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10-Day Mediterranean Odyssey

12 Day Cruise from £4,499 pp  

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Seabourn 12 Day Cruise on Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn from £4,499 pp  

Departure 29 April 2020 | 10-Day Mediterranean Odyssey

Fares are cruise-only unless otherwise stated. Contact us to add flights and tailor-make your holiday.

Destinations

  • Civitavecchia
  • Bastia
  • Ponza Island
  • Amalfi
  • Trapani
  • Valletta
  • Mgarr
  • Santorini
  • Naoussa Parou
  • Piraeus

10-Day Mediterranean Odyssey

from £4,499 pp
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Day by day itinerary

Day 1 — Civitavecchia
Civitavecchia Boats

Civitavecchia Boats

Italy's vibrant capital lives in the present, but no other city on earth evokes its past so powerfully. For over 2,500 years, emperors, popes, artists, and common citizens have left their mark here. Archaeological remains from ancient Rome, art-stuffed churches, and the treasures of Vatican City vie for your attention, but Rome is also a wonderful place to practice the Italian-perfected il dolce far niente, the sweet art of idleness. Your most memorable experiences may include sitting at a caffè in the Campo de' Fiori or strolling in a beguiling piazza.
Day 2 — Bastia
Corsica's northern capital, Bastia, is the centre of commerce and industry and a thriving freight and passenger port. Commerce, more than tourism, is its main focus, providing employment for many Corsicans. Bastia's industrial sprawl, however, is offset by its aged charm. The presence of an overwhelming Italian atmosphere adds to the city's attraction. Two distinct areas comprise the city: Terra Vecchia, the old quarter, consisting of haphazard streets, flamboyant Baroque churches and lofty tenements, with their crumbling golden-grey walls set against a backdrop of fire-darkened hills; and the more orderly Terra Nova, the historic district favoured by prominent doctors, lawyers and architects. The city dates from Roman times, when a base was set up at Biguglia to the south. Under the Genoese, Bastia was the island's capital for four centuries and of major importance for the export of wine to the Italian mainland. They built a fortress (bastiglia), which gave the town its name. The Genoese also were responsible for laying the foundation for the area's prosperity by planting vines, olives, chestnut trees and other experimental crops. This resulted in an energetic and enterprising region, still a characteristic of today's northern Corsica. Although Napoleon had appointed Ajaccio the capital of the island in 1811- initiating a rivalry that still exists - Bastia established a stronger trading position with mainland France. As a result, the Nouveau Port was created in 1862 to cope with the increasing traffic with France and Italy. Bastia's economic prominence and a German division based here during World War II accounted for severe bombing attacks. Many buildings were destroyed, including much of the old governor's palace. Of the two largest towns on the island, Ajaccio and Bastia, the latter boasts a more genuine Corsican character. Visitors can experience an authentic feel of island life by wandering through the maze of narrow streets of Bastia's old quarter and by exploring its fortifications. Don't miss the vast Place Saint-Nicolas just north of the old quarter; it is the focal point of the city. Open to the sea and lined with shady trees and sidewalk cafes, it is a perfect place for people watching and for taking in the local ambiance. Pier Information The ship is scheduled to dock at the port of Bastia. The city's focal point, Place Saint-Nicolas, is a distance of 650 feet (200 metres) to walk. Taxis are generally available at the pier but it is highly recommended to book in advance if you want to be sure to get one. It is recommended to establish the fare before leaving the port. Shopping The main shopping streets, Boulevard Paoli and Rue Cesar Campinchi, are less than one half miles (500 metres) from the port terminal. Handicrafts and the area's specialties such as honey, wine and liqueurs may be of interest. Most shops are open from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Shops are closed for the day on Sundays and some shops may also close Monday mornings (some souvenirs shops may open Sundays during the high season of July-August). The local currency is the euro. Cuisine A variety of restaurants offer a good choice of eating possibilities. Some of the best restaurants are found around the Vieux Port and on the Quai des Martyrs. French cuisine and seafood feature prominently on menus as well as such Corsican specialties as wild boar, charcuterie and aziminu, a local version of bouillabaisse. Evidence of Bastia's strong Italian influence is apparent in the numerous pizza and pasta places in the Nouveau Port area. For outdoor dining and people watching, cafes around lively Place Saint-Nicolas are a perfect place. Other Sites Oratoire de Saint-Roch Located in the Terra Vecchia quarter, the chapel is a Genoese Baroque extravaganza built in 1604. The walls are covered with finely carved wooden panelling and the organ is magnificent with its decoration of gilt and wooden sculpture. Oratoire de L'Immaculee Conception Although its exterior is rather austere, the flamboyant interior of this 17th-century church with gilt and marble ceiling, frescoes and crystal chandeliers creates an ambiance of an opera house. Vieux Port Site of the original Porto Prado, the area around the Vieux Port is the most appealing part of town. Its soaring houses seem to bend inwards towards the water. Once busy with Genoese traders, the building of the ferry terminal and commercial docks have reduced much of the action at Vieux Port. Terra Nova As the administrative core of old Bastia, Terra Nova displays a distinct air of affluence. Its most impressive building is the 14th-century Governor's Palace. During the Genoese heyday the governor and the bishop lived here, entertaining foreign dignitaries and hosting massive parties. Private arrangements for independent sightseeing may be requested through the Tour Office on board, subject to the availability of English-speaking guides.
Day 3 — Ponza Island
Day 4 — Amalfi
At first glance, it's hard to imagine that this resort destination was one of the world's great naval powers, and a sturdy rival of Genoa and Pisa for control of the Mediterranean in the 11th and 12th centuries. Once the seat of the Amalfi Maritime Republic, the town is set in a verdant valley of the Lattari Mountains, with cream-colored and pastel-hued buildings tightly packing a gorge on the Bay of Salerno. The harbor, which once launched the greatest fleet in Italy, now bobs with ferries and blue-and-white fishing boats. The main street, lined with shops and pasticcerie, has replaced a raging mountain torrent, and terraced hills flaunt the green and gold of lemon groves. Bearing testimony to its great trade with Tunis, Tripoli, and Algiers, Amalfi remains honeycombed with Arab-Sicilian cloisters and covered passages. In a way Amalfi has become great again, showing off its medieval glory days with sea pageants, convents-turned-hotels, ancient paper mills, covered streets, and its glimmering cathedral.
Day 5 — Trapani, Sicily
Trapani panoramic view of harbor, Sicily, Italy

