DAY 3-4 - 17 May 2024
Time at Port: from 6 AM to 6 PM
Istanbul’s history dates back thousands of years, making it an incredibly culturally enriching destination to visit. With warm and welcoming locals excited to show you around, you’ll explore breath-taking mosques with vibrant mosaics, find handcrafted souvenirs at lively markets and enjoy aromatic mezes and fresh seafood as well as locally produced wine. There’s a lot to see here, but be sure to simply explore this wonderful city to truly soak up the culture.
Things to do in Istanbul - Overnight onboard:
One of the city’s most popular attractions, the Basilica Cistern was built in 532 and is the largest surviving cistern in Istanbul. The number of columns and the impeccable symmetry is a staggering sight and a must see, making a great escape on hot summer days.
Built between 1609 and 1616 during the rule of Ahmed I, the Blue Mosque is named for its hand-painted blue tiles on the interior walls, and the blue lights that illuminate it at night. A walk around this impressive structure is truly awe inspiring- don’t forget to adhere to the dress code though.
This magnificent structure took 13 years to build and was the administrative centre of the Ottoman Empire. Take a tour of the entire palace or different sections and discover the exquisite decoration (particularly the 4.5 tonne chandelier) and the painting museum.
Often considered the eighth wonder of the world, the Hagia Sophia was actually built three times after being destroyed, with the third and final structure being built 532-537 AD. Now, it is a museum filled with Christian and Muslim art, as well as breath-taking architecture.
Selling countless varieties of Turkish delight, Mısır Çarşısı Market (also known as Spice Bazaar) is a fantastic place to find souvenirs, spices, snacks and stories from warm, friendly vendors. Whether you’re looking to buy or not, exploring the market is a great way to be immersed in the culture and atmosphere of Istanbul.
Sultanahmet Square is where you’ll find the tourist hotspots of Istanbul all in one place. Located in one of the most historical parts of the city, you’ll find the largest cistern, two stunning mosques and numerous places to enjoy authentic cuisine.
Topkapi Palace possesses a colourful history with many sultans living there since 1481. A visit here will give visitors insight into the fascinating stories of the Ottoman Empire, through collections of armour, weaponry, pottery, jewellery and more.
DAY 10 - 24 May 2024
Time at Port: from 5 AM to 8 PM
Just a short distance from Athens, Piraeus is the biggest port in the Mediterranean and sees over 20 million cruisers each year. This port city is a perfect example of life by the sea, boasting an impressive harbour and authentic seafood dining, as well as the rich and fascinating history of ancient Greece. Whether you’re looking to discover archaeological findings or just want to relax in the sun at a friendly café, Piraeus is the place to be.
Things to do in Athens (Piraeus):
Agia Triada Church
Despite being a modern construction, Agia Triada features Byzantine architecture as well as an impressive dome that is visible from every spot within the church. Overlooking the port of Piraeus, Agia Triada is a must visit to discover the history of the town and take in the tranquillity.
This vibrant and colourful district is nestled on top of a hill with views out over the bay. A walk around this neighbourhood will take you to quaint cafes, neoclassical architecture, Prophet Elias church and the Veakeion outdoor theatre.
Covering the Mycenaean period to the Roman era, the Piraeus Archaeological Museum offers artefacts excavated from Piraeus’ landscape, as well as collections donated from other sites. Visitors will discover monuments, statues, artwork and more.
One of only three surviving Liberty ships, the SS Hellas Liberty is a fascinating vessel to explore. This floating maritime museum was presented to the public in 2010 and covers a range of exhibits people of all ages will enjoy.
With stunning views of the Saronic Gulf and the beautiful vessels moored in the harbour, the bay of Zea is the perfect place to go for a walk, enjoy a delicious coffee and take in the sunshine. You’ll find many hidden gems here, including ancient walls.
DAY 11 - 25 May 2024
Time at Port: from 8 AM to 9 PM
Known for unrivalled views, sparkling blue sea and iconic bleached-white architecture, Santorini is a truly unforgettable destination. A stroll down one of the many cobbled streets and along the volcanic-sand beaches is the perfect way to spend a romantic evening, while kids and families will love taking the plunge from a caldera cruise and exploring the colourful markets. Finally, don’t forget to delve into Santorini’s past at the many museums on offer.
Things to do in Thira, Santorini:
Located in the centre of Fira, the Archaeological Museum of Thera is a must visit for insight into the civilizations that came before present day, featuring artefacts from the Archaic, Roman, Geometric and Hellenistic periods, including Byzantine works of art.
