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Explore the ancient Acropolis

The Cyclades and Ancient Treasures: Athens to Istanbul

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard Le Jacques Cartier
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Board Le Jacques Cartier on this 8-day cruise exploring highlights of the ancient world. Begin with the exploration of Napflion, where you'll find UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the Mycenae ruins and the Epidaurus theater. Next cruise toward Paros: in the heart of the Cyclades archipelago, this island, reputed for its sublime white marble, offers a concentration of Greek beauty. A little further north, explore Mykonos, with its iconic windmills, beaches, countless churches, and whitewashed houses. Later, reach the colorful coastal town of Kusadasi in Turkey, an old fishing village with history going back 5,000 years, and located near the Ephesus site. Continue with a stop on the volcanic island of Limnos, near the Dardanelles Strait. Your journey concludes in the charming, historic city of Istanbul.
A stunning view of Nafplion, GreeceAdmire the incredible ruins on DelosMykonos windmills at sunsetExplore ancient monasteries in GreeceRugs of TurkeyExplore the charming winding streets of the Greek islandsExplore the ancient Acropolis
Highlights
  • Discover some of the finest ancient sites of Greece and Turkey.
  • Visit lively cities, historic and cultural sites, and sun-drenched beaches
  • Explore the Mycenae ruins and the Epidaurus theater at Napflion
  • View the iconic windmills of Mykonos
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed
0

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Athens, Greece | Embark

Embark on Le Lyrial at the port of Athens and start your adventure.

The Greek capital city is located on the edge of the Saronic gulf, in the east of the country. It bears a plural name about the first villages that surround the Acropolis. You will be enchanted by the rocky plateau presided by its monuments listed as UNESCO World Heritage. In the city below, you can visit some of the liveliest districts in Athens: Plaka, with its maze of colorful streets, and where, in the evenings the drifting aroma of moussaka and garlic prawns will tickle your taste buds. The National Archaeological Museum and the Cycladic Art Museum are also some of the city’s key attractions and allow visitors to discover Athens’ cultural past.

Day 2: Nafplion, Greece

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The engaging town of Nafplion is staggered up green hillsides of the Argolic Gulf, to the east of the Peloponnese. Don’t be surprised by its extremely varied cultural heritage. Some of the must-see visits are the ancient agora on the plateau of Akronafplia, Italianate arcades in Syntagma square as well as the baroque fortress of Palamidi on a hillside of the same name. At the top of the hill, views of the gulf and the surrounding mountains are simply awesome. If you want to chill out by the water’s edge, walk along the Arvanitia promenade to a beautiful creek in the shade of cedars and cypresses.

Day 3: Paros, Greece

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Famous for its white marble, the island of Paros is located in the Cyclades. Along the quays of Parikia, its main town, you’ll see Byzantine churches and neoclassical buildings. To make the most of the turquoise waters, you can stopover in Naoussa. This little fishing port is bounded by a very beautiful cove and offers more than one café to sit and unwind.

Day 4: Delos, Greece | Mykonos, Greece

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This legendary Cyclades island of Delos stands just a few miles southwest of Mykonos. The ceremonial solemnity of this ancient holy sanctuary will not leave you indifferent. The sheer size and importance of this UNESCO World Heritage site which covers over half of the island are thrilling in itself. From the Stoa of Antigonos, the Terrace of the Lions, to the carved marble animal statues, you will make discovery after discovery, against a backdrop of the Aegean stretching to the horizon. The theatre steps on the hillside are a particularly good place from which to enjoy the expansive view.

Nicknamed “little Venice”, Mykonos is famous for its Alefkandra district where houses are built right on the water’s edge. Their multi-colored loggias are emblematic of this Cyclades island, as are the pelicans and windmills. You can get close up to the birds on the quaysides of the old port. Upon the hillside, you can see the windmill sails turning. In the cobbled streets of the pedestrian center, bougainvillea bedecks immaculate facades. As you weave in and out of the little streets, snatches of coastline will undoubtedly call you to the island’s beaches, the quietest of which can be found on the northern coast.

Day 5: Patmos, Greece

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Patmos is one of the legendary must-see islands in the Dodecanese. This is where Saint John resided, presumed author of the last book in the Bible. The cave of the Apocalypse and the Saint John Monastery are dedicated to him. These sites, which are listed by UNESCO as World Heritage, are located at the top of a hillside planted with vines and orchards. On the shore, the crystalline coves of Kambos and Lampi offer gorgeous swimming areas. You’ll be drawn to the bustle in Skala harbor and its taverns, famous for their fish soup and tiropita, which is a type of pasty filled with fresh Patmos cheese.

Day 6: Kusadasi, Turkey

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The attractive seaside resort of Kusadasi is located in a gulf on the western coast of Turkey. You can bathe there in clear waters or stroll along the coastal walk, in the shade of palms. In the historical district, you can take a mosey down the narrow streets and explore the colorful shops in the bazaar. Close by, the Ephesus archaeological site in the hillsides provides an opportunity to discover the ruins of one of the most famous cities of Antiquity.

