The birthplace of Western civilization and modern capital of Greece, Athens is dominated by the spectacular Acropolis, where the ruins of the magnificent Parthenon still stand. You will embark the Tere Moana in Piraeus, the port for this illustrious city, and enjoy time to settle into your stateroom before the ship sets sail this evening for your Mediterranean cruise.
A cruise of the Greek isles is one of the most coveted itineraries in travel. Your first port of call on this idyllic voyage is Delos, a stark, nearly treeless island whose pristine character is painstakingly preserved. One of the Cycladic Isles of the Aegean Sea, it is a treasure trove of history, boasting more than 5,000 years of civilization. The birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, according to Greek mythology, Delos is also considered a sacred island, as you’ll discover.
This stunningly beautiful island in the southern Aegean Sea was created by a volcanic explosion in 1600 BC. Today, it is renowned for its whitewashed villages and black-sand beaches. During today’s port call, you might venture to the rim of the now-dormant volcano, which is accessible by funicular or donkey.
The largest of the Dodecanese islands, located in the Aegean between Crete and the near East, Rhodes boasts more sunny days than other cities in Europe and is known as the “Sun Island” for its subtropical climate. Its location on the crossroads of East and West explains the rich, 3,000-year, multicultural history that is yours to explore here. Or focus on the island’s ample shopping, dining, and glittering nightlife.
One of the Dodecanese Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, Patmos is important in both mythology and Christianity. It was named a Sacred Island by the Greek government in 1981 and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999, and has long been a popular pilgrimage site. Boasting an enchantingly beautiful landscape, Patmos was the place of exile for St. John the Divine, one of Jesus’ disciples, who is believed to have written the Book of Revelations here. A monastery dedicated to him is visible almost everywhere throughout the island, as you’ll see.
Turkey’s premier resort on the Mediterranean coast is a dazzling modern city of gracious, palm-lined boulevards, beaches, and parks. Its history, however, dates to prehistoric times, and may be seen in the 13th-century Yivli Minaret—the symbol of the city—and Kaleiçi, the old town of narrow cobbled alleys lined with Ottoman-era structures. The city also features a fine Archaeological Museum, two water parks, and Ataturk and Karalioglu parks, where exotic blooms are cultivated. Or perhaps you’ll explore nearby Ephesus, whose astonishing Greco-Roman ruins are one of the world’s great archaeological sites.
Straddling the Dardanelles—the narrow strait that links the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara—the city of Canakkale, like Istanbul, lies on two continents: Europe and Asia. History buffs will remember Canakkale as the site of the World War I Battle of Çanakkale between the U.K., France, and the Ottoman Empire. You may delve further into the region’s history at the Çanakkale Museum, the Naval Museum in Çimenlik Fortress, and Korfmann Library here.
Your Mediterranean idyll ends where it began, in exotic Istanbul. Enjoy breakfast aboard before disembarking for your return flight home.