Expedition Overview

Expedition Overview


Complimentary Bar Tab and Gratuities

Book a voyage on the National Geographic Explorer, National Geographic Orion, National Geographic Endurance, Sea Cloud, or Lord of the Glens and we will cover your bar tab on board and all tips for the crew.

Offer is for new bookings only, may not be combined with other offers, and is subject to availability. Must book by July 31, 2019. Please call for details.

  • Sail the shimmering waters of the Mediterranean, Tyrrhenian, Ionian, and Aegean seas aboard the historic square-rigger Sea Cloud.
  • Explore enchanting piazzas and winding alleyways of picturesque towns from Cefalù to Lipari and Ortigia in the company of local guides.
  • Visit five UNESCO World Heritage sites, from the storied city of Valletta to ancient Greco-Roman ruins at Agrigento and Syracuse.
  • Experience Sicily’s unique cuisine at a wine tasting in Marsala, in Erice’s renowned pasticceria, and at a private dinner in a historic castle near Taormina.



Set sail aboard the majestic four-masted Sea Cloud on a journey into the culture, history, and cuisine of Malta and Sicily. Step into the ancient past among cities and temples left behind by the Greeks, Carthaginians, and prehistoric peoples—to name just a few. In Taormina and Valetta, wander through charming towns where modern-day life thrives amid glorious vestiges of Greco-Roman civilization, and challenge your conceptions of Italian cuisine as you taste Sicily’s take on pizza, pastries, and wine. Then soak up the elegant comfort of our ship during four relaxing days at sail on the Ionian and Aegean seas on our way to Athens.

This trip is offered in partnership with Lindblad Expeditions.


Days 1-2: U.S./Valletta, Malta

Depart on an overnight flight to Valletta, Malta’s capital city, whose strategic location in the middle of the Mediterranean has endowed it with a myriad of cultural influences and a fascinating history. Get an introduction to the island during a riveting audio-visual show tracing 7,000 years of Maltese history and on a visit to Fort St. Elmo, the seaside stronghold presiding over the Old Town. Then settle into your cabin aboard the exquisite Sea Cloud, and if you wish, head back into town this evening.

Meals Included:Dinner Daily
Day 3: Gozo

Rise early to catch mariners climbing lines and setting the magnificent sails of the Sea Cloud by hand. Today we visit Malta’s Gozo Island, home to the World Heritage site of Ggantija. These ancient megalithic temples are over 5,000 years old, predating both the Pyramids of Giza and Stonehenge. This evening, gather for a welcome cocktail and dinner with the ship’s Captain and crew.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4: At Sea

Enjoy a full day on the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean. Attend a talk and demonstration on the mechanics of our four-masted vessel, or find an inviting nook where you can relax with a book and take in views of the sea. Tonight we’ll get our first taste of Sicily at a wine tasting that features reds and whites from the nearby island.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5: Agrigento, Sicily

Benvenuti in Sicilia! Our journey begins at Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples. Founded by the Greeks in the seventh century B.C., the site served as a prominent city in Magna Graecia before eventually changing hands between the Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, and Normans. Explore the valley’s grand row of Doric temples devoted to the likes of Zeus and Herakles before returning to the ship for an afternoon on the water.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6: Selinus and Marsala

Anchor in the fishing town of Mazara del Vallo and set out for the ancient city of Selinus. The site’s impressive ruins comprise one of the largest archaeological parks in the world. Stroll among stately temples, town walls, and what remains of the city’s residential and commercial quarters. Continue to Marsala where we’ll visit an excavated Punic warship and a museum devoted to the city’s Carthaginian history before tasting the region’s renowned dessert wines at a local vineyard. Meet the ship in Trapani tonight.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7: Erice

This morning, ascend to the medieval mountaintop town of Erice, a mesmerizing labyrinth of alleyways surrounded by old city walls. Uncover its fascinating history with the help of local guides, and then spend some time wandering the streets on your own. Sample some of Sicily’s best cakes at Maria Grammatico’s renowned pasticceria before returning to the ship. Tonight, we’ll hear a talk on the colorful history of the Sea Cloud and enjoy an opportunity to see some of its original staterooms.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8: Cefalù

