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Mediterranean Delights: Greece, Italy, France, Monaco, and Spain - 2021

Athens • 14-night expedition cruise to Nafplion, Monemvasia, Gythion, Pylos, Katakolon, Giardini Naxos/Taormina, Lipari, Castellamare/Pompeii, Porto Vecchio, Monte Carlo, Marseille, Sète • Barcelona
  • DISCOVER THE MEDITERRANEAN ON THE INAUGURAL SEASON OF THE OCEAN EXPLORER, VANTAGE'S FIRST SMALL SHIP OCEAN CRUISING EXPEDITION VESSEL
  • JOURNEY TO CARCASSONNE, FRANCE — THE LARGEST AND BEST PRESERVED FORTIFIED MEDIEVAL TOWN IN EUROPE
  • VISIT TAORMINA, THE GEM OF SICILY, SPECTACULARLY SET ON A CLIFF WITH ASTONISHING VIEWS OF MOUNT ETNA
  • EXPLORE MONTE CARLO, THE PLAYGROUND OF WELL-HEELED EUROPEANS THAT HAS BEEN RULED BY THE GRIMALDIS SINCE THE 13TH CENTURY
  • ENJOY TWO DAYS IN ATHENS, THE SOPHISTICATED GREEK CAPITAL WHERE MYTHOLOGY AND ANCIENT HISTORY COME ALIVE
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  • 19
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  • 35
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Athens to Barcelona

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Istanbul, Turkey

FROM: $1699 PER PERSON | 4 DAYS | $425 PER DAY
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DAY 1:

Board an overnight flight to Athens, Greece

Today you’ll board an overnight flight to Athens. Or, depart earlier for your pre-trip extension in Istanbul, Turkey.

DAY 2:

Athens arrival

Welcome to Athens, the fabled Cradle of Civilization. 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 in time for a Welcome Briefing and Dinner at the hotel alongside your fellow expeditioners. 

Included Meals:

Dinner

DAY 3:

Classical Wonders of Athens

This morning, enjoy a panoramic 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 in the charming Plaka district, nestled at the foot of Acropolis Hill.

Later, 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; or enjoy an afternoon at leisure. Dinner is on your own tonight, and you're in luck. Athens restaurants are world-class, but so is its street food — at a fraction of the cost. Don't miss souvlaki, fava purée and pita, a classic Greek salad, or anything involving whipped feta.

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 4:

Explore Athens on your own, embark the Ocean Explorer

You have the day at leisure to set out into the Cradle of Civilization to uncover some of its lesser known gems. Join our optional tour and visit two of Athens' most renowned institutions: the National Archaeological Museum and the newly-redesigned Acropolis Museum, ranked one of the top museums in the world. Or, opt for a morning at leisure. 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 who is sure to have your size.

Later, continue to Piraeus to embark the Ocean Explorer. Get settled in your cabin, then take some time to explore its amenities, including the onboard boutique, spa, pool, and gym. Stop by the Concierge desk to perhaps even reserve a spa appointment. Later, gather for the first of your daily port talks to hear about tomorrow’s exciting destination. You'll enjoy your first meal tonight, just a taste of the curated dining we've prepared. Tonight the ship sets sail for Nafplion.

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 5:

Ancient treasures in and around Nafplion

Your first morning on the Ocean Explorer begins with a delicious breakfast as the ship arrives in Nafplion. Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Arcadian Mountains, this ancient city enjoys a sheltered location below a rocky headland. Admire its impressive Venetian castle as you approach. Then, set out to discover two of Greece’s most renowned ancient sites. First, explore the ancient healing center of Epidaurus. UNESCO has described its Sanctuary of Asklepios as “one of the purest masterpieces of Greek architecture.” The sanctuary was dedicated to the god of medicine. You will also view its remarkably preserved amphitheater built into a mountain slope, still celebrated for its excellent acoustics. After, continue to the ruins of Mycenae, the Bronze Age capital of one of the first great empires of the ancient Mediterranean and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Look for the massive archway with the carved lions, the symbol of the ancient city-state.

