Aerial view of terracotta roofs & a belltower along the hilly old-world city of Dubrovnik, Croatia.
National Geographic Orion small ship with dark blue hull & white upper decks sits in calm water under a cloudy purple sky.
Small fishing boats of various colors sit in glassy harbor water by tan stone buildings, seen on an Ancient Med Odyssey cruise.
Greek ruins of tan stone with columns & 4 walls, seen on the Greece, Croatia & Albania cruise on Nat Geo Orion.
Small inlet of turquoise water by tall beige cliffs with green shrubs, seen on a small ship cruise to Croatia, Albania & Greece.
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Europe Mediterranean Cruise

Ancient Mediterranean Odyssey: Exploring Greece, Croatia & Albania

The Dalmatian Coast enchants, with sun-soaked beaches, charming port towns and a rich maritime history that dates to the Venetian Empire. Sail between Greece, Albania and Croatia, delving into ancient empires and their archaeological treasures, and visiting fascinating UNESCO World Heritage sites, from Delphi to Dubrovnik. Soak in the Ionian Sea’s idyllic turquoise waters and encounter the region’s lesser-known gems, including outlying Croatian isles and vestiges of antiquity in Albania.  

Check off a list of musts in this enchanting region. Navigate the iconic Corinth Canal, a spectacularly scenic cut that is inaccessible to larger ships. Immerse yourself in Delphi, the center of ancient Greek civilization, once home to the famed Oracle of Delphi. Explore Dubrovnik—the pearl of the Adriatic—while strolling atop its ancient walls, trying your hand at oystering, or participating in a cooking or silk embroidery class.

Discover the mesmerizing tapestry of ancient ruins at Albania’s Butrint National Park. Go birding in Divjakë-Karavasta National Park, home to over 200 avian species. Wander through Corfu’s enchanting Old Town and discover its maze of streets and shady town squares. Experience the lesser-visited island of Vis, uncovering its sea caves, historic tunnels and charming town centers.

The 102-guest Nat Geo Orion acts as floating basecamp. This small expedition ship is technologically advanced and equipped with a full set of exploration tools, including an ROV and enough kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and Zodiacs to send all guests out exploring at the same time. Additionally, select cabins offer private balconies for special moments taking in classic Mediterranean sunsets. The National Geographic Orion features a nearly 1:1 guest-to-crew ratio, ensuring that your trip to paradise comes with attentive service. Plus receive exclusive guidance from both a National Geographic Photography Expert and Destination Expert on each departure.

Read on for details about this trip, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s Greece small ship cruisesCroatia small ship cruises, Mediterranean small ship cruises and Mediterranean trips.



Itinerary

Northbound Ancient Mediterranean Odyssey: Exploring Greece, Croatia & Albania Itinerary

The northbound Ancient Mediterranean Odyssey cruise operates from Athens, Greece to Split, Croatia, stopping in Albania along the way. Embark in Lavrio following an overland transfer from Athens.

Route map of northbound Ancient Mediterranean Odyssey: Greece, Croatia & Albania cruise, including a Corinth Canal crossing.
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Day 1
Arrive Athens, Greece, Transfer to Lavrio & Embark

Arrive in Athens and transfer to Lavrio, where you embark the ship in the afternoon. Settle into your cabin and take in an Aegean sunset at sea.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

dinner

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Day 2
Corinth Canal & Delphi

Enjoy breakfast on deck as the ship navigates the historic Corinth Canal, slipping between the 300-foot limestone walls that tower above both sides of your vessel. Built in the late 19th century, the canal is too small for most modern-day ships, but your ship is perfectly sized for the transit to the Gulf of Corinth and Ionian Sea.

