Trip Details at-a-Glance
|Lodging:||11 nights aboard a 114-passenger 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, Cultural Adventures, Small Ship Cruising, Walking|
12-day 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.
Crossing the Ionian Sea, dipping into the Mediterranean, and island hopping through the turquoise waters of the Aegean, our voyage reveals the history and legacy of the Greeks, from the emergence of the great Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations to the magnificent artistic and architectural achievements of the Byzantines.
Malta / Embark Island Sky
Fly to Valletta, Malta. Upon arrival, embark on the Island Sky.
We land at Syracuse, a city that once rivaled Athens as the largest and most beautiful city in the Greek world. Our tour begins with a visit to the Archaeological Zone and a well preserved Greek theatre with seats carved from limestone. Paradise Quarry, now an attractive garden and orange grove, was the primary source of that limestone and is the site of the curious "Dionysus’ Ear"—a vast grotto with an amplifying resonance.
Katakolon, Greece / Ruins of ancient site of Olympic Games
Pastoral and lush, Olympia’s plentiful ruins are shaded by Aleppo pines and olive trees. Its fame is derived as the birthplace of the Olympic Games. During the celebrations that accompanied the Games, competitors—while not forgetting that they were Athenians, Spartans or from other city states—remembered that they were Greeks and regarded an Olympic victory as the highest honor. We see the gymnasium, the stadium, and the palestra, or wrestling school, and explore the Altis, or sacred precinct of Zeus, which houses structures including the Temple of Zeus, one of the largest temples on the Greek mainland.
Kefalonia / Ithaca
We arrive this morning in Kefalonia. From the port of Fiscardo we head to one of the local vineyards for a wine tasting of the local Robala variety. We return to Fiscardo where we have some free time to explore the picturesque harbor village and perhaps enjoy a coffee in a local taverna before sailing over lunch to Ithaca, one of the most legendary of all Greek islands. This jewel of the Ionian Sea is unspoiled by tourism, yet has a fascinating history. Relics date back to 4000 BC, and by Mycenaean times it was the capital of a kingdom that included surrounding islands and part of the Peloponnese coast. It was under Odysseus that this kingdom reached its zenith, sending 12 ships to the Trojan War. From the charming port of Vathy we explore the island, including the ruins of Stavros and the medieval capital of Perachori with its Byzantine and Venetian architecture.
Delphi / Transit the Corinth Canal
From our berth at Itea, we depart on an excursion to the sacred site of Delphi, one of Greece’s most important sites of antiquity. The ruins here are exceptional. We explore the Sanctuary of Apollo, site of the sacred Delphic oracle, and walk along Delphi’s Sacred Way, visiting the Treasury of the Athenians and the 5,000-seat theater dating from the 4th century BC. We set sail this afternoon and are on deck in the early evening for the transit of the Corinth Canal.
Nafplio / Mycenae
Looking out across the translucent water of the bay toward the Arcadian Mountains, Nafplio’s sheltered location below a rocky headland and large natural fortress crowned by a Venetian castle is perhaps unrivaled in Greece. From here we 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 explore the Royal Palace, the shaft graves, and the remains of the city walls. An archeological briefing within the Treasury of Artreus (also known as the Tomb of Agamemnon) will add to our understanding and appreciation of the sights. We return to the Island Sky for lunch and enjoy an afternoon at leisure to wander the twisting labyrinthine streets and view the Venetian and Turkish architecture in Nafplio.
Folegandros / Sifnos
Today we enjoy the advantages of small-ship cruising as we land on the little-known island of Folegandros. We visit the clifftop capital of Chora, a wonderfully picturesque village with alleys lined with bougainvillea and hibiscus and a dramatic seascape over an edge that drops some 700 feet directly into the Aegean. This afternoon we explore the island of Sifnos with its white traditional houses, picturesque churches, and narrow alleyways. We also visit Apollonia, the capital of the island, with its Byzantine churches, traditional shops, and courtyards, as well as Virysianni Monastery and the villages of Kastro and Artemos, both delightful places to wander and admire the traditional architecture.
Kos, the mythical homeland of the Giants, has given the world Hippocrates, father of medicine, Pythagoras, and the 4th century painter Apelles. We drive to the Asklepion, the infirmary of Antiquity, constructed in the 4th century BC. Among the ruins are part of the Doric Temple of Aesculapius, the altar, and the stoa that 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. This afternoon is free to further explore this delightful island.
