Who doesn’t dream about warm, rolling coasts, architectural masterpieces and the fresh, earthy flavors of the Mediterranean? Now it’s easier than ever to go on an island-hopping adventure with Royal Caribbean’s upcoming ship Odyssey of the Seas, the first Quantum Ultra Class ship to sail the entire summer in Europe.
Making its Mediterranean debut in April 2021, Odyssey will call Rome home. On seven- to 12-night Mediterranean cruises sailing round trip from the Eternal City, you’ll explore European wonders from Santorini and Mykonos, Greece to Ephesus, Turkey with even more time on shore, thanks to extended hours in all ports. For those who don’t want the night to end, you can stay overnight in Athens, Greece and Naples, Italy on the new ship’s nine-night Greek Isles and 12-night Holy Land itineraries.
To amp up the thrills, savor immersive, full-day explorations from moonlighting as an archaeologist, to flambéing your next culinary masterpiece, to hiking off-beaten paths in each port, when you book our shore excursions hosted by Global Sustainable Tourism Council certified tour operators.
Whatever your passion, whether history buff, foodie or avid adventurer, you can create unforgettable memories in some of the world’s most coveted destinations:
Take advantage of an overnight stay and fall in love with the charming, coastal vibe of Naples, once a metropolis treasured by the ancient Greeks. Visit the Historic Center of Naples, the largest UNESCO World Heritage Site in Europe—famous for its churches displaying lavish architecture. Naples (or “Napoli” in Italian) also boasts the most Michelin-starred restaurants in Italy. Did we mention Naples is the birthplace of pizza?
Once you’ve explored some of the city, take a tour of Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast to take in more of Italy’s most famous coastline before getting lost in the flower-filled streets of Sorrento.
Discover Athens, the historical capital of Europe, with its temples honoring Zeus and Poseidon and grandiose mausoleums at the city’s first cemetery. Any history buff should beeline to the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, the largest in Greece. There’s also the architectural trilogy of Athens—the Academy of Athens, University of Athens and National Library. Plus, you’ll have plenty of time to explore the storied city’s adventures with late-night and overnight stays.
Once you’ve uncovered some city secrets, immerse yourself in Grecian culinary history by sampling fresh olive oils, seafood and cheeses at the Central Food Market, open since 1886.
Pro tip: Products labeled “PDO,” which stands for “Protected Designation of Origin,” originate only from this part of the world!
While Odyssey can take you to the family-friendly beach of Mykonos and ancient city of Rhodes, you can also explore the island of Crete while docked at Heraklion. Once you’ve arrived, you’ll wonder if there are three cities in one as you walk past Byzantine churches, Turkish fountains and Venetian mansions. For a “Taste of Crete,” visit one of the six PDO wine districts, which have revitalized one of the world’s oldest winemaking regions. Enjoy well-deserved samples of Crete’s flagship white, Vidiano, before escaping to Archanes village to feast your eyes on Cretan landscapes of gorges tucked between rugged mountains and forests.
There’s a reason why millions of people, travel to Jerusalem at least once in their life. The city is constantly abuzz as locals go to shuks (covered markets) to buy everything from fresh dates to colorful fabric or catch up with a friend over golden-brown fried eggplant. Take a guided tour of historical sites, including Gethsemane, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Church of the Nativity, that unfold centuries of biblical stories. To relax, float in the Dead Sea, the deepest salt lake in the world, and let your skin soak up its healthy minerals.
Nearby, Haifa serves as a vantage point of everything below and adjacent to the city. Reset your senses at the Bahai Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, surrounded by terraces of flowers, sculptures and waterworks. After your garden retreat, travel to the region of Galilee to explore Nazareth, the hometown of Jesus, which not surprisingly is home to dozens of synagogues and churches still frequented today.
It’s never too early to plan your next Mediterranean escape. With Royal Caribbean, you’ll never run out of ideas for endless European adventures whether at sea or on land with Odyssey of the Seas. And stay tuned for when Odyssey makes its U.S. debut in November 2021 to sail the Caribbean.
Cruise with us to see Europe in a new light and get a glimpse of the Mediterranean way of life.