xx - xx132 Telephone 01473 742424 or contact your travel agentCultures of the AdriaticAbu Dhabi, UAEA long-established trading port - the area was first settled in the Bronze Age - Abu Dhabi was transformed by the discovery of oil into a stunning modern city of gleaming skyscrapers. Capital of the Emirates, it is now a cultural and commercial hub, with stunning buildings, exciting traditional souqs, and long white beaches. The well preserved Al Maqtaa Fort is over 200 years old, and an important reminder of the city's past. It was built, in pale sandstone with ornate wooden carvings, to protect against invaders. The Grand Mosque is a fabulous structure, the third-largest in the world, with over a thousand columns and 80 marble domes, while the oldest building in the city, the Qasr Al Hosn Palace, is magnificently decorated with traditional tiles.Acajutla, El SalvadorEl Salvador's main seaport, Acajutla, is the exit route for most of the country's exports of coffee, sugar and balsam. Once a Mayan village, it was the site of the Battle of Acajutla between the Spanish conquistador Pedro de Alvarado and an army of Pipiles, an indigenous people. The ruins of the village are near the present-date port and are worth seeing for an insight into Mayan culture.Acapulco, MexicoOnce the playground of movie stars such as Judy Garland, Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra, Acapulco has lost none of its vivacity: it's still alive 24-hours a day. Spectacular mountains framing miles of golden beaches and a gloriously warm, blue sea simply add to the appeal. And there is plenty to see here apart from the nightlife. The well-preserved Fuerte de San Diego is now home to the fascinating Acapulco Historical Museum, while its ramparts offer panoramic views out over the town and its bay. Also well worth seeing are the spectacular plants and flowers in the University's Botanical Garden, which has a shaded footpath climbing through a tropical forest.Probably the one must-see for visitors is the cliff divers of La Quebrada: here, young men plunge 40m into waves crashing into a tiny bay. XXXAgadir, MoroccoNow Morocco's main beach resort, Agadir was rebuilt next to the ruins of an ancient town destroyed in an earthquake in 1961. All that remains of the ancient Kasbah - built in 1540 - are the fortified walls on a hill to the north of the bay. Take a local bus to view the ruins and for the views down over the memorial park, created where the medina used to stand. On the wide, modern boulevards there are plenty of cafés and restaurants, but for the sights, sounds and smells of the old town, visit the old port, with markets selling fish, fruit, vegetables and spices. The Musée Municipal is interesting for insights into the pre-earthquake history of Agadir and to learn about the Berbers, the original inhabitants of Morocco. Ajaccio, CorsicaAjaccio grew up around a fortress - citadelle - which sits on a peninsula jutting out into the Mediterranean. It was once part of the republic of Genoa, and Genovese influences can still be seen in Ajaccio. The big name is, of course, Napoleon, whose statues are everywhere. The house where he was born can still be visited, although he chose not to be buried on Corsica, and there are a couple of Napoleon museums as well. He was baptised in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, which was finished in 1593, and is dedicated to Ajaccio's patroness, known locally as La Madunuccia - the Madonna.As in many Mediterranean cities, it is the old town which holds most attractions for the visitor. A collection of narrow streets, with small shops, bars and cafés, it is full of interesting buildings to see and visit. On Rue Cardinal Fesch, there are lots of interesting boutiques and charming cafés, while the Musée Fesch has collections of paintings by French, Spanish and Italian masters. Akureyri, IcelandAlthough it's only 60km from the Arctic Circle, Akureyri's location, protected by mountains, and sitting at the end of one of the longest fjords in Iceland, makes the climate surprisingly mild. Winter temperatures rarely go much below freezing, and in summer they reach a balmy 25°C. Hardly surprising that one of the highlights is the world's most northerly botanical garden. It covers almost four hectares and has virtually every native plant, as well as about 4,000 foreign specimens. The cultural centre of the town is "Listagil" - Artists' Alley - where former industrial buildings have been converted to museums, studios, cafés and restaurants. During summer months it is home to the Listasumar arts festival, with day-long events and performances by artists from all over Europe. Some of Iceland's most famous writers have lived in Akureyri and several of their houses can