Sicily Circumnavigation—Sea Cloud II

Sicily Circumnavigation—Sea Cloud II



Classical temples, open-air theaters, villas adorned with mosaics and frescoes, magnificently adorned churches and chapels, Islamic cloisters, and Baroque cathedrals are all found here in abundance. Begin in Valletta, the vibrant capital city of the island nation of Malta and one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world. Then embark Sea Cloud II for a splendid, seven-night cruise circumnavigating Sicily. Explore the island’s treasures with stops in Trapani (with options to visit Segesta, Erice, or Marsala),Palermo, Giardini Naxos (for Taormina or Mt. Etna), and Syracuse. This itinerary also includes a day in the Aeolian Islands, one of seven UNESCO sites visited during this cruise, as well as a specially-timed sailing to enjoy up-close views of the still-active Stromboli volcano. Also available is an optional, pre-trip extension on Malta and Gozo, with visits to remarkable Neolithic and medieval sites.

Pricing from
Trip Type
Group Travel Tour, International Ocean & Sea Voyages
Departure Dates
Jun 15, 2024 - Jun 24, 2024


June 13 – 16, 2024
This two-night pre-trip extension offers the chance to experience the sites, stunning landscape and local charm of this island nation beyond its capital city, including a day trip to the idyllic island of Gozo to see the oldest megalithic temples on Earth.
Thursday-Friday, June 13-14
Depart United States on overnight flights to Europe. Arrive Valletta and transfer to the Grand Excelsior Hotel. Gather this evening for a welcome reception and dinner at the hotel. PHOENICIA HOTEL (D)
Saturday, June 15
Head out today for an exploration of Malta’s south coast beginning with the megalithic complex of Hagar Qim, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that overlooks the wide expanse of the blue Mediterranean and islet of Filfla. Continue to picturesque Marsaxlokk, a fishing village since Roman times, with its artistic building facades and colorful boats bobbing in the harbor. Wander the local market, set right on the water, and enjoy lunch independently. Just before sunset, head to M’dina, one of Europe’s finest examples of an ancient walled city and extraordinary in its mix of medieval and baroque architecture, best seen as the light fades. The lamp-lit streets of Malta’s oldest town radiate medieval intrigue. Celebrate being in Malta together during a festive dinner, followed by a moonlit amble when M’dina is at its most atmospheric. PHOENICIA HOTEL (B, D)
Sunday, June 16
Disembark the Sea Cloud II following breakfast and launch your post-tour exploration ferry to Gozo, one of the three main islands that make the Mediterranean nation of Malta. Gozo Island is full of stunning panoramas and historic sites, including one of Malta’s best-preserved prehistoric temples, the UNESCO World Heritage Site site of Ġgantija. Following a guided visit to the temples, continue to the charming capital city of Victoria and a visit to the Citadel, the center of the Gozo since Neolithic times. Enjoy a seaside lunch before taking in the island’s extraordinary landscape of intricately carved salt pans and towering cliffs. Late this afternoon ferry back to Malta and begin the main tour with a welcome reception and dinner. PHOENCIA HOTEL (B, L)
Extension Program Fee:
Per person, sharing accommodations …………………………………………………………….. $2,290
Single Supplement ……………………………………………………………………………………….. $2,590


  • Elihu Rubin

    Elihu Rubin

    Elihu Rubin is Associate Professor of Architecture, Urbanism, and American Studies at Yale. He received a doctorate in architecture and a master’s in city planning from the University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor of arts from Yale. His first book, Insuring the City: The Prudential Center and the Postwar Urban Landscape (Yale Univ. Press, 2012) was awarded the Kenneth T. Jackson Prize from the Urban History Association and the Lewis Mumford Award from the Society of American City & Regional Planning History. Mr. Rubin’s work focuses on the   making and meaning of the built environment; architectural preservation and the politics of “heritage planning.” An enthusiastic lecturer, Elihu has also made documentary videos relating to urban history, the politics of public spaces, urban redevelopment, architectural modernism, and street life.


Upon payment of the $1,000 per person deposit, all reservations are subject to the cancellation provisions set forth below and by which the passenger agrees to be bound. Cancellations shall not be in effect until they are received in writing and confirmed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Deposits are refundable (less a $250 per person administration fee) if written notice of cancellation is received within 30 days of reservation; after that, deposits are 100% nonrefundable. After final payment deadline all payments are 100% nonrefundable, regardless of booking date. Trip cancellation insurance is strongly recommended.


Sicily map


  • day 1&2


    Depart the U.S. on an overnight flight to Valletta, Malta. Arrive on Sunday, June 16th, and transfer to the Grand Excelsior Hotel. After settling in, gather for a welcome orientation and reception in the evening.

