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 Istanbul, Turkey.
Arrive in Athens
Welcome to Athens, the fabled cradle of civilization. If you purchased your airfare or transfers from Vantage, a representative will meet you at the airport and assist with your hotel transfer. Settle into your room, with views of Greece's energetic capital. This evening, enjoy a Welcome Briefing and Welcome 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 your afternoon at leisure in Athens, with so much to discover — from extensive shopping options to open-air markets to museums and beyond. 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, pita, a classic Greek salad, or anything with feta cheese. Your conveniently-located hotel is just a stone’s throw from abundance of local restaurants and food stands.
Explore Athens on your own, then embark the Ocean Odyssey
You have the morning and early afternoon 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. Or perhaps you’ll brush up on your ancient history at the Acropolis Museum or the Athens Archaeological Museum. Alternatively, you can relax in your hotel and enjoy its sumptuous amenities, from the rooftop swimming pool to the spa.
Lunch is on your own today, so grab one more indulgent Athenian snack at one of the local restaurants or food stands near your hotel before continuing to Piraeus to embark the Ocean Odyssey, which will be berthed in port. This 5-star small ship is designed to merge unmatched luxury with an authentic ocean cruise experience. Step aboard the ship and get settled in your stateroom, before taking time to explore the ship’s world-class amenities, including the onboard boutique, indulgent spa and hot-rock cooking restaurant. With just 77 cabins — and fewer travelers — onboard, you’ll experience more meaningful interactions with the Cruise Director and Program Manager, onboard lecturers, and more.
Later, you’ll join fellow travelers for the first of your daily port talks to learn about tomorrow’s exciting destination. Tonight, your ship sets sail for Itea.
Spend the day in ancient Delphi
This morning, enjoy scenic sailing through the Corinth Canal as we dock on Greece's mainland coast at Itea, enjoying lunch and an onboard lecture before stepping off the ship and heading 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, including a visit to the onsite museum.
See the birthplace of the Olympics
This morning, we’ll dock in Katakolon – where you will be able to step easily off the ship – and enjoy scenic drives through the villages of Peloponnese. Then, you'll have a full day where the ancient Olympic Games originated — 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 are remains of various sporting venues from the festive games that began in 776 BC.
In the afternoon, you'll be delighted to join a traditional Greek lunch at the Magna Grecia, a family-owned Greek agriturismo farm. After a guided tour, sample its homemade 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. Once you step ashore, you'll have the opportunity to explore Corfu's 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 (also known as Sisi), 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
This morning you'll experience the Bay of Kotor, about which the poet Lord Byron wrote, “The Bay of Kotor, a submerged river canyon surrounded by dramatic rising mountain cliffs, is the jewel of the coast of Montenegro.” Tucked away at the head of the bay is the town of Kotor featuring intriguing medieval fortifications. Enjoy scenic sailing in the morning before you disembark at the port. Here, you’ll learn the town's history — which is believed to stretch back as far as the first century — while you walk the charming tangle of Old World streets. The city’s walls stretch up more than 800 feet from sea level to the fortress of Saint Giovanni. The views are sure to take your breath away, from medieval churches to staggering mountains.
This evening, sail toward Dubrovnik, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Later enjoy an eye-opening onboard discussion about the "Dubrovnik Republic," including its unique history and foundations, before dinner on the ship.
Experience Dubrovnik's Old City and a private concert
Today, we’ll arrive in Dubrovnik and you will be met by a local guide. You will enjoy a tour of 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.
You’ll return to the ship for lunch. Following lunch on board, enjoy a leisurely afternoon and evening. 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 and Concierge will be happy to recommend activities to do and places to see.
Unearth the UNESCO treasures of Hvar
Hvar, a popular celebrity destination, is 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. Aloe lace is made in Croatia only by the nuns of this monastery, and it is designated by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage feature.
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, (entry fee included). Following your day of exploration, you'll head back to the ship where you can take part in an informative lecture on board.
Enjoy dinner onboard. You ship will set sail later this evening.
