Vantage celebrates its 40th anniversary this year!
White-sand beaches, cerulean waters, charming villages, and sophisticated cities… Experience all this and more on a Vantage Deluxe World Travel 5-star small ship cruise of southern Europe.
See the surreal masterpieces of visionary architect Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona, tour the birthplace of the Olympics in Katakolon, explore the 6th-century castle town of Monemvasia, and encounter the diversity of cultural influences found in Palermo. With 16 included features and Cultural Discoveries, whether its touring ancient ruins in Athens or viewing magnificent monuments in Malta, there is a breadth of unique experiences to be found throughout your journey. Plus, our ship’s small size allows us to navigate to exclusive ports larger ships can’t reach.
Along the way, indulge in first-class amenities and personalized service aboard the Ocean Odyssey. Designed with just 77 cabins onboard – including a landmark 15 solo cabins – this elegant vessel seamlessly blends opulent luxury with intimate discoveries. After a day of portside exploration, relax onboard with a pampering spa treatment or a delicious meal cooked over a hot-rock grill. Take in the panoramic views from the top-level sundeck and sit in on engaging onboard lectures and informative port talks. Your onboard Destination Manager can assist with reservations for the ship’s spa or salon, and you’ll be picture-ready in no time for these glamorous ports of call. Extend your discoveries with optional extensions in Madrid or Istanbul. Step aboard, discover the Mediterranean, and live la dolce vita with Vantage!
In addition to its famous museums, bustling streets dotted with all kinds of shops, restaurants featuring world-class cuisine and traditional specialties; and unbeatable nightlife, Madrid will surprise you with its tranquil historic spots that charm everyone walking by. Immerse yourself in the culture of this lively, Iberian city during your optional pre-trip extension.
Fly overnight to Barcelona
Today you’ll board an overnight flight to Barcelona. Or, depart earlier for your optional pre-trip extension to Madrid, Spain.
Welcome to Barcelona!
Arrive in Barcelona, the vibrant capital of Spain’s Catalonia region. If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a representative will meet you at the airport to assist with transfers to your hotel. Following check-in, you’ll have the afternoon at your leisure. Tonight, join your fellow travelers for a Welcome Dinner at your hotel.
Take in the sights of beautiful Barcelona
Today, you’ll enjoy a panoramic sightseeing tour of a few of Barcelona’s highlights, including Montjuïc Hill, the Plaza de España, and Gran Via. You’ll also have an opportunity to discover Paseo de Gracia and have free time for shopping at Las Ramblas, before continuing on to the La Sagrada Família for a photo stop of its exterior.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional excursion. Choose from a Barcelona sightseeing tour that includes access to the interior of La Sagrada Familia, or an alternate tour of the UNESCO-listed works of Antoni Gaudí and a visit to Montserrat. Learn more
Set off on a full-day exploration of Barcelona’s best sites, including entrance to the La Sagrada Familia to take in the full scope of its interior beauty. This famed basilica is one of architect Antoni Gaudí’s most acclaimed masterpiece’s and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll also visit another one of Gaudí’s famed works, Park Güell. Constructed in the early 1900a, this is one of the most remarkable public parks in the world. Your tour also includes a stop at Mount Montserrat, site of the Benedictine Our Lady of Montserrat monastery and one of the most unique places in Catalonia.
Due to high call volume, we recommend you visit MyPortfolio to book this Destination Enhancement. Don’t wait — these optional experiences are limited to a select number of guests and are selling out fast!
Embark the Ocean Odyssey today
Today, you’ll embark the Ocean Odyssey to begin the cruise portion of your exciting Mediterranean voyage. Get settled in your sumptuous stateroom, then explore the Ocean Odyssey’s many amenities, including the sundeck and fitness center. See your Destination Manager to reserve an appointment at the onboard spa. Later, gather for the first of your daily port talks to hear about tomorrow’s exciting destination. In the dining room, savor a special Welcome Dinner.
Visit Palma de Mallorca, the jewel of Spain’s Balearic Islands
The ship arrives in Palma de Mallorca this morning. Ringed by pristine crescent beaches and cloaked in lush green forest, Mallorca is an island paradise for both residents and visitors alike. On a panoramic city tour, you'll explore the stunning circular Bellver Castle, built in the 14th century for the Kings of Mallorca. Later, step inside the massive La Seu Cathedral. This honey-colored, Gothic masterpiece boasts a cavernous interior designed by Antoni Gaudí and a 144-foot-high nave. Return to the ship for lunch before an afternoon at leisure in Palma de Mallorca.
