We’re thrilled to present this exciting 66-night World Cruise which will bring you to 3 continents and a total of 15 countries, with access to 39 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a momentous 142 included features and Cultural Discoveries!
If any region deserves an extended visit, it’s the Mediterranean. In this special combination of six marvelous itineraries aboard the 5-star Ocean Odyssey, you’ll cruise storied coasts and discover how religions, cultures, and empires spread all the way from the Holy Land in Israel to the United Kingdom. See, hear, and taste your way through this voyage: Explore the rose-red ancient city of Petra; relive biblical history in Israel and Turkey; enjoy cultural performances like Croatia’s UNESCO-listed cultural heritage of klapa singing, and more. But the true highlights are the many meetings you’ll have with locals — learning their traditions and savoring the very best wine and produce of these regions.
At the center of it all is your luxurious home at sea, the 5-star Ocean Odyssey. Vantage is one of few companies to offer a cruise of this stature aboard a smaller vessel — which features a total of only 77 cabins — allowing not only for arrival in ports that larger ships can’t access, but also less tendering to and from the ship, less queuing, and more time to spend onshore in each destination. Fewer travelers onboard also means more impactful and intimate interactions with locals, tour leaders, lecturers, and more. Not to mention the breadth of this ship’s luxury amenities, from an onboard spa and two hot tubs to multiple dining options, bars, and lounges.
But that’s not all — as our World Cruise guests, we are honored to provide you with world-class amenities exclusive to this journey, including free premium economy airfare, unlimited laundry service, dinner with the captain, and more. Click here to see what awaits when you reserve.
Join us in 2023 for glimpse of some of the world’s most fascinating destination — and to join Vantage Travel’s club of elite World Cruise guests.
This itinerary is a combination of: Eastern Mediterranean Crossing: The Holy Land, Greek Islands, Cyprus, Turkey, Egypt & the Suez Canal, Pearls of Greece and the Dalmatian Coast, Icons of the Mediterranean: Italy, Sicily & Croatia, Europe’s Southern Coast: Italy, France, Monaco & Spain, Spain & the Portuguese Coast: A Cruise Around Iberia and Lisbon to London: A Coastal Odyssey.
Jordan is rich in biblical history, breathtaking natural beauty, and a vibrant culture that has a long tradition of welcoming others with open arms. Begin your journey with this discovery-packed extension and experience firsthand what others have only dreamed of. Visit the legendary sites of Bethany, where Lazarus was raised from the dead, and Mount Nebo, from where Moses first laid eyes on the Holy Land. Explore the ancient Roman ruins of Jerash, legendary outpost of the Empire. Float on the Dead Sea’s famously buoyant waters and meet a local artisan to learn about the region’s renowned mosaics. And with extra time, you can even see more of the remarkable “White City” of Amman, a fascinating blend of Roman-era monuments, busy souks, and urban sophistication.
Board an overnight flight to Amman, Jordan
Today you’ll board an overnight flight to Amman. Or, depart earlier for your pre-trip extension to Jordan and the Dead Sea.
Welcome to Amman, known as Jordan’s “White City” for the hypnotic hue of its cityscape. If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a representative will meet you at the airport and assist with the transfer to your hotel. You arrive this evening; depending on your arrival time, join a late dinner at the hotel with fellow travelers.
This morning, join a Welcome Briefing that will explain procedures and other logistical information on your journey. Then, get acquainted with this multifaceted Arab metropolis during a guided tour. Amman was originally built across seven hills but today spreads out over 19, creating an undulating city canvas. Throughout your tour, the impressive Jebel Amman Citadel watches over you from its hilltop perch as the hauntingly beautiful call to prayer echoes off ancient buildings. After an included lunch at a local restaurant, enjoy the afternoon to explore on your own, perhaps discovering the bustling Al Balad downtown area surrounding the splendid King Hussein Mosque. This evening, join us at your hotel for a discussion with a local about life in Jordan before heading to our Welcome Drink and Dinner.
Journey to the Lost City of Petra and Aqaba, embark the Ocean Odyssey
Today, you’ll set out for Aqaba to meet your 5-star ship. But first, you’ll visit one of the world’s most magnificent archaeological treasures — awe-inspiring Petra. Dating back to approximately 300 BC, this prehistoric city was carved into the pink sandstone cliffs of Jordan’s southwestern desert by the ancient Nabataean people.
Upon arrival in Petra, enjoy a taste of Jordan with lunch at a local restaurant before you feast your eyes on this magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site. As you explore Petra’s Great Temple and tombs, you will listen to some of its long and intriguing history.
