Arriving Soon: Incredible New Journeys for 2023 & 2024!
Let Vantage Deluxe World Travel take you on an illuminating journey along the glittering Mediterranean and Adriatic seas. This experience begins in Italy and ends in Spain, revealing the cultural heritage and historic sites of 6 nations along the way!
The Ocean Odyssey will be berthing in ports of the places you’ll visit for minimal tendering for our guests. While certain ports may require tendering to and from the ship, the small size of our vessels gives our travelers access to exclusive ports, less queuing, and more time to spend onshore at each destination. And with fewer travelers onboard, you’ll have more impactful interactions and Cultural Discoveries with locals, Cruise Director, Program Manager, Concierge, lecturers, and more.
Combining luxury small ship cruising with intimate regional insights, Vantage Travel offers 53 included features and Cultural Discoveries on this journey to show our guests the true nature of each destination visited. Explore some of the world’s most iconic sites — like Rome’s historic center, the lost city of Pompeii, and Monte Carlo of Monaco, 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.
Indulge in the numerous amenities of the Ocean Odyssey after your daily explorations. Treat yourself to a massage or a soak at the onboard spa, get energized in the gym, or sip a cocktail on the panoramic sundeck. 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.
This itinerary is a combination of: Icons of the Mediterranean: Italy, Sicily & Croatia and Europe’s Southern Coast: Italy, France, Monaco & Spain.
Fly to Venice, Italy
Today your journey to Italy begins with an overnight flight to Venice. Or, depart earlier for your pre-trip extension to Stresa.
Arrive in Venice and attend a Welcome Briefing and Dinner
You’ll arrive in Venice today! If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, you’ll be met at the airport by one of our representatives who will assist you with your transfer by Venice’s famous water taxis to the hotel. Get settled in, and later, attend a Welcome Briefing and Dinner.
Tour Venice’s highlights
Get ready to discover this mesmerizing floating city — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — during today’s sightseeing walking tour, which takes you to St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace. Along the way, you'll take in views of Venice's canals, lined with gorgeous centuries-old palaces, churches, hotels, and other buildings in an eclectic array of architectural styles.
Enjoy the rest of the day to explore and dine on your own, perhaps seeking out a cicchetti bar (or two or three!) and sipping an Aperol spritz in one of Venice’s many scenic squares. Your Program Manager can point you in the right direction if you need suggestions.
Enjoy leisure time in Venice, then transfer to Trieste and embark the Ocean Odyssey
This morning you can take on Venice at your own pace — perhaps you’ll shop for some last-minute items or go for a sightseeing stroll with your camera. After lunch on your own, we’ll transfer by private boat to Venice’s train station and embark a high-speed train that will take us north to Trieste. (A luggage truck will transfer your luggage for the utmost in convenience and ease.) Trieste is located across the bay from Venice but is closer to Slovenia. Hear a bit more about the largest port in the Adriatic on a guided tour; then, embark the Ocean Odyssey at the pier. After a Welcome Briefing on board, followed by cocktail hour, we’ll begin sailing. Enjoy your first dinner onboard the ship this evening.
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, you’ll enjoy scenic cruising on the Ionian Sea, and lunch aboard your ship.
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 Athena and the gorgeous Fountain of Arethusa, a natural spring with roots in Greek mythology that's also referred to as "the ear of Dionysus." 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 a late 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 St. 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 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. This region of Italy - with its stunning views of the cerulean ocean, charming cobblestone streets, and historic ruins - is breathtaking in its beauty. 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.
Discover Rome, Italy’s ancient capital
This morning 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.
Have lunch at a local restaurant and free time before returning to your ship. Tonight, enjoy a Welcome Cocktail and Dinner onboard with the travelers joining up for the final stretch of this unforgettable journey.
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
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 Moscati. 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!
Explore the villages of 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 before viewing the Hôtel de Paris, a 19th-century grand dame. After seeing the Justice Palace, your tour ends at the Oceanographic Museum, another neoclassical 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 third 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 checking into your hotel.
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.