Ancient Wonders of the Aegean

Ancient Wonders of the Aegean

From GBP £5,895


The awe-inspiring sites of the Aegean have attracted, inspired, and fascinated travellers throughout the centuries and during this voyage we will we explore some of the most historic and scenically beautiful places in Greece and Turkey. Our itinerary represents small ship cruising at its best and is timed for May when the absence of high summer crowds will contribute towards making this a very memorable journey during which 3000 years of history can be viewed in relative peace and quiet. By the end of the cruise you will have seen and learnt so much, all from the comfort of the all-suite MS Island Sky which allows us access to ports which the big ships simply can’t reach.

Our week in Greece will focus on unspoiled islands, timeless villages and splendid archaeological sites and we will learn about the great cities that flourished and fell, and the intriguing civilisations that so coveted these ancient lands. When not sailing through some of the most beautiful coastal scenery in the Mediterranean we will explore some truly wonderful sites such as Epidaurus, famed as a place of miraculous healing and Patmos where we will visit the grotto of St John. Continuing to the Turkish Coast we will visit truly magnificent ancient sites including Ephesus, one of the most famous Graeco-Roman sites in the Mediterranean and Pergamon, one of the cultural capitals of antiquity and a city of endless fascination. Our final day will be spent at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bursa visiting the Great Mosque, mausoleum and other sites from its incarnation as the first Ottoman capital.

After many years of experience of operating cruises in the Aegean, we believe we have the perfectly balanced itinerary with a mix of guided excursions and time at leisure to explore the charming villages independently. With just over 100 fellow passengers, our trips ashore with local guides will be a pleasure and whether your interest lies in ancient history, culture and the myths of ancient Greece and Turkey or simply the joy of experiencing new places, this journey has something for everyone.

Trip Name
Ancient Wonders of the Aegean
Vessel Type: Luxury Small Ship Length: 90 metres Passenger Capacity: 116  Built / refurbished: 1992 / 2010 / 2017 Sister ship to Hebridean Sky. Island Sky and Hebridean Sky are truly sisters. Built in the same Italian Shipyard, both boast spacious, well-appointed suites, stylish common areas, and redundant core technology that allows them to operate smoothly, even under the most challenging of conditions. Both ships are all-suite, all-inclusive small expedition vessels with touches of elegance throughout. The Island Sky is scheduled for additional upgrades in 2017, including the addition of tinted sliding glass doors to all cabins on the Promenade Deck. Services: World-Class Cuisine Complimentary Wine or Beer with Dinner Live Entertainment Complimentary Coffee/Tea station Voyage Photographer On-board MD and Facilities Dedicated Passenger Service Manager Pre-voyage hotel night Complimentary Expedition Jacket Facilities: Elevator serving all passenger decks Upgraded WIFI Internet Library with computers Panoramic Top Deck Observation Platform Bar/Lounge with Live Entertainment Lounge with Audiovisual Facilities DVD Movie Library Tinted sliding glass doors in all cabins on the Promenade Deck World-Class Cuisine: Great expeditions require great food! Our team of world-class chefs offer breakfast, lunch and dinner menus that change daily. They have boat-loads of creativity, so you are sure to experience a variety of remarkable cuisine throughout your voyage. Accommodations: All Suites Feature: Exterior views Your choice of queen-sized or two twin-sized beds Sitting area with sofa and side chair Flat Screen TV with DVD/CD player Telephone Independent temperature controls Mini-Bar Marble-appointed bathroom with fine toiletries Hair dryer 220 square feet or more Sofa can be converted to bed for third person PLEASE NOTE - DECK PLANS CAN VARY.


