Arrive Athens, Greece
Arrive in Athens, where an A&K representative meets and escorts you to your luxurious hotel in the heart of this historic city. After checking in, the remainder of the day is at leisure. This evening, join fellow guests for a welcome briefing before sitting down to dinner.
Athens | Ancient Majesty
Awake in the world’s ancient capital, a veritable open-air museum filled with iconic architecture. Experience its wonders as you choose, selecting from excursions that cater to varied interests. You may begin your day at the Acropolis, where you discover its Hellenistic ruins, among them the Propylaea, the temple of the Winged Victory, the Porch of the Caryatids and the majestic Parthenon. Take in stunning views over the Plaka Quarter, the ancient Agora, Mount Lycabettus and the Theater of Dionysus, where the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides were performed. After sitting down to a local lunch, continue to the Greek Orthodox Church of Kapnikarea, seeing its ornate reliefs and sculptures that depict Panathenaic games. Next, take a guided walking tour, sampling local cuisine in the Anafiotika neighborhood. While there, you also witness — and may join in on — a festive Syrtaki dance performance. Continue to a local coffee shop, where you may prepare your own cup of Greek coffee using a traditional briki pot. Visit local shops, learning about regional ingredients and dishes, such as feta cheese and pastirma, a dish featuring spiced, dried beef. Finally, visit a kompoloi workshop, seeing how the stress-relieving “worry beads” are made. Alternately, set out on a scenic drive to the Peloponnese peninsula en route to Mycenae and Epidaurus, pausing at the 19th-century Corinth Canal — an engineering marvel. Continue the Argolis region, the land of Homer’s Golden Mycenae. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this military stronghold was among the significant centers of Greek civilization during the second millennium BC. Admire the Cyclopean Walls, the Lion’s Gate and the Royal Tombs, including the Treasury of Atreus. Pause for lunch in a local restaurant before continuing to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Epidaurus, where you stand in awe of its ancient, acoustically impressive theater, said to be the birthplace of Apollo’s son, Asklepios. Should you prefer to experience Athens’ art scene instead, meet your artfocused guide and walk to a nearby gallery, learning about local, contemporary artists and the craft of furniture-making. You may even have the chance to meet an artist in person. Proceed to the Benaki Museum, the oldest in Greece, where you discover its eclectic, extensive collection of works from the Bronze Age. Take note of the antiquities from Mycenae and Thessaly, an array of regional costumes and two early works by El Greco. This evening, join your Expedition Team and fellow guests for a festive, private event on an Athenian street, featuring a scenic view of the Acropolis, live music and dancing with folkloric entertainment, and food and beverage stations.
Athens | Setting Sail
After breakfast at your hotel, spend the morning at leisure or join a guided visit to the renowned Acropolis Museum, seeing its antiquities that span the Bronze Age to the Roman and Byzantine eras. Whatever you decide, regroup with fellow guests for lunch at a beloved restaurant overlooking the Acropolis and Parthenon. After some time at leisure, board your coach for a guided panoramic tour of Athens before heading to the port of Pireaus to board elegant, new passenger ship, ‘Le Laperouse,’ your exclusively chartered home for the next seven nights. Settle in to your balcony stateroom or suite before meeting your captain and crew. As you depart Athens and cruise toward Crete, sit down to a welcome dinner aboard.
Crete | Cultural Immersions & Minoan Treasures
Disembark in Heraklion this morning, and choose from three expert-led shore excursions. You may visit the reputed Archaeological Museum, discovering its Minoan art and artifacts from the Neolithic period to Roman times. Procced to Knossos, where you pay a guided visit to King Minos’ imposing Minoan palace, which dates back to the 15th century BC. Explore its countless rooms and passageways, as well as its theater. See the king’s throne in what’s said to be Europe’s oldest throne room. Following some refreshments, take a scenic drive through the hilly countryside to a traditional Cretan village. Stroll along the narrow, paved streets, meeting with local craftsmen and visiting workshops that specialize in weaving, bread-making and blacksmithing. Then, sit down to an authentic Cretan lunch in the picturesque village square. Guests may instead visit the Historical Museum of Heraklion, which showcases the cultural heritage of Crete, from Byzantine through modern times. Continue on a walking tour of the city, seeing fabled Lion Square and 25th of August Street, a paved pedestrian boulevard fringed with stunning neoclassical architecture. After some time at leisure, drive to the towering fortress, where you take a guided tour. Then, set out on a scenic drive to a typical Cretan village, where you interact with residents and local artisans before joining fellow guests for a lunch of local specialties. Finally, guests may choose to visit Heraklion’s renowned Archaeological Museum, followed by a scenic drive to a hilltop farm, where you learn how farmers raise goats, make cheese and grow olives. Attend a handson cooking demonstration, kneading bread and making local dishes with produce collected from the farm. Then, have lunch on the terrace overlooking the fields and sea. As your excursion of choice comes to a close, drive to the port town of Rethymnon, where you may take a leisurely stroll through the charming streets. Then, rejoin your luxury vessel. As you ply the Aegean, benefit from enriching onboard presentations, such as a photography session with tips to capture Greece’s beautiful sights and landscapes, or an archaeology discussion that brings the singular architecture and ruins to light.
