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Greek-Roman Theatre of Taormina

A Circumnavigation of Sicily with Smithsonian Journeys

Example 9 Day Cruise aboard Le Champlain
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Cruise around Sicily aboard the luxury expedition ship Le Champlain while exploring Sicily's most beautiful historic cities and ancient sites. Valletta, the capital of Malta, will be the departure point. Then, head straight to the Sicilian coast. In Palermo, the capital of Sicily, you will be able to visit emblematic landmarks such as the Palatine chapel and Norman palace. Discover Syracuse, one of the most prestigious Sicilian cities, whose monuments are listed as Unesco World Heritage sites. Take the sea once again to discover Taormina, overlooking the slopes of Mount Etna. Its streets will lead you to its famed ancient Greek theater, where the quality of the acoustics is exceptional.
Tour the charming city of Valletta, Malta.An abandoned theatre in Taormina, Sicily StromboliAeolian IslandsCattedrale di MonrealeGreek-Roman Theatre of Taormina
Highlights
  • Take a loop around Sicily, from Malta.
  • Discover Sicily's most beautiful historic cities and ancient sites
  • Visit Syracuse, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Explore Palermo which is a rich culmination of so many cultural influences
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Valleta | Embark

The whole of the Maltese capital Valletta is UNESCO World Heritage listed and occupies a peninsula in the north-east of the island. From the fountain of Tritons to Saint-Elme fort, there are as many majestic streets as there are narrow staircase vennels to explore. The painted loggia and carved corbels on the tall houses will accompany you in your explorations, and you’ll rarely be bothered by traffic. You can visit the Grandmasters palace decorated with coats of arms and frescoes. Saint-John’s cathedral and the ramparts which have guarded the city since the 16th century are also among the most emblematic sites of the city. Arranged in terraces, the Barrakka Gardens will punctuate your promenade with a green and floral experience.

Day 2: Gozo

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Located to the north of Malta, a lot less urbanised than its larger sibling and protected from mass tourism, the small island of Gozo has managed to remain natural and authentic. Lush hills and valleys alternate with a mosaic of cultivated fields. The buildings, some of which are medieval, are built from honey-coloured limestone and blend in perfectly with the surrounding scenery. Gozo also boasts a unique historic site that is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site: the megalithic temples of Ggantija near the town of Xaghra. An archaeological museum adjoining the site presents a number of objects that were found there. Red-sand beaches and a crystal-clear sea add to the calm and serenity of Gozo.

Day 3: Porto Empedocle, Sicily

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Huddled on the south-western coast of Sicily, Porto Empedocles bears the name of the philosopher Empedocles, who lived in the region in the 5th century BC. An age-old city offered up to sun and sea, this is your doorway to the exceptional archaeological site of Temple Valley, a high place of Greek civilisation listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. You can admire the remains of many temples dedicated to Zeus, his wife Hera and Hephaestus. Make sure you take in the magnificent Italian countryside, with its olive orchards that cover the hillsides.

Day 4: Trapani, Sicily

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Bathed in the cobalt waters of the Tyrrhenian sea, Trapani is the former port of the Greek city of Erice, boasting a privileged natural position in western Sicily. As you wander through its little streets, you will discover a secular cultural heritage, bearing witness to the many influences of civilizations that came here: San Lorenzo Cathedral, Maria Santissima Annunziata sanctuary, the fountain of Triton. On the shaded restaurant terraces, savor some fresh fish from the morning’s catch. Or else you can opt for a seafood couscous, a culinary legacy from their Arab neighbors.

Day 5: Palermo, Sicily

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Palermo is the guardian of the Sicilian soul. Many have been attracted to this city, the largest capital of the Italian islands. Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans... Palermo is a rich culmination of so many cultural influences as seen in the Moorish designs on the cathedral, and the Byzantine mosaics of the Palatine chapel, which is itself housed within the precincts of the Norman palace. You will fall under the spell of the palaces, baroque splendours that grace the town with their obsolete beauty. It is thrilling to stumble upon one of those fabulous markets, high in color, and headily picturesque.

Day 6: Lipari Aeolian Islands | Sailing In Front Of Stromboli

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Of the seven Aeolian islands, this is the largest and the most populated. Lying off the north coast of Sicily, in the Tyrrhenian sea, Lipari is one of UNESCO’s marvellous World Heritage sites. Its lava stone quarries and obsidian flow of Rocce Rosse are indications of its volcanic nature. The town, the largest urban area in the whole archipelago, proudly houses its citadel and its castle, both rooted in Antiquity. If you head further into the center, you’ll be surprised to come across a Norman cathedral, complete with a magnificent baroque façade.

