Vantage celebrates its 40th anniversary this year!
Come aboard a journey that showcases the best the Mediterranean has to offer. This experience begins in Greece and ends in Italy, revealing the unique cultures and rich history of 5 nations along the way!
In all, 51 included features and Cultural Discoveries help you discover the true nature of each destination you visit. Explore some of the world’s most iconic sites — like Rome’s historic center, the lost city of Pompeii, and the ancient Acropolis in Athens — as well as the most picturesque hideaways along the Mediterranean — like UNESCO-protected Alberobello with its iconic domed-roof homes, or the tiny island nation of Malta and its UNESCO-listed capital.
When you return from a day of exploration, indulge in the numerous amenities of the Ocean Odyssey — your 77 cabin small ship, featuring a landmark 15 cabins designed for solo travelers! Treat yourself to a massage or a soak at the onboard spa, get energized in the gym, or sip a cocktail on the panoramic sun deck. Our small passenger-to-crew ratio ensures optimum service, and if you want to explore more on your own, our complimentary onboard Concierge can help you customize your adventure — from helping you secure tickets for onshore excursions to planning special private dining experiences for your group. Plus, thanks to the small size of our ship, in most ports that we visit allow you to walk right off the ship and spend more time in your destination (be advised that tendering may be required in some locales).
This itinerary is a combination of: Pearls of Greece and the Dalmatian Coast and Icons of the Mediterranean: Italy, Sicily & Croatia.
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.
Get under the Tuscan sun in Florence, the beating heart of Italy’s esteemed foodie region and the birthplace of the Renaissance. On tours of the city’s two premiere galleries — Uffizi and Accademia — you’ll get insights on the artistic masters who changed the world. You’ll also see Florence’s many corners on a guided tour, while having ample time to discover this magnificent city on your own, too. From the banks of the Arno to the stunning duomo overlooking the city, Florence is a feast for all the senses. Famous cuisine, unparalleled wine, and world-class leather products are all at your fingertips on this compact and enlightening extension. Uncover the beauty of Tuscany’s capital with Vantage!
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 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 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. 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. Thanks to the intimate size of this vessel, throughout your journey you’ll enjoy walking right off the ship and spending more time exploring the heart of your destination. Get settled in your cabin and take time to explore the ship’s amenities, including the onboard boutique, spa and gym. Stop by the Destination Manager desk to make a spa appointment. Later, join 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 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 sail into Katakolon 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. In the afternoon during free time, 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 afternoon 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. 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.
Enjoy an onboard discussion about the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Dubrovnik. Eye-opening highlights will include the unique history and foundations of the "Dubrovnik Republic."
Experience Dubrovnik's Old City and a private concert
Today, your 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 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 Program Manager and Destination Manager 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. 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).
Enjoy an onboard lecture before dinner. You ship will set sail later this evening.
Walk Croatia's oldest city, in Šibenik
This morning you'll enjoy breakfast onboard as we sail past St. Nicholas fortress. Built in the 16th century, this UNESCO protected structure guards the entrance to the ancient city of Šibenik. Upon arrival, you'll head to Krka National Park, home to magnificent waterfalls and gorges, including the famed Skradinski Buk Falls. Afterwards you'll head to Jurlinovi Dvori for a delicious traditional lunch, followed by an afternoon walking tour of Šibenik and a visit to St. Jacob's Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage landmark built in the 15th century.
Tonight, enjoy a performance by local musicians on board your ship.
Discover the idyllic seaside town of Opatija
This morning, enjoy an informative onboard lecture while taking in the passing landscape as you sail into your next destination of Opatija. Upon arrival this afternoon, you’ll 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.
Discover Trieste on a guided tour
We'll arrive in Monfalcone this morning and transfer to Trieste by private motorcoach. As the main port during the Austrian rule over Istria, Austrian architecture can be spotted all around Trieste. Depart for a morning sightseeing walk, passing by distinct architecture and the famed, ornate Opera House which symbolizes the city’s rich music tradition. Enjoy lunch on your own, with lunch money provided.
The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure. Tonight, enjoy a Welcome Cocktail and Dinner onboard with the travelers joining you for the next portion of your trip.
Cruise into Zadar, and discover its ancient and UNESCO-listed treasures
Over breakfast this morning, enjoy scenic sailing with views of the Kornati Islands National Park 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 also hear an interesting lecture while sailing.
This Roman-era city boasts a blend of ancient, renaissance, Romanesque, and medieval architecture. On a walking tour, you’ll see the UNESCO-listed Historic Defense Walls and explore Zadar’s ancient city center.
After dinner, some local entertainers come aboard to enthrall you.
Revisit the Roman era at 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 it as one of the show's filming locations!
This afternoon, enjoy one of the most scenic stretches of ocean on this journey as the Ocean Odyssey departs Split. You’ll have marvelous views of several Croatian islands, so have your camera ready.
Uncover the charming trulli homes of UNESCO-listed Alberobello
The ship now has crossed the Adriatic from Croatia to Italy, specifically the region of Puglia, which comprises the heel of Italy’s famous boot. From the port city of Brindisi, you’ll head north to the commune of Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its trulli — cone-shaped limestone homes that date back as early as the 14th-century. You’ll learn all about the history of these homes and how they survived after conflict between local peasants and feudal landlords. The walking tour will lead you to the old city, which holds more than 1,000 trulli, most still functioning as private homes. The tour ends at the Church of Saint Anthony, with its uniquely adorned façade and cone-shaped roof reaching 64 feet tall.
In the narrow streets of Alberobello, you can admire workshops with artisans at work. You’ll also have a chance to step inside a typical trullo house to see the architectural style and structure, and learn how people used to live in these iconic buildings.
