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Cochin to Athens (Piraeus)

20 days with Silversea   Rating: Deluxe

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Itinerary
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DAY 1 Cochin, India
A hodgepodge of cultures collide on the banks of the estuary where Cochin carves out her home. Chinese fishing nets the size of skyscrapers, boxy Dutch architecture and pretty Portuguese palaces point to the blend of influence here, while the Raj era remnants, soaring spires of old-world mosques, and near-abandoned synagogues all add to the dense, varied tapestry of inspirations and imprints. Founded by a prince in the 15th century, Cochin immediately became a favoured anchorage for sailors and traders from every far-flung corner - even taking nearby Kerala’s crown as the world's first global port city. Now, fragrant spice markets cut the hot air with cardamom and clove, while antique stores groan beneath the weight of singing copper. Hit the backstreets of Fort Kochi for a deep and dreamy Ayurvedic massage, marvel at the Krishna murals that adorn the bedchamber walls of the Mattancherry Palace, or admire India’s one of the oldest European-built Christian churches - as you duck into the cool hues of St Francis. A day can easily meander past on a backwater cruise, spreading south from Cochin, and gliding down a lacy network of creeks, lagoons, lakes and rivers. Surrounded by swaying palms and rice paddies – you’ll experience rural India in her best dress. When daylight dwindles, taste the soft spicy kick of dal roti, followed by Firni – almonds, apricots, and sweet milk crushed with pastel green pistachios for a silky light finish.
 
DAY 2 At Sea
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.
 
DAY 3 Mormugao (Goa), India
As the gateway to Goa, Mormugao is a storied city, surrounded by beaches, fascinating heritage sites, and ocean-wary fortifications. As a former capital of Portuguese India, the colonisers who landed here embarked on an extensive programme of fortification, springing up defences along the region's pretty beaches. Mormugao was also an important location for the spread of Christianity, with significant missionaries landing here including Saint Francis Xavier - whose final resting place can be found in Old Goa.
 
DAYS 4-5 At Sea
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.
 
DAY 6 Muscat, Oman
Oman's capital city is hemmed in on one side by spectacular jagged-peaked mountains and on the other by royal blue sea. The architecture is a traditional, sophisticated arabesque blend of white-washed, low-rise buildings surrounded by manicured palms, intricately designed domes set atop the minarets of the mosques, sand-colored villas, a surprising blend of modern art installations, like a giant incense burner that towers over the Corniche, and ancient forts set in the rocky hills. Though tradition abounds, from distinct, local cuisine to the widely worn national dress, the dishdasha, Muscat is a completely modern city, featuring opulent luxury hotels, international restaurants, excellent cellular and data service, sprawling shopping malls, pristine beaches, lively nightlife, world-class performing arts, and a highly educated population, most of whom speak English, Arabic, and often Hindi. Muscat is the ideal base for exploring other areas of the country since many of the most desirable destinations are within a few hours' drive.
 
DAY 7 Sur, Oman
Once a central trading port for East Africa and India, Sur was also renowned for the wonderful wooden ships it produced. Having lost some of its prestige when the French completed the Suez Canal in the 19th century, and struck by a cyclone in 2007, the city has nevertheless retained its scenic dunes and crystal waters. Sur’s most recognisable monument today is the Ras al Haad castle, a gem of Islamic architecture built in the 13th century to protect locals from Christian attacks, and which now serves as a regional political centre. While in town, science aficionados will be lured by the impressive Ras Al Jinz Scientific & Visitor Center, offering modern facilities and apps to discover the local wonders of fauna and flora. Alternatively, for an in-depth discovery of the city’s history, the maritime museum is an excellent choice.
 
DAY 8 At Sea
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.
 
DAY 9 Salalah, Oman
The lush landscape around Salalah is the intriguing result of a quirk of nature. Since it is uniquely situated in the path of the Khareef, or South Western Monsoon, this stretch of the Dhofar Coast is covered in fine mist and frequent rain from mid-June through mid-September. By the time the monsoons cease, the entire coastline is a verdant stretch. Waterfalls, rolling grasslands, and thickly wooded wadis (riverbeds) thrive alongside rapid mountain streams. Unique in this desert region, Salalah attracts many visitors from the surrounding Arabian Gulf countries who are anxious to experience a rare lushness in a region where rain and greenery are in short supply. Once a stop on the ancient trading routes that connected the Levant to India and China, Salalah has a rich history that goes back centuries. Traders from Mesopotamia, the Persian Empire, and beyond passed through Salalah in their search for frankincense, making it a major center for trade in the coveted exotic ingredient. Pre-Islamic tombs and grave sites, some believed to be up to 2,000 years old, are scattered all over the nearby mountainsides and the present-day city, which has an estimated 195,000 inhabitants.
 
DAYS 10-13 At Sea
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.
 
