Headless male & female statues in Delos shine golden in sun during a Greece and Turkey cruise.
National Geographic Orion small ship with dark blue hull & white upper decks sits at sea in sunshine as guests wave from bow.
Whitewashed bell towers look out over deep blue Aegean Sea with small white sailboats & volcanic land behind, in Santorini.
Sugar cube buildings in white, beige & pink with blue dome tops sit on hillside under deep blue sky in Santorini, Greece.
Greece and Turkey cruise travelers walk on white stone street past storefronts & under decks & awnings on a sunny day.
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Europe Mediterranean Cruise

Crossroads of the Ancient World: Exploring Greece & Turkey

Sail along the magnificent isles and rocky coastlines of Greece and Turkey, where a mélange of Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman influences create a fascinating journey through history. Encounter glittering marble cities of the ancient world from Delos to Ephesus; stroll the timeless, whitewashed villages of the Cyclades; and soak up the rhythms of everyday life as you travel age-old trade routes along vibrant Aegean coastlines poised at the crossroads of the world.   

This Greece and Turkey cruise offers a plethora of highlights. Enjoy hiking in Paros and sample the culinary delights of Naxos during a cooking class and wine tasting. Explore Delos, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the mythical birthplace of Artemis and Apollo. Sail the sapphire waters of Santorini’s volcanic caldera, and go ashore to explore the enchanting village of Oía, with its sugar-cube buildings and world-famous sunsets. And take in a performance of whirling dervishes—mystical Sufi dancers who spin themselves into a spiritual trance—in Turkey.

Visit Greece’s Cyclades, Dodecanese and North Aegean island groups, as well as Turkey’s coastal towns. Along the way, swim, kayak and paddleboard in the surrounding turquoise waters. Plus receive exclusive guidance from both a National Geographic Photography Expert and Destination Expert.

The 102-guest Nat Geo Orion acts as floating basecamp. This small expedition ship comes equipped with enough kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and Zodiacs for all guests to enjoy at the same time. Additionally, select cabins offer private balconies for special moments taking in classic Aegean sunsets. Add a nearly 1:1 guest-to-crew ratio and you’re ensured attentive service.

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



Itinerary

Crossroads of the Ancient World: Exploring Greece & Turkey Itinerary

The Crossroads of the Ancient World itinerary operates round-trip from Athens, embarking and disembarking in Lavrio with an overland transfer. Cruise clockwise among a selection of well-known and off-the-beaten-path islands, including one unscripted day.

Route map of Crossroads of the Ancient World: Greece & Turkey cruise round-trip from Lavrio with overland transfers to begin & end in Athens.
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Day 1
Arrive Athens, Greece, Transfer to Lavrio & Embark

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

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

dinner

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Day 2
Delos

The island of Delos is one of the most important mythical and historical sites in Greece and a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. In myth, it’s the birthplace of the twin immortals: Artemis, goddess of animals and the hunt, and Apollo, god of healing, music and light. Spend a morning discovering the Terrace of the Lions and exquisite Temple of Apollo, two of the many incredible ruins preserved here.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 3
Patmos

In 1999, UNESCO designated three landmarks on the Greek isle of Patmos as World Heritage sites: the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian, the Cave of the Apocalypse, and the town of Chora—all for their significance in Christianity. Patmos is believed to be the island where Saint John the Theologian wrote the Book of Revelation, and the 11th-century monastery has been a pilgrimage site ever since. Tour the monastery and the cave, where Saint John dictated his gospel to his disciple, Prochoros. Later, there are options to explore the island’s whitewashed alleyways and lush courtyards, meet local artisans, or simply relax while enjoying a coffee in a local café.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 4
Chios

For centuries, Chios has exported mastic—a type of plant resin—throughout the world. Cultivated exclusively on the island, the resin is used in liqueurs, beauty products and chewing gum. The product was once highly sought after by pirates and smugglers, and island villages were fortified with walls and watchtowers to protect the supplies. These medieval villages are uniquely beautiful, and you will have the opportunity to visit Pyrgi, known as the painted village for the black and gray geometric patterns adorning its buildings.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 5
Ephesus, Turkey

Step back in time as you wander through UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ephesus, one of the world’s best preserved ancient cities and once home to the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Peer up at the intricately carved ceiling of the iconic Library of Celsus, and marvel at the Temple of Hadrian, where the main keystone arch still holds in place nearly 2,000 years after its construction. Later, enjoy a performance of whirling dervishes—mystical Sufi dancers who spin themselves into a spiritual trance.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 6
Bodrum

Gracing Bodrum’s magnificent waterfront is the Castle of St. Peter, a 15th-century crusader fortress that now houses the Museum of Underwater Archaeology—an impressive collection of antiquities recovered from ancient shipwrecks along the Turkish coast. Explore the exhibits, then delve into the rituals and customs surrounding Türk kahvesi, or Turkish coffee. The tradition is steeped in history and recognized on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list. Enjoy a cup, accompanied by a Turkish delight, a popular local confection.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 7
Island Exploration

The electric blue sea around Bodrum is a water lover’s paradise, with a crystalline quality that is ideal for swimming, paddleboarding and kayaking. Your expedition leader and captain will select one of the nearby islands (either Orak or Çatalada) to anchor off for a day of exploring above and beneath the water’s surface.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 8
Leros, Greece

Laid-back Leros, one of the Dodecanese Islands, is dotted with picturesque windmills and medieval castles that make great photography subjects. Set out on a photo walk as the early sun rises above the hillcrests.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 9
Santorini

Venture to remarkable Santorini—an island archipelago formed from a single volcanic cone that erupted 3,600 years ago, burying the resident Minoan culture in ash. Sail directly into the caldera and then drive through windswept vineyards to reach the spectacular hilltop town of Oía. Tour the Archaeology Museum and excavations at Akrotiri, an important Minoan town preserved under volcanic ash much like Pompeii, with remarkably intact houses, streets, pottery and more.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 10
Paros & Naxos

Spend the morning hiking to the lighthouse on the laid-back island of Paros, followed by water activities in the bordering turquoise sea. This afternoon, venture to Naxos and choose from several activities, including a cooking class, wine tasting, a walking tour of the citadel, or a pottery demonstration. The natural beauty, incredible food, and relaxed vibe of Paros and Naxos provide an authentic Greek experience.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 11
Disembark Lavrios, Greece, Transfer to Athens & Depart

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

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

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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 Crossroads of the Ancient World cruise begins 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 Lavrio on the afternoon on Day 1, following an overland transfer from Athens. Disembarkation is after breakfast on the final day of the outlined itinerary, followed by an overland transfer back 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 a cooking class, tastings, a pottery demonstration, a cultural 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.

Jul 13 - Jul 23, 2025
National Geographic Orion • 11 days
From $11990USD
Per Person
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Jul 23 - Aug 02, 2025
National Geographic Orion • 11 days
From $11990USD
Per Person
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Sep 13 - Sep 23, 2025
National Geographic Orion • 11 days
From $10990USD
Per Person
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Sep 23 - Oct 03, 2025
National Geographic Orion • 11 days
From $10990USD
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.

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Crossroads of the Ancient World: Exploring Greece & Turkey