Usher in summer on a small ship ocean cruise of the southern coast of Europe, where sun-drenched vistas and ambrosial feasts greet you at every turn! You’ll visit nine different nations along the Adriatic, Mediterranean, and Atlantic, discovering this region’s natural wonders and cultural riches as Vantage Travel’s 5-star Ocean Odyssey delivers you to destinations that are simply off-limits to larger ships.
With 81 included features and Cultural Discoveries, you’ll soon figure out what makes Southern Europe so alluring. Visit the lovely Croatian seaside towns of Hvar and Opatija. Marvel at ancient Greek treasures in Athens, Nafplion, the Peloponnese peninsula, and more. Experience the power of Italy’s Vesuvius as you tour Pompeii and enjoy lunch at a local farm, where the produce flourishes in fertile volcanic soil. Tour the legendary Alhambra in Granada, and admire the artisanal beauty of the villages in the Algarve. Your journey is bookended by stays in Zagreb and Lisbon, two equally grand and fascinating capitals.
Cruising on the 5-star Ocean Odyssey, you’ll find a delightful host of deluxe amenities, local entertainment, expert-led lectures, and gourmet dining to add to your experiences on shore. And with our worldwide Concierge service, you can customize this journey just the way you like it! Traveling solo? Enjoy one of the landmark 15 cabins designed for solo travelers. Plus, while tendering will be required in some locations, the small size of our ship will allow for berthing in most port cities — meaning you’ll be able to walk right off the ship when we dock and spend more time in each destination
This itinerary is a combination of: Pearls of Greece and the Dalmatian Coast, Mediterranean Delights: Greece, Italy, France, Monaco, and Spain and Spain & the Portuguese Coast: A Cruise Around Iberia.
Board an overnight flight to Lisbon, Portugal
Today you’ll board an overnight flight to Lisbon.
Arrive in Lisbon, center of the Age of Discovery and a living history of Portugal’s past. If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a representative will meet you at the airport and assist with the transfer or transport to your hotel. This evening, enjoy a Welcome Dinner at the hotel with your fellow travelers, including those on the pre-trip extensions.
Lisbon: Monumental city with an epic past
On a panoramic and walking tour of Lisbon, you'll visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the Belém Tower, the city’s iconic gateway at the mouth of the Tagus River. Nearby, marvel at the ornate Jerónimos Monastery, an exquisite example of Portugal’s superb Manueline architecture. While here you’ll also enjoy a taste of pastéis de Belém, a buttery custard confection based on an old recipe from the monks and still Portugal’s favorite pastry. After a panoramic tour of this remarkable city, you have the rest of the day free.
A rewarding day on your own in Lisbon, embark the Ocean Odyssey
After breakfast at your hotel, you have the entire day at your leisure to immerse in the history and culture of Portugal’s atmospheric capital. Prepare for your day with a pastéis de nata, the custard tart for which the city is known. After lunch on your own, you'll be welcomed aboard the luxurious Ocean Odyssey. Get settled in your cabin, then explore the many amenities, including the sun deck and fitness center. See your Concierge to reserve an appointment at the onboard spa. And that’s not all — the size of our ship will allow us to berth in most port cities, giving you unparalleled access to your destinations (please keep in mind that tendering will be required in some ports). After, gather for the first of your daily port talks to hear about tomorrow’s exciting destination.
In the dining room, savor a special Welcome Dinner. We get underway later in the evening.
Portimão, gateway to the vistas and villages of the Algarve
Cruise along Portugal’s scenic Algarve region this morning before mooring in Portimão, a former center of fishing and shipbuilding. Journey to the historic town of Silves, surrounded by orange and lemon groves, to visit its red sandstone Moorish Castle and 13th-century cathedral constructed by Alfonso X of Castile. There’ll be time to peruse the fascinating exhibits of the Archaeological Museum before continuing to the market town of Monchique, a delightful mountain enclave of cobbled streets where small decorative doorways lead into artisan workshops where folding wooden chairs are still handmade as they were in Roman times. You will see the 17th-century Franciscan monastery for splendid views of the Old Town and admire the traditional azulejo tiles adorning the 16th-century parish church.
We'll head back to the Ocean Odyssey for a late lunch with an evening at leisure. Before dinner, don't miss another lecture that elucidates the history and culture of this captivating region.
Give in to the seductions of Seville and home-hosted dinner on a family-owned bull farm
After breakfast you’ll tour Andalusia’s storied capital, Seville, including the Real Alcázar, a monumental complex of fortifications, palaces, and gardens spanning the Arabic period through the 19th century. Stop at the old University of Seville, whose main building is housed in the former Royal Tobacco Factory where Bizet set the famous opening scene of his opera Carmen.
