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.
Enhance your Adriatic cruise by stealing away to Lake Bled, Slovenia, for a four-day stay at a tranquil resort surrounded by the majestic Julian Alps. Take daily excursions to the region’s beautiful sights including Bled Castle, set on a cliff high above the lake. Included features and Cultural Discoveries — with visits to a mountain village and a gingerbread maker — give you insight into the unique local lifestyle. Stay at a grand lakeside resort that offers unbeatable views and relax after each day of sightseeing.
Board an overnight flight to Zagreb, Croatia
Today you’ll board an overnight flight to Zagreb. Or, depart earlier for your pre-trip extension in Lake Bled, Slovenia.
Arrive in Zagreb
Welcome to Zagreb! If you purchased your airfare or transfers from Vantage, a representative will meet you at the airport and assist with your hotel transfer. This evening, enjoy a Welcome Briefing and Dinner at the hotel, getting to know your fellow passengers.
Discover Zagreb's monuments and markets
You'll met your expert local guide this morning after breakfast for a tour of Zagreb, Croatia’s capital. Kick off your exploration with a President’s Club feature — a private tram ride that will take you from your hotel past the city's impressive landmarks, including the “lower city” distinguished by its 18th and 19th century Austro-Hungarian architecture, Croatian National Theater and Opera House, Croatian Treasury, and more. Then, walk through the main square and the city’s “upper town,” strolling past the Croatian Parliament, the Prime Minister’s office, St. Mark’s square, and the Stone Gate. You'll also visit the Dolac Traditional Food Market, the largest market in Croatia, where local products arrive from villages to be sold in the city.
This afternoon, enjoy an afternoon at leisure, perhaps visiting the city's unique Museum of Broken Relationships or taking a walk through the botanical gardens. Zagreb also has one of the world's most extensive tram systems. So, consider boarding the local tram back to your hotel or to the city center for further exploration. Your Vantage Program Manager will be happy to assist with directions or suggestions of other activities.
Tonight, enjoy a private family village estate visit near Zagreb with dinner, unlimited drinks, and a guided tour of their art collection. You'll also tour the stables and meet their horses. Dinner is complete with a folkloric ensemble performance.
Explore Trieste and embark the Ocean Odyssey
This morning after breakfast, check out of your hotel and transfer to Trieste, an Italian city bearing a distinctly Istrian culture. The largest port in Adriatic, Trieste is situated deep in Slovenian territory while still part of Italy. As the main port during the Austrian rule over Istria, Austrian architecture can be spotted all around the city.
En route, enjoy a scenic drive through the Croatian Highlands and the Slovenian countryside. Upon arrival, set off on a sightseeing tour of the city's center before lunch on your own.
Later, you’ll arrive at the port and embark the Ocean Odyssey. This 5-star small ship is designed to merge unmatched luxury with an authentic ocean cruise experience. While some ports may require tendering, here you'll be able to step right onto the ship and get settled in your stateroom, before taking time to explore the ship’s world-class amenities, including the onboard boutique, indulgent spa and hot-rock cooking restaurant. With just 77 cabins — and fewer travelers — onboard, you’ll experience more meaningful interactions with locals, Tour Directors, onboard lecturers, and more.
Later, you’ll join fellow travelers for the first of your daily port talks to learn about tomorrow’s exciting destination.
Enjoy the wonders of the Istrian Peninsula
Discover part of one of the most beautiful regions of Croatia on half-day tours of Pula and Rovinj. Istria is one of the most developed regions of Croatia and is sometimes referred to as “Croatian Tuscany,” with some of the most picturesque towns in the country. Your ship will berth in port so you’ll be able to disembark with ease – no waiting and no tendering.
Explore the picturesque coastal town of Rovinj, which was part of Venice's mercantile empire and has a distinctive Venetian aspect to it. Today, it’s a jet-set town for regional and international tourists alike due to the breathtaking palate of its skyline and its mesmerizing ocean views. Enjoy a guided tour to see its charms for yourself. For the best views of the town and the harbor, make the mile-and-a-quarter trek uphill to the Church of St. Euphemia — it's well worth the effort!
We'll have lunch back on the ship before sailing along the 14-island national park, the Brijuni islands, to Pula. We’ll start our tour at Pula Arena, Europe's most complete Roman amphitheater. You'll be able to go beneath the arena floor to see the actual passageways and rooms where gladiators and their foes, including wild animals, awaited their turn in combat. We’ll also see the town and its streets that are briming with history juxtaposed with modern shops and restaurants.