Later, visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Delphi, the center of the ancient Greek world. The ruins here are home to the Temple of Apollo—Greece’s most important shrine—where the Oracle of Delphi delivered divine prophecies. Your onboard local guides will share the city’s storied past as you explore the temple and other important sites.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 3
Kefalonia or Zakynthos

For the next stop, your expedition leader and local guides will choose one of the many picturesque beaches on the island of either Kefalonia or Zakynthos, bordered by the idyllic Ionian Sea. Soak in the vivid blue waters—a true photographer’s delight. Stroll along the shoreline, or swim, kayak, or paddleboard in the beautiful sea.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 4
Corfu, Greece & Butrint, Albania

Sandwiched between two fortresses, Corfu’s World Heritage-listed Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage center, begs to be explored. Choose to wander the maze of Venetian lanes and shaded town squares, or enjoy a walking tour of the 6th-century Old Fortress of Corfu. This afternoon, cross into Albania and arrive at Butrint National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site that was first settled by the Greeks in the 7th century BC and is known for its well-preserved Roman ruins. This mesmerizing tapestry of ancient ruins is a wonderful representation of Albania’s lush landscapes.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 5
Krujë & Divjakë-Karavasta National Park

After docking in Durrës, drive to Albania’s ancient capital of Krujë, just north of its modern-day capital of Tirana. Wander the stalls of the medieval bazaar, visit the Ethnographic Museum, and tour the museum dedicated to Albania’s larger-than-life national hero, Skanderbeg—the warrior who led a 15th-century rebellion against the Ottoman Empire. Cap off the day with a stirring folkloric performance. Or, if you’re interested in birding, visit the lagoons of Divjakë-Karavasta National Park, home to over 200 avian species, including the greater flamingo, Kentish plover and the extremely rare dalmatian pelican.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 6
Dubrovnik, Croatia

Wake up anchored off the ancient walls of Dubrovnik’s Old City—a UNESCO World Heritage site that is considered one of the best-preserved medieval towns in the world. Choose from several experiences to customize your day. Participate in a guided walk of the fortified walls, go oystering and enjoy a seafood lunch in the neighboring town of Ston, take part in an interactive cooking class in a quaint rural home, or learn about traditional silk embroidery at a local workshop. Cap off your day with a private folkdance performance.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 7
Komiža

One of the outermost Croatian islands, Vis was ruled successively by the ancient Greeks, Romans, Venetians, Austrians and Italians. It became a central Yugoslav military base during World War II, and only opened to tourists in the 1990s, making it less developed and less populated than many of its neighbors. Spend the morning exploring one of the island’s sea caves and the fjord at Stivina Bay, and enjoy a swim in the crystalline waters (conditions permitting).

Arrive in Komiža after lunch and embark on your choice of several optional experiences, including a hike to the headquarters of Yugoslav resistance leader Josip Broz Tito, where he hid troops and weapons in extensive underground tunnels at the end of World War II and into the Cold War. Venture to hillside barracks and hidden bunkers, or spend the morning enjoying the charming downtown.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 8
Disembark Split, Croatia

Arrive in Split this morning. Enjoy a farewell breakfast on board before disembarking and transferring to the airport for your flight home.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

Read More
Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations aboard ship; meals as indicated; beer, wine & full bar; excursions; services of expedition leader, historian, naturalist staff and expert guides; all port charges and service taxes; basic WiFi (enhanced and premium packages available for purchase). Gratuities for all departures of National Geographic Explorer, Orion, Endurance, Resolution, Sea Cloud, Jahan and Lord of the Glens.

Exclusions

Immigration fees; air transportation; extensions; meals not indicated; reserve wines & premium spirits; gratuities for all departures of Delfin II, Endeavour II, Islander II, Venture, Quest, Sea Bird and Sea Lion; personal items such as emails, laundry, voyage DVD, etc.; and insurance of any kind.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of 15% of the total trip cost is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special payment terms apply for groups of 8 or more; inquire for details. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person fees, based on number of days prior to departure:
120 or more days – 100% of deposit**
119 to 90 days – 50% of total trip cost
89 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost
**Advance payments will be credited in the form of a Lindblad Expeditions Travel Certificate, valid for 12 months from the date of cancellation, and which may only be applied towards final payment on any future booking.

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The northbound Ancient Mediterranean Odyssey cruise begins in Athens, Greece (ATH), and ends in Split, Croatia (SPU). We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. Embarkation is in Lavrio on the afternoon of Day 1, following an overland transfer from Athens. Disembarkation is after breakfast on the final day of the outlined itinerary. Your Adventure Specialist can provide flight arrival and departure guidance for Day 8 during the booking process. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page. 