Dramatic landscapes and religious heritage of Sharm El Sheikh
Catch the sunrise from the ship's multilevel observation lounge before enjoying breakfast on board as the Ocean Odyssey arrives in Egypt. Situated near the tip of the Sinai Peninsula, Sharm El Sheikh is a seaside desert oasis for Egyptians and travelers alike. Its waters are renowned for their diverse marine life and crystalline visibility. Jacques Cousteau called it a “corridor of marvels” and, depending on conditions and timing, you may have time to take out one of the ship’s kayaks or snorkeling equipment and see this underwater world for yourself. But first, you can join an included morning tour. Visit the magnificent Mustafa Sheikh Mosque with its soaring minarets flanking an impressive dome and marble façade. Marvel at the biblical artwork of the Coptic Orthodox Church, spiritual home to the largest Christian denomination in Egypt. After a stop at Soho Square, Sharm’s modern entertainment and shopping complex, and a perusal of the vibrant, energetic market, return to the ship in time for lunch.
Your afternoon is at leisure in Sharm El Sheikh, or perhaps you'll explore the spectacular coral reef and colorful fish here. If you're looking for something more adventurous, your onboard Concierge can help you set up an excursion. In the elegant dining room, join us for a Welcome Briefing and Welcome Dinner, giving you just a glimpse of the curated fine dining you'll experience throughout your journey.
Crossing the Suez Canal
Prepare yourself for today's travel milestone, and settle in on the sun deck as you traverse the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean Sea.
While at sea, an onboard lecturer will offer poignant lectures on the Suez Canal and the history of the region. You'll also listen to an onboard piano player.
These two days provide the perfect opportunity to savor the easy pace and camaraderie that small ship cruising affords. Bring binoculars for a closer view of the desert hills and sands unfolding all around while our inviting lounge area and elegant common spaces offer ideal settings to get to know your fellow adventurers. A port talk will give you a glimpse of what’s ahead once you reach the Mediterranean.
During your cruising, take advantage of your ship’s many amenities, and see how days on board can be just as exciting as days offshore. Perhaps enjoy a spa treatment, curl up with a book on deck, or pop into the boutique for any items you may need. Your meals will bring a taste of Egypt to your experience.
Uncover a biblical past from Haifa
Arrive in Haifa this morning, the picturesque northern Israeli port in the shadow of Mt. Carmel. Today’s full-day tour features many places from the life of Jesus. First head to Nazareth, where Jesus lived with Mary and Joseph after his birth. Marvel at the mosaic-filled Basilica of the Annunciation. Next, view the Wedding Church where Jesus turned water to wine. In the ancient fishing village of Capernaum, see the ancient synagogue where Jesus used to teach. After a local St. Peter’s fish lunch, embark a boat to cross the legendary Sea of Galilee, believed to be where Jesus walked on water. Then visit Tabgha, site of the miracle of the fishes, and the Mount of the Beatitudes, topped by the stunning church with its octagonal dome representing the 8 Beatitudes.
Today’s port talk prepares you for the next unforgettable stop, Ashdod.
Your choice of full-day tours in Israel
Arrive in Ashdod, one of the oldest cities in the world, this morning. Then, choose your Israel experience during one of our included tours, ideal for travelers who have visited Israel before and may be looking for new opportunities. Join a full-day tour to Jerusalem, starting at the Mount of Olives so you can take in the ancient city from a breathtaking viewpoint. Proceed to the Gardens of Gethsemane, where Jesus and his disciples slept the night before his crucifixion and whose olive trees may date back as far as Christ. After stopping to see the Church of all Nations, enter the UNESCO-listed Old City for an unforgettable walking tour that includes the Western Wall. After lunch, browse the Arab Bazaar, then follow the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, site of Jesus’ tomb.
Alternately, choose to spend the day on a full-day tour to Masada and the Dead Sea, with an included lunch. Begin at the famed desert fortress where a band of Jewish rebels chose the ultimate act of resistance against a siege by Roman soldiers. A short cable car ride to the top will show you the full scope of the desert and Dead Sea below. Then head down to its famously curative salt waters where you can test its buoyancy. (Don’t forget your swimsuit!)
Enjoy a pre-dinner port talk that will fill you on what’s happening tomorrow.
Witness the history and traditions of Cyprus with your choice of tours
After breakfast, learn more about Cyprus during an onboard lecture as you sail towards Limasool. You'll arrive in Cyprus after an early lunch. The people of this island country enjoy a warm Mediterranean climate, dramatic coastal vistas, the pine-wooded Troodos Mountains, and some of the finest ancient mosaics in the world. You will join them today as you choose from two included afternoon tours.
