Delve into the wonders of UNESCO-listed Rome, from the legendary Colosseum to the independent Vatican City . . . Discover Europe’s playground for the rich and the famous, Monte Carlo of Monaco . . . Gaze upon the artistic genius of Antoni Gaudi while exploring enchanting Barcelona … and set off on and unforgettable ocean cruise aboard the 5-star Ocean Odyssey and behold Europe’s awe-inspiring southern coastline, lined with rolling vineyards and dotted with ancient homes, churches, and mansions from your vantage point on the azure Mediterranean.
You’ll embark your floating hotel in Italy and sail to some of its most picturesque islands and port towns — like Elba, where Napoleon ruled in exile. Then, head towards France and land on hidden gems and iconic cities such as Cannes — the glamourous site of France’s famous annual film festival, where you’ll visit a perfume factory and have the opportunity to learn about the process from local tradesmen and women. Finally, make your way to Spain, where you’ll soak in the culture of Barcelona during a visit to its iconic Sagrada Familia and watch a passionate flamenco performance at a local tablao.
All the while, enjoy the 5-star amenities that await you aboard the Ocean Odyssey when you’re not exploring: Spa, salon, fitness center — and that’s just the beginning! You'll have personalized amenities at your fingertips, thanks to a small passenger-to-crew ratio and the assistance of our worldwide Concierge service, while onboard kayaks give you another way to stay active. Plus, due to the small size of your ship, in many ports we’ll be able to dock right onshore, giving you access easy access to your destination (please note that other ports may require us to anchor and tender inland). Join Vantage in 2023 for a Mediterranean cruise through four European nations that you’ll not soon forget.
If you're interested in this itinerary and want to revel in even more Cultural Discoveries and immersive experiences, check out our combination cruises Wonders of the World Cruise 2023: A 150-day Voyage from Australia to Sweden, The Suez to Southern Europe: A 47-day Voyage from Amman to Barcelona, Southern European Spoils: Venice to Barcelona and Kingdoms and Cultures: A 68-day Voyage from Jordan to England. Explore more and save.
Discover Spain’s lively cosmopolitan capital on a 5-day tour that lets you experience its historical highlights, traditional cuisine, and more. Explore by coach and on foot, witnessing bustling centers like Plaza Mayor and the aromatic Mercado Central. Then, stop in at one of the world’s premier art museums, Museo del Prado, and marvel at the 1,500 pieces on display (it houses around 7,000 in its reserves!). You’ll also have ample free time to explore the Spanish capital on your own and make independent discoveries. Vamos!
Board an overnight flight to Rome, Italy
Today you’ll board an overnight flight to Rome. Or, depart earlier for your pre-trip extension to Sorrento, Italy.
Arrive in Rome
Welcome to Rome! If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a representative will meet you at the airport and assist with your hotel transfer. Settle into your hotel before an evening Welcome Briefing and Welcome Dinner at the hotel and get to know your fellow passengers.
Take in the highlights of Rome by coach and on foot
Today, enjoy 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.
Afterward, you’ll return to your hotel and have the afternoon and evening at leisure. Lunch is on your own today, giving you the opportunity to sample some authentic Italian cuisine from pasta carbonara to tiramisu. Ask your Program Manager for recommendations!
Discover the UNESCO-listed Vatican city and embark the Ocean Odyssey
Have breakfast at your hotel this morning before setting off to enjoy a true Roman highlight — A tour of the Vatican Museums in the UNESCO-listed Vatican City. Enjoy fast-tracking 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. Then, have lunch at a local restaurant.
This afternoon, you’ll embark the Ocean Odyssey. Due to the small size of your ship (just 77 cabins), in many ports we’ll be able to dock right onshore, giving you access easy access to your destination and more time spent exploring! However, please keep in mind that other ports may require us to anchor offshore and tendering inland. Get settled into your cabin and take time to explore the ship’s amenities, including the onboard boutique, spa and gym. Stop by the Concierge desk to make a spa appointment or organize a group dinner with your travel companions. Later, join the first of your daily port talks to learn about tomorrow’s exciting destination before dinner onboard. Tonight, your ship sets sail for Olbia, Italy.
