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Eastern Mediterranean Crossing: the Holy Land, Greek Islands, Cyprus, Turkey, Egypt & the Suez Canal - 2021

Amman • 12-night expedition cruise with Sharm El Sheik, Ashdod, Haifa, Limassol, Rhodes, Kusadasi, Mykonos, Santorini, Piraeus • Athens
  • CRUISE ON THE OCEAN EXPLORER, AN AGILE AND STATE-OF-THE-ART EXPEDITION VESSEL THAT CAN NAVIGATE TO PLACES LARGER SHIPS CAN’T
  • JOIN OBSERVANT JEWISH PEOPLE AT JERUSALEM’S SACRED WESTERN WALL
  • TOUR THE UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE OF PETRA, JORDAN — A MAGNIFICENT DESERT SETTLEMENT MIRACULOUSLY CARVED OUT OF ROSE-RED SANDSTONE
  • CRUISE THIS LEGENDARY WATERWAY — A MASSIVE ENGINEERING FEAT — OVER TWO RELAXING DAYS, WITH SPLENDID VIEWS OF EGYPT AND THE SINAI
  • ENJOY A RELAXING RESORT STAY ALONG THE DEAD SEA, WITH PLENTY OF TIME TO SWIM IN ITS CURATIVE SALT WATERS
DATES & PRICES
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$6,999
  • $411
    PER DAY
  • 17
    DAYS
  • 29
    TOURS
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18 DAYS FROM $7,648
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Jordan & the Dead Sea

4 DAYS FROM $1,149

Istanbul, Turkey

4 DAYS FROM $1,699

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Join the inaugural season of Vantage's first expedition vessel, the luxurious Ocean Explorer, with this expedition that traces the Sinai Peninsula and the Eastern Mediterranean, two regions offering some of the most picturesque cruising in the world. Desert palm-dotted sands flow into the sea like endless beaches. Whitewashed buildings cling to volcanic rock, forming a romantic cubist canvas. And the endless Aegean sun glitters on the waters like diamonds. The most luxurious way to experience it all is aboard the 5-star Ocean Explorer. You’ll call on ports steeped in legend and biblical history, from Cyprus and Santorini to Israel. Enjoy a fascinating crossing of the Suez Canal. And immerse yourself in the rich cultures of Jordan pre-cruise and Athens post-cruise. 

Our dedicated onboard Cruise Director and Concierge bring you to the doorstep of religious history during included tours to Galilee and to Jerusalem (or Masada and the Dead Sea if you prefer). You’ll discover the historic and cultural treasures of Cyprus, also on your choice of two tours. And marvel at the spellbinding vistas of Mykonos and Santorini and the medieval splendor of Rhodes. Visits to magnificent Petra and Ephesus — two of the world’s archaeological wonders — round out this unrivaled expedition.

Enlightening onboard lectures provide immeasurable insight as you explore, as well as 29 included features and Cultural Discoveries, including an invitation to a Cypriot village where you'll learn how the island’s renowned cheeses and baskets are made. And celebrate the vibrant cultures of this captivating region when we invite local performers to perform traditional dance and music on board.

When you’re not exploring, treat yourself to a massage or a soak at the onboard spa, relax in the infinity pool, get energized in the gym, or sip a cocktail on the panoramic sun deck. Our small passenger-to-crew ratio ensures optimum service, while onboard bikes, kayaks, and paddleboards give you plenty of ways to stay active. Want to explore on your own? Our complimentary onboard Concierge can help you customize your incredible journey.

Aqaba to Piraeus

Pre-Trip Extension

Jordan & the Dead Sea

FROM: $1149 PER PERSON | 4 DAYS | $287 PER DAY
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DAY 1:

Board an overnight flight to Amman, Jordan

Today you’ll board an overnight flight to Amman. Or, depart earlier for your pre-trip extension to Jordan and the Dead Sea.

DAY 2:

Amman arrival

Welcome to Amman, known as Jordan’s “White City” for the hypnotic hue of its cityscape. If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a representative will meet you at the airport and assist with the transfer to your hotel. You arrive this evening; depending on your arrival time, join a late dinner at the hotel with fellow expeditioners. 

