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From Athens’ most famous ruins at the Acropolis, set sail on this adventure exploring Ancient Greek and Roman ruins on this 11-night Ancient Cities of the Eastern Mediterranean cruise on board our five-star boutique ship. Stand in the stadium that first hosted the Olympic Games in 776 BC and discover the excavations at Akrotiri on Santorini and decide whether this was indeed the Lost City of Atlantis. We follow in the footsteps of Minoans, Venetians and Turks who all left their legacy on these ancient lands, and walk the ancient streets of Roman cities, such as Ephesus in modern-day Turkey. This captivating cruise takes you to some of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, from the Temple of Zeus to the Colossus of Rhodes and Temple of Artemis. Learn more about the region’s history as we sail through, before concluding this remarkable voyage where the ancient and modern worlds collide in vibrant Istanbul.
- Seek answers from the god Apollo at the Ancient Greek sanctuary at Delphi
- Explore the ancient stadium that sat 45,000 at the first Olympics in 776 BC
- Uncover the location of the Lost City of Atlantis at Akrotiri in Santorini
- Wander the main street at Ephesus, one of the ancient world’s most legendary cities
- Learn more about three of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World from our onboard experts
There are no future departures for this trip at this stage.
Greece’s buzzing cosmopolitan capital is served by Piraeus port and is an exciting mix of ancient and modern. Walk the Grand Promenade that winds beneath the city’s most famous landmark, the Acropolis. This walkway, built during the 2004 Olympic Games, links the city’s main archaeological sites. No visit to Athens is complete without seeing the Acropolis itself of course. Start with the Acropolis Museum for some informative context and then walk the marble path up Filopappou Hill for majestic views of the ‘high city’ with the iconic Parthenon perched on top (a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, patron of the city).
An important historical place, the harbour town sits below Mount Parnassus, home to the mythical Muses, and is near the ancient Greek sanctuary of Delphi, where Pythia, the Oracle, prophesied the words of Apollo to those who sought divine advice for the future. Parnassus was also home to the winged horse Pegasus of Bellerophon. More recently, Itea was the site of the Battle of Agali during the Greek War of Independence where Greece defeated the Ottoman–Egyptian fleet on 29/30 September 1827. The mountain area is also home to Greece’s largest olive grove and one of the oldest in the world.
Located at the mouth of Amvrakikos Gulf in Western Greece, Preveza is a charming city with bundles of character. The yacht-filled marina and carless seafront offer the perfect setting for a pleasant stroll. Sit and watch the world go by at the many restaurants and tavernas, or indulge in some retail therapy in the many interesting shops. Further afield you’ll find the ancient city of Nikopolis, founded by the Roman Emperor Octavian. During the Roman and early Byzantine periods, the city flourished as the capital of Old Epirus. Today visitors can explore the ruins of the Roman city walls, odeum, theatre and many other preserved archaeological features.
Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games is a short drive away from this pretty Greek harbour town. Take time to explore the ancient stadium that sat 45,000 at the first Olympics in 776 BC, and then every four years, to honour the god Zeus. Look out for the marble starting blocks and the ruins of the Temple of Zeus, where once stood a 12m-tall gold statue of Zeus, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. North of Katakolon, explore wineries or stop for lunch at the harbour and sample some of their produce.
First inhabited by the Minoans, the Venetians and then the Turks, this romantic port has seen many styles of occupation through the ages. The city’s multicultural history is immediately evident as you begin exploring its enchanting lanes. Venetian fortifications intersperse orthodox and catholic churches and mosques. Ancient mansions with floral canopies and ornate monuments adorn the charming Venetian-Ottoman quarter. The harbour area offers an atmospheric setting for an evening meal, and just above the imposing Fortezza castle stands guard over the town. If you are feeling energic, take a walk to the castle up Palekastro Hill for spectacular views of the sparkling Mediterranean below.
Famed for its whitewashed homes clinging to the cliffside and churches with blue-painted domed roofs, the Cyclades island’s capital of Fira overlooks a submerged volcanic caldera. Explore the town’s narrow alleys and enjoy the views and local wines from a tiny restaurant terrace. Santorini is also believed to be the location of the Lost City of Atlantis. Findings at the nearby preserved ruins of Akrotiri - thought to be the location - buried nearly 4,000 years ago by a volcanic eruption in 1650 B.C., seem to back up the claim.
Despotiko, with untouched beaches, is a tiny uninhabited Greek island in the Cyclades with only about a thousand resident goats. Important archaeological remains at Mandra show evidence of a huge 6th-century B.C. temple complex. Further ancient ruins in the south of the island have since confirmed that this was a place of worship for Apollo, his twin sister Artemis, and Hestia devotees. Excavations show temples, a dining hall and even an aqueduct. The capital of the Cyclades island of Paros, Parikia is home to the 4th-century church of Panagia Ekatontapiliani (known as the church of 100 doors), considered one of the most important Byzantine monuments and best preserved Orthodox churches in Greece. The typical Cyclades town has cobblestone alleyways lined with blue-and-white houses. In Parikia, you’ll also find a striking Venetian castle, a bustling old market, tavernas, quaint shops, several churches and archaeological sites.
