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Journey to the heart of Bavaria to experience a fairy-tale town that hosts a very special celebration once every decade. On this once-in-a-lifetime extension, be enchanted by a breathtaking village frozen in time, home to famous Lüftlmalerei wall paintings and wood carvings that depict traditional mythical stories. And, on one evening every ten years, the town puts on a Passion Play about the life of Jesus, fabled to have kept a plague at bay more than four centuries ago.
This year is even more unprecedented, as the current global state of affairs delayed the event from 2020 now to 2022. You'll have the opportunity to take part in this tradition that remains alive and well and has been an international allurement for the faithful and historians alike since 1634.
Not only will you have a seat on one of the most dramatic and unforgettable performances, you'll also be able to explore modern and storied Munich and discover what makes this city so wonderful. Enjoy some of the best seats in the house on the Oberammergau Passion Play and more of the most enriching features on this spectacular extension in Germany.
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.
Enhance your Adriatic cruise by stealing away to Lake Bled, Slovenia, for a four-day stay at a tranquil resort surrounded by the majestic Julian Alps. Take daily excursions to the region’s beautiful sights including Bled Castle, set on a cliff high above the lake. Included features and Cultural Discoveries — with visits to a mountain village and a gingerbread maker — give you insight into the unique local lifestyle. Stay at a grand lakeside resort that offers unbeatable views and relax after each day of sightseeing.
Board an overnight flight to Athens, Greece
Today you’ll board an overnight flight to Athens. Or, depart earlier for your pre-trip extension to Oberammergau, Germany or Istanbul, Turkey.
Arrive in Athens
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 your hotel transfer. This evening, enjoy a Welcome Briefing and Dinner at the hotel and get to know your fellow passengers.
Behold the classical wonders of Athens
This morning, enjoy a panoramic tour of Athens, the sophisticated capital of Greece. Mythology and ancient history come alive here, as you’ll see at the iconic Acropolis. It was here that Poseidon and Athena were said to have fought to determine 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, the 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. You'll have lunch on your own, perhaps dining in the charming Plaka district, nestled at the foot of Acropolis Hill.
Enjoy an afternoon at leisure in Athens. 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 with feta cheese.
Explore Athens on your own, then embark the Ocean Odyssey
You have the day at leisure to set out into the Cradle of Civilization to uncover some of its less-explored paths. If you’re looking to shop for a deal, head over to the Monastiraki flea market, the atmospheric agora of secondhand treasures.
Later, continue to Piraeus to embark the Ocean Odyssey. Get settled in your cabin and take time to explore the ship’s amenities, including the onboard boutique, spa, pool, and gym. Stop by the Concierge desk to make a spa appointment. Later, join the first of your daily port talks to learn about tomorrow’s exciting destination. Tonight, the ship sets sail for Itea.
Spend the day in ancient Delphi
This morning after breakfast and an onboard lecture, you'll dock on Greece's mainland coast at Itea and be transported to nearby UNESCO-listed Delphi. Once known as the center of the world by ancient Greek mythologists, Delphi has been revered as a hotspot of ancient Greek culture and archeology for centuries and you'll see its highlights today.
See the birthplace of the Olympics
Today, you'll have a full day at the location where the ancient Olympic Games originated — in Olympia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Surrounded by a natural setting of beauty and serenity, the archeological site dates back to the 10th century B.C., where it first became a sanctuary for the gods and a place to worship Zeus. Alongside temples, there's remains of various sporting venues from the festive games that began in 776 BC.
In the afternoon, you'll be delighted to join in on a traditional Greek lunch at the Magna Grecia, a Greek farm. Sample its house made wine and olive oils while being regaled with local entertainment to boot.
Spend the day in vibrant Corfu
Enjoy a splendid day on the scenic island of Corfu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site adorned with Venetian inspiration and a lively local lifestyle. You'll have the opportunity to explore Corfu town on the east side, full of traditional bars, restaurants, and shops framed by winding alleyways.
During your time in Corfu, you'll indulge in a tour of one of its most famed 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 the surrounding gardens.
After your tour, enjoy lunch back on board and a relaxing afternoon at leisure.
Tour Kotor and the UNESCO surrounding bay
Have a scenic breakfast as you sail into the coast of Montenegro. Tucked away at the head of the bay is Kotor, a fortified medieval town. Here, you’ll learn the history of the town — which is believed to stretch back as far as the first century — while you walk the charming tangle of Old World streets. The views are sure to take your breath away, from medieval churches to staggering mountains.
Heading toward Dubrovnik, Croatia, you’ll follow the winding Bay of Kotor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With its narrow profile and steep walls, Kotor’s bay is often called Europe’s southernmost fjord. Technically, however, the bay is not a true, glacier-carved fjord, but rather a ria, or submerged river valley. You'll enjoy commentary onboard about this bay as you sail, and later an onboard lecture about the "Dubrovnik Republic" before dinner on the ship.
