Unveil fabled Mediterranean marvels
Witness a sweeping landscape of cultural riches and historic wonders on this fascinating cruise that combines Italian Sojourn, Venice, the Adriatic & Greece and Ancient Mediterranean Treasures. Sail around Italy’s boot, discover breathtaking Croatia and medieval Montenegro, and walk among ancient ruins in Ephesus and Troy. Overnights in Venice, Athens and Istanbul afford you ample time to delve into the eastern Mediterranean’s famed and hidden treasures.
Rome, Italy / Istanbul, Turkey
2024 Sailings from May to June, on August, and on October
2025 Sailings from March to August
* Please check with us for dates & pricing
Cruise fare from $14,399.0 per person
* Please check with us for dates & pricing
Embark your ship and settle into your stateroom. For centuries, Rome ruled much of Europe, building a vast empire from the power of emperors. More than 2,500 years of history live in the city’s streets. Ancient structures recall those heady days when the cheers of 80,000 spectators roared from the Colosseum, citizens mingled in the Forum and senators asked the gods for guidance at the Pantheon. Along with the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica, this rich pocket of Italy is one of the world’s greatest repositories of history and civilization.
Naples boasts a long history in a stunning seaside setting and is known mostly for its pizza. The city has long been a major center of Italian culture and was the seat of a powerful independent kingdom for 500 years. So great was its sway that it lured the region’s finest architects and artists. In the grand Piazza del Plebiscito, the grand and sweeping public square, the San Francesco di Paola Church flaunts a colonnaded facade reminiscent of the Pantheon in Rome, and the Royal Palace overlooks Neapolitans with statues of all the kings of Naples peering out from alcoves.
Sicily has been shaped by countless civilizations, from Greek to Byzantine to Roman. When it fell under Spain’s purview in the 17th century, it was celebrated as one of Europe’s ten great cities. Surrounded by undulating mountains, orange and olive groves and vineyards are plentiful. During World War II, Messina was the destination of the unofficial “Race to Messina” between US General Patton and British Field Marshall Montgomery. In the end, Patton arrived just hours before his British comrade, receiving credit for securing Sicily.
Uncover the deep past of Crotone, founded as a Greek colony in 710 BC. Boasting a vast array of archaeological relics, the city was once heralded as the home of some of the Hellenic Empire’s most celebrated figures, including many victors of the Olympic Games and Pythagoras, whose mathematical theories altered Western thought. During your visit, marvel at the impressive cathedral, a neoclassical wonder, browse the Pythagoras Museum and Gardens, and explore the waterfront and Crotone castle.
Explore sunny, palm-lined Bari, where streets are lined with romantic, honey-toned balconied houses, welcoming courtyards and Romanesque and baroque churches. Visit the Norman-Swabian castle, the splendid Romanesque Basilica of St. Nicholas and the Petruzzelli Theater, one of Italy’s most important opera houses, and stroll the picturesque waterfront. Or perhaps visit Alberobello and its fascinating trulli houses, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of whitewashed buildings with conical roofs.
Cruise the scenic St. Anthony Channel into the oldest Croatian city on the Dalmatian Coast, Šibenik. Resting at the mouth of the Krka River, this UNESCO World Heritage Site has a remarkably preserved Old Town. Roam its narrow streets past medieval houses and churches, all surrounded by four historic fortresses. The city’s St. James Cathedral is the most important Renaissance structure in Croatia. Perhaps you will join an excursion to view the impressive waterfalls of the Krka River.
Chioggia is a charming fishing community steeped in its age-old seafaring traditions. It is also the gateway to Venice, famed for its wondrous patchwork of graceful piazzas, tranquil canals, artful footbridges and Gothic splendor. All things Venetian begin in St. Mark’s Square, where its elegant campanile, or bell tower, rings over the rooftops, and the Byzantine-Gothic St. Mark’s Basilica seems to preside over all. Beyond St. Mark’s and away from the crowds, Venice is a hushed and intriguing city to explore on foot, with medieval echoes marking every step.
The Venetian Republic ruled Adriatic waves for a millennium. During the 8th century as the Roman Empire began to decline, many Europeans fled to Venice and its neighboring towns, including Chioggia. Merchants put their skills to use, and the city-state was soon thriving. The Venetian Lagoon’s canal banks feature buildings influenced by Byzantine and Islamic architecture, reflecting Venice’s powerful trading network. The first vaporetto traversed the Grand Canal in 1881; alongside the gondolas, these iconic Venetian water buses are at the heart of Venice’s transport network.
Part of the Venetian landscape for centuries, the gondola was once the city’s primary form of transport. During the 1500s, some 10,000 crafts plied the canals. The flat bottom was designed for the shallow depths of the Venice Lagoon, and its narrow width allowed the gondolier to achieve greater speed and maneuverability. Today, a few public gondolas serve as traghetti, or ferries, conveying people across the Grand Canal, while several hundred, painted black by local law, usher explorers into narrow canals, piloted by capped gondoliers in iconic striped shirts.
Built around the Roman Palace of Emperor Diocletian, Split is one of Croatia’s oldest cities. Its promenade commands majestic views over a bay and the Adriatic Sea. Despite evidence of Split’s origins in the 6th century BC, the city is traditionally considered over 1,700 years old—counting from the construction of the palace. Its well-preserved remains have been seamlessly assimilated into the modern city. An Ethnographic Museum is found at the palace’s heart and shops line the passageways of its ancient basement. Diocletian’s ancient mausoleum is now a stunning cathedral.
