10-Day Mediterranean Cruise with Stops at Venice, Athens, and Greek Islands
Venice's Piazza San Marco has been a gathering place for native Venetians since the ninth century, when it was the site of the first church of St. Mark. Today, tourists still gather in the square to marvel at its ancient palaces, marble salon, and ornate cathedrals. At such a busy city center, you'd expect to hear blaring horns and revving engines, but Piazza San Marco's lamp-lit streets are filled with the sounds of cooing pigeons, live music, and laughter. This landmark is just one of the stops on Key Tours International's 10-day Mediterranean cruise, which spotlights other timeless attractions such as the ancient city of Athens and the volcanic Santorini Island.
Some packages include roundtrip airfare from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York City to Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE) in Venice. Click here to view the full itinerary.
Days 1–3: After arriving in Venice, you'll board the elegant MSC Musica, where unlimited food and drinks will be available at the many bars and restaurants onboard. The decadent cruise ship also has two swimming pools, a casino, and large-screen outdoor cinemas, so there's plenty to keep you occupied during the voyage along Italy's coast in the Adriatic Sea. The first stop is Bari, a port city that mixes contemporary villas and restaurants with historical sights such as a medieval castle and The Church of St. Nicholas.
Days 4–5: The ship continues southward to Katakolon, Greece, a small town bordering the Ionian Sea and Olympia. Head to the seaside town's artsy main drag to browse local crafts or sample fresh seafood.
The next stop is Santorini, an island some believe was once the lost city of Atlantis. Centuries ago, Santorini's surface broke apart after a massive volcanic eruption. Now, sugar-cube houses sit on the rim of the ancient volcano, and visitors can scuba dive to see the caldera, which is now a giant, central lagoon that smolders underwater. Nearby, Mykonos contrasts Santorini's natural wonders with manmade flashiness. Sure, the island has storybook windmills and hillsides, but most come for the beachside clubs and pulsing discotheques that are almost always hopping after dark.
Day 6: Spend a day exploring the historic Greek city of Athens, which is home to some of the world's most iconic architecture. It's easy to spot the Acropolis and its famous Parthenon, where Doric columns and a marble facade loom over the capital city. Other highlights here include the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, which features coins from ancient kingdoms, sculptures of mythic figures, and the 2,000-year-old Antikythera mechanism which is thought to be an early computer.
Days 7–8: After Athens, you'll dock at Corfu Island, which presents a much more verdant landscape than its rocky neighbors. The beaches here stretch up from the Ionian Sea to hilly groves studded with millions of olive trees. Inland, the village is vibrant with pastel buildings and corridors where merchants have hung colorful garments and handmade jewelry. At Dubrovnik, you'll get a feel for Croatian culture. Dubbed "the Pearl of the Adriatic" by Lord Byron, Dubrovnik dazzles with red-roof buildings and ornate cathedrals that exemplify Baroque and Gothic architecture.
Days 9–10: The final leg of the voyage is spent in Venice with overnight accommodations at the opulent Hotel Carlton on the Grand Canal. An included walking tour of the city showcases famous landmarks, such as the Piazza San Marco as well as Marco Polo's house and walk-in humidor. The highlight of this stroll is Doge's Palace, a breathtaking symbol of Gothic architecture. Inside, the walls and ceilings are covered with evocative frescoes by classical artists including Titian and Tintoretto. The next day, you'll head back to the airport for your flight back to the States.