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Join Vantage Deluxe World Travel on an unforgettable journey of discovery as we delve into the epic histories and rich cultures of Iberia and the Southern Coast of Europe. Indulge in the luxuries of the 5-star Ocean Odyssey as we sail from port to port visiting some of the most picturesque and enthralling destinations in the region, with Europe’s awe-inspiring southern coastline and the azure Mediterranean as our backdrop.
On this small ship ocean cruise, you’ll uncover the wonders of Rome, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, from the legendary Colosseum to the revered Vatican City. Find yourself among the jet set in Monte Carlo, Europe’s favorite playground for the rich and famous. Our intimately-sized vessel grants you entry into oft-overlooked Mallorca, the stunning seaside capital of Palma. Unearth layers of history in Cartagena’s city center. Explore the lively and Moorish-flavored cultures of Granada and Seville. Land on hidden gems and iconic cities such as Cannes, the site of France’s glamourous annual film festival.
And this is just a fraction of what awaits you on this incredible voyage. With 49 included features and Cultural Discoveries, you’ll experience the true heart of these destinations. You’ll interact with local hosts, savor delectable regional cuisine, attend Vantage-exclusive events and performances, visit 12 UNESCO-designated sites — the list goes on with discoveries awaiting you at every turn! Plus, you’ll gain immeasurable insight during onboard lectures from notable experts.
All the while, enjoy the unparalleled amenities that await you aboard the Ocean Odyssey when you’re not exploring. Indulge in a pampering massage at the spa. Try your hand at hot-rock cooking in the specialty restaurant. Relax on the panoramic sundeck and enjoy the view as we journey up the Guadalquivir River. Join your fellow travelers for an après-dinner cocktail in the topmost lounge and toast to the amazing experiences you’ve encountered throughout your travels. From beginning to end, you'll enjoy elegant accommodations, fine dining, and the attentive service of your dedicated Vantage crew.
This itinerary is a combination of: Spain & the Portuguese Coast: A Cruise Around Iberia and Europe’s Southern Coast: Italy, France, Monaco & Spain
Board an overnight flight to Rome, Italy
Today you’ll board an overnight flight to Rome. Or, depart earlier for your pre-trip extension to Sorrento, Italy.
Arrive in Rome
Welcome to Rome! If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a representative will meet you at the airport and assist with your hotel transfer. Settle into your hotel before an evening Welcome Briefing and Welcome Dinner at the hotel and get to know your fellow passengers.
Take in the highlights of Rome by coach and on foot
Today, enjoy a guided panoramic tour (by motorcoach and on foot) of Rome’s historic center — a UNESCO World Heritage Site with highlights that include the iconic Colosseum, ancient Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Circus Maximus, and more.
Afterward, you’ll return to your hotel and have the afternoon and evening at leisure. Lunch is on your own today, giving you the opportunity to sample some authentic Italian cuisine from pasta carbonara to tiramisu. Ask your Program Manager for recommendations!
Discover the UNESCO-listed Vatican city and embark the Ocean Odyssey
Have breakfast at your hotel this morning before setting off to enjoy a true Roman highlight — A tour of the Vatican Museums in the UNESCO-listed Vatican City. Enjoy fast-tracking entrance to these world-renowned museums, featuring an exceptional collection of classical sculptures, Renaissance art, and the Michelangelo-painted Sistine Chapel. After the museums, enter St. Peter’s Basilica — an Italian Renaissance-style church among Christianity’s holiest sites. Then, have lunch at a local restaurant.
This afternoon, you’ll embark the Ocean Odyssey. Due to the small size of your ship (just 77 cabins), in many ports we’ll be able to dock right onshore, giving you access easy access to your destination and more time spent exploring! However, please keep in mind that other ports may require us to anchor offshore and tendering inland. Get settled into your cabin and take time to explore the ship’s amenities, including the onboard boutique, spa and gym. Stop by the Concierge desk to make a spa appointment or organize a group dinner with your travel companions. Later, join the first of your daily port talks to learn about tomorrow’s exciting destination before dinner onboard. Tonight, your ship sets sail for Olbia, Italy.
Explore Olbia in Serdegna with your choice of tours
Cruise into Olbia during breakfast this morning. This seaside city located in the northeast of Italy’s Sardinia region boast not only a picturesque, palm-line coastline, but also a rich medieval history. Today, take your pick of tours. Uncover the history of this city with a half-day tour of Old Sardinia, or discover its wine tradition with a half-day tour of Porto Cervo with a winery visit.
