Rivieras and Islands: France, Italy & Spain

Traverse the timeless cradle of the Renaissance and learn more about the dynamic biographies of contending civilizations and their profound artistic and architectural legacies from September 26 – October 4, 2018 .


From Homer to Princess Grace, the splendid coastlines of the French and Italian Rivieras have served as haven and home, inspiring some of our best-loved tales and romanticized histories. Join alumni and friends from September 26 - October 4, 2018, on this small ship voyage along their resplendent landscapes, ancient villages, and idyllic islands-favored retreats for artists, writers, nobility, and gourmands. Traverse the timeless cradle of the Renaissance and learn more about the dynamic biographies of contending civilizations and their profound artistic and architectural legacies.

Cruise from Rome to Barcelona aboard the specially chartered, Five-Star Le Lyrial. The state-of-the-art Le Lyrial features only 110 suites and staterooms with distinctive French sophistication. With one port of call each day and opportunities to visit five UNESCO World Heritage sites, this itinerary features intimate, off-the-beaten-path destinations along with incredible legendary ports. Visit Carcassonne's French medieval fortifications and the vibrant, unforgettable Italian cliff-side villages of the Cinque Terre. Experience the culture of Nice, explore the principality of Monaco, enjoy Corsica's ancient port of Bonifacio, and choose to admire the Renaissance treasures of Florence or the historic Tuscan monuments of Lucca and Pisa.

Shared with participants from cosponsoring associations, this program offers a comprehensive itinerary and is a great travel value. Please contact the Alumni Travel Study Program office at 866-325-8664 or travelstudy@columbia.edu for more details and to reserve while choice accommodations and early booking savings are available!

Dates & Prices:

Dates: September 26 - October 4, 2018

Prices: from $4,795 to $13,895  per person based upon double occupancy. Taxes and port fees are an additional $465 per person (subject to change).

A limited number of cabins are availble to single travelers in select categories for an additional premium. Please inquire directly about single occupancy rates or request to try and be matched with a roommate.


September 26, 2018 U.S./Rome, Italy
Depart the US on individually scheduled flights from your home airport tor Rome, Italy.

September 27, 2018 - Rome/Civitavecchia
Upon arrival, transfer to the port at Civitavecchia and embark Le LyriaL. Join fellow travelers for a welcome dinner aboard the ship this evening.
Meals: (D)

September 28, 2018 - Bonifacio, Corsica, France
Southern Corsica’s ancient Bonifacio, perched atop limestone cliffs, is often cited as one setting in Homer’s Odyssey. Its French character bears a strong Italian imprint, manifested in the islanders’ French-Italian dialect. Transfer by small train to the medieval citadel and Old Town. Stroll the Rue des Deux-Empereurs, where Charles V and Napoleon once lodged, and see the Gothic Church of St-Dominique and distinct Grain de Sable limestone formation.
Meals: (B,L.R,D)

September 29, 2018 - Livorno, Italy/Florence or Pisa & Luca
En route to Florence, birthplace of the Renaissance, enjoy Tuscany’s tree-lined landscape and vineyards. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a treasure trove of unparalleled art, architecture, and literature. Admire Michelangelo’s David, Brunelleschi’s dome on the Duomo, and Ghiberti’s bronze-cast “Doors of Paradise,” created for the Baptistery of San Giovanni, depicting scenes from the Old Testament.

Alternatively, a scenic drive takes you to the Tuscan medieval university city of Pisa and town of Lucca. Pisa’s famous Piazza dei Miracoli, a UNESCO World Heritage site, showcases the leaning tower where Galileo is said to have conducted some of his first gravity experiments; the 11th-century Duomo; and the largest baptistery in Italy, which originated the unique Pisan Romanesque style. Lucca’s intact Renaissance city walls are now a pedestrian promenade, and its Cattedrale di San Martino is a symbol of the city.
Meals: (B,D)

September 30, 2018 -Porto Venere for Cinque Terre/Portofino
From Porto Venere’s small harbor, board a private boat to cruise to two villages of picturesque Cinque Terre. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a series of colorful fishing villages that cling to remote cliffs overlooking the Ligurian Sea—discover the nuances of Riomaggiore and Vernazza, linked by footpaths with views of the coves and vineyards renowned for producing the dessert wine Sciacchetrà.

Portofino is the perfect village for an evening on the Italian Riviera. You may choose to visit San Giorgio Church, stroll the pedestrian-only lanes, or sip a cappuccino on a café  terrace.
Meals (B,L,D)

October 1, 2018 - Nice, France / Monte Carlo, Monaco
One of the oldest human settlements in the world, Nice remains rich in its traditions and culture. This capital of the Côte d’Azur is bursting with colors that inspired Chagall and Matisse. Enjoy a walking tour of the Old Town, panoramic views from the hill of Cimiez, and a visit to the Musée National Marc Chagall.