At the Plaza de España, constructed for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929, admire an elegant canvas of tiled fountains, bridges, and arcades. You may also step inside the Seville Cathedral — where Ferdinand, Isabella, and Christopher Columbus are entombed — and have the opportunity to climb to the top of its soaring La Giralda Tower.
After lunch back on board — and a flamenco show! — enjoy an afternoon at leisure in Seville to shop and explore. Your onboard Concierge can point you to the best spots.
Later, you'll set out into the countryside to a local family’s bull farm, where you will enjoy a tour, a delicious home-hosted dinner of Spanish fare, and a rich cultural exchange.
Uncover the treasures of Seville and Guadalquivir River sailing
Start the day after breakfast with a lecture about the riches of Andalusia. Then, today is full of possibilities as you have the morning at leisure to explore the Andalusian capital on your own.
If you remain in Seville, our included shuttle service will whisk you into town. Take in city views from atop the Metropol Parasol, a remarkable wooden structure of 100-foot pillars topped by a wavy roof traversed by a winding walkway. Or visit the excellent Fine Arts Museum.
This afternoon, enjoy some scenic sailing and cruise along the historic Guadalquivir River through Doñana National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an important habitat for waterfowl. Commentary from the bridge gives you insight into this pristine wilderness, and birders should take advantage of this opportunity to get a good look at some of the birds, including Thekla's lark and the western olivaceous warbler. If you've brought a telephoto lens for your camera, try to get some images from the deck. Relax and have dinner onboard in the evening.
A taste of Britain at the tip of Spain
Step ashore in Gibraltar, known as “The Rock” for its most famous and dominant geographic feature. Throughout the day, you will have expansive views of both Europe and Africa. Our tour includes a funicular ride to the Castle of Gibraltar. Keep your eyes peeled and cameras ready in case you catch a glimpse of the famed Barbary apes (macaques) that live on the rock. British-flavored Gibraltar is a great spot for pub-hopping and duty-free shopping before we return to ship for lunch. You have the afternoon free to wander Gibraltar’s streets, perhaps coming up on a red Victorian post box or a fish-and-chips shop. Our afternoon lecture sheds light on your discoveries and you have the evening to admire the imposing Rock of Gibraltar as you sip a cocktail on the sun deck.
Explore the stunning Ronda gorge
After breakfast, you’ll head inland via local tenders or Zodiac craft to the heights of the sierras and Ronda, first settled by the Celts. A procession of Phoenicians, Arabs, Romans, Moors, Berbers, Visigoths, and other Europeans have since left their cultural mark in the town’s distinctive white stucco neighborhoods. You’ll see the old Roman Bridge spanning the deep El Tajo Gorge below, the stately Casa de Don Bosco, and Mondragon Palace. Then visit the Plaza de Toros — the oldest bullring in Spain. Here, a docent will provide an informative talk on the history of Spanish bullfighting. Lunch is included during your Ronda tour, then enjoy free time back on board.
Beauty and history in seaside Málaga
Wake up in Málaga, the provincial capital and birthplace of Pablo Picasso that recently remade itself into a popular cultural hub with a restored historic center. Your city tour reveals Málaga's wide boulevards lined with turn-of-the-century apartments; the Gothic Cathedral and Gibralfaro Castle (an 11th-century Moorish fortification), the adjacent Alcazaba, (the old Moorish palace). You will also visit the Picasso Museum, home to almost 300 of the artist’s works.
After lunch on board you’ll have the afternoon to relax on the spacious sun deck or explore Málaga on your own.
This evening, enjoy another informative lecture before another sumptuous dinner and an evening of entertainment on the Ocean Odyssey.
Explore the storied city of Granada
From our berth in Motril you set out on a full-day excursion to fabled Granada, the last stronghold of the Spanish Moors. Set in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada boasts one of the world’s most spectacular fortified palace complexes, the legendary Alhambra. On a guided tour, you'll see its most famous attractions, including the renowned fountains and gardens of the adjacent Generalife.
Enjoy lunch in a typical Spanish restaurant. You'll learn more about Andalusia during today’s onboard lecture as you set sail for Cartagena later this afternoon.
Exploring Cartagena's Roman flourishes
After breakfast on board the ship arrives in the natural harbor of Cartagena, in use since the city was established as a major naval center by the Carthaginians in 227 BC. You’ll get acquainted with its history at La Concepción Castle, which overlooks the old Roman Theatre, the second largest in Iberia. Walking down the Calle Mayor, you’ll also see some of the Cartagena’s noteworthy art nouveau buildings, including the gleaming white façade of the Cervantes House and the elegant Grand Hotel, where you have time to explore on your own.
