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In springtime, as the flowers pepper the landscapes with their bright colours and the sun illuminates the decor with its soft light, PONANT invites you on an exquisite interlude in the Mediterranean, between Valletta and Antalya. During a unique 11-day journey, set off aboard L’Austral to discover the riches of the Mediterranean Sea, a link between peoples, a crossroads of civilisations.
Southern Italy promises suspended moments where the beauty of the shores combines with the beauty of its historical remnants, which remain fascinating. In Syracuse, the Sicilian soul unfolds across the island of Ortygia - the oldest part of the city -, a maze of small streets dotted with churches, palaces, ancient remnants, sheltering a majestic cathedral in its very heart. In Puglia, Gallipoli, meaning “beautiful town” in Greek, reveals its Hellenic origins and offers up its singular atmosphere, where life is good.
In the tranquillity of May, you will discover Greece as you have never seen it. From the mountainous island of Corfu, you will arrive in the small port of Itea from where it is possible to visit the mythical site of Delphi or even the Hosios Loukas monastery, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. After crossing the Corinth Canal, you will be welcomed by Athens and its famous acropolis, and the remains of the Temple of Poseidon on Cape Sounion, for an unforgettable port of call. From Volos, Greece will never cease to surprise you: in Thessaly, the formation known as the Meteora hosts Eastern Orthodox monasteries that rub shoulders with the sky and are at one with the rock.
Kusadasi opens the gateway to Turkey and its treasures. The Ephesus archaeological site will tell you the great history of the Mediterranean, through this ancient city, among the oldest in the Magna Graecia of Asia Minor. From Alanya, you will explore two other majestic ancient sites, Perga and Aspendos, before arriving in Antalya, the end of your cruise.
Ref : AU090524
A brand-new cruise between Malta, Italy, Greece and Turkey, discovering some of the Mediterranean’s most beautiful antique sites in early spring. UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Valletta, Syracuse and Noto,...
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Important trip details
Boarding conditions and passenger travel abilities
We invite you to read our boarding conditions and passenger travel abilities by clicking here.
Any new reservation implies the acceptance of these conditions.
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.
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.
For all cruises longer than 8 nights, 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.
Embarkation 09/05/2024 from 20:00 to 21:00
Departure 09/05/2024 at 22:00
The whole of the Maltese capital Valletta is UNESCO World Heritage listed and occupies a peninsula in the north-east of the island. From the fountain of Tritons to Saint-Elme fort, there are as many majestic streets as there are narrow staircase vennels to explore. The painted loggia and carved corbels on the tall houses will accompany you in your explorations, and you’ll rarely be bothered by traffic. You can visit the Grandmasters palace decorated with coats of arms and frescoes. Saint-John’s cathedral and the ramparts which have guarded the city since the 16th century are also among the most emblematic sites of the city. Arranged in terraces, the Barrakka Gardens will punctuate your promenade with a green and floral experience.
Arrival 10/05/2024 early morning
Departure 10/05/2024 early afternoon
Its undulating rocky coastline, the endless sandy beaches, the menacing form of Mount Etna which surveys its island like a patriarch, the flowery gardens on the hillside... Sicily lays out its varied landscapes like a shopkeeper displays his wares. Described by Cicero as “the most beautiful city in the world”, Syracuse was one of the most prestigious cities in Sicily and at her height was even a rival for Athens. A central city of Ancient Greece, it was home to a succession of civilisations, each of which has left their mark. The blend of Arabic, Roman, Norman, Byzantine and Spanish cultures makes Syracuse a town that is extraordinarily rich in fragrances, colours and flavours.
Arrival 11/05/2024 early morning
Departure 11/05/2024 late afternoon
Gallipoli, which comes from the Greek kalle polis, meaning beautiful town, is very aptly named. Located on the heel of the boot, the town known as “the pearl of Puglia” has many attractions. The whiteness of its façades recalls its Greek origins while its architecture echoes its multiple influences. Its old town, perched on a limestone island, concentrates the cultural heritage of this city with a thousand faces, alternately a Roman colony, then Byzantine, the property of the Popes, Norman, under the rule of Taranto… By itself, it tells the story of the different civilisations of the Mediterranean Sea.
Arrival 12/05/2024 early morning
Departure 12/05/2024 late 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.
Arrival 13/05/2024 early morning
Departure 13/05/2024 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.
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!
Arrival 14/05/2024 early morning
Departure 14/05/2024 late afternoon
Near Athens, Lavrion is a peaceful port welcoming boats from around the world. The town has been known since ancient times for the silver-producing mines of Lavrion, which were major contributors to the wealth of Athens and to the Greek economy in the 20th century. Weather permitting, take a stroll through the town and discover the many vestiges of this industry that flourished until the 1980s: old Neoclassical-style constructions, industrial buildings, and worker houses. While at this port of call, also take the time to discover Athens and its acropolis, or Cape Sounion on which stands the magnificent temple of Poseidon.
Arrival 15/05/2024 early morning
Departure 15/05/2024 late afternoon
Volos, one of the biggest port cities in Greece, is located at the foot of Mount Pelion. According to mythology, Mount Pelion was a place of celebration for gods and heroes, and the home of the centaurs. The beauty of the place and the magical atmosphere that reigns here can indeed only have been inspired by the gods: the clear water that flows from a multitude of sources bathes the plane trees, apple trees, oaks, beech trees, gardenias, camellias, and hydrangeas that thrive in the fertile soil of Thessaly. Do not miss your chance to visit picturesque village of Milies in the hills, and to discover its traditional architecture.
Arrival 16/05/2024 early afternoon
Departure 16/05/2024 late evening
The attractive seaside resort of Kusadasi is located in a gulf on the western coast of Turkey. You can bathe there in clear waters or stroll along the coastal walk, in the shade of palms. In the historical district, you can take a mosey down the narrow streets and explore the colourful shops in the bazaar. Close by, the Ephesus archaeological site in the hillsides provides an opportunity to discover the ruins of one of the most famous cities of Antiquity.
During your journey at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This journey without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, depending on the activities offered, or to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.
Arrival 18/05/2024 early morning
Departure 18/05/2024 evening
On the Turkish Riviera, discover Alanya. This peninsula bordered by the Taurus Mountains enjoys a prime location in the Mediterranean Sea, which made it a strategic position for the rulers of the region during antiquity. Perched on rocky cliffs, its castle dating from the Seljuk period is an open-air museum overlooking the turquoise beaches. Also from the Ottoman period are the splendid, red-tiled villas and the octagonal Red Tower dating from 1226, the symbol of the city. Analya is now a popular seaside resort, and you can enjoy the beach where Cleopatra - the most famous Egyptian queen - is said to have bathed...
Arrival 19/05/2024 early morning
Disembarkation 19/05/2024 at 08:00
On the Turkish Mediterranean coast, discover the seaside resort of Antalya. While the city sports magnificent fine sandy beaches, it is also known for its significant historical heritage. Many vestiges bear witness to the importance of this former Roman port, such as Hadrian's Gate, built in the year 130 in honour of the visiting emperor. In the old town, it is possible to admire magnificent Ottoman houses with flowery gardens, as well as the broken minaret, built on the ruins of a former Byzantine church. The city’s surroundings also provide an opportunity to discover major archaeological sites, such as that of the ancient city of Aspendos, renowned for its impressive Roman theatre.
Aboard your ship, an English-speaking lecturer will enlighten you about the culture and history of your destination to deepen your knowledge of the origins of local traditions, the history of emblematic sites, and stories involving famous personalities and those of major historical significance. During on-board lectures or on your shore visits, this expert will be there to share their precious knowledge with you throughout your PONANT cruise.