In alliance with Smithsonian Journeys.
This cruise is part of a collection of PONANT voyages that are specially-tailored for English-speaking travelers who want to engage with the world. In addition to the usual elements of the PONANT experience, the listed price for these voyages includes transfers to and from the ship, talks and discussions aboard ship by world class experts, and a shore excursion or activity in each port of call that encourages guests to embrace the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of the local environment and culture.
Set sail to discover the cultural and artistic jewels of the Ionian, Adriatic and the Aegean Seas with PONANT. During this 8-day cruise, Le Jacques-Cartier will take you to Italy, Croatia, Montenegro and Greece.
Your voyage will begin in Italy with an embarkation in Venice. An opportunity to discover or rediscover the sublime city of the Doges, with its many canals, its vaporetti and its mythical gondolas before heading to Croatia and the city of Rovinj.
Following a port of call in the picturesque port of Hvar, you will continue to sail along the Dalmatian coastlines to Dubrovnik. Sitting high on a rocky outcrop, its old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, watches the world go by.
Le Jacques-Cartier will reach Montenegro after sailing in the Bay of Kotor, which is strangely reminiscent of Norwegian fjords. The city of Kotor nestles in a bay surrounded by wooded mountains. Its old town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its medieval architecture.
Next Corfu, the most famous Ionian island, will reveal the hidden treasures of its Greco-Byzantine and Venetian architectural heritage. Do not miss the chance to visit the Achilleion, the luxurious neoclassical palace built for the Empress Sissi.
You will make a call at Itea, not far from the marvellous Delphi archaeological site, on the slopes of Mount Parnassus before a memorable crossing of the Corinth Canal.
Your cruise will end in Athens, the mythical city dominated by the Acropolis and its monuments that form the most extraordinary architectural and artistic collection bequeathed by Ancient Greece to the rest of the world.
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Included in your cruise
For more peace of mind, PONANT organizes your trip before or after the cruise. This package is included in the price of your cruise.
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*Price is per person, double occupancy, is based on availability, and subject to change at any time. The category of cabin to which this price applies may no longer be available.
PONANT has organised the following included programme for you, which starts the day of embarkation.
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Important trip details
The information below is current but subject to change at any time without advance notice from government authorities. Please consult your respective government agencies for visa and health information.
Passport valid for at least six (6) months beyond the completion of your trip. Passport must contain at least two completely clear, blank, unused visa pages for each visa required, not including any amendment pages. Visa pages with stains or ink from other pages in the passport are not usable. Guests who deviate from the scheduled embarkation or disembarkation port should research the foreign entry requirements for the port country. Due to government regulations, regrettably, PONANT will have to deny boarding to any guest who fails to obtain the appropriate travel documentation for this trip.
The evolving COVID-19 health formalities are available in real time by clicking here.
Given the particularly changing international sanitary context, this itinerary as well as the land programmes and shore excursions may have to evolve according to port authorisations and governmental regulations in force at the time of your trip.
Therefore, for even greater peace of mind, we strongly recommend that you book your land programmes and flights before and after your cruise with PONANT.
Health formalities related to COVID-19 will be confirmed to you before your departure.
In this exceptional context, your safety remains our first priority. The effectiveness of our procedures, our cutting-edge medical equipment and the smaller scale of our ships means we can offer maximum safety so that you can relax and enjoy your cruise. The revised passenger circuit and our enhanced hygiene measures can be found on this page: https://en.ponant.com/sail-with-confidence.
Warning about the use of drones: the use of drones aboard PONANT ships, whether they are sailing at sea, at a port of call or anchored, is strictly forbidden. The use of drones on land in the Arctic and Antarctic regions is also strictly forbidden by international polar regulations. In other regions, it may be possible to use drones on land if permission has been obtained from the relevant authorities of each country and each region travelled through, as well as a pilot’s licence that should be obtained from your home country. Passengers are responsible for obtaining these permits; they should be able to present them at all times. Passengers who do not obtain these authorisations expose themselves to the risk of legal proceedings.