During a half-day tour to Paphos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its natural and cultural treasures, stop to view Aphrodite’s Rock, said to be the spot from where the goddess of love and beauty rose from the sea. Visit the Chrysopolitissa Church, built on the remains of a Byzantine basilica, and St. Paul’s Pillar. At the Paphos Archaeological Park, view the remarkably preserved floor mosaics at the Houses of Dionysos, Aion, and Theseus. Enjoy free time to take in the relaxed atmosphere at the Harbor of Paphos.
Or, you may choose a half-day tour to the UNESCO-listed traditional village of Choirokoitia, where our local friend Petros reveals the secrets behind making Halloumi and Anari cheeses at his home. Settle in for a visit and delightful tasting of farm-fresh cheeses with honey, olives, home-baked bread, and salad. Petros will also show you how he weaves the island’s distinctive baskets. After a walk around the village, enjoy a scenic coastal drive back to the ship.
This evening, after our port talk, some Cypriot performers join us on board for a lively folklore show.
Relax on board with a day at sea
Enjoy a day at sea as the Ocean Odyssey makes its way into the fabled waters of the Aegean Sea. Visit the spa, get in a workout at the gym, relax on the sun deck catching up with a great book, and enjoy the fabulous cuisine the chefs are creating just for you!
Today’s onboard lecture provides more fascinating context to this legendary part of the Mediterranean. And this evening’s port talk previews your next incredible destination — the remarkable island of Rhodes.
Rhodes, island of the Knights of St. John
Spend this morning exploring Rhodes, Europe’s largest inhabited medieval town. See the old port of Mandraki. Traverse the heights of Agios Stefanos, or Monte Smith, for sweeping views. In the Old Town, visit the vast Grand Masters Palace, home to the Knights of St. John crusaders, and stop by the Archaeological Museum, once the Knights’ hospital. If you wish, you may linger on your own to explore more of this remarkable enclave of medieval treasures, perhaps strolling the cobbled Street of the Knights.
Back on board, learn more about the rich history that has shaped the Aegean. And though nothing can prepare you for the breathtaking sights of our next destination, Ephesus, our port talk will try!
The rich biblical past of Ephesus
Discover the historical country of Turkey today. Step into the ancient past during a half-day visit to Ephesus, once the most important trading center in the Aegean. These breathtaking ruins are steeped in biblical history, as you will learn during a guided stroll down the Arcadian Way, once lined with colonnaded buildings and adorned with mosaics. Pass the impressive amphitheater and marvel at the towering façade of the Library of Celsus. This third largest library in the ancient world was built to house 12,000 parchment scrolls. You will also view the Temples of Hadrian and Diana before returning to the ship for lunch.
This afternoon you’ll enjoy an afternoon at leisure in Kusadasi, which offers great walks, restaurants, and shops.
Back on board, there’ll be ample opportunities to immerse yourself in Turkish culture. Gain more insight into the famous flavors of this region when you enjoy a lecture on Turkish cuisine. Savor the creations of a Turkish master chef, whom we have invited into the kitchen to prepare your mouthwatering dinner. And get into the rhythms of traditional song and dance during a performance by locals.
Mykonos is big on discovery and beauty, and is renowned for its pure-white houses, tidy churches with blue domes, charming windmills, and pristine beaches. See what captivated Jackie Onassis and other celebrity yachters during a driving tour to some of its most stunning beaches — Agios Ioannis, Ornos, Kalafatis, and Agia Anna.
Then, visit the magnificent white-washed village of Ano Mera. After stopping at its unique 1542 Panagia Tourliani Monastery, enjoy a tasty bite and a sip or two of ouzo in the square. A guided walking tour reveals the narrow passages and cobbled lanes of Mykonos before you return to the ship for lunch and an afternoon at leisure. You can relax in Mykonos on your own, perhaps exploring by bike or arranging a 4x4 rental with your onboard Concierge.
Your day is further enlightened by another onboard lecture this afternoon, followed by a port talk on the wonders of Santorini, tomorrow’s beguiling destination. After dinner, relax with some fun onboard entertainment.