Trapani panoramic view of harbor, Sicily, Italy

Trapani, the most important town on Sicily’s west coast, lies below the headland of Mount Erice and offers stunning views of the Egadi Islands on a clear day. Trapani’s Old District occupies a scimitarshaped promontory between the open sea on the north and the salt marshes to the south. The ancient industry of extracting salt from the marshes has recently been revived, and it is documented in the Museo delle Saline. In addition to the salt marshes,Trapani’s other interesting environs include the beautiful little hill town of Erice, the promontory of Capo San Vito stretching north beyond the splendid headland of Monte Cofano, the lovely island of Motya and the town of Marsala. Trips farther afield will take you to the magnificent site of Segesta or the Egadi Islands, reached by boat or hydrofoil from Trapani Port.
Day 6 — Valletta
Valletta, Malta

Valletta, Malta

Malta's capital, the minicity of Valletta, has ornate palaces and museums protected by massive fortifications of honey-color limestone. Houses along the narrow streets have overhanging wooden balconies for people-watching from indoors. Generations ago they gave housebound women a window on the world of the street. The main entrance to town is through the City Gate (where all bus routes end), which leads onto Triq Repubblika (Republic Street), the spine of the grid-pattern city and the main shopping street. Triq Mercante (Merchant Street) parallels Repubblika to the east and is also good for strolling. From these two streets, cross streets descend toward the water; some are stepped. Valletta's compactness makes it ideal to explore on foot. City Gate and the upper part of Valletta are experiencing vast redevelopment that includes a new Parliament Building and open-air performance venue. The complex, completed mid-2013, has numerous pedestrian detours in place along with building noise and dust. Before setting out along Republic Street, stop at the tourist information office on Merchant Street for maps and brochures.
Day 7 — Mgarr, Gozo
Day 8 to 10 — Santorini
Santorini, Greece 2

