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Embark on a journey that brings to life some of humankind’s oldest civilizations and religions as you travel on the inaugural season of Vantage’s newest small ship: The 5-star Ocean Odyssey. You’ll cruise all the way from the Red Sea to the Adriatic on this journey across eight nations, crossing the Suez Canal and calling at intriguing destinations such as Haifa (Israel), Kotor (Montenegro), and more.
Seeing the most historic sights of the region is a given — but with 56 included features and Cultural Discoveries, you can look forward to some truly incredible experiences. Tuck into a St. Peter’s fish lunch and cross the legendary Sea of Galilee. Float in the Dead Sea. Learn the secrets to making Cypriot cheeses. Savor a traditional Greek lunch at a local farm. And enjoy a performance of klapa singing, a UNESCO-listed heritage of the intangible kind.
When you’re not exploring, take some time to unwind with the 5-star amenities aboard the Ocean Odyssey. Soak in the infinity pool or hot tub, enjoy a well-deserved massage at the spa, or take in the panoramic views from the observation lounge. As always, our worldwide Concierge will be at your service to make this 2022 adventure an unforgettable one!
Jordan is rich in biblical history, breathtaking natural beauty, and a vibrant culture that has a long tradition of welcoming others with open arms. Begin your journey with this discovery-packed extension and experience firsthand what others have only dreamed of. Visit the legendary sites of Bethany, where Lazarus was raised from the dead, and Mount Nebo, from where Moses first laid eyes on the Holy Land. Explore the ancient Roman ruins of Jerash, legendary outpost of the Empire. Float on the Dead Sea’s famously buoyant waters and meet a local artisan to learn about the region’s renowned mosaics. And with extra time, you can even see more of the remarkable “White City” of Amman, a fascinating blend of Roman-era monuments, busy souks, and urban sophistication.
Board an overnight flight to Amman, Jordan
Today you’ll board an overnight flight to Amman. Or, depart earlier for your pre-trip extension to Jordan and the Dead Sea.
Welcome to Amman, known as Jordan’s “White City” for the hypnotic hue of its cityscape. If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a representative will meet you at the airport and assist with the transfer to your hotel. You arrive this evening; depending on your arrival time, join a late dinner at the hotel with fellow travelers.
This morning, join a Welcome Briefing that will explain procedures and other logistical information on your expedition. Then, get acquainted with this multifaceted Arab metropolis during a guided tour. Amman was originally built across seven hills but today spreads out over 19, creating an undulating city canvas. Throughout your tour, the impressive Jebel Amman Citadel watches over you from its hilltop perch as the hauntingly beautiful call to prayer echoes off ancient buildings. After an included lunch at a local restaurant, enjoy the afternoon to explore on your own, perhaps discovering the bustling Al Balad downtown area surrounding the splendid King Hussein Mosque. This evening, join us at your hotel for a discussion with a local about life in Jordan before heading to our Welcome Drink and Dinner.
Journey to the Lost City of Petra and Aqaba, embark the Ocean Odyssey
Today, you’ll set out for Aqaba to meet your expedition ship. But first, visit one of the world’s most magnificent archaeological treasures — awe-inspiring Petra. Dating back to approximately 300 BC, this prehistoric city was carved into the pink sandstone cliffs of Jordan’s southwestern desert by the ancient Nabataean people. As you explore Petra’s Great Temple and tombs, you will listen to some of this magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site’s long and intriguing history. Then, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.
Dramatic landscapes and religious heritage of Sharm El Sheikh
Catch the sunrise from the ship's multilevel observation lounge before enjoying breakfast on board as the Ocean Odyssey arrives in Egypt. Situated near the tip of the Sinai Peninsula, Sharm El Sheikh is a seaside desert oasis for Egyptians and travelers alike. Its waters are renowned for their diverse marine life and crystalline visibility. Jacques Cousteau called it a “corridor of marvels” and, depending on conditions and timing, you may have time to take out one of the ship’s kayaks or snorkeling equipment and see this underwater world for yourself. But first, you can join an included morning tour. Visit the magnificent Mustafa Sheikh Mosque with its soaring minarets flanking an impressive dome and marble façade. Marvel at the biblical artwork of the Coptic Orthodox Church, spiritual home to the largest Christian denomination in Egypt. After a stop at Soho Square, Sharm’s modern entertainment and shopping complex, and a perusal of the vibrant, energetic market, return to the ship in time for lunch.
Your afternoon is at leisure in Sharm El Sheikh, or perhaps you'll explore the spectacular coral reef and colorful fish here. If you're looking for something more adventurous, your onboard Concierge can help you set up an excursion. A port talk lets you know what to expect during our upcoming crossing of the astonishing Suez Canal.
Crossing the Suez Canal
Prepare yourself for today's travel milestone, and settle in on the sun deck as you traverse the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean Sea.
While at sea, an onboard lecturer will offer poignant lectures on the Suez Canal and the history of the region.
