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Wonders of the Ancient World (Serenissima)

The seas between Malta and Athens offer access to a wealth of ancient sites. Join us aboard the MS Serenissima in October and take advantage of comfortable temperatures and the absence of high season crowds. As we journey from Malta across the Mediterranean, our small ship will take us on a voyage through the playground of the Greek Gods learning of the myths and legends before our arrival in Athens, the cradle of Western civilisation.

We will visit some of the Ancient World’s most fascinating sites including Olympia, the principal shrine of Zeus and Hera and the site of the original Olympic Games, set in a lush mountain valley beside the River Kladeos. We also visit Mycenae, the home of Agamemnon which stands atop a remote hill in the southern Peloponnese and Epidaurus, one of the most renowned of Greece’s ancient sites. In addition to these we visit the equally interesting Byzantine town of Mystras, a Medieval ghost town set on a cliff overlooking the site of ancient Sparta and one of the best preserved Byzantine towns in Greece, with excellent examples of 14th and 15th century architecture. Our penultimate port of call is the town of Nafplion, one of the most beautiful towns on mainland Greece where we have the advantage of an overnight mooring.

Our custom-made itinerary focuses mainly on many places that the mega cruise ships cannot access and, in addition to our included guided excursions, we will visit vineyards in both Greece and Italy to sample the local wines and enjoy ample time at leisure for some independent exploration.

01 October, 2020 to 20 October, 2020 Make a booking request for Wonders of the Ancient World (Serenissima), departing on 01 October, 2020

Prices quoted here are often dependent on currency fluctuations. Please check with (01432 507450 or info@small-cruise-ships.com) for the very latest price, which may well be cheaper than the one advertised here.

Standard Stateroom £ 4150 GBP pp
10 to 11.5 sq meters. The cabins are attractively designed for comfort and convenience. All cabins are fully air conditioned with an en-suite bathroom with shower (please note cabins 601 - 605 and 507 have a bath with shower attachment) and a selection of toiletries in addition to a hairdryer, robes and slippers. All cabins come equipped with telephone, flat screen television, safety deposit box and other thoughtful appointments. Bottles of still and sparkling water are replenished daily. Due to the very nature of the ship, the cabins vary in shape and size, adding to the vessel’s overall charm.
view cabin photo
Classic Stateroom £ 4400 GBP pp
14 to 19 sq meters. The cabins are attractively designed for comfort and convenience. All cabins are fully air conditioned with an en-suite bathroom with shower (please note cabins 601 - 605 and 507 have a bath with shower attachment) and a selection of toiletries in addition to a hairdryer, robes and slippers. All cabins come equipped with telephone, flat screen television, safety deposit box and other thoughtful appointments. Bottles of still and sparkling water are replenished daily. Due to the very nature of the ship, the cabins vary in shape and size, adding to the vessel’s overall charm.
view cabin photo
Superior Stateroom £ 4750 GBP pp
11.5 to 18 sq meters. The cabins are attractively designed for comfort and convenience. All cabins are fully air conditioned with an en-suite bathroom with shower (please note cabins 601 - 605 and 507 have a bath with shower attachment) and a selection of toiletries in addition to a hairdryer, robes and slippers. All cabins come equipped with telephone, flat screen television, safety deposit box and other thoughtful appointments. Bottles of still and sparkling water are replenished daily. Due to the very nature of the ship, the cabins vary in shape and size, adding to the vessel’s overall charm.
view cabin photo
Standard Single £ 4950 GBP pp
7 to 12.5 sq meters. The cabins are attractively designed for comfort and convenience. All cabins are fully air conditioned with an en-suite bathroom with shower (please note cabins 601 - 605 and 507 have a bath with shower attachment) and a selection of toiletries in addition to a hairdryer, robes and slippers. All cabins come equipped with telephone, flat screen television, safety deposit box and other thoughtful appointments. Bottles of still and sparkling water are replenished daily. Due to the very nature of the ship, the cabins vary in shape and size, adding to the vessel’s overall charm.
view cabin photo
Deluxe Stateroom £ 5250 GBP pp
11 to 25 sq meters. The cabins are attractively designed for comfort and convenience. All cabins are fully air conditioned with an en-suite bathroom with shower (please note cabins 601 - 605 and 507 have a bath with shower attachment) and a selection of toiletries in addition to a hairdryer, robes and slippers. All cabins come equipped with telephone, flat screen television, safety deposit box and other thoughtful appointments. Bottles of still and sparkling water are replenished daily. Due to the very nature of the ship, the cabins vary in shape and size, adding to the vessel’s overall charm.
view cabin photo
Junior Suite £ 5750 GBP pp
21 sq meters. The cabins are attractively designed for comfort and convenience. All cabins are fully air conditioned with an en-suite bathroom with shower (please note cabins 601 - 605 and 507 have a bath with shower attachment) and a selection of toiletries in addition to a hairdryer, robes and slippers. All cabins come equipped with telephone, flat screen television, safety deposit box and other thoughtful appointments. Bottles of still and sparkling water are replenished daily. Due to the very nature of the ship, the cabins vary in shape and size, adding to the vessel’s overall charm.
view cabin photo
Owner’s Suite £ 5950 GBP pp
22 sq meters. The cabins are attractively designed for comfort and convenience. All cabins are fully air conditioned with an en-suite bathroom with shower (please note cabins 601 - 605 and 507 have a bath with shower attachment) and a selection of toiletries in addition to a hairdryer, robes and slippers. All cabins come equipped with telephone, flat screen television, safety deposit box and other thoughtful appointments. Bottles of still and sparkling water are replenished daily. Due to the very nature of the ship, the cabins vary in shape and size, adding to the vessel’s overall charm.
view cabin photo
Serenissima Suite £ 6200 GBP pp
25 sq meters. The cabins are attractively designed for comfort and convenience. All cabins are fully air conditioned with an en-suite bathroom with shower (please note cabins 601 - 605 and 507 have a bath with shower attachment) and a selection of toiletries in addition to a hairdryer, robes and slippers. All cabins come equipped with telephone, flat screen television, safety deposit box and other thoughtful appointments. Bottles of still and sparkling water are replenished daily. Due to the very nature of the ship, the cabins vary in shape and size, adding to the vessel’s overall charm.
view cabin photo

