In May 2018, Aegean Odyssey will sail from the port of Athens on her ‘Ancient Greece and Dalmatian Coast’ cruise. Spring is a very pleasant time of year to visit this region and today in our blog, we’re putting the cruise spotlight on the wonderful destinations you can explore on this sailing and taking a closer look at a selection of our included tours that are offered.
Your journey begins with a 2-night pre-cruise hotel stay in the ancient city of Athens, a wonderful opportunity to explore the history and culture of Greece’s capital city. A choice of included tours is offered during your stay, including Byzantine Athens and one of our personal favourites, Acropolis and Museum – this tour is a chance to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of this ancient citadel, which is home to several ancient buildings, including the Parthenon. Accommodation during your stay is also worth noting. The King George is one of Athens’ finest luxury hotels and its history can be traced back to the 1930s. It offers stunning views across the city and the Acropolis.
As you leave the ancient city behind, you’ll head to the port of Piraeus to begin your ocean adventure aboard Aegean Odyssey. Your first port of call will be Nauplia for tours to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the Epidaurus Theatre or Agamemnon’s Mycenae. The Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus is a vast complex of stunning ancient buildings and it attracts more than 250,000 visitors from all over the world every year. There are 24 buildings on the site that can be viewed by visitors (although it is said that originally there would have been 70), but there is one in particular that people flock to see and that is the theatre – the best preserved ancient Greek theatre in the world.
Aegean Odyssey then sails for Katakalon, for tours to Ancient Olympia, before arriving in Itea for tours to Delphi. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Delphi is famous as the ancient sanctuary that grew rich as the seat of Pythia, the oracle consulted about important decisions throughout the ancient classical world. Greeks also considered Delphi to be the centre of the world, as represented by the monument known as Omphalos of Delphi.
Corfu and Kotor Bay follow, before Aegean Odyssey arrives in Dubrovnik for an overnight stay. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is held to be the best-preserved walled city in the Mediterranean with a seafront setting and dramatic mountain backdrop. Dubrovnik was founded in the 7th century AD and was a powerful independent republic from 1358 to 1808, when Napoleon conquered the city. Today the city is an inspiration in self-resurrection. Despite a destructive earthquake in 1667, Dubrovnik has managed to preserve its beautiful Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance churches, monasteries, palaces and fountains. Your included tour here will take in the Old Town, Dominican Monastery, Franciscan Monastery (home to Europe’s oldest pharmacy), Sponza Palace, Baroque Church of St Blaise and the Cathedral of Our Lady.
As the sun sets across Dubrovnik, Aegean Odyssey will sail for her next Croatian destination, Split, where Diocletian’s Palace and the Temple of Jupiter await. Visit this amazing palace complex that, when completed, held three temples, a massive mausoleum, and could accommodate 9,000 people. For an intimate perspective on how life was organised, your included tour also offers a walk through the palace cellars. The city of Split grew inside and around this palace, with the population retreating behind its walls when under attack, and then spilling out beyond them in times of peace.
Italian shores await and Aegean Odyssey will visit Trieste, for city tours, then arrive in Venice for an overnight stay before disembarkation. Your time here can be spent by enjoying a selection of included tours: Walking Tour of Venice, Special visit to La Fenice Theatre and Murano and Burano. If this is your first visit to Venice, we recommend our included walking tour as your first choice. On this tour, a knowledgeable guide will navigate the city for you, uncovering its treasures as he or she shares its tales. Travel by boat down the beautiful Guidecca Canal to the heart of Venice, St Mark’s Square, and disembark at the bustling Riva degli Schiavoni. Stand in the regally proportioned square so famous for its pigeons and pealing bell towers. Walk to St Mark’s Basilica, a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture, and admire its façade mosaics and golden dome. Next, take in the beauty of the Doge’s Palace, a 14th-century Gothic masterpiece with pink marble exterior and lacy stone arches. For nearly a thousand years, this was the seat of the Venetian government and the residence of the Republic’s elected leader, the Doge.
Guest lecturers on this cruise include Prof Sandy Primrose MBE, a biologist by training with degrees from the University of Strathclyde and the University of California; Michael Squire, Reader in Classical Art and Archaeology at of King’s College London; and Dr Christopher Whitton, a Senior Lecturer in Classics at the University of Cambridge.
Visit our blog for more spring highlights in 2018 and visit our website for full itinerary details – including flight and onboard accommodation information – for our May 2018, ‘Ancient Greece and Dalmatian Coast’ sailing. If you’d like to see more of this wonderful sailing right now, you can watch our brand new video (below) that highlights each destination.