be visited. Best known is Nonnihouse, with exhibits on the life and work of Jón Sveinsson - known as Nonni. Aalborg, DenmarkThe waterfront of this long-established seaport has recently been redeveloped thanks to Jørn Utzon, who grew up in the town. Utzon designed Sydney Opera House, and his iconic style is reflected in the breathtaking Utzon Centre. Rather than one monumental building, this centre for art, architecture and design is built as a series of pavilions around a sheltered courtyard. Another great Scandinavian architect, Alvar Aalto, designed the stunning Museum of Modern Art, with its clear glass façades that create an abstract landscape parallel with the hill behind. Aalborg traces its history back over a thousand years, and these modern buildings provide a delightful contrast, with well preserved medieval landmarks such as the 14th-century cathedral of St. Budolf and Aalborghus Castle, dating from 1539. Aalborg Tårnet is also worth a visit: a 55m three-legged steel tower, it was built in 1933 but dismantled and re-erected in 2005. There's a restaurant on top, with an observation platform giving splendid panoramic views over the Limfjørd waterway and the surrounding area.Ålesund, NorwayIn January 1904, Ålesund was virtually destroyed by fire, which left 10,000 people homeless. Yet within three years, thanks to the efforts of local people and a team of young Norwegian architects, the town had been completely rebuilt. These artists created what is now one of Europe's marvels, an art-nouveau epic of towers and turrets, ornaments and balconies, steeples and spires. The imaginative and colourful buildings make the town an astonishing visual experience which draws visitors from all over the world. The national Art Nouveau Centre (Jugendstilsenteret) is well worth a visit for its insights into this unique style. It's also good to walk through the pedestrianised stre ets, enjoying the art galleries, diverse shops and lively restaurants and cafes. Independent visitors shouldn't miss the Atlanterhavsparken, one of the biggest aquariums in Scandinavia, where you can see every kind of marine life up close.ABU DHABI - ÅLESUNDPorts of CallThe information within the Ports of Call pages includes a brief description for all calls in our 2012/13 programme, for the key destination(s) for each port. These give a taste of what can be enjoyed when ashore and can be used to help guide your cruise choice, or decide what to do in each port for your chosen itinerary. The descriptions include places that can be visited independently and/or on organised shore tours. Opening hours for attractions will vary and, as a cruise can call on any day of the week, some facilities may not be open when a ship calls: this will depend on local operation. The descriptions were written far in advance of the 2012/13 cruise programme operating. While the information was thoroughly researched and checked, details may be subject to change at any time, which is beyond the control of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.
xx - xxwww.fredolsencruises.com 133Alexandria, EgyptAlexandria was founded by Alexander the Great in 331BC and was the site of the Pharos Lighthouse - one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The Fortress of Quait Bay stands on the site of the Lighthouse and some of the original stones were used in the Fortress construction. Now it offers great views over the city and the bay. The magnificent Abu El-Abbas Mosque is nearby: the most important in the city, it is a vision of intricate stonework, elegant domes and a towering minaret.The Alexandria National Museum has fascinating displays on all the influences which have touched Egypt's history, from the Pharoahs to the Greeks to the British. Also worth seeing are the Catacombs, the largest Roman burial site in Egypt, with tombs and chambers cut into rock. There's even a dining room where relatives would eat a final meal with the deceased! Close by is the Roman amphitheatre, the only one in Egypt. It was found only recently, having been buried for almost 1,500 years.Algiers, AlgeriaModern Algiers is built close to the Mediterranean coast, but the more interesting older part - crowned by the Kasbah - climbs the hill behind the new town. In the old quarter are the remains of the citadel, as well as ancient mosques and palaces from the Ottoman era. There are plenty of traditional shops and stalls selling textiles and jewellery in gold and silver, as well as some magnificent mosques. The Ketchaoua Mosque was formerly the Cathedral of St. Philippe, which was itself converted from a mosque built in 1612. The mosque is said to contain the remains of St Geronimo.The church of Notre Dame d'Afrique, which can be reached by cable car, stands