  • day 3

    Valletta, Malta

    Start the day with a morning lecture, followed by a choice of excursions. The entire city of Valletta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site built by the Knights of St. John to defend against Ottoman invasions in the 16th century. Today choose from three excursion options: 1) archaeological tour featuring the Tarxien Temples, Hypogeum (pending availability), and the National Museum of Archaeology 2) exploration of Malta’s military history including the city’s underground tunnels and the National War Museum at Fort St. Elmo, or 3) architecture tour of Valletta highlighting St. John’s Co-Cathedral and the new works of Renzo Piano, followed by lunch in a historic palazzo. Embark Sea Cloud II in the late afternoon and set sail for Sicily.

  • day 4

    At Sea

    Experience a full day under sail in the southern Mediterranean and sit back and observe deckhands as they scale masts reaching 180 feet high to set sail on one of the finest hand-sailed square-riggers of our age. Enjoy the continuation of the education program and take advantage of the ship’s many amenities during free time between lectures. Tours of Sea Cloud II are offered, and, weather permitting, tenders are used to photograph the ship at sail. In the evening, attend the Captain’s welcome reception.

  • day 5

    Trapani, Sicily

    Begin your exploration of Sicily with a visit to the well-preserved Doric Greek temple of Segesta, thought to have been designed by an Athenian architect. Then choose between: 1) An ascent to the medieval hilltop town of Erice, where an impressive Norman castle sits atop the ruins of a Venusian temple and tiny treasure-filled churches dot cobbled alleyways, or 2) A jaunt to seaside Marsala, an ancient city famous for its wine, to visit the oldest winery in the region and delve into its history on a private tour and tasting. Later, enjoy an afternoon at sea with the continuation of the lecture program and a sailing opportunity, weather permitting.

  • day 6


    Begin today with a visit to Monreale, home to a stunning 12th-century cathedral (another UNESCO World Heritage Site) recognized as one of the world’s greatest surviving examples of Norman architecture. Next, enjoy an exploration of diverse architectural treasures of Sicily’s capital city, Palermo, featuring the Royal Palace of Palermo (Palazzo dei Normanni) with its dazzling Cappella Palantina (Royal Chapel), a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. After lunch in atmospheric Old Town Palermo, spend the rest of the afternoon exploring its narrow and lively streets with a choice of two excursions: 1) a visit to the Batellis Art Museum, home to Antonello da
    Messina’s Annunction, 2) explore Palermo’s famed Archaeological Museum, which features artifacts from the island’s major sites.

  • day 7

    Lipari, Aeolian Islands

    Sail to the small volcanic islet of Lipari, part of the Aeolian Islands, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, whose cultural history stretches back 7,000 years. While ashore choose between: 1) an in-depth walking tour of the town center with a visit to the Aeolian Archaeological Museum, or 2) A leisurely driving tour around the perimeter of the island with spectacular views of the other Aeolian volcanoes, ending in Lipari center. Return to the ship for lunch and an afternoon of sailing in between lectures. At sunset, gather on deck and witness natural pyrotechnics.

  • day 8

    Giardini Naxos

    This morning either: 1) Explore the old-world resort town of Taormina, home to a charming market, buzzing shops, and cafés on the fashionable pedestrian-only Corso Umberto, and an ancient Greek theater that has hosted performances for more than two thousand years, or 2) Weather permitting, visit the Silvestri Crater and ascend the slopes of Mt. Etna via cable car for stunning views from the summit of Europe’s largest active volcano. This afternoon, return to the ship in time for lunch and set sail for Syracuse.

  • day 9


    Founded around 734 B.C. by Greek Corinthians, Syracuse was conquered and ruled by Romans, Saracens, Byzantines, Normans, and Ottomans, who each left a legacy of archaeological treasures that have earned the city UNESCO World Heritage status. Tour the expansive archaeological park, home to the stunning Greek theater and Roman amphitheater that combine to make this one of the greatest archaeological sites in all of Italy. Continue to the adjacent fortified island of Ortigia and take in the sights and smells of the lively food market before strolling through beautiful alleyways and piazzas to the Piazza del Duomo, home to the city’s monumental cathedral. In a nearby private palazzo dating back to the Middle Ages, enjoy a reception hosted by a nobleman and view a collection of etchings of ancient Syracuse and Sicily. Return to the ship and set sail for Malta in the afternoon. This evening, attend the Captain’s farewell reception and enjoy dinner en route to Valletta.

  • day 10

    Valletta, Malta

    Gather on deck this morning as Sea Cloud II returns to Valletta’s spectacular Grand Harbor. Following breakfast, prepare to disembark for flights home.

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