July 5-14, 2018
Big Head Todd and the Monsters will be vela il Mediterraneo (sailing the Mediterranean) for the second time on a custom itinerary which allows to enjoy an extended visit in the Amalfi Coast area and also allow us to explore to the south including Lipari in the Aeolian Islands, Taormina on the captivating island of Sicily, the small islands and peninsulas of southern Greece, before disembarking amidst the history of Athens Greece. A pretty special sailing in anybody's book. While particulars remain in the planning stages, a primary objective will be to have extended time at anchor in the area of Amalfi and Positano, including late night and overnight stays, which will allow passengers to fully experience the local cuisine and Mediterranean lifestyle. The ideal size of the Star Flyer allows us to anchor directly outside these beautiful small ports and tender directly ashore. Unlike larger cruise ships which must put into large, crowded ports and transfer passengers to their final destinations, we will enjoy beautiful views of these coastal villages from the ship and maximize time ashore. This relaxing pace will also allow any passengers wishing to venture to the nearby island of Capri the time to do so. After a few days of exploring the area we will set sail to the south. After a sail-by ofthe island of Stromboli and it's volcano we make port at the quaint and less visited island of Lipari. Then, after a thrilling sail through the narrow Strait of Messina, we anchor off of the beautiful village of Taormina, Sicily, home to the ancient Teatro Greco or Greek Theater. Built in the third century BC, this remarkably well preserved theater is perched some 250 meters above the sea in one of the most beautiful settings imaginable. After an exhilerating (or relaxing) day at sea, we explore some highlights of the southern region of Greece such as Elafonisos and Hydra before making our final port in Athens. (As our sailing dates are a fair ways off, Local Knowledge will be working with Star Clippers in the coming year to maximize our voyage taking into consideration our wishes to visit the smaller, off the beaten path destinations which exemplify the best of the Mediterranean).
Below is a sample of destinations which we will be anchored at or nearby during the week. Due to their close proximity of some highlight destinations, passengers will have the opportunity to explore multiple destinations in one day; e.g. Amalfi and Positano are a short 11 miles apart along the coast. The final itinerary will be developed towards the end of 2017 after we work with Star Clippers to develop a unique, custom itinerary which we feel BHTM fans will appreciate most. The ship embarkation/disembarkation dates and times listed are accurate.
We will board the Royal Clipper beginning at 5:00pm on Thursday, July 5, 2018 in the port of Civitavechia, approximately 45 miles from the city center of Rome. We recommend passengers arrange time to visit Rome either pre or post cruise to explore the city including St. Peter's with its breathtaking Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum where gladiators fought to the death, and the Pantheon- considered to be the most perfect architectural statement of the ages. All passengers onboard by 7:00pm before the ship cast-off her lines for departure.
Amalfi, is a town which opens like a fan towards the sea, sheltered from behind by the steep slopes of the Monti Lattari. The harbor, which once launched the greatest fleet in Italy, now bobs with ferries and blue-and-white fishing boats. The main street, lined with leather shops and pasticcerie, has replaced a raging mountain torrent, and terraced hills where banditti (bandits) once roamed now flaunt the green and gold of lemon groves. The town's landmark is the Duomo or cathedral. Initiated in the 9th century and altered on various occasions, the church, preceded by an impressive flight of 62 steps, towers over Amalfi's main piazza.
Said to be the most beautiful town in the Mediterranean, Positano, like the legendary Sirens of Li Galli, never fails to seduce. Seen from the sea, Positano is set in a dramatic vertical panorama of colors; the green of the Monti Lattari, the white, pink and yellow of the Mediterranean houses, the silvery grey of its pebble beaches and the blue of the sea. The beautiful majolica tiled dome of the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta can be seen from every corner of the town. Spiaggia Grande is at the heart of the sea front of Positano. At 300 meters long, the beach is one of the largest on the Amalfi Coast, and one of the most glamorous too, attracting a fashionable crowd of artists, actors and celebrities. For a more peaceful spot in which to bask in the Mediterranean sun visitors will love Positano's Fornillo beach, which can be reached via a coastal path commencing on the Spiaggia Grande. After a few hours lazing in the sun, shopping in Positano's colorful boutiques, and munching Delizia al Limone on the terrace of the Zagara restaurant, if you fancy exploring further afield, then you should take one of the paths leading to the little mountain districts above Positano. Such as the footpath which leads to the 'Oasis of Vallone Porto, rich in waterfalls, and species of rare plants and animals. Or, begin on the beach of Arienzo and climb the 1500 steps up to the hamlet of Nocelle. From the hamlet’s main square you can enjoy one of the most beautiful views on the Amalfi Coast, extending as far as the island of Capri and the Faraglioni rocks.
Note- Our custom charter itinerary will have us arriving early in the day and remaining at anchor until late in the evening in the Positano/Amalfi area. This so passengers may fully experience local attractions during the day and enjoy the local cuisine in the evening should they choose.