Be dazzled by Santorini and visit the archaeological site Akrotiri
Santorini has been called the most magnificent of the Greek Isles. With its soaring cliffs tumbling into turquoise waters, you’re sure to agree. You will tender ashore and take a scenic drive to the ancient site of Akrotiri, a Minoan village frozen in time by the ash of a devastating volcanic eruption. This wonder has been compared to Pompeii both for its fate and for its incredible preservation. Explore its beauty with a guide, then continue to the charming clifftop village of Oia. This vision of whitewashed and pastel houses clinging to dark volcanic rock was once home to wealthy seafarers. Its narrow streets are a paradise for walkers, as you will experience firsthand. Then, move on to Fira, perched high over the Aegean on more cliffs. You many explore here on your own and return to the ship at leisure via a dramatic cable car and your waiting tender.
This afternoon, an onboard lecturer adds more enlightenment to your knowledge of the Aegean. Later, a port talk fills you in on what you can expect from our visit to the Cradle of Civilization — Athens. Savor your final dinner on board, with ample options of locally inspired cuisine.
Behold the classical wonders of Athens
Arrive in Piraeus this morning and disembark for a thrilling tour of Athens, the sophisticated capital of Greece where mythology and ancient history come alive. You’ll visit the iconic Acropolis, where it was said that Poseidon and Athena fought over 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 Panathenaic 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 with provided money in the local currency. Perhaps you’ll seek out a restaurant in the charming Plaka district, nestled at the foot of Acropolis Hill, and then enjoy the afternoon at your leisure.
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 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.
See the birthplace of the Olympics
This morning, we’ll sail into Katakolon 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 a traditional Greek lunch at the Magna Grecia, a family-owned Greek agriturismo farm. After a guided tour, sample its homemade wine and olive oils while being regaled with local entertainment to boot.
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. 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.
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. 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.
Back on board, enjoy an eye-opening discussion about the "Dubrovnik Republic," including its unique history and foundations, before dinner on the ship. This evening, sail toward Dubrovnik, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Experience Dubrovnik's Old City and a private concert
Today, your local guide will lead you through 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.
Return to your ship for lunch, then 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.
Unearth the UNESCO treasures of Hvar
An idyllic Mediterranean port, Hvar is a popular celebrity destination known for its vast fields of lavender, ancient olive trees, and fruit orchards. 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.
Later, discover even more on an island tour, including a visit to Stari Grad Plain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Return for lunch on board and take the afternoon to explore Hvar 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, (entry fee included).
Enjoy dinner onboard. You ship will set sail later this evening.
Walk 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, 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 disembarkation, we’ll tour Jurlinovi Dvori, a traditional Dalmatian estate with an extensive anthropological museum that depicts the lineage of the people who lived here for the last 100 years and ruled this region of Croatia. Enjoy a traditional lunch here, prepared with centuries-old local recipes from homemade products, including Babić wine — a vintage derived from Primosten vineyards, which is strong and dry to represent the harsh land it grew on. After, depart back to Šibenik for a guided walking tour, where you’ll encounter the UNESCO-listed Cathedral of St James and Fort of St. Nicholas.
Tonight, enjoy a performance by local musicians on board your ship.
Discover the idyllic seaside town of Opatija
This morning, enjoy lovely scenic sailing into your next destination — Opatija — along with an informative onboard lecture. Upon arrival this afternoon, you’ll 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.
This evening, your Cruise Director will present a port talk before dinner.
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.
Explore Pula Arena, Europe's most complete Roman amphitheater, when we stop in the ancient town of Pula. You'll be able to go below the arena floor to see the actual passageways and rooms where gladiators and their foes, along with wild animals, awaited their turn in combat. We’ll also see the town and its streets briming with history juxtaposed with modern shops and restaurants.
We'll have lunch back on the ship before more scenic sailing takes us to the picturesque coastal town of Rovinj, which was part of Venice's mercantile empire. Today, it’s a jet-set town for regional and international tourists alike because of its stunning skyline and 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!
This evening, enjoy your Captain's Farewell Dinner on board with klapa singers, a UNESCO protected cultural heritage of Croatia.
Discover Trieste, Italy
This morning after breakfast, you’ll embark on a walking tour of Trieste, an Italian city that boasts a distinct 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.
With lunch money provided, you’ll have the opportunity to savor the local fare — make sure you get a taste of traditional jota (also known as Istrian stew) and Strucolo de pomi, a local take on apple strudel!
Cruise into Zadar, and discover its ancient and UNESCO-listed treasures
Over breakfast this morning, enjoy scenic sailing with views of the Kornati Islands National Park as we cruise to Zadar — another coastal gem that was named Europe's top destination in 2016 and was inducted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017. You’ll also hear an interesting lecture while sailing.
