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10 nights
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Aegean Island Odyssey

A springtime voyage aboard the MS Serenissima

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  • History and Culture
  • Windmills, Chios

Join us aboard the MS Serenissima as we explore some of the unspoiled islands, timeless villages and ancient sites of the Aegean. The main objective when planning this island hopping voyage was to explore some of the lesser visited islands where 3000 years of history can be viewed in relative peace and quiet. Some of the islands we have included are very difficult to access without relying on the local ferry network such as Fourni, Lipsi and Icaria and it is during our time on such islands that you will truly be able to appreciate the unique atmosphere and island life. When combined with the dramatic scenery and the clear waters of the Aegean, it is evident why this region has inspired writers, poets and artists since the time of Homer.

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 or perhaps visit a nearby beach. We have planned some late departures from port, which afford the opportunity to enjoy dining ashore or an after dinner stroll in some towns which are particularly atmospheric in the evening. Owing to the fact that our small ship can moor centrally, we have the added advantage of being able to access the towns and villages by foot in many of the ports of call instead of by long coach transfers. Whether you are interested in ancient history or simply enjoy cruising amongst beautiful scenery, this voyage has a lot to offer.

  • Our View

    Temple of Greek Gods, Samothrace

    “Long popular with the yachting fraternity, the Greek Islands offer a wonderful location for leisurely cruising. On our journey from Thessaloniki to Athens we will spend ten days in the island chains stretching from Samothrace in the north to Simi in the south. Using our small ship we can ensure we visit ports off the usual cruise routes and usually only accessible by the local ferry network. Our voyage combines the ancient sites of Samothrace and Delos with the small, traditional villages on Lipsi, Simi and Leros and the natural wonders on Nisyros. Our days are planned to balance time between half day guided tours with time at leisure where you may wish to take a village walk or explore a local market. As we arrive early in the season many islands are just re-opening after the winter and we have the joy of visiting before the hordes of tourists arrive. We also enjoy Greek Easter on the island of Patmos where we hope to join in the celebrations and in addition to our onboard team will be joined by local guides who will cruise with us and add greatly to our understanding of the region.“

    More information
  • Featured Experts

    Nigel McGilchrist

    Nigel McGilchrist

    Nigel was a scholar at both Winchester College and at Oxford University. He has lived and worked in the Mediterranean area – Italy, Greece and Turkey – for over thirty-five years, working initially for the Italian Ministry of Arts in the field of wall-painting conservation. He began teaching at Rome University, then taught for the University of Massachusetts, and was formerly Dean of European Studies for a consortium of American Universities. He lectures widely in art and archaeology at museums and institutions in Europe and the USA. He spent nearly a decade walking, exploring and documenting the monuments and curiosities of the sixty inhabited Greek Aegean islands, preparing a completely new survey-guide of their archaeology, history and art, published in a complete version of twenty volumes as McGilchrist’s Greek Islands. In abbreviated form, the work is published as the Blue Guide to The Aegean Islands. He now lives on the island of Kythera.

    More information

Serenissima

Serenissima

The handsome 100-passenger MS Serenissima began her career as the Harald Jarl, cruising the Norwegian coastline and fjords. Extensively renovated in 2003 she was rechristened MS Andrea and began her life as a classic cruise ship, and was chartered by Noble Caledonia for a number of years. In spring 2012 MS Andrea was purchased by our long-standing associates Volga Dream and renamed the MS Serenissima.

After a thorough renovation and upgrading, the charming MS Serenissima commenced cruise operations in April 2013 and we have chartered her for the majority of each year since knowing her to be perfect for small ship cruising. With her small size she can navigate into small, remote ports inaccessible to the big cruise ships and appears an impressive sight when moored. With her fleet of Zodiacs she is capable of both destination and expedition cruising.

View vessel details

Itinerary

Day 1 - London to Thessaloniki, Greece.

Fly by scheduled flight, on arrival transfer to the MS Serenissima and sail this evening.

Day 2 - Samothrace.

Enjoy a morning at sea as we sail to the small island of Samothrace. This rarely visited island contains one of the ancient world’s great sites, the Sanctuary of the Great Gods the site of important religious ceremonies. We will visit the main archaeological site including the Greek theatre, ruined temples and the ruins of a rotunda built for Arsinoe one of the largest circular buildings from ancient Greece.

Day 3 - Chios.

The birthplace of Homer, Chios remained a significant Aegean island into the Byzantine period. Homer mentions the island by name several times in the Odyssey, calling it ‘paipaloessa’, or craggy, a richly deserved epithet. The island is rich in ancient ruins and this morning we will visit the 11th century Monastery of Nea Moni, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most important ecclesiastical monuments in Greece. Return to the MS Serenissima for lunch and this afternoon either relax and explore Chios Town independently or join a tour to the south of the island where we visit the beautifully preserved 14th century fortress village of Mesta and the elaborately decorated houses of Pirgi enjoying time to wander through their maze like streets.

