The expedition cruise is a celebration of ancient history with extraordinary shore visits and a window on island life while navigating the Aegean under full sail. YouÂ’ll discover Istanbul, the city that is a bridge between East and West; Ephesus, one of the great centers of the Greek world, rich with Classical and Christian meaning; intriguing Didyma, home to one of ApolloÂ’s oracles and GreeceÂ’s Cycladic islands of Santorini, FolÃ©gandros and sacred Delos, home to some of the greatest works created by the ancients. Aboard the square-rigged yacht Sea Cloud, youÂ’ll sail though millennia of human history, as shown by the evocative sites and your knowledgeable, enthusiastic expedition staff.
Day 1: Depart Home
Fly overnight to Istanbul, Turkey.
Day 2: Istanbul, Turkey
Arrive in Istanbul and check into your extraordinary hotel. After lunch, youÂ’ll take a brief driving tour that includes a visit to the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. This afternoon, you may rest or explore on your own, and then gather for dinner.
Day 3: Istanbul / Izmir / Ephesus / Kusadasi / Embark
Today, board your flight to Izmir and drive to Ephesus, an ancient Greco-Roman city that was for many years the second largest city of the Empire, ranking only behind Rome. Ephesus was famed for one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis (Diana), who had her chief shrine there; for the Library of Celsus; and for its theater, which was capable of holding 25,000 spectators. Explore the Great Theater and the ruins of the Library. After lunch, drive the short distance to the port of Kusadasi and embark Sea Cloud.
Day 4: At Sea / Didyma
On deck, watch as nimble sailors climb the lines to raise Sea CloudÂ’s sails by hand. Under full sail, you head for Didyma. Once a shrine of ancient Greece, Didyma was established preceding literacy, and even before the Hellenic colonization of Ionia. Next to Delphi, this site was home to the most renowned oracle of the Hellenic world. Here, you visit the Temple of Apollo and learn the siteÂ’s meaning in the ancient world. Return to the Sea Cloud late this afternoon.
Day 5: Bodrum
Bodrum enjoys a picturesque setting on the Aegean. On a small promontory lies the Castle of St. Peter, built in the 15th century by Crusader knights and later captured by Suleiman the Magnificent. It houses the fabulous Museum of Underwater Archaeology, where youÂ’ll have a special visit, seeing many items excavated from shipwrecks of the Bronze Age and subsequent eras, including artifacts from all over the Mediterranean.
Day 6: At Sea
Today, youÂ’ll set the sails and leave them up all day long, sailing among the Cycladic islands, watching the crew up in the rigging, trimming the sails. YouÂ’ll hear presentations from your historians and naturalist, catch up on reading and experience the five-star service and cuisine for which the Sea Cloud is famous. And, you might even go for a swim or make an impromptu stop in the late afternoon.
Day 7: Santorini, Greece
Incomparable SantorÃni is an island archipelago that was once a single volcanic cone. It erupted in the second millennium BC and buried what some say might have been the legendary island of Atlantis. Stand on deck as you sail into the caldera (the center of the old volcano) and observe the cliffs from the sea. On shore, you drive through windswept vineyards characteristic of SantorÃni, and along the rimmed town of Oia before visiting the main town of Thira. Perched high on the volcanic cliff, Thira affords unrivaled views of the caldera below. SantorÃni is, quite simply, one of the most spectacular islands on earth.
Day 8: At Sea / FolÃ©gandros
Today, you watch the crew climb the rigging and set sail. At FolÃ©gandros, you head up to the stunning cliffside town of Hora. FolÃ©gandros is a quintessential Â“undiscoveredÂ” island, with tremendous charm and just a relative handful of visitors.
Day 9: Delos / At Sea
Tiny Delos is where the twin gods Artemis, goddess of animals and the hunt, and Apollo, god of healing, reason and light, were said to have been born. Today, Delos is a magnificent archaeological site, where you explore, among other places, the Street of the Lions and the marble Temple of Apollo. On your final afternoon, you relax, unwind and set sail one last time, bound for Piraeus.
Day 10: Piraeus / Disembark / Athens/ Return Home
Disembark in Athens and return home.