Ideal clothes for life on board:
During the days spent on board, you are advised to wear comfortable clothes or casual outfits. The entire ship is air-conditioned, so a light sweater, a light jacket or a shawl may be necessary. When moving about in the public areas of the ship and the decks, light but comfortable shoes are recommended.
In the evening, you are advised to wear smart-casual attire, especially when dining in our restaurants where wearing shorts and tee-shirts is not allowed.
Depending on the itinerary and the program of your cruise, an Officer’s Evening with a white dress code may be organized. Therefore, we encourage you to bring a stylish white outfit for the occasion (otherwise black and white).
During the cruise, two gala evenings will be organised on board. Thus, we recommend that you bring one or two formal outfits.
A small shop is available on board offering a wide range of outfits, jewellery, leather goods and many accessories.
A laundry service (washing/ironing) is available on board, but unfortunately there are no dry cleaning services. For safety reasons, your cabin is not equipped with an iron.
OUTFITS ON BOARD:
In your hand luggage, remember to bring any medicines that you need, and possibly a small spare bag of toiletries (in case of delay in the delivery of your baggage by the airline). Remember to always have your travel documents with you in case you need them: hotel vouchers, cruise vouchers, return flight tickets... Never leave them in your hold luggage.
All our cabins have a safe. We recommend not to go ashore with valuable jewellery.
Smithsonian Journeys is the travel program of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum, education and research complex, consisting of 19 museums, the National Zoological Park and nine research facilities. Drawing on Smithsonian's resources dating back 175 years, these sailings will feature notable experts and experiences that embrace local cultures and dive deeper into a destination’s history, cuisine, language, environment, and wildlife. For more than 50 years, Smithsonian Journeys has been rooted in and focused on cultural immersion and discovery – with a goal of inspiring guests to become global citizens through travel.
Aneta Georgievska-Shine is a scholar of the Renaissance and the baroque eras, yet as an art historian, her interests range from ancient to contemporary art. In addition to her affiliation with the University of Maryland, she frequently presents lectures for museums and art institutions in the Washington D.C. area, including the Walters Art Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, and the Smithsonian. Her publications include scholarly books and numerous articles in U.S. and international journals, as well as essays in exhibition catalogs.
A popular Smithsonian Journeys Expert, Aneta has led numerous journeys to France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, as well as Central and Eastern Europe. In addition to her art historical expertise, she brings a deep knowledge of the history, politics, and languages of Central and Eastern Europe. Aneta is a native speaker of Macedonian and has working knowledge of several other European languages.
Languages spoken: English, Macedonian
Dennis Romano is the Walter Montgomery and Marian Gruber Professor of History emeritus at Syracuse University where he also had an appointment in the Department of Art and Music Histories. A specialist in the history of Renaissance Italy and the Mediterranean, he is the author of dozens of articles and five books including The Likeness of Venice: A Life of Doge Francesco Foscari published by Yale University Press. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and a senior fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. He is currently writing for Oxford University Press a history of Venice from its origins as a Byzantine military outpost to its current status as a World Heritage site. He places special emphasis on Venice’s Dalmatian and Ionian colonies and its efforts to control the Adriatic Sea.
Language spoken: English
Subject to withdrawal in case of force majeure
28 June 2022 Venice
Embarkation 28/6/2022 from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Departure 28/6/2022 at 6:00 pm
Proud and eternal, Venice has reigned on its lagoon ever since the 6th century. You may think you know this city before even setting foot here. You will inevitably fall in love with the charm of the innumerable treasures of the Serenissima: Saint Mark’s square, the basilica, Doges palace, the Grand Canal and the gondolas. Yet, secret Venice is also waiting for you to explore its little interlacing streets and canals, to ramble through its squares and to push open the doors of its churches. The city’s extraordinary heritage shouldn’t stop you from enjoying a glass of Spritz and a few tramezzini.