Explore Olbia in Serdegna with your choice of tours
Cruise into Olbia during breakfast this morning. This seaside city located in the northeast of Italy’s Sardinia region boast not only a picturesque, palm-line coastline, but also a rich medieval history. Today, take your pick of tours. Uncover the history of this city with a half-day tour of Old Sardinia, or discover its wine tradition with a half-day tour of Porto Cervo with a winery visit.
The Old Sardinia option will first bring you to the small village of Luras where you’ll walk along the shore of lake Liscia and behold olive fields and some of the oldest trees in Europe, dating back 4,000 years. Then, you’ll drive to Tempio Pausania, the ancient capital of this region. You’ll tour the old part of tour town and discover historic churches, houses, and mansions before stopping to visit the cork museum.
The Porto Cervo tour will take you on a panoramic drive through this resort town, where you’ll stop and have time to peruse the elegant shops. Then, arrive at the Surrau Winery and learn all about the winemaking process, including which wines are produced here and how the grapes are cultivated and harvested. Finally, enjoy a wine-tasting complete with local snacks such as Sardinian cheese and salami.
Back onboard, enjoy an informative lecture before dinner.
Sightsee in Bastia, Corsica, France and savor local wines
Your ship anchors in Bastia this morning, the main commercial port of the island of Corsica. Learn about the how this town became instrumental in Corsica’s development during a tour that starts in Old Town, where you’ll see the magnificent Cathedral Ste. Marie, the governor’s palace, and the Old Port. Then, enjoy a leisurely stroll the finest parts of the city, including St. Nicholas Square and St. Jean Baptiste Church. Along the way you’ll have the opportunity to admire Bastia’s breathtaking landscapes and small, baroque-style buildings and chapels.
After lunch onboard your ship, enjoy a scenic drive along the scenic St. Florent gulf past rolling vineyards en route to the St. Florent city center. We’ll stop here and you’ll have time to explore the bustling streets at your leisure, perhaps visiting the local shops or stopping into a café for a hot espresso!
Later, we’ll depart St. Florent and head into the mountains to the vineyards of Patrimonio. Enjoy a tasting of the local wines in the wine cellar and discover why the wines of this region are so famous as you try whites, rosés, and Moscato’s. Dinner is back onboard your ship this evening.
Tour Elba, where Napoleon ruled in exile
This morning we’ll arrive at the island of Elba, famed as the site of Napoleon’s first exile, where he was sovereign for close to 10 months. This island is as beautiful as it is historic, with lush hills covered in olive trees, vineyards, and beaches met by ombré blue waters.
Set off on a tour of the island, departing from your port in Portoferraio and stopping at Villa San Martino, Napoleon’s summer residence. Continue on to Porto Azzurro, where candy-colored houses front the town’s eponymous azure harbor. You’ll have time here to stroll the charming streets, perhaps picking up a souvenir from the shops selling crafts and crystals. On your way back to the ship, you’ll stop at Punta delle Grotte for a splendid bird’s-eye view of Portoferraio.
After lunch aboard your ship, you’ll have the remainder of the afternoon to explore Portoferraio at your leisure. This evening, enjoy an onboard lecture before your ship sets sail for Livorno.
Arrive in Livorno and embark on your choice of tours
This morning upon your arrival in Livorno, you’ll have your choice of full-day tours — Florence and Pisa or Siena and San Gimignano.
If you choose the first, you’ll depart by coach for Florence, the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region. Upon arrival you’ll meet your guide and set off of a walking tour of the city’s highlights, including the exterior of the domed cathedral of Piazza del Duomo and Piazza del Signoria, as well as Ponte Vecchio, a historic bridge lined with shops. After lunch at a local restaurant, you’ll depart for Pisa, home of the famed Leaning Tower of Pisa. Upon arrival, enjoy free time in the town’s bustling Miracle Square.