Included Meals:

Dinner

DAY 3:

Exploring Amman

This morning, join a Welcome Briefing that will explain procedures and other logistical information on your expedition. Then, get acquainted with this multifaceted Arab metropolis during a guided tour. Amman was originally built across seven hills but today spreads out over 19, creating an undulating city canvas. Throughout your tour, the impressive Jebel Amman Citadel watches over you from its hilltop perch as the hauntingly beautiful call to prayer echoes off ancient buildings. After an included lunch at a local restaurant, enjoy the afternoon to explore on your own, perhaps exploring the bustling Al Balad downtown area surrounding the splendid King Hussein Mosque. This evening, gather for a Welcome Drink and Dinner at your hotel.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 4:

Journey to the Lost City of Petra and Aqaba, embark the Ocean Explorer

Today, you’ll set out for Aqaba to meet your expedition ship. But first, visit one of the world’s most magnificent archaeological treasures — awe-inspiring Petra. Dating back to approximately 300 BC, this prehistoric city was carved into the pink sandstone cliffs of Jordan’s southwestern desert by the ancient Nabataean people. As you explore Petra’s Great Temple and tombs, you will listen to some of this magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site’s long and intriguing history.

Cultural Discovery: After lunch at a local restaurant within the Petra archaeological site, see more of Petra when you enter or exit via horse-drawn carriage — giving you a brief glimpse at what life might have been like here some 2,000 years ago.

Afterwards, continue to Aqaba, Jordan’s only coastal city, to embark the Ocean Explorer. Get settled in your cabin and take a walk through the ship, checking out the luxurious amenities offered, then gather for a port talk to hear about tomorrow’s exciting destination. In the elegant dining room, savor a special Captain’s Welcome Dinner, giving you just a glimpse of the curated fine dining you'll experience throughout your expedition. The ship leaves port later in the evening.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 5:

Dramatic landscapes and religious heritage of Sharm El Sheikh

Catch the sunrise from the ship's multilevel observation lounge before enjoying breakfast on board as the Ocean Explorer arrives in Egypt. Situated near the tip of the Sinai Peninsula, Sharm El Sheikh is a seaside desert oasis for Egyptians and travelers alike. Its waters are renowned for their diverse marine life and crystalline visibility. Jacques Cousteau called it a “corridor of marvels” and, depending on conditions and timing, you may have time to take out one of the ship’s kayaks or snorkeling equipment and see this underwater world for yourself. But first, you can join an included morning tour. Visit the magnificent Mustafa Sheikh Mosque with its soaring minarets flanking an impressive dome and marble façade. Marvel at the biblical artwork of the Coptic Orthodox Church, spiritual home to the largest Christian denomination in Egypt. After a stop at Soho Square, Sharm’s modern entertainment and shopping complex, and a perusal of the vibrant, energetic market, return to the ship in time for lunch.

Your afternoon is at leisure in Sharm El Sheikh, or perhaps you'll explore the spectacular coral reef and colorful fish here. If you're looking for something more adventurous, we've curated a unique two-night optional excursion to Cairo that includes an overnight stay at the luxurious Renaissance Cairo Mirage City Hotel and features an excursion to the UNESCO-listed Giza Plateau. Cultural Discovery: Back on board, attend the first of several interesting onboard lectures. A port talk lets you know what to expect during our upcoming crossing of the astonishing Suez Canal.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
Optional Tour: Two Nights in Cairo

Two Nights in Cairo

  • Approximate Cost: $799 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 2 nights/days
  • Location: Cairo, Egypt
  • When: 2-day tour

Discover Cairo on this special optional overnight excursion! You’ll fly from Sharm El Sheikh to Cairo and enjoy two nights at the Renaissance Cairo Mirage City Hotel, a luxury property in Cairo’s Heliopolis district. Enjoy an excursion to the Giza Plateau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the southwest outskirts of Cairo, to see Egypt’s iconic Pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx. You’ll also enjoy a guided visit to the Grand Egyptian Museum, Egypt’s $1 billion undertaking that will become the world’s largest museum devoted to a single civilization. You’ll also visit Cairo’s Old Town, including the famous Khan el-Khalili bazaar, a major souk in the historic center of Islamic Cairo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Away from your explorations, the hotel offers fabulous amenities, including indulgent bedding, innovative cuisine in multiple restaurants, a bar/lounge, pool, and gym. You’ll transfer to Port Said on the afternoon of your second day of the excursion and reboard the Ocean Explorer.