This evening, enjoy your Captain's Welcome Dinner on board with klapa singers, a UNESCO protected cultural heritage of Croatia.
Discover the idyllic seaside town of Opatija
This morning, enjoy lovely scenic sailing into your next destination Opatija. Upon arrival in port this afternoon, you’ll disembark the Ocean Odyssey, and set out on a walking tour of this coastal town, which once catered to European royalty with stately villas, seaside promenade, and lovely gardens. Then, enjoy some free time to discover Opatija on your own. Enjoy a walk along the Opatija Promenade for lovely views and perhaps stop for a bite to eat or a drink. How far you go is up to you — a roundtrip walk can cover up to 7.5 miles and, in total, connects seven towns and villages of the Opatija Riviera. Alternatively, you may want to try your luck in one of the town's casinos.You’ll visit Opatija’s riviera villages including Moscenice, one of the oldest settlements in this region. Your local guide will lead you to breathtaking vistas here, and you’ll have the option to sample some locally-made spirits.
Tonight, enjoy an informative onboard lecture.
Explore Croatia's oldest city, in Šibenik
This morning, enjoy scenic sailing, passing by UNESCO protected St. Nicholas fortress, that is guarding entrance to the ancient city of Šibenik. Upon arrival, we’ll berth in port, so you can easily disembark the ship and depart for Krka National Park, a gem of Croatia and home to breathtaking waterfalls and gorges. We’ll witness the city's crystalline river rushing through the canyon against a green, mountainous backdrop as we ascend to the top of the waterfalls by bus and then hike to the bottom. On the way we’ll learn about how this water was used (and is still used today) to power local corn mills. At the end of the hike, we’ll enjoy a boat ride to the town of Skradin.
Upon arrival, set off on a walking tour among some of the oldest streets in Croatia that date back to the 11th century, where you’ll see the Cathedral of St. James, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most important architectural achievement in the country.
Tonight, enjoy a performance by local musicians on board your ship.
Unearth the UNESCO treasures of Hvar
Hvar, a popular celebrity destination, is known for its vast fields of lavender, ancient olive trees, and fruit orchards. We’ll anchor offshore and board a tender into this idyllic Mediterranean port. Set off on a guided walking tour this morning and learn the port town's history, hear about local legends, and visit the lace museum inside the Benedictine Monastery. Aloe lace is made in Croatia only by the nuns of this monastery, and it is designated by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage feature.
You'll also visit visit Stari Grad Plain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The rest of your afternoon is at your leisure. You may also choose to go swimming, snorkeling, or fishing (weather permitting). Active travelers shouldn't miss the walk to Hvar Fortress, with entrance included. Later, enjoy a fascinating onboard lecture.
Experience Dubrovnik's Old City and a private concert
Today, we’ll anchor off the coast of Dubrovnik and tender into port, where you will be met by a local guide. You will enjoy a tour of Dubrovnik's Old City — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — introducing you to its most heralded landmarks, as well as its hidden gems. Following the tour, you’ll relax in a centuries-old church for a Vantage-exclusive private classical concert by the Sorkočević Quartet, who are members of the Croatian National Philharmonic Orchestra.
You’ll return to the ship for lunch. Following lunch on board, you may tender back into Dubrovnik and enjoy a leisurely afternoon and evening. You'll be supplied with a one-day Dubrovnik card, which provides free entrance to numerous sites around the city, including access to the walkway atop the walls surrounding the Old City. Your Cruise Director and Concierge will be happy to recommend activities to do and places to see.
Tour Kotor and the UNESCO surrounding bay
This morning you'll experience the Bay of Kotor, about which the poet Lord Byron wrote, “The Bay of Kotor, a submerged river canyon surrounded by dramatic rising mountain cliffs, is the jewel of the coast of Montenegro.” Tucked away at the head of the bay is the town of Kotor featuring intriguing medieval fortifications. Enjoy scenic sailing in the morning before you disembark at the port. Here, you’ll learn the town's history — which is believed to stretch back as far as the first century — while you walk the charming tangle of Old World streets. The city’s walls stretch up more than 800 feet from sea level to the fortress of Saint Giovanni. The views are sure to take your breath away, from medieval churches to staggering mountains.