Capri's fantastic grottoes, soaring conical peaks, caverns great and small, plus villas of the emperors and thousands of legends brush the isle with an air of whispered mystery. Life on Capri gravitates around the two centers of Capri Town (on the saddle between Monte Tiberio and Monte Solaro) and Anacapri, higher up (902 feet). Upon arrival at the main harbor, the Marina Grande, everyone heads for the famous funicular, which ascends (and descends) several times an hour through lemon groves to Capri Town. You can then venture further up to Anacapri on one of the local mini-buses. And for the magnificent view over the historic center of Capri, the Faraglioni sea stacks, and Mount Tiberius all the way to Punta Campanella and the Sorrento Peninsula, take the 12 minute ride above the rooftops from Anacapri to the top of Mount Solaro at 1,932 ft above sea level. For those feeling adventurous, arrange for a short boat trip to the Blue Grotto. Many say that at least once in your lifetime you should experience this marvel of nature and see firsthand why the Grotta Azzura is the most famous sight on Capri island. Lay back in one of the wooden rowboats and let yourself be carried through a tiny stone portal to another world by your able skipper who navigates seamlessly under the meter-high cave mouth. Inside, pass from complete darkness into a sparkling cavern, lit by azure blue light, while the sounds of ancient Neapolitan song echo along the stone walls.
Note- while our itinerary will not be finalized until late 2017, be aware it is our understanding local officials and service providers have recently been making it impractical and nearly impossible for small ships to anchor off of Capri and transport their passengers ashore in a dependable manner. It will most likely be the best option for our passengers wishing to visit Capri during our cruise to arrange one of the many options available for a day trip from Amalfi/Positano. Much more information will be made available when the final itinerary is determined.
Approximately 35 miles to the north of Lipari lies the small island of Stromboli containing one of the three active volcanoes in Italy. The volcano has erupted many times and is constantly active with minor eruptions, often visible from many points on the island and from the surrounding sea, giving rise to the island's nickname "Lighthouse of the Mediterranean". The most recent major eruption was on April 13, 2009. As it stands now, the Star Flyer will sail close by the island in the twilight of the morning before arriving in Lipari. We will cross our fingers that we witness some activity and the semi-dark light may enhance some red hot lava flow. No guarantees but a beautiful site from our private ship regardless.
Lipari is the largest of the Aeolian Islands where the main focus is Lipari Town- a busy little port with a pretty, pastel-coloured seafront. Away from the town, Lipari reveals a rugged and typically Mediterranean landscape of low-lying macchia (dense Mediterranean shrubbery), silent, windswept highlands, precipitous cliffs and dreamy blue waters. Adventurers can catch a ferry to the nearby island of Volcano where you can hike the crater and enjoy the famous therapeutic mud baths.
After an invigorating sail through the narrow and historical Strait of Messina we anchor off the Sicilian coast at Taormina. Set in the shadow of Mount Etna and home to one of the most remarkable ancient Greek theaters remaining (third century BC), Taormina seems to be a favorite of everyone I know who has spent time there. For those interested in visiting Mount Etna we will have optional tours available. Some including a stop or two at local wineries if you choose. For those exploring the area around Taormina itself, some of the highlights include the ancient Greek theater, a stroll through the town with many colorful shops and restaurants, and taking the aerial tramway (funivia in Italian) from the center of Taormina down to Mazzaro' with its beautiful bay, nice beaches, and the tiny island- Isola Bella. The best view in Taormina can be had from the small commune of Castelmola. Pearched over 1,700 ft. above the sea, this little gem is well worth the ride and a perfect spot for a local lunch or cafe break.
Day at Sea
We cross the Ionian Sea to Greece. Not sure what a ship full of Big Head Todd fans do for a day on a sailing ship with fair winds, a band, and a bar...
A small Greek island between the Peloponnese and Kythira, Elafonisos Island lies off the coast of Cape Malea and Vatika. Surrounded by the most beautiful turquoise seas Elafonisos has some of the finest and longest sandy beaches in Greece. The port town is lined of seafood tavernas and a few summer houses. The Island features one of the highest numbers of fishermen as a percent of the total local population. About 60% of the locals are fishermen, and every one of the older generation owns at least one fishing boat.
Hydra (ee-dhr-ah) is truly the gem of the Saronic Gulf and stands alone among Greek islands as the one free of wheeled vehicles. At only 19.2 square miles, the island has no cars or scooters. Just tiny marble-cobbled lanes, donkeys, rocks and sea. Artists, musicians (Leonard Cohen), actors and celebrities (Sophia Loren) and travelers have all been drawn to Hydra over the years. So in addition to the island’s exquisitely preserved stone architecture, crisscrossing rural paths and clear, deep waters, you can find a good cappuccino along the people-watching harbour. Mules and donkeys are the main means of heavy transport and they, along with the rustic aspects of life on the island, give Hydra its two faces: chic and earthy.
We arrive in Cannes early morning on Saturday, July 14, 2018. Centrally located on the Cote d' Azur, Cannes is a wonderful starting point to explore the highlights of the region including St. Tropez, Monaco, and Nice. The nearest major international airport is in Nice (NCE) approximately 45 minutes from Cannes. Disembarkation begins at approximately 8:00am and all passengers must disembark the ship by 10:00am. More information on ground transfers to the airport forthcoming.
On average in July one can expect daily high temperatures in the low to mid 80‘s and lows from the low to mid 70‘s with occasional thunderstorms. Expect sea water temperatures from the mid to low 70’s. Many say September is arguably the best month of the year to visit the region. The temperatures of both the air and sea are still very comfortable, the huge summer crowds are gone, rainfall is still relatively low and sunshine is still relatively high.