A NEW cruise offering from Smithsonian Journeys and PONANT

Uncover layers of history as you cruise to the islands of the central Mediterranean—Malta, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, and Elba—encountering Greco-Roman treasures, medieval fortresses, and Napoleon’s villa in exile.

Starting at: $7,790 Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Cathedral on Ortygia, Syracuse, Sicily
 The immense theater in Syracuse, Sicily
 The mythical Fountain of Arethusa, Ortygia, Syracuse
 The Old Town of Ortygia in Syracuse
 Baroque church in Noto
 The Greek Theater of Taormina
 Cathedral square with St. Nicola Church, Taormina
 Piazza IX Aprile and the Church of San Giuseppe, Taormina
 View of Mt. Etna from the Greek Theater, Taormina
 Close-up view of Mount Etna
 Cathedral in Palermo, Sicily
 View of Cefalu, Sicily
 Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy
 Colorful piazza in Cagliari, Sardinia
 Street and baroque church in Cagliari, Sardinia
 Archaeological site at Nora, Sardinia
 View of Bonifacio, Corsica, France
 Houses clinging to the cliffs, Bonifacio, Corsica, France
 Bonifacio, Corsica
 View of Portoferraio, Elba, Italy
 Looking out from Portoferraio to the hills of Tuscany
 Napoleon's Villa on the island of Elba, Italy
 View of port of Nice from atop Castle Hill

Mediterranean Island Voyage

Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, and Elba aboard the 184-guest Le Bougainville

8 days from $7,790

A NEW cruise offering from Smithsonian Journeys and PONANT

Uncover layers of history as you cruise to the islands of the central Mediterranean—Malta, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, and Elba—encountering Greco-Roman treasures, medieval fortresses, and Napoleon’s villa in exile.

or Call 855-330-1542


Step through the centuries on a voyage to the Mediterranean islands of Italy and France, exploring the temples of the ancient Greeks in Sicily, Napoleon’s elegant villa-in-exile on Elba, and the lively harbor towns of Taormina and Cagliari. Make three stops in glorious Sicily, encountering a wealth of World Heritage sites including the archaeological finds of Syracuse, Mount Etna, and Palermo’s unique Arab-Norman palaces. Then sail on to Sardinia, Corsica, and Elba to discover vestiges of history amid the rugged beauty of these unique islands.

The Smithsonian Journeys / PONANT Experience: Each cruise will be accompanied by two Smithsonian Journeys Experts. An excursion or activity is included in each port of call. You may have a choice of excursions in many ports, so that you can delve more deeply into subjects that interest you.

Highlights Include:

  • Syracuse and Ortigia or Noto, Sicily: Venture to Ancient Syracuse, visiting Greek and Roman amphitheaters that still stage events and the beautiful palazzi and temples of Ortigia. Or encounter Sicilian baroque architecture in the 18th-century town of Noto, a World Heritage site.
  • Taormina: Take a walking tour of Taormina, and visit its Greek amphitheater or the fortified hilltop village of Castelmola. Alternatively, sample local wines on the slopes of Mount Etna, and peer into its volcanic craters.
  • Palermo: Discover Palermo’s World Heritage-listed Arab-Norman architecture and travel into orchard-covered hills to see the spectacular cathedral of Monreale. Instead, delve into the city’s centuries-old markets and taste samples of local specialties, or travel to the delightful medieval port of Cefalù for a walking tour.
  • Sardinia: Tour the capital city of Cagliari from its baroque palazzi to its hilltop fortress and take in views from Monte Urpino. Then explore the remarkable ruins of ancient Nora, once a thriving port under the Carthaginians and the Romans.
  • Bonifacio, Corsica: Ride a mini-train through the oldest parts of cliff-top Bonifacio, enjoying an overview of the town and views as far as Sardinia. Then set off on a walking tour of the medieval Citadel. Or ride a local boat along coastal cliffs to secluded grottos and the beaches of Lavezzi Island.
  • Elba: In historic Portoferraio, visit the Medici fortress and a villa and theater built by Napoleon. Then head to a wine farm to sample local wines, cheeses, and charcuteries. Alternatively, take a scenic drive across Elba to visit Ottone Botanical Garden.