After returning to ship for lunch, your afternoon is free. Perhaps you’ll relax and take in some Spanish sunshine on deck. Before another gourmet dinner on the Ocean Odyssey, yet another lecture illuminates more about this historic region.
Mallorca: Jewel of Spain’s Balearic Islands
The ship arrives in in Palma de Mallorca this morning. Perhaps you'll catch the sunrise this morning from the Ocean Odyssey's observation deck, or get in a morning workout at the gym before a delicious breakfast.
Ringed by pristine crescent beaches and cloaked in lush green forest, Mallorca is an island paradise for the Spanish and visitors alike. On a panoramic city tour, you'll explore the stunning circular Bellver Castle, built in the 14th century for the Kings of Mallorca. Later, step inside the massive, Gothic La Seu Cathedral. This honey-colored masterpiece boasts a cavernous interior designed by Antoni Gaudí and a 144-foot-high nave. Return to the ship for lunch before an afternoon at leisure in Palma de Mallorca.
Admire Barcelona, Catalonia’s vibrant cultural heart
Welcome to beautiful Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia. This morning after breakfast onboard 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. Then, ascend Montjuic for spectacular city views. Continue to the Plaza de España, adorned with Venetian towers and a towering fountain. The tour concludes at La Barceloneta Beach, where an included lunch awaits.
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 like, you'll be provided a ticket for an inside visit. 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.
After lunch at a local restaurant, enjoy an evening at leisure with dinner and a port talk back on the ship.
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.
Exploring the magic of the south of 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. After lunch at a local restaurant, 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 have invited local performers to entertain you with dances and songs of their country.
Glitz and glamour of Monte Carlo
After a relaxing morning at sea, you’ll arrive midday at 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. You will arrive via the world-famous Grand Prix track of Formula One fame. Then, 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. 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. After seeing the Justice Palace, your tour ends at the Oceanographic Museum, another neo-classical gem.
Later, an onboard lecture fills you in on more fascinating details about this glittering Mediterranean coastline.
The cultural riches of coastal cliff-top Corsica
This morning, enjoy breakfast as the Ocean Odyssey arrives at Porto Vecchio. This mountainous Mediterranean outpost offers a fascinating glimpse of France in the middle of the Mediterranean. With its chalk-white coastal cliffs and rugged vistas, it is one of the area’s most breathtaking islands — known to the French as “l’Île de Beauté.” You’ll set out to explore Bonifacio, its castle and pastel-hued Old Town perched on a cliff edge. See its Gothic church, the only one on the island, and climb if you wish the 189 steps of the Roy d’Aragon. Then, embark a small boat for a thrilling expedition to explore the Lavezzi Islands and their dramatic cliffs and sea caves carved by the surf over millennia. You’ll return to ship for a late lunch; an onboard lecture this afternoon reveals more about this seldom-visited corner of the Mediterranean.
Uncovering the mysteries of Pompeii
Arrive this morning along the legendary Amalfi Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where seaside villages and dizzying cliffs create a dreamy landscape. 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 cart wheels, 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! We've coordinated 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, learn more about local history and culture before another delectable dinner brings you even more flavors of this region.
Lipari: Gem of the Aeolian Islands
It is only because of our small ship size that we 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. You anchor off the shore of Lipari and tender to Marina Corta, walking with your guide along the via Garibaldi. At the Rock of the Castle, 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 will 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, enjoy leisure time in Lipari.
This afternoon’s onboard lecture provides more fascinating context to this legendary part of the Mediterranean.
This evening, shipboard commentary accompanies our scenic cruising among the magnificent Aeolian Islands.
Uncover Taormina’s rich history and breathtaking setting
From your anchor off of Giardini Naxos, you’ll tender into 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. During your tour, admire the Moorish and Islamic influences in the exterior of the 15th-century Palazzo Carvaia. Continue to the fantastic Greek Theater, originally built in the 3rd century by Romans. You can marvel at its coastal vistas before heading to the Public Gardens, boasting some 200 species. Take time to sample a refreshing granita while here, then we provide you with the euros you’ll need to enjoy lunch at an inviting spot of your choosing.
This afternoon, continue to soak up Taormina’s refreshing views. Later, another onboard lecture deepens your understanding of the region. This evening, get into the rhythms of the Triskele Band, named for the three-legged triskelion symbol on the Sicilian flag.
Discover Sicily with sightseeing of Syracuse and Ortigia
Arrive on the shores of Sicily today, the breathtaking island at the tip of Italy’s toe. Your discoveries begin 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 fountain with roots in Greek mythology, before lunch calls us back to the ship. Your afternoon is at leisure to continue your explorations in Syracuse. Later, you'll have dinner onboard.