Santorini, Greece 2

Undoubtedly the most extraordinary island in the Aegean, crescent-shape Santorini remains a mandatory stop on the Cycladic tourist route—even if it's necessary to enjoy the sensational sunsets from Ia, the fascinating excavations, and the dazzling white towns with a million other travelers. Called Kállisti (the "Loveliest") when first settled, the island has now reverted to its subsequent name of Thira, after the 9th-century-BC Dorian colonizer Thiras. The place is better known, however, these days as Santorini, a name derived from its patroness, St. Irene of Thessaloniki, the Byzantine empress who restored icons to Orthodoxy and died in 802. You can fly conveniently to Santorini, but to enjoy a true Santorini rite of passage, opt instead for the boat trip here, which provides a spectacular introduction. After the boat sails between Sikinos and Ios, your deck-side perch approaches two close islands with a passage between them. The bigger one on the left is Santorini, and the smaller on the right is Thirassia. Passing between them, you see the village of Ia adorning Santorini's northernmost cliff like a white geometric beehive. You are in the caldera (volcanic crater), one of the world's truly breathtaking sights: a demilune of cliffs rising 1,100 feet, with the white clusters of the towns of Fira and Ia perched along the top. The bay, once the high center of the island, is 1,300 feet in some places, so deep that when boats dock in Santorini's shabby little port of Athinios, they do not drop anchor. The encircling cliffs are the ancient rim of a still-active volcano, and you are sailing east across its flooded caldera. On your right are the Burnt isles, the White isle, and other volcanic remnants, all lined up as if some outsize display in a geology museum. Hephaestus's subterranean fires smolder still—the volcano erupted in 198 BC, about 735, and there was an earthquake in 1956. Indeed, Santorini and its four neighboring islets are the fragmentary remains of a larger landmass that exploded about 1600 BC: the volcano's core blew sky high, and the sea rushed into the abyss to create the great bay, which measures 10 km by 7 km (6 mi by 4½ mi) and is 1,292 feet deep. The other pieces of the rim, which broke off in later eruptions, are Thirassia, where a few hundred people live, and deserted little Aspronissi ("White isle"). In the center of the bay, black and uninhabited, two cones, the Burnt Isles of Palea Kameni and Nea Kameni, appeared between 1573 and 1925. There has been too much speculation about the identification of Santorini with the mythical Atlantis, mentioned in Egyptian papyri and by Plato (who says it's in the Atlantic), but myths are hard to pin down. This is not true of old arguments about whether tidal waves from Santorini's cataclysmic explosion destroyed Minoan civilization on Crete, 113 km (70 mi) away. The latest carbon-dating evidence, which points to a few years before 1600 BC for the eruption, clearly indicates that the Minoans outlasted the eruption by a couple of hundred years, but most probably in a weakened state. In fact, the island still endures hardships: since antiquity, Santorini has depended on rain collected in cisterns for drinking and irrigating—the well water is often brackish—and the serious shortage is alleviated by the importation of water. However, the volcanic soil also yields riches: small, intense tomatoes with tough skins used for tomato paste (good restaurants here serve them); the famous Santorini fava beans, which have a light, fresh taste; barley; wheat; and white-skin eggplants.
Day 11 — Naoussa Parou
Day 12 — Piraeus
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.

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Seabourn Odyssey carries 450 guests in the same intimate, relaxed atmosphere as its smaller sister ships and shares the same all-suite accommodations and delights, such as the water sports marina.

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