Cruising Greece's Aegean Treasures - 2020

Nafplion • 7-night Cyclades small ship cruise with Delos, Mykonos, Naxos, Santorini, Milos, Paros, Syros, Aegina • Athens
  • $399
  • 14
  • 27
15 DAYS FROM $5,698
Moderate Deluxe
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Sofia, Bulgaria

4 DAYS FROM $999

Tirana, Albania, with Kosovo

4 DAYS FROM $949

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The stunning Cyclades are both an avid traveler’s playground and a pleasure hunter’s paradise — and you’ll experience all the joys of Greek island hopping on this swoon-worthy cruise illuminating Mediterranean history, cuisine, and art. Bask in Greece’s sunny, subtropical splendor with three days in the country’s prettiest port town of Nafplion before embarking on a blissful 7-night voyage to iconic Santorini and Mykonos, as well as lesser-known Cyclades gems of Naxos, Paros, Delos, Milos, and more. This Aegean Sea voyage then winds down with three nights in illustrious Athens, where the National Archeological and New Acropolis museums will provide the ultimate conclusion. You’ll tour ancient wonders, including the villages of Mycenae, Corinth, and Melanes; unveil early medical practice in Epidaurus; and explore the most famous of Greek structures: the Parthenon and its sprawling Acropolis. Contemporary Greece is spotlighted, too, as you join a home-hosted lunch with a Naxos family, tour Santorini’s capital city of Fira, and revel in hedonistic Mykonos — the glamorous outpost of the jet set.

Your Greek discoveries are just a step away onboard the ms Galileo, a stately motor sailer that recalls the timeless elegance of classic ships. Updated in 2016, the Galileo offers multiple decks, an American bar and elegant dining room, swimming platform, and well-appointed cabins with all modern comforts - including air-conditioning and Wi-Fi. Your Cyclades spree is enhanced with the expertise of your Cruise Director, a Greek government-licensed tour guide who will supplement your sightseeing with a six-part lecture series on ancient and modern Greece. Make the most of your Aegean Sea getaway with pre- and post-trip extensions to Bulgaria and Albania; then sit back and sip an ouzo on this enlightening and gorgeous Greek voyage. Opa!

Nafplion to Athens

Pre-Trip Extension

Sofia, Bulgaria

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DAY 1:

Fly overnight to Athens

Today you’ll board an overnight flight to Athens, Greece.

DAY 2:

Arrive in Athens, and then transfer to Nafplion

Arrive in Athens and transfer to Nafplion, where a guaranteed sea-view room awaits you in this beautiful, romantic town in the eastern Peloponnese. This evening, get acquainted with your Cruise Director and fellow passengers during a Welcome Briefing and Dinner in the hotel restaurant.

Your Cruise Director will also serve as your official guide on this voyage and, in accordance with Greek law, official guides are mandated to complete a rigorous art and history curriculum before licensure by the Greek government. Think of your Cruise Director as an expert on all things Greece, which you’ll soon see for yourself during myriad sightseeing excursions and an illuminating lecture series.

Please note: If you purchase your airfare from Vantage, a Vantage representative will meet you outside the customs area and your transfer to Nafplion (less than two hours en route) will be included. If you plan to purchase your own airfare, ask when you reserve your trip about arranging your transfer with Vantage at a considerable savings over local fares.

Included Meals:


DAY 3:

Tour Nafplion’s gems, and visit a ceramics workshop

Enjoy a morning sightseeing tour of Nafplion, a charming city with a fascinating past. After lunch in a local restaurant, you'll travel inland 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. Cultural Connection: While you're here, you'll visit a ceramics workshop to witness a pottery-making demonstration by skilled artisans. If you're interested, items made in the studio will be available for purchase. You'll then return to the hotel and enjoy the rest of the evening at leisure.

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 4:

Explore Olympia on an optional tour, or explore Nafplion on your own

Set off on an optional tour to Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympics. The tour includes a scenic drive across the Peloponnese Peninsula, entrance to the Olympia Museum, and lunch in a local taverna featuring Greek specialties. Alternatively, enjoy a day at leisure exploring Nafplion further.

Included Meals:

Optional Tour: Olympia


  • Approximate Cost: $159 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 8 hours
  • Location: From Nafplion, Greece
  • When: Full-day tour

Embark on a full-day discovery of ancient Olympia, the original site of the eponymous games and the inspiration for the revived version we all know today. You'll learn about the history of the games as you stroll through the areas where competitions once took place and enjoy an included traditional Greek lunch. You’ll also have time to visit the museum on the site.

DAY 5:

An architectural masterwork, and a stroll through ancient Corinth

Discover today what UNESCO described as “one of the purest masterpieces of Greek architecture” when it named the Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus a World Heritage Site. The sanctuary was dedicated to Asklepios, the god of medicine, and the valley of Epidaurus became an ancient medical center of sorts, attracting cure seekers from across the Greek Empire. Next, tour the ruins of Corinth, a city dating as far back as 400 BC and once home to 90,000 people.