Thira, as the capital of Santorini, is the gem of the area and boasts fantastic nightlife and restaurants with mouthwatering food. Here you can feel and be part of the action as it all takes place.
Museum of Prehistoric Thera
Home to the artefacts found at multiple archaeological sites such as Akrotiri, some of these excavations were discovered as early as 1867. Visitors will find numerous temporary and permanent exhibitions offering insight into the prehistoric age of Thira.
Santorini Cable Car
Before the cable car, tourists to Santorini would have to climb the winding stairs to the capital or ride by mule. Now, this mode of transport offers stunning sights of the land and sea on the way up, as well as access to the volcano.
If you are looking to get a better look at the local geography, Santorini Volcano is a fantastic place to start with regular boat trips to look at the powerful effects that a volcano can have on the local environment.
DAY 12 - 26 May 2024
Time at Port: from 8 AM to 6 PM
Teeming with beautiful beaches, picturesque streets and rich history, Crete’s second largest city has seen many cultures throughout time. Because of this, you’ll find Roman, Byzantine, Venetian, Ottoman and many other influences in its architecture, as well as in the artefacts displayed in the museums. Discover the grizzly stories of Firka Fortress, or take a romantic wander through Chania’s Old Town, where you’ll find numerous quaint eateries.
Things to do in Chania, Crete:
Archaeological Museum of Chania
Found in the Venetian church of St Francis, this beautiful building’s exhibits boast a wide range of pottery, carvings, sculptures and more on display and provides great insight into the history of Chania.
Chania Old Town
A must visit to truly get to the heart of this beautiful destination. Wander down the quaint alleyways and admire the ancient architecture as you stumble across shops, cafés and hotels, or take a walk along the waterfront in the sunshine.
As the main fortress of the town, Firka Fortress was a key structure throughout the 16th century. It was once a barracks and a prison and now houses the Maritime Museum of Crete as well as picturesque views of the harbour.
Getting lost in the vibrant, colourful community of Chania’s Old Town is a brilliant way to discover local gems. From traditional tavernas (classic Greek restaurants) to stylish coffee shops, you’ll find a new favourite dish in this lively district.
DAY 13 - 27 May 2024
Time at Port: from 1 PM to 8 PM
The sleepy seaside village of Katakolon is perhaps one of the biggest tourist highlights of Greece, thanks to its close proximity to Ancient Olympia. With sparkling turquoise waters, numerous traditional tavernas and the warmth of a friendly, local community, Katakolon is the perfect place to explore on foot in the sunshine, where you’ll find museums, bars, restaurants and souvenir shops, as well as horse-drawn carriage rides and even a Beer Bike!
Things to do in Olympia (Katakolon):
Home to over 463 ancient works, this museum is rich with fascinating history and culture of Ancient Greece. Featuring exhibits covering the second millennium BC until the 5th century AD, you’ll find pieces that were used throughout the ancient Olympic Games.
Archaeological Site of Olympia
Featuring excavations from the Bronze age to the Byzantine era, this huge site provides an impressive insight into the history of Ancient Greece. You'll find sites such as the Ancient Stadium where the Olympic Games were held, the Temple of Hera, and the Temple of Zeus.
The Temple of Zeus
The beautiful ruins of The Temple of Zeus is a major historical site. Despite it being destroyed it still is a fantastic portal to the past giving you a major insight into the gods of old.
This fantastic free museum is dedicated to the physicist, engineer, inventor and astronomer, Archimedes of Syracuse. Home to just some of his inventions and reconstructions, it’s well worth a visit, especially for those curious about his expert creations.
Just a short walk from the archaeological site, the Archaeological Museum hosts artefacts that were discovered in Olympia. With over 3,500 years of history to discover, this small but fascinating museum will take you back in time to Ancient Greece.
DAY 14 - 28 May 2024
Time at Port: from 8 AM to 8 PM
One of Greece’s most verdant islands and perfect for a family holiday with charming architecture, an impressive fort and a 16th century church, Agios Spyridhon. Mount Pantokrantor rears up in the north of the island and all around the edges are sandy beaches and small villages. Whether you’re here to top up a tan on the stunning Loggas Beach or eager to discover the gorgeous monuments, Corfu has something for everyone.
Things to do in Corfu:
This hidden gem will provide the perfect getaway from bustling crowds. If you’re looking to relax in a quaint fishing village, enjoy traditional Corfiot cuisine on the waterfront and take a dip in the vibrant waters, Agni Bay is the place for you.
Surrounded by imposing cliffs, Loggas Beach – otherwise known as Sunset Beach – is one of the most beautiful spots in Corfu. You won’t find wild water sports here, instead you’ll witness breath-taking sunsets and take a dip in the warm, gentle water.