on a 120m-high cliff overlooking the bay, facing Notre-Dame de la Garde across the Mediterranean in Marseille. In the heart of the city is the Monument of Martyrs, a massive concrete structure built to mark the 20th anniversary of Algerian independence. Alicante, SpainAlicante is a delight to visit. There are castles and churches, peaceful green spaces and superb old plazas, friendly cafés and bars - not to mention some of the best beaches in Spain. On separate hills in the city are the Castillo Santa Barbara and Castillo de San Fernando. Both castles have fascinating museums, as well as wonderful views from the battlements. In the old quarter there are many fascinating buildings, including the 17th century San Nicholas Co-cathedral, and the gothic St Mary's Church, which was built in the 14th century over the ruins of a mosque. The nearby Town Hall, with beautiful 35m towers, is another building with baroque influences: one curiousity here is the metal marker from which all sea-levels in Spain are measured.The oldest building in Alicante, a former granary from the 1680s, now houses the Museum of 20th Century Art, which has works by many modern painters including Miró, Dalí, and Picasso. A different work of art is the El Palmeral Park, with astonishing waterfalls, lakes and hundreds of palm trees.Almeria, SpainAlmeria is steeped in history. Once the major port of the Islamic Cordoba Caliphate, it is dominated by the ancient Arab fortress of Alcazaba. From here there are wonderful views over the port and the heart of the city, and especially the oddly-fortified cathedral. The corner towers once housed cannons which were used to protect the cathedral's priceless possessions from raids by the pirates who roamed the Mediterranean in the Middle Ages. The city has several museums on subjects ranging from the pre-history of Andalucia to modern art. In the 1960s the deserts surrounding the city were used to film westerns, notably those by the Italian director Sergio Leone. These days the Tabernas Natural Area and its old film sets, complete with saloons and ranches, are a tourist attraction. Alta, Finnmark, NorwayAlthough most of the buildings in Alta are quite new - it was rebuilt after the Second World War - the area has been inhabited by the indigenous Sami people since prehistoric times. At Hjemmeluft, just outside the town, is the largest collection of rock carvings in Scandinavia, dating from 2,000 to 5,000 years ago. They are part of the Alta Museum and show scenes of hunting, with one large carving showing a boat carrying 32 hunters.The Altafjord, and the Altaelva river that runs through the town, are said to have the best salmon fishing in the world. It's still possible to see the fish leaping up the river, despite the construction - in the face of protests - of the 100m Altadammen in the 1970s. Amsterdam, NetherlandsAmsterdam grew up following the construction of a dam across the River Amstel. In the 17th century wealthy local merchants built elegant homes alongside the city's many canals. Several of these houses have since been converted to apartments and hotels, with antiquarian bookshops, bars, chic boutiques and cafés at street level. There are almost 40 museums in Amsterdam and the Museum Quarter has three of the most famous: the Rijksmuseum, with important paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer and Frans Hals; the Van Gogh Museum, with over 200 paintings and 500 drawings; and the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, with work by major European artists from Manet to Picasso. The Anne Frankhuis is where Anne Frank and her family hid from the German occupiers during the Second World War: it offers a haunting and memorable experience. Ancona, ItalySettled by the Greeks around 375BC, Ancona later became an important Roman port: the Emperor Trajan ordered the building of the harbour walls, as well as the arch which stands at the end of the docks. The old town sits above the bustling modern city, surrounding the city's most obvious landmark, the 11th century Cathedral of San Ciriaco. The church was founded on the site of a pagan temple - the remains can be seen in the crypt, and there's a wonderful view of the harbour and bay from its steps. Elsewhere in the old quarter is a small Art Gallery, housed in the Palazzo Bosdari - one of the oldest buildings in the town - and the regional Archaeological Museum, which has a fine collection of Etruscan vases, Iron Age jewellery and, most notably, gilded bronze Roman statues. Also worth a look is the curious 16th century Calamo Fountain, with a row of 13 masked spouts, all gushing with water. Antwerp, BelgiumAntwerp is the world's leading centre for cut diamonds, but there is more to this vibrant city than