Age-old power struggles between eastern and western empires—definitive turning points in the course of history—have shaped the geopolitical map of the Mediterranean region that we know today. Accompanied by Smith Professor of Government Mlada Bukovansky, soak up this fascinating history during a springtime cruise from Malta to Istanbul aboard the intimate 36-cabin Variety Voyager. Visit Malta, where the Knights Hospitaller were victorious at the Great Siege of 1565, securing Western domination of the Mediterranean. Stop at Siracusa, described by Cicero as the “most beautiful [Greek city] of them all,” which was swallowed up by the Roman and Byzantine empires. Tour Preveza, overlooking the Bay of Actium, where Octavian’s victory over Mark Antony and Cleopatra ensured the continuation of the Roman Empire for another 400 years, and Pylos, where victory at the Battle of Navarino in 1827 led to Greece’s declaration of independence from the Ottomans. Athens, Gallipoli and Instanbul round out the journey, with visits to noteworthy cathedrals, temples, palaces, gardens, markets and museums all reflecting critical points in the development of Western civilization.

Download the full trip brochure

Trip Highlights

  • Visit four UNESCO World Heritage sites: Valletta, the capital of Malta; Siracusa, a once-powerful threat to Athens; Delos, mythological birthplace of Apollo and Artemis; and Old Istanbul, replete with treasures above and below ground
  • Discover the Nikopolis Museum, adjacent to an archaeological site, and the Acropolis Museum in Athens
  • Marvel at Istanbul’s wealth of cultural treasures, among them the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, the Hagia Sofia basilica, the Hippodrome of Constantinople and the Basilica Cistern
  • Explore the archaeological sites of Troy, dramatically immortalized by Homer in "The Iliad", and Delos, the mythological birthplace of Apollo and Artemis


J. Patrick Coby, Esther Booth Wiley Professor of Government at Smith College; Denis Feeney, Gigler Professor of Latin and professor of classics at Princeton; and Kirk Freudenburg, professor and department chair of classics at Yale.

Trip Details

  • Duration: 13 days
  • Activity Level: Active; All participants should be in good health, physically fit and capable of walking over rough terrain without assistance. Daily programs involve walking one to two miles, such as through archaeological sites, from coach drop-off points, in museums, and on city tours—sometimes on uneven terrain, including dirt and cobblestoned paths.
  • Cost: From $8,995 per person, based on double occupancy
  • Single Supplement: $4,500 per person
  • Deposit: $1,000 per person, payable to Criterion Travel
  • Co-Sponsors: Princeton Journeys and Yale Educational Travel

Contact us for more information, or call Smith Travel at 800-225-2029.

Please read our terms and conditions and other important information.