The Old Sardinia option will first bring you to the small village of Luras where you’ll walk along the shore of lake Liscia and behold olive fields and some of the oldest trees in Europe, dating back 4,000 years. Then, you’ll drive to Tempio Pausania, the ancient capital of this region. You’ll tour the old part of tour town and discover historic churches, houses, and mansions before stopping to visit the cork museum.
The Porto Cervo tour will take you on a panoramic drive through this resort town, where you’ll stop and have time to peruse the elegant shops. Then, arrive at the Surrau Winery and learn all about the winemaking process, including which wines are produced here and how the grapes are cultivated and harvested. Finally, enjoy a wine tasting complete with local snacks such as Sardinian cheese and salami.
Back onboard, enjoy an informative lecture before dinner.
Sightsee in Bastia, Corsica, France and savor local wines
Your ship anchors in Bastia this morning, the main commercial port of the island of Corsica. Learn about the how this town became instrumental in Corsica’s development during a tour that starts in Old Town, where you’ll see the magnificent Cathedral Ste. Marie, the governor’s palace, and the Old Port. Then, enjoy a leisurely stroll the finest parts of the city, including St. Nicholas Square and St. Jean Baptiste Church. Along the way you’ll have the opportunity to admire Bastia’s breathtaking landscapes and small, baroque-style buildings and chapels.
After lunch onboard your ship, enjoy a scenic drive along the scenic St. Florent gulf past rolling vineyards en route to the St. Florent city center. We’ll stop here and you’ll have time to explore the bustling streets at your leisure, perhaps visiting the local shops or stopping into a café for a hot espresso!
Later, we’ll depart St. Florent and head into the mountains to the vineyards of Patrimonio. Enjoy a tasting of the local wines in the wine cellar and discover why the wines of this region are so famous as you try whites, rosés, and moscatos. Dinner is back onboard your ship this evening.
Tour Elba, where Napoleon ruled in exile
This morning we’ll arrive at the island of Elba, famed as the site of Napoleon’s first exile, where he was sovereign for close to 10 months. This island is as beautiful as it is historic, with lush hills covered in olive trees, vineyards, and beaches met by ombré blue waters.
Set off on a tour of the island, departing from your port in Portoferraio and stopping at Villa San Martino, Napoleon’s summer residence. Continue on to Porto Azzurro, where candy-colored houses front the town’s eponymous azure harbor. You’ll have time here to stroll the charming streets, perhaps picking up a souvenir from the shops selling crafts and crystals. On your way back to the ship, you’ll stop at Punta delle Grotte for a splendid bird’s-eye view of Portoferraio.
After lunch aboard your ship, you’ll have the remainder of the afternoon to explore Portoferraio at your leisure. This evening, enjoy an onboard lecture before your ship sets sail for Livorno.
Arrive in Livorno and embark on your choice of tours
This morning upon your arrival in Livorno, you’ll have your choice of full-day tours — Florence and Pisa or Siena and San Gimignano.
If you choose the first, you’ll depart by coach for Florence, the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region. Upon arrival you’ll meet your guide and set off of a walking tour of the city’s highlights, including the exterior of the domed cathedral of Piazza del Duomo and Piazza del Signoria, as well as Ponte Vecchio, a historic bridge lined with shops. After lunch at a local restaurant, you’ll depart for Pisa, home of the famed Leaning Tower of Pisa. Upon arrival, enjoy free time in the town’s bustling Miracle Square.
If you decide on Siena and San Gimignano, you’ll depart by coach for Siena, a city marked by medieval architecture. Upon arrival you’ll embark on a guided walking tour, visiting it’s lively squares and historic highlights such as Piazza del Campo, the 13th century City Hall and Torre del Mangia bell tower, the Sansedoni Palace, and the Gaiai Fountain. Then, depart for a locally owned farm and vineyard, where you’ll be welcomed by the owner and enjoy a farm-to-table lunch complete with a tasting of their wines and olive oils. After lunch, you’ll drive to San Gimignano and explore the “Manhattan of Tuscany,” taking in centuries-old towers along its skyline.
Return to your ship this evening and enjoy dinner onboard, complete with local entertainment
Take in the bucolic beauty of Cinque Terre and Portovenere
Nestled along a short stretch of Italy’s breathtaking Ligurian Coast is the Cinque Terre — five tiny villages that date back to the early medieval period. This national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for its colorful, cliff-hugging houses and steep, winding trails, but today you’ll get to explore it by boat with a private guide!
Anchoring at Portovenere, you’ll take a public ferry plying the coastline to visit the villages while enjoying superb views from the water. Explore the villages of Monterosso, Vernazza, and Manarola on foot, and gain some insight on the difficult and isolated life of the villages’ inhabitants during the early medieval period. Lunch is a traditional affair at a local restaurant.