After lunch on board, join our optional Nemea Pottery & Winery Tour to delve into the flavors and arts of coastal Greece at a local winery and pottery workshop. Cultural Discovery: Our onboard lecture today provides insight into the ancient Greeks.

In the elegant dining room tonight, savor a special Captain’s Welcome Dinner.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
Optional Tour: Nafplion Pottery & Winery

Nafplion Pottery & Winery

  • Approximate Cost: $99 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 4 hours
  • Location: Nafplion, Greece
  • When: Afternoon tour

Enjoy a scenic drive to Nemea and visit one of its best local wineries. Situated among vineyards, the Domaine Skouras winery is an ultramodern wine-making facility, with elegant Greek architecture, designed to ensure proper and thorough procedures of the highest standards in all aspects of wine production and bottling. After your visit and wine tasting, you’ll continue to the Nemea archaeological site and learn the history and mythology of this site.

On the way back, you'll visit a ceramics workshop in Mycenae to witness a pottery-making demonstration by skilled artisans. If you're interested, items made in the studio will be available for purchase.


DAY 6:

The Rock of Monemvasia and wine tasting

The small island of Monemvasia simply takes the breath away. The small size of our ship allows us to dock on its shores so you can explore this seldom-visited enclave. Called “The Rock" for its massive dominating rock, it is truly a unique and thrilling slice of the Aegean. Walk the charming narrow streets of its fortress, passing Byzantine churches and old houses with graceful archways. Visit the 13th-century Church of Christ Elkomenos, home to impressive old Byzantine icons. Cultural Discovery: Continue to the Liotrivi Mansion, surrounded by vineyards whose grapes produce the famed Malvasia wine. The Byzantine-era setting provides the ideal atmosphere for a wine tasting. You are welcomed by the vintner, who leads you on a tour of the centuries-old property before popping open a bottle or two for your sampling. After lunch on board, you have the afternoon to stroll the atmospheric streets of Monemvasia on your own. 

Cultural Discoveries: Later today, a lecture illuminates more about this historic region. This evening, we welcome local entertainers on board for a lively cultural performance.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 7:

Gythion, Gateway to Byzantine Mystras

Arrive this morning in Gythion, with ties to the legendary Trojan War. From here, head inland on the Peloponnese Peninsula to Mystras, the last stronghold of the Byzantines. This stunning site atop Mount Taygetos was a Byzantine center of culture in the 14th and 15th centuries. Stroll the narrow lanes of the once-invincible fortress, viewing the stone-carved facades of the Cathedral of Agios Dimitrios, where Constantine XII was coronated, the Church of Agia Sophia, the sprawling Palace of the Despots, and the Monastery of Pantanassa, with its brilliant frescoes.

This afternoon, join our optional tour to Diros Cave, where you'll board small boats and explore one of Greece’s earliest inhabited locations since Neolithic times. Or, opt for an afternoon at leisure to enjoy your ship’s amenities, perhaps swimming in the infinity pool or visiting the spa. 

Cultural Discovery: Learn more about the day’s experience during today’s onboard lecture, before another evening of culinary delights.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
Optional Tour: Diros Cave

Diros Cave

  • Approximate Cost: $65 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 4 hours
  • Location: Gythion, Greece
  • When: Afternoon tour

Transfer from Gythion by motorcoach to the Diros Cave, where you’ll board small fishing boats for a scintillating exploration of Diros, one of Greece’s earliest inhabited locations since Neolithic times. Abandoned in 4 BC after an earthquake, the caves were rediscovered around 1895 and explored extensively in 1949 by the husband-and-wife speleology team of Anna and Yiannis Petrocheilou.

Side chambers, also with stalagmites and stalactites, open off the central cave and are reached through a maze of corridors. During expeditions, archaeologists have found weapons, stone and bone tools, Neolithic pottery, rock paintings and complete human skeletons. During the ancient earthquake, large boulders were dislodged, blocking the mouth of the cave, and its inhabitants were subsequently trapped and starved to death.

After the tour, you’ll enjoy free time for sightseeing and shopping before transferring back to Gythion.

