Welcome drink in Athens; full buffet breakfast daily; 7 lunches; 4 three-course dinners with wine; 7 à-la-carte dinners while cruising
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
Day 1 Athens, Greece
Welcome to Athens! At 6 pm, meet your traveling companions for a welcome drink with your Tour Director.
Day 2 Athens
Sightseeing with a Local Guide features a visit to the Parthenon’s crowning beauty atop the ACROPOLIS, the Erechtheum with its Porch of Maidens, the beautifully preserved Theseum, Roman temple dedicated to Zeus, Theater of Dionysus, and the Agora where Socrates taught. Vistas of the government buildings and elegant homes in the modern city provide a striking contrast to the remains of the glorious past. Tonight is your chance to join an optional dinner outing to try out local fare.
Day 3 Athens–Corinth–Mycenae–Epidaurus–Nauplia
Cross the spectacular Corinth Canal, then visit ANCIENT CORINTH, where St. Paul preached. Two highlights today: MYCENAE, where 19th-century excavations reveal impressions of the splendors so vividly described by Homer. Admire the Beehive Tombs, the Treasury of Atreus, Lion Gate, Europe’s oldest known monument, remains of Agamemnon’s Royal Palace, and the impressive fortifications of the Citadel. Also visit the museum. Then, a short drive to EPIDAURUS for a tour of its amazingly well-preserved 2,300-year-old open-air theater. Overnight in nearby Nauplia.
Day 4 Nauplia–Olympia
Spectacular scenery on the way through the Arkadian Mountains. Then, spend the afternoon in OLYMPIA, where the athletes of antiquity competed in honor of the king of deities. Learn about the history of those original Olympic Games as you walk among the impressive remains of the Gymnasium and the Temples of Hera and Zeus. Also visit the MUSEUM that displays Praxiteles’ magnificent statue of Hermes. Tonight, enjoy a COOKING DEMONSTRATION and learn how to make the traditional Greek tzatziki appetizer.
Day 5 Olympia–Patras–Delphi
Via the busy seaport of Patras, proceed through the picturesque fishing villages along the south coast of the mainland to mystic Delphi. The afternoon is devoted to a fascinating tour of the ancient sanctuary of the god Apollo in its dramatic setting on the slopes of Mount Parnassus. Hear about the Oracle and tour the EXCAVATIONS. End the day with a visit to the ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM to admire the Charioteer, an extraordinary 5th-century BC bronze statue. A highlight this evening is a DANCE LESSON, where you’ll learn how to dance the sirtaki, made famous in the movie Zorba the Greek, accompanied by a glass of the traditional Ouzo.
Day 6 Delphi–Meteora Area
Drive past Lamia and Trikala to Kalambaka in the unreal, fantastic landscape of Meteora with its 24 rock-top monasteries. Visit VARLAAM MONASTERY, famous for its frescoes, and ST. STEPHEN’S MONASTERY, featuring a unique collection of icons and an incredible panoramic view (ladies are suggested to pack one long skirt, as shorts or trousers may be inappropriate when visiting the monasteries).
Day 7 Meteora Area–Thermopylae–Athens
Today’s highlight is a guided visit to THERMOPYLAE, the site of the heroic battle of Leonidas’ 300 doomed Spartans against Xerxes’ huge Persian army. On the way back to Athens, your Tour Director will tell you about Thebes, the setting of Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, and Marathon, where 10,000 Athenians defeated more than twice that number of Persian invaders in 490 BC. Enjoy an optional dinner in a romantic restaurant.
Day 8 Athens–Lavrion (Embarkation)–Mykonos
An exciting morning as you transfer to the cruise port in Lavrion and sail into the deep-blue waters of the Aegean Sea at 11 am. You’ll easily settle into the routine of sunbathing, sipping cool drinks, splashing in the pool, and indulging in the culinary delights prepared by the ship’s expert chefs. Later, dock at the mountainous island of Mykonos, the exquisite “Island of the Winds,” where the sun shines up to 300 days a year! With free time to explore on your own, be sure to take photographs of the iconic windmills and stroll around the town’s waterfront area in search of Petros the Pelican, the island’s official mascot for over 50 years.
Day 9 Cruising: Kusadasi, Turkey–Samos, Greece
Dock at Kusadasi on the Turkish coast. An optional morning excursion takes you to the fascinating Greek, Roman, and Byzantine excavations of Ephesus with its Library of Celsus, opulent Terrace Houses, amphitheatre, and more. The massive site paints a picture of what ancient life was like here—and experts claim only 10 to 15 percent of the city has been unearthed! Later, arrive in Samos, birthplace of Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras and known for its wine production.
Day 10 Cruising: Milos
A whole day to experience volcanic Milos, known as the “Island of Colors” for its spectacularly colorful rock formations. This Cycladic island is most famous for its ancient statue of Aphrodite—the world-famous Venus de Milo, which is on permanent display in the Paris Louvre. Milos is also renowned for its magnificent beaches, picturesque villages, and catacombs that are older than Rome’s. Time to wander around the marble-paved streets or maybe visit one of the many churches, like Panagia Thalassitra, affording spectacular sea views of the Aegean..
Day 11 Cruising: Syros
Early this morning, sail back to the port in Athens and consider a visit to the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion. According to Greek mythology, King Aegeus, believing his son Theseus was killed by the dreaded Minotaur in Crete, leapt to his death from here, giving the Aegean Sea its name. As you stroll among the temple ruins, be sure to look for English poet Lord Byron’s name, which he carved into the base of one of the columns in the 19th century. Back on board later, sail to Syros, a settlement dating back at least 5,000 years to the Early Bronze Age. Today, it is capital of the Cyclades Islands. (B.L.D)
Day 12 Cruising: Cesme, Turkey
Enjoy a full day with lots to do in the Turkish coastal town of Cesme, known as Kysos in ancient times. Situated on a promontory on the tip of the Cesme Peninsula, this popular resort area is one of the best wind- and kite-surfing destinations in the world. Maybe walk along its picturesque seafront, haggle for bargains along the winding market streets, explore the hilltop castle, or just relax on the beach.
Day 13 Cruising: Kos, Greece
A whole day to discover Kos, one of the Dodecanese Islands and birthplace of Hippocrates. Maybe join an optional excursion to the ancient Asclepeion, a sacred center of healing based on Hippocrates’ teachings. Dedicated to Asclepius, god of medicine, this 4th century BC site drew visitors from around the ancient world who were seeking healing.
Day 14 Cruising: Ios–Santorini
Dock at the tiny island of Los, considered one of most beautiful of the Greek Isles. Later, arrive in volcanic Santorini (weather permitting), the “Black Pearl of the Aegean.” Consider an optional excursion to Akrotiri, a Minoan Bronze Age settlement buried during the eruption that created the caldera in 1600 BC. Also, don’t miss a stop in Oia, world-renowned for its whitewashed buildings, blue-domed churches, and stunning sunsets.
Day 15 Lavrion–Athens (Disembarkation)
After breakfast on board, disembark at Lavrion and return to Athens. The remainder of the day is free to catch up on last-minute shopping in the Plaka district. Enjoy an optional dinner in a romantic restaurant.
Day 16 Athens
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.