DAY 14 Safaga (Luxor), Egypt
Port Safago has been undergoing a transformation, slowly metamorphosing into a holiday rsort. Like other cities on the Red Sea, the commercial port town sits close to great offshore dive sites. Unlike others, however, tourist development hasn't taken off in a meaningful way. But if the mass tourism in Hurghada is a turnoff, Safaga offers a small-scale and much more low-key alternative, though the best dive sites can still be seen on a day trip from Hurghada. Safaga is also the closest beach resort to Luxor and the Valley of the Kings, which lies 200 km (124 mi) to the southwest; when cruise ships offer land excursions to Luxor, they often do so through Safaga.
 
DAY 15 At Sea
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.
 
DAY 16 Suez Canal Transit
After several debates over its building, the Suez Canal opened under French Control on 17 November 1869, paving a gateway from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea. This history-bound canal enhanced the colonisation of Africa throughout the next 50 years and facilitated World Commerce. Today, it still plays a pivotal role in trading and tourism, offering a fast access to Asia from the Mediterranean and vice versa.
 
DAY 17 At Sea
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.
 
DAY 18 Rhodes Island, Greece - Symi, Greece
Early travelers described Rhodes as a town of two parts: a castle or high town (Collachium) and a lower city. Today Rhodes town—sometimes referred to as Ródos town—is still a city of two parts: the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site that incorporates the high town and lower city, and the modern metropolis, or New Town, spreading away from the walls that encircle the Old Town. The narrow streets of the Old Town are for the most part closed to cars and are lined with Orthodox and Catholic churches, Turkish houses (some of which follow the ancient orthogonal plan), and medieval public buildings with exterior staircases and facades elegantly constructed of well-cut limestone from Lindos. Careful reconstruction in recent years has enhanced the harmonious effect.
 
A part of the Dodecanese Islands, Symi is situated on the Asia Minor Coast just a few nautical miles northwest of Rhodes. Far-removed from mass tourism models, Symi is home to a unique blend of aristocratic, yet subtle natural beauty. As you enter Symi’s perfectly-formed harbour, Gialos, a beautiful picture-postcard view of a Venetian village begins to unfold. At one time, its thriving sponge diving, ship building and woodcarving industries earned Symi its place among Greece’s richest islands. Wonderfully well-preserved two-and-three-story mansions feature vivid, brightly-painted facades that reflect this illustrious bygone era. Symi’s history dates back to ancient times. Aigli, Metapontis and Kariki are some of Symi’s ancient names where, according to mythology, the Graces were born. Symi’s present moniker stems from the nymph of the same name. She was thought to have mated with Poseidon, God of the Seas, and bore Hthonios, who became the leader of the island’s first inhabitants.
 
DAY 19 Naxos, Greece - Folegandros, Greece
A little bit more rough and ready around the edges than a lot of other Greek islands, Naxos is the thinking-person’s Greece. The largest of all the Cyclades islands, it was once the cultural centre of Classical Greece and Byzantium, so do not be surprised that the world’s oldest culture has left its mark. Museums range from the Archaeological Museum (housed in an elegant Venetian mansion), an impressive geological museum to the lovely Venetian and unusual museum, housed in an 800-year old private house. For those who want to venture further afield, Haki, the old capital of Naxos, has a great distillery museum, run by the same family who first opened it in 1896. When not brushing up on your Greek history, Naxos back country is definitely on the to-do list. Not only are there two lovely monasteries worth visiting, but because of its high mountains Naxos benefits from much more rainfall than most other Greek islands, which makes the land very green and fertile. Local produces includes olives, grapes, figs, citrus fruit, corn and potatoes and if you get a chance, a healthy home-grown meal in a back-country taverna will be undoubtedly be memorable. Finally, no trip to a Greek island would be complete with at least a stroll on the beach. The golden sands that circle Naxos are particularly nice, catering for all personality types. The active among you will certainly want to head to the eastern side of the island, where the wind is perfect for budding kite and windsurfers, as well as those who like their beaches as natural as can be. The western side of the island, notably Platka beach, is where the sun-lovers will be seen soaking up the rays. The soft sand, crystal turquoise waters and beautiful views are something very closed to paradise.
 
There is popular saying that good things come in small packages, or that small is beautiful. And never has a truer word been said when talking about Folegandros. Because this little island in the Aegean packs a big punch. What it might lack in mainstream tourism – you won’t see any all-day breakfasts or Sky sports channels here – is more amply made up by the mouthwatering cuisine, stunning beaches, azure Aegean waters and secluded coves. At just 12.5 m2 this tiny Cycladic gem – along with its 765 year round inhabitants – is a pearl waiting to be polished. Named after the son of King Minos, the island’s auspicious history is eclipsed by its beauty. Used as a prison for exiled political prisoners until last century, the island’s remote location is a happy blessing for those who want step back in time. Despite being so secluded, there is plenty for visitpors to do once they have arrived in the charming harbour and its village. The pebbly beaches are covered with tamarisk trees, while scenic Karavostássis, with its beautiful beach is the perfect starting point for an exploration of the five other glorious beaches of on the island. Livádi, a village with a sandy beach and turquoise waters is a must-see for all those who want to go off the beaten path, but still want to swim in the warm Aegean waters. A boat tour of the island offers day-trippers to fully appreciate the tall cliffs and large “golden” cave (unfortunately closed to the public due to the archaeological excavations taking place). The whitewashed houses and zigzagging path are certainly worth the view from the water! A walk up the same path from the pretty village to the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary takes about 15 minutes, and offers stupendous views once you’re at the top.
 