29 June 2022 Rovinj
Arrival 29/6/2022 early morning
Departure 29/6/2022 early afternoon
Rovinj is located in Istria, a region bordering Slovenia. This becomes apparent as you walk through its old cobblestoned town. There are many monuments of Venetian influence here. If you study the Balbi arch, you will see the winged lion, symbol of Venice. The bell-tower erected beside Saint Euphemia Cathedral was designed like the bell of Saint Mark in Venice. From the top of the tower, you can scan the entire historical district. To absorb its quaint atmosphere, take a walk in the ochre and sepia-coloured streets leading to bustling squares and terraces shaded by canvas awnings.
30 June 2022 Hvar
Arrival 30/6/2022 early morning
Departure 30/6/2022 late afternoon
Off the coast of Split, Hvar will surprise you by its traditions that have not changed since Antiquity. The country’s oldest town, Stari Grad, is here on this Dalmatian Island. The town nestles by a cove on the north-west coast, surrounded by dry stone wall structures on the Stari Grad plains. These have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site because they were built in the time of the Ancient Greeks. From these parcels of land come wines and olive oil manufactured manually. In the upper part of town, it is possible to discover hams and cheeses made by local producers.
1 July 2022 Dubrovnik
Arrival 1/7/2022 early morning
Departure 1/7/2022 late evening
Emblem of the Dalmatian coast, Dubrovnik is magnificently positioned on a rocky spur. History is sovereign here, in this ancient city, now a listed UNESCO World Heritage site. You will perhaps be surprised by the proportions of La Placa, the central drag through the city. The sheer width of it can be explained by the fact that it straddles a former lagoon. The elegant houses along La Placa are built in the legendary travertine stone. At Pile gate, you will be greeted by the statue of the patron saint of Dubrovnik, and you can admire the coastline as you walk along the ramparts. But what’s inside Fort Saint John, adjoining the outer walls? A maritime museum and an aquarium featuring rare fish from the Adriatic.
2 July 2022 Kotor
Arrival 2/7/2022 early morning
Departure 2/7/2022 midday
Situated in one of Montenegro’s most beautiful bays, the medieval city of Kotor is a small town full of charm, truly imbued with the traditions and stories of another time. Built between the 12th and 14th centuries, this village, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has preserved many historical monuments from this epoch. During your stop, be sure to admire the impressive castle that dominates the town, and let yourself fall under the charm of its maze of small streets and intimate squares on which folk festivals featuring magnificent colourful costumes are often organised.
3 July 2022 Corfu
Arrival 3/7/2022 early morning
Departure 3/7/2022 early afternoon
Named after the island, Corfu is the most famous city in the Ionian islands. Protected by citadel fortifications, its old city, designated UNESCO World Heritage, displays unusual Greco-Byzantine and Venetian architecture. Above the water stands Saint George’s church, looking uncannily like a classical temple. The picturesque Pontikonisi, a stone’s throw from the southern point of the town, is the legendary island where Odysseus landed.
4 July 2022 Itea
Arrival 4/7/2022 early morning
Departure 4/7/2022 midday
Tucked away in the Gulf of Corinth, this little port is situated in continental Greece, north-west of Athens. Take an easy stroll along the old cobblestone quays, while gazing at the summits encircling the Bay of Itea. We wouldn’t be surprised if you are tempted by a visit to the Delphi Sanctuary. The sanctuary is located on a plateau on the slope of Mount Parnassus, just ten kilometres from Itea. A listed UNESCO World Heritage site, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience whose ancient ruins are surrounded by steep mountains.
4 July 2022 Crossing the Corinth Canal
The Corinth Canal cuts through the Isthmus of Corinth, turning the Peloponnese into an island as it separates the region from the Greek mainland. Inaugurated in 1893, the canal is a little over six kilometres long and enables merchant vessels and passenger to avoid a long 400-km detour around the peninsula. The two sides of the canal reach a height of approximately fifty metres. From the exterior decks, don’t miss this unique opportunity to watch the ship as it navigates along the narrow strip of water encased between tall, ochre cliffs. What an experience!