Please note: To visit the cave you will board small fishing boats and the Diros cave visit involves walking on a slippery path, as well as moderate to heavy walking overall. Passengers with physical limitations, breathing problems, or claustrophobia are requested to take this into consideration. Please wear casual and comfortable clothing and footwear.


DAY 8:

The stunning preservations of Pylos

Uncover the rich Greek, Venetian and Ottoman past of the Peloponnese today during your visit to Pylos. A scenic drive takes you first to Methoni, an important port in the 13th century. Its stunning fortress, a shining example of Venetian, Ottoman and French military architecture, is surrounded on three sides by the sea and on the landward side by an old moat. Back in Pylos, explore the Ottoman castle of Neokastro, one of Greece’s best preserved. Continue to the newly restored Mycenaean Palace of Nestor, a compound of four buildings and 105 apartments.

After lunch on board, join an optional tour to the ancient ruins of Messene, once a thriving city-state. Cultural Discovery: Today’s onboard lecture reveals more about the sites of the storied Peloponnese Peninsula.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
Optional Tour: Ancient Messini & Village of Messini

Ancient Messini & Village of Messini

  • Approximate Cost: $65 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 5 hours
  • Location: Pilos, Greece
  • When: Afternoon tour
Get ready to explore ancient Messini, a well-preserved city with many significant sanctuaries and public buildings, as well as imposing fortifications, houses and tombs. As you'll discover, Messini has the advantage of never having been destroyed or covered by later settlements, and is located on an unspoiled inland site. The city was fortified to withstand the Spartan incursions. The wall descended from the sides of Ithomi mountain and reached from the eastern side to the Lacinic Gate, and on the northwestern side to the Arcadian gate. In fact, the walls were once stronger than the famous walls of Byzantium of Rhodes. The Arcadian gate is dual, with two entrances separating a circular courtyard, and, where, according to Pausanias, there were statues of the gods who protected the city. On the inside of the walls, significant monuments, including examples of well-preserved 4th-century architecture, have been discovered. On the archaeological site today, you'll admire the site of the Asclepeio, and surrounded by a dual stoa, the theater and the bouleuterion — once the meeting place of the Messinian assembly. You'll also view the temple of Artemis and some notable relics of the stadium on the southwest side, as well as the “Sebasteion,” or Caesareion, a building with two halls dedicated to the worship of the Roman emperors.

DAY 9:

Katakolon & the Birthplace of the Olympics

This morning, arrive among the low forested hills of Katakolon and its quaint fishing port. Then, head inland to Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympics in 776 BC. Set in an idyllic valley, the sacredness of this site to the ancient Greeks predated the first Games. See the Temple of Zeus, the Gymnasium, the Palestra, Temple of Hera and the Philippeion. The stadium here once seated 45,000 spectators. A guided tour of the Museum of the Ancient Olympic Games illuminates the site for you. Cultural Discoveries: Continue for a fascinating visit to the Magna Grecia Olive Oil Farm. During a tour, learn how to taste the elixir and enjoy samples of extra virgin and scented oils with a delicious lunch and some red wine, all while being regaled with cultural entertainment. Back on board, enjoy another enriching lecture.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 10:

Relax on board with a day at sea

Enjoy a day at sea as the Ocean Explorer makes its way into the heart of the Mediterranean. 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 our chefs are offering. As always, you'll enjoy another Cultural Discovery, too — another scintillating lecture to enrich your understanding of Mediterranean history. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 11:

Taormina's rich history and breathtaking setting

Arrive on the shores of Sicily today, the breathtaking island at the tip of Italy’s toe. From your anchor in Giardini Naxos, you head to Taormina, the historic city set on a cliff overlooking the Ionian Sea. This chic resort town offers splendid views of Mount Etna in the distance and a charming medieval ambience. During your tour, admire the Moorish and Islamic influences in the exterior of the 15th-century Palazzo Carvaia. Continue to the fantastic Greek Theater, originally built in the 3rd century by Romans. You can marvel at its coastal vistas before heading to the Public Gardens, boasting some 200 species. Take time to sample a refreshing granita while here, then we provide you with the euros you’ll need to enjoy lunch at an inviting spot of your choosing. 