The principality of Monaco’s historic district, Monte Carlo is an intoxicating mixture of princely sights and intrigue and is famous for its Grand Casino. Admire the architecture and the Rock of Monaco and visit St. Nicholas Cathedral, where Princess Grace is interred.
Meals (B,L,D)

October 2, 2018 - Marseille/Aix-en-Provence
The romantic medieval city of Aix-en-Provence captures the élan of France’s sun-drenched Provence. Visit the Cathedral St. Sauveur, a French national monument, where Romanesque, Gothic and neo-Gothic architectural styles ranging from the fifth to 17th centuries stand adjacent on the site of the first-century Roman Forum of Aix. Stroll through the Mazarin district and Old Aix and the famous Cours Mirabeau, a grand boulevard lined with canopying plane trees and elegant townhouses.

Nearly three millennia of maritime heritage thrive in Marseille, a natural port where ships have docked since Greek settlers first arrived in 600 B.C. The panoramic tour features the Old Town, the 19th-century Cathédrale de la Major, the neo-Byzantine Notre Dame de la Garde, and the Vieux Port (Old Port). Drive along the Corniche Kennedy, dedicated to the late U.S. president, and travel the historic high street, Canèbiere.
Meals: (B,L,D)

October 3, 2018 -   Sete / Carcossone
This former frontier between France and Spain has been occupied since the sixth century B.C. and is the largest walled city in Europe. Carcassonne was fortified by the Romans, conquered by Visigoths, captured by Persians, invaded by Franks, and overrun by Barbarians, each leaving an indelible influence on the city’s extraordinary architectural and artistic heritage.

The medieval core of Carcassonne, La Cité is a UNESCO World Heritage site characterized by cobblestone streets and the Basilica of Saints Nazarius and Celsus. Explore the medieval Château Comtal and its noteworthy archaeological museum, and the Musèe des Beaux Arts’ captivating collection of fine art. Travel to the nearby Corbières Mountains to tour the Cistercian Abbaye de Fontfroide.

Join fellow travelers for a farewell reception aboard the ship this evening.

Meals: (B,R,D)

October 4, 2018 -  Barcelona, Spain
Disembark and continue on the Barcelona Post-Cruise Option or depart for the U.S.
Meals: (B)

B = Breakfast included    L = Lunch included    D = Dinner included      R=Reception

Activity Level: Moderately Active

Many of the cities and towns being visited were founded centuries ago, and the terrain is rugged. Therefore, a fair amount of walking along narrow cobblestone streets, stone floors or uneven and/or slippery terrain and climbing several flights of stairs (some without railings) is to be expected. Walking excursions often cover distances of at least one mile/1.6 km and are approximately three hours in length. Please be advised that the ship may either dock in port or tender ashore by small boat.

Included Features:

  • Seven-night cruise aboard Le Lyrial
    Complimentary alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages throughout the cruise
    Complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the ship
    All activities, excursions, entrance fees, and meals per detailed itinerary      
    Taxes and gratuities to ship personnel, drivers, and guides
    Services of a tour manager throughout the program
  • Transfers and luggage handling abroad for participants whose arrival(s)/departure(s) coincide with the scheduled group transfer(s).
    All excursions and visits, as outlined above, with experienced local guides.
    Gratuities to local guides and drivers on included excursions and transfers.
    Hospitality desk aboard ship.
    The services of professional Program Directors throughout the program.
    Complimentary use of a state-of-the-art audio headset for each participant during guided excursions.
    Travel document wallet, name badge and pre-departure information.

Not included:
Airfare; Taxes; passport fees; visas and fees for obtaining visas; personal expenses such as laundry and telephone calls; accident/sickness, trip cancellation, and baggage insurance; gratuities to ship and hotel personnel; optional sightseeing excursions; excess baggage charges on aircraft; local departure air taxes; airfare and associated local taxes*, airport facility taxes and federal inspection fees not listed int he "included features" section of the program brochure; transfers and baggage handling to/from airport/hotel on day(s) of arrival and/or departure if you are arriving earlier or later and/or departing earlier or later that scheduled group transfer(s); meals and and alcoholic beverages not listed in the "Included Features" section of the program brochure; and all other services not specifically mentioned in the "Included Features" section of the program brochure.

Please call us toll-free at (866) 325-8664 or email us at travelstudy@columbia.edu for more details.