Saint George Church
Built in 1840 for British troops serving in Corfu, the Church of St George now hosts only two services each year, as well as occasional exhibitions. With views out over Garitsa Bay, this church resembles an ancient Greek temple and provides great photo opportunities.
Found on a tiny islet close by to the airport of Corfu, Vlacherna Monastery dates back to around the 17th and 18th centuries. The beautifully preserved building is a great photo opportunity particularly at sunset, and the perfect place to take a romantic stroll.
DAY 16 - 30 May 2024
Time at Port: from 7 AM to 10 PM
The ‘floating city’ of Venice has romantic connotations all over the world. Known for picturesque canals, colourful buildings, gentle gondola rides, good food, and an ample supply of history, this is one Italian destination that sits on many a bucket list. See magnificent architecture in St Mark’s Square, the fascinating Doge’s Palace, St Mark’s Basilica, and the famous Bridge of Sighs. After soaking in centuries of history, be sure to make time to simply watch the world go by with a world-class cup of coffee and a piece of tiramisu, or indeed an indulgent glass of wine and pasta dish.
Things to do in Venice:
Located in the Venetian lagoon, Giudecca Island is a small, attractive resort offering some lovely cafes, bars, and restaurants as well as pretty architecture. Over the years it has had a varied history, having been the home to some grand palaces and gardens, before becoming a centre of industry in the 20th century, particularly during World War II. One 16th century mansion has been converted into a beautiful luxury villa.
St. Mark's Square
Piazza San Marco – or St Mark’s Square – is the main square in Venice. It is one of the main attractions, and has had a vibrant role in Venetian history, having been a centre of politics, commerce, and religion over the years. Today it is one of Venice’s main attractions, being surrounded by beautiful architecture on all sides – including the magnificent Basilica di San Marco. Not only a stunning piece of architecture, St Mark’s Basilica also has a fascinating and exciting history. The original church was built in the 9th century, and the construction was ordered by the doge to house the remains of Apostle St Mark the Evangelist which had been stolen by Venetian merchants on a trip to Alexandria. This church was then burned down in the year 976, and was rebuilt again two years later. It was consecrated in the late 11th century, and since this time has seen many repairs and refurbishments.
Bridge of Sighs
This well-known, historic piece of architecture joins Venice’s prisons to Doge’s Palace – or more accurately, the interrogation rooms in the palace. Legend says that when prisoners of the 17th century crossed the bridge into the prison, they sighed at their last view of Venice – hence the name. Today the bridge also has romantic significance, with local lore saying that lovers who kiss beneath the bridge in a gondola will have a love that lasts forever.
From the late 7th century until the late 18th, Venice had a system of doges, who acted as elected leaders of the region. Doge’s Palace – now known as Palazzo Ducale – was built in the 14th century as a residence for the doge, and for other political bodies. It was a venue used for debates, a court of law, grand events such as balls, and even had prison cells on the ground floor. The beautiful palace is located in Piazza San Marco, and was opened to visitors in 1923.
Island of Burano
Within Venice’s lagoon is the picturesque island of Burano, well known for its colourful buildings and pretty canals. First inhabited in the 6th century, Burano has long been a small fishing community, which rose in prominence with the production of lace in the 16th century – a tradition it is still known for today. Burano is a gorgeous spot to wander around, enjoy a gelato, and browse the fabulous range of intricate lace work which is available to purchase in varying forms.
DAY 16 -
Hotel stay included
Istanbul Hotel Stay - 2 Nights
We don't know the hotel yet but it will be centrally located, a minimum of 4 stars, selected from our list of preferred hotels & based on a 'room only' board basis. Local government city taxes & local resort fees may be payable.
*Handcrafted Cruise & Stay Holidays - Flash sale £50p and reduced is valid for New bookings Only made by 27th March 2023 with a Minimum Spend £1599pp
*Handcrafted Cruise & Stay Holidays - Flash sale £50p and reduced is valid for New bookings Only made by 27th March 2023 with a Minimum Spend £1599pp
All offers and prices are subject to change and availability at time of enquiry. Prices are based on two passengers sharing unless otherwise stated and are subject to the Tour Operator's terms and conditions. Cabin and Flight supplements may apply. Other supplements may apply in addition to the price shown above. Flight details, timings and routing may be subject to alteration. Other tour operator charges may also apply. Any Onboard Spending money or drinks package value shown will be per cabin, again based on two sharing.
Note: On 13 January 2018, new European legislation is being adopted in the UK which as result will mean that we may change our required method of payment at our discretion, irrespective of how any deposit or prior payment was made.