After, return to Portovenere and enjoy a walking tour along its narrow, charming streets up to the church of San Pietro, which sits on a craggy ledge overlooking the Gulf of Poets. A port talk rounds off your day’s discoveries before another delicious dinner on board.
Behold the glitz and glamour of Monte Carlo
Arrive this morning in Monte Carlo, capital of the tiny independent principality of Monaco. Playground to well-heeled Europeans, this sovereign nation has been ruled by the Grimaldis since the 13th century.
This morning, in the historic quarter of Le Rocher (“The Rock”), admire stunning sea views 200 feet below while strolling past the Prince’s Palace, just in time to see the Changing of the Guard. Nearby, the neo-Romanesque Monaco Cathedral is a vision in white; the Grimaldis, including Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco, are entombed here.
Then, this afternoon, marvel at the world-renowned Belle Époque Grand Casino, a vision of extravagance and wealth. See the lush gardens, too, before viewing the Hôtel de Paris, a 19th-century grand dame.After seeing the Justice Palace, your tour ends at the Oceanographic Museum, another neo-classical gem.
After lunch on board, perhaps you’ll stroll the streets of Monte Carlo to take in its monumental architecture. An onboard lecture fills you in on more details about this fascinating region.
Uncover the charms of Cannes
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast on board as you sail into one of the most glamorous ports on the Cote d'Azur. This modern resort city is known for its annual film festival, and you’ll enjoy a panoramic walking tour here, taking in views of the Promenade de la Croisette and stopping to admire the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, home of the Cannes Film Festival. Continue on to the old town of Le Suquet, where Roman ruins and sweeping views of the city and harbor await.
Next, you’ll visit the Perfume Factory of Grasse for a special presentation. You’ll tour the factory and learn about how the flowers are boiled and the essence is condensed using one of the world’s oldest distillation processes. After, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before departing for St. Paul de Vence, a hotspot for artists and celebrities. Explore this walled village with structures dating back to the 16th century and wander along narrow, cobbled lanes past high-end boutiques and art galleries. You’ll have some time to explore at leisure before returning to your ship.
Witness the magic of southern France
Steeped in history and boasting a newly revived waterfront, Marseille provides a beguiling glimpse of a French medieval port. From here, you have two ways to delve into the celebrated south of France today — A full-day tour to romantic Provence, or a full-day safari in Camargue National Park.
The first included tour takes you deeper into the heart of Provence. Begin at the Gordes Castle in its namesake town, a picture-postcard hilltop village climbing a slope from the Vaucluse plateau. After, continue to the red cliffs and ochre quarries of Roussillon. The emerald pine trees and vivid blue Provençal sky create a stunning canvas. We provide you some euros to have lunch at a restaurant of your choosing, then it’s on to a walking tour of Aix-en-Provence’s Old Town, strolling under the lovely plane trees of Cours Mirabeau past elegant mansions. If you wish, you may visit Paul Cézanne’s atelier during your free time.
Your second tour option is decidedly wilder. Head into Camargue National Park to explore the vast Rhône River Delta, a pristine region of swamps, river tendrils and ponds teeming with numerous bird species, including the pink flamingo. Throughout your safari, you will pause as opportunities arise to view the region’s wild Camargue horses and bulls grazing as manades, or free-roaming herds. You will visit a working farm to learn more about the horses and bulls and stop for lunch at a local restaurant.
After dinner, we’ll welcome local performers on board to entertain you with dances and songs of their country.
Historic and cultural wonders of French Occitanie
The seaside resort of Sète is your entrée to two historic treasures. Again today, you can select the tour that suits your interest — A full-day tour of Carcassonne, or a half-day tour to Montpellier and Château de Flaugergues.
If you choose the first option, you'll journey to UNESCO-listed Carcassonne, the largest and best preserved fortified medieval town in Europe. Step back in time within its massive walls, exploring narrow, cobbled streets, the breathtaking St. Nazaire Basilica, an 11th-century Romanesque church, the 12th-century Château Comtal and countless other treasures from the Middle Ages. After lunch at a local restaurant, tour the lovely Fontfroide Abbey, founded in 1093, with its hushed cloister and vaulted chapter house.
Alternately, visit the historic and stylish city of Montpellier, capital of the Languedoc-Rousillon region. In the Old Town, admire elegant mansions and other stunning architecture that fuses the classical and the avant-garde. In the Place de la Comèdie, admire the Three Graces fountain. You will also see the fortress-like Cathedral St. Pierre and the Arc de Triomphe. Later, stop for a tour and wine-tasting at the 18th-century Château de Flaugergues. Romans were the first to cultivate grapes on these grounds 2,000 years ago. After the tasting, you'll be back on board the Ocean Odyssey for lunch and an afternoon at leisure in Sète.