This afternoon, explore more deeply with an optional tour Mount Etna, stopping along the way to visit a local family in their home for lunch. Cultural Discoveries: Another onboard lecture deepens your understanding of the region. This evening, get into the rhythms of the Triskele Band, named for the three-legged triskelion symbol on the Sicilian flag.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
Optional Tour: Etna Tour

Etna Tour

  • Approximate Cost: $69 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 4 hours
  • Location: Catania, Italy
  • When: Afternoon tour
Set on the eastern coast of Sicily, Mount Etna is among Europe’s tallest (and the world’s most active) volcanoes. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2013, the volcano has shaped Sicilian history and continues to impact life on the island today. This 3,300-meter-high volcano is home to forests, impressive craters, solid lava, and more. Your coach will take you up to 2,000 meters, giving you the opportunity to marvel at ever-changing scenery of lemon groves, orchards, vineyards, and chestnut and pine woods that blend beautifully with the hardened lava and endless volcanic cones. Everything will be enhanced by the explanation of your guide, who will be with you throughout. Along the way, you’ll enjoy a home-hosted lunch with a Sicilian family on the slopes of Mount Etna and savor some local specialties and conversation.

DAY 12:

Lipari: Gem of the Aeolian Islands

It is only because of our small ship size that we can pause for a day to explore the Aeolian Islands, Italy’s archipelago northwest of Sicily. Drama greets you at every turn on these soaring, majestic volcanic islands. You anchor off the shore of Lipari and tender to Marina Corta, walking with your guide along the via Garibaldi. At the Rock of the Castle, set high on a promontory, peer deep into the island’s past at an archaeological site and visit the Cathedral of Bartholomew, the island’s patron saint. Then, get a panoramic view of the island, visiting the villages of Quattrocchi and Quattropani. As you explore, enjoy splendid views of other Aeolian Islands, including Stromboli with its ever-active towering volcano. You will also stop to take in the vistas of Lipari Beach and observe the ubiquitous pumice stone deposited here by volcanic eruptions from millennia past. After lunch on board, enjoy leisure time in Lipari. 

Cultural Discovery: This afternoon’s onboard lecture provides more fascinating context to this legendary part of the Mediterranean.

Scenic Sailing: This evening, shipboard commentary accompanies our scenic cruising among the magnificent Aeolian Islands.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 13:

Uncovering the mysteries of Pompeii

Arrive this morning along the legendary Amalfi Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where seaside villages and dizzying cliffs create a dreamy landscape. No visit here is complete without a tour of Pompeii, the ancient city buried by the ash of Vesuvius in 79 AD. A walking tour with a private guide helps you step back 2,000 years into a world of cobbled lanes worn by horse-drawn cart wheels, fascinating villas still adorned by colorful murals, Roman baths, the old forum, and more.

Cultural Discovery: This afternoon, take part in something truly extraordinary — don't forget your camera! We've coordinated an afternoon lunch visit to a local farm, where you'll meet your hosts for a tour and a class in creating the perfect pizza, the famed cuisine of nearby Naples.

Cultural Discovery: Back on board, learn more about local history and culture before another delectable dinner brings you even more flavors of this region.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 14:

The cultural riches of coastal cliff-top Corsica

This morning, enjoy breakfast and an early lunch as the Ocean Explorer nears Corsica. This mountainous Mediterranean outpost offers a fascinating glimpse of France in the middle of the Mediterranean. With its chalk-white coastal cliffs and rugged vistas, it is one of the area’s most breathtaking islands — known to the French as “l’Île de Beauté.” Arriving midday, you set out to explore Bonifacio, its castle and pastel-hued Old Town perched on a cliff edge. Explore its Gothic church, the only one on the island, and climb if you wish the 189 steps of the Roy d’Aragon. Then, embark a small boat for a thrilling expedition to explore the Lavezzi Islands and their dramatic cliffs and sea caves carved by the surf over millennia.

