4 DAYS FROM $999
4 DAYS FROM $1,049
Experience the joys of Greek island hopping on this swoon-worthy cruise illuminating Mediterranean history, cuisine, and art. Spend three relaxing days in the pretty port town of Nafplion before a 7-night voyage to iconic Santorini and Mykonos, as well as lesser-known Cyclades gems of Naxos, Paros, Delos, Milos, and more. Wind down in Athens, where the Archeological and New Acropolis museums will provide the ultimate conclusion to your breathtaking journey. You’ll tour the ancient villages of Mycenae, Corinth, and Melanes; unveil early medical practice in Epidaurus; and explore the Parthenon and its sprawling Acropolis. Plus, join a home-hosted lunch with a Naxos family and tour Santorini’s capital city of Fira.
With a history reaching back over seven millennia, Sofia is one of Europe’s youngest capitals but oldest cities. Modern Sofia is full of cobblestone boulevards, domed churches, and vast parks, but behind this eclectic city is a history as rich as any capital. The city’s full heritage was only recently brought to light — when bulldozers broke ground to dig a path for the city’s new metro only a decade ago, they unearthed an ancient world with intact Roman streets, houses, churches, and baths dating back 2,000 years. On visits to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Boyana Church and Rila Monastery), you'll find that Sofia is the perfect balance of history and culture, and is also home to some of Bulgaria’s finest museums and restaurants, too.
Fly overnight to Athens
Today you’ll board an overnight flight to Athens, Greece.
Arrive in Athens, 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 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.
Tour Nafplion’s gems and visit a ceramics workshop
Following a Welcome Briefing, enjoy a morning sightseeing tour of Nafplion, a charming city with a fascinating past. Then 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. After lunch in a local restaurant, 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.
Discover more of Nafplion on your own
Enjoy a day at leisure to explore Nafplion further — your Cruise Director can provide some suggestions or help arrange a tour for you.
Visit an architectural masterwork and stroll through ancient Corinth
Discover today what is often lauded as the most beautiful open-air theater in the world: the Theater of Epidaurus, part of the Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus, a UNESCO 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. A lecture on “Greek History: From Antiquity to the Present Day” during our transfer back to the ship will give us perspective on the wonders we’ve seen, and the ones that lie ahead.
Cruising the Aegean means sailing between hundreds of small inhabited and uninhabited islands. There are about 220 estimated islands in the Cyclades, so there’s always something to see!
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 taverna 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. Back on board, hear an enlightening lecture on “Greek Mythology”.
Naxos village life and a traditional 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. Afterward, join a local family in the village for a memorable lunch, either hosted by a local family or at a traditional village restaurant. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure. Tonight, enjoy a performance by local musicians aboard ship.
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. As we near the island, you’ll have views of the caldera and the cliffs of Santorini and its two main towns: Fira and Oia, home of the famous white houses with blue windows. 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.
After lunch, continue to the northernmost tip of the island to visit 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. You'll have a choice to stay in Fira to explore on your own or return to the ship by cable car. Prior to dinner this evening, delve into more Greek history and heritage with a talk on “Architecture and Archaeology.”
The underrated shores of Milos
Perhaps one of the most undiscovered 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 photo stops along the famous volcanic coastlines. You can also use your free time here to explore the Old Town. Later, hear a lecture on Alexander the Great.
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. 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. You'll also have a chance to enjoy a tasting of flavorful “Loukoumi” candy. 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.
Spend a day at leisure in Aegina
As we cruise to Aegina, located in a bay between Piraeus, Cape Sounion, and Poros, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the Greek mainland in the distance! This charming island is close to Athens yet possesses its own distinct character. Enjoy an orientation walk, followed by time to yourself to soak in Aegina’s charms. Later, learn about Greece’s spiritual side during a lecture on “Religions in Greece.”
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, and the Pan Athenian Stadium. 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.
Uncover 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.
Spend a day at leisure in Athens
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.
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.
At the end of the Communist era, Albania’s compact capital of Tirana blossomed into a cheerful city of parks, fountains, and cafés. The first thing that might strike you is the city's famous painted buildings, which are colorfully, vibrantly bedecked in all hues and even geometric designs — an artistic mandate from Tirana's former mayor. During this extension, you’ll explore Tirana's architecture on panoramic and walking tours. You'll also head into the countryside on the way to Shkodra, one of Europe’s oldest cities, and visit the town of Lezhe for a slow food experience that will introduce your palate to farm-fresh Albanian cuisine. This extension is a superb opportunity to become acquainted with yet another destination in the endlessly fascinating Balkan region.
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.