Day 1: Discover the Giza Plateau
Enjoy a morning excursion to the Giza Plateau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the southwest outskirts of Cairo, to see Egypt’s iconic Pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx. Lunch is in a local restaurant before a guided visit to the Grand Egyptian Museum, Egypt’s $1 billion undertaking that will become the world’s largest museum devoted to a single civilization. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure with dinner on your own. Away from your explorations, the hotel offers fabulous amenities, including indulgent bedding, innovative cuisine in multiple restaurants, a bar/lounge, pool, and gym.

Day 2: Shop the Khan el-Khalili bazaar
Enjoy breakfast in the hotel before a morning visit to Cairo’s Old Town, including the famous Khan el-Khalili bazaar, a major souk in the historic center of Islamic Cairo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy free time for lunch on your own, then you’ll transfer to Port Said and reboard the Ocean Explorer.


DAYS 6-7:

Crossing the Suez Canal

Prepare yourself for today's travel milestone, and settle in on the sun deck as you traverse the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean Sea.

Cultural Discoveries: While at sea, an onboard lecturer will offer poignant lectures on the Suez Canal and the history of the region. You'll also enjoy some onboard entertainment, which has been curated to give you a glimpse of the region's art and culture.

These two days provide the perfect opportunity to savor the easy pace and camaraderie that small ship cruising affords. Your included binoculars will give you a closer view of the desert hills and sands unfolding all around while our inviting lounge area and elegant common spaces offer ideal settings to get to know your fellow adventurers. A port talk will give you a glimpse of what’s ahead once you reach the Mediterranean.

During your cruising, take advantage of your expedition ship’s many amenities, and see how days on board can be just as exciting as days offshore. Perhaps enjoy a spa treatment, relax by the infinity pool, curl up with a book on deck, or pop into the boutique for any items you may need. Your meals will bring a taste of Egypt and the Levant to your experience. Before you cruise into the Mediterranean, you briefly stop in Port Said so travelers can reembark following the overnight Cairo excursion.

Included Meals:

2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners

DAY 8:

Your choice of full-day tour in Israel

Arrive in Ashdod, one of the oldest cities in the world, this morning. Then, choose your Israel experience during one of our included tours, ideal for travelers who have visited Israel before and may be looking for new opportunities. Join a full-day tour to Jerusalem, starting at the Mount of Olives so you can take in the ancient city from a breathtaking viewpoint. Proceed to the Gardens of Gethsemane, where Jesus and his disciples slept the night before his crucifixion and whose olive trees may date back as far as Christ. After stopping to see the Church of all Nations, enter the UNESCO-listed Old City for an unforgettable walking tour that includes the Western Wall. After lunch, browse the Arab Bazaar, then follow the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, site of Jesus’ tomb.

Alternately, choose to spend the day on a full-day tour to Masada and the Dead Sea, with an included lunch. Begin at the famed desert fortress where a band of Jewish rebels chose the ultimate act of resistance against a siege by Roman soldiers. A short cable car ride to the top will show you the full scope of the desert and Dead Sea below. Then head down to its famously curative salt waters, where you can test how buoyant they really are. (Don’t forget your swimsuit!)

Following your tour to Jerusalem or Masada, you'll have the opportunity to explore Ashdod with a bit of free time this afternoon. 

