Welcome drink in Athens; full buffet breakfast daily; 2 three-course dinners; plus all meals on board daily featuring full à la carte breakfasts, lunches, and dinners
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description, including admission charges where applicable.
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–CORINTH CANAL–MYCENAE– OLYMPIA
Cross the spectacular Corinth Canal. Your highlight today is MYCENAE, where 19th-century excavations reveal impressions of the splendors so vividly described by Homer. Admire the Beehive Tombs, known as the Treasury of Atreus; Lion Gate, Europe’s oldest known monument; the remains of Agamemnon’s Royal Palace; and the impressive fortifications of the Citadel. Also visit the museum. Later, arrive in Olympia. Tonight, enjoy a COOKING DEMONSTRATION and learn how to make the traditional Greek tzatziki appetizer.
Day 3 OLYMPIA–DELPHI
Sightseeing with a Local Guide will give you insights into the town 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. In the afternoon a pleasant drive will take you to mystic Delphi. 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 4 DELPHI–ATHENS
The morning 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. Visit the ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM to admire the Charioteer, an extraordinary 5th-century-BC bronze statue. Leave fascinating Delphi behind you and head back to Athens. Tonight, enjoy an optional dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 5 ATHENS–PIREAUS (EMBARKATION)
Today head to the port city of Pireaus, where your cruise ship awaits to whisk you into the crystal-blue waters of the Aegean Sea.
Day 6 CRUISING: ISTANBUL, TURKEY
This afternoon arrive in Istanbul founded as Byzantium more than 2,500 years ago. A private tender boat will take you on your included CRUISE on the Bosphorus strait that divides Europe and Asia. Then back to dry land to stroll around the GRAND BAZAAR.
Day 7 ISTANBUL
Another full day to experience this mesmerising gateway between the Orient and the Occident. The city has so much to offer including the Topkapi Palace, residence of the Ottoman sultans in the 15th century, Sultan Ahmed I’s Blue Mosque, a masterpiece of Islamic architecture and the Hagia Sophia, symbol of Istanbul. Join a shore excursion to complete your visit in Istanbul. Your ship departs in the early evening.
Day 8 CRUISING: CANAKKALE
Enter the Dardanelles Strait and dock at Canakkale in northwestern Turkey. Choose from exciting optional excursions to learn about this strategic area which boasts Troy and Gallipoli, where wars have been waged throughout the centuries.
Day 9 CRUISING: VOLOS, GREECE
Back in Greece, explore lively Volos, the enchanting area where mythology’s centaur Chiron taught heroes such as Jason, leader of the Argonauts. You might enjoy visiting the archaeological museum, home to superb collections from the Neolithic, Hellenistic, and Byzantine eras.
Day 10 CRUISING: HERAKLION, CRETE
Today, discover Crete, the largest of the Greek islands. With an expert guide, visit KNOSSOS, center of the 3000-BC Minoan civilization. Stroll through the frescoed palace ruins with its ties to mythology’s King Minos and the terrifying half-man/half-bull Minotaur imprisoned in the labyrinth.
Day 11 CRUISING: SANTORINI, GREECE–MYKONOS
Visit two ports today. First, weather permitting, is SANTORINI, the “Black Pearl of the Aegean.” Don’t miss the included excursion to clifftop Oia, dramatically perched on the sheer side of the island’s caldera. With its brilliant whitewashed buildings, striking blue-domed roofs, and breathtaking views, this is Greece at its iconic best. Later, dock at Mykonos, where you’re greeted by the charming collection of windmills. Time to wander the narrow, shop-lined streets or to relax at a shaded taverna before returning to your ship.
Day 12 PIRAEUS (DISEMBARKATION)–ATHENS
After breakfast on board, disembark for a final day in Athens. Sightseeing with a Local Guide features a visit to the world-famous ACROPOLIS, perched high on a rocky outcrop overlooking the city. Here, see the Parthenon, the Erechtheum with its Porch of Maidens, and the Temple of Athena Nike. Enjoy a panoramic view that includes glimpses of the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Theater of Dionysus, and the Agora where Socrates taught. Later, a city orientation tour features the Old Parliament House and a photo stop at the Panathenaic Stadium. Built in the 2nd century AD, it is the only stadium in the world built entirely of marble, and was host to the opening and closing ceremonies of the first modern Olympics in 1896. The rest of the day is at leisure. Tonight is your chance to join an optional dinner outing to try the local fare.
Day 13 ATHENS
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.