If you decide on Siena and San Gimignano, you’ll depart by coach for Siena, a city marked by medieval architecture. Upon arrival you’ll embark on a guided walking tour, visiting it’s lively squares and historic highlights such as Piazza del Campo, the 13th century City Hall and Torre del Mangia bell tower, the Sansedoni Palace, and the Gaiai Fountain. Then, depart for a locally owned farm and vineyard, where you’ll be welcomed by the owner and enjoy a farm-to-table lunch complete with a tasting of their wines and olive oils. After lunch, you’ll drive to San Gimignano and explore the “Manhattan of Tuscany,” taking in centuries-old towers along its skyline.
Return to your ship this evening and enjoy dinner onboard, complete with local entertainment
Take in the bucolic beauty of Cinque Terre and Portovenere
Nestled along a short stretch of Italy’s breathtaking Ligurian Coast is the Cinque Terre — five tiny villages that date back to the early medieval period. This national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for its colorful, cliff-hugging houses and steep, winding trails, but today you’ll get to explore it by boat with a private guide!
Anchoring at Portovenere, you’ll take a public ferry plying the coastline to visit the villages while enjoying superb views from the water. Explore the villages of Monterosso, Vernazza, and Manarola on foot, and gain some insight on the difficult and isolated life of the villages’ inhabitants during the early medieval period. Lunch is a traditional affair at a local restaurant.
After, return to Portovenere and enjoy a walking tour along its narrow, charming streets up to the church of San Pietro, which sits on a craggy ledge overlooking the Gulf of Poets. A port talk rounds off your day’s discoveries before another delicious dinner on board.
Behold the glitz and glamour of Monte Carlo
Arrive this morning in Monte Carlo, capital of the tiny independent principality of Monaco. Playground to well-heeled Europeans, this sovereign nation has been ruled by the Grimaldis since the 13th century.
This morning, in the historic quarter of Le Rocher (“The Rock”), admire stunning sea views 200 feet below while strolling past the Prince’s Palace, just in time to see the Changing of the Guard. Nearby, the neo-Romanesque Monaco Cathedral is a vision in white; the Grimaldis, including Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco, are entombed here.
Then, this afternoon, marvel at the world-renowned Belle Époque Grand Casino, a vision of extravagance and wealth. See the lush gardens, too, before viewing the Hôtel de Paris, a 19th-century grand dame.After seeing the Justice Palace, your tour ends at the Oceanographic Museum, another neo-classical gem.
After lunch on board, perhaps you’ll stroll the streets of Monte Carlo to take in its monumental architecture. An onboard lecture fills you in on more details about this fascinating region.
Uncover the charms of Cannes
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast on board as you sail into one of the most glamorous ports on the Cote d'Azur. This modern resort city is known for its annual film festival, and you’ll enjoy a panoramic walking tour here, taking in views of the Promenade de la Croisette and stopping to admire the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, home of the Cannes Film Festival. Continue on to the old town of Le Suquet, where Roman ruins and sweeping views of the city and harbor await.
Next, you’ll visit the Perfume Factory of Grasse for a special presentation. You’ll tour the factory and learn about how the flowers are boiled and the essence is condensed using one of the world’s oldest distillation processes. After, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before departing for St. Paul de Vence, a hotspot for artists and celebrities. Explore this walled village with structures dating back to the 16th century and wander along narrow, cobbled lanes past high-end boutiques and art galleries. You’ll have some time to explore at leisure before returning to your ship.
Witness the magic of southern France
Steeped in history and boasting a newly revived waterfront, Marseille provides a beguiling glimpse of a French medieval port. From here, you have two ways to delve into the celebrated south of France today — A full-day tour to romantic Provence, or a full-day safari in Camargue National Park.
The first included tour takes you deeper into the heart of Provence. Begin at the Gordes Castle in its namesake town, a picture-postcard hilltop village climbing a slope from the Vaucluse plateau. After, continue to the red cliffs and ochre quarries of Roussillon. The emerald pine trees and vivid blue Provençal sky create a stunning canvas. We provide you some euros to have lunch at a restaurant of your choosing, then it’s on to a walking tour of Aix-en-Provence’s Old Town, strolling under the lovely plane trees of Cours Mirabeau past elegant mansions. If you wish, you may visit Paul Cézanne’s atelier during your free time.