These two days provide the perfect opportunity to savor the easy pace and camaraderie that small ship cruising affords. Bring binoculars for a closer view of the desert hills and sands unfolding all around while our inviting lounge area and elegant common spaces offer ideal settings to get to know your fellow adventurers. A port talk will give you a glimpse of what’s ahead once you reach the Mediterranean.
During your cruising, take advantage of your expedition ship’s many amenities, and see how days on board can be just as exciting as days offshore. Perhaps enjoy a spa treatment, relax by the infinity pool, curl up with a book on deck, or pop into the boutique for any items you may need.
Uncover a biblical past from Haifa
Arrive in Haifa this morning, the picturesque northern Israeli port in the shadow of Mt. Carmel. Today’s full-day tour features many places from the life of Jesus. First head to Nazareth, where Jesus lived with Mary and Joseph after his birth. Marvel at the mosaic-filled Basilica of the Annunciation. Next, view the Wedding Church where Jesus turned water to wine. In the ancient fishing village of Capernaum, see the ancient synagogue where Jesus used to teach. After a local St. Peter’s fish lunch, embark a boat to cross the legendary Sea of Galilee, believed to be where Jesus walked on water. Then visit Tabgha, site of the miracle of the fishes, and the Mount of the Beatitudes, topped by the stunning church with its octagonal dome representing the 8 Beatitudes.
Today’s port talk prepares you for the next unforgettable stop, Ashdod.
Your choice of full-day tours in Israel
Arrive in Ashdod, one of the oldest cities in the world, this morning. Then, choose your Israel experience during one of our included tours, ideal for travelers who have visited Israel before and may be looking for new opportunities. Join a full-day tour to Jerusalem, starting at the Mount of Olives so you can take in the ancient city from a breathtaking viewpoint. Proceed to the Gardens of Gethsemane, where Jesus and his disciples slept the night before his crucifixion and whose olive trees may date back as far as Christ. After stopping to see the Church of all Nations, enter the UNESCO-listed Old City for an unforgettable walking tour that includes the Western Wall. After lunch, browse the Arab Bazaar, then follow the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, site of Jesus’ tomb.
Alternately, choose to spend the day on a full-day tour to Masada and the Dead Sea, with an included lunch. Begin at the famed desert fortress where a band of Jewish rebels chose the ultimate act of resistance against a siege by Roman soldiers. A short cable car ride to the top will show you the full scope of the desert and Dead Sea below. Then head down to its famously curative salt waters, where you can test how buoyant they really are. (Don’t forget your swimsuit!)
Enjoy a pre-dinner and port talk that will fill you on what’s happening tomorrow.
Witnessing the history and traditions of Cyprus with your choice of tours
Your morning is at leisure today, another ideal opportunity to take a swim, catch up on a book in the sun, and learn more about fascinating Cyprus during an onboard lecture.
After an early lunch on the ship, you'll arrive in Cyprus. The people of this island country enjoy a warm Mediterranean climate, dramatic coastal vistas, the pine-wooded Troodos Mountains, and some of the finest ancient mosaics in the world. You will join them today as you choose from two included afternoon tours.
During a half-day tour to Paphos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its natural and cultural treasures, stop to view Aphrodite’s Rock, said to be the spot from where the goddess of love and beauty rose from the sea. Visit the Chrysopolitissa Church, built on the remains of a Byzantine basilica, and St. Paul’s Pillar. At the Paphos Archaeological Park, view the remarkably preserved floor mosaics at the Houses of Dionysos, Aion, and Theseus. Enjoy free time to take in the relaxed atmosphere at the Harbor of Paphos.
Or, you may choose a half-day tour to the UNESCO-listed traditional village of Choirokoitia, where our local friend Petros reveals the secrets behind making Halloumi and Anari cheeses at his home. Settle in for a visit and delightful tasting of farm-fresh cheeses with honey, olives, home-baked bread, and salad. Petros will also show you how he weaves the island’s distinctive baskets. After a walk around the village, enjoy a scenic coastal drive back to the ship.
After our port talk tonight, some Cypriot performers join us on board for a lively folklore show.
Relax on board with a day at sea
Enjoy a day at sea as the Ocean Odyssey makes its way into the fabled waters of the Aegean Sea. Visit the spa, get in a workout at the gym, lounge in the swimming pool, relax on the sun deck catching up with a great book, and enjoy the fabulous cuisine the chefs are creating just for you!
Today’s onboard lecture provides more fascinating context to this legendary part of the Mediterranean. And this evening’s port talk previews your next incredible destination: the remarkable island of Rhodes.
