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Setting sail from Athens (Piraeus)
Athens is a city awash with historical and cultural significance. Towering over the city are the gleaming columns of the Parthenon, surely one of the most iconic sights in the whole of Europe. And yet Athens is much more than an open air museum; this is a dynamic, bustling metropolis, and a place where history is still very much unfolding. For all its faults, the Greek capital possesses an energy and an optimism that are manifest in everything from the burgeoning art scene to the restaurants and bars that continue to pop up on a regular basis.
Obviously don’t miss the Acropolis, nor the new adjacent museum, where space has pointedly been left for the frieze we call the Elgin Marbles – it is really excellent. Then take time to stroll on the hills and slopes around the outcrop.
Glamorous Mykonos is the most popular of the Cyclades islands, well known as a haunt of the rich and the famous. It’s also the gateway to the nearby island of Delos, home to one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece.
Paros gleams with a classic Cycladic colour palette of whitewashed houses and blue-domed churches, and is famous for its ancient marble quarries, which provided the raw material for the Venus de Milo. The island is also home to some great restaurants, peaceful inland villages and lovely beaches.
Sun-kissed Rhodes, the largest of the Dodecanese islands, is steeped in history; the medieval heart of Rhodes Town was once home to the crusading Knights of St John, and later fell to the Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. The hillside village of Lindos, with its pretty whitewashed houses, is another highlight.
Greece: Agios Nikolaos
The charming port of Agios Nikolaos, on the north east coast of Crete, offers a beguiling blend of characterful tavernas, lively bars and designer boutiques. The town is centred around little Lake Voulismeni, and nearby attractions include some lovely beaches and the Minoan ruins at Gournia.
Chania, Crete’s second city, is an alluring blend of architectural styles. The jumble of streets that make up the Venetian old town are remarkably intact, and there are plenty of reminders too of the two centuries of Ottoman rule, such as the imposing harbourfront Mosque of the Janissaries.
Zakynthos (also known by its Italian name, Zante) remains one of the most beautiful Ionian islands, in spite of rampant overdevelopment along the southern and eastern coasts. Head off the beaten track and you’ll find forest-darkened mountains, sheltered white sand beaches and caves half-flooded with dazzlingly blue water.
Corfu, known as Kerkyra in Greek, is a beautiful island of verdant hills and rocky coves, and away from the more crowded resorts it remains a sleepy and idyllic place. Don’t miss the picturesque Venetian architecture of Corfu Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Arriving in Venice
Venice is a city like no other, a marble maze of turquoise canals criss-crossed by beautiful bridges, overflowing with palaces, churches and charming little piazzas. No matter how many times you've seen it in photographs, that first glimpse of the Grand Canal will simply take your breath away; it hardly seems credible that such an eye-popping scene could exist outside of a Canaletto painting. Of course Venice is a city that draws big crowds, especially in summer, but don't let this put you off; even the busiest areas are never more than a few steps from a quiet courtyard or a secluded square.
The long, long queues for St Marks might put you off, but just book online in advance for timed entrance and bypass the exhausted tourists.
Your home from home
The Azamara Journey, Quest & Pursuit are excellent small ships that offer a welcoming and relaxed club-like atmosphere.
What we love
This trio of sister ships are focused on providing destination immersion by spending as much time in port as possible with itineraries designed to include overnight stays and late evening departures. Enjoy more time to discover the local culture and when back on board relax and enjoy a vibrant array of inclusions.
|Crew:||408 International staff|
|Style:||Relaxed club-like atmosphere|
|Year built:||Journey & Quest 2000, Pursuit 2001|
|Last refurbished:||Journey & Quest 2016, Pursuit 2018|
|Cruising speed:||18.5 knots|
Tailor-make your trip
Extend your stay in Athens
At Mundy, we have long been hunting for the perfect Athenian hotel - our favourite so far is the Electra Palace in Plaka.
Excursions from Athens
Delphi is an absolute must – you’ll need a full day though, it’s quite a drive.
Our favourite hotel in Venice
The Metropole is an old favourite for its quieter location and lovely lagoon views.
See more of the Veneto
If you’ve time, take the train to Padova and visit the Scrovegni Chapel.