Trace the shores of history
Witness the origin of civilization as you cruise the fabled Aegean Sea. Begin your journey with an overnight in Istanbul, with its Byzantine treasures and intriguing blend of Eastern and Western influences. Travel to the ruins of Troy, long steeped in myth and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See biblical legends unfold in Ephesus before marveling at the gorgeous islands of Rhodes and Crete. Your voyage concludes with an overnight stay in ancient Athens.
Day 1 Istanbul, Turkey
Discover where East meets West as you arrive today in Istanbul. Take time to admire this city that straddles two continents across the Bosphorus Strait, with its Old Quarter skyline of domes and minarets and the twinkling lights of modern Istanbul across the water. Sample delicious cuisine for a taste of this fusion, combining fresh Mediterranean fare with spices from the Far East and Asia. Enjoy a wealth of religious sites, such as the spectacular Blue Mosque and the legendary Hagia Sophia. We are docked overnight here, so you will have a full day tomorrow to explore this historic port.
Day 2 Istanbul, Turkey
Spend a second day in Istanbul as you immerse yourself in local life and Turkish traditions. Visit a hamman and partake in a centuries-old wellness ritual. Or, you can relax and take in the sights as you cruise the Bosphorus Strait, where old-world ships once sailed as they delivered spices to Istanbuls lively bazaars.
Day 3 Troy, Turkey
Located on the Dardanelles, a key waterway linking the Sea of Marmara to the Aegean Sea, anakkale was an object of desire dating back to the ancient Greeks. Today, explore anakkale or the nearby ruins of Troy, once a powerhouse of Asia Minor. The remarkably preserved structures of this UNESCO World Heritage Site provide a glimpse of the regions former glory and offer hints of life here in the days of Alexander the Great and the Roman emperor Augustus.
Day 4 Ephesus (Kuadasi), Turkey
Journey into the ancient world today with a visit to Ephesus, one of the best-preserved cities of antiquity in the world. Stroll the uneven streets of this once-powerful metropolis and pass sights such as the massive Great Theater and the magnificent Library of Celsus. Visit the remains of the Byzantine Basilica of St. John and see the modest home where legend states that the Virgin Mary lived out her final days. Or, take a scenic drive to the Oracle of Didyma and the Temple of Apollo, part of a once-elaborate Hellenic sanctuary.
Day 5 Rhodes, Greece
Discover the Old Town of Rhodes today. This Island of Knights prospered from the wealth brought here from the Holy Land by the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem. Follow the Street of the Knights to the most imposing building in Rhodes: the Palace of the Grand Masters, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tour this fascinating building, which was first a castle, then a royal palace. Our berth is near the citys historic quarter, allowing you to linger at your leisure after your included walking tour. Or, opt to visit the Acropolis of Lindos; from its rocky perch, you will have magnificent views of the whitewashed village and harbor below.
Day 6 Heraklion, Greece
Home to the ancient Minoans and a former Venetian stronghold, Crete harbors a millennia-old history. Greek mythology tells us that Zeus was born here, and Theseus destroyed the Minotaur at Knossos. Later, Saint Titus of Crete preached in Heraklions streets. Bask in Aegean breezes while exploring the caf-lined Lions Square and the arched gallery of the celebrated Venetian Loggia.
Day 7 Athens, Greece
Today, you will have the entire day to journey into ancient Athens via a panoramic drive, passing the promenade at Mikrolimano Marina as you enter the citys heart. There, you will see the Hellenic Parliament, Syntagma (Constitution) Square, the Panathenaic Stadium, the Temple of Zeus and the iconic Acropolis. Explore the bustling Plaka District at the base of the Acropolis. Or, as an option, explore the interior of this UNESCO Site; climb 80 steps to the entrance for an unforgettable view of the Parthenon at its peak.
Day 8 Athens, Greece
Awake in Athens, where you will disembark your ship. From here, you can easily take a few extra days to further explore this historic city with our post-cruise extension.