Cultural Discovery: Enjoy a pre-dinner lecture about Israel from an expert. Then a port talk fills you on what’s happening tomorrow.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 9:

Uncover a biblical past from Haifa

Arrive in Haifa this morning, the picturesque northern Israeli port in the shadow of Mt. Carmel. Today’s full-day tour features many places from the life of Jesus. First head to Nazareth, where Jesus lived with Mary and Joseph after his birth. Marvel at the mosaic-filled Basilica of the Annunciation. Next, view the Wedding Church where Jesus turned water to wine. In the ancient fishing village of Capernaum, see the ancient synagogue where Jesus taught. After a local St. Peter’s fish lunch, embark a boat to cross the legendary Sea of Galilee, believed to be where Jesus walked on water. Then visit Tabgha, site of the miracle of the fishes, and the Mount of the Beatitudes, topped by the stunning church with its octagonal dome representing the 8 Beatitudes.

Cultural Discovery: This afternoon’s onboard lecture will illuminate some of what you have seen today. And today’s port talk prepares you for the next unforgettable stop, the fabled island of Cyprus.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 10:

Witnessing the history and traditions of Cyprus with your choice of tours

Your morning is at leisure today, another ideal opportunity to take a swim, catch up on a book in the sun, or simply sleep late in preparation for a day of discovery. After an early lunch on the ship, you'll arrive in Cyprus. The people of this island country enjoy a warm Mediterranean climate, dramatic coastal vistas, the pine-wooded Troodos Mountains, and some of the finest ancient mosaics in the world. You will join them today as you choose from two included afternoon tours.

During a half-day tour to Paphos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its natural and cultural treasures, stop to view Aphrodite’s Rock, said to be the spot from where the goddess of love and beauty rose from the sea. Visit the Chrysopolitissa Church, built on the remains of a Byzantine basilica, and St. Paul’s Pillar. At the Paphos Archaeological Park, view the remarkably preserved floor mosaics at the Houses of Dionysos, Aion, and Theseus. Enjoy free time to take in the relaxed atmosphere at the Harbor of Paphos.

Or, you may choose a half-day tour to the UNESCO-listed traditional village of Choirokoitia, where our local friend Petros reveals the secrets behind making Halloumi and Anari cheeses at his home. Settle in for a visit and delightful tasting of farm-fresh cheeses with honey, olives, home-baked bread, and salad. Petros will also show you how he weaves the island’s distinctive baskets. After a walk around the village, enjoy a scenic coastal drive back to the ship.

Cultural Discoveries: This evening, learn more about this fascinating island during an onboard lecture. And after our port talk, some Cypriot performers join us on board for a lively folklore show.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 11:

Relax on board with a day at sea

Enjoy a day at sea as the Ocean Explorer makes its way into the fabled waters of the Aegean Sea. Visit the spa, get in a workout at the gym, lounge in the swimming pool, relax on the sun deck catching up with a great book, and enjoy the fabulous cuisine the chefs are offering.  Cultural Discovery: Today’s onboard lecture provides more fascinating context to this legendary part of the Mediterranean. And this evening’s port talk previews your next incredible destination: the remarkable island of Rhodes.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 12:

Rhodes, island of the Knights of St. John

Spend this morning exploring Rhodes, Europe’s largest inhabited medieval town. See the old port of Mandraki. Traverse the heights of Agios Stefanos, or Monte Smith, for sweeping views. In the Old Town, visit the vast Grand Masters Palace, home to the Knights of St. John crusaders, and stop by the Archaeological Museum, once the Knights’ hospital. If you wish, you may linger on your own to explore more of this remarkable enclave of medieval treasures, perhaps strolling the cobbled Street of the Knights. You might also join an optional tour and enjoy a scenic ride to Lindos, where an ancient Acropolis sits atop an ancient rock mound overlooking the sea. You'll also stop at the summit of Monte Smith, where you'll have breathtaking views of the island.

Cultural Discovery: Back on board, learn more about the rich history that has shaped the Aegean. And though nothing can prepare you for the breathtaking sights of our next destination, Ephesus, our port talk will try!