Day 4 - Samos.

Overnight we will sail the short distance to 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 Hereion 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 B.C. before arriving at the charming village of Pythagorio. After lunch on board we enjoy a free afternoon and evening in Vathy when 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.

Day 5 - Icaria & Fourni.

According to Greek myth, Icaria was created when Icarus crashed into the sea after flying too close to the sun. Today it is one of the least developed but visually dramatic Greek islands with beautiful coves, deep valleys and hidden beaches. On a morning scenic drive we will explore the villages and discover why the islanders here have a longer life expectancy than anywhere else in Europe. The island is also revered as the birthplace of Dionysus, the God of wine and we plan to visit one of the local vineyards. Enjoy lunch on board as we sail to one of the best kept secret islands in the Aegean, Fourni. Once a haven for pirates who enjoyed the island’s remote setting and little changed for centuries, it has a wonderfully peaceful atmosphere. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure to walk up from the harbour to the charming main square and enjoy a drink whilst watching island life. Sail over dinner to Patmos where we moor overnight. This evening the Easter celebrations begin with the Anastasi Mass at midnight when the local congregation walk with lighted candles between their homes and the churches.

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. Today, being Greek Easter our arrangements will be flexible around the local celebrations. We plan to visit 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’. In the village of Chora, with its simple houses and Byzantine churches we will enjoy a traditional Greek Easter lunch and hope to have the opportunity to climb to the Monastery of St. John the Theologian. Here we can admire the intricate pebbled laid floor, decorated arches and frescoes adorning the entrance to the chapel of Christodoulos. We will return to the ship this afternoon and have some free time for further exploration as we moor overnight.

Day 7 - Lipsi & Leros.

Today we can use our small ship to visit two of the less visited islands of the Dodecanese. Sail at first light to Lipsi, at just eight kilometres long, the tiny island is popular with yachts and has avoided the development of many surrounding islands. It is a wonderful place to spend a few hours walking amongst the whitewashed houses or watching the daily activities of the locals. Over lunch we cross to nearby Leros, the island of Artemis the God of hunting where we enjoy an afternoon exploring the island. From the village of Lakki we drive to the capital, Platanos to see the Pandeli Castle which overlooks Agia Marina offering wonderful views from the ramparts to the harbour below and islands beyond. Also learn about the fierce fighting that took place here during World War II and visit the war museum and tunnels in Merikia. We remain in Leros until late for anyone wishing to enjoy an evening ashore.

Day 8 - Nisyros & Tilos.

Arrive this morning in the pretty port town of Mandraki on the small island of Nisyros. You may wish to enjoy a relaxing morning wandering through the village and climb to the Monastery of Panagia Spilanior or visit the archaeological museum. Alternatively join the drive to the Polyvotis Volcano named after the Titan imprisoned under the rock of Nisyros during the battle with the gods. Here we will learn more of the legends and have the chance to walk into the caldera. Over lunch sail to timeless Tilos, this lovely island has still to find its way onto the pages of tour operator’s brochures so retains traditional atmosphere. See Livadia a lively little town and Megalo Chorio its tiny capital, rich in Crusader castles.

Day 9 - Simi.

Relax on board this morning as we sail the short distance to the island of Simi a small, mountainous and much indented pretty island. The harbour of Gialos is particularly attractive and we have an afternoon to enjoy some time to stroll through the colourful cobbled streets. The Simians were famous boat builders and are mentioned in the Illiad as sending boats to assist the siege of Troy but are better known today for their sponge diving. Return to the ship for dinner and sail this evening.

Day 10 - Delos & Syros.

This morning we visit Delos, which though the smallest of the Cyclades was once the political and religious centre for the whole of the Aegean. Birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, it boasted an oracle second only to that of Delphi. Explore the magnificent archaeological site including the marble sanctuary of Apollo. Sail during 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. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon with a stroll in the town of Ermoupoli, 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. Overlooking Ermoupoli stands the hill-top Ano Syros, the original Medieval district with narrow lanes and white washed houses.

Day 11 - Athens to London.

Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to London.

Dates and Prices

SPECIAL OFFER – SAVE £200 PER PERSON FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY
Prices per person based on double occupancy
3 to 13 April 2018
Category Brochure Price Special Offer Price
1 Inside Twin/Double £4195 £3995
2 Standard Stateroom £4495 £4295
3 Standard Stateroom Plus £4595 £4395
4 Superior Stateroom £4995 £4795
5 Deluxe Stateroom £5295 £5095
6 Junior Suite £5895 £5695
7 Executive Suite £6195 £5995
8 Owner’s Suite £6195 £5995
9 Inside Single £4195 £3995
10 Standard Single £4495 £4295
2 Standard Stateroom for sole use £5595 £5395
3 Standard Stateroom Plus for sole use £5695 £5495

Tour Reference Code: SCSE030418

Price Includes: Economy class scheduled air travel, 10 nights aboard the MS Serenissima on a full board basis, house wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner on board, shore excursions, Noble Caledonia onboard team including Guest Speaker, gratuities, transfers, port taxes.

