Trip Details at-a-Glance
|Lodging:||2 nights hotels, 10 nights aboard 72-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:||Small Ship Cruising|
Cultural explorations and walking tours
- Discover dramatic scenery and amazing archaeology in the lesser-visited countries of Montenegro and Albania
- Spend one full day in photogenic Dubrovnik, a beautifully-preserved medieval masterpiece
- Tour the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Valletta, Malta’s charming capital
- Explore the stunning Greek and Roman ruins of Syracuse, including the massive 15,000-seat theater, still in use today
- Visit Diocletian’s magnificent 4th-century palace in Split
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.
Retrace ancient trade routes and celebrate the legacies of powerful empires on this odyssey among the historic ports and fabled shores of the Adriatic and Ionian seas. History spans the millennia here—from Paleolithic times to Roman conquest, from Byzantine rule to Venetian dominance—and we discover a rich architectural heritage as we visit superb monasteries, churches, and Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque palaces. We have ample time to follow the winding lanes in ancient town centers, pause in fountain-splashed plazas, and savor the local scene in bustling marketplaces. Photographers will appreciate the glow of afternoon sun on red-tiled rooftops, along with sweeping views of quaint harbors and dramatic promontories.
Days 1-2, September 1-2
Fly to Dubrovnik, Croatia. Transfer to our hotel with the afternoon at leisure. In the evening we gather at our hotel for a welcome briefing and dinner.
Day 3, September 3
Spend the day exploring many of Dubrovnik’s highlights including the main square; the 14th-century Dominican Monastery; the Franciscan Monastery and its Romanesque cloister; and the Cathedral, completed in 1713. Or, walk along the city’s southern walls with beautiful views of the fortress and old Dubrovnik’s terracotta rooftops. After lunch, enjoy free time on your own to get better acquainted with the city’s lovely medieval center.
Day 4, September 4
Dubrovnik / Cavtat / Embark Variety Voyager
Venture into the surrounding countryside, passing lovely traditional villages and farms en route to the charming town of Cavtat. Here we stroll along the harbor, browse the lively market, and enjoy views of photogenic red-roofed houses flanked by shimmering blue waters and green, forested mountains. In the afternoon we return to Dubrovnik to board the Variety Voyager and enjoy lovely sunset views of the city as the ship cruises through the stunning harbor.
Day 5, September 5
Sibenik / Krka National Park
We disembark in Sibenik, Croatia’s oldest settled town, and enjoy a delightful nature hike in Krka National Park, following boardwalks amid travertine waterfalls, a water-sculpted gorge, and picturesque stone watermills. Return to Sibenik for a walking tour to visit the town’s crowning glory and World Heritage Site, St. James Cathedral. A 15th-century masterpiece, it is adorned with a remarkable frieze of 71 finely sculpted faces of men, women, and children that highlights the superb blending of Gothic and Renaissance architecture.
Day 6, September 6
Split / Hvar Island
The port of Split was once an important center of the Roman province of Dalmatia. We take a walking tour of the city built by the Emperor Diocletian and one of the Adriatic’s finest monuments from the Roman period—the 4th-century Palace of Diocletian, a World Heritage Site. Our tour includes the palace, its cellars, the cathedral, and sprawling courtyards from which flow the streets and buildings of medieval Split that today remain the soul of its bustling daily life. Or, visit ancient Solin, the archaeological site of the ancient Roman settlement of Salona where excavations have revealed temples, an amphitheater, early Christian churches, and Roman baths. Return to the ship for lunch and cruise through Croatia’s lovely off-shore islands to Hvar. Here we visit the beautiful town square and the Arsenal, built in 1612. Visit the Benedictine Nuns Museum to learn about lace made from the fibers of the agave plant, a tradition dating back to the Renaissance and unique to this island. Enjoy free time to explore, with the option to dine ashore on your own.
Day 7, September 7
Relax on deck as the magnificent Dalmatian Coast unfolds in scenic splendor. Historically, Dalmatia lay at the crossroads of empires—invaded by waves of conquerors from Illyrians to Austrians. In Kotor, we witness the same beautiful scenery that captivated kings for centuries. At this World Heritage Site we explore luxurious palaces, towers, and Romanesque and Gothic churches. Enjoy time at leisure before reboarding the Variety Voyager.
Day 8, September 8
Durres, Albania / Tirana
We begin our fascinating discovery of Albania, a land of splendid terrain and historical monuments. We disembark in the port of Durres and drive inland to Tirana, Albania’s capital city, for a visit of the museum and the city’s bustling quarters, an intriguing mix of Ottoman buildings, Christian cathedrals, and marketplaces. After lunch at a local restaurant, visit Kruja Fortress, a fortified citadel with nine observation towers built during the 5th and 6th centuries. Perched high on a mountain spur, the fortress is famed for the resistance of the Albanians, led by national hero Skanderbeg, against the Ottomans in the mid-15th century. Time permitting, explore Albania’s largest Roman amphitheater near Durres’ seaport.