Barcelona, Catalonia’s vibrant cultural heart
Today, you'll get to know the sophisticated capital of Catalonia on a panoramic tour that includes the hugely-successful revitalization project of Port Vell, the Olympic Village that hosted the 1992 Games. First, ascend Montjuïc, which means Jewish Mountain and behold its ornate castle as well as panoramic views of the city. Then, head to Plaza de España, one of Barcelona's most important historic squares. Finally, continue to La Barceloneta Beach, where you'll enjoy lunch.
Afterward, you'll have an opportunity for an outdoor visit to La Sagrada Família cathedral, Antoni Gaudí’s famous masterpiece and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you'd like, you can ask for a ticket to tour the inside. Or, you may choose to do this during your free time tomorrow. After seeing the architectural treasures along the tree-lined Passieg de Gràcia — including surreal buildings by Gaudí — there’ll be plenty of time to shop the city’s famous pedestrian-only Las Ramblas before lunch at a local restaurant.
Mallorca: Jewel of Spain’s Balearic Islands
The ship arrives in Palma de Mallorca this morning. Perhaps you'll catch the sunrise from the Ocean Odyssey's observation deck, or get in an early workout at the gym before a delicious breakfast.
Ringed by pristine crescent beaches and cloaked in lush green forest, Mallorca is an island paradise for the Spanish and visitors alike. On a panoramic city tour, you'll explore the stunning circular Bellver Castle, built in the 14th century for the Kings of Mallorca. Later, step inside the massive, Gothic La Seu Cathedral. This honey-colored masterpiece boasts a cavernous interior designed by Antoni Gaudí and a 144-foot-high nave. Return to the ship for lunch before an afternoon at leisure in Palma de Mallorca.
Before dinner this evening, you'll hear the first in a lecture series that will highlight the historic and fascinating destinations visited on your journey.
Exploring Cartagena's Roman flourishes
After breakfast on board the ship arrives in the natural harbor of Cartagena, in use since the city was established as a major naval center by the Carthaginians in 227 BC. You’ll get acquainted with its history at La Concepción Castle, which overlooks the old Roman Theatre, the second largest in Iberia. Walking down the Calle Mayor, you’ll also see some of the Cartagena’s noteworthy art nouveau buildings, including the gleaming white façade of the Cervantes House and the elegant Grand Hotel, where you have time to explore on your own.
After returning to ship for lunch, your afternoon is free. Perhaps you’ll relax or take in some Spanish sunshine on deck. Before another gourmet dinner on the Ocean Odyssey, yet another lecture illuminates more about this historic region.
Experience the storied city of Granada
From our berth in Almería you set out on a full-day excursion to fabled Granada, the last stronghold of the Spanish Moors. Set in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada boasts one of the world’s most spectacular fortified palace complexes, the legendary Alhambra. On a guided tour, you'll see its most famous attractions, including the renowned fountains and gardens of the adjacent Generalife.
Enjoy lunch in a typical Spanish restaurant. Return to the ship in Motril and you'll learn more about Andalusia during today’s onboard lecture as you set sail for Málaga late this evening.
Beauty and history in seaside Málaga
Wake up in Málaga, the provincial capital and birthplace of Pablo Picasso that recently remade itself into a popular cultural hub with a restored historic center. Your city tour reveals Málaga's wide boulevards lined with turn-of-the-century apartments; the Gothic Cathedral and Gibralfaro Castle (an 11th-century Moorish fortification), the adjacent Alcazaba, (the old Moorish palace). You will also visit the Picasso Museum, home to almost 300 of the artist’s works.
After lunch on board, you’ll have the afternoon to relax on the spacious sundeck or explore Málaga on your own.
Discover the stunning Ronda gorge
After breakfast we’ll head inland to the heights of the sierras and Ronda, first settled by the Celts. A procession of Phoenicians, Arabs, Romans, Moors, Berbers, Visigoths, and other Europeans have since left their cultural mark in the town’s distinctive white stucco neighborhoods. You’ll see the old Roman Bridge spanning the deep El Tajo Gorge below, the stately Casa de Don Bosco, and Mondragon Palace. Then visit the Plaza de Toros — the oldest bullring in Spain.
You'll continue on to a local restaurant, where a docent will provide an informative talk on the history of Spanish bullfighting. Enjoy lunch here, accompanied by rousing entertainment! After some free time to explore Ronda, you’ll return to your ship in Málaga for dinner.