Later, transfer across the Corinth Canal to the port of Piraeus and embark ship. Soon, we’ll cast off on our Aegean island-hopping voyage. Cultural Connection: A lecture on “Greek History: From Antiquity to the Present Day” will give us perspective on the wonders we’ve seen, and the ones that lie ahead.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 6:

Cruising the Cyclades: Sacred Delos and hedonistic Mykonos

Despite its status as one of the smallest of the Cyclades, Delos was once the most sacred of the islands, a place steeped in mythology as the birthplace of the Apollo the Sun God, and his twin sister, Artemis, Goddess of the Moon. As you’ll discover on your visit, the entire island is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with ongoing work to excavate, measure, and preserve the countless treasures, including temples, monuments, and mosaics.

Then, from the serene and timeless precincts of Delos, it’s on to an island of very different character. Beneath the glitz and glitter of fashionable Mykonos — possibly the most popular of the Greek isles — you’ll find a charming place filled with traditional homes and churches, shop-lined streets, and a picturesque harbor. Head out on a walking tour that includes a stop in a traditional bakery for Greek meze (small plates of food), accompanied by ouzo, Greece’s eponymous anise-flavored liqueur; then enjoy some time for swimming and exploring Mykonos on your own. Cultural Connection: Back on board, hear an enlightening lecture on “Greek Mythology”.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 7:

Naxos village life and a home-hosted lunch

A scenic morning cruise brings us to Naxos, largest of the Cyclades. This morning’s tour takes you across the island to the village of Kournochari. From here, trek local footpaths to Melanes, an ancient village nestled among fruit groves and olive trees. In a local garden, you’ll find a haunting statue depicting a guardian of Zeus, which was left unfinished. Cultural Connections: Afterward, join a local family in the village for a memorable home-hosted lunch. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure. Tonight, enjoy a performance by local musicians aboard ship.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 8:

A walking tour of stylish Santorini

Cruise to the popular island retreat of Santorini, where typical whitewashed homes scaffold up cliffs overlooking the crystalline sea. Embark on a tour that will lead you to the archaeological site of Akrotiri, Profitou Iliou Mountain, and the town of Fira, the island’s capital. Then, take a cable car ride down Santorini’s hilly harbor and reboard the ship. This afternoon, take an optional tour to the village of Oia, which you may recognize from myriad magazines, movies, and postcards. Undoubtedly Santorini’s most beautiful village, Oia (pronounced “Eee-ya”) is home to charming churches and white homes, restaurants and shops, and some of the best views, seeing as how it overlooks the caldera. Because of its location, sunset lovers convene in Oia each night to witness Santorini’s renowned sherbet sunsets. On this tour, you’ll explore the town and savor a light lunch and wine tasting.

Cultural Connection: Prior to dinner this evening, delve into more Greek history and heritage with a talk on “Architecture and Archaeology.”

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
Optional Tour: Views of Santorini: Oia Village and Wine Tasting with Local Specialties

Views of Santorini: Oia Village and Wine Tasting with Local Specialties

  • Approximate Cost: $95 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 4 hours
  • Location: Oia, Santorini, Greece
  • When: Afternoon tour

You’ll get a different perspective of Santorini on this excursion, which takes you first to a local winery. Here, tour the wine chambers and distilleries, sample some of the crisp white wines, and enjoy spectacular views over the water while you enjoy a light meal typical of the island. Afterwards, we head to the village of Oia, on the northernmost point on the island. Built on a steep slope of the caldera, Oia was once the home of wealthy seafarers. See their colorful two-story mansions and houses nestled in niches in the volcanic rock. Walk the narrow, cobbled streets to view tiny shops selling local handicrafts. Stop in one of the coffee shops set on the edge of a cliff for stunning views of the sea and back along the curve of Santorini to Fira, the island’s primary port. After returning to Fira, time permitting, you can spend time at leisure or return to ship via a cable car to the pier.

DAY 9:

The underrated shores of Milos

Perhaps one of the most underrated of the Greek isles, Milos offers stunning beaches (more than any other Greek isle, in fact) and a fascinating landscape molded by volcanic activity. This is also the discovery site of Venus de Milo, one of the world’s most famous sculptures currently on display at the Louvre. You’ll discover this island on a sightseeing tour, which includes some free time at the legendary beaches here.