Dubrovnik is a historic jewel, with its spectacular Adriatic setting, 12th-century medieval streets and incredibly preserved structures. So stunning is its Old Town, the playwright George Bernard Shaw famously called it “paradise on Earth.” It is all spectacularly surrounded by a towering medieval wall. Inside, the ancient city’s Stradun is lined with authentic stone houses. The peaceful 14th-century Franciscan Monastery and Apothecary, housing the world’s oldest working pharmacy and fine collection of Renaissance paintings, provide insight into the ages.
Spend the day traversing the medieval streets of this historic Montenegro town with a walking tour. Pass by Venetian walls constructed in 1420 en route to the Cathedral of St. Tryphon, built in 1166. Notice its mismatched towers, the result of an earthquake and a budget too small to rebuild properly. Included on this tour is a visit to the Maritime Museum, which documents Kotor’s heritage. As an option, venture to the small towns of Budva and Sveti Stefan, the latter once a hideaway for the rich and famous.
Corfu has a rich history shaped by conquerors and by royalty seeking tranquility. Corfu’s Old Town and Fortress—fashioned by the once powerful Venetian Republic—comprise a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its narrow warrens lead to one of Europe’s largest public squares and a lovely promenade once exclusively reserved for the local aristocracy. Everywhere, magnificent coastal views unfold and scenic byways lead to history-rich enclaves, from the archaeological site of Paleopolis and the stunning Vlacherna Monastery to a former Greek royal villa.
Visit the quaint Greek port of Katakolon, huddled around a pretty little harbor dotted with colorful fishing boats. During your visit, venture into the fertile valleys of the western Peloponnese to the legendary city of Olympia, classical birthplace of the modern-day Olympic Games on the slopes of Mt. Kronos. Walk among the ancient city’s ancient ruins with an expert guide and historian, admiring the remains of temples, the Palaestra, or wrestling school, and the Gymnasium. You will gain insight into the very first Olympic Games at the fascinating museum.
Discover Greece’s iconic capital city of Athens, known as the “birthplace of democracy.” Visit the acclaimed National Archaeological Museum, with its vast collection of Greek antiquities, and partake of the city’s rich café culture. Your ship remains docked overnight, giving you time to take in the wonders of the Acropolis or travel to the Temple of Apollo, where the legendary oracle of Delphi once dispensed her prophetic wisdom.
Today, you will have the entire day to journey into ancient Athens via a panoramic drive, passing the promenade at Mikrolimano Marina as you enter the city’s heart. There, you will see the Hellenic Parliament, Syntagma (Constitution) Square, the Panathenaic Stadium, the Temple of Zeus and the iconic Acropolis. Explore the bustling Plaka District at the base of the Acropolis. Or, as an option, explore the interior of this UNESCO Site; climb 80 steps to the entrance for an unforgettable view of the Parthenon at its peak.
Call on fabled Crete today, home to the Minoans, Europe’s oldest recorded civilization. Here, you will uncover local remnants of the Venetian Empire, which brought great wealth to the capital of Heraklion. Admire the Koules Fortress—known to the Venetians as the Rocca al Mare, or “fortress by the sea”—at the Old Port’s entrance. Explore the café-lined Lions Square and the arched gallery of the celebrated Loggia. And pause to sip tsikoudia, a grape-based brandy distilled in the hills. Alternatively, you might venture to the ancient Palace of Knossos, the famed site where Theseus is said to have slain the mighty Minotaur, or take in the splendid coastal scenery during a tour of the island’s traditional villages.
Discover the Old Town of Rhodes today. This “Island of Knights” prospered from the wealth brought here from the Holy Land by the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem. Follow the Street of the Knights to the most imposing building in Rhodes: the Palace of the Grand Masters, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tour this fascinating building, which was first a castle, then a royal palace. Our berth is near the city’s historic quarter, allowing you to linger at your leisure after your included walking tour. Or, opt to visit the Acropolis of Lindos; from its rocky perch, you will have magnificent views of the whitewashed village and harbor below.
One of antiquity’s best-preserved cities, Ephesus offers an unparalleled look into the lives of the ancients. Many of its ruins have endured from the time Ephesus was one of the largest metropolises of the ancient world. Excavations reach back to the 10th century BC, when this city hosted one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World—the Temple of Artemis. Today, Ephesus is still full of wonders: the towering facade of the Library of Celsus, the massive amphitheater that once sat 25,000 spectators and residences adorned with frescoes.
Located on the Dardanelles, a key waterway linking the Sea of Marmara to the Aegean Sea, Çanakkale was an object of desire dating back to the ancient Greeks. Today, explore Çanakkale or the nearby ruins of Troy, once a powerhouse of Asia Minor. The remarkably preserved structures of this UNESCO World Heritage Site provide a glimpse of the region’s former glory and offer hints of life here in the days of Alexander the Great and the Roman emperor Augustus.
Discover where East meets West as you arrive today in Istanbul. Take time to admire this city that straddles two continents across the Bosphorus Strait, with its Old Quarter skyline of domes and minarets and the twinkling lights of modern Istanbul across the water. Sample delicious cuisine for a taste of this fusion, combining fresh Mediterranean fare with spices from the Far East and Asia. Enjoy a wealth of religious sites, such as the spectacular “Blue Mosque” and the legendary Hagia Sophia.
Awake in Istanbul, where you will disembark your ship. From here, you can easily take a few extra days to further explore this historic city with our post-cruise extension.
* One shore excursion included per port; all others available at an extra charge.