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In alliance with Smithsonian Journeys.
This cruise is part of a collection of PONANT voyages that are specially-tailored for English-speaking travellers who want to engage with the world. In addition to the usual elements of the PONANT experience, the listed price for these voyages includes transfers to and from the ship, talks and discussions aboard ship by world class experts, and a shore excursion or activity in each port of call that encourages guests to embrace the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of the local environment and culture.
This leisurely voyage through the heart of the Aegean is the perfect introduction to all that Homer's 'wine-dark sea' has to offer. Ancient sites, resonating with a mythical past, compete for your attention with the whitewashed homes of present-day farmers and the waterfront cafés and trendy boutiques of stylish jet-set getaways.
Departing from Athens, your first encounter with the rich history of the Aegean is the monumental Byzantine monastery on Patmos that guards the cave where St. John the Evangelist received his visions of the Apocalypse. Next is the medieval town of Rhodes, whose labyrinthine streets and splendid plazas are the legacy of the Crusader Knights of St. John.
Santorini offers a choice between browsing the sundrenched shops and restaurants of Thira and Oia, perched on cliffs overlooking the caldera of an ancient volcano, or exploring the Bronze Age site of Akrotiri, destroyed by a massive eruption of that volcano in the 2nd millennium BC, but preserved in ash and pumice just like Pompeii.
Amorgos represents a completely different aspect of life in the Aegean as it brings you face to face with age-old traditions of olive cultivation, herbal medicine, and religious devotion as they are still practiced in small villages in the mountains.
The island of Delos was sacred to the ancient Greeks-the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, and home to countless shrines and temples-a veritable open-air museum. Mykonos, by contrast, is a sophisticated island resort with smart cafes and boutiques, where you will enjoy an afternoon and evening at leisure to soak in all that this dazzling town has to offer.
From Nafplion travel to Mycenae, the legendary home of Agamemnon and an important center of the extraordinary civilization that flourished here in the 2nd millennium BC, before continuing to Epidaurus, the ancient shrine of Asklepios, whose ruins are dominated by a 4th-century BC theater that is one of the finest in Greece.
Your journey concludes upon return to Athens.