Santorini | Volcanic Vistas
Disembark in Athinios this morning, taking in magnificent views of the caldera. Today, choose from three engaging shore excursions. Perhaps participate in a guided visit to the archaeological site of Akrotiri, exploring its meticulously preserved houses, streets, squares and workshops, covered with volcanic pumice since 1600 BC and then excavated in the 20th century. Next, drive to the charming town of Oia. Built on a steep slope of the caldera, it’s marked by white homes, blue church domes and narrow streets. After a guided tour, enjoy time at leisure in the unique surroundings. Alternately, guests may take a short boat ride to the island of Nea Kameni, taking in views of Oia and Fira, noting the towns’ white homes and blue-domed structures. Ascend the still-active crater during a guided hike, learning about the volcano’s history as you go. Then, sail to the thermal springs of Palea Kameni, where you may swim in the warm waters. Instead, oenophiles may opt for a scenic drive through hilly Santorini, learning about the particulars of vine cultivation on the windy, dry island. Visit a local winery to experience Santorini’s winemaking process firsthand. Proceed to the 19th-century Argyros Mansion, a beautifully preserved, privately owned home. After the visit, sit down to a wine presentation and sample an array of specially selected local vintages. Each of the excursions end in Fira, where you may enjoy time at leisure in the picturesque town, perhaps shopping or exploring on your own. Rejoin your vessel at leisure. At sunset, bid farewell to Santorini, and enjoy dinner aboard.
Rhodes | Medieval Marvels
Spend a full day on the island of Rhodes, perhaps choosing to discover its medieval past as you explore the city’s fortifications on a guided walk. Enter the Old Town via the D’Amboise Gate, following cobblestone streets to the Grand Masters Palace, inspired by the Papal Palace of Avignon, France. Stroll down the Avenue of the Knights — where knights once lodged — admiring the medieval architecture, complete with large doorways, courtyards and arched windows. Proceed to the Archaeological Museum, a knight’s hospital in the 15th century. Other guests may prefer to take an island drive toward the ancient Doric town of Lindos, passing through citrus groves, fields of olive trees and vineyards. You may hike to the acropolis, seeing the temple of Athenia Lindia, a double-winged portico; the Byzantine church; the fortifications of the knights; and the remains of the governor’s quarters. Next, drive to a ceramic workshop, where you watch local artists create and decorate pottery during a demonstration. Attempt to make your own piece under the guidance of a master potter. Alternately, pay a short visit to the Grand Master’s Palace and take a walking tour of Rhodes’ Old Town, followed by a panoramic drive to a rustic, beloved restaurant. There, you participate in a hands-on cooking experience, sitting down to a lunch of the dishes you just prepared. Each excursion ends at the port, giving guests the option to board the vessel for lunch, explore the fortified town further or shop at leisure. This afternoon, guests may want to enjoy our exclusive beach break, relaxing on lounge chairs by the enchanting water. In the evening, regroup with fellow guests for a cocktail reception and gala dinner with musical entertainment at a surprise venue that’s reflective of Rhodes’ medieval heritage.
Symi | Vibrant Homes and Breathtaking Vistas
Arrive at the colorful, mountainous island of Symi, where you may explore this morning at leisure or join an expert for an educational walk. See its brightly painted neoclassical homes and scenic waterfront before returning to your vessel mid-morning. Cruise to Bodrum, Turkey. Upon arriving in the afternoon, you may choose to visit the Institute of Nautical Archaeology and meet with the head curator and diver archaeologists who take you on a private behind-the-scenes visit. You may instead escape to the Bodrum Peninsula, where you explore traditional Etrim, a mountain village known for its expertly crafted carpets. While there, you are welcomed into a 300-year-old stone home, where locals currently reside. Alternately, culinary enthusiasts can discover the bounty of fresh, local ingredients during a hands-on Turkish cooking class and wine tasting.
Mykonos | Cosmopolitan Paradise
Arrive in picturesque Mykonos today and choose from three shore excursions. You may take a private boat ride to the small, uninhabited island of Delos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, former religious center and the purported birthplace of Apollo. Explore the remarkably preserved ruins with an expert, including government buildings, homes, the cistern and the amphitheater. Should you wish to stay in Mykonos, take a short drive to town. Set out on a guided walk along its narrow, whitewashed streets, featuring a meandering layout designed to confuse pirates. Or you may choose a panoramic drive through the island, taking in its unique landscape and vistas, including Delos island, sun-drenched beaches and quaint villages. Stop in the village of Ano Mera, where you visit the Monastery of Panagia Tourliani, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. In a typical village square, pause for local snacks and beverages. As you continue on your scenic drive, stop at a 15th-century baker, seeing how woodfire ovens are utilized. As your excursion concludes, rejoin the ship for lunch. This afternoon, you may relax on a wind-sheltered beach, during an A&K exclusive beach break, where lounge chairs, towels, snacks and beverages await. Or remain on board or choose to explore Mykonos town at your own pace. As you cruise the deep-blue sea, you may attend a fascinating food and wine discussion on board.
Syros | Cyclades Treasure
Begin the day with breakfast aboard, overlooking lively Mykonos. Enjoy your vessel’s facilities or participate in water activities (weather permitting). The ship then cruises toward Syros, arriving mid-afternoon. Disembark after lunch, taking a guided walk of the island. See the impressive Cathedral of St. Nicholas; the Vaporia Quarter with its neoclassical mansions; and the Monument of the Unknown Soldier. Passing the bustling market, reach the Church of the Assumption, where you see the original icon of El Greco. End your exploration at the Apollo Theater, where you witness a rousing private performance. Tonight, attend a festive farewell dinner aboard your luxury vessel.
Arrive in Piraeus this morning, where you disembark after breakfast. Transfer to the Athens airport and board your return flight home, or join our optional extension, featuring the incomparable jewels of Northern Greece.