Heading toward Dubrovnik, you’ll follow the winding Bay of Kotor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and enjoy a beautiful stretch of scenic sailing. With its narrow profile and steep walls, Kotor’s bay is often called Europe’s southernmost fjord. Technically however, the bay is not a true, glacier-carved fjord, but rather a ria, or submerged river valley. Tonight, enjoy an informative onboard lecture.
Spend the day in vibrant Corfu
Enjoy a splendid day on the scenic island of Corfu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site adorned with Venetian inspiration and a lively local lifestyle. We will berth at the port and, once you step ashore, you'll have the opportunity to explore Corfu's east side, full of traditional bars, restaurants, and shops framed by winding alleyways.
During your time in Corfu, you'll indulge in a tour of one of its most famed attractions — the elegant Achilleion Palace. Dating back to 1890, this property was the brainchild of Empress Elizabeth of Austria (also known as Sisi), who was fond of the island and visited often. Each floor is adorned with lavish decor, including bronze and stone statues of fabled Greek gods in the palace and the surrounding gardens.
After your tour, enjoy lunch back on board and a relaxing afternoon at leisure. After your tour, enjoy lunch back onboard and a relaxing afternoon at leisure. Tonight, enjoy an onboard lecture before dinner.
See the birthplace of the Olympics
This morning, we’ll dock in Katakolon – where you will be able to step easily off the ship – and enjoy scenic drives through the villages of Peloponnese. Then, you'll have a full day where the ancient Olympic Games originated — Olympia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Surrounded by a natural setting of beauty and serenity, the archeological site dates back to the 10th century B.C., where it first became a sanctuary for the gods and a place to worship Zeus. Alongside temples, there are remains of various sporting venues from the festive games that began in 776 BC.
In the afternoon, you'll be delighted to join in on a traditional Greek lunch at the Magna Grecia, a family-owned Greek agrotourism farm. After a guided tour, sample its house made wine and olive oils while being regaled with local entertainment to boot.
Spend the day in ancient Delphi
This morning, enjoy scenic sailing through the Corinth Canal as we dock on Greece's mainland coast at Itea, enjoying lunch and an onboard lecture before stepping off the ship and heading to nearby UNESCO-listed Delphi. Once known as the center of the world by ancient Greek mythologists, Delphi has been revered as a hotspot of ancient Greek culture and archeology for centuries, and you'll see its highlights today, including a visit to the onsite museum.
In the afternoon, indulge in some more of the ship's amenities as you enjoy scenic sailing through the Corinth canal with commentary, including a later onboard lecture.
Disembark the Ocean Odyssey, then behold the classical wonders of Athens
This morning, we’ll berth in Piraeus, where you will disembark the Ocean Odyssey to conclude your journey here in Greece. Today, enjoy a panoramic tour of Athens, the country's sophisticated capital. Mythology and ancient history come alive here, as you’ll see at the iconic Acropolis. It was here that Poseidon and Athena were said to have fought to determine who would be patron of the city. This was 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. Along the famed Panepistimiou Avenue, pass the Catholic Cathedral, Academy of Athens, the University of Athens, and the National Library. Enjoy lunch on your own, perhaps dining in the charming Plaka district, nestled at the foot of Acropolis Hill.
Enjoy your afternoon at leisure in Athens, with so much to discover — from extensive shopping options to open-air markets to museums and beyond. Lunch and Dinner are on your own tonight, and you're in luck: Athens restaurants are world-class, but so is its street food — at a fraction of the cost. Don't miss souvlaki, fava purée and pita, a classic Greek salad, or anything with feta cheese. Your conveniently located hotel is also just a stone’s throw from abundance of local restaurants and food stands. Settle into your room for the evening, with views of Greece's energetic capital.
Explore Athens on your own
You have the day at leisure to set out into the Cradle of Civilization to uncover some of its less-explored paths. If you’re looking to shop for a deal, head over to the Monastiraki flea market, the atmospheric agora of secondhand treasures. Or perhaps you’ll brush up on your ancient history at the Acropolis Museum or the Athens Archaeological Museum. Alternatively, you can relax in your hotel and enjoy its sumptuous amenities, from the rooftop swimming pool to the spa.
Back at the hotel, say goodbye to fellow travelers at your Farewell Dinner.
Fly home or stay on for your post-trip extension in Istanbul, Turkey
Following breakfast this morning, you’ll transfer to the Athens airport for your flight home. Or, continue to Istanbul, Turkey, for your post-trip extension.
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 is the perfect way to round out your ocean expedition.
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.