A taste of Britain at the tip of Spain
Step ashore in Gibraltar, known as “The Rock” for its most famous and dominant geographic feature. Throughout the day, you will have expansive views of both Europe and Africa. Our tour includes a funicular ride to the Castle of Gibraltar. Keep your eyes peeled and cameras ready in case you catch a glimpse of the famed Barbary apes (macaques) that live on the rock. British-flavored Gibraltar is a great spot for pub-hopping and duty-free shopping before we return to ship for lunch. You have the afternoon free to wander Gibraltar’s streets, perhaps coming up on a red Victorian post box or a fish-and-chips shop. Our afternoon lecture sheds light on your discoveries and you have the evening to admire the imposing Rock of Gibraltar as you sip a cocktail on the sun deck.
Give in to the seductions of Seville and home-hosted dinner on a family-owned bull farm
After breakfast you’ll tour Andalusia’s storied capital, Seville, including the Real Alcázar, a monumental complex of fortifications, palaces, and gardens spanning the Arabic period through the 19th century. Stop at the old University of Seville, whose main building is housed in the former Royal Tobacco Factory where Bizet set the famous opening scene of his opera Carmen.
At the Plaza de España, constructed for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929, admire an elegant canvas of tiled fountains, bridges, and arcades. Another UNESCO site featured today is the Archivo General de Indias, a Renaissance building housing priceless historic records of the Spanish Empire. You may also step inside the Seville Cathedral — where Ferdinand, Isabella, and Christopher Columbus are entombed — and have the opportunity to climb to the top of its soaring La Giralda Tower.
Return to the Ocean Odyssey for lunch. Then, in the evening, you'll set out into the countryside to a local family's bull farm for a tour, a delicious home-host dinner of Spanish fare, and a rich cultural exchange — including a passionate flamenco performance!
Uncover the treasures of Seville and Guadalquivir River sailing
Today is full of possibilities as you have the day at leisure to explore the Andalusian capital on your own.
If you remain in Seville, our included shuttle service will whisk you into town. Take in city views from atop the Metropol Parasol, a remarkable wooden structure of 100-foot pillars topped by a wavy roof traversed by a winding walkway. Or visit the excellent Fine Arts Museum.
Portimão, gateway to the vistas and villages of The Algarve
Cruise along Portugal’s scenic Algarve region this morning before mooring in Portimão, a former center of fishing and shipbuilding. Journey to the historic town of Silves, surrounded by orange and lemon groves, to visit its red sandstone Moorish Castle and 13th-century cathedral constructed by Alfonso X of Castile. There’ll be time to peruse the fascinating exhibits of the Archaeological Museum before continuing to the market town of Monchique, a delightful mountain enclave of cobbled streets where small decorative doorways lead into artisan workshops where folding wooden chairs are still handmade as they were in Roman times. You will see the 17th-century Franciscan monastery for splendid views of the Old Town and admire the traditional azulejo tiles adorning the 16th-century parish church.
After lunch in a local restaurant, we'll head back to the Ocean Odyssey for an evening at leisure on board. Before dinner, don't miss another lecture that elucidates the history and culture of this captivating region.
Lisbon: Monumental city with an epic past, disembark
Arrive in Lisbon this morning, center of the Age of Discovery and a living history of Portugal’s past. You'll disembark the Ocean Odyssey — we hope you enjoyed your journey on Vantage's newest small ship ocean vessel!
On a panoramic and walking tour of Lisbon, you'll visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the Belém Tower, the city’s iconic gateway at the mouth of the Tagus River. Nearby, marvel at the ornate Jerónimos Monastery, an exquisite example of Portugal’s superb Manueline architecture. While here you’ll also enjoy a taste of pastéis de Belém, a buttery custard confection based on an old recipe from the monks and still Portugal’s favorite pastry. After a panoramic tour of this remarkable city, check into your hotel and have the rest of the day free.
Full day tour to Sintra and Cascais
Today’s full-day tour introduces southwest Portugal’s most iconic destinations, including Queluz Palace, the extravagant estate of Pedro and Maria I. You’ll peruse its gilded rooms and gorgeous gardens before continuing to Sintra for a walking tour of the city’s stunning architectural styles. Conclude your day in Cascais, the sunny beach resort beloved by locals and vacationers from across Europe, where you’ll have time for independent exploration and lunch on your own. This evening, raise a glass to your voyage during a Farewell Dinner with your fellow travelers.
After breakfast, transfer to the Lisbon airport for your return flight home, or fly to Madeira with our optional post-trip extension.
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.