The legendary canals of Venice. The cobblestone streets of Dubrovnik’s Old Town. The ancient ruins of less-visited Albania. Please join us in October for a cruise aboard the elegant Sea Cloud II to experience these places and more. On this unforgettable journey through the Adriatic, Ionian, and Mediterranean Seas, we’ll explore historic towns and impressive archaeological sites, where Greek, Carthaginian, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, and Norman civilizations have all left their mark.
Traveling with us on this program is art historian Kathryn Calley Galitz, who is the author of the recently published book The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings (Rizzoli, 2016). We will also be accompanied by Ivo Banac, previously a member of Croatian parliament and now the Bradford Durfee Emeritus Professor of History at Yale University, and Thomas Forrest Kelly, the Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music at Harvard University.
An optional two-night prelude in Venice is offered from October 10-12.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 11: DEPARTURE
Depart on an overnight flight to Venice.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12: VENICE, ITALY / SEA CLOUD II
Arrive this morning in Venice and enjoy lunch at the Hotel Europa & Regina, overlooking the Grand Canal. A canal cruise brings us to Sea Cloud II for embarkation. Gather on deck for a champagne toast as we sail out of the Venetian Lagoon, past the Doge’s Palace and the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore. L,D
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 13: TRIESTE, ITALY
Step ashore in the former Austro-Hungarian seaport of Trieste and visit the Piazza Unità d’Italia, with its Romanesque and Gothic Cathedral of San Giusto. A short walk takes us to Borgo Teresiano, the historic area whose buildings reflect the 18th-century opulence of Empress Maria Teresa’s reign in the region. Tonight join the captain for a welcome reception followed by dinner. B,L,R,D
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 14: RAVENNA, ITALY
Ravenna, capital of the Western Roman Empire from the 4th to the 7th centuries, is home to some of the most stunning mosaics in the world. See the exquisite Mausoleum of Galla Placidia and Theodoric’s two great churches, with their extraordinary mosaic processions. At the Basilica of San Vitale the splendors of the Byzantine court are reflected in the depictions of Emperor Justinian and Empress Theodora. B,L,D
MONDAY, OCTOBER 15: AT SEA
Experience the thrill of sailing under wind power during a day at sea. As Sea Cloud II crosses the Adriatic, observe as the crew practices the art of trimming the sails by hand, or perhaps settle into a comfortable deck chair with a favorite book. B,L,D
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 16: DUBROVNIK, CROATIA
In the spectacular walled city of Dubrovnik, discover the influence of the Venetian architects in the city’s main street, Placa. View ancient manuscripts on a visit to the Franciscan Library, as well as the paintings in the Dominican and Franciscan Monasteries and the Rector’s Palace. Gather for a performance by a folkloric a cappella choir before returning to the ship for lunch. B,L,D
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17: OTRANTO / LECCE, ITALY
Following a morning at sea, arrive at Otranto, where two excursion options are offered. A walking tour of Otranto includes the Cathedral of Santa Maria to admire its splendid mosaic of the Tree of Life, the Byzantine Church of San Pietro and its frescoes, and the views of the port from the Bastione dei Pelasgi. Alternatively, drive to Baroque Lecce, with its exuberantly ornamented churches, palaces, and houses carved from the honey-colored local stone. Visit the Piazza Sant’Oronzo, the Roman amphitheater, and the Basilica of Santa Croce. See the restored 16th-century cathedral and the adjoining archbishop’s palace. B,L,D
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18: SARANDE, ALBANIA
Albania, for a long time closed to the rest of the world, can now be seen in all its untamed beauty. In Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, view some of the archaeological findings and ruins representing various periods in this ancient city’s development. Alternatively, visit another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Ottoman town of Gjirokaster. Afterwards, drive to one of Europe’s most unique natural phenomena—the Blue Eye Spring, with its sparkling turquoise water. B,L,D
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19: AT SEA
As Sea Cloud II crosses the Adriatic back to Italy, you may wish to visit the captain on the bridge and attend lectures. B,L,D
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20: SYRACUSE, SICILY
This morning we explore Syracuse, one of the most important cities in antiquity. Discover the ancient Greek and Roman theaters in the Archaeological Zone, and see the cathedral in the Old Town, built upon the ruins of the Temple of Athena. View Caravaggio’s Burial of St. Lucy, housed in the church of Santa Lucia alla Badia (pending). Alternatively, visit Il Biviere, a unique Mediterranean garden. We are then invited for a private visit to the Palazzo Beneventano del Bosco. Toast a memorable voyage tonight at the captain’s farewell dinner. B,L,D
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 21: VALLETTA, MALTA / RETURN
Disembark for the return flights home or continue on the optional Malta postlude. B
An optional two-night postlude in Valletta is offered from October 21-23.