Rhodes’ archeologic crown jewel, is dominated by its remarkable Acropolis. The Apostle Paul landed in St Paul’s Bay, located at the foot of the Acropolis. Further below old, whitewashed buildings line a warren of alleyways where the mansions of long-vanished sea captains now house tavernas, bars and cafes.
Kusadasi is the gateway to Ephesus, one of the ancient world’s most legendary cities. Remarkably well preserved, Ephesus is a UNESCO listed world heritage site and the best place in the Mediterranean to learn about past civilisations. A short distance from Ephesus, the Temple of Artemis (also known as the Temple of Diana), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, once stood. Although the temple is no longer there, it is still possible to walk amongst its foundations. After the Romans arrived in 129 BC, Ephesus became the capital of western Asian Minor. Wander through its ancient streets and step back in time into one of Rome’s most important commercial hubs.
Located in the beautiful Aegean Sea, Chios is the birthplace of the Greek poet Homer and is known for its incredible beaches and fascinating medieval villages. Pyrgi and Olympi stand out for their elaborate architecture and intricate geometrical patterns. When the Roman Empire fell, Chios joined the Byzantine Empire. Castles, villages and strongholds were built, most of which remain today. Chios remains largely untouched by mass tourism and walking through the narrow streets of the villages and along the harbour is an authentic, sensory experience.
The culturally important seaport of Çanakkale is the gateway to the Dardanelles (known in classical antiquity as the Hellespont), which connects the Sea of Marmara to the Aegean Sea. Alongside the Bosphorus, these are the two historically significant and legendary Turkish straits. And there is no better way to explore this historical waterway than by small ship cultural cruising. Cruising into the Dardanelles we’ll pass the site of ancient Troy (Biga Peninsula) and the Gallipoli Peninsula, the place of the epic World War I battle.
An enchanting city that divides two continents, we’ll approach Istanbul from the Bosphorus Strait, one of the world’s most important maritime routes. With the shores of Asia to the east, the first Bosphorus Bridge to the north and ‘old Istanbul’ to the south, few other ports offer such an immersive welcome. After disembarking, you’ll soon discover that the city is a vibrant, inclusive and friendly place that blends its tradition and modernity with ease. The history here is diverse and far-reaching. The city’s strategic location attracted many conquering forces over the years including the Greeks, Romans, Venetians and Ottomans. Istanbul was also the final point on the legendary Silk Road, attracting traders from the world over, and paving the way for the culturally diverse Istanbul of today.
Itineraries are subject to change.
Launched in 2023, SH Diana provides elegant and spacious 5-star accommodation for 192 guests in 96 spacious staterooms and suites, the vast majority with large balconies. Operated by an onboard team of 140 she will provide the highest levels of personal service when she launches, exploring the Mediterranean and its famous sites of antiquity.
Now sit back, relax and take a moment to get to know this amazing new ship, purpose-designed for our unique cultural expedition cruises.
Named after the Ancient Roman goddess of light, the moon, hunting and the wilderness, SH Diana been specially designed for worldwide cruising to explore the most inspiring and inaccessible places on earth. Building on the outstanding amenities of her sister ships, she adds a dedicated Multifunctional Room next to the Observation Lounge, a Private Dining Room for special occasions, and two tenders which bring guests a comfortable alternative to Zodiacs for expedition landings. A Polar Class 6 ice-strengthened hull combines with extra-large stabilisers to make your journey as comfortable as possible.
SH Diana has been designed for immersive experiences, with extensive outside deck areas, multiple observation points and bright, open and relaxing public spaces with unobstructed views.
The pleasure and safety of our guests is paramount at all times, cared for by our attentive crew and seasoned expedition leaders. Cutting edge hygiene technology protects the health of all on board to the highest standards and includes air conditioning with UV sanitisation systems.
SH Diana’s 96 staterooms , including 11 suites, are each a superbly comfortable home from home and all feature panoramic sea views, a flame-effect fireplace, original works of art, plush couches, premium pocket sprung mattresses, en-suite bathrooms with glass-enclosed rain showers, and Egyptian cotton towels, bathrobes and sheets. A pillow menu offers customised head and neck comfort during rest, while a large flat screen TV, espresso machine with Illy premium coffee, tea making facilities with the finest Kusmi teas, and a minibar with refreshments enhance relaxation at any time. In-room dining is of course available at all hours.
- Group return transfers from the airport to the cruise port (via our included accommodation where applicable)
- One night pre-cruise accommodation with breakfast in a 4/5-star hotel or onboard
- All meals onboard
- Onboard accommodation in a stateroom selected category
- 24-hour room service
- Coffee, tea, soft drinks and selected alcoholic beverages available 24-hours per day
- Lecture programmes by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers
- One selected shore excursion/expedition activities per port of call (Kayak not included, bookable for a fee on board)
- Standard WiFi
- Onboard gratuities & port taxes