Jewels of Antiquity
Start your journey through the historic Adriatic and Mediterranean in majestic Venice before cruising on to some of the mediterranean region's most notable Greek and Roman sites and ruins, then continue on to visit the historic and glamorous sites of the italian coastline
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Join us for a springtime cruise showcasing cultural highlights of Italy, the Dalmatian Coast, and France, accompanied by art historian Aneta Georgievska-Shine. During a two-night hotel stay in Venice, explore St. Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace and enjoy an after-hours visit to St. Mark’s Basilica. Then cruise the enchanting Dalmatian Coast, making stops in the Renaissance Italian city of Urbino and Croatia’s split with its Roman Palace of Diocletian, a World Heritage site. You’ll explore the Greek Theater of Sicily’s Taormina, and visit the Roman town of Pompeii or Herculaneum, both destroyed by Vesuvius in A.D. 79. Highlights in Rome include the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and St. Peter’s Basilica, and your visit to Florence features the Galleria del Accademia, the Duomo, and Uffizi. Your voyage continues to the Côte d’Azur for a full-day excursion to Provence and historic Avignon and Arles, then concludes in the glamorous Riviera city of Nice.
May 19 & 20 — U.S., Venice, Italy
Travelers depart for Venice, Italy. Meals appropriate to the time of day will be served in flight. Upon arrival in Venice, transfer to the Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal. The afternoon is free to rest or explore Venice independently. In art, as in every other aspect of its life, Venice was born Byzantine and essentially remained so for centuries. Venetian political, social and commercial relationships, its geographical location, and the character of its people, all linked Venice with the East.
May 21 — Venice
This morning, set out on an excursion to visit St. Mark’s Square and marvel at the exterior facade, mosaics and golden dome of the Basilica of San Marco as well as the lofty Campanile. Visit the Doge’s Palace, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. The palace is an impressive structure composed of layers of building elements and ornamentation, from its 14th and 15th-century original foundations to the significant Renaissance period. Continue to see the famous Bridge of Sighs. Delight in an exclusive after-hours visit to St. Mark’s Basilica. (B)
May 22 — Venice
Early today, there is free time for exploring on your own in Venice. This afternoon, transfer to the pier and embark the MV Aegean Odyssey. (B,D)
May 23 — Ancona and Urbino
Discover the Renaissance spirit in Urbino, with its towering city walls built according to designs by Leonardo da Vinci. Visit the Ducal Palace, the architectural masterpiece, which has stood for over 500 years in the Piazza Duca Frederico. Browse through the bookstores then stroll to Raphael’s House, birthplace of the great painter. Galleries and shops invite exploration. Look for simple glazed white ware ceramics, unique to Urbino, fine leather goods, wines, locally prepared cheese and smoked meats. View the incredible frescoes of Saint John the Baptist in the Oratorio di San Giovanni. This evening gather for the Captain’s Welcome Reception. (B,L,D)
May 24 — Split
Located on the eastern shore of the Adriatic, Split was originally built around the magnificent Palace of Diocletian in the 4th century in preparation of his retirement. Visit the historical complex which has been designated a World Heritage site. See the medieval fortifications, gates, the palace cellars as well as the octagonal mausoleum. This afternoon is at leisure to explore Split on your own. For choice, you may wish to join an optional excursion to the Island of Trogir. Just 50 miles from Split, you can step into the Middle Ages at Trogir that flourished in the 13th century as an artistic center. (B,L,D)
May 25 — Cruising Brac, Korcula, Hvar, and Kotor Bay
Enjoy a relaxing day of outstanding natural beauty as you cruise along the Dalmatian Coast and through the stunning islands of the eastern Adriatic including Korcula, Hvar as well as the beautiful Kotor Bay. (B,L,D)
May 26 — Corfu, Greece
After arrival at Corfu, located in a strategic position at the entrance of the Adriatic Sea, depart the ship and motor to Corfu Town, to see the Old Fortress, the narrow stepped streets of the Campielo Quarter where the Byzantine Museum is located in the Panaghia Antivouniotissa where little has changed in centuries. See lovely Georgian mansions and the red-domed . (B,L,D)
May 27 — At Sea
Sail through the Adriatic today, toward the Island of Sicily. Enjoy a full array of shipboard activities. (B,L,D)
May 28 — Taormina, Sicily
Nowhere is the beauty of Sicily more apparent than in the hilltop town of Taormina. This morning, tender ashore for a short, scenic drive to this idyllic town with its backdrop of Mt. Etna, lemon blossom scented air, and charming, medieval streets. Proceed past the cathedral and the 10th-century Palazzo Corvaja with its black and white lava decoration. The highlight of the tour is a stop at the Greek Amphitheater of Taormina. Originally built by the Greeks in the 3rd-century B.C. and then rebuilt by the Romans in the 2nd-century A.D. The site offers panormic views of the sea and Mount Etna. The excursion concludes with a stroll along the pedestrian Corso Umberto. In the small lanes and twisting alleyways you can see colorful ceramics, and buy local, prize-winning wines. (B,L,D)
May 29 — Sorrento
For choice today, travelers can select one of the following tours ashore. (B,L,D)
Pompeii - The patricians who built their mansions in Pompeii came to escape the turmoil in Rome, but a different sort of violence awaited them in their southern retreats. In 79 A.D., Mount Vesuvius erupted in mid-morning and, within three hours, extinguished these affluent communities even as it preserved their remains for later discovery. Begin with a scenic drive along the Bay of Naples to the excavations. On the walking tour, you will be guided expertly through this spectacular site. Places not to be missed include the aristocratic mansions, temples, theaters, markets and the large forum. At every turn, inscriptions bring the hustle and bustle of this ancient city to life. There are notices of wine sales and apartment vacancies, upcoming gladiatorial events in the theater and political announcements.
