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Cruises to Elba

Elba (Photo:Balate Dorin/Shutterstock)
Elba (Photo:Balate Dorin/Shutterstock)

About Elba

Everyone who gets sent to exile should be as lucky as France's Emperor.

Napoleon Bonaparte might have been irritated that his empire was being stolen out from under him, but he still managed to make the most of his eight months and 22 days on the island of Elba, a bucolic slice of Mediterranean paradise off the northwest coast of Italy.

The legend is that Venus' necklace broke, dropping her jewels into the sea, and one of those jewels became Elba. This island, just 86.5 square miles (224 square kilometers), has attracted and been governed by the Lugurians, Greeks, Etruscans, Romans, Spanish and finally, Italy. The mountain regions had been rich in iron ore that, once mined, was smelted by fires so numerous that the Greeks named the island Aethalia, which means "spark."

Porto Ferraio, the largest city and biggest port on Elba, is located in a protected harbor, which makes it an ideal haven for yachtsmen from all over the Mediterranean. And indeed, the marina area is rich in shops and cafes that cater to the sailors who convene here. But long before this, Admiral Nelson called Porto Ferraio the "safest port in the world" because of the way it's surrounded by bluffs with exceptional sightlines; the Greeks believed it was the port of call of the Argonauts and named it Argoos.

This is a charming port stop for smaller ships; you won't find mass-market behemoths disgorging their guests onto these shores. The fact that it's small and easily negotiable on foot make it an ideal day out for those who enjoy simple pleasures. And for those who choose to explore more of the island of Elba, well, that's easily accomplished as well.

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DAY 1: Monaco

7 Night
Cruise to Elba

Leaving:
Monaco
Visiting:
Portofino, Florence ...
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Cruise Line:
Azamara
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DAY 1: Sydney

108 Night
Cruise to Elba

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Brisbane, Bali ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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DAY 1: Lisbon

15 Night
Cruise to Elba

Leaving:
Lisbon
Visiting:
Seville, Gibraltar ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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DAY 1: Barcelona

15 Night
Cruise to Elba

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Palma de Mallorca, Minorca ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Elba

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Porto Santo Stefano, Florence ...
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Cruise Line:
Silversea Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Elba

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Elba, Cannes ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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52 Night
Cruise to Elba

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Brisbane, Bali ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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15 Night
Cruise to Elba

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Elba, Portofino ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Elba

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Portofino, Elba ...
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Cruise Line:
Silversea Cruises
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17 Night
Cruise to Elba

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Port Vendres, Sanary-Sur-Mer ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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17 Night
Cruise to Elba

Leaving:
Lisbon
Visiting:
Tangier, Malaga ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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72 Night
Cruise to Elba

Leaving:
Brisbane
Visiting:
Bali, Singapore ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Elba

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Elba, Portofino ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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6 Night
Cruise to Elba

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Elba, Calvi ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Elba

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Palma de Mallorca, Minorca ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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Cruise Critic Favorite

7 Night
Cruise to Elba

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Port Vendres, Sanary-Sur-Mer ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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13 Night
Cruise to Elba

Leaving:
Palma de Mallorca
Visiting:
Marseille, Cannes ...
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Cruise Line:
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Elba

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Elba, Portovenere ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Elba

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Elba, Bastia ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Elba

Leaving:
Cannes
Visiting:
Monacobreen, Lerici ...
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Cruise Line:
Star Clippers
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7 Night
Cruise to Elba

Leaving:
Cannes
Visiting:
Lerici, Elba ...
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Cruise Line:
Star Clippers
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8 Night
Cruise to Elba

Leaving:
Monaco
Visiting:
Portofino, Elba ...
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Cruise Line:
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Elba

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Palamos, Sete ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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14 Night
Cruise to Elba

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Palamos, Sete ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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15 Night
Cruise to Elba

Leaving:
Venice
Visiting:
Rovinj, Split ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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Why go to Elba?

Pros:

Elba's scenic port city, Porto Ferraio, is easy to navigate on foot

Cons:

The trek to Napoleon's house may be challenging for those with mobility issues, but taxis are available

Bottom Line:

Elba is a charming, less touristy island where Napoleon once lived in exile

Elba Cruise Port Facilities?

Just adjacent to the ship's dock is a cafe bar, a nice place to stop for a coffee. It's located in the parking lot adjacent to the dock. Across the street is a large bakery/gelatteria where you can grab a sweet bite and watch the maritime activity, including all the ferries coming and going to and from the mainland. There's also a little dockfront square with nice benches; its breezy location is lovely on a hot summer's day.

Getting Around?

If you're going to spend your time in Porto Ferraio, almost all of it is accessible on foot. The climb to Napoleon's city house and to the fortresses can be difficult for those with mobility problems, but there are plenty of taxis. There are also tourist vans that do a tour of the city and surrounding areas, and during the summer, from the end of May to the end of August, there's a little tourist train (on wheels) that offers a series of different sightseeing tours from two to four euros. All options are easily accessed from the parking lot in front of the ship's dock.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

Currency is the euro. U.S. dollars are not accepted. There is a bank on Calata Italia (which fronts the port) just past the first ferry dock (Pontile com. TE G. Massimo) if you are going to use an ATM; there is a change office on the same street just before the ferry dock if you want to change dollars or pounds to euros, and there is a post office (to change traveler's checks, which banks won't touch) above the marina on G. Gasribaldi near the Piazza della Repubblica.

Language?

Italian. Very little English is spoken here.

Where You're Docked?

The dock is in the middle of town at the bottom of the Fortezze Medicee. To the left, as you leave your ship, is the central business district and ferry docks; to the right, as you round the bottom of the Fortezze, is the marina with the yachts and upscale shops.


Elba Cruise Reviews

mk960072
Sail Date: Sep 2019
Wandered the city and visited the ancient amphitheater... Read More
Silver Spirit
IRGolfer
Sail Date: Aug 2017
Very enjoyable walking around the town on our own. Took tour of Napolean's exile villa.... Read More
bdwest5
Sail Date: Apr 2017
very nice shops... Read More
Cheerysfriend
Sail Date: Oct 2016
Wandered around town, looking at sites, and had amazing pizza!... Read More
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