We walk up the ancient pilgrim’s path to the town of Patmos, clustered around the great fortified monastery of St. John the Divine. The Library houses rare manuscripts and the Treasury displays one of the finest collections of Byzantine liturgical art in Greece, representing a period of more than 1,000 years.
Kusadasi, Turkey / Ancient site of Ephesus
We drive to the nearby ancient city of Ephesus, once the capital of Ionia and a stunning and partially excavated site where digging has been taking place for over a century. Broad streets are lined by impressive buildings including the library of Celsus and the temples of Serapis and Hadrian. St. Paul preached here on his second missionary journey and we will see the Church of the Virgin Mary, the most important Christian monument in Ephesus.
Cannakale / Troy
From Cannakale we visit ancient Troy, where archaeologist Heinrich Schlieman rediscovered the "treasure of Priam." We visit the town’s museum, which houses an interesting collection of Trojan artifacts, then return to the vessel for lunch. During the afternoon there will be an optional excursion to the Gallipoli Peninsula to see the World War I memorials that commemorate the famous battle of Gallipoli, which left 600,000 dead.
Istanbul / Disembark
We arrive in Istanbul, disembark, and depart on homeward-bound flights.
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. Mobility is essential, as small boats and tenders are occasionally used for disembarkation and re-embarkation.
Sep 10-21, 2014 Island Sky
Prices are for 2014
Cruise Rates by Cabin Category
Per person, double occupancy
|Magellan Suite Forward (SOLD OUT)||$7,495|
|Magellan Standard Suite (SOLD OUT)||$8,175|
|Columbus Superior (SOLD OUT)||$8,675|
|Marco Polo Premium (SOLD OUT)||$8,975|
|Marco Polo Corner Suite (SOLD OUT)||$9,375|
|Ericikson Deluxe Balcony (SOLD OUT)||$9,575|
|Explorer' Owner's Balcony (SOLD OUT)||$10,295|
Trip Cost Includes:
- Accommodations aboard the Island Sky
- All meals included aboard ship and with the group ashore, including house wine, beer or soft drinks with lunch and dinner onboard
- Shore excursions
- Use of quietvox earphones during excursions
- Gratuities to crew and while on excursions
- Guest speakers
- Port taxes
Trip Cost Does Not Include:All air transportation; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; items of a personal nature such as laundry, e-mail/Internet/fax/telephone charges.
Trip Payment Schedule*
At time of reservation: 10%
100 days prior to departure: Balance
*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.
Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*
More than 90 days prior to departure: 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.
Arrival & Departure Information
Arrival & Meeting Place
Aboard the Island Sky, Malta
Date: September 10, 2014
Flight arrival time: No later than 3:00pm
Suggested Arrival Airport
Malta International Airport (airport city code MLA)
Plan on arriving Malta on September 10, 2014 in the early afternoon. Ship embarkation begins at 4:00pm. If your incoming flight coincides with the group flight from London (KM101 LHR/MLA 10:50am/3:00pm), you can join the group transfer. Otherwise, we can schedule a transfer for you, but the cost will be extra.
Date: September 21, 2014
Time: Not before 1:00pm
Suggested Airport for Departure
Istanbul Ataturk Airport (airport city code IST)
Disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport for return flights. You can join the group transfer to the airport which coincides with the group flight on September 21 (BA679 IST/LHR 1:55pm/4:05pm). Or transfer to the airport or Istanbul on your own.
One of the finest small ships in the world, the Island Sky features 57 spacious, outside-facing suites with marble-appointed bathrooms. Each suite includes a flat-screen TV with DVD player, hairdryer, individually controlled air-conditioning, and mini-fridge. High quality service and attention to detail are the order of the day aboard the Island Sky, with an on-board atmosphere more similar to a yacht than a cruise ship. Having undergone significant refurbishment in 2010, she features a large lounge, a library and bar, and an elegant dining room as well as spacious outside decks. The ship’s relatively small size lets her drop anchor in remote areas and in small ports where larger ships can’t go, and the fleet of inflatable zodiacs offers access in wonderfully remote places. Island Sky has a staff and crew of 75.