Wonders of the Ancient World (Serenissima) itinerary:

show reverse itinerary
Day 1 London to Valletta, Malta.
Fly by scheduled flight. Arrive this afternoon and transfer to the MS Serenissima moored in Valletta. Enjoy welcome drinks and dinner on board as we sail this evening.
Day 2 Syracuse, Sicily.
Syracuse was founded by the Greeks in 734 BC and by the 5th century was a political and military power throughout the Mediterranean and rivalled Athens as the largest and most beautiful city in the Greek world. We will visit the Neapolis Archaeological Park where we find a well preserved Greek theatre with seats carved from limestone. Paradise Quarry, now an attractive garden and orange grove, was the primary source of that limestone and is the site of the curious ‘Dionysus’ Ear’, a vast grotto with an amplifying resonance. We will continue to explore the island of Ortigia where we find the Temple of Apollo, considered to be Sicily’s most ancient Doric temple and the Baroque Cathedral, erected over the remains of the Temple of Minerva. The afternoon is free to explore independently before we sail tonight.
Day 3 Crotone, Italy.
After a morning at sea we arrive in Calabria and the port of Crotone which is on the site of the ancient Greek City of Kroton. Whilst little remains of the Greek city it was one of the most important settlements of Magna Graecia, where Pythagoras set up a school in 530 BC and whose athletes were very successful at the Olympic Games. We will take a scenic drive inland this afternoon to Santa Severina, one of Italy’s prettiest towns overlooking the Neto River valley. We will explore the majestic Carafa Castle which was built by the Normans in 1076 and is surrounded by strong, crenellated walls with a moat on three sides and contains intricate underground labyrinths and stables, with the remains of Medieval frescoes. Also see the cathedral, the beautiful Byzantine baptistery and wander the town’s tangled streets. As we return to the ship we will stop at one of the vineyards that produce famous Calabrian wine, Ciro, for a tasting accompanied by typical Calabrian food.
Day 4 Otranto & Lecce.
From the port of Otranto we will drive to Lecce, often referred to as the ‘Florence of the South’ with its amazing collection of Baroque architecture including an abundance of churches and noble palaces decorated with the ‘Leccese stone’, a chalky stone ranging in colours which became the local style due to its ease to work with. A guided tour will include a visit to the beautifully decorated Santa Croce Basilica and Piazza Duomo, considered one of the finest and most impressive squares in southern Italy. After the tour, there will be an exclusive, private visit to the 15th century Palazzo Tamborino-Cezzi. The owner of the palazzo will personally take us on a tour, sharing interesting stories and anecdotes regarding his family and the palazzo itself. Enjoy a light lunch of local specialities before a concert of traditional music of the Salento region called La Pizzica, a popular Italian folk dance, originally from the Salento peninsula which later spread throughout the Puglia region. Return to Otranto for some free time to explore the town before we sail this evening.
Day 5 Sarande for Butrint, Albania.
Our morning in Albania sees us discover the archaeological and ancient city of Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the ruins that feature the remains of many eras and cultures. From the Hellenistic period there are temples, the promenade and the 4th century BC theatre. From the Roman era are the public baths, gymnasium and fountains. From the Byzantine era we see chapels and the large Basilica of St Peter and St Paul, whilst the Venetians are represented by a watchtower and a small castle with commanding views over the Straits of Corfu. Return to the MS Serenissima for lunch and spend the afternoon at sea.
Day 6 Olympia, Greece.