This Roman-era city boasts a blend of ancient, renaissance, Romanesque, and medieval architecture. On a walking tour, you’ll see the UNESCO-listed Historic Defense Walls and explore Zadar’s ancient city center.
After dinner, some local entertainers come aboard to enthrall you.
Revisit the Roman era at Diocletian’s Palace in Split
Welcome to Split, one of the oldest cities in this historic region. Explore ancient Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which the emperor chose as his retirement home because of the area’s spectacular beauty. Your special tour also takes you into the mysterious passages in the lower levels of the palace’s massive structure — Game of Thrones fans will recognize it as one of the show's filming locations!
This afternoon, enjoy one of the most scenic stretches of ocean on this journey as the Ocean Odyssey departs Split. You’ll have marvelous views of several Croatian islands, so have your camera ready.
Uncover the charming trulli homes of UNESCO-listed Alberobello
The ship now has crossed the Adriatic from Croatia to Italy, specifically the region of Puglia, which comprises the heel of Italy’s famous boot. From the port city of Brindisi, you’ll head north to the commune of Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its trulli — cone-shaped limestone homes that date back as early as the 14th-century. You’ll learn all about the history of these homes and how they survived after conflict between local peasants and feudal landlords. The walking tour will lead you to the old city, which holds more than 1,000 trulli, most still functioning as private homes. The tour ends at the Church of Saint Anthony, with its uniquely adorned façade and cone-shaped roof reaching 64 feet tall.
In the narrow streets of Alberobello, you can admire workshops with artisans at work. You’ll also have a chance to step inside a typical trullo house to see the architectural style and structure, and learn how people used to live in these iconic buildings. After, lunch in a typical masseria — or country estate — belonging to a local family. This will be a highlight of your day — pack the camera! A masseria is where local Italian families produce much of what they drink and eat — milk, cheeses, meats, vegetables, olive oil, and more — and you'll learn all about it during enlightening conversation and cultural exchange. Joyous and full, you'll return to the ship with a scenic drive through Puglia's countryside, lined with endless olive groves.
Your choice of tours: Uncover Taormina’s rich history or visit Etna for a wine tasting
This morning, you’ll anchor in Giardini Naxos where you’ll have your choice of tours. Head to Taormina, the historic city set on a cliff overlooking the Ionian Sea. This chic resort town offers splendid views of Mount Etna in the distance and a charming medieval ambience. You'll also visit its fantastic Greek Theater, originally built in the 3rd century by Romans, and marvel at its coastal vistas before heading to the Public Gardens, boasting some 200 species. Here, you’ll have time to sample a refreshing granita.
Your second option of tours is a visit to UNESCO-listed Mount Etna, where you’ll savor a tasting at a local winery. Sicily is famous for its Nero d’Avola grape, which grows bountifully in the island’s volcanic soil.
This evening, local entertainers come aboard.
See more of Sicily in Syracuse and Ortigia
More Sicilian discoveries begin today in UNESCO-listed Syracuse, where ancient Greek ruins and antique Italian charm fuse into one splendid island called Ortigia. On a walking tour, head to the Old Town with its narrow cobblestoned lanes and welcoming piazzas. You’ll visit an archaeological area to view the remains of the Temple of Apollo and the gorgeous Fountain of Arethusa, a natural spring with roots in Greek mythology. You’ll also get a look into Jewish life here — Judaism was present here long before the arrival of Christianity in Sicily. You’ll also see the oldest mikveh (ancient ritual bath) to survive in Europe, and one of the first few in what’s now known as Italy.
Return to the ship for lunch, then enjoy the afternoon at leisure to continue your explorations in Syracuse. Later, you'll have another lecture before dinner onboard.
Embark on a walking tour of Valletta, then experience Malta in 5D
Arrive in Malta this morning. After breakfast, you’ll go sightseeing in Valletta, the island’s capital and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Europe’s smallest capital, Valletta is an open-air museum of 16th-century buildings built by the Knights Hospitaller. Your private guide will regale you with Valletta’s history while leading you down the city’s charming narrow streets to visit the Valletta City Gate, Triton Fountain, the new Parliament building, and St. John’s Co-Cathedral, which was dedicated to Saint John the Baptist and is considered one of the finest examples of high Baroque architecture.
At the conclusion of your walking tour, take in a 5D show exploring the history and culture of Malta in an interactive and exciting way. Lunch is back on the ship; afterward, enjoy an afternoon at leisure to continue your Malta explorations.
