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. Your three nights in this intoxicating cultural capital are the perfect way to start off your ocean expedition.
Fly to Turkey
Today you’ll board an overnight flight to Istanbul, Turkey.
Arrive in Istanbul
Today you'll land in Istanbul, Turkey’s exotic capital straddling Europe and Asia. You’ll arrive in time to check-in and relax before a Welcome Dinner.
Royal and cultural splendors of Istanbul
After breakfast, head to the Fatih district, home to the Historic Areas of Istanbul, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Begin your explorations at the Topkapi Palace, once home to Ottoman sultans and today a magnificent museum. Your guided tour leads you into some of its many chambers, including the Harem Apartments.
After lunch in the Topkapi Palace, continue to the spectacular Blue Mosque, named for the countless blue Iznik tiles that adorn its vast interior. Conclude the day among the teeming stalls and passageways of the Grand Bazaar, Istanbul’s historic marketplace.
Spectacular Sultanahmet on foot
Stretch your legs this morning during a walking tour of the Sultanahmet district. You’ll stop at the 6th-century Hagia Sophia, built as a church and later converted into a mosque. It has been a magnificent museum since 1935.
After, follow your nose to the Spice Bazaar, where mounds of colorful turmeric, saffron, and countless other spices vie for your olfactory attentions. Be sure to sample some Turkish Delight, the nation’s favorite sweet, while you’re here!
After lunch on your own, enjoy a free afternoon to relax and explore. This evening, gather for a Farewell Dinner with traditional cuisine and a folkloric performance.
Join group in Athens
Head to the Istanbul airport for you flight to Athens, Greece to meet for your base tour.
Here’s your chance to discover more of Spain’s stately and iconic capital. On this 3-night extension, let Vantage introduce you to this energetic, artistic metropolis — and one of Europe’s most indulgent culinary capitals. Get your fill of tapas on a walking tour that leads you to the bustling Mercado de San Miguel and see the city’s exquisite sights, from the grandeur of Plaza Mayor to leisure opportunities to seek out museums. Come experience Madrid in true Vantage style!
Your Price Includes:
Board a high-speed train to Madrid, then discover its highlights on a panoramic tour
Today, you’ll leave Barcelona on a high-speed train bound for Madrid. Upon arrival, you’ll be whisked away on a panoramic tour of Spain’s capital city. Afterward, check into your hotel and enjoy dinner on your own in this city of gastronomical delights.
Get to know Madrid on a walking tour and tapas tasting
Explore vibrant Madrid on foot, walking through Plaza Sol and Plaza Mayor, savoring city views, and passing multiple other historic monuments. Later, visit the city’s Mercado Central for an included tapas tasting! The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to further explore. Tonight, enhance your tapas discoveries with another opportunity to have dinner on your own.
Explore Madrid at your leisure
Enjoy a free day to pursue your own interests with recommendations provided by your Cruise Director. Wander the city’s many squares, shop for espadrilles and other classic Spanish products, and get your fill of tapas. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional excursion. Join us for a guided visit of the Prado Museum followed by a rousing Flamenco dinner show. Learn more
Begin your discoveries with a guided visit of the Museo Nacional de Prado (Prado Museum). Housed inside a building originally constructed in 1785 to house the Natural History Cabinet, today the Prado Museum is Spain’s main national art museum. Visitors are able to get up-close to the works of master artists such as Francisco Goya, Hieronymus Bosch, El Greco, Peter Paul Rubens, Titian, and Diego Velázquez.
Following your time at the museum, you’ll be treated to a quintessentially Spanish experience: a Flamenco dinner show! An artistic form of expression that fuses song, dance, and musicianship, Spanish Flamenco has a long and deep-rooted history dating back several centuries. It is so ingrained in the culture of the country that it was added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2010. You will have the opportunity to witness the mastery and passion of this traditional art form during a special Flamenco performance and dinner.
This optional activity is available during your optional trip extension in Madrid, Spain.
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!
Transfer to Madrid’s airport for your return flight home.