Your second tour option is decidedly wilder. Head into Camargue National Park to explore the vast Rhône River Delta, a pristine region of swamps, river tendrils and ponds teeming with numerous bird species, including the pink flamingo. Throughout your safari, you will pause as opportunities arise to view the region’s wild Camargue horses and bulls grazing as manades, or free-roaming herds. You will visit a working farm to learn more about the horses and bulls and stop for lunch at a local restaurant.
After dinner, we’ll welcome local performers on board to entertain you with dances and songs of their country.
Historic and cultural wonders of French Occitanie
The seaside resort of Sète is your entrée to two historic treasures. Again today, you can select the tour that suits your interest — A full-day tour of Carcassonne, or a half-day tour to Montpellier and Château de Flaugergues.
If you choose the first option, you'll journey to UNESCO-listed Carcassonne, the largest and best preserved fortified medieval town in Europe. Step back in time within its massive walls, exploring narrow, cobbled streets, the breathtaking St. Nazaire Basilica, an 11th-century Romanesque church, the 12th-century Château Comtal and countless other treasures from the Middle Ages. After lunch at a local restaurant, tour the lovely Fontfroide Abbey, founded in 1093, with its hushed cloister and vaulted chapter house.
Alternately, visit the historic and stylish city of Montpellier, capital of the Languedoc-Rousillon region. In the Old Town, admire elegant mansions and other stunning architecture that fuses the classical and the avant-garde. In the Place de la Comèdie, admire the Three Graces fountain. You will also see the fortress-like Cathedral St. Pierre and the Arc de Triomphe. Later, stop for a tour and wine-tasting at the 18th-century Château de Flaugergues. Romans were the first to cultivate grapes on these grounds 2,000 years ago. After the tasting, you'll be back on board the Ocean Odyssey for lunch and an afternoon at leisure in Sète.
Barcelona, Catalonia’s vibrant cultural heart; disembarking the Ocean Odyssey
This morning you'll disembark the Ocean Odyssey — we hope you enjoyed your journey on the second season of Vantage's second ocean-going expedition vessel!
Next, you'll get to know the sophisticated capital of Catalonia on a panoramic tour that includes the hugely successful revitalization project of Port Vell, the Olympic Village that hosted the 1992 Games. First, ascend Montjuïc, which means Jewish Mountain and behold its ornate castle as well as panoramic views of the city. Then, head to Plaza de España, one of Barcelona's most important historic squares. Finally, continue to La Barceloneta Beach, where you'll enjoy lunch.
Afterward, we'll have an outside visit to La Sagrada Família cathedral, Antoni Gaudí’s famous masterpiece and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you'd like, you can ask for a ticket to tour the inside. Or, you may choose to do this during your free time tomorrow. After seeing the architectural treasures along the tree-lined Passieg de Gràcia — including surreal buildings by Gaudí — there’ll be plenty of time to shop the city’s famous pedestrian-only Las Ramblas before lunch at a local restaurant.
Later, enjoy an evening at leisure with dinner on your own. And after that, prepare yourself for a passionate flamenco performance at a local tablao. This is an experience you won't forget!
Follow your own whims and desires in Barcelona
During this free day in Barcelona, you may set your sights on the city’s atmospheric Gothic Quarter, the Barrio Gótico adjacent to Las Ramblas. It is pure delight to follow its labyrinthine streets into intimate squares, or plaças, stopping along the way for a café crema or a lunch of traditional tapas and rioja wine. Browse the colorful food stalls of the Mercat de la Boqueria, a food-lover’s paradise for its artisanal cheeses, smoked meats, chocolate truffles, and so much more.
Tonight, reunite with your fellow travelers and celebrate your expedition together during a Farewell Drink and Dinner.
Fly home or transfer to Madrid
Following breakfast this morning, you’ll transfer to the Barcelona airport for your flight home. Or, continue to Madrid, Spain on a high-speed train for your post-trip extension.
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.