Cultural Discovery: An onboard lecture this afternoon reveals more about this seldom-visited corner of the Mediterranean.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 15:

Glitz and glamour of Monte Carlo

Arrive this morning in Monte Carlo, capital of the tiny independent principality of Monaco. Playground to well-heeled Europeans, this sovereign nation has been ruled by the Grimaldis since the 13th century. You will arrive via the world-famous Grand Prix track of Formula One fame. Then, marvel at the world-renowned Belle Époque Grand Casino, a vision of extravagance and wealth. See the lush gardens, too, before viewing the Hôtel de Paris, a 19th-century grand dame. In the historic quarter of Le Rocher (“The Rock”), admire stunning sea views 200 feet below while strolling past the Prince’s Palace, just in time to see the Changing of the Guard. Nearby, the neo-Romanesque Monaco Cathedral is a vision in white; the Grimaldis, including Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco, are entombed here. After seeing the Justice Palace, your tour ends at the Oceanographic Museum, another neo-classical gem.

After lunch on board, you may join our optional tour to the magnificent hilltop town of Èze, featuring a stop at a renowned local perfumery. Cultural Discovery: An onboard lecture fills you in on more fascinating details about this glittering Mediterranean coastline.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
Optional Tour: Èze & Parfumerie Galimard

Èze & Parfumerie Galimard

  • Approximate Cost: $89 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 4 hours
  • Location: Monte Carlo, Monaco
  • When: Evening tour

Èze, a renowned tourist site on the French Riviera, is famous worldwide for the view of the Mediterranean Sea from its hilltop. Its Jardin botanique d’Èze is known for its collection of cacti and succulents, as well as its panoramic views. You’ll see the oldest building in the village, the Chapelle de la Sainte Croix, which dates back to 1306. Members of the lay order of the White Penitents of Èze, who were in charge of giving assistance to plague victims, would hold their meetings there, and the shape of the bell turret is an indication that the village once belonged to the Republic of Genoa. This small medieval village is famous for its beauty and charm, and its many shops, art galleries, hotels, and restaurants attract a large number of tourists. As a result, Èze has become known as a museum village, and few locals live here. After taking in the stunning views, you’ll pay a visit to the Galimard perfume factory and have some free time to explore the village on your own. As you make your way back to the hotel, you’ll enjoy the breathtaking views of this wonderful region on a scenic drive along the Côte d’Azur.


DAY 16:

Exploring the magic of the south of France

Steeped in history and boasting a newly revived waterfront, Marseille provides a beguiling glimpse of a French medieval port. From here, you have two ways to delve into the celebrated south of France today: a full-day tour to romantic Provence, or a full-day safari in Camargue National Park.

The first included tour takes you deeper into the heart of Provence. Begin at the Gordes Castle in its namesake town, a picture-postcard hilltop village climbing a slope from the Vaucluse plateau. After, continue to the red cliffs and ochre quarries of Roussillon. The emerald pine trees and vivid blue Provençal sky create a stunning canvas. We provide you some euros to have lunch at a restaurant of your choosing, then it’s on to a walking tour of Aix-en-Provence’s Old Town, strolling under the lovely plane trees of Cours Mirabeau past elegant mansions. If you wish, you may visit Paul Cézanne’s atelier during your free time.

Your second tour option is decidedly wilder. Head into Camargue National Park to explore the vast Rhône River Delta, a pristine region of swamps, river tendrils and ponds teeming with numerous bird species, including the pink flamingo. Throughout your safari, you will pause as opportunities arise to view the region’s wild Camargue horses and bulls grazing as manades, or free-roaming herds. You will visit a working farm to learn more about the horses and bulls and stop for lunch at a local restaurant.

Cultural Discovery: After dinner, we have invited local performers to entertain you with dances and songs of their country.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 17:

Historic and cultural wonders of French Occitanie

The seaside resort of Sète is your entrée to two historic treasures. Again today, you can select the tour that suits your interest: A full-day tour of Carcassonne, or a half-day tour to Montpellier and Château de Flaugergues.