Delight in your ship’s amenities during a day at sea
One of the true pleasures of a luxurious, small ship cruise is the onboard experience as you sail from one incredible destination to another. From indulgent spa treatments and soothing hot tubs to elegant dining and personalized service, you’ll find everything you need to feel relaxed, pampered, and entertained today.
Onboard Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional onboard experience. Enhance your time on board with one of our Vantage-exclusive activities, including wine and whiskey tastings, a multicourse Chef’s Table Dinner, or an exclusive wine-pairing dinner. Learn more
Cagliari’s medieval wonders are yours to explore
Cagliari, like many of Italy’s great cities, wears its well-worn history on its sleeve. From the ancient ruins and centuries-old churches to the museums packed with prehistoric artefacts and the elegant palazzi, you’ll encounter this charming city’s rich past at every turn.
Today, you’ll explore Castello, the most ancient of Cagliari’s historic districts, on an included walking tour. Surrounded by fortress walls that have defended the city for centuries, you’ll pass through Castello’s ancient doors to begin your explorations.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional excursion. Dig into the fascinating history and culture of Sardinia with a half-day tour of the UNESCO-listed Su Nuraxi di Barumini and Giara di Gesturi. Learn more
Dig into the fascinating history and culture of Sardinia with a half-day tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Barumini, from where you’ll be able to view the prehistoric Su Nuraxi Fortress and learn about the prehistoric cultures that built the Nuraghe structures found here. Then, visit the Giara Plateau and see the wild horses of Giara di Gesturi, a unique breed of small horses dating back to Phoenician times and one of the few remaining wild horse breeds in Europe.
Relax on board and enjoy your ship’s amenities
Relax with a day at sea — refresh, renew, and relish in your ship’s world-class amenities. Perhaps you’ll join a morning workout class. You could enjoy a facial at the spa, meet friends in the lounge for a game of bridge, attend a lecture about the places you’ll visit, or simply soak in the hot tub with the cocktail of the day — the choice is yours!
Explore Palermo’s crossroads of culture
Today, you’ll explore Palermo, Sicily’s capital city. A walking tour of this diverse destination reveals the heady mix of Byzantine mosaics, Arabesque domes, souk markets, and Gothic palaces found here. Its bustling neighborhoods, winding streets, and stucco chapels make a charming backdrop to your time spent exploring this vibrant town.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional excursion. Visit the charming old fishing village of Cefalù on an optional half-day excursion. Learn more
The charming fishing village of Cefalù welcomes you during this optional walking tour. This north Sicilian coastal city is known for its 12th-century Norman cathedral, an elaborate, fortress-like structure featuring soaring twin towers and embellished Byzantine mosaics. During our time here, we’ll pay a visit to this impressive cathedral, plus enjoy a delicious traditional lunch.
Marvelous Messina greets you today
Messina, the gateway to Sicily, is a city that can be easily explored on foot. That is exactly what you will doing today on an included walking tour. Stroll through the historic city center around the Duomo, representative of the city’s Belle Époque era. The Duomo’s almost 200-foot-tall Norman bell Tower contains the world’s largest mechanical clock. Near the cathedral, you will also find Florentine Montorsoli’s grand 16-th century Orion Fountain, honoring the city’s founder. Following the tour, you’ll return to the ship for lunch, then have the rest of the day at your leisure.
See more of Sicily in Syracuse and Ortigia
More Sicilian discoveries begin today in UNESCO-listed Syracuse, where ancient Greek ruins and antique Italian charm fuse into one splendid island called Ortigia. On a walking tour, head to the Old Town with its narrow, cobblestoned lanes and welcoming piazzas. You’ll visit an archaeological area to view the remains of the Temple of Apollo and the gorgeous Fountain of Arethusa, a natural spring with roots in Greek mythology. You’ll also get a look into Jewish life here — Judaism was present here long before the arrival of Christianity in Sicily. You’ll also see the oldest mikveh (ancient ritual bath) to survive in Europe, and one of the first few in what’s now known as Italy.
Return to the ship for lunch, then enjoy the afternoon at leisure to continue your explorations in Syracuse.
Embark on a walking tour of Valletta, then experience Malta in 5D
Arrive in Malta this morning and go sightseeing in Valletta, the island’s capital and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Valletta, Europe’s smallest capital, is an open-air museum of 16th-century buildings built by the Knights Hospitaller. Your private guide will regale you with tales of the city’s history while leading you down charming narrow streets to visit the Valletta City Gate, Triton Fountain, the new Parliament building, and St. John’s Co-Cathedral, which was dedicated to Saint John the Baptist and is considered one of the finest examples of high Baroque architecture. Your walking tour concludes with a 5D show exploring the history and culture of Malta in an interactive and exciting way. You’ll return to the ship for lunch, then have the remainder of the afternoon to spend at your leisure.