Take part in an on-deck photography workshop before the ship drops anchor near Cefalù. Regarded as one of Sicily’s most beautiful towns, this seaside gem is framed by the sweeping headland rock of La Rocca. We’ll tour Cefalù on foot, including the 12th-century Norman cathedral that dominates the cityscape. We dock here overnight, providing extra time to tackle La Rocca or explore the town on your own this evening.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9: Lipari/Stromboli

Our morning sail to Lipari offers prime views of the Aeolian Islands, a World Heritage site. We’ll take a scenic drive around the perimeter of the island and spend time in Lipari Town, browsing the impressive collection of Neolithic artifacts at the archaeological museum. Board the ship for an evening cruise to Stromboli, keeping an eye out for the island’s volcanic pyrotechnics as we approach.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10: Strait of Messina/Taormina

Enjoy breakfast on deck as our vessel follows the wake of Odysseus through the narrow Strait of Messina, the bustling waterway that separates Sicily from the boot of Italy. This afternoon, we drop anchor off the coast of Taormina, a picturesque medieval town that spills across the slopes at the foot of Mount Etna. Take a walk through town to an incredible third-century B.C. Greco-Roman theater, built directly into the cliff. Tonight, we’re invited to a private dinner at a family-owned castle. Meet our hosts for a tour of the 18th-century estate, which was featured in several Godfather films.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11: Syracuse

Sail south to Syracuse, a city that once rivaled Athens in cultural and economic wealth. Explore the archaeological park, which showcases one of the world’s largest theaters of antiquity, a 15,000-seat arena still in use today. After lunch, visit the enchanting island town of Ortigia to discover its charming piazzas, twisting alleyways, and impressive Duomo, built from the ruins of Sicily’s ancient Temple of Athena.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 12-15: At Sea/Pylos, Greece

Enjoy a leisurely crossing of the Ionian Sea en route to Greece, following the winds and taking advantage of spontaneous opportunities to swim or explore along the way. Stop for a visit to Methoni Castle outside of Pylos, and spend a final day sailing the Aegean Sea.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Day 16: Piraeus/Athens/U.S.

Disembark in Piraeus this morning and transfer to the airport in Athens to catch your flight home.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Optional Extensions

Optional Extensions

  • Athens Extension
    2 days from $1,460
  • Malta Extension
    2 days from $1,140
Athens Extension


Delve into the ancient history of Athens on an extended stay in this capital of Greek culture. Stand in awe of legendary monuments from the Parthenon to the Temple of Olympian Zeus. Visit renowned museums, wander historic neighborhoods, and savor local cuisine in the company of experts with intimate knowledge of the city’s extraordinary history.

Days 1-2: U.S./Athens, Greece

Depart on an overnight flight to Athens, then check in to our hotel located on the famous Syngrou Avenue. After lunch, visit the stunning Acropolis Museum to view some of the finest sculptures and artifacts of ancient Greece, including many items removed from the Acropolis for protection from the elements. Set out on an orientation tour of the city to see the former Royal Palace, along with a number of Athens’ renowned neoclassical buildings. Stroll around the towering ruins of the Temple of Olympian Zeus, once hailed as the largest temple in Greece. In the evening, gather for an introduction to Greek history and mythology, followed by free time to explore the city and sample delicious local cuisine.

Meals Included:Lunch Daily
Accommodations:Grand Hyatt Athens
Day 3: Athens

This morning, venture to the summit of the Acropolis for an in-depth exploration of the spiritual heart of Athens and the ancient Greek world. Pass through the impressive Propylaea, the original entrance to the Acropolis complex; and continue on to view the spectacular Parthenon, the temple dedicated to Athena, goddess of war and wisdom. Descend to explore the Agora, a market square that was the focus of political, commercial, administrative, and social activity in ancient Athens. After lunch, discover remarkable artifacts at the Cycladic Art Museum or the Benaki Museum, or enjoy time on your own to stroll down marble streets or explore a lively food market.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Grand Hyatt Athens
Day 4: Athens/Piraeus

Discover the collections of the acclaimed National Archaeological Museum, including some of the most important artwork, statues, and pottery from Greek and Egyptian antiquity. Head south to the waterfront neighborhood of Palaio Faliro to explore the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center. This stunning complex, completed in 2016, is home to the new National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera. In Stavros Niarchos Park, test your puzzle-solving skills as you race through a green labyrinth designed in homage to Greek mythology. This evening, transfer to the ancient port of Piraeus and settle on board the Sea Cloud to begin your sailing adventure.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodations:National Geographic Sea Cloud