If you choose the first option, you'll journey to UNESCO-listed Carcassonne, the largest and best preserved fortified medieval town in Europe. Step back in time within its massive walls, exploring narrow, cobbled streets, the breathtaking St. Nazaire Basilica, an 11th-century Romanesque church, the 12th-century Château Comtal and countless other treasures from the Middle Ages. After lunch at a local restaurant, tour the lovely Fontfroide Abbey, founded in 1093, with its hushed cloister and vaulted chapter house. 

Alternately, visit the historic and stylish city of Montpellier, capital of the Languedoc-Rousillon region. In the Old Town, admire elegant mansions and other stunning architecture that fuses the classical and the avant-garde. In the Place de la Comèdie, admire the Three Graces fountain. You will also see the fortress-like Cathedral St. Pierre and the Arc de Triomphe. Later, stop for a tour and wine-tasting at the 18th-century Château de Flaugergues. Romans were the first to cultivate grapes on these grounds 2,000 years ago. After the tasting, you'll be back on board the Ocean Explorer for lunch and an afternoon at leisure in Sète.


Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 18:

Barcelona, Catalonia’s vibrant cultural heart; disembarking the Ocean Explorer

This morning you'll disembark the Ocean Explorer — we hope you enjoyed your expedition on the inaugural season of Vantage's first ocean-going expedition vessel! 

This morning you'll get to know the sophisticated capital of Catalonia on a panoramic tour that includes the hugely successful revitalization project of Port Vell, the Olympic Village that hosted the 1992 Games. Then, ascend Montjuic for spectacular city views. Continue to the Plaza de España, adorned with Venetian towers and a towering fountain, and to La Sagrada Família cathedral, Antoni Gaudí’s famous masterpiece and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which you'll be able to visit on your own. After seeing the architectural treasures along the tree-lined Passieg de Gràcia — including surreal buildings by Gaudí — there’ll be plenty of time to shop the city’s famous pedestrian-only Las Ramblas. The tour concludes at La Barceloneta Beach, where an included lunch awaits.

Afterward, you may return to La Sagrada Família with individual tickets for entrance. Then, enjoy an evening at leisure with dinner on your own. Cultural Discovery: And after that, prepare yourself for a passionate flamenco performance at a local tablao. This is an experience you won't soon forget!

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 19:

Follow your own whims and desires in Barcelona

During this free day in Barcelona, consider our optional Paella Cooking Class with Lunch, where a seasoned chef will teach you how to make this iconic Spanish dish. 

Or, you might prefer a day at leisure. If so, set your sights on the city’s atmospheric Gothic Quarter, the Barrio Gótico adjacent to Las Ramblas. It is pure delight to follow its labyrinthine streets into intimate squares, or plaças, stopping along the way for a café crema or a lunch of traditional tapas and Rioja wine. Browse the colorful food stalls of the Mercat de la Boqueria, a foodie’s paradise for its artisanal cheeses, smoked meats, chocolate truffles, and so much more. 

Tonight, reunite with your fellow travelers and celebrate your expedition together during a Farewell Drink and Dinner.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner
Optional Tour: Paella Cooking Class with Lunch

Paella Cooking Class with Lunch

  • Approximate Cost: $119 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 4 hours
  • Location: Barcelona, Spain
  • When: Morning tour
Discover one of Spain’s most iconic dishes with this optional tour. Under the tutelage of an experienced chef, you’ll select fresh ingredients for paella, which you’ll learn how to cook in a 90-minute workshop that includes preparation and plating. After, feast on the fruits of your labor!

DAY 20:

Return home

After breakfast, transfer to the Barcelona airport for your return flight home, or enjoy a longer stay in the city with 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

Barcelona, Spain

FROM: $949 PER PERSON | 3 DAYS | $316 PER DAY

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

Please Note: Ocean cruising is not the same experience as river cruising; as such, you may experience fluctuating tides and weather patterns that may involve some rocking of your vessel. Itineraries will include all activities as planned except in extreme cases that can’t be controlled by your shipboard crew.

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