5 July 2022 Athens
Arrival 5/7/2022 early morning
Disembarkation 5/7/2022 at 7:00 am
The Greek capital city is located on the edge of the Saronic gulf, in the east of the country. It bears a plural name in reference to the first villages that surround the Acropolis. You will be enchanted by the rocky plateau presided by its monuments listed as UNESCO World Heritage. In the city below, you can visit some of the liveliest districts in Athens: Plaka, with its maze of colourful streets, and where, in the evenings the drifting aroma of moussaka and garlic prawns will tickle your taste buds. The National Archaeological museum and the Cycladic Art Museum are also some of the city’s key attractions and allow visitors to discover Athens’ cultural past.
From the 14th through the 18th century, Rovinj was the center of Venetian government on the Istrian peninsula. On your guided walking tour of the old center of the town, built on what was a rocky island (now connected to the mainland), you will realize how Venice dominated not just the politics of the peninsula, but also the architecture — tall houses with red tiled roofs and narrow streets intersected by covered passageways and archways, all decorated with ancient frescoes.
Making your way through a maze of closely built structures that seem to lean on one another for support, you will arrive at the Basilica of Saint Euphemia, a Baroque church in the Venetian style, built atop a hill over the ruins of earlier churches. It is home to a marble sarcophagus containing the relics of the Saint, brought here from Constantinople for safe keeping in the 9th century, when Rovinj was part of the Byzantine Empire.
Continuing your tour, you stop next at the Batana Eco-Museum, an international award-winning museum that makes use of state-of-the-art multimedia exhibits and interactive presentations to celebrate both the rich fishing tradition of Rovinj and the related cultural heritage of peoples who for centuries have lived in Rovinj in harmony with the sea and its resources. The museum places particular emphasis, as its name implies, on the batana boat, Rovinj's emblematic flat bottom fishing vessel.
The island of Hvar enjoys a mild climate and lush subtropical vegetation. It is particularly known for its rosemary, lavender, and laurel. This excursion takes you away from the busy coastal towns to places rarely visited by tourists, where you will enjoy fresh air, moderate exercise, and some of the most beautiful views available along the Croatian coast.
Your tour begins at the pier, where your guide will lead through the town to the bus station and a 20-minute scenic drive to the village of Velo Grablje. On arrival in the village, which is surrounded by lavender fields, you will be met by a local grower, who will say a few words about the village and about the importance of lavender to Hvar's economy and way of life. Your hike from Velo ("upper") Grablje to Malo ("lower") Grablje, begins on part of the medieval trail that once connected Hvar to Stari Grad. The entire walk is downhill, starting with several long steps and continuing as a narrow path for approximately 1 mile, before the trail widens for the remainder of the hike to Malo Grablje. It takes about an hour to cover this distance. In the lower village, you will enjoy a snack at a traditional local tavern, before continuing for another 45 minutes or so on a wide gravel path to Milna, where you can spend some time on the beach before your transfer back to Hvar.
Hvar is a fertile island of pale stone houses surrounded by rosemary, lavender, and laurel. Its architecture is unmistakably Venetian, and there are fine fortifications. Our tour of the island’s principal town includes the 17th-century Municipal Theater, the Franciscan Monastery, the city’s Loggia, and St. Stephen’s Square.
Your guide will meet you at the pier and lead you through narrow streets and along the waterfront to the 15th-century Franciscan Monastery. This handsome Renaissance structure is situated on the coast amid a garden of cypress, one of which is 300 years old. The monastery's spacious refectory has been turned into a museum, exhibiting collections of rare books and coins, ancient amphora, paintings, and various curiosities. Its prize possession is a magnificent painting of the Last Supper that measures 7 feet by 30 feet and is thought to belong to the Venetian School of Palma the Younger, from the end of the 16th century.
