Deep within the mountains of western Greece 4,000 years ago, legends arose of a woman who could hear the future whispering from oak trees. She was the Oracle of Dodoni, and this first sacred place of augury was recounted by Herotodus, “the father of history.”
Come with us this autumn, aboard the 114-guest, all-suite Corinthian II, to Dodoni and further – sailing through four millennia of Mediterranean history and culture. We’ll be exploring seven countries from Greece to Morocco, discovering the intricate connections between the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, and Carthaginians as they crisscrossed each others’ paths for trade, colonization, and conquest. We’ve chosen these extraordinary – and often, highly unusual – destinations to highlight the “layering” of the centuries, giving you a breathtaking experience of the future as seen from the most ancient eyes, and the textured past as we see it today.
From the Oracle of Dodoni, we’ll voyage to Albania to survey the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Butrint, founded by Trojans, according to tradition, fleeing the burning towers of Troy. In this one place, you’ll find a Greek acropolis, a Roman theater, a Byzantine baptistery, and a 19th-century fortress – simply incredible. We’ll then voyage along with ancient Spartans and Corinthians, who founded new cities on the Italian coast (“Magna Graecia”), and explore ancient Syracuse, which became one of the most prominent powers of the ancient world. After marveling at the grand bastion of the Hospitaller Knights in Malta and its prehistoric monuments, we’ll tack southerly, and visit legendary Carthage, the evocative ruins of Hippo Regius (where St. Augustine was born), and Djemila, and see the legacy of Phoenicians and Romans, among others.
This is a marvelous experience to some of the finest, but rarely visited, sites of the Mediterranean – an opportunity to delve into more than 4,000 years of civilization as it expanded, collaborated, and commingled. You’ll see it all aboard one of the most elegant small ships in the world, with all-suite accommodations. We hope you can join us for this extraordinary adventure.
A History of the Mediterranean Sea itinerary:
Day 1: ATHENS, Greece | PIRAEUS | EMBARK
Arrive in Athens and transfer to Piraeus to embark Corinthian II. Sail in the evening, transiting the Corinth Canal.
Day 2: PREVEZA | DODONI and IOANNINA or NIKOPOLIS and KASSOPE
From Preveza, on Greece’s west coast, drive through rural country to Dodoni to explore its ancient site, an oracular center dedicated to Zeus. Dodoni’s important remains include a superb 3rd century B.C. theater and the sanctuary. From Dodoni, continue to the friendly and quaint town of Ioannina, set on a promontory jutting into a lake. Alternatively, tour in the morning Nikopolis, founded by Augustus in 31 B.C. to celebrate his victory over Mark Anthony and Cleopatra, and spend the afternoon at leisure in Preveza, or explore the rarely-visited Kassope.
Day 3: SARANDA, Albania | BUTRI NT | SARANDA
From Saranda, drive to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Butrint. Inhabited since prehistoric times, the city was founded by the Trojans, or so claimed the poet Virgil. A gem of an archaeological site, its ruins span 2,500 years and include the remains of a Greek acropolis, Roman theater, 6th-century baptistery, and 19th-century fortress. Sail for Italy in the afternoon.
Day 4: TARANTO, Puglia, Italy | METAPONTUM | MATERA | TARANTO
Located on the gulf that bears its name on Italy’s south shore, Taranto was founded by Spartan settlers in 708 b.c. and became one of the most powerful cities in Magna Graecia. Drive to Metapontum, the remains of the ancient Greek city that grew rich from agriculture and its position on the trade route with the cities of the Tyrrhenian coast. After exploring the site and its museum, continue to Matera, a breathtaking hilltop town designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Day 5: REGGIO DI CALABRIA
One of the earliest ancient Greek settlements in mainland Italy, Reggio is built on the Straits of Messina facing Sicily. After arriving in the morning, visit the National Museum of Magna Graecia’s temporary exhibit and see the two Riace Bronzes, life-size bronze statues recovered from the bottom of the sea. Drive through the Lungomare, the seaside esplanade described “as the most beautiful kilometer in Italy,” to the private Piccolo Museo di San Paolo, which houses a splendid collection of icons and other religious art. In the afternoon, there will be an opportunity to explore the villages of the Aspromonte massif.
Day 6: SYRACUSE, Sicily | NOTO | SYRACUSE
Commanding a prominent spot on Sicily’s east coast, fabled Syracuse rivaled Athens as the most powerful city of the Greek world. With its ancient monuments, archaeological museum, and splendid setting, Syracuse is one of Italy’s most interesting cities. Explore Syracuse’s monuments and then drive to Sicily’s southeast region to visit Noto, a beautifully preserved Baroque city.
Day 7: VALLETTA, Malta
Rich in prehistoric remains, the island of Malta became the home of the Knights Hospitallers of St. John after they were expelled from Rhodes. Tour Valletta’s medieval monuments, including the Grand Master’s Palace and St. John’s Co- Cathedral. In the afternoon, tour the National Museum of Archaeology and the Tarxien Temples, Malta’s most important megalithic structures.