Rhodes, island of the Knights of St. John
Spend this morning exploring Rhodes, Europe’s largest inhabited medieval town. See the old port of Mandraki. Traverse the heights of Agios Stefanos, or Monte Smith, for sweeping views. In the Old Town, visit the vast Grand Masters Palace, home to the Knights of St. John crusaders, and stop by the Archaeological Museum, once the Knights’ hospital. If you wish, you may linger on your own to explore more of this remarkable enclave of medieval treasures, perhaps strolling the cobbled Street of the Knights. Your onboard Concierge may suggest a scenic ride to Lindos, where an ancient Acropolis sits atop an ancient rock mound overlooking the sea.
Back on board, learn more about the rich history that has shaped the Aegean. And though nothing can prepare you for the breathtaking sights of our next destination, Ephesus, our port talk will try! Enjoy an evening at leisure.
The rich biblical past of Ephesus
Discover the historical country of Turkey today. Step into the ancient past during a half-day visit to Ephesus, once the most important trading center in the Aegean. These breathtaking ruins are steeped in biblical history, as you will learn during a guided stroll down the Arcadian Way, once lined with colonnaded buildings and adorned with mosaics. Pass the impressive amphitheater and marvel at the towering façade of the Library of Celsus. This third largest library in the ancient world was built to house 12,000 parchment scrolls. You will also view the Temples of Hadrian and Diana before returning to the ship for lunch.
This afternoon you’ll enjoy an afternoon at leisure in Kusadasi, which offers great walks, restaurants, and shops.
Back on board, there’ll be ample opportunities to immerse yourself in Turkish culture. Get into the rhythms of traditional song and dance during a performance by locals. Gain more insight into the past when you sit in on a lecture. And savor the creations of a Turkish master chef, who we have invited into the kitchen to prepare your mouthwatering dinner.
Mykonos is big on discovery and beauty, and is renowned for its pure-white houses, tidy churches with blue domes, charming windmills, and pristine beaches. See what captivated Jackie Onassis and other celebrity yachters during a driving tour to some of its most stunning beaches: Agios Ioannis, Ornos, Kalafatis, and Agia Anna.
Then, visit the magnificent white-washed village of Ano Mera. After stopping at its unique 1542 Panagia Tourliani Monastery, enjoy a tasty bite and a sip or two of ouzo in the square. A guided walking tour reveals the narrow passages and cobbled lanes of Mykonos before you return to the ship for lunch and an afternoon at leisure. You can relax in Mykonos on your own, perhaps exploring by bike or arranging a 4x4 rental with your onboard Concierge.
Your day is further enlightened by another onboard lecture this afternoon, followed this evening by some fun onboard entertainment. Today’s port talk prepares you for the wonders of Santorini, tomorrow’s beguiling destination.
Be dazzled by Santorini and visit the archaeological site of Akrotiri
Santorini has been called the most magnificent of the Greek Isles. With its soaring cliffs tumbling into turquoise waters, you’re sure to agree. You will tender ashore and take a scenic drive to the ancient site of Akrotiri, a Minoan village frozen in time by the ash of a devastating volcanic eruption. This wonder has been compared to Pompeii both for its fate and for its incredible preservation. Explore its beauty with a guide, then continue to the charming clifftop village of Oia. This vision of whitewashed and pastel houses clinging to dark volcanic rock was once home to wealthy seafarers. Its narrow streets are a paradise for walkers, as you will experience firsthand. Then, move on to Fira, perched high over the Aegean on more cliffs. You many explore here on your own and return to the ship at leisure via a dramatic cable car and your waiting tender.
This afternoon, an onboard lecturer adds more enlightenment to your knowledge of the Aegean before some leisure time. Later, a port talk fills you in on what you can expect from our visit to the Cradle of Civilization: Athens. Savor your final dinner on board, with ample options of locally inspired cuisine.
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, 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. Enjoy 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, with dinner back on the ship. Tonight, the ship sets sail for Itea through the scenic Corinth Canal.
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 its 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.
Back on board, enjoy a lecture entitled "Mediterranean Diet & Local Products," and later, 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!
You'll sail to Šibenik during lunchtime, then 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 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 in Trieste
After breakfast, you'll disembark the Ocean Odyssey in the Italian town of Trieste and transfer to the lovely seaside town of Opatija. 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. Alternatively, you may want to try your luck in one of Opatija's casinos.
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.
Visit 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.
Jordan is rich in biblical history, breathtaking natural beauty, and a vibrant culture that has a long tradition of welcoming others with open arms. Round out your journey with this discovery-packed extension and experience firsthand what others have only dreamed of. Visit the legendary sites of Bethany, where Lazarus was raised from the dead, and Mount Nebo, from where Moses first laid eyes on the Holy Land. Explore the ancient Roman ruins of Jerash, legendary outpost of the Empire. Float on the Dead Sea’s famously buoyant waters and meet a local artisan to learn about the region’s renowned mosaics. And with extra time, you can even see more of the remarkable “White City” of Amman, a fascinating blend of Roman-era monuments, busy souks, and urban sophistication. Plus, enjoy the use of your hotel room right up until your evening departure!
Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Cruise Director or regional expert.