Day 1 - Day 1 London to Athens, Greece.
Fly by scheduled flight. On arrival transfer to the MS Island Sky and embark. Enjoy welcome drinks and dinner as we sail this evening.
Day 2 - Day 2 Nafplio & Epidaurus.
Enjoy a morning cruising arriving into Nafplio at lunchtime. Looking out across the translucent water of the bay towards the Arcadian Mountains, Nafplio’s sheltered location below a rocky headland and large natural fortress crowned by a Venetian castle is perhaps unrivalled in Greece and this afternoon we will visit one of the most renowned of Greece’s ancient sites. Situated on the slopes of a beautiful and wooded valley, Epidaurus was known throughout the Hellenic world for its unique medical facilities and healing treatments. Dedicated to Aesclepius, the god of healing, the city was filled with curative spas and baths and only priests had access to certain secret sites. Most of the ruins of Epidaurus have been reduced to their foundations, except for the astonishing theatre which is in an admirable state of preservation. Built into the ground, rather than above it, it is known for its fantastic acoustics, which we will observe during our visit. Return to Nafplio and enjoy time wandering the twisting labyrinthine streets, view the Venetian and Turkish architecture and maybe enjoy a pre-dinner drink ashore. Moor overnight.
Day 3 - Day 3 Nemea & Mycenae.
This morning take a scenic drive through the Argos Plain to Nemea, the site of a religious sanctuary which hosted the pan-Hellenic athletic games every two years from 573 BC until 271 BC. The mythical origin of the Games is sometimes ascribed to Hercules who, after his first labour in which he had to kill the Nemean lion living in the caves of Mount Tritos above the site, established the athletic games in honour of his father, Zeus. Nemea was not a town or settlement but a venue where festivities were held during the games and our tour will include the Temple of Zeus, the bathhouse and the stadium before spending time in the small but excellent on-site museum. Nemea is also famous for its red wines and we will enjoy a wine tasting at a local vineyard before we continue to the famous citadel of Mycenae which is located high above the confluence of two boulder-strewn ravines and accessed by way of the Lion Gate. Once inside the gate, we will explore the Royal Palace, the shaft graves and the remains of the city walls. An archaeological briefing within the Treasury of Artreus (also known as the Tomb of Agamemnon) will add to our understanding and appreciation of the sights. We will enjoy lunch in a local restaurant before returning to Nafplio and sailing this afternoon.
Day 4 - Day 4 Paros & Syros.
Awake in the Cyclades and the island of Paros, famed for the marble that is drawn from the island’s interior and used in the Venus de Milo statue. We moor at Parikia, a beautiful village of whitewashed houses and labyrinthine streets. Explore the 4th century Panagia Ekatondapyliani, one of the finest churches in the Cyclades and the fine Byzantine Museum, housing icons from the churches and monasteries of the island. We sail over lunch to Syros which was the largest cultural and trade centre of the Aegean in the 19th century, and the capital Ermoupolis was Greece’s principal port. Arriving in the late afternoon, we take a walk in the town of Ermoupolis, the capital of the Cyclades. The prosperity of the island in the 19th and early 20th century created through commerce and shipping is reflected in the architecture with a beautiful square, town hall and theatre.
Day 5 - Day 5 Kos.
According to myth, Kos was the homeland of the Giants. The island has given to the world Hippocrates, father of medicine, Pythagoras, and the 4th century painter Apelles. We will drive the short distance to the Asklepion, the infirmary of Antiquity, which was constructed in the 4th century BC. Among the ruins are part of the Doric Temple of Aesculapius, the altar and the Stoa which housed the famous Hippocrates Medical School. After lunch on board you have the afternoon to explore Kos Town at your own pace, maybe head to the once impregnable Castle of the Knights, the 3rd century BC Agora, see the museum housing fine mosaics or simply relax at one of the cafes in the squares.
Day 6 - Day 6 Patmos.
Of all the Greek islands, Patmos is the most sacred to Christians both Orthodox and Western and it was here that St John received his revelation. This morning we will make our way to the grotto of St John. This small cave, now converted into the beautiful chapel, is where the Saint lived, had his revelation and wrote ‘Book of the Apocalypse’. From here continue to the village of Chora, with its simple houses and Byzantine churches and climb to the Monastery of St John the Theologian. Upon entering into the courtyard, admire the intricate pebbled laid floor, decorated arches and frescoes adorning the entrance to the chapel of Christodoulos. This afternoon and evening are at leisure to explore the picturesque town of Skala or maybe enjoy a swim at a nearby beach.