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
Optional Tour: Lindos & Monte Smith

Lindos & Monte Smith

  • Approximate Cost: $65 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 4 hours
  • Location: Rhodes, Greece
  • When: Afternoon tour
A beautiful 30-mile drive along the east coast of Rhodes will take you past picturesque little villages, with many glimpses of the sea and a splendid landscape of orange and lemon groves, vineyards, and gnarled olive trees. Lindos was an ancient Doric town that rose to power hundreds of years before the birth of Christ — when the population was twenty times as great as it is today. In medieval times, it was the island’s second most important center, after the town of Rhodes itself. It is no source of wonder that the ancient Greeks, the Byzantines, and the Knights of St. John all made good use of the stupendous Acropolis, which dominates the little town and the curving bay down below.

You will walk up to the summit to discover the magnificent remains of past civilizations. Located here you will find the Doric Temple of Athena Lindia, a double-winged portico, Byzantine church, and the fortifications of the Knights, including the remains of the Governor’s quarters. The view is truly panoramic and at the very foot of the Acropolis is St. Paul’s Bay, where the Apostle is said to have sought shelter during a storm. Below the Acropolis are the clustered, old whitewashed houses and narrow streets of the delightful village. A haunt of artists and writers for many years, it also contains many tiny shops brimming with attractive souvenirs. As the tour comes to an end, you’ll follow the same scenic route for a final glimpse of the surrounding beauty. On your return transfer, you’ll stop to snap photos at Monte Smith, site of the ancient Rhodes acropolis.

DAY 13:

The rich biblical past of Ephesus

Discover the historical country of Turkey today. Step into the ancient past during a half-day visit to Ephesus, once the most important trading center in the Aegean. These breathtaking ruins are steeped in biblical history, as you will learn during a guided stroll down the Arcadian Way, once lined with colonnaded buildings and adorned with mosaics. Pass the impressive amphitheater and marvel at the towering façade of the Library of Celsus. This third largest library in the ancient world was built to house 12,000 parchment scrolls. You will also view the Temples of Hadrian and Diana before returning to the ship for lunch. 

This afternoon, an optional tour provides more biblical perspective, with visits to the Basilica of St. John and the House of the Virgin, believed to have been Mary’s last home. (Those who do not join the optional tour will enjoy an afternoon at leisure in Kusadasi, which offers great walks, restaurants, and shops.)

Cultural Discoveries: Back on board, there’ll be ample opportunities to immerse yourself in Turkish culture. Get into the rhythms of traditional song and dance during a performance by locals. Gain more insight into the past when you sit in on a lecture. And savor the creations of a Turkish master chef, who we have invited into the kitchen to prepare you dinner.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
Optional Tour: House of the Virgin Mary and St. John’s Basilica

House of the Virgin Mary and St. John’s Basilica

  • Approximate Cost: $79 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 3 hours
  • Location: Ephesus, Turkey
  • When: Afternoon tour
Discover ancient Greek remnants in modern-day Turkey on this optional tour. A motorcoach transfer will deliver you to the Basilica of St. John in Ephesus for explorations. The Basilica of St. John (St. Jean Aniti) was a great church in Ephesus constructed by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. It stands over the believed burial site of St. John, who is identified as the apostle, evangelist (author of the Fourth Gospel) and prophet (author of the Book of Revelation). The basilica is located on the slopes of Ayasoluk Hill near the center of Selçuk, just below the fortress and about 3.5 km (2 miles) from Ephesus.

Next, continue by coach to the House of the Virgin Mary, a Catholic museum and shrine located on the top of Mount Koressos. The House of the Virgin (Meryemana in Turkish), located in a nature park between Ephesus and Selçuk, is believed to be the last residence of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus. The peaceful site is sacred to both Christians and Muslims, and is visited by many tourists and pilgrims.

DAY 14:

Breathtaking Mykonos

Mykonos is big on discovery and beauty, and is renowned for its pure-white houses, tidy churches with blue domes, charming windmills, and pristine beaches. See what captivated Jackie Onassis and other celebrity yachters during a driving tour to some of its most stunning beaches: Agios Ioannis, Ornos, Kalafatis, and Agia Anna. 