Visit ancient Erice for a tour, wine tasting, and a drive down Sicily’s “salt road”
You’ll be cruising the southwestern coast of Sicily this morning, so head to the observation lounge or your own balcony for more incredible views of this region. After breakfast, hear another lecture highlighting the culture and history of your cruise destinations. You’ll arrive in Trapani around mid-morning and eat lunch before setting off on an afternoon tour.
Today’s explorations lead you inland to Erice, the supposed birthplace of the goddess Venus. While walking the town’s cobblestone streets, soak in the aromas emanating from the numerous pastry shops for which Erice is famous. Here, you’ll visit the ruins of the town’s hilltop Norman Castle, a 12th-century construct dedicated to Venus, and the 14th-century duomo with its 90-foot belltower. You’ll also visit a private winery for another tasting of local Sicilian offerings.
On your way back to the Ocean Odyssey, you’ll have better views of the area’s famous “salt road” — where salt is extracted from the ocean by the scorching sun and delicate Mediterranean sea salt, with its briny scent permeating the air, is left behind. The scenery here is particularly breathtaking, and you’ll have a chance to photograph numerous salt pans, marshes, inlets, and Dutch-style windmills.
Discover Lipari, the gem of the Aeolian Islands
It is only because of the small-ship size that you can pause for a day to explore the Aeolian Islands, Italy’s archipelago northwest of Sicily. Beauty greets you at every turn on these soaring, majestic volcanic islands. The ship will anchor off the shore of Lipari and tender to Marina Corta, allowing you to walk with your guide along the Via Garibaldi. At the Rock of the Castle that is set high on a promontory, peer deep into the island’s past at an archaeological site and visit the Cathedral of Bartholomew, the island’s patron saint. Then, get a panoramic view of the island, visiting the villages of Quattrocchi and Quattropani. As you explore, enjoy splendid views of other Aeolian Islands, including Stromboli with its ever-active towering volcano. You’ll also stop to take in the vistas of Lipari Beach and observe the ubiquitous pumice stone deposited here by volcanic eruptions from millennia past. After lunch on board, you’ll have some leisure time in Lipari.
This afternoon’s onboard lecture provides more fascinating context to this legendary part of the Mediterranean.
Uncover the mysteries of Pompeii and Neapolitan pizza
Arrive this morning along the Bay of Naples, gateway to the legendary Amalfi Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where seaside villages and dizzying cliffs create a dreamy landscape. No visit here is complete without a tour of Pompeii, the ancient city buried by the ash of Vesuvius in 79 AD. A walking tour with a private guide helps you step back 2,000 years into a world of cobbled lanes worn by horse-drawn carts, fascinating villas still adorned by colorful murals, Roman baths, the old forum, and more.
This afternoon, take part in something truly extraordinary — don't forget your camera! You’ll enjoy an afternoon lunch visit to a local farm, where you'll meet your hosts for a tour and a class in creating the perfect pizza, the famed cuisine of nearby Naples.
Back on board, a delectable Farewell Dinner celebrates the cruise porion of your journey and brings you even more flavors of this region.
Explore Rome’s grandeur on panoramic and walking tours
Today you’ll anchor in Civitavecchia for 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. We’ll have lunch at a local restaurant for some classic Rome specialties. After an afternoon at leisure, you’ll return to your ship for dinner.
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 moscati. 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.
Be mesmerized by Barcelona, Catalonia’s vibrant cultural heart
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.
Afterward, we'll have an outside visit to La Sagrada Família cathedral, Antoni Gaudí’s famous masterpiece and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you like, you can ask for a ticket to tour the inside. 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.
With the afternoon at leisure in Barcelona, perhaps you’ll return to La Sagrada Família. Dinner awaits back on board.
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 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 and 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 sun deck or explore Málaga on your own.
This evening, enjoy another informative lecture by a local artist before another sumptuous dinner on the Ocean Odyssey.
Discover posh Sotogrande and the stunning Ronda gorge
After breakfast we drop anchor in Sotogrande, a flashy residential enclave in historic Andalusia. 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. Here, a docent will provide an informative talk on the history of Spanish bullfighting.
While in Ronda, we’ll have lunch in a local restaurant and enjoy free time in the city. In the afternoon, return to the ship in Sotogrande. After dinner onboard we welcome some local entertainers on our ship for a lively cultural performance.
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.
Enjoy an afternoon at leisure in Seville to shop and explore; your onboard Concierge can point you to the best spots. Later, you'll set out into the countryside to a local family’s bull farm, where you will enjoy a tour, a delicious home-hosted dinner of Spanish fare, and a rich cultural exchange.