Day 20 Athens (Piraeus), Greece
It's no wonder that all roads lead to the fascinating and maddening metropolis of Athens. Lift your eyes 200 feet above the city to the Parthenon, its honey-color marble columns rising from a massive limestone base, and you behold architectural perfection that has not been surpassed in 2,500 years. But, today, this shrine of classical form dominates a 21st-century boomtown. To experience Athens—Athína in Greek—fully is to understand the essence of Greece: ancient monuments surviving in a sea of cement, startling beauty amid the squalor, tradition juxtaposed with modernity. Locals depend on humor and flexibility to deal with the chaos; you should do the same. The rewards are immense. Although Athens covers a huge area, the major landmarks of the ancient Greek, Roman, and Byzantine periods are close to the modern city center. You can easily walk from the Acropolis to many other key sites, taking time to browse in shops and relax in cafés and tavernas along the way. From many quarters of the city you can glimpse "the glory that was Greece" in the form of the Acropolis looming above the horizon, but only by actually climbing that rocky precipice can you feel the impact of the ancient settlement. The Acropolis and Filopappou, two craggy hills sitting side by side; the ancient Agora (marketplace); and Kerameikos, the first cemetery, form the core of ancient and Roman Athens. Along the Unification of Archaeological Sites promenade, you can follow stone-paved, tree-lined walkways from site to site, undisturbed by traffic. Cars have also been banned or reduced in other streets in the historical center. In the National Archaeological Museum, vast numbers of artifacts illustrate the many millennia of Greek civilization; smaller museums such as the Goulandris Museum of Cycladic Art Museum and the Byzantine and Christian Museum illuminate the history of particular regions or periods. Athens may seem like one huge city, but it is really a conglomeration of neighborhoods with distinctive characters. The Eastern influences that prevailed during the 400-year rule of the Ottoman Empire are still evident in Monastiraki, the bazaar area near the foot of the Acropolis. On the northern slope of the Acropolis, stroll through Plaka (if possible by moonlight), an area of tranquil streets lined with renovated mansions, to get the flavor of the 19th-century's gracious lifestyle. The narrow lanes of Anafiotika, a section of Plaka, thread past tiny churches and small, color-washed houses with wooden upper stories, recalling a Cycladic island village. In this maze of winding streets, vestiges of the older city are everywhere: crumbling stairways lined with festive tavernas; dank cellars filled with wine vats; occasionally a court or diminutive garden, enclosed within high walls and filled with magnolia trees and the flaming trumpet-shaped flowers of hibiscus bushes. Formerly run-down old quarters, such as Thission, Gazi and Psirri, popular nightlife areas filled with bars and mezedopoleia (similar to tapas bars), are now in the process of gentrification, although they still retain much of their original charm, as does the colorful produce and meat market on Athinas. The area around Syntagma Square, the tourist hub, and Omonia Square, the commercial heart of the city about 1 km (½ mi) northwest, is distinctly European, having been designed by the court architects of King Otho, a Bavarian, in the 19th century. The chic shops and bistros of ritzy Kolonaki nestle at the foot of Mt. Lycabettus, Athens's highest hill (909 feet). Each of Athens's outlying suburbs has a distinctive character: in the north is wealthy, tree-lined Kifissia, once a summer resort for aristocratic Athenians, and in the south and southeast lie Glyfada, Voula, and Vouliagmeni, with their sandy beaches, seaside bars, and lively summer nightlife. Just beyond the city's southern fringes is Piraeus, a bustling port city of waterside fish tavernas and Saronic Gulf views.
Map
All This Included
Channel your inner Vasco de Gama and set sail on the spice routes that brought home the exotic. Departing Cochin, learn of the fabled expeditions during your sea days, or simply enjoy the pleasures that the ocean brings. Punctate days of blue with age-old cities and UNESCO World Heritage sites, not forgetting a Suez Canal crossing. From Oman’s opulence to Greece’s blue-domed idyll, we guarantee every moment matters on this trip.
  • Transfers (between airport, hotel and ship)
  • 1 night hotel
  • Guided Zodiac, land and sea tours, and shoreside activities led by the Expeditions Team
  • Enrichment lectures by a highly qualified Expeditions Team
  • Spacious suites
  • Butler service in every suite
  • Unlimited Free Wifi
  • Personalised service – nearly one crew member for every guest
  • Choice of restaurants, diverse cuisine, open-seating dining
  • Beverages in-suite and throughout the ship, including champagne, select wines and spirits
  • In-suite dining and room service
  • Onboard entertainment
  • Onboard gratuities
Accommodations
Cruising: Cabin onboard Silver Cloud
Notes
  • Cabin upgrades are available.
  • Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather and wildlife activity. Expedition Team members scheduled for this voyage are subject to change or cancellation.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
For Silversea terms and conditions, please click here.

* 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.