Then, visit the magnificent white-washed village of Ano Mera. After stopping at its unique 1542 Panagia Tourliani Monastery, enjoy a tasty bite and a sip or two of ouzo in the square. A guided walking tour reveals the narrow passages and cobbled lanes of Mykonos before you return to the ship for lunch and an afternoon at leisure. You can join an optional tour to the most extensive archaeological site in Europe on the nearby island of Delos, or relax in Mykonos on your own, perhaps exploring by bike or arranging a 4x4 rental with the Concierge, one of the preferred modes of exploring this island.

Cultural Discoveries: Your day is further enlightened by another onboard lecture this afternoon, followed this evening by some fun onboard entertainment. Today’s port talk prepares you for the wonders of Santorini, tomorrow’s beguiling destination.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner
Optional Tour: Island of Delos

Island of Delos

  • Approximate Cost: $79 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 4 hours
  • Location: Ephesus, Turkey
  • When: Afternoon tour
After a 15-minute coach transfer and a short walk, guests will board the local ferry for a 40-minute sailing to Delos; the island of light, and the mythical birthplace of the God Apollo and Goddess Artemis. In Greek, Delos means "what appears," and according to mythology, the island appeared amid the waves, so that Leto would have a place to give birth to Apollo and Artemis.

The island is a piece of land covered with ruins, fallen columns, sections of the famous mosaics which once adorned the houses of the rich, a stadium and tiers of seats from a theater. Among these ruins, five marble lions stand in a row. Other interesting monuments spread over a wide area are the Agora, the treasures of the various cities, the Sanctuary of Apollo, the theater, the Sanctuary of the Foreign Gods and the Sacred Mount Cynthus. On your return to Mykonos, time permitting, you can either stroll on your own in the picturesque narrow streets of Chora or return to the ferry to take you back to Mykonos.

DAY 15:

Be dazzled by Santorini, then discover its wines on an optional tour

Santorini has been called the most magnificent of the Greek Isles. With its soaring cliffs tumbling into turquoise waters, you’re sure to agree. You will tender ashore and take a scenic drive to the ancient site of Akrotiri, a Minoan village frozen in time by the ash of a devastating volcanic eruption. This wonder has been compared to Pompeii both for its fate and for its incredible preservation. Explore its wonders with a guide, then continue to the beautiful clifftop village of Oia. This vision of whitewashed and pastel houses clinging to dark volcanic rock was once home to wealthy seafarers. Its narrow streets are a paradise for walkers, as you will experience firsthand. Then, move on to Fira, perched high over the Aegean on more cliffs. You many explore here on your own and return to the ship at leisure via a dramatic cable car and your waiting tender. 

Today’s optional tour takes you to the Santo Winery, where you can learn how grapes are grown in this unique climate and soil, and to the Prehistoric Museum, where you can admire artifacts from Akrotiri.


Cultural Discovery: This afternoon, an onboard lecturer adds more enlightenment to your knowledge of the Aegean. Later, a port talk fills you in on what you can expect from our visit to the Cradle of Civilization: Athens. Savor your final dinner on board, with ample options of locally inspired cuisine.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
Optional Tour: Santo Winery & Prehistoric Museum

Santo Winery & Prehistoric Museum

  • Approximate Cost: $119 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 4 hours
  • Location: Santorini, Greece
  • When: Afternoon tour

Santorini’s wines aren’t to be missed, and this optional excursion to Santo Winery introduces you to the unique methodology used to make Greek wines. From pruning to harvesting, everything is done by hand at Santo winery, and during a presentation and tasting, you’ll learn about the “koulouri” way of pruning the grapes, as well as how they’re grown in unique volcanic soil. Afterward, you’ll transfer to the Museum of Prehistoric Thira, which houses finds from the excavations at Akrotiri, including wall paintings, bronze artifacts, pottery, jewelry, and the recent discovery of a gold ibex.  