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the ship’s crew can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include oystering, a cooking class, a tasting, a folkdance performance, Zodiac and small craft cruises, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, yoga and stretching, hiking, historical site visits, city tours, museum tours and guided walks.

Room Configuration

In addition to listed Solo cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. If you would like to share accommodations with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to try to accommodate you in select cabin categories. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate whether or not a roommate is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Children under the age of 18 are eligible for $500 off the double occupancy rate. Skilled staff members trained with National Geographic Education organize activities that inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. Programming for kids may include activities like photo workshops, journaling, scavenger hunts, Zodiac-driving lessons, hands-on nature and science programming and kid-friendly menu options.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the guides’ discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of adventure travel unique.

Southbound Ancient Mediterranean Odyssey: Exploring Greece, Croatia & Albania Itinerary

The southbound Ancient Mediterranean Odyssey cruise operates from Split, Croatia, to Athens, Greece, stopping in Albania along the way.

Route map of southbound Ancient Mediterranean Odyssey: Greece, Croatia & Albania cruise, including a Corinth Canal crossing.
Read More
Day 1
Embark Split, Croatia

Arrive in Split and transfer to the ship. Embark and settle into your cabin, enjoying your first Dalmatian sunset as you set sail.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

dinner

Read More
Day 2
Komiža

One of the outermost Croatian islands, Vis was ruled successively by the ancient Greeks, Romans, Venetians, Austrians and Italians. It became a central Yugoslav military base during World War II, and only opened to tourists in the 1990s, making it less developed and less populated than many of its neighbors. Spend the morning exploring one of the island’s sea caves and the fjord at Stivina Bay, and enjoy a swim in the crystalline waters (conditions permitting).

Arrive in Komiža after lunch and embark on your choice of several optional experiences, including a hike to the headquarters of Yugoslav resistance leader Josip Broz Tito, where he hid troops and weapons in extensive underground tunnels at the end of World War II and into the Cold War. Venture to hillside barracks and hidden bunkers, or spend the morning enjoying the charming downtown.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 3
Dubrovnik, Croatia

Wake up anchored off the ancient walls of Dubrovnik’s Old City—a UNESCO World Heritage site that is considered one of the best-preserved medieval towns in the world. Choose from several experiences to customize your day. Participate in a guided walk of the fortified walls, go oystering and enjoy a seafood lunch in the neighboring town of Ston, take part in an interactive cooking class in a quaint rural home, or learn about traditional silk embroidery at a local workshop. Cap off your day with a private folkdance performance.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 4
Krujë & Divjakë-Karavasta National Park, Albania

After docking in Durrës, drive to Albania’s ancient capital of Krujë, just north of its modern-day capital of Tirana. Wander the stalls of the medieval bazaar, visit the Ethnographic Museum, and tour the museum dedicated to Albania’s larger-than-life national hero, Skanderbeg—the warrior who led a 15th-century rebellion against the Ottoman Empire. Cap off the day with a stirring folkloric performance. Or, if you’re interested in birding, visit the lagoons of Divjakë-Karavasta National Park, home to over 200 avian species, including the greater flamingo, Kentish plover and the extremely rare dalmatian pelican.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 5
Butrint, Albania & Corfu, Greece

Arrive at Butrint National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site that was first settled by the Greeks in the 7th century BC and is known for its well-preserved Roman ruins. This mesmerizing tapestry of ancient ruins is a wonderful representation of Albania’s lush landscapes. In the afternoon, cross into Greece. Sandwiched between two fortresses, Corfu’s World Heritage-listed Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage center, begs to be explored. Choose to wander the maze of Venetian lanes and shaded town squares, or enjoy a walking tour of the 6th-century Old Fortress of Corfu.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 6
Kefalonia or Zakynthos

For the next stop, your expedition leader and local guides will choose one of the many picturesque beaches on the island of either Kefalonia or Zakynthos, bordered by the idyllic Ionian Sea. Soak in the vivid blue waters—a true photographer’s delight. Stroll along the shoreline, or swim, kayak, or paddleboard in the beautiful sea.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 7
Delphi & Corinth Canal

Visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Delphi, the center of the ancient Greek world. The ruins here are home to the Temple of Apollo—Greece’s most important shrine—where the Oracle of Delphi delivered divine prophecies. Your onboard local guides will share the city’s storied past as you explore the temple and other important sites.