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.
We'll head back to the Ocean Odyssey for a late lunch with an evening at leisure. Before dinner, don't miss another lecture that elucidates the history and culture of this captivating region.
Lap up the highlights of monumental Lisbon
Arrive in Lisbon this morning and set out to explore its historic highlights. First is the Belém Tower, the city’s iconic gateway at the mouth of the Tagus River. Ships laden with treasures from Portugal’s far-flung empire would stop to be assessed here. Nearby, marvel at the ornate Hieronymites Monastery, an exquisite example of Portugal’s Manueline architecture. Unique to Portugal, this baroque style of ornamentation blends religious and nautical symbols with fanciful interpretations of the flora, fauna, and people of the New World.
Enjoy lunch on your own with provided money in the local currency. You’ll also enjoy a taste of Pastéis de Belém, a buttery custard confection based on an old recipe from the monks. It’s not only Portugal’s favorite pastry, but a trendy treat for foodies around the world.
Inside Porto, the “Unvanquished City”
Enjoy breakfast as the ship arrives in Leixões. From here, we'll transfer to Porto, known as the “Unvanquished City” because the Romans or Moors never overtook it. According to 15th-century legend, the people of Porto donated all their meat to a military fleet departing for battle — leaving themselves with nothing but offal (tripas). Considering the sacrifice an ancestral badge of honor, Porto residents still proudly call themselves Tripeiros.
Embark on a panoramic drive through Portugal’s second largest city, which includes its UNESCO-listed city center and a visit a local port wine cellar for a tasting. Return to the ship for lunch, with an afternoon at leisure to explore Porto on your own using free shuttle service to and from the ship. Don’t miss a visit to one of the top bookstores in the world, Livraria Lello (which inspired J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter library), where you can peruse the shelves and admire the décor of this one-of-a-kind gem.
Dinner is on board, with overnight sailing to Spain.
Exploring UNESCO-listed Santiago de Compostela
Your expedition brings you to Vigo, Spain, and the country's westernmost corners today, where you’ll experience a full-day exploration of the UNESCO-listed Santiago de Compostela, one of the most sacred places in the world for Christian pilgrims. It’s believed that Saint James was buried here in the first century, but the location was forgotten over the years until a ninth-century hermit saw a shining light over a spot in a wooded field, sparking an ensuing investigation that revealed what was believed to be the lost tomb of Saint James. A church was constructed, and it quickly became one of the most famous pilgrimage destinations of medieval times. It remains so today, with more than 200,000 people walking the nearly 500-mile path (called the Way of Saint James) annually. You’ll get a chance to see both the church and the route that millions have taken to get there. Lunch is included at a local restaurant today, complete with local entertainment.
Oviedo, Spain’s cosmopolitan northern capital
Discover Oviedo, the cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s northern coast and home to some impressive churches including Cathedral of San Salvador, which is where the original Way of St. James began. Soak in the old-world beauty of this town and its collectively listed UNESCO monuments before returning to the ship for lunch.
Then, spend an afternoon at leisure in Gijón, a city of beautiful beaches and a rich history situated on the shimmering Bay of Biscay. Return to the ship this evening for dinner on board and another scintillating lecture.
Seaside splendor in the resort town of San Sebastián
Wake up in San Sebastián today, one of Spain’s most alluring resort towns renowned for its beaches and its food. A morning tour of the city’s historical gems includes the Parte Vieja (Old Town), the twin-towered Santa Maria Church, and Good Shepherd Cathedral, but merely strolling the streets of this coastal treasure — or watching the waves break over La Concha beach — is a pleasure all its own.
The Ocean Odyssey will cruise to France overnight.
Bordeaux, the Port of the Moon
You'll revel in the scenic sailing aboard the Ocean Odyssey as it takes you through the Gironde Estuary to the Garonne River and into Bordeaux, France — one of the smaller ports most vessels can’t reach!
As you cruise there this morning, spend some time in the boutique, soaking up sun or sightseeing from the deck. Join your guest lecturer for another talk that prepares you for the exciting explorations we've planned: your choice of tours and leisure time to discover UNESCO-listed Bordeaux, known as the “Port of the Moon” because of its crescent-shaped docks along the river.
Often overlooked by the glamorous outposts of Paris and Marseille, Bordeaux is arguably the wine capital of the world, and home to La Cité du Vin wine museum, which you’ll visit on an afternoon city tour that includes a wine tasting.