Relax on board with a day at sea
Relax with a day at sea as the Ocean Odyssey makes its way into the heart of the Mediterranean. Visit the spa, get in a workout at the gym, relax on the sun deck catching up with a great book, and savor the fabulous cuisine our chefs create. You'll enjoy another scintillating lecture to enrich your understanding of Mediterranean history.
The stunning preservations of Pylos
Uncover the rich Greek, Venetian and Ottoman past of the Peloponnese today during your visit to Pylos. A scenic drive takes you first to Methoni, an important port in the 13th century. Its stunning fortress, a shining example of Venetian, Ottoman and French military architecture, is surrounded on three sides by the sea and on the landward side by an old moat. Back in Pylos, explore the Ottoman castle of Neokastro, one of Greece’s best preserved. Continue to the newly restored Mycenaean Palace of Nestor, a compound of four buildings and 105 apartments.
After lunch on board, you may continue to explore Pylos are your leisure. Your onboard Concierge can provide recommendations on other fascinating sights and tours. Today’s onboard lecture reveals more about the sites of the storied Peloponnese Peninsula.
Gythion: Gateway to Byzantine Mystras
Arrive this morning in Gythion, with ties to the legendary Trojan War. Please be advised that we will anchor offshore and tender in with the use of local tenders of Zodiac crafts. From here, head inland on the Peloponnese Peninsula to Mystras, the last stronghold of the Byzantines. This stunning site atop Mount Taygetos was a Byzantine center of culture in the 14th and 15th centuries. Stroll the narrow lanes of the once-invincible fortress, viewing the stone-carved facades of the Cathedral of Agios Dimitrios, where Constantine XII was coronated, the Church of Agia Sophia, the sprawling Palace of the Despots, and the Monastery of Pantanassa, with its brilliant frescoes.
You have the afternoon at leisure to enjoy your ship’s amenities, perhaps visiting the spa. Learn more about the day’s experience during today’s onboard lecture before another evening of culinary delights.
The Rock of Monemvasia and wine tasting
The small island of Monemvasia simply takes the breath away. Today we’ll anchor offshore and tender to the island using local tenders or Zodiac crafts. Called “The Rock" for its massive dominating rock, it is truly a unique and thrilling slice of the Aegean. Walk the charming narrow streets of its fortress, passing Byzantine churches and old houses with graceful archways. Visit the 13th-century Church of Christ Elkomenos, home to impressive old Byzantine icons. Continue to the Liotrivi Mansion, surrounded by vineyards whose grapes produce the famed Malvasia wine. The Byzantine-era setting provides the ideal atmosphere for a wine tasting. You are welcomed by the vintner, who leads you on a tour of the centuries-old property before popping open a bottle or two for your sampling. After lunch on board, you have the afternoon to stroll the atmospheric streets of Monemvasia on your own.
Later today, a lecture illuminates more about this historic region. This evening, we welcome local entertainers on board for a lively cultural performance.
Ancient treasures in and around Nafplion
Your day begins with a delicious breakfast as the ship arrives in Nafplion. Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Arcadian Mountains, this ancient city enjoys a sheltered location below a rocky headland. Admire its impressive Venetian castle as you approach. Today, we will anchor offshore and head inland with the use of local tenders of Zodiac crafts. Then, set out to discover two of Greece’s most renowned ancient sites. First, explore the ancient healing center of Epidaurus. UNESCO has described its Sanctuary of Asklepios as “one of the purest masterpieces of Greek architecture.” The sanctuary was dedicated to the god of medicine. You will also view its remarkably preserved amphitheater built into a mountain slope, still celebrated for its excellent acoustics. After, continue to the ruins of Mycenae, the Bronze Age capital of one of the first great empires of the ancient Mediterranean and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Look for the massive archway with the carved lions, the symbol of the ancient city-state.
After lunch on board, you’ll have the afternoon to explore Nafplion at your leisure.
Before dinner, an onboard lecture today provides insight into the ancient Greeks. This evening, you'll have an indulgent choice of culinary experiences onboard the ship, in the main dining room, or more intimate spaces.
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. Enjoy lunch on your own with money provided, perhaps dining in the charming Plaka district, nestled at the foot of Acropolis Hill.
Enjoy an afternoon at leisure in Athens. Tonight, the ship sets sail for Itea.
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 the 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. Please be advised that we will anchor offshore in Dubrovnik and tender inland with the use of local tenders of Zodiac crafts. 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!
Upon arriving in Šibenik, 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
After breakfast, you'll disembark the Ocean Odyssey and say goodbye to your ship before transferring 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.
Discover 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.
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.
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.