Explore Šibenik, one of Croatia's oldest cities
This morning, enjoy scenic sailing, passing by UNESCO protected St. Nicholas fortress, that is guarding entrance to the ancient city of Šibenik. Upon arrival, we’ll depart for Krka National Park, a gem of Croatia and home to breathtaking waterfalls and gorges. We’ll witness the city's crystalline river rushing through the canyon against a green, mountainous backdrop as we ascend to the top of the waterfalls by bus and then hike to the bottom. On the way we’ll learn about how this water was used (and is still used today) to power local corn mills. At the end of the hike, we’ll enjoy a boat ride to the town of Skradin.
Your next stop is Jurlinovi Dvori, a Dalmatian estate with an ethnographic gallery. Enjoy a homemade lunch, prepared with centuries-old local recipes from homemade products, including Babić wine — a vintage derived from Primosten vineyards, which is strong and dry to represent the harsh land it grew on. After, depart back to Šibenik.
Tonight, enjoy a performance by local musicians on board your ship.
Discover the idyllic seaside town of Opatija
This morning, enjoy an engaging onboard lecture as your sail into Opatija. Upon arrival in port this afternoon, you’ll disembark the Ocean Odyssey, and set out on a walking tour of this coastal town, which once catered to European royalty with stately villas, seaside promenade, and lovely gardens. Then, enjoy some free time to discover Opatija 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 roundtrip walk can cover up to 7.5 miles and, in total, connects seven towns and villages of the Opatija Riviera. Alternatively, you may want to try your luck in one of the town's casinos.
Enjoy the wonders of the Istrian Peninsula
Discover part of one of the most beautiful regions of Croatia on half-day tours of Pula and Rovinj. Istria is one of the most developed regions of Croatia and is sometimes referred to as “Croatian Tuscany,” with some of the most picturesque towns in the country.
Explore Pula Arena, Europe's most complete Roman amphitheater, when we stop in the ancient town of Pula. You'll be able to go below the arena floor to see the actual passageways and rooms where gladiators and their foes, along with wild animals, awaited their turn in combat. We’ll also see the town and its streets briming with history juxtaposed with modern shops and restaurants.
We'll have lunch back on the ship before more scenic sailing takes us to the picturesque coastal town of Rovinj, which was part of Venice's mercantile empire. Today, it’s a jet-set town for regional and international tourists alike because of its stunning skyline and mesmerizing ocean views. Enjoy a guided tour to see its charms for yourself.
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 Captain's Farewell Dinner on board with klapa singers, a UNESCO protected cultural heritage of Croatia. Your ship sets sail for Trieste tonight.
Disembark and discover Trieste, Italy
We’ll arrive in the port of Trieste this morning. After breakfast on board the ship, you’ll disembark in this exquisite Italian city that boasts a distinct Istrian culture. The largest port in Adriatic, Trieste is situated deep in Slovenian territory while still part of Italy. As the main port during the Austrian rule over Istria, Austrian architecture can be spotted all around the city.
Then transfer to your hotel in Zagreb via a lovely scenic drive through the charming Slovenian and Croatian countryside. Arriving in the afternoon, you’ll spend another two nights in this vibrant capital city in a centrally-located historic hotel. This evening, you'll have a Farewell Dinner with your fellow travelers at the hotel.
Discover Zagreb's monuments and markets
Today, you’ll enjoy a Vantage exclusive — a private, guided tour of Zagreb. Beginning from your hotel, you’ll board a private tram and drive along parts of the Lower Town area — Zagreb’s busy city center — where you’ll be able to view impressive landmarks such as Central Station, the Botanical Gardens, the Croatian Archives, Croatian National Theater and Opera House; and Main Square along the way. From here, you’ll board the Zagreb Funicular Railway and continue to the historic, hillside area of Upper Town. This is the home of Croatia’s Parliament and Prime Minister’s office, St. Mark’s Square, the Old City, the Stone Gate, and neo-Gothic Zagreb Cathedral, the tallest building in Croatia. Following lunch on your own you’ll have the afternoon at leisure for further exploration. You may return to the hotel on foot, or use one of the provided tram tickets and experience what it’s like to ride with the locals.
Tonight, enjoy a private family village estate visit near Zagreb with dinner, unlimited drinks, and a guided tour of their rural museums, featuring a collection of traditional tools. You'll also tour the stables and meet their horses. Dinner is complete with a folkloric ensemble performance.
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.
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.