Enjoy an evening at leisure in Bordeaux, with dinner on the Ocean Odyssey. You'll overnight in Bordeaux, so take advantage of the extra time by heading into town for an after-dinner cocktail or glass of wine, or simply stroll around town. Tonight, enjoy evening entertainment onboard.
Pick your choice of tours in Bordeaux
This morning after breakfast, you'll have your choice of tours: You may embark on a half-day excursion to the UNESCO-listed Saint-Emilion or a half-day tour to Arcachon. The former will bring you to a commune teeming with medieval architecture where you'll sample local wines during a tasting. The latter will bring you to a seaside resort town where you'll enjoy a tasting of freshly-shucked oysters.
Have an afternoon at leisure in Bordeaux. Tonight, enjoy an informative lecture before dinner. Your ship sails overnight to San Sebastian.
Belle-Île, a sandy and secluded isle off France’s Brittany coastline, is yours to explore today. Most people arrive to the island via ferry from the mainland or not at all, as this is another oft-overlooked outpost that the versatile Ocean Odyssey can reach.
On a full-day tour, discover the stunning pastel-hued harbor and its homes, the star-shaped citadel in capital Le Palais, and charming inland villages like the commune of Sauzon — once the muse for Monet, who spent several months here during the climax of his career. This island is a favorite among celebrities who love its laid-back charm and rich history of arts and crafts. You'll also enjoy lunch at a local restaurant during your tour.
The best of Brest
Once destroyed by Allied air attacks in World War II, today’s rebuilt Brest is a major French hub and the site of your explorations today. Depart on a city tour via coach and walking, including a visit to the Château de Brest, a strategic military outpost and the oldest functioning castle in the world. After a lunch aboard ship, enjoy an afternoon at leisure in town, perhaps touring the Musée des Beaux-Arts or the stunning Brest National Botanical Garden, which features one of the largest collections of endangered plant species in the world. Another enlightening lecture takes place before dinner on board.
Saint-Malo and Mont Saint-Michel
You’ll be transported back to medieval times when you arrive in Saint-Malo, France, today. This walled city has a long seafaring history and is the birthplace of Jacques Cartier, the first European man to discover Canada. Inside its walls, Saint-Malo’s streets overflow with cafés and restaurants — the modern mixing with the medieval.
A full-day tour unveils a true gem of France: Mont Saint-Michel. You'll transfer to this Benedictine abbey, which is dramatically situated on a hulking granite island surrounded by granite walls. It is so iconic that UNESCO deemed it a World Heritage Site! On a guided tour, learn about the history of this legendary place while wandering the tangle of lanes within. Afterward, seek out a classic French meal at a nearby brasserie with provided lunch money.
Exploring Windsor Castle
Today you'll say goodbye to the Ocean Odyssey, Vantage's second small ship expedition vessel, when you disembark in Poole. En route to London, you’ll stop at Windsor and enjoy some free time for lunch on your own before a guided tour of Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. Queen Elizabeth spends most of her private weekends at the castle, which has housed 39 monarchs since its founding by William the Conqueror in the 11th century.
Continue your transfer to London, where you’ll check into your hotel. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure and dinner on your own. Your hotel is centrally located, giving you a bevy of dining options from which to choose.
From Big Ben to Buckingham Palace: Exploring London’s landmarks
Today you’ll discover this great metropolis on a half-day guided city tour that introduces you to London’s landmarks, including Westminster Abbey (panoramic), Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament (UNESCO), Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, and much more. You’ll also enjoy an included visit to the Imperial War Museum, which explores conflict from WWI to the present day. This afternoon, discover more of the English capital on your own before a Farewell Dinner at the hotel reunites you with your fellow expeditioners to toast your extraordinary adventure one last time!
Return home, or head to Dublin
Transfer to London’s airport this morning for your return flight home, or head to Dublin, Ireland, for your optional post-trip extension.
Jordan is rich in biblical history, breathtaking natural beauty, and a vibrant culture that has a long tradition of welcoming others with open arms. Round out your journey with this discovery-packed extension and experience firsthand what others have only dreamed of. Visit the legendary sites of Bethany, where Lazarus was raised from the dead, and Mount Nebo, from where Moses first laid eyes on the Holy Land. Explore the ancient Roman ruins of Jerash, legendary outpost of the Empire. Float on the Dead Sea’s famously buoyant waters and meet a local artisan to learn about the region’s renowned mosaics. And with extra time, you can even see more of the remarkable “White City” of Amman, a fascinating blend of Roman-era monuments, busy souks, and urban sophistication. Plus, enjoy the use of your hotel room right up until your evening departure!
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.