Herculaneum - A scenic drive takes us to Herculaneum which was engulfed by volcanic mud in the same eruption that claimed Pompeii. Fortunately for archaeologists, this mud sealed and protected entire buildings. Today inlaid marble floors, paintings, mosaics and carbonized woods can all be seen. These range from the sculpture of the Drunken Hercules in the House of the Stags to mosaics of tritons in the city baths. Herculaneum was a wealthier town than Pompeii with an extraordinary density of fine houses, with far more lavish use of colored marble. The discovery in recent years of some 300 skeletons along the sea shore came as a surprise since it was known that the town itself had been largely evacuated. Following the visit, return to central Sorrento where you have the option of exploring independently or returning to the ship in the company of the guide.
May 30 — Civitavecchia and Rome
Depart the port of Civitavecchia and motor to the Eternal City of Rome. During the tour, discover the Flavius Amphitheater, also known as the Colosseum. This arena is the largest and most imposing stadium in the Roman world and an engineering feat based on the arch. At its peak, the Colosseum could hold as many as 60,000 spectators. Started by Emperor Vespasian, this huge elliptical amphitheater was opened by his son Titus in 80 A.D. with a celebration featuring a full week of combat between gladiators and wild animals. Continue to the Roman Forum. Foro was the name that the Romans gave to this central square set between the Palatine and Capitoline hills. This was a cosmopolitan hub that pulsed with life. Here stand the remains of grand temples, triumphal arches and a complex devoted to the Vestal virgins, along with a labyrinth of governmental buildings that include the Records Office, Senate, a prison, and even a spot used by tax collectors. The area around the Forum, was once crammed with markets, shops and taverns. Continue the tour with a visit to St Peter's Basilica, the most important basilica in the Christian world. The basilica is built on the site, of a church, where St. Peter is thought to be interred. Fronting the basilica is one of Rome's most famous squares, Bernini's elliptical Piazza San Pietro with its Egyptian Obelisk and the graceful colonnade. The excursion continues with Rome's Baroque delights and begins at the Trevi Fountain. Walk along the Via del Corso to the Piazza della Rotonda and the brick structure known as the Pantheon. First built by Agrippa between 27 and 25 B.C., the temple was dedicated to all the gods of Rome, and was rebuilt in its present shape by the Emperor Hadrian between 120 and 128 A.D. The powerful structure has survived intact, a remarkable relic of Imperial Rome. It was consecrated as a catholic church in 608 A.D. Before returning to the ship, see the pride of baroque Rome: the splendid Piazza Navona, built over the ruins of the 1st-century Stadium of Domitian. The square has three fountains, but the centerpiece is Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers that splashes grandly in front of Borromini's Church of St Agnes in Agony. (B,D)
May 31 — Livorno and Florence
This morning, depart the port of Lovorno for the drive through the Tuscan countryside on a full day guided excursion of Florence. The tour begins with the Galleria del Academia to see the famous David by Michelangelo and other masterpieces in the museum. After the museum, passengers will walk to the Piazza del Duomo and enjoy a visit inside this magnificent Cathedral. After the visit, walk to the Piazza della Signoria to see the Palazzo Vecchio and then on to the Ponte Vecchio. This afternoon, visit the world-renowned Uffizi Gallery for a guided tour of Italy’s greatest art treasures, with its remarkable collection of masterpieces including Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. Return to the ship in Livorno in late afternoon. (B,D)
June 1 — At Sea
Enjoy a full day at sea to relax and enjoy shipboard activities. (B,L,D)
June 2 — Marseille
Depart the port of Marseille for a full-day tour to the region of Provence and the cities of Avignon and Arles. Morning will focus on the medieval marvels of Avignon including the famous Pont d’Avignon and the Palace of the Popes. Continue on to explore Arles and the stunning Roman Amphitheatre. (B,L,D)
June 3 — Nice
The day is at leisure in Nice. Located on the magnificent French Riviera, the beautiful city of Nice is the perfect place to relax and stroll along the captivating seaside Promenade des Anglais or make a visit to the Old Town and its Opera de Nice. The ship will stay overnight in Nice. (B,L,D)
June 4 — Return to the U.S.
Depart the ship after breakfast and transfer to Nice Cote d’Azur International airport for homeward flights. (B)
Meals appropriate to the time of day will be served in flight.
Note: Itineraries, included features and schedules are subject to change.