precious gems. The Royal Museum of Fine Arts is dedicated, in part at least, to Peter Paul Rubens, who lived and worked here. The museum houses his finest works, along with those of other Flemish masters. There are more than 20 other museums in the city, as well as fine buildings from throughout its historic past, excellent shops and delightful parks and gardens. The Cathedral of Our Lady, the biggest church in Benelux, was started in 1352 on the site of a 10th century chapel, but like many medieval religious buildings, took several centuries to complete. The 123m high tower can be seen from everywhere in the city - and from miles outside. The interior has four altarpieces by Rubens, as well as a marble Madonna and Child by an anonymous sculptor.Aqaba, JordanFor more than 5,000 years the Red Sea port of Aqaba has had an important strategic and trading role. The Crusaders built a fortress here, which was rebuilt by the Mamlukes in the 16th century, and it remains one of the town's most important landmarks. Next door to the castle is the Aqaba Archaeological Museum. Among its Rashidun, Umayyad, Abbasid and Fatimid artefacts are findings from the ancient city of Aila, which was discovered in the 1990s. Aila was made into a major port by the Romans and later became an important Islamic centre. Within the ruins are the remains of the oldest Christian Church yet found - a mud-brick structure dating from around 300AD. Aqaba's sandy beach has become the main attraction for those wishing to snorkel the clear blue waters, or simply relax under a palm tree. Årica, ChileA major port - it handles most of Bolivia's exports, as well as those of northern Chile - and an increasingly popular tourist centre, Arica is dominated by El Morro. This is a massive reddish hill which is visible from everywhere in the town. While the walk to the top is strenuous the views are worth it, especially at night. There's an interesting Morro Museum, which explains how Chile took the hill, its fort and Arica from Peru in the 1880 War of the Pacific.The small Archaeological Museum is well worth seeing for its remarkable displays on the Chinchorro people, who lived in the area from around 6000BC. They mummified their dead - long before the Egyptians did so - and the museum has mummies discovered at the foot of El Morro in the early 1980s. On Plaza Colón is San Marcos Cathedral. This small neo-Gothic church is made of iron: it was prefabricated in France by Gustave Eiffel (of the Tower) in 1876 and carried by sea to Arica.Arrecife, LanzaroteArrecife is a bustling port, with the biggest fishing fleet in the Canaries. Back in the 16th and 17th centuries the city was regularly attacked by pirates: to defend against these raiders, the court of Spain built two splendid castles overlooking the harbour. Castillo San Gabriel is the older of the two, built in 1590. It now houses the island's Ethnographic Museum, which tells the fascinating story of the original inhabitants of the island, the Gaunche.The Castillo San Jose was built to provide employment and alleviate poverty on the island following volcanic eruptions in the 1730s: as a result it became known as the Fortress of Hunger. Today it is home to the Museum of International and Contemporary Art, with a small but impressive collection of modern paintings and sculpture. Appropriately, given the name, it also has an excellent restaurant in the basement where diners enjoy panoramic views over the harbour area. Auckland, New ZealandAuckland is the "City of Sails", built on 50 islands, but small enough to explore on foot. This is just as well, because there is much to see in this friendly and cosmopolitan city. A good place to start is the Auckland Museum, which has excellent displays of Maori artefacts and culture, including a 20-minute cultural performance three times a day. Kelly Tarlton's Underworld & Antarctic Encounter is a unique aquarium in which it is possible to walk underwater in a clear plastic tunnel through shoals of fish swimming in reclaimed storm tanks. The National Maritime Museum explores a thousand years of New Zealand's seafaring history, while for a different perspective the Stardome Observatory is a planetarium that looks at the starlit southern skies. And it's possible to get closer with the Sky Tower - at 328 metres, the tallest structure in the country. There's a revolving restaurant and, at 192 metres, a 1,200mm platform that the more adventurous can walk round - wearing a harness and safety line - for stunning views over the city.Aviles, SpainThe old town of Aviles is a largely pedestrianised quarter gathered around the Plaza de Espana. With a typical combination of plazas connected by sedate boulevards and punctuated by narrow winding ALExANDRIA - AVILES