. Have an Italian phrase book handy if you’re planning on doing any sightseeing on your own. Trying to speak the language is appreciated by locals, even if you’re muddling through it.
When planning out your day, make sure you take into account the afternoon siesta, or riposo as it’s called in Sicily. Many businesses, including clothing shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars, generally close anywhere from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Don’t wait too long if you want to get lunch in port, or you may find yourself needing to head back to the ship to find some food. The euro is the currency used in Sicily, just like the rest of Italy.