From the monastery, your guide will lead you into the center of town and to the main square, where you will pass by the Cathedral of St. Stephan and the Venetian Loggia before visiting the Benedictine Cloister, where a community of nuns have perfected the art of making lace from the fibers of dried agave leaves. A small museum here displays their handiwork.
Your final visit, on the way back to the pier, is at the 17th-century Arsenal, which houses Europe's oldest Municipal Theater, established in 1612. It is still in use.
Your guide will lead you back to the pier. Or you may choose to stay on in town to explore on your own.
Dubrovnik, despite a devastating earthquake in 1667 and the ravages of many wars, is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Begin your walk with a stroll along Dubrovnik's Stradum, a wide pedestrian way lined with shops and cafés and a remarkable number of historic buildings and monuments. At its western end, you arrive at the Franciscan Monastery whose cloister ranks among the most inspiring sites of the city. The Monastery houses the oldest pharmacy in Europe, and third oldest pharmacy in the world, founded in 1317. It is still active and still offers salves manufactured according to recipes passed from generation to generation.
A short walk from the monastery brings you to the Cathedral of the Assumption. Built in the 18th century on the ruins of a church destroyed in the 1667 earthquake, its design is surprisingly simple. But it is a treasure trove of gold and silver reliquaries and several priceless paintings, including a polyptych over the main altar of the Assumption of the Virgin by Titian.
As you make your way back to the pier, your guide will point out some of Dubrovnik's most important cultural monuments — Sponza Palace, identifiable by its gallery of arcades, the Church of Saint Blaise, built in 1715 in Baroque style, and the richly detailed Onofrio Fountain, fed by an aqueduct built in the 15th century that brings potable water to the city from a spring 7 miles away.
The final visit of your tour is at the Rector's Palace. This Gothic-Renaissance structure overlooking the harbor is now a cultural history museum that tells the story of Dubrovnik when it was the capital of the proud Republic of Ragusa, a maritime power that rivalled Venice through much of the later Middle Ages.
Kotor, located at the head of a bay of the same name, is a delightful port town in the middle of some of the most dramatic coastline of the Adriatic Sea. Your walking tour reveals its magnificent walls, palaces, and churches.
A 10-minute walk from the pier brings you to the heart of the Old Town, where you will visit the Romanesque Cathedral of Saint Tryphon. Originally constructed in the 12th century, the Cathedral suffered extensive damage in the earthquake of 1667, was rebuilt, and then was badly damaged again in the earthquake of 1979. It has only recently been fully restored. Older than many cathedrals in Europe, St. Tryphon's houses treasures of immense value —frescoes from the 14th century, an ornate stone ornament above the main altar depicting the life of St. Tryphon, and a gilded-silver altar screen portraying the many saints associated with Kotor.
Your tour continues with a visit to the Maritime Museum, with exhibits chronicling the development of the naval and merchant marine traditions of Kotor, and memorializing the town's pride in their seamen's contributions to trade and to the defense of Montenegro against foes from pirates to the Ottoman Turks.
You will also have an opportunity to explore Kotor's Lapidarium, a collection of stone sculpture, monuments and architectural embellishments rescued from the debris of earthquakes and wars and ranging from Roman times to the 18th century.
From the earliest times, Corfu has been prized for its natural beauty and resources and for its strategic position at the entrance to the Adriatic Sea. It has come under the rule of a succession of empires — Greek, Roman, Venetian, Napoleonic, British — and played a critical role in World War II. Despite all of this turmoil, Corfu has served as a favored retreat for European elites from Roman Emperors to Austrian Queens and British actors.