The port of Katakolon will be our base today for our excursion to Olympia. Pastoral and lush, Olympia’s plentiful ruins Mystras are shaded by Aleppo pines and olive trees. The fame of Olympia rests upon the Olympic Games. During the celebrations that accompanied the Games, competitors, while not forgetting that they were Athenians, Spartans or from other city states, remembered that they were Greeks and regarded an Olympic victory as the highest honour. We will see the gymnasium, the stadium and the palestra or wrestling school. We will also explore the Altis, or sacred precinct of Zeus, which houses structures including the Temple of Zeus, one of the largest temples on the Greek mainland and the Archaeological Museum which houses some fine sculptures and artefacts from the site. After our visit either choose to return to the ship for lunch and a free afternoon or stay for an independent lunch in Olympia and have an afternoon to explore further and maybe visit the Olympic Museum, before returning to the ship this afternoon.
Day 7 Kalamata & Mystras.
Arrive this morning in Kalamata which grew from the ancient city of Farai to the second largest city on the Peloponnese due to the fertile soils producing olive oil and figs. This morning we drive inland to Mystras, a remarkably intact Byzantine town that once housed a population of 20,000 people. Here we visit the Cathedral of Agios Dimitrios, where the two-headed eagle, which is the symbol of the Palaiologos Dynasty, is carved into a plaque on the floor. According to tradition, this is where Constantine XII stepped when he was crowned king. Strolling through the narrow lanes of the dead city, we will also visit the Church of Agia Sophia, the Palace of the Despots and the Monastery of Pantanassa, with its brilliant frescoes. Before returning to the vessel, refreshments will be served at the picturesque tavern located just beneath the site offering sweeping views over the local terrain. The afternoon is free to explore Kalamata at your own pace.
Day 8 Nafplion.
Looking out across the translucent water of the bay towards the Arcadian Mountains, Nafplion’s sheltered location below a rocky headland and large natural fortress crowned by a Venetian castle is perhaps unrivalled in Greece. After breakfast we will enjoy a scenic drive through the Argos Plain to Nemea, the site of a religious sanctuary which hosted the pan-Hellenic athletic games every two years from 573 BC until 271 BC. Nemea was not a town or settlement but a venue where festivities were held during the games and our tour will include the Temple of Zeus, the bath house and the stadium before spending time in the small but excellent on site museum. Nemea is also famous for its red wines and we will enjoy a wine tasting at a local vineyard before we continue to the famous citadel of Mycenae which is located high above the confluence of two boulder strewn ravines and accessed by way of the Lion Gate. Once inside the gate, we will explore the Royal Palace, the shaft graves and the remains of the city walls. An archaeological briefing within the Treasury of Artreus (also known as the Tomb of Agamemnon) will add to our understanding and appreciation of the sights. We will enjoy lunch in a local restaurant before returning to Nafplion this afternoon where we will remain moored overnight.
Day 9 Nafplion.
This morning we will visit one of the most renowned of Greece’s ancient sites. Situated on the slopes of a beautiful and wooded valley, Epidaurus was known throughout the Hellenic world for its unique medical facilities and healing treatments. Dedicated to Aesclepius, the god of healing, the city was filled with curative spas and baths and only priests had access to certain secret rites. Most of the ruins of Epidaurus have been reduced to their foundations, with the exception of the astonishing theatre. Still used for special performances, the theatre is in an admirable state of preservation. Built into the ground, rather than above it, it is known for its fantastic acoustics, which we will observe during our visit. Return to Nafplion and have the afternoon at leisure to wander the twisting labyrinthine streets and view the Venetian and Turkish architecture.
Day 10 Athens to London.
Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to London.
Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Wonders of the Ancient World (Serenissima) reverse itinerary:

show main itinerary
Itineraries are subject to change.
Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to London.
This morning we will visit one of the most renowned of Greece’s ancient sites. Situated on the slopes of a beautiful and wooded valley, Epidaurus was known throughout the Hellenic world for its unique medical facilities and healing treatments. Dedicated to Aesclepius, the god of healing, the city was filled with curative spas and baths and only priests had access to certain secret rites. Most of the ruins of Epidaurus have been reduced to their foundations, with the exception of the astonishing theatre. Still used for special performances, the theatre is in an admirable state of preservation. Built into the ground, rather than above it, it is known for its fantastic acoustics, which we will observe during our visit. Return to Nafplion and have the afternoon at leisure to wander the twisting labyrinthine streets and view the Venetian and Turkish architecture.
Looking out across the translucent water of the bay towards the Arcadian Mountains, Nafplion’s sheltered location below a rocky headland and large natural fortress crowned by a Venetian castle is perhaps unrivalled in Greece. After breakfast we will enjoy a scenic drive through the Argos Plain to Nemea, the site of a religious sanctuary which hosted the pan-Hellenic athletic games every two years from 573 BC until 271 BC. Nemea was not a town or settlement but a venue where festivities were held during the games and our tour will include the Temple of Zeus, the bath house and the stadium before spending time in the small but excellent on site museum. Nemea is also famous for its red wines and we will enjoy a wine tasting at a local vineyard before we continue to the famous citadel of Mycenae which is located high above the confluence of two boulder strewn ravines and accessed by way of the Lion Gate. Once inside the gate, we will explore the Royal Palace, the shaft graves and the remains of the city walls. An archaeological briefing within the Treasury of Artreus (also known as the Tomb of Agamemnon) will add to our understanding and appreciation of the sights. We will enjoy lunch in a local restaurant before returning to Nafplion this afternoon where we will remain moored overnight.
Arrive this morning in Kalamata which grew from the ancient city of Farai to the second largest city on the Peloponnese due to the fertile soils producing olive oil and figs. This morning we drive inland to Mystras, a remarkably intact Byzantine town that once housed a population of 20,000 people. Here we visit the Cathedral of Agios Dimitrios, where the two-headed eagle, which is the symbol of the Palaiologos Dynasty, is carved into a plaque on the floor. According to tradition, this is where Constantine XII stepped when he was crowned king. Strolling through the narrow lanes of the dead city, we will also visit the Church of Agia Sophia, the Palace of the Despots and the Monastery of Pantanassa, with its brilliant frescoes. Before returning to the vessel, refreshments will be served at the picturesque tavern located just beneath the site offering sweeping views over the local terrain. The afternoon is free to explore Kalamata at your own pace.
The port of Katakolon will be our base today for our excursion to Olympia. Pastoral and lush, Olympia’s plentiful ruins Mystras are shaded by Aleppo pines and olive trees. The fame of Olympia rests upon the Olympic Games. During the celebrations that accompanied the Games, competitors, while not forgetting that they were Athenians, Spartans or from other city states, remembered that they were Greeks and regarded an Olympic victory as the highest honour. We will see the gymnasium, the stadium and the palestra or wrestling school. We will also explore the Altis, or sacred precinct of Zeus, which houses structures including the Temple of Zeus, one of the largest temples on the Greek mainland and the Archaeological Museum which houses some fine sculptures and artefacts from the site. After our visit either choose to return to the ship for lunch and a free afternoon or stay for an independent lunch in Olympia and have an afternoon to explore further and maybe visit the Olympic Museum, before returning to the ship this afternoon.
Our morning in Albania sees us discover the archaeological and ancient city of Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the ruins that feature the remains of many eras and cultures. From the Hellenistic period there are temples, the promenade and the 4th century BC theatre. From the Roman era are the public baths, gymnasium and fountains. From the Byzantine era we see chapels and the large Basilica of St Peter and St Paul, whilst the Venetians are represented by a watchtower and a small castle with commanding views over the Straits of Corfu. Return to the MS Serenissima for lunch and spend the afternoon at sea.
From the port of Otranto we will drive to Lecce, often referred to as the ‘Florence of the South’ with its amazing collection of Baroque architecture including an abundance of churches and noble palaces decorated with the ‘Leccese stone’, a chalky stone ranging in colours which became the local style due to its ease to work with. A guided tour will include a visit to the beautifully decorated Santa Croce Basilica and Piazza Duomo, considered one of the finest and most impressive squares in southern Italy. After the tour, there will be an exclusive, private visit to the 15th century Palazzo Tamborino-Cezzi. The owner of the palazzo will personally take us on a tour, sharing interesting stories and anecdotes regarding his family and the palazzo itself. Enjoy a light lunch of local specialities before a concert of traditional music of the Salento region called La Pizzica, a popular Italian folk dance, originally from the Salento peninsula which later spread throughout the Puglia region. Return to Otranto for some free time to explore the town before we sail this evening.
After a morning at sea we arrive in Calabria and the port of Crotone which is on the site of the ancient Greek City of Kroton. Whilst little remains of the Greek city it was one of the most important settlements of Magna Graecia, where Pythagoras set up a school in 530 BC and whose athletes were very successful at the Olympic Games. We will take a scenic drive inland this afternoon to Santa Severina, one of Italy’s prettiest towns overlooking the Neto River valley. We will explore the majestic Carafa Castle which was built by the Normans in 1076 and is surrounded by strong, crenellated walls with a moat on three sides and contains intricate underground labyrinths and stables, with the remains of Medieval frescoes. Also see the cathedral, the beautiful Byzantine baptistery and wander the town’s tangled streets. As we return to the ship we will stop at one of the vineyards that produce famous Calabrian wine, Ciro, for a tasting accompanied by typical Calabrian food.
Syracuse was founded by the Greeks in 734 BC and by the 5th century was a political and military power throughout the Mediterranean and rivalled Athens as the largest and most beautiful city in the Greek world. We will visit the Neapolis Archaeological Park where we find a well preserved Greek theatre with seats carved from limestone. Paradise Quarry, now an attractive garden and orange grove, was the primary source of that limestone and is the site of the curious ‘Dionysus’ Ear’, a vast grotto with an amplifying resonance. We will continue to explore the island of Ortigia where we find the Temple of Apollo, considered to be Sicily’s most ancient Doric temple and the Baroque Cathedral, erected over the remains of the Temple of Minerva. The afternoon is free to explore independently before we sail tonight.
Fly by scheduled flight. Arrive this afternoon and transfer to the MS Serenissima moored in Valletta. Enjoy welcome drinks and dinner on board as we sail this evening.
* = Indicative
Map for Wonders of the Ancient World (Serenissima)
Serenissima, the ship servicing Wonders of the Ancient World (Serenissima)

