The Mediterranean has long enraptured travelers with its ancient history, rich culture, and breathtaking sites. You’ll discover the wonders of this region aboard this luxurious Vantage Deluxe World Travel small ship cruise.
Uncover centuries of history among the ruins of Athens, explore an ancient castle in Turkey, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Paphos, and delve into biblical history in Israel. In all, 9 included features and Cultural Discoveries will provide a glimpse into the long-held beliefs and deep-seated cultures of the destinations you’ll visit.
Throughout the entirety of your luxurious small ship cruise, you’ll indulge in the first-class amenities aboard the elegant Ocean Odyssey. Treat yourself to a pampering treatment at the spa, join an instructor-led class at the fitness center, savor gourmet cuisine at one of several onboard restaurants, pick up a page-turner at the well-stocked library, or simply relax on the top-level sundeck and enjoy the panoramic views with a cocktail in hand.
However you choose to spend your time aboard, your shipboard staff will be there to ensure your satisfaction and comfort at every turn. This is luxury small ship cruising at its finest, with every amenity you could desire. Your ship’s low passenger-to-crew ratio also ensure that you’ll receive the best personalized service at sea and meaningful interactions while ashore.
Immerse yourself in the exoticism, fascinating history, and resplendent architecture of Istanbul, where Europe meets Asia along the bustling Bosphorus Strait. You’ll step into the world of Ottoman sultans at the Topkapi Palace, marvel at the towering domes and minarets of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, and roam the endless passageways of the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market, teeming with colorful carpets, leather goods, jewelry, and lanterns. Your three nights in this intoxicating cultural capital are the perfect way to start off your ocean expedition.
Board an overnight flight to Athens, Greece
Board an overnight flight to Athens, Greece. Or, depart earlier for your optional pre-trip extension in Istanbul.
Arrive in Athens today
Welcome to Athens! If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a Vantage representative will meet you at the airport and assist with transfers to your hotel. Get settled in and relax. Dinner tonight is on your own.
Enjoy Athens at your leisure
Following breakfast at your hotel, you’ll have a day at leisure to explore Athens’ landmarks and historical sites, with lunch and dinner on your own.
Transfer to Piraeus and embark the Ocean Odyssey
Your day will begin with breakfast at your hotel. Later, you’ll transfer to Piraeus and embark the Ocean Odyssey. Settle into your sumptuous stateroom and acquaint yourself with your luxurious vessel. After a Welcome Briefing and cocktail hour, enjoy your first dinner onboard.
Explore the lush island of Naxos
Today you’ll head out on a walking tour of Naxos, the largest island in the Cyclades and the cultural center of ancient Greece and Byzantium. Housed in an elegant, 800-year-old Venetian mansion, the Archaeological Museum features an impressive display of artifacts from the early Cycladic period. Nestled in the hills of Naxos is Halki, the island’s most picturesque village and its former capital. Here you’ll find an old distillery museum, run by the same family since its opening in 1896, and two ancient monasteries. Benefitting from its high mountains and substantial rainfall, this fertile island is known for its abundance of produce, including olives, grapes, figs, citrus fruit, corn, and potatoes. You’ll have leisure time following your walking tour, a perfect opportunity to pop into a laidback taverna for a tasty meal comprised of fresh local ingredients.
A walking tour of ancient Bodrum and its castle
Located on the southeastern coast of the Aegean, the vibrant beach town of Bodrum is an underrated gem for travelers seeking a destination off the beaten path. Formerly known as the ancient Ionian city of Halicarnassus, this is the site of the Tomb of King Mausolus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. You’ll set out on a walking tour of this historical city, visiting its namesake castle. Constructed by the Knights of St. John in AD 1402, this massive fortification features four towers bearing the names of the nations responsible for their construction: English, French, German, and Italian. The castle’s construction was completed in the late 15th century, and was taken over by the Islamic Ottoman Empire in 1523, remaining under their rule for almost 400 years. In the early 1960s, it became the site of the award-winning Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional excursion. Extend your discoveries in Bodrum and add an optional gulet cruise to your castle visit. Learn more
Bodrum is rich in history and culture, and this optional tour gives guests a chance to discover what makes this city by the sea so special. You’ll begin your explorations with a visit to UNESCO-listed Bodrum Castle, also known as the Castle of St. Peter. Located on a small rocky peninsula set between two sheltered bays in Bodrum, the castle was built by the Order of St. John of Jerusalem at the beginning of the 15th century and retains its original Gothic architecture. Then, set off on a quiet, private cruise aboard a traditional gulet boat, taking in the stunning Turkish coastline from a new perspective.
Due to high call volume, we recommend you visit MyPortfolio to book this Destination Enhancement. Don’t wait — these optional experiences are limited to a select number of guests and are selling out fast!
Relax on board with a day at sea
Enjoy a day at sea as the Ocean Odyssey makes its way to Antalya. Visit the spa, get in a workout at the gym, lounge and relax on the sun deck catching up with a great book, and enjoy the fabulous cuisine the chefs are creating just for you!