Experience Dubrovnik's Old City and a private concert
Today, your carefully selected local guide will lead you through Dubrovnik's Old City — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — introducing you to its most heralded landmarks, as well as its hidden gems. Following the tour, you’ll relax in a centuries-old church for a Vantage-exclusive private classical concert by the Sorkočević Quartet, who are members of the Croatian National Philharmonic Orchestra.
Return to your ship for lunch, then enjoy a leisurely afternoon. You'll be supplied with a one-day Dubrovnik card, which provides free entrance to numerous sites around the city, including access to the walkway atop the walls surrounding the Old City. Your Cruise Director will be happy to recommend activities to do and places to see.
Unearth the UNESCO treasures of Hvar
An idyllic Mediterranean port, Hvar is a popular celebrity destination known for its vast fields of lavender, ancient olive trees, and fruit orchards. Set off on a guided walking tour this morning and learn the port town's history, hear about local legends, and visit the lace museum, inside the Benedictine Monastery.
Later, discover even more on an island tour, including a visit to Stari Grad Plain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Return for lunch on board and take the afternoon to explore Hvar at your leisure. You may also choose to go swimming, snorkeling, or fishing (weather permitting). Active travelers shouldn't miss the walk to Hvar Fortress, with entrance included.
We'll set sail for Split, and you'll enjoy a lecture entitled "Mediterranean Diet & Local Products." After arriving in Split, take in an evening entertainment by a local folkloric ensemble.
Revisit the Roman era at the Diocletian’s Palace in Split
Welcome to Split, one of the oldest cities in this historic region. Explore ancient Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which the emperor chose as his retirement home because of the area’s spectacular beauty. Your special tour also takes you into the mysterious passages in the lower levels of the palace’s massive structure — Game of Thrones fans will recognize this site as one of the show's filming locations!
During lunchtime, enjoy scenic sailing as the Ocean Odyssey heads from Split to Šibenik. Upon arrival, set off on a walking tour among the medieval streets, where you’ll see the Cathedral of St. James, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Explore ancient Zadar and Croatia's scenic northern coast
Following breakfast this morning, you'll have a little free time in Šibenik. You'll be back on board for lunch and scenic sailing. As we cruise to Zadar — another coastal gem that was named Europe's top destination in 2016 and was inducted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017 — you'll have an afternoon lecture to prepare you for your walking tour. This Roman-era city boasts a historic blend of Ancient, Renaissance, Romanesque, and medieval architecture. You'll have the chance to tour the UNESCO-listed Historic Defense Walls in the city, dating back to the 1500s.
Enjoy the wonders of the Istrian Peninsula
Discover one of the most beautiful regions of Croatia on a full-day tour of the western Istrian Peninsula. Explore Pula Arena, Europe's most complete Roman amphitheater, when we stop in the ancient town of Pula. You'll be able to go beneath the arena floor to see the actual passageways and rooms where gladiators and their foes, including wild animals, awaited their turn in combat. We'll have lunch back on the ship before scenic sailing takes us to the picturesque coastal town of Rovinj, which was part of Venice's mercantile empire and has a distinctive Venetian aspect to it.
For the best views of the town and the harbor, make the mile-and-a-quarter trek uphill to the Church of St. Euphemia — it's well worth the effort!
This evening, enjoy your dinner on board with klapa singers, a UNESCO protected cultural heritage of Croatia.
Discover Opatija Riviera and disembark the Ocean Odyssey
After breakfast, you'll disembark the Ocean Odyssey and say goodbye to your ship before transferring to the lovely seaside town of Opatija through Slovenia. Then, enjoy a walking tour of Opatija, which once catered to European royalty with stately villas, seaside promenade, and lovely gardens. Lunch is on your own.
Enjoy a walk along the Opatija Promenade for lovely views and perhaps stop for a bite to eat or a drink. How far you go is up to you — a round trip walk can cover up to 7.5 miles and, in total, connects seven towns and villages of the Opatija Riviera.
Later, you'll transfer to your hotel in Zagreb, paired with a lecture about this Croatian city during a lovely scenic drive through the Croatian Highlands. At the hotel this evening, you'll have a Farewell Dinner with your fellow travelers.
Discover Zagreb's monuments and markets
You'll met your expert local guide this morning for a tour of Zagreb. View the city’s impressive landmarks, including the Croatian National Theater and Opera House, Croatian Parliament, Prime Minister's office, St. Mark’s Square, the Old City, the Stone Gate, and Zagreb Cathedral.
This afternoon, enjoy an afternoon at leisure, perhaps visiting the city's Museum of Broken Relationships. Zagreb also has one of the world's most extensive tram systems. So, consider boarding the local tram to Jarun Lake and Park. There, you can enjoy the walking trails or rent a bike to go for a spin. Your Vantage Cruise Director will be happy to assist with directions or suggestions of other activities. Dinner is on your own tonight.
Fly home or stay on for your post-trip extension in Lake Bled, Slovenia
Following breakfast this morning, you’ll transfer to the Zagreb airport for your flight home. Or, continue to Bled, Slovenia, for your post-trip extension.
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 is the perfect way to round out your ocean expedition.
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.