Enjoy another day at sea aboard the Ocean Odyssey
Indulge in your ship’s amenities today with another relaxing day at sea. Pamper yourself with a soothing massage at the spa, participate in an instructor-led fitness class, take a comforting soak in the outdoor hot tub, savor a refreshing cocktail at one of the shipboard lounges, or visit the gift shop and pick up a few souvenirs.
Spend the day in vibrant Corfu and ring in the New Year
Enjoy a splendid day on the scenic island of Corfu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site adorned with Venetian inspiration and a lively local lifestyle. During your time in Corfu, you'll indulge in a tour of one of its most well-known attractions: the elegant Achilleion Palace. Dating back to 1890, this property was the brainchild of Empress Elizabeth of Austria, who was fond of the island and visited often. Each floor is adorned with lavish decor, including bronze and stone statues of fabled Greek gods in the palace and on the surrounding garden grounds. After your tour, enjoy lunch back on board and a relaxing afternoon at leisure.
Tonight, we’ll ring in the New Year with a special dinner and festive celebration on board.
See the birthplace of the Olympics in Katakolon
This morning, we’ll sail into Katakolon and a enjoy scenic drive through the Peloponnese peninsula. Then, you'll have a full-day exploring Olympia, site of the original Olympic Games. This UNESCO World Heritage Site dates back to the 8th century BC, where it first became a sanctuary for the gods and a place to worship Zeus. Alongside ancient temples, there are remains of various sporting venues from the festive games that began in 776 BC. Following your tour, you’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before returning to the ship. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure.
Explore medieval Monemvasia today
Located on a small Greek island off the eastern coast of the Peloponnese, Monemvasia is one of the most interesting places to visit in Greece. Carved entirely on the backside of a sea rock, this medieval castle town was hidden from the mainland and only accessible via boat, allowing its residents protection against enemy invasion. While a newer, more modern town has been constructed on the mainland, much of the original 6th-century village still remains and you will explore it on today’s walking tour. Navigate the narrow, cobblestoned streets as you make your way through the castle and to the Church of Elkomenos Christos. Dating back to 1697, the church was constructed on the site of a former 6th-century temple and features dual thrones dedicated to the Byzantine emperor and empress. At the conclusion of your tour, you’ll return to the ship for lunch and an afternoon at leisure.
Please note: Today’s tour will require walking over unpaved, uneven cobblestone streets.
Be dazzled by sensational Santorini
Santorini has been called the most magnificent of the Greek Isles. With its soaring cliffs, turquoise waters, and oft-photographed buildings, this is the most instantly recognizable destination in Greece. This vision of whitewashed and pastel houses clinging to dark volcanic rock was once home to wealthy seafarers. You will experience this popular destination firsthand on an included bust tour today.
Breathtaking Mykonos awaits you today
Mykonos is big on discovery and beauty, and is renowned for its pure-white houses, blue-domed churches, charming windmills, and pristine beaches. You’ll see what captivated Jackie Onassis — and other celebrity yachters — during a driving tour to one of its most stunning beaches: Agios Ioannis. Along the way, you’ll pass the beaches of Ornos, Kalafatis, and Agia Anna. Then, visit the magnificent, white-washed village of Ano Mera. After stopping at its unique 1542 Panagia Tourliani Monastery, we’ll pop into a local taverna to enjoy an appetizer and a bit of ouzo. 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.
Disembark the Ocean Odyssey and head to Athens
Arrive in Piraeus this morning and disembark the Ocean Odyssey as the cruise portion of your journey comes to an end. You’ll transfer to your centrally located hotel, taking in the sights of Athens along the way. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to explore Athens as you wish.
Uncover the classical wonders of Athens
Following breakfast at your hotel, you’ll depart 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 Panathenaic 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. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure with dinner at the hotel tonight.
Return home today
After breakfast, transfer to the Athens airport for your return flight home. Or, continue on to your optional post-trip extension in Istanbul.
Immerse yourself in the exoticism, fascinating history, and resplendent architecture of Istanbul, where Europe meets Asia along the bustling Bosphorus Strait. You’ll step into the world of Ottoman sultans at the Topkapi Palace, marvel at the towering domes and minarets of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia; and roam the endless passageways of the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market, teeming with colorful carpets, leather goods, jewelry, and lanterns. This is the perfect way to round out your ocean voyage.
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. 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.