Island Jewels of the Mediterranean
9 days with Ponant Rating:
Day 1 Valletta (Malta)
Embarkation 10/25/2020 from 16h00 to 17h00, Departure 10/25/2020 at 18h00
The whole of the Maltese capital Valletta is UNESCO World Heritage listed and occupies a peninsula in the north-east of the island. From the fountain of Tritons to Saint-Elme fort, there are as many majestic streets as there are narrow staircase vennels to explore. The painted loggia and carved corbels on the tall houses will accompany you in your explorations, and you’ll rarely be bothered by traffic. You can visit the Grandmasters palace decorated with coats of arms and frescoes. Saint-John’s cathedral and the ramparts which have guarded the city since the 16th century are also among the most emblematic sites of the city. Arranged in terraces, the Barrakka Gardens will punctuate your promenade with a green and floral experience.
Day 2 Syracuse, Sicily (Italy)
10/26/2020 from 07h00 to 12h30
Its undulating rocky coastline, the endless sandy beaches, the menacing form of Mount Etna which surveys its island like a patriarch, the flowery gardens on the hillside... Sicily lays out its varied landscapes like a shopkeeper displays his wares. Described by Cicero as “the most beautiful city in the world”, Syracuse was one of the most prestigious cities in Sicily and at her height was even a rival for Athens. A central city of Ancient Greece, it was home to a succession of civilisations, each of which has left their mark. The blend of Arabic, Roman, Norman, Byzantine and Spanish cultures makes Syracuse a town that is extraordinarily rich in fragrances, colours and flavours.
Day 3 Pylos (Greece)
10/27/2020 from 14h00 to 22h00
The picturesque port of Pylos is located in the south west of the Peloponnese. Backed against the lush green hills of Messenia, it looks out onto the Navarino Bay. You can admire the gorgeous view as you walk uptown amid pink oleanders that cascade over the jetty. A stone’s throw away, the historical centre’s winding streets will plunge you into a maze of houses with whitewashed facades and terracotta roof-tiles. On the attractive main beach, you will be able to relax in the shade of the age-old plane trees and taste the delicious local biscuits made of sesame and honey.
Day 4 Gythio (Greece)
10/28/2020 from 07h00 to 19h00
Located in the south of the Peloponnese, on the Mani Peninsula, Gytheio was the main port and naval base of ancient Sparta, located around fifty kilometres inland. In Roman times, the port experienced significant expansion thanks to trading in imperial dye; in fact, the region had an abundance of murex, the rock snails from which this dye, loved by the Romans, was extracted. The town is nestled against Mount Koumaros and dominated by a citadel. Take a stroll and fall under the charm of the calm that reigns over the stairways bordered by small neoclassic houses with steps overrun with wild flowers.
Day 5 Rethymno, Crete (Greece)
10/29/2020 from 07h00 to 23h00
Between the Sea of Crete and Libya, appears the island of Crete with its unimaginable beauty. Discover Rethymnon, home of Zeus, king of the Gods. With a huge fine sandy beach to the east and a rocky coastline to the west, this small town enchants visitors with its natural beauty and its fascinating history. The cradle of the Cretan Renaissance, a town of letters and intellectuals, from its rich past it has retained Venetian buildings from the 16th century, which cohabit harmoniously with the many minarets, testimony of the Turkish presence. Do not fail to admire its old Venetian port as well as its historical district offering a maze of narrow streets, before you head to the famous site of Cnossos, birthplace of the Minotaur.
Day 6 Santorini (Greece)
10/30/2020 from 07h00 to 23h00
The spectacular volcanic island of Santorini stands out proud in the Cyclades. Its basalt cliffs offer particularly expansive views of the Aegean. To enjoy these views, you can head for the capital, Fira. Its floral belvederes of bougainvillea provide a bird’s-eye view of several thousand metres of coastline. Further away, the gorgeous village of Oia looks like a stairway of blue and white houses on the slopes of the volcano. In the south of the island, you will be able to visit the stunning ruins of Akrotiri, an ancient city destroyed by an eruption and covered with a thick layer of lava stone.
Day 7 Mykonos (Greece)
10/31/2020 from 07h00 to 16h30
Nicknamed “little Venice”, Mykonos is famous for its Alefkandra district where houses are built right on the water’s edge. Their multi-coloured loggias are emblematic of this Cyclades island, as are the pelicans and windmills. You can get close up to the birds on the quaysides of the old port. Up on the hillside, you can see the windmill sails turning. In the cobbled streets of the pedestrian centre, bougainvillea bedeck immaculate facades. As you weave in and out of the little streets, snatches of coastline will undoubtedly call you to the island’s beaches, the quietest of which can be found on the northern coast.
Day 8 Rhodes (Greece)
11/01/2020 from 07h00 to 17h00
With its particularly agreeable climate, the island of Rhodes invites you to walk its pathways and discover its immaculate villages and sumptuous medieval city, a UNESCO World Heritage site. At the centre of the island the mountains are covered in forest and on the western slopes we find vineyards and crops. Rhodes also owes much of its charm and its character to the Knights of St John who reigned over the island from 1310 to 1522 and built impressive defensive walls punctuated with majestic gateways. Do not miss this delightful island with its peaceful beaches, its large walkways and its lively nightlife, perpetuating the myth of the famous Colossus, the legendary statue that is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Day 9 Antalya (Turkey)
Disembarkation 11/02/2020 at 08h00
On the Turkish Mediterranean coast, discover the seaside resort of Antalya. While the city sports magnificent fine sandy beaches, it is also known for its significant historical heritage. Many vestiges bear witness to the importance of this former Roman port, such as Hadrian's Gate, built in the year 130 in honour of the visiting emperor. In the old town, it is possible to admire magnificent Ottoman houses with flowery gardens, as well as the broken minaret, built on the ruins of a former Byzantine church. The city’s surroundings also provide an opportunity to discover major archaeological sites, such as that of the ancient city of Aspendos, renowned for its impressive Roman theatre.
All This Included
In Malta, board the Jacques-Cartier for an unforgettable trip to several islands that are emblematic of Southern Europe.
This 9-day cruise will take you to Sicily, Crete, the Cyclades and the Dodecanese, to discover exceptional historic and cultural sites.
Your ship will leave Valletta, the capital of Malta and former stronghold of the Knights of the Order of Malta, and set sail for Syracuse, one of the most prestigious Sicilian cities, whose monuments are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage.
In Pylos, discover the Palace of Nestor, one of the heroes of the Trojan War, then, during the port of call at Gythio, the Byzantine city of Mystras, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your ship will then drop anchor further south, in Crete. This island is notably home to the famous Minoan Palace of Knossos, birthplace of the Minotaur.
The next day, you will visit Santorini and its white villages ornamented with blue domes. In the South of the island, you can visit the ruins of the antique city of Akrotiri buried under volcanic ash.
Finally, you will head for Rhodes, whose old medieval town, built by the Knights of St John, is surrounded by ramparts. It is the largest of the Dodecanese islands and was once home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: its famous Colossus.
You will disembark in the city of Antalya. With its Roman port, picturesque narrow streets and beautiful Ottoman homes this town, lying on the southern coast of Turkey, has maintained its many charms.
Cruising: Standard cabin onboard Le Jacques-Cartier
Terms and Conditions
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.