Cruise the Mediterranean and explore ancient empires from southern Italy to Sicily and Malta.

Starting at: $4,495 * Price includes special offer Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Views of the Amalfi Coast   Harbor scene in Valletta, Malta  Valletta harbor, Malta  Village of Positano, along the Amalfi Coast  Town situated along Italy's renowned Amalfi Coast  Wall painting found in Pompeii  Remarkable Pompeii, with Mount Vesuvius in the background  Shop with counter and display area along a street in Pompeii  The essence of Capri  Port on the island of Capri  The World Heritage site of Stromboli, among the Aeolian Islands  The light display of the erupting volcano of Stromboli  The famous Greek theater of Taormina  Coastal view near Taormina  The Greek theater of Siracusa  The baroque cathedral of Ortygia, Siracusa  Temple of Concord, Valley of the Temples, Agrigento  The port of Valletta, Malta  The port of Valletta, Malta  Panoramic view of Valletta, Malta  St. Angelo Fort in Valletta, Malta

Voyage from Rome to Malta

9 days from $4,495

Cruise the Mediterranean and explore ancient empires from southern Italy to Sicily and Malta.

or Call 855-330-1542


Save $1,000 per person on June 20, 2019 departure when you book by June 19, 2019!


For thousands of years, waves of civilizations have left their imprint on the Mediterranean. Explore a multitude of World Heritage sites in southern Italy, Sicily and Malta—considered the crossroads of this complex history.

Highlights Include

  • Southern Italy: Take in stunning panoramic views from the Amalfi Coast, with its cliff-side villages that seem to plunge to the sea. Enjoy time in Sorrento and on the Isle of Capri, which has drawn visitors since Roman times. Plus, explore many of the highlights of Pompeii, excavated 17 centuries after Mt. Vesuvius buried it in an eruption.
  • Sicily: In Taormina, visit the well-preserved Greek Theater, with breathtaking views of Mt. Etna and the sea as its backdrop. In Syracuse, explore the historic quarter of Ortygia and the impressive Greek and Roman sites of the Archaeology Zone. 
  • Malta: Trace the steps of the Knights of St. John during a walking tour of Valletta. Visit the 16th-century St. John’s Co-Cathedral, home to Caravaggio’s The Beheading of St. John, and enjoy a tour of a private palazzo.
  • Le Bougainville: Launched in 2019, Le Bougainville is among a new fleet of luxury expedition ships launched by the Ponant cruise line. This ship combines revolutionary design and a new standard of luxury. See more information about this ship on the Tour Details page. Each voyage will also host other leading cultural and educational institutions, which will add to the excitement and energy of the experience. 

Smithsonian surpasses any organized trip we have taken in the past several decades.

- Irving R.


Day 1 — Depart the U.S.

Day 2 —Rome / Civitavecchia

Arrive in Rome, the former seat of the Roman Empire, today the historic heart of Italy and a World Heritage site. Transfer to Civitavecchia to embark Le Bougainville. Attend the Captain’s welcome reception this evening.

Day 3 — Sorrento / Pompeii

Today you will explore Pompeii. Discovered and excavated 17 centuries after the tephra of Mt. Vesuvius engulfed Pompeii in A.D. 79, the incredibly well-preserved ruins of this ancient Roman city are today a UNESCO World Heritage site. The walking tour provides an intimate look into the daily rituals of Roman life during the reign of Emperor Titus. See the impressive amphitheater, the house of the wealthy Vetti family and the extraordinary Temple of Jupiter. 

Return to Sorrento for an afternoon at leisure. An outpost of the ancient Roman Republic, today this quaint seaside town is one of the most scenic in Italy, the gateway to Mt. Vesuvius and the ancient ruins of Pompeii, and the limoncello capital of the world. Sorrento was built into picturesque cliffs high above the Tyrrhenian Sea with brightly hued buildings and abundant lemon and orange groves. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Sorrento / Amalfi Coast / Positano / Island of Capri

Visit Italy’s spectacular World Heritage-designated Amalfi Coast is legendary for its natural wonders and dramatic cliffs dotted with secluded villages, opulent villas, and sun-kissed beaches that epitomize the allure of the Italian Mediterranean seaside. Enjoy time on your own in the lovely village of Positano—frequented by Picasso, Toscanini, and Bernstein, popularized by John Steinbeck and now a favorite resort of international luminaries. 