Set out on a guided tour of ancient Antalya
With its picture-perfect beaches, mild climate, and stunning architecture, it’s no wonder that Antalya has become a favorite destination for visitors to Turkey. Turquoise waters and long stretches of golden sand welcome you ashore to begin your guided walking tour of its labyrinthine streets, taking in unmissable sites such as Hadrian’s Gate. This triumphal arch, built in 130 BC to honor visiting Roman emperor Hadrian, is the only remaining entrance gate in the walls that surround the city. Stroll along Antalya’s narrow, cobbled lanes and get lost in a bit of Ottoman history.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional excursion. Get a bird’s eye view of Antalya and its surroundings when you ascend Tünektepe summit aboard a cable car. Learn more
On this optional tour you’ll have an opportunity to board a Tünektepe cable car in Antalya. This fun excursion gives visitors an opportunity to soar high above the city, taking in a bird’s eye view as you rise more than 2,000 feet above sea level, arriving at the summit of Tünektepe. You’ll enjoy breathtaking, 360-degree views of the city below and way out to the sea. Don’t forget your camera!
Uncover the treasures of UNESCO-listed Paphos
Upon arrival in Limassol today you’ll set out on a half-day tour of Paphos. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for its natural and cultural treasures. You’ll stop to view Aphrodite’s Rock, said to be the spot from where the Greek goddess of love and beauty rose from the sea. Next, visit the 4th-century ruins of Chrysopolitissa Church and St. Paul’s Pillar, built on the remains of a Byzantine basilica. Continue on to the Paphos Archaeological Park and view the remarkably preserved floor mosaics of the Houses of Dionysos, Aion, and Theseus. At the end of your tour, you’ll have free time to relax at the Harbor of Paphos before returning to the ship.
Discover Haifa’s biblical past
Today, you’ll arrive in Haifa, a picturesque port in the shadow of Israel’s Mt. Carmel. Head out on a full-day excursion, visiting many notable places from the life of Jesus, beginning with a stop in Nazareth. Marvel at the mosaic-filled Basilica of the Annunciation, then view the Wedding Church where it is said that Jesus turned water into wine. You’ll continue on to the ancient fishing village of Capernaum and see the ancient synagogue where Jesus taught. At a local restaurant, you’ll enjoy a special lunch of St. Peter’s Fish, as noted in the book of Matthew. Finally, you’ll board a boat and cross the legendary Sea of Galilee, where it is believed Jesus performed the miracle of walking on water. You’ll return to the ship following your tour.
Enjoy two relaxing days at sea
Enjoy two days to relax on board your floating resort at sea. This is the perfect opportunity to indulge in a spa treatment or meet friends for drinks in the lounge.
Find beauty in Heraklion’s history
Heraklion is among Crete’s most popular destinations, welcoming visitors to discover its many beautiful villages. The region of Heraklion has many interesting sites to visit, including the archaeological sites of Knossos, Gortyn, and Phaestos, the Fortress of Heraklion Town, and various monasteries. Today, you’ll explore this area on a guided walking tour.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional excursion. Explore more of Crete with an optional excursion to Spinalonga Island and Agios Nikolaos. Learn more
Get to know Crete on this optional excursion, visiting both Spinalonga Island and Agios Nikolaos. The rocky islet of Spinalonga, located in the Gulf of Elounda, has a history dating back to the time of antiquity, also known as the Greek classical age. This island is home to one of the most important Mediterranean defensive sea fortresses of its time. You’ll also visit the cosmopolitan seaside resort town of Agios Nikolaos. The town’s crowning jewel is its legendary lake, believed to have been the bathing place of the goddesses Athena and Artemis.
Disembark the Ocean Odyssey and visit Athens’ landmarks
Arrive in Piraeus this morning and disembark the Ocean Odyssey. You’ll transfer to your hotel, enjoying a panoramic sightseeing tour of Athens along the way. This sophisticated capital of Greece is where mythology and ancient history come alive. You’ll visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Parliament House, the Panathenaic Stadium, and the Presidential Palace. Along famed Panepistimiou Avenue, you’ll pass the Catholic Cathedral, Academy of Athens, University of Athens, and the National Library. Enjoy lunch on your own, perhaps seeking out a restaurant in the charming Plaka district, nestled at the foot of Acropolis Hill. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure.
Ancient Greece is known as the “Cradle of Western Civilization.” This is where mythology and ancient history come alive. On this optional panoramic tour, you’ll take in the sights and sounds of Athens as you make your way to the iconic Acropolis, the architectural pinnacle of Athens, crowned by its breathtaking Parthenon. It was here that Poseidon and Athena, two of the twelve major deities of the Greek pantheon, were said to have fought to determine who would be patron of the city.
Craft your own itinerary in Athens
You’ll have a full day at leisure in Athens today to explore at your own pace.
Return home today
Today, you’ll transfer to the Athens airport for your return flight home.
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.