Cultural Connection: Hear a lecture on Alexander the Great.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 10:

Touring historical hot-spots on the up-and-coming isles of Paros and Syros

This morning we call at Paros, an island renowned for its bucolic beauty, laid-back fishing port, and traditional hill villages connected by ancient footpaths. A walking tour in the unpretentious but charming capital of Parikia reveals the traditional bleached architecture so typical in this part of the Aegean. Cultural Connection: During your visit, enjoy a tasting of flavorful “Loukoumi” candy. After lunch on ship, arrive at Syros, once a thriving 19th-century trading port. During your sightseeing tour, you’ll discover the island’s rich layers of history, from ancient ruins to religious monuments to the capital Ermoupoli’s medieval quarter. Cultural Connections: Learn more about the ancient empires of the Mediterranean in a lecture entitled “Byzantium.” Afterwards, a lively troupe of folk dancers comes aboard ship to entertain us.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 11:

A day at leisure in Aegina, or set off on an optional island tour

This island is tantalizingly close to Athens, yet possesses its own distinct character. Enjoy an orientation walk, followed by a full tour of the island on an optional tour that also heads to the Temple of Aphaia, which hearkens back to 480 BC. Or, spend some free time on your own to soak in Aegina’s charms at your own pace. Cultural Connection: Learn about Greece’s spiritual side during a lecture on “Religions in Greece.”

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
Optional Tour: Aegina Island Tour with Temple of Aphaia

Aegina Island Tour with Temple of Aphaia

  • Approximate Cost: $69 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 4 hours
  • Location: Aegina, Greece
  • When: Afternoon tour

Explore Aegina in depth on a tour that takes you to some of the island’s highlights — including the famed Temple of Aphaia. This temple was built around 500 BC, and was dedicated to the lesser-known goddess Apahaia (sometimes known as a patron of child care). The site is renowned not only for its setting — offering breathtaking views of the island and the sea — but as one of the more impressively preserved structures from the ancient world. Get the most of your time here on Aegina with this optional tour.

DAY 12:

Athens icons — the Parthenon and the sprawling Acropolis

After breakfast on board, disembark ship and enjoy the day in Athens. A panoramic tour unveils a unique city, where modern life is intertwined with 4,000 years of history. We'll climb up the iconic Acropolis, perched high on an overlook of the entire city. The Acropolis is also 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. We'll also stop into a Vantage-recommended shop and browse for fine Greek art, antiquities, and souvenirs. Afterwards, enjoy time at leisure, with lunch on your own in the charming, flower-bedecked Plaka district at the foot of the Acropolis.

Included Meals:


DAY 13:

More historical and architectural marvels in Athens

Enjoy another day to discover the treasures in the birthplace of democracy. We’ll visit the National Archaeological Museum as well as the New Acropolis Museum, adding some rich background into your historical discoveries the day prior. After lunch, spend the rest of the day at leisure in Athens.

Included Meals:


DAY 14:

Venture to Cape Sounion, or spend afternoon at leisure in Athens

Join an optional excursion to Cape Sounion today. Bordered by the sea on three sides, Cape Sounion’s sharply indented coastline is fringed with beautiful beaches. On top of a cliff from where King Aegeus threw himself into the sea that even now bears his name, you’ll find the 17 remaining Doric columns of the 5th-century-BC Temple of Poseidon.

Or, spend a day at leisure to enjoy more time in the Greek capital city. Your hotel is conveniently located near the upscale Kolonaki district in the center of Athens, close to many shops and restaurants, as well as some of the city's best museums.

Tonight, meet up with your fellow passengers one more time for a Farewell Dinner at the hotel.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner
Optional Tour: Cape Sounion Tour

Cape Sounion Tour

  • Approximate Cost: $55 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 4 hours
  • Location: Athens, Greece
  • When: Afternoon tour
Cape Sounion is one of the most famous and picturesque places in Attica. Bordered by the sea on three sides, its sharply indented coastline is fringed with beautiful beaches. Today, you will see some of the marvelous vistas Attica offers overlooking the sea. Departing from the hotel, you will drive along the scenic west coast of the Attica Peninsula affording you fine views of the Saronic Gulf, and the fertile countryside inland. The island of Aegina will be on your right as you pass Voula, Lagonissi, and other resorts on your way to the southeastern most tip of the land mass of Europe — Cape Sounion. Here on top of the cliff, which King Aegeus threw himself into the sea that now bears his name, stand the 17 remaining Doric columns of the 5th-century BC Temple of Poseidon. Built in Pentelic marble, the columns have retained much of their original gleaming white appearance. Many visitors, both illustrious and ordinary, have carved their names on the pillars since the 18th century. Lord Byron proudly carved his signature, but you are discouraged from leaving your mark! The breathtaking panorama from this lofty spot is superb with the deep blue Aegean Sea studded with the islands before you.

DAY 15:

Return home, or begin your extension to Albania

Transfer to the airport for your flight home or begin your post-trip extension in Tirana, the capital of Albania.

Included Meals:


Post-Trip Extension

Tirana, Albania, with Kosovo


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.

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Cruising Greece's Aegean Treasures - 2020

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