Arrive in Athens transfer to Piraeus to board Corinthian. Spend the night aboard ship in Piraeus.
Athens is a city with an incomparably dramatic and influential history. Explore the Acropolis, perhaps the most important ancient monument in the Western World and where our concept of democracy was born over 2,500 years ago. The ruins include the majestic Parthenon and the Erectheion. After lunch at a taverna, adults visit the stunning Acropolis Museum while Young Explorers enjoy a fun and challenging youth-themed Treasure Hunt in Athens. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
From Kusadasi, travel to Ephesus. Renowned as the center of worship of the mother-goddess Cybele, later known as Artemis, it was also the site where St. Paul addressed the Ephesians. Excavations continue and archaeologists are restoring the Terrace Houses, which offer a glimpse of daily Ephesian life. See the facade of the Library of Celsus, Temple of Hadrian, and Great Amphitheater.
The historic island of Rhodes was known in antiquity for its schools of philosophy, rhetoric, and sculpture. Today it boasts one of Europe’s largest medieval towns. Discover Old Town’s winding streets and splendid plazas, which owe their 14th-century charm to the Crusader Knights of St. John. In the lovely village of Lindos, take a donkey ride or walk up to the acropolis, set on a cliff 400 feet above the sea, with stunning views of the village and bay below. Or opt to explore Lindos on your own or swim in the crystal waters of its white-sand beach.
In the second millennium B.C. volcanic eruptions shrouded Santorini (or Phira) in pumice and ash and collapsed the island into a fractured caldera. This ultimately produced Santorini’s wild, multihued beauty while sending its Minoan civilization into irreversible decline. Adults will visit Phira’s Archaeological Museum while Young Explorers board a sailboat to Nea Kameni, the island in the center of Santorini’s caldera, and ascend to its volcano by donkey to learn about the area’s geology. Reunite for lunch and free time in Phira Town.
Arrive in Crete, once home of the Minoans, Europe’s earliest developed civilization. From quaint Rethymnon, travel to Knossos and its fabled Minoan Palace, a maze of frescoed corridors and chambers showing life as it was 4,000 years ago. It is also home to the labyrinth of the legendary Minotaur. Then spend free time to explore Rethymnon and swim at a nearby beach. Alternatively, walk part of the rugged, scenic Imbros Gorge, ending at the coast, near the 14th-century Venetian castle of Frangokastello, for a swim. Then sail along Crete’s northwest coast to anchor near the isle of Gramvousa, an old Venetian stronghold, for another swim.
Travel to Olympia, an ancient sanctuary dedicated to Zeus and one of four sites where the Pan-Hellenic games were held. Young Explorers will enjoy competing in Olympic games staged for them at the site of the ancient games. Enjoy the afternoon at sea with special Young Explorer activities.
Call at Igoumenitsa and travel to Dodoni, the oldest oracular site in Greece, perhaps dating to 1000 B.C. Beautifully situated in a valley below Mount Tomaros, the site includes a superb theater, built during the reign of King Pyrrhus (3rd century B.C.). With walls 65 feet high and a seating capacity of 20,000, it was the second largest theater in Greece, and was later used by the Romans for gladiatorial events. Enjoy a feta cheese and olive tasting en route back to the ship.
Spend the morning sightseeing, including an early morning hike for Young Explorers around the medieval walls of Dubrovnik. Visit the Franciscan and Dominican Monasteries, view works by Titian and Andrea del Sarto in the Baroque Cathedral, and see the courtyard of the Rector’s Palace. The afternoon is at sea with special activities planned for Young Explorers.
This afternoon explore some of Venice’s main landmarks, including St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace, the seat of Venetian power. Young Explorers will have a choice of learning about one of Venice’s traditional crafts like mask-making in the Venetian style or gondola construction. Overnight at dock.
Disembark Corinthian and transfer to the Venice airport to continue your travels.