Day 8: MARSALA, Sicily, Italy | SELINUNTE | MARSALA or MOZIA or ERICE | MARSALA
From Marsala, enjoy a morning excursion to Selinunte, the most westerly ancient Greek colony in Sicily. A highland overlooking the sea provides a tranquil setting for the expansive ruins of what was once among the island’s most progressive cities. Spend the afternoon at leisure in Marsala. Alternatively, explore Mozia, founded by Phoenicians in the 8th century B.C. as a commercial base. Its museum exhibits superb sculptures. Or, drive to Erice, a mountainous town in the Trapani province.
Day 9: SOUSSE, Tunisia | El DJEM | SOUSSE
Sailing south, we reach Sousse, one of the Mediterranean’s oldest ports. Drive to El Djem to explore its great Roman amphitheater, built in the 3rd century A.D. to seat 35,000 spectators. Many of the amphitheater’s stones were used to build the village of El Djem in the 17th century. Continue to the site’s museum, with its fine collection of mosaics.
Day 10: TUNIS | CARTHAGE | TUNIS
From Tunis, travel to storied Carthage, a Phoenician stronghold since the 9th century B.C. The site includes several Phoenician remains, such as Tophet, the sanctuary of the gods Tanit and Baal, as well as many monuments from the Roman period. Also tour the Bardo Museum, world-renowned for its spectacular collection of Roman mosaics, and enjoy time at leisure visiting the medina and its souks.
Day 11: CAGLIARI, Sardinia, Italy | SU NURAXI | NORA or CAGLIARI
From Cagliari, drive to the village of Barumini to visit Su Nuraxi, Sardinia’s most impressive nuraghic complex and a UNESCO Heritage of Humanity Site. In the afternoon, spend time at leisure to explore Cagliari on your own, or take an excursion to Nora, whose ancient remains facing the sea date from the Carthaginian and Roman periods.
Day 12: ANNABA, Algeria | HIPPO REGIUS | ANNABA
From Annaba, visit the ancient site of Hippo Regius, which bears the marks of Phoenicians, Romans, Vandals, and Byzantines, among others. Explore the Roman Forum, the largest and oldest in North Africa, and the Baths, dedicated to Septimius Severus. Also visit the modern-day Basilica of St. Augustine, which crowns the hill overlooking the site.
Day 13: BEJAIA | DJEMILA | BEJAIA
Disembark in Bejaia for an excursion through impressive countryside to the well-preserved Roman ruins of Djemila. The site includes the Triumphal Arch to Emperor Caracalla, built in A.D. 216; Grand Baths; market; and Old Forum, featuring stunning friezes and a 3rd-century altar. Also visit the museum, with its collection of superb mosaics and other artifacts.
Day 15: TANGIER, Morocco
Founded by the Phoenicians in the 7th century B.C., Tangier was subsequently held by the Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, and Visigoths, followed by the Arabs in 709, who used it as the base for their invasion of Spain. Spend the afternoon exploring the medina, dominated by its old citadel (kasbah). Also visit the Dar el Makhzen, the former palace of the sultans, now a museum of antiquities and crafts; and the Old American Legation, a former palace given to the U.S. government in 1777 to house America’s first embassy.
DAy 16: CASABLANCA | DISEMBARK | USA
Disembark in Casablanca and transfer to the airport for return flights to the U.S.
The deluxe Corinthian II is an all-suite yacht accommodating up to 114 guests. Built in 1992 and refurbished and redecorated in 2005, it has 57 suites, each with:
• Sea view
• Queen-sized bed separable into two twin-sized beds
• Sitting area
• Satellite TV, DVD/CD player
• Marble-appointed bathroom with fine toiletries
• 225 square feet or more
• Plush terry robes and slippers
• Fresh flowers and fruit basket
• 24-hour room service
The Penthouse Suites and Veranda Suites (400 and 300 square feet, respectively) feature private balconies accessed via sliding-glass doors, as well as white glove butler service.
Corinthian II’s superb Continental cuisine is created by master chefs who select fresh local ingredients at many ports of call. Meals are served either in the stately restaurant or al fresco on the umbrella-studded sun deck. Fine regional wines are complimentary with lunch and dinner, and beginning in 2008 open bar service will be available throughout the day.
BESPOKE SMALL-SHIP AMENITIES
Returning from excursions, guests enjoy complimentary refreshments, afternoon tea and all-day coffee in The Club, a gracious space for relaxation, surrounded by panoramic windows. Before or after dinner, cocktails are served to live music performed by the ship’s pianist.
Other Corinthian II features include:
• Library with Internet access
• Lounge with audiovisual facilities
• Dining room
• Wraparound sun deck with Jacuzzi
• Exercise Room
• Beauty salon
• Medical facilities with available doctor
• Elevator serving all passenger decks
• Swimming platform
Corinthian II complies with the latest international safety regulations and is outfitted with the most current navigational and communications technology as well as with retractable fin stabilizers for smooth sailing, an ice-strengthened hull, and a fleet of Zodiacs. Corinthian II’s 75 officers and crew ensure gracious personalized service and a convivial atmosphere akin to a private club.