Ancient Wonders of the Classical World

Istanbul to Valletta aboard the Serenissima

Ancient Wonders of the Classical World route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $4195  
Length: 9 days
Arrive: Istanbul, Turkey
Depart: Valletta, Malta
Lodging: 8 nights aboard a 107-passenger expedition vessel
Meals: All meals included aboard ship and with the group ashore, including house wine, beer or soft drinks with lunch and dinner onboard
Activity: Archaeology, Small Ship Cruising, Walking
Trip Level: 8-day expedition cruise, cultural explorations and walking tours

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.


We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

The seas between Istanbul and Malta offer a wealth of ancient sites, unspoiled islands, and traditional towns. As we island-hop through the Aegean, dip into the Mediterranean, and cruise through the Ionian Sea, our ship takes us on a voyage through the playground of the Greek gods to learn the myths and legends surrounding these enchanted isles.


Day 1, October 10
Istanbul, Turkey / Embark

Arrive in Istanbul and embark the MS Serenissima. In the early evening we sail down the Bosphorus, enjoying the all encompassing sights of a stunning architectural skyline and seemingly endless procession of vessels of all sizes.

Day 2, October 11
Dikili for Pergamon, Turkey

Enjoy a relaxing morning at sea before we berth in the port of Dikili. From here we will drive inland to Pergamon, with its splendid acropolis towering above the valley of the Caicus River. This city built by Alexander’s warring generals became one of the cultural capitals of antiquity, its library rivaling those of Athens and Alexandria. Today Pergamon is one of Turkey’s finest archaeological sites. We will visit the Asclepion, a healing centre from the 4th century BC,the Temple of Asclepios, and the amphitheater. Walk through the sacred corridor and down the ancient, arcaded, marble-paved boulevard. Continue into the town of Bergama and visit the Archaeological Museum. En route we will see the Basilica, which was one of the earliest of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor. Drive up to the Acropolis to see the remains of the citadel and the city walls, the foundations of the Zeus Altar, and the Royal Palace.

Day 3, October 12
Kos, Greece

According to myth, Kos was the homeland of the Giants. The island has given to the world Hippocrates, father of medicine, Pythagoras, and the 4th century painter Apelles. We will drive the short distance to the Asklepion, the infirmary of Antiquity, which was constructed in the 4th century BC. Among the ruins are part of the Doric Temple of Asklepios, the altar and the Stoa, which housed the famous Hippocrates Medical School. We also visit the Roman Odeon and the Casa Romana, a large restored Roman style villa with wonderful mosaics. There will be some free time this afternoon to further explore this delightful island.

Day 4, October 13
Rethmynon, Crete, Greece

From the port of Rethmynon it is a short drive along the coast to Knossos, the ancient capital of the great King Minos. We will explore the fantastic ruins of the ancient palace complex, which served as the administrative and religious center for the whole region. Return to the ship for lunch and the afternoon is free to explore Rethmynon independently. You may wish to visit the archaeological museum or the Fortezza, built by the Venetians for protection. It is star shaped with three gates and six bastions. In the middle, the church of St. Nicolo was converted into the Mosque of the Sultan Ibrahim Han.

Day 5, October 14
Mycenae & Nafplion, Greece

Looking out across the translucent water of the bay toward the Arcadian Mountains, Nafplion’s sheltered location below a rocky headland and large natural fortress crowned by a Venetian castle is perhaps unrivaled in Greece. From here we will enjoy a scenic drive through the Argos Plain, once ruled by Agamemnon, conqueror of Troy, to the famous citadel of Mycenae. High above the confluence of two boulder-strewn ravines, Mycenae is entered by way of the Lion Gate. Once inside the gate, we will explore the Royal Palace, the shaft graves, and the remains of the city walls. An archaeological briefing within the Treasury of Artreus (also known as the Tomb of Agamemnon) will add to our understanding and appreciation of the sights. Return to the MS Serenissima for lunch and enjoy a free afternoon to wander the twisting labyrinthine streets and view the Venetian and Turkish architecture in Nafplion.

Day 6, October 15
Gythion, Greece

From our berth in picturesque Gythion we head north toward Sparta, the capital of Laconia and a prominent city-state in ancient Greece. However, our destination today is Mystras, a remarkably intact Byzantine town that once housed a population of 20,000 people. Here we visit the Cathedral of Agios Dimitrios. On the floor of the church is the two-headed eagle, the symbol of the Palaeologos Dynasty, carved into a plaque. According to tradition, this is where Constantine XII stepped when he was crowned king. Strolling through the narrow lanes of the dead city, we will visit the Church of Agia Sophia, the Palace of the Despots, and the Monastery of Pantanassa, with its brilliant frescoes. Before returning to the ship, refreshments will be served at the picturesque tavern located just beneath the site offering sweeping views over the local terrain.

Day 7, October 16
Pylos, Greece

From our berth in Navarino Bay, we drive through the enchanting countryside to Methoni and Koroni, two of the most impressive medieval fortresses in Greece. The Venetians built Methoni on the Ionian Sea and Koroni on the Gulf of Messenia in the 13th century to safeguard their newly acquired Greek empire. The fortress at Koroni encloses a number of whitewashed and pastel village houses and a flourishing convent. We will return to the ship for lunch and a relaxing afternoon at sea.