DAY 16:

Classical wonders of Athens

Arrive in Piraeus this morning and disembark for a thrilling tour of Athens, the sophisticated capital of Greece where mythology and ancient history come alive. You’ll visit the iconic Acropolis, where it was said that Poseidon and Athena fought over who would be patron of the city. This was the architectural pinnacle of Athens, crowned by its breathtaking Parthenon. You’ll also visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Parliament House on Constitution Square, the Pan Athenian Stadium, and the Presidential Palace. Along the famed Panepistimiou Avenue, pass the Catholic Cathedral, Academy of Athens, the University of Athens, and the National Library. Enjoy lunch on your own, perhaps seeking out a restaurant in the charming Plaka district, nestled at the foot of Acropolis Hill. Then enjoy an afternoon at leisure.

If you wish, marvel at some of the most important monuments from the Golden Age of Athens, including the Temple of Poseidon, during an optional tour to the breathtakingly scenic Cape Sounion.

Included Meals:

Breakfast
Optional Tour: Cape Sounion Tour

Cape Sounion Tour

  • Approximate Cost: $49 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 4 hours
  • Location: Athens, Greece
  • When: Afternoon tour

Cape Sounion is one of the most famous and picturesque places in Attica. Bordered by the sea on three sides, its sharply indented coastline is fringed with beautiful beaches. Today, you will see some of the marvelous vistas Attica offers overlooking the sea. Departing from the hotel, you will drive along the scenic west coast of the Attica Peninsula, affording you fine views of the Saronic Gulf, and the fertile countryside inland. The island of Aegina will be on your right as you pass Voula, Lagonissi, and other resorts on your way to the southeasternmost tip of the land mass of Europe — Cape Sounion. Here on top of the cliff, which King Aegeus threw himself into the sea that now bears his name, stand the 17 remaining Doric columns of the 5th-century BC Temple of Poseidon. Built in Pentelic marble, the columns have retained much of their original gleaming white appearance. Many visitors, both illustrious and ordinary, have carved their names on the pillars since the 18th century. Lord Byron proudly carved his signature, but you are discouraged from leaving your mark! The breathtaking panorama from this lofty spot is superb with the deep blue Aegean Sea studded with the islands before you.


DAY 17:

Peel back the rich layers of Athens on your own

You'll have a day to explore Athens anyway you see fit, or join an optional tour to view the treasures of the National Archaeological Museum and the breathtaking new Acropolis Museum.

If you stay in Athens, set out to uncover some of the Cradle of Civilization's lesser known gems. If you’re looking for a deal, head over to the Monastiraki flea market, an atmospheric agora of secondhand Athenian treasures. While you’re there, seek out a traditional sandal-maker sure to have your size.  

Tonight, celebrate your expedition together during a Farewell Drink and Dinner.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner
Optional Tour: Archaeological and New Acropolis Museums

Archaeological and New Acropolis Museums

  • Approximate Cost: $49 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 3 hours
  • Location: Athens, Greece
  • When: Morning tour

Travel back in time at the National Archaeological Museum, the largest archaeological museum in Greece and one of the most important museums in the world devoted to ancient Greek art. It was founded at the end of the 19th century to house and protect antiquities from all over Greece, preserving their historical, cultural, and artistic value.

Continue with a visit to the newly redesigned Acropolis Museum, which has been ranked as one of the top museums in the world. You’ll view all of the original surviving masterpieces from the temples of the Acropolis; excavations are also visible under glass floors and walkways. The museum was designed by the renowned Swiss architect Bernard Tschumi and the notable Greek architect Michalis Photiadis.


DAY 18:

Return home

After breakfast, transfer to the Athens airport for your return flight home, or continue to Istanbul, Constantinople of old, our optional post-trip extension.

Please note: Arrive to your destination rested and refreshed! Convenient gateway city stopover options mean you can break up longer flights easily — just ask our Flight Experts for assistance.

Included Meals:

Breakfast

Post-Trip Extension

Istanbul, Turkey

FROM: $1699 PER PERSON | 4 DAYS | $425 PER DAY

Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Cruise Director or regional expert.

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Eastern Mediterranean Crossing: the Holy Land, Greek Islands, Cyprus, Turkey, Egypt & the Suez Canal - 2021

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