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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.
The volcanic island of Santorini (known officially as Thira) is one of the most spectacularly beautiful in the Mediterranean. The pretty village of Oia, with its whitewashed houses and windmills tumbling down the hillside, is particularly photogenic.
Kos is the second largest of the Dodecanese Islands after Rhodes, and is best known for its excellent beaches. There are plenty of cultural treasures here too: Kos Town’s harbour is guarded by an impressive castle built by the Knights of St John, and the island is scattered with Greek and Roman ruins.
The Turkish port of Kusadasi is the gateway to Ephesus, one of the most spectacular archaeological sites in the Eastern Mediterranean. This was the Roman capital of Asia Minor, and the remains constitute the most complete classical city in Europe.
The resort town of Cesme is situated at the western tip of mainland Turkey on the Aegean coast, renowned for its sandy beaches and crystal clear water. The town is well-equipped for tourists, with smart shops, restaurants and thermal spas, and the impressive Genoese castle merits a visit.
Istanbul is the place where East meets West, where Asia Minor reaches out across the Bosphorus and almost touches Europe, and the city remains a bristling, bustling cultural melting pot, the skyline dotted with magnificent minarets and domes.
Limnos is off the beaten track, with a refreshingly low key approach to tourism compared to other Greek islands. Ascend the ruins of the Venetian castle for the best views of the island’s beautiful volcanic landscapes, or spend some time wandering around the charming harbourside capital, Myrina.
Greece: Skiathos Town
Sunseekers have long sought out Skiathos for its beautiful beaches, and it’s a great place to spend a day just chilling out mid-way through a cruise. If the beach doesn’t appeal then Skiathos Town is worth exploring, with plenty of restaurants, tavernas and souvenir shops.
Syros is one of the smallest of the Cyclades islands, though it’s also the administrative capital of the archipelago. Not many cruise ships call here, so you’ll find the beaches are much less crowded than other islands, and the main town, Ermoupoli, is home to a fascinating mix of architectural styles.
The island of Spetses lies just off the coast of the Peloponnese, and is popular as a second home for well-to-do Athenians. Wander the streets of charming Spetses Town and you’ll find some excellent restaurants, while the surrounding countryside is a verdant landscape of pine forest and gently rolling hills.
Greece: Athens (Piraeus)
Athens is a city awash with historical and cultural significance, but it's much more than an open air museum; this is a dynamic, bustling metropolis, and a place where history is still very much unfolding.
The beautiful Byzantine town of Monemvasia is dramatically located on a steep chunk of rock, originally a coastal headland until an earthquake in AD 375 turned it into an island. Nowadays access is via a narrow causeway, and the pretty streets of the medieval citadel are home to more churches than people.
Greece: Katakolon (Olympia)
The little seaside town of Katakolon, on the western coast of the Peloponnese, is the gateway to ancient Olympia, birthplace of the Games and the place where the Olympic flame begins its journey every four years. Make the most of your visit with a guided tour of the ruins, and don’t miss the treasures of the Archaeological Museum.
The pretty town of Parga sits on the Ionian coast of northwest Greece, on a sandy bay between two rocky outcrops. The pastel-coloured houses and lively seafront tavernas make this a pleasant place to spend some time, and points of historical interest include the hilltop Venetian castle.
The port of Brindisi sits at the end of the old Via Appia, and was once an important transit point for pilgrims and crusading knights heading east to the Holy Land. Brindisi's compact old town is pleasant enough, but you may prefer to head inland to visit the stunning baroque city of Lecce.
We never fail to be moved when we see the terracotta roofs and honey-golden walls of Dubrovnik, and a stroll around the perfectly preserved old town is a highlight of any visit to the Dalmatian coast. Make sure you take the time to walk around the walls and soak up the marvellous sea views.
Located on the quieter northern stretch of Croatia’s Dalmatian coast, the walled port city of Zadar is an intriguing blend of old and new, where Roman ruins and psychedelic modern art installations sit alongside one another.
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.
Kotor sits at the head of a beautiful, fjord-like bay, hemmed in by glowering mountains. The compact, walled old town is Montenegro’s star attraction, a warren of little alleyways and shady squares that is often described as a ‘mini Dubrovnik’.
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.
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.
Nafplion is one of the most beautiful cities on the Greek mainland, situated on the Argolic Gulf overlooked by the imposing Palamidi Fortress. The narrow streets of the old town are home to a beguiling mix of Venetian, Turkish and Greek architecture, while just offshore is the little island castle of Bourtzi.
The volcanic island of Milos is ringed by pretty beaches and scattered with charming villages, famous as the place where the Venus de Milo was discovered by a local peasant in 1820. Milos is also known as the ‘island of colours’ thanks to its many-hued, mineral-rich cliffs and beaches.
Arriving in Athens (Piraeus)
Once you have seen the essentials, explore further afield and you will immediately escape the tourist crowds. Visit Kerameikos cemetery, for example, or Mount Lycabettus.
Your home from home
Once again Seabourn leaps ahead, expanding the most modern luxury fleet with the innovative Seabourn Encore and Ovation.
What we love
When Seabourn introduced the three sisters, they changed the face of luxury cruising. Seabourn Encore and her sister Seabourn Ovation, with 604 guests on board, take things a step further, with lots of new thinking and special additions, continuing Seabourn's magical ability to surprise and delight.
|Crew||450 International Staff|
The contemporary décor appeals to a sophisticated and cosmopolitan crowd. With lots of outside space, you can enjoy an al fresco experience if you choose.
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.