Not Included: Travel insurance.

Ship to Shore: Please note that we will be at anchor at the following ports and will use Zodiacs or local boats to tender ashore: Samothrace, Fourni, Lipsi, Delos.

  • All Decks

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Serenissima

The handsome 100-passenger MS Serenissima began her career as the Harald Jarl, cruising the Norwegian coastline and fjords. Extensively renovated in 2003 she was rechristened MS Andrea and began her life as a classic cruise ship, and was chartered by Noble Caledonia for a number of years. In spring 2012 MS Andrea was purchased by our long-standing associates Volga Dream and renamed the MS Serenissima.

After a thorough renovation and upgrading, the charming MS Serenissima commenced cruise operations in April 2013 and we have chartered her for the majority of each year since knowing her to be perfect for small ship cruising. With her small size she can navigate into small, remote ports inaccessible to the big cruise ships and appears an impressive sight when moored. With her fleet of Zodiacs she is capable of both destination and expedition cruising.

 
  • MS Serenissima
  • Jacuzzi - On Deck
  • On Deck
  • Venice Restaurant
  • MS Serenissima - Owners Suite
    Owners Suite - approx 22 sq metres
  • Executive Suite
    Executive Suite - approx 25 sq metres
  • Junior Suite
    Junior Suite - approx 21 sq metres
  • Standard stateroom plus (from 2016 onwards) approx. 14 to 19 sq metres
  • Superior Stateroom
    Superior Stateroom - approx 11.5 to 18 sq metres
  • Standard Stateroom
    Standard Stateroom - approx 10 to 11.5 sq metres
  • Inside Twin/Double
    Inside Twin/Double approx 10 sq metres
  • Standard Single
    Standard Single approx 7 to 12.5 sq metres
  • Your Cabin/Suite

    Accommodating no more than 100 passengers, the cabins are attractively designed for comfort and convenience. All cabins are fully air conditioned with an ensuite bathroom with shower, sink, toilet, a selection of toiletries including shower gel, soaps, shampoo and conditioner, hairdryer, robes and slippers. All cabins come equipped with telephone, flat screen television, safety deposit box and other thoughtful appointments. Bottles of still and sparkling water are replenished daily. There are ten different grades of cabin arranged over five decks, and with the exception of the three inside cabins, all staterooms feature either windows or portholes. Because of the very nature of the ship, the cabins do vary in shape and size, adding to the vessel’s overall charm. 

    Cabin sizes vary between 7 and 25 square metres.

  • Your Space

    The facilities onboard include two lounges – the larger Andrea Lounge is comfortable and spacious and the smaller Harald Lounge is more intimate. There is also a small library with a computer for internet access. The outside areas are something special with a spacious observation deck allowing for 360 degree views of the passing scenery. From here, step down to the lido area with two treadmills, Jacuzzi and outside bar.

    The covered seating area at the back of deck 6 is ideal for relaxing with a drink in hand. Perhaps, one of the best known and loved features of this vessel is its unique style. During the major refit in Sweden the then owners commissioned Swedish interior designers to create a Gustavian style interior. This bright Swedish 18th century influenced, country house style works particularly well on a vessel of this vintage, providing intimacy and classic nautical sensibility often lacking in larger vessels. 

  • Your Dining

    The free seating Venice Restaurant accommodates all guests in one sitting. Being on deck 5, it has great views from all tables. The picture windows mean the restaurant is light and airy. Breakfast is served buffet-style with cooked dishes available and eggs to order by the ship’s accomplished chef. Lunch is also served buffetstyle with hot and cold dishes available. Dinner is served a la carte and is four courses, except for at the Captain’s Dinner, which is a six course affair. In addition, there are al fresco dining facilities available in good weather.

    Where possible, local produce is sourced for an authentic dining experience. A choice of red or white wine, beer, soft drinks, and water are included at lunch and dinner. Tea and coffee are served around the clock in the Andrea Lounge. In keeping with the relaxed atmosphere onboard, when dining you are able to choose your seating arrangements at your leisure and dress is informal except for the Captain’s Dinner for which you may wish to dress in smarter attire.