Day 7: Limnos Island | Sailing into Dardanelles

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
A volcanic island located near the Dardanelles Strait, Limnos was venerated during Antiquity. Legend has it that Hephaestus, the god of fire, had his forge here. Now one of Greece’s major seaside resorts, Lemnos offers its visitors many superb sandy beaches. It is also home to several archaeological sites, such as the towers of Kastro, an ancient acropolis fortified by the Venetians, or the neolithic site of Poliochni and the city of Hephaestia. Renowned for its olives, fruits, wheat, and honey, and for the authenticity of its inhabitants, Lemnos is also known for the quality of its restaurants, ideal for tasting typical Greek dishes.

The Dardanelles Strait is an emblematic, 61 km-long waterway connecting the Aegean Sea with the Sea of Marmara. It is strategic for controlling the passage between the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea. Like the Bosporus, or Strait of Istanbul, it separates Europe from Asia. A surface current flows along with it, while a more saline undercurrent flows in the opposite direction. Along the strait, you will be able to admire hilly landscapes and arid lowlands brightened by fields and groves of olive trees.

Day 8: Istanbul, Turkey | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Located on the Bosphorus, Istanbul is one of the most beautiful of all Turkish cities. Named Byzantium when founded by the Greeks, and then Constantinople under the Roman Empire, this city is steeped in history and, for this reason, is a listed UNESCO World Heritage site. Located on Sultanahmet hill, the great Blue Mosque, the mysterious Hagia Sophia and the vast Topkapi palace and its countless mosaics, dominate the Marmara Sea. In the Beyazit district, the Grand Bazaar allows discovering elegant covered passages. A little further away, the delicate aroma of loukoum and spices will draw the visitors’ attention at the Egyptian Bazaar.

After breakfast aboard the ship, disembark at Istanbul port.

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Le Jacques Cartier

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Dates & Prices

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Per person starting at
$3,690
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Deluxe Stateroom
19 m² area featuring a 4m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
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Prestige Deck 4
19 m² area featuring a 4m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
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Prestige Deck 5
19 m² area featuring a 4m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
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Prestige Deck 6
19 m² area featuring a 4m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
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Deluxe Suite Deck 3
27 m² area featuring, 6m² private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, 1 sofa, shower
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Deluxe Suite Deck 4
27 m² area featuring, 6m² private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, 1 sofa, shower
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Deluxe Suite Deck 5
27 m² area featuring, 6m² private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, 1 sofa, shower
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Deluxe Suite Deck 6
27 m² area featuring, 6m² private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, 1 sofa, shower
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Prestige Deck 5 Suite
38 m² area featuring an 8m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
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Prestige Suite Deck 6
38 m² area featuring an 8m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
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Privilege Suite Deck 6
32 m² area featuring an 8m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
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Privilege Suite Deck 5
32 m² area featuring an 8m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
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Grand Deluxe Suite Deck 6
45 m² area featuring, 40m² private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Bathtub
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Owner's Suite
45 m² area featuring an 30m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower

Notes

*Rates are capacity controlled and are subject to change without notice.

Cruise fares are per person and include the following:
  • All meals while on board the ship 
  • Captain’s welcome cocktail and gala dinner
  • Gratuities to onboard crew, local guides and drivers
  • “Open Bar” (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands...list available upon request)
  • Evening entertainment and events
  • 24h room service (special selection)
  • English-speaking lecturer 
  • Water sports activities (except scuba diving) using the ship’s equipment, when permitted by local authorities and confirmed by ship Master according to safety and sea conditions onsite
  • Highly experienced bilingual (French-English) Expedition team 
  • Park entry fees into protected areas
  • Complimentary boot rental (except for guarantee deposit)
  • Complimentary polar parka for you to keep (no children sizes available)
  • Free and unlimited Wi-Fi (Internet access may be slower or in some situations interrupted, depending on certain geographic locations or other circumstances beyond our control).
  • Age-appropriate activities organized aboard the ship by the PONANT Kid’s Club activity leaders for children aged 4 to 17 (depending on staff availability and the number of children signed up
Cruise fares do not include:
  • Any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones mentioned in each
  • Pre or post cruise programs, overland programs or shore excursions mentioned
  • Visa expenses and/or immigration reciprocity taxes if applicable
  • Luggage handling
  • Optional Spa package to be booked prior to your departure
  • Beverages other than the ones mentioned
  • Laundry services, hair salon, and à la carte Spa treatments
  • Personal expenses, on board medical consultations and drug prescriptions
  • Cancellation/luggage/assistance/repatriation/medical insurance(s)
Please Note:

Ports of call, visited sites, outings and landings will depend on weather conditions, position of ice, winds and the state of the sea. These can force a change of plans at any time. The Captain and the Expedition Leader may at any time cancel or stop any activity, or even modify the itinerary. The final itinerary will be confirmed by the Captain, who will take into account the touristic quality of the sites and above all, the safety of the passengers. His decision will be based on advice from experts and authorities.

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Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!
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