Day 8, October 17
Siracusa, Sicily

After a morning cruising we arrive in Sicily at lunchtime. Enjoy an afternoon at Siracusa, a city which once rivaled Athens as the largest and most beautiful city in the Greek world. Our tour will begin with a visit to the Archaeological Zone and a well preserved spectacular 15,000-seat Greek theater. We then continue to the old town to the remains of the Temple of Apollo, the Fountain of Arethusa, and the Temple of Athena that is located in the cathedral. We remain in our central berth until late for anyone who wishes to dine ashore or enjoy an after dinner stroll.

Day 9, October 18
Valletta, Malta

We dock in Valletta, disembark, and transfer to the airport for homeward-bound flights.

Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.

2016 Cruise Collection

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Download our online digital brochure to view on your computer or mobile device, or as a PDF! Or request a printed copy to be sent by mail, or by calling 800-368-2794.

What the Trip is Like

The trip is rated Level 1, Easiest, and is appropriate for anyone in good health who is physically active. Some excursions involve a fair amount of standing and walking—often over rough ground and sometimes uphill.

Explanation of Trip Levels



Oct 10-18, 2015  Serenissima

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2015

Cruise Rates by Cabin Category
Per person, double occupancy

CategoriesCruise Price
Inside Twin $4,195
Standard Sole occupancy $4,850
Standard Twin $4,875
Superior Twin $5,185
Deluxe Twin $5,550
Junior Suite $6,215
Owner's Suite $7,045
Executive Suite $7,045

Trip Payment Schedule*

At time of reservation: 10% of trip cost
100 days prior to departure: Balance

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

Minimum fee: 10% of trip cost
70-89 days prior to departure: 40% of trip cost
50-69 days prior to departure: 60% of trip cost
30-49 days prior to departure: 80% of trip cost
15-29 days prior to departure: 90% of trip cost
14 days or less: 100% of trip cost

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Deck Plan

Cabin Descriptions

There are eight different grades of cabin arranged over five decks, and with the exception of the five inside cabins, all staterooms feature either windows or portholes. Because of the very nature of the ship, the cabins do vary in shape and size, adding to the vessel’s overall charm. Choose from the cozy inside cabins of approximately 105 square feet, to the sumptuous newly built executive suites of 270 square feet boasting private balconies, minibar, and all the modern conveniences.

  • The standard staterooms range in size from 109-176 square feet.
  • The superior staterooms range in size from 125-211 square feet.
  • The deluxe staterooms range in size from 162-274 square feet.
  • The junior suites range in size from 225-233 square feet.
  • Owner’s suites are 244 square feet.
  • The dedicated inside single cabins range in size from 106-124 square feet, and the dedicated standard single cabins range in size from 76-137 square feet.

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Accommodations aboard the Serenissima
  • Meals
  • Shore excursions, entrance fees
  • Gratuities to crew and while on excursions
  • Cruise director, tour manager, guest speakers
  • Port and airport taxes

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare, travel insurance, optional excursions, visas.

Arrival & Departure Information

You are responsible for your own transportation to the arrival and from the departure cities listed below. For more detailed information, including transfers, please call our office at 1-800-368-2794.

Please do not purchase your tickets until you are confirmed on the trip. Once your tickets have been purchased, please send us a copy of your airline schedule.

2015 Departures

Arrival & Meeting Place

Istanbul, Turkey
Date: October 10, 2015
Meeting time: afternoon

Suggested Arrival Airport

Istanbul International Airport (airport code IST)

Arrive Istanbul on October 10 and transfer on your own to the Serenissima.  It is advised that you spend the night of October 9 in Istanbul to ensure that you do not miss embarkation.
Valletta, Malta
Date: October 18, 2015

Suggested Departure Airport

Malta International Airport (airport code MLA)

Morning disembarkation and join group transfer to Malta Airport for your international departure.

Expedition Details

A valid passport is required for the countries visited on this trip.  Be sure to check the expiration date.  Your passport must be valid for six months after the conclusion of your trip. It is a good idea to carry photocopies of your passport photo page in case your passport is lost or as an additional piece of identification, as well as two extra passport photos.

No visa is required for US Citizens traveling to Greece, Italy and Malta.  However, US and Canadian nationals require a visa for entry into Turkey.  You will need to purchase your entry visa via the Turkish Government website,, prior to travel. To obtain your e-visa, you must have a valid passport, proof of a flight reservation, and a Visa or MasterCard credit card. Each traveler must apply for their visa individually.

We recommend checking the Center for Disease Control at should you have any international health concerns.

No inoculations are currently required for entry into Europe.


The handsome Serenissima began her career cruising the Norwegian coastline and fjords. With a small size accommodating only 100 guests, she can glide into small, remote ports where the big cruise ships can’t go and provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere on board. An impressive sight when moored, Serenissima offers an array of cabin types varying in shape and size, all with air conditioning and en suite facilities. The open seating Venice Restaurant accommodates all guests in one sitting and has great views from all tables. A spacious observation deck allows 360-degree views, and with the open bridge policy, you can visit with the captain and officers as they navigate.