Days 9-10, September 9-10
Saranda / Butrint / At Sea
We visit the World Heritage Site of Butrint—a veritable chronological repository of its various inhabitants: Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Venetians. Among its archaeological highlights are the baptistery with its colorful floor mosaics, superb amphitheater, and medieval fortress. From the ruins, take in the splendid views of the surrounding mile-high mountains. Day 10 is at sea, with the chance to attend lectures and enjoy the ship’s amenities.
Day 11, September 11
Syracuse, Sicily, Italy
Dating from the 5th century BC, Syracuse was one of the most powerful Greek cities, defending its sovereignty against rivals such as Carthage, the Etruscans, and the Romans, who later overcame the city in 212 BC, followed by the Arabs. We explore the Saint John Catacombs, with their maze of underground passageways, and the Archaeological Park, a World Heritage Site. Highlights include the Roman Amphitheater of Augustus; the Ear of Dionysius, a grotto with an extraordinary echo; and the massive 15,000-seat Greek theater. Return to the ship, at port in Ortygia, for lunch, before setting out for a walking tour of the old town, which may include the ruins of the 6th century BC Apollo Temple—the oldest in Sicily—and the Piazza Duomo, built around the ancient Temple of Minerva (Athena).
Day 12, September 12
Licata / Agrigento
We disembark in Licata for a short tour of the town center. A scenic drive through rolling countryside brings us to the Butera Winery and Villa for a lunch of delicious Sicilian fare, accompanied by local wines. Then, enjoy a guided tour of Agrigento, a World Heritage Site. The exquisite architecture of the Valley of the Temples dates back to the 4th and 5th centuries BC and includes the Temple of Zeus—the largest Doric temple from Greek antiquity.
Day 13, September 13
We spend a full day exploring historic Valletta, a World Heritage Site. The Knights of St. John built Valletta in the 16th century, constructing an impregnable fortress-like town in a strategic harbor-ringed setting. Their auberges—large inns where they lived—remain intact. A city tour highlights the fortress, bastions, ramparts, churches, and the national museum. Continue to the Tarxien Temples, a series of monolithic edifices built between 2400 and 1800 BC. Return to the ship for dinner, or choose to dine on your own at one of the many charming seaside restaurants.
Day 14, September 14
Valletta / Disembark / USA
Disembark the Variety Voyager and transfer to the airport for homeward-bound flight, arriving in the USA the same day.
2015 Cruise Collection Brochure
We’ve searched the world to find the finest small ships and most active adventures, from Greenland to New Zealand to the great rivers of Europe.
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 1-14, 2015
Prices are for 2015
Cruise Rates by Cabin Category
Per person, double occupancy
Single supplement: $15,580 (Category 2)
- All staterooms feature ocean views, two twin beds or a double bed, a sitting area, a well-appointed en suite bathroom, closet, flat-screen TV, and individually controlled air-conditioning.
- Category 1 staterooms range from 129 - 145 sq. ft. and feature two portholes.
- Category 2 staterooms range from 129 - 167 sq. ft. and feature either two portholes or two windows.
- Category 3 staterooms range from 145 - 216 sq. ft. and feature two windows.
- Category 4 staterooms range from 227 - 248 sq. ft. and feature two windows.
- The Owner’s Suite is 292 sq. ft. and features four windows.
Trip Cost Includes:
- Accommodations in hotel and on board the Island Sky or Variety Voyager
- All meals included aboard ship and with the group ashore, including house wine, beer or soft drinks with lunch and dinner onboard
- Complete program of tours and excursions
- Services of the expedition staff, including lectures, briefings, slide/film shows
- Arrival and departure transfers on group dates
- Complete pre-departure materials
- $50,000 of medical expenses and $75,000 in emergency evacuation insurance
- Landing and port fees, entrance fees
- All gratuities to porters, guides, and ship's crew
Trip Cost Does Not Include:International airfare; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; accident/baggage/cancellation insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, alcoholic beverages, email/internet/phone/fax charges.
Trip Payment Schedule*
At time of reservation: 25%
130 days prior to departure: Balance
*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.
The Variety Voyager, built in 2012, is a state-of-the art private yacht accommodating up to 72 guests in 36 cabins. All ocean-view cabins feature two twin beds or a double bed, sitting area, en suite marble bathrooms, flat-screen television, mini fridge, and individually controlled heating/cooling. The spacious and elegantly-appointed public spaces include a large lecture lounge, reference library, single-seating dining room, rear deck for dining in pleasant weather, and sun deck with a bar and lounge area. And, you can get a taste of navigation while visiting the bridge, open to guests most of the day, depending on weather conditions. Additional amenities include a small gym, spa, computer station with Internet, and laundry service. Stairs access all decks; there are no elevators.