Continue to dramatic Capri. Legend has it that along these shores Homer’s Odysseus resisted the alluring call of the sirens. Enjoy time at leisure to explore this captivating island at your own pace. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Cruise past Stromboli / Naxos, Sicily for Taormina

Be on deck early in the morning as the ship cruises in view of the most famous of the World Heritage designated Aeolian IslandsStromboli, the “Lighthouse of the Mediterranean”—home to a volcano that has been mildly active for the past 2,000 years.

Arrive in the charming, medieval town of Taormina, which commands one of the most impressive settings on the island and is the 2,400-year-old center of Sicilian culture and commerce. Look for imposing, snow-covered Mt. Etna, Europe’s highest volcano, and a World Heritage site, and enjoy stunning panoramic views of Calabria. Visit the remarkably preserved Greco-Roman Theater, built in the 3rd century B.C. and still in use today, perhaps located in one of the finest settings of any ancient Roman settlement on Earth. Admire the 14th-century Corvaia Palace, an ornate, Gothic-Catalan structure; the medieval baroque portal of the Cathedral of St. Nicola; and the Roman Odeon, known as the “small theater.” Stroll along Taormina’s famous Corso Umberto, the bustling shopping thoroughfare with a distinctive Mediterranean flair.

Overnight in Taormina. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Syracuse

Begin the day by discovering the beauty and grandeur of Syracuse, extolled from antiquity to the present. Tracing its origin to Greek colonists from Corinth who settled here in 734 B.C., Siracusa reached its zenith of wealth and power 350 years later under Dionysius the Elder, who fortified his city with 14-mile-long walls and made it a center of philosophy and the arts. Today, Syracuse is a World Heritage site and a virtual open-air museum of classical monuments. Walk through the historic quarter of Ortygia, the city’s maritime heart, and see the 6th-century B.C. Temple of Apollo, the finest example of Doric architecture in Western Europe. Visit the magnificent Greek Theater, where Aeschylus once spoke to ancient Siracusans; the Roman Amphitheater, where gladiators competed for the crowds; the Altar of Hieron II, the limestone cave known as Ear of Dionysius, and the impressive Archaeological Museum.

Enjoy walking the legendary small island of Ortygia, Syracuse’s maritime heart, where, in the remains of Piazza Pancali, the monumental 6th century B.C. Temple of Apollo stands as the most ancient Doric temple in Sicily. Inside the Baroque cathedral, built on and incorporating the ruins of a 5th century B.C. temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, admire the unique baptismal font, an ancient Greek marble krater dating from the 13th century. The landmark Piazza Archimede showcases the dazzling, Baroque-style Fountain of Diana, adorned with rearing horses, charging tritons and maternal sea nymphs. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Porto Empedocle, Sicily for Agrigento

From Porto Empedocle, visit Agrigento’s legendary Valle dei Templi (Valley of the Temples), a World Heritage site where classical antiquity comes alive. Here, no fewer than eight Doric Greek shrines dating from the 5th century B.C. dot the landscape, including the Temple of Hera, with its graceful northern colonnade, and the Temple of Concordia, a beautifully preserved Greek monument. There are temples dedicated to Zeus and Heracles and the Sanctuary of the Chthonic Divinities, ancient Greek lords of Earth and the underworld. Visit the Archaeological Museum and admire the momentous collection of Greek, Etruscan, Phoenician, Carthaginian, and Roman artifacts. The ship departs Porto Empedocle this evening for Malta. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Valletta, Malta

Enjoy unforgettable views on deck this morning while we cruise past the scenic shores of Selmunett, the small island where St. Paul the Apostle was shipwrecked and into the picturesque bay of Valletta. Founded in 1566 by the French Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of St. John, the magnificent Fortress City of Valletta, a World Heritage site, is one of the world’s earliest planned cities. Today, this 2018 European Capital of Culture showcases incredible architecture from the 16th century onward, including splendid examples of high Baroque, neoclassical and modern styles.

Visit the iconic and lavishly decorated 16th-century St. John’s Co-Cathedral, an artistic display of masterpieces, including Caravaggio’s The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist. Enjoy a walking tour through the colonnaded Lower Barrakka Gardens, offering stunning vistas of Valletta’s Grand Harbor, and the striking Grand Master’s Palace. A member of the de Piro family of Maltese nobility leads your private tour through the 430-year-old Casa Rocca Piccola, the family’s ancestral home and a showcase of historical Maltese aristocracy.

This evening, join your traveling companions for the Captain’s farewell reception. (B,L,R,D)

Day 9 — Depart Valletta for the U.S.

Disembark this morning in Valletta and continue on the post-cruise option, or transfer to the airport for your flight back to the U.S. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)