Discover two vibrant Mediterranean countries on one exciting vacation. Begin in Rome with two overnights and guided sightseeing that visits the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. Next, follow the coastline of the Tyrrhenian Sea to marvel at Pisa’s Leaning Tower. Then spend two nights in Tuscany with Florence, “Cradle of the Renaissance,” and join the included walking tour of the historical center. In Verona, see Juliet’s famous balcony; in Venice, enjoy a canal boat ride to St. Mark’s Square and marvel at the elaborate architecture. Board an overnight ferry in Ancona and head to Greece. Visit Olympia and the impressive Mycenae archaeological site, and see the Corinth Canal. In Athens, the Acropolis is a highlight of the included sightseeing tour. Then embark your ship and cruise among the spectacular Greek isles, including stops in Mykonos; Kusadasi, Turkey; Crete; and Santorini. Return to Athens for a final overnight and the conclusion of your vacation.
Day #1 Arrive in Rome, Italy. Check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to explore Italy’s ancient capital. Tonight, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.
Day #2 Rome. Included sightseeing with a Local Guide starts in St. Peter’s Square, followed by a visit to the Roman Forum and the mighty Colosseum. (B)
Day #3 Rome–Pisa–Florence Area. Vistas of undulating hills, austere rows of cypress trees, terraced vineyards, olive groves, and rural villages form the backdrop of your journey through beautiful Tuscany. Take a break in Pisa to see the Square of Miracles and the amazing Leaning Tower, then on to the Florence area. End the day by joining the optional Tuscan dinner in a typical restaurant. (B)
Day #4 Florence. This Renaissance gem and city of the Medicis will keep you enthralled the entire day. Traffic is banned in part of the historic center so visitors can wander at leisure and admire the city’s timeless beauty in relative peace and quiet. Don’t miss out on the included walking tour with a Local Guide, which features most of the city highlights. You will see Piazza Santa Croce; beautiful Piazza Signoria; Palazzo Vecchio and its courtyard; Loggia dei Lanzi; and, to top it all, Piazza del Duomo and its cathedral with the Giotto Campanile, and the magnificent East Door of the Baptistry, known as the “Gate of Paradise.” (B,D)
Day #5 Florence Area–Verona–Venice Area. An interesting journey today northwards for a first stop in enchanting Verona to see the legendary balcony from Romeo and Juliet. Just a few more miles eastwards to Venice. (B)
Day #6 Venice. Venice is more like a marvelous film set than a real live city, with its criss-crossing canals, gondolas and water buses, arched bridges, palaces, and quiet little piazzas. The included orientation starts with a boat ride and is followed by time at leisure and a chance to watch Venetian glassblowers fashion their delicate objects as they did centuries ago. Don’t miss out on the optional gondola trip, gliding along the picturesque canals with a local troubadour to serenade you. (B,D)
Day #7 Venice Area–Ravenna–Ancona (Embarkation)–Overnight Ferry Crossing To Patras, Greece. Start the day by journeying across the flatlands of the Po Delta to medieval Ravenna. Next, reach Ancona on the shores of the Adriatic. This afternoon, embark on the ferry for the crossing to Patras. (B)
Day #8 Patras (Disembarkation)–Olympia. Plenty of time to enjoy all the ship’s facilities. Disembark this afternoon in Patras. Drive south into the Peloponnese for an overnight in Olympia. (B,D)
Day #9 Olympia–Tolon. Make the most of this morning by taking the optional tour of the sights of ancient Olympia, including the ruins of the Temple of Zeus. In the afternoon, enjoy the rugged scenery of the Peloponnese on the way via Tripolis to Tolon. (B,D)
Day #10 Tolon–Mycenae–Athens. Morning visit with a Local Guide to the impressive ruins of Mycenae. Later, stop to view the Corinth Canal, which was built between 1881 and 1893. Overnight in Athens. (B)
Day #11 Athens. Join the included sightseeing tour of Athens, featuring the highlights of the ancient capital and a visit to the Acropolis. Explore the shops and museums or take a trip to the coast to swim. In the evening, enjoy the lively atmosphere of the tavernas and nightclubs in the old Plaka district with its narrow streets and sound of bouzouki music, or join an optional Greek dinner. (B)
Day #12 Athens–Piraeus/Lavrion (Embarkation)–Mykonos. Board your cruise ship. Afternoon cruising in the Aegean on your way to Mykonos with its white houses, chapels, and thatched windmills. Late-evening departure for Kusadasi, Turkey. (B,L,D)
Day #13 Kusadasi, Turkey. Morning arrival in Kusadasi, on the coast of Turkey. Join the optional excursion to the ancient ruins of Ephesus. (B,L,D)NOTE:Departures April 1-May 20 & August 26-October 14 include a call at the island of Patmos.
Day #14 Heraklion–Santorini. First port of call today is Heraklion on Crete. A few miles away is Knossos, the center of the 3000 BC Minoan civilization, and an optional excursion can be booked. Afternoon call (weather permitting) at Santorini, the “Black Pearl of the Aegean.” The optional shore excursion here takes you up to the cliff-top village of Thera for one of the world’s most breathtaking panoramas. (B,L,D)
Day #15 Piraeus/Lavrion, Greece (Disembarkation)–Athens. Early morning arrival at the famous port of Piraeus. After disembarkation, continue to Athens for an overnight. (B)
Day #16 Athens. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)