Like Ulysses during his Odyssey, you will have the opportunity to admire the Stromboli, the capricious volcano that looms over the Aeolian Islands. Its activity, uninterrupted for thousands of years, has earned it the nickname the “Lighthouse of the Mediterranean”.

Day 7: Taormina, Sicily

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Located on Sicily’s eastern coast, in the province of Messina, the seaside town of Taormina is Sicily’s Saint-Tropez, boasting heritage sites, secluded beaches and luxury shopping. You can visit its medieval centre, suspended 300 metres above sea level, where terraces offer a spectacular view of the Mediterranean Sea. Another vestige from its past are the ruins of the Greco-Roman theatre. This extremely well-preserved site attracts visitors who are fascinated by the natural beauty of the area which overlooks a turquoise bay.

Day 8: Syracuse, Sicily

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Its undulating rocky coastline, the endless sandy beaches, the menacing form of Mount Etna which surveys its island like a patriarch, the flowery gardens on the hillside... Sicily lays out its varied landscapes like a shopkeeper displays his wares. Described by Cicero as “the most beautiful city in the world”, Syracuse was one of the most prestigious cities in Sicily and at her height was even a rival for Athens. A central city of Ancient Greece, it was home to a succession of civilisations, each of which has left their mark. The blend of Arabic, Roman, Norman, Byzantine and Spanish cultures makes Syracuse a town that is extraordinarily rich in fragrances, colors and flavors.

Day 9: Valleta | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
The whole of the Maltese capital Valletta is UNESCO World Heritage listed and occupies a peninsula in the north-east of the island. From the fountain of Tritons to Saint-Elme fort, there are as many majestic streets as there are narrow staircase vennels to explore. The painted loggia and carved corbels on the tall houses will accompany you in your explorations, and you’ll rarely be bothered by traffic. You can visit the Grandmasters palace decorated with coats of arms and frescoes. Saint-John’s cathedral and the ramparts which have guarded the city since the 16th century are also among the most emblematic sites of the city. Arranged in terraces, the Barrakka Gardens will punctuate your promenade with a green and floral experience.

Ship/Hotel

Le Champlain

Le Champlain Pool
Ponant Sauna
Swimming pool

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$7,880
Rates are dynamic and fluctuate based on capacity. Contact us for a specific quote.
Cabin
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Deluxe Stateroom
Area: 19 m². 4m² private balcony with French window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
Cabin
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 4
Area: 19 m². 4m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
Cabin
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 5
Area: 19 m². 4m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
Cabin
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 6
Area: 19 m². 4m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
Cabin
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Deluxe Suite
Area: 27 m². 6m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower. Up to 3 passengers per cabin.
Cabin
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Prestige Suite Deck 5
Area: 38 m². 8m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
Cabin
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Prestige Suite Deck 6
Area: 38 m². 8m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
Cabin
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Privilege Suite
Area: 32 m². 8m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower. Up to 4 passengers per cabin.
Cabin
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Grand Deluxe Suite
Area: 45 m². 30m² private balcony with sliding bay windows. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower + bathtub.
Cabin
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Owner's Suite
Area: 45 m². 30m² private balcony with hot tub and sliding bay windows. King-size or twin beds and shower + bathtub.

Notes

Please Note:
Fares are based on double occupancy and are capacity controlled. Rates may increase at any time as the ship sells out and subject to change without notice.
Included
  • 8 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 8 Dinners
  • 8 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Port Fees
  • Unlimited Wifi
  • Onboard Entertainment 
  • Captain’s Welcome Cocktail and Gala Dinner
  • Gratuities to Onboard Crew
  • “Open Bar” (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands...list available upon request)
  • 24h Room Service (special selection)
  • English-Speaking Lecturer 
  • Highly experienced and bilingual (French-English) expedition staff
  • Park Entry Fees into Protected Areas
  • 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. 
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Visa Fees
  • Optional Excursions - Ponant allows you to pre-book your excursions approximately six to two months prior to the cruise* departure. Please note that this is subject to change. Please contact us for more details.
  • Any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones mentioned
  • Luggage Handling 
  • Laundry Services, Hair Salon, and à La Carte Spa Treatments
  • Pre or post cruise programs, overland programs or shore excursions 
  • Beverages other than the ones mentioned in inclusions
  • CDP recommends that every Traveler has full and adequate travel insurance covering the risks of cancellation, assistance being required, repatriation, damages to and loss of baggage, and medical expenses

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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
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