Day 7 - Day 7 Samos.
Today we explore Samos which lays claim to be the birthplace of Hera, the mathematician Pythagaros and philosopher Epicurus. From the port of Vathy we will visit the excellent archaeological museum with one of the richest collections in Greece including the five metre tall Kouros rescued from the Heraion and dedicated to the god Apollo. Continue to the Sanctuary of Hera, the second largest temple ever built in Greece dating from the 6th century BC before arriving at the charming village of Pythagorio. Return to the MS Island Sky for lunch and enjoy a free afternoon in Vathy where you may wish to learn about the local wine production at the museum of Samos wines, visit a local beach or wander through the historic quarter of Ano Vathy. We moor overnight allowing for the opportunity of an after dinner stroll.
Day 8 - Day 8 Kusadasi for Ephesus, Turkey.
Sail early this morning and arrive in Kusadasi over breakfast. From our berth we will drive to the nearby ancient city of Ephesus, a stunning and partially excavated site where digging has been taking place for over a century. Broad streets are lined by impressive buildings including the library of Celsus and the temples of Serapis and Hadrian. Once the capital of Ionia, St Paul preached here on his second missionary journey and we will see the Church of the Virgin Mary, the most important Christian monument in Ephesus. Also see the spectacular Grand Theatre, originally built in the 3rd century BC by the Greeks, and later expanded by the Romans to its present capacity of 24,000. We will enjoy an afternoon at leisure in Kusadasi.
Day 9 - Day 9 Pergamon.
From our berth in Dikili we will drive inland, past fertile fields and olive trees, to the present day modern town of Bergama, once known as Pergamon, a great centre of culture. Today Pergamon is one of Turkey’s finest archaeological sites. We will visit the Asclepion, a healing centre from the 4th century BC and one of the most important sites of Pergamon. Discover the Temple of Asclepios, the amphitheatre, and walk through the sacred corridor and down the ancient, arcaded, marble-paved boulevard. Continue into the town of Bergama and visit the Archaeological Museum which houses relics discovered during the excavations of Pergamon. En-route we will see the Basilica which was one of the earliest of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor. Take a cable car up to the Acropolis to explore the remains of the citadel and the city walls, the foundations of the Zeus Altar, and the Royal Palace. Lunch will be served ashore.
Day 10 - Day 10 Mudanya for Bursa.
We cruise overnight through the Dardanelles and into the Sea of Marmara towards our berth at Mudanya, our gateway to Bursa. Bursa was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire and is one of the greatest treasure houses of Islamic architecture dating back to the 2nd century. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, we visit the city’s main sites including the prominent Great Mosque with its two towering minarets and 20 domes; it is considered one of the most important mosques in Islam after those in Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem, and Damascus. Walk to Koza Han which for centuries was the centre of Bursa’s flourishing silk trade and home of the skilled artisans who produced kaftans, pillows, embroidery, and other silk products for the Ottomans. Our tour will conclude at the Green Mosque and the neighbouring Green Mausoleum, both world-renowned for their superb tile decorations.
Day 11 - Day 11 Istanbul to London.
Be on deck as we sail into Istanbul this morning and disembark after breakfast. Transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to London.
Day 12 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
14-05-202324-05-2023GBP £5,895Magellan Deck Standard Suite
14-05-202324-05-2023GBP £6,095Columbus Deck Superior Suite
14-05-202324-05-2023GBP £6,295Marco Polo Deck Premium Suite
14-05-202324-05-2023GBP £6,595Marco Polo Deck Corner Suite
14-05-202324-05-2023GBP £6,995Erikson Deck Deluxe Balcony Suite
14-05-202324-05-2023GBP £7,295Magellan Deck Standard Single
14-05-202324-05-2023GBP £7,495Columbus Deck Superior Single
14-05-202324-05-2023GBP £7,495Explorer Deck Owner's Balcony Suite
14-05-202324-05-2023GBP £8,295Explorer Deck Island Suite


    • Nafplio & Epidaurus
    • Nemea & Mycenae
    • Paros & Syros
    • Ephesus, Turkey
    • Mudanya