Later, navigate the historic Corinth Canal, slipping between the 300-foot limestone walls that tower above both sides of your vessel. Built in the late 19th century, the canal is too small for most modern-day ships, but your ship is perfectly sized for the transit to the Gulf of Corinth and Ionian Sea.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 8
Disembark Lavrio, Greece, Transfer to Athens & Depart

Arrive in Lavrio this morning. Enjoy a farewell breakfast on board before disembarking and transferring to the Athens airport for your flight home.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

Read More
Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations aboard ship; meals as indicated; beer, wine & full bar; excursions; services of expedition leader, historian, naturalist staff and expert guides; all port charges and service taxes; basic WiFi (enhanced and premium packages available for purchase). Gratuities for all departures of National Geographic Explorer, Orion, Endurance, Resolution, Sea Cloud, Jahan and Lord of the Glens.

Exclusions

Immigration fees; air transportation; extensions; meals not indicated; reserve wines & premium spirits; gratuities for all departures of Delfin II, Endeavour II, Islander II, Venture, Quest, Sea Bird and Sea Lion; personal items such as emails, laundry, voyage DVD, etc.; and insurance of any kind.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of 15% of the total trip cost is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special payment terms apply for groups of 8 or more; inquire for details. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person fees, based on number of days prior to departure:
120 or more days – 100% of deposit**
119 to 90 days – 50% of total trip cost
89 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost
**Advance payments will be credited in the form of a Lindblad Expeditions Travel Certificate, valid for 12 months from the date of cancellation, and which may only be applied towards final payment on any future booking.

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The southbound Ancient Mediterranean Odyssey cruise begins in Split, Croatia (SPU), and ends in Athens, Greece (ATH). We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. Embarkation is in Split on the afternoon on Day 1. Disembarkation is after breakfast on the final day of the outlined itinerary, followed by an overland transfer to Athens. Your Adventure Specialist can provide flight arrival and departure guidance during the booking process. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page. 

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the ship’s crew can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include oystering, a cooking class, a tasting, a folkdance performance, Zodiac and small craft cruises, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, yoga and stretching, hiking, historical site visits, city tours, museum tours and guided walks.

Room Configuration

In addition to listed Solo cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. If you would like to share accommodations with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to try to accommodate you in select cabin categories. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate whether or not a roommate is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Children under the age of 18 are eligible for $500 off the double occupancy rate. Skilled staff members trained with National Geographic Education organize activities that inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. Programming for kids may include activities like photo workshops, journaling, scavenger hunts, Zodiac-driving lessons, hands-on nature and science programming and kid-friendly menu options.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the guides’ discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of adventure travel unique.

Rates & Dates

Cruise Rates & Dates

Rates are variable per remaining availability and are subject to change.

Jun 21 - Jun 28, 2025
National Geographic Orion • 8 days
From $7493USD
Per Person
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Jun 28 - Jul 05, 2025
National Geographic Orion • 8 days
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From $7493USD
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Aug 09 - Aug 16, 2025
National Geographic Orion • 8 days
From $7493USD
Per Person
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Aug 30 - Sep 06, 2025
National Geographic Orion • 8 days
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From $7493USD
Per Person
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Oct 03 - Oct 10, 2025
National Geographic Orion • 8 days
From $7493USD
Per Person
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Accommodation

Learn About the Small Ship on Your Itinerary

Expedition Ship
National Geographic Orion

102-guest National Geographic Orion is one of the most sophisticated vessel in its class. Small ship cruises aboard the Orion offer a luxurious exploration of Chile, Tahiti, Australia, New Zealand and beyond.

Book with the confidence that comes from experience.

100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

Extend Your Trip

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Ancient Mediterranean Odyssey: Exploring Greece, Croatia & Albania