  • Life Onboard

    The MS Serenissima is more akin to a countryhotel than one of the large ships trawling the seas today. The European Captain, Officers and crew offer a first class service and have been selected for their professionalism and caring attitudes. The atmosphere onboard is warm and welcoming, and the emphasis is not on around the clock entertainment and dining, but instead on well-thought out itineraries, relaxation, time spent with like-minded passengers and discovery. 

  • For your comfort

    There are so few ships of this generation still cruising and MS Serenissima is a great testament to her present and previous owners that they have seen fit to invest considerable sums over the years to keep her in top form and complying with the stringent health and safety requirements. There is a doctor onboard and during your voyage you will have the opportunity to visit the Captain and Officers on the bridge.

  • Ship Directory
    The booklet below contains some further details pertaining to the vessel.
    Please click on the booklet to view. 

    {MEDIA GALLERY DEFAULT}

  • Deck plans
    • All Decks

      {MEDIA GALLERY DEFAULT}

Our View

“Long popular with the yachting fraternity, the Greek Islands offer a wonderful location for leisurely cruising. On our journey from Thessaloniki to Athens we will spend ten days in the island chains stretching from Samothrace in the north to Simi in the south. Using our small ship we can ensure we visit ports off the usual cruise routes and usually only accessible by the local ferry network. Our voyage combines the ancient sites of Samothrace and Delos with the small, traditional villages on Lipsi, Simi and Leros and the natural wonders on Nisyros. Our days are planned to balance time between half day guided tours with time at leisure where you may wish to take a village walk or explore a local market. As we arrive early in the season many islands are just re-opening after the winter and we have the joy of visiting before the hordes of tourists arrive. We also enjoy Greek Easter on the island of Patmos where we hope to join in the celebrations and in addition to our onboard team will be joined by local guides who will cruise with us and add greatly to our understanding of the region.“

Onboard Experts

  • Nigel McGilchrist

    Nigel McGilchrist was a scholar at both Winchester College and at Oxford University. He has lived and worked in the Mediterranean area – Italy, Greece and Turkey – for over thirty-five years, working initially for the Italian Ministry of Arts in the field of wall-painting conservation.  He began teaching at Rome University, then taught for the University of Massachusetts, and was formerly Dean of European Studies for a consortium of American Universities.  He lectures widely in art and archaeology at museums and institutions in Europe and the USA.  

    He spent nearly a decade walking, exploring and documenting the monuments and curiosities of the sixty inhabited Greek Aegean islands, preparing a completely new survey-guide of their archaeology, history and art, published in a complete version of twenty volumes as McGilchrist’s Greek Islands. (Volumes 2, 5, 11, 13, 18 & 20 cover all the places visited on this cruise.) In abbreviated form, the work is published as the Blue Guide to The Aegean Islands.

    He now lives on the island of Kythera. 

    Nigel McGilchrist will be on the following tour dates: 3 to 13 April 2018

Tour Extensions

    • If you would like to spend some time in Thessaloniki before embarking the MS Serenissima, we are offering a two night extension.

      Thessaloniki Thessaloniki

      The Itinerary

      Day 1 London to Thessaloniki, Greece. Fly by scheduled flight. On arrival transfer to your hotel for an overnight stay. The remainder of the day will be at leisure before we meet tonight for our Welcome Dinner.

      Day 2 Thessaloniki. Since its foundation by King Cassander of Macedonia in 315 B.C. and named after his wife and stepsister of Alexander the Great, Thessaloniki has always been a metropolis. The long history of the city is evident by the varied architectural forms from the Hellenistic era up to the end of the 20th century as well as an astonishing Byzantine artistic heritage. On our morning tour we will have the opportunity to see the White Tower, the symbol of the city, the University campus, the Galerious Arch, the Rotunda, St. Dimitrios church, the Citadel and the City Walls, from where you will have a marvellous view of the city and the Thermaic Gulf, with Mount Olympus in the background. Afterwards we visit the Archaeological Museum that houses a stunning exhibition of golden jewels. Return to the hotel for an afternoon at leisure.

      Day 3 Thessaloniki & Vergina. Today’s morning tour will explore the Vergina Royal Tombs Museum, which displays the superb decorated facades of the temple-like tombs of King Philip II and a young prince (thought to be Alexander IV), the treasures found within them and a reconstruction of the Great Mound that originally marked the site of the Royal Tombs. The tombs were discovered in 1977-78 by the archaeologist Manolis Andronikos. We will enjoy lunch before returning to Thessaloniki and embarking the MS Serenissima this afternoon.

    • Prices per person based on double occupancy
      CategoryPrice
      Twin £495
      Single £595

      Price includes: Two nights hotel accommodation in Thessaloniki on a bed and breakfast basis, half day city tour, half day tour to Vergina, dinner on day 1, lunch on day 3, gratuities, Noble Caledonia Tour Manager, transfers.

      Not Included: Travel insurance.

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