After, lunch in a typical masseria — or country estate — belonging to a local family. This will be a highlight of your day — pack the camera! A masseria is where local Italian families produce much of what they drink and eat — milk, cheeses, meats, vegetables, olive oil, and more — and you'll learn all about it during enlightening conversation and cultural exchange. Joyous and full, you'll return to the ship with a scenic drive through Puglia's countryside, lined with endless olive groves.
Your choice of tours: Uncover Taormina’s rich history or visit Etna for a wine tasting
This morning, enjoy scenic sailing along the Calabrian coastline and the Strait of Messina. Then, you’ll arrive in Giardini Naxos where you’ll have your choice of tours. 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. You'll also visit its fantastic Greek Theater, originally built in the 3rd century by Romans, and marvel at its coastal vistas before heading to the Public Gardens, boasting some 200 species. Here, you’ll have time to sample a refreshing granita.
Your second option of tours is a visit to UNESCO-listed Mount Etna, where you’ll savor a tasting at a local winery. Sicily is famous for its Nero d’Avola grape, which grows bountifully in the island’s volcanic soil.
This evening, local entertainers come aboard.
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. Later, you'll have another lecture before dinner onboard.
Embark on a walking tour of Valletta, then experience Malta in 5D
Arrive in Malta this morning. After breakfast, you’ll go sightseeing in Valletta, the island’s capital and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Europe’s smallest capital, Valletta is an open-air museum of 16th-century buildings built by the Knights Hospitaller. Your private guide will regale you with Valletta’s history while leading you down the city’s 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.
At the conclusion of your walking tour, take in a 5D show exploring the history and culture of Malta in an interactive and exciting way. Lunch is back on the ship; afterward, enjoy an afternoon at leisure to continue your Malta explorations.
Visit ancient Erice for a tour, wine tasting, and a drive down Sicily’s “salt road”
You’ll be cruising the southwestern coast of Sicily this morning, so head to the observation lounge or your own balcony for more incredible views of this region. After breakfast, hear another lecture highlighting the culture and history of your cruise destinations. You’ll arrive in Trapani around mid-morning and eat lunch before setting off on an afternoon tour.
Today’s explorations lead you inland to Erice, the supposed birthplace of the goddess Venus. While walking the town’s cobblestone streets, soak in the aromas emanating from the numerous pastry shops for which Erice is famous. Here, you’ll visit the ruins of the town’s hilltop Norman Castle, a 12th-century construct dedicated to Venus, and the 14th-century duomo with its 90-foot belltower. You’ll also visit a private winery for another tasting of local Sicilian offerings.
On your way back to the Ocean Odyssey, you’ll have better views of the area’s famous “salt road” — where salt is extracted from the ocean by the scorching sun and delicate Mediterranean sea salt, with its briny scent permeating the air, is left behind. The scenery here is particularly breathtaking, and you’ll have a chance to photograph numerous salt pans, marshes, inlets, and Dutch-style windmills.
Discover Lipari, the gem of the UNESCO-listed Aeolian Islands
It is only because of the small-ship size that you can pause for a day to explore the Aeolian Islands, Italy’s archipelago northwest of Sicily. Beauty greets you at every turn on these soaring, majestic volcanic islands. At the Rock of the Castle that is 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’ll 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, you’ll have some leisure time in Lipari.
This afternoon’s onboard lecture provides more fascinating context to this legendary part of the Mediterranean.
Uncover the mysteries of Pompeii and Neapolitan pizza
Arrive this morning along the Bay of Naples. 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 carts, fascinating villas still adorned by colorful murals, Roman baths, the old forum, and more.
This afternoon, take part in something truly extraordinary — don't forget your camera! You’ll enjoy 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.
Back on board, a delectable Farewell Dinner celebrates the cruise porion of your journey and brings you even more flavors of this region.
Explore Rome’s grandeur on panoramic and walking tours
Your ship arrives to the coast of Lazio, the region home to the incomparable and romantic Rome. You’ll disembark the Ocean Odyssey in Civitavecchia for a guided panoramic tour (by motorcoach and on foot) of Rome’s historic center — a UNESCO World Heritage Site with highlights that include the iconic Colosseum, ancient Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Circus Maximus, and more. We’ll have lunch at a local restaurant for some classic Rome specialties before checking in to our hotel.
Located on the fringe of Borghese Gardens, the hotel offers you a quiet experience, including rooms with scenic views of Borghese Park and a fantastic spa center to enjoy during your afternoon at leisure. Dinner is on your own at any of the city’s celebrated dining establishments. Traditional Roman dishes include fried artichokes, spicy pasta all’amatriciana, and celebrated carbonara. When in Rome, splurge!
Visit Rome’s Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica
After breakfast, get ready for a true Italian highlight — A tour of the Vatican Museums in the UNESCO-listed Vatican City. Enjoy fast-track entrance to these world-renowned museums, featuring an exceptional collection of classical sculptures, Renaissance art, and the Michelangelo-painted Sistine Chapel. After the museums, enter St. Peter’s Basilica — an Italian Renaissance-style church among Christianity’s holiest sites. Lunch is on your own.
You’ll return to the hotel for another afternoon at leisure, which lets you make the most of your time in Rome. From shopping to sightseeing, there’s so much to do here.
This evening, you’ll convene in the hotel for a Farewell Dinner, recapping the highlights of your Mediterranean voyage.
Fly home or head to Florence on a post-trip extension
You’ll fly home from Rome today. Or, if you purchased our post-trip Florence extension, you’ll embark the high-speed train from Rome to this jaw-dropping Tuscan city.
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.