Meet your guide at the pier for a short drive to the village of Gastouri, where you will visit the Achilleion Palace. Built in 1889 by Empress Elisabeth ("Sissi") of Austria as a summer palace, it was conceived as an escape into the Homeric world of Achilles and filled with paintings and statues of the hero of the Iliad. After Sissi's assassination by an anarchist in 1898, her palace was sold to Kaiser Wilhelm II and was used during both World Wars as headquarters for the German Occupation. Today, it has been restored to its original condition, combining the beauty of the interior with a sculpture garden of exotic flowers dominated by an imposing statue of Achilles and offering magnificent views of the Ionian Sea.
Leaving Achilleion, you drive the coastal road to Perama for a brief stop to take in views of the famous “Mouse Island", before continuing to the Old Town. Your guided walking tour begins at the Esplanade, the main square, and wanders through Corfu's narrow streets of Venetian forts, loggias, palaces, and churches. Pass the Residence of the British High Commissioner, the historic Cambiello Quarter, and Town Hall on your way to visit the Church of St. Spyridon, patron saint of Corfu.
At the end of the tour, you may either board your coach to return to the ship or remain in the city for further exploration on your own and return to the ship later.
From the pier, embark your coach for the one-hour drive to the St. Lucas Monastery. This historic walled monastery is one of the most important monuments of Middle Byzantine architecture and art and is a listed UNESCO World Heritage site. It was founded in the early 10th century by the hermit St. Lucas, whose relics are kept in the monastery. The main shrine of the monastery is the tomb of St. Lucas, originally situated in the vault, but later placed at the juncture of the two churches, the church of Theotokos and the Catholic Church which is the oldest in the complex.
Continue your journey with the visit of Arachova village. Arachova is a small town of quaint houses built on the northern slopes of Mount Parnassos, at an altitude of about 3,000 feet. In the Iliad, Homer mentions two famous generals who took part in the Trojan War, Epistrophos and Schedias from the towns of Anemoria and Kiparissos. These old towns were situated near where Arachova stands today. In about 334 B.C. Philip the Second King of Macedonia destroyed both towns and their populations dispersed over the hills until a new town, Arachova, was built. Today the 'jewel of Parnassos' Arachova remains vital because it keeps its traditions alive, and the residents remain simple and hospitable. From the first moment you will feel a different wind blowing up here and understand why the locals work so hard to upkeep the area's natural beauty. The town is famous for its carpets and blankets woven by hand and for its wines and cheeses.
After a short walking tour and time to browse through the narrow streets with the numerous souvenir and local product shops, you will return to the ship.
From the port of Itea, you will drive through spectacular scenery to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Delphi. Famous in antiquity as the home of the oracle of Apollo, Delphi is one of the most impressive sites in Greece – massive ruins that include the temple of Apollo, an ancient theater and stadium, the sanctuary of Athena Pronaia, the Kastalia spring, and various treasures that adorn the sacred way. The archaeological museum on the site contains many important artifacts from excavations.
You will follow in the footsteps of ancient pilgrims as your guide leads you along the Sacred Way from the southeast corner of the site, up the hillside, past ancient treasuries and monuments, to the Temple of Apollo. It is an imposing Doric temple first built around the 7th century B.C. by legendary architects Trophonios and Agamedes. Today, you can see one complete column of the facade and portions of five more columns. Also visible are the foundations of the outer colonnade and the interior sekos.
Your walk continues past the spare ruins of the Senate of Delphi, followed by a pile of rocks marking the site of the early Delphi Oracle, which according to legend was guarded by the snake Python. Those who wish to do so may also visit the Theater.
A few steps from the main site, the Delphi museum exhibits objects found at the site over a century and more of excavation. One of the four largest museums in Greece, it displays vases, bronzes, and sculptures found in the temples as well as offerings to Apollo from pilgrims – objects of gold and ivory found under the slabs of the Sacred Way.
Rejoin your coach and enjoy magnificent views over the Bay of Itea on the way to the charming town of Delphi, where you will enjoy time at leisure to browse in the shops before returning to the ship.