Day 1 – Valletta, Malta

Arrive in the World Heritage site of Valletta and board the ship. Take in the views as you cruise out of the city’s spectacular harbor. (D)

Day 2 – Syracuse, Sicily, Italy

Cruise north to Sicily, where your first port of call is Syracuse, founded in 732 B.C. by the Corinthians and an important Mediterranean city for some 500 years. Follow in the steps of Aeschylus and Archimedes as you explore the archaeological park, which includes a Greek theater and one of the world’s largest Roman amphitheaters. Venture into the Ear of Dionysius, a cave that allowed the tyrant Dionysus to eavesdrop on his prisoners, and see Greco-Roman artifacts at the Paolo Orsi Archaeological Museum. Alternatively, visit the World Heritage site of Noto, an excellent example of Sicilian baroque architecture and 18th-century urban planning. Stop for a gelato or a granita before returning to the ship. In the afternoon, visit the World Heritage-listed island of Ortigia, and delve into its mythology and history as you explore its Duomo and the legend-infused Fountain of Arethusa.  (B,L,D)

Day 3 –Taormina

Tucked into the rugged coast with Mount Etna as a backdrop, charming Taormina was once the capital of Byzantine Sicily. Discover the town’s cathedral and the Palazzo Corvaja on a guided walking tour and visit the Greek Theater, where live performances still take place today. If you wish, take a longer tour of Taormina that includes an excursion to the hilltop village of Castelmola, built around an ancient fortress overlooking the city. Or journey to Mount Etna, a World Heritage site, passing through traditional towns and villages.  Take a look inside Etna’s inactive volcanic craters before heading to a mountainside winery for a tasting tour and a typical Sicilian lunch. (B,L,D)

Day 4 – Palermo

Anchor off Palermo and spend the day discovering the city’s eclectic cultural heritage, which blends influences of the Carthagians, the Romans, the Arabs, and the Normans. Learn about its unique Arab-Norman architecture, which flourished at the height of the city’s prosperity in the 12th century and is recognized as a World Heritage site. Admire the mosaics in the Norman cathedral, visit the Capella Palatina in the Norman Palace, then travel into the countryside to see the spectacular Norman cathedral of Monreale. Or visit the Arab-Norman Palazzo Conte Federico and take a stroll through the open-air market to soak up the ambiance of everyday life. You may instead choose an excursion to the medieval port town of Cefalù where a walking tour includes the Cathedral, covered in splendid painting and gold mosaics, and the excavations of Osterio Magno. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Sail into the harbor at Cagliari at midday and set out to tour Sardinia’s rose-colored capital city. Stroll through wide piazzas bordered by baroque palazzi and churches, and ascend to the impressive hilltop fortress. Take in views from Monte Urpino, then journey to ancient Nora, once a thriving port under the Carthaginians and the Romans. On a tour of the remarkable ruins here, some of which are now submerged, learn about the innovative waterworks and drainage system designed thousands of years ago. (B,L,D)

Day 6 – Bonifacio, Corsica, France

At the southern tip of Corsica lies the fortress town of Bonifacio, perched on cliffs high above the sea. Take an overview tour of the historic center by private mini-train. Then set off on foot into the labyrinthine streets of the medieval Citadel, visiting historic landmarks along the way. Stop at the old market where a viewpoint atop 230-foot-high cliffs offers panoramic views. Or choose to ride a local boat along the coast to Lavezzi Island, exploring magnificent grottos and coves that draw the turquoise seas deep into dramatically eroded limestone cliffs. (B,L,D)

Day 7 – Elba, Italy

Trace European history from the Renaissance to Napoleon on the rugged island of Elba, just over six miles off the Tuscan coast. Dock in Portoferraio and visit the fortress erected by the Medici family as well as a theater built by Napoleon during his brief exile on the island. Continue to Napoleon’s villa and enjoy a chance to explore the emperor’s apartments and gardens, which he escaped after a mere nine months. Then travel through stunning scenery to a traditional wine farm to sample local wines, cheeses, and charcuteries. Alternatively, take a beautiful drive across Elba to visit Ottone Botanical Garden. (B,L,D)

Day 8 – Nice, France

Disembark in Nice and extend your stay in the south of France or transfer to the airport for your flight home. (B)

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

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