Serenissima

Vessel Type: Small Ship

Length: 87 metres

Passenger Capacity: 95

Built / refurbished: 1960 / 2013 / December 2018

Prior to her life as the MS Andrea she spent many years cruising the Norwegian coast as the Harald Jarl. The decision by the Norwegian owners, Hurtigruten to invest in much larger new vessels, presented an opportunity to the American company, Elegant Cruises to purchase the vessel in 2002. After a substantial refit of over $20 million in Sweden she began her new life of worldwide cruising. She underwent another significant refurbishment in December 2018 and her capacity was reduced to 95.

Perhaps, one of the best known and loved features of this vessel is its unique style. During the major refit in Sweden the then owners commissioned Swedish interior designers to create a Gustavian style interior. This bright Swedish 18th century influenced, country house style works particularly well on a vessel of this vintage, providing intimacy and classic nautical sensibility often lacking in larger vessels.

Accommodating just 95 passengers, the 53 cabins are attractively designed for comfort and convenience and are fully air conditioned with a modern shower and toilet, telephone, flat screen televisions and other thoughtful appointments. There are eight different grades of cabin arranged over five decks and with the exception of the five inside cabins, all staterooms feature either windows or portholes.

The free seating Venice Restaurant accommodates all guests in one sitting. In addition there is an outside dining area for when the weather and itinerary permit. A new addition to the vessel is a Lido area on Deck 5 with a bar and Jacuzzi.

Other facilities on board include two lounges, a small library with two computers for internet access, a spacious observation deck, fitness area, massage and an elevator. In areas such the United Kingdom and Norway the vessel is equipped with Zodiac craft allowing us to visit remote places where normal tender arrangements are not possible.

The European captain, officers, expedition staff, and crew offer a first class service and have been selected for their professionalism and caring attitudes. The atmosphere on board is warm and welcoming and dedicated to discovery and relaxation.

Serenissima DeckSerenissima suite

 

Cabin layout for Serenissima
• Discover Syracuse, Sicily

• Explore Crotone, Italy

• Enjoy Olympia, Greece

• Visit Nafplion, Greece
Enquire now about Wonders of the Ancient World (Serenissima)

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