Odyssey of Ancient Civilizations (Athens to Venice)

Explore dynamic crossroads of the Roman, Byzantine, Venetian and Slavic civilizations with alumni and friends from June 27 - July 5, 2018, and discover the roots of their distinctive cultures that have flourished for more than three thousand years. 

DubrovnikThis comprehensive small ship itinerary travels along the pathway of these great civilizations through five countries––Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia and Italy––and to six UNESCO World Heritage sites.
    Begin your journey in Athens, the birthplace of Western civilization, where you will board the specially chartered, Five-Star M.S. LE LYRIAL. Cruise from the Aegean Sea through the Corinth Canal, an unrivaled experience, maneuvering through this narrow passage between soaring, 300‑foot limestone walls across the Isthmus of Corinth. Continue along the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea through the stunning region of Dalmatia and on to Venice—known for centuries as La Serenissima, “the most serenely beautiful city.”
    Call on splendid walled cities, medieval villages, picture‑perfect islands and the spectacularly dramatic fjord-like Bay of Kotor while sailing these pristine azure waters. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage sites of historic Split and the third‑century Roman Emperor Diocletian’s Palace, now home to a thriving 21st‑century community; the seventh-century walled city of Dubrovnik; picturesque Kotor, Montenegro; the remarkable Greco-Roman site of Butrint, Albania; the Old Town of Corfu, Greece, settled in the eighth‑century B.C.; and Itea for the ancient Greek site of Delphi––cruising into many smaller, seldom‑visited ports of call, inaccessible to larger ships.
    Discover hidden gems along the beautiful Adriatic and Aegean coastlines at just the right pace as daily life unfolds before you and the past and present coalesce. Enjoy our private, specially arranged lectures, exclusive CULTURAL ENRICHMENTS and the insightful COASTAL LIFE FORUM® featuring local Croatian residents who will provide their personal perspectives on contemporary life along the Dalmatian coast.
The CAA is a global network connecting Columbians of all schools to one another and to the intellectual and social fabric of Columbia University, even after graduation. It links over 330,000 alumni through more than 100 regional clubs and shared interest groups, online resources, and over 200 thought-provoking programs around the world. The CAA Travel Study Program is one of the benefits offered to Columbia alumni and is an opportunity to continue one’s Columbia education through new intellectual, cultural, and geographical horizons.
     Join alumni, friends and participants from cosponsoring associations for this exceptional cruise from Athens to Venice, two iconic centers of flourishing civilizations and remarkable culture. Please contact the Alumni Travel Study Program office for more details and to reserve your place today!  

Dates and Prices:

Trip Dates: June 27 - July 5, 2018

Prices: from $TBA per person based upon double occupancy

Program Itinerary:

Day 1 - Depart the U.S.

Depart the U.S. for Athens, Greece on independently arranged flights.

Embark M.S. LE LYRIAL.

Ancient Greeks from all walks of life flocked to the sacred ground on Mount Parnassus to consult Pythia, the high priestess of the Temple of Apollo, on matters as routine as farming and as monumental as the declaration of war. Enjoy a walk along the Sacred Way that leads to the Temple of Apollo and stand at the marble Altar of the Chians, where the common and the mighty awaited the oracle’s pronouncements. Tour the magnificent Delphi Archaeological Museum, a treasure trove of ancient artifacts including a life-size fifth-century B.C. bronze charioteer.

CULTURAL ENRICHMENT: Walking tour through the spectacular ruins of the iconic sanctuary of Delphi, considered the center of the Greek world in the sixth century B.C. and today a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to cruise through the Corinth Canal, the conduit for the migration of civilizations between the Aegean and Adriatic Seas. First proposed at the end of the seventh century B.C., the canal was not fully realized until completion by a French engineering company in 1893. An impressive waterway that cuts through the Isthmus of Corinth, at one point only 70 feet wide, it is so narrow that only small ships can make its passage.

CULTURAL ENRICHMENT: Transit the Corinth Canal aboard your small ship, a rare and thrilling voyage highlight.

Cruise to the Ionian island of Corfu, Homer’s “beautiful and rich land,” where the varying cultural influences of past rulers are reflected in the French boulevards, Georgian mansions, Venetian citadel and Greek temple. Walk through the city’s picturesque Old Town and tour the Old Fortress, a hilltop Venetian fortification whose twin peaks inspired the name of Corfu, “Coryphe” in Greek, meaning “peaks.”

CULTURAL ENRICHMENT: Enjoy a walking tour of the Old City in Corfu Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site. See the Town Hall, once a Venetian theater, built in 1690, and the Edwardian Palace of the King of Greece.

Virgil speaks of Butrint as a parvam Troiam (little Troy), a stop for Aeneas and his exiled Trojans on their epic journey. Today, Butrint’s ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage site, trace the rise and fall of three thousand years of ancient civilizations, from the Greek and Roman to the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. The Greco-Roman amphitheater highlights the city’s rich cultural life during boom times. Public baths, a gymnasium and an aqueduct built by Emperor Caesar Augustus offer glimpses of Butrint as a Roman port, while the intricately tiled Baptistery depicts its ties to early Christianity. A short drive to 16th-century Lekursi Castle provides a stunning panoramic view of the picturesque coastal city of Sarandë.

CULTURAL ENRICHMENT: Tour the revelatory remains of Butrint, where ancient history is displayed through its well-preserved archaeological ruins.

Montenegro is one of the newest nations in the world, having gained its independence from Serbia in 2006. The incredible Bay of Kotor, deeply carved into the Montenegrin mountains, leads to the charming town of Kotor, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its Venetian baroque Old Town and impressive medieval fortifications. Enjoy a walking tour of Kotor. today

CULTURAL ENRICHMENT: Evening at leisure in Kotor.

Affectionately called “the pearl of the Adriatic,”the entire city of Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage site in recognition of its historic treasures and incomparable beauty. The city’s most famous landmarks include the Franciscan Monastery, the 15th-century Rector’s Palace, the well-preserved Old City walls and the fascinating Maritime Museum. Walking tour of the Old Town. Visit the Rector’s Palace and Maritime Museum. Enjoy a free afternoon in Dubrovnik.

CULTURAL ENRICHMENT: Enjoy a specially arranged, traditional Croatian a cappella klapa performance.

The charming island city of Korcˇula retains its original 13th-century walls, within which you will find the Abbey Treasury, home to a priceless collection of medieval manuscripts and artwork; the house where Marco Polo is said to have been born—a widely contested notion between Croatians and Venetians; and masterful works by Tintoretto, housed in the 15th-century, Gothic-Renaissance-style Cathedral of St. Mark.

CULTURAL ENRICHMENT: COASTAL LIFE FORUM® on board. During the exclusive COASTAL LIFE FORUM®, local residents will discuss contemporary life along the Adriatic.

Day 8 - SPLIT
Enjoy a walking tour of Split’s historic city center, a UNESCO World Heritage site, built on the foundation of Roman Emperor Diocletian’s retirement palace. Today, people live and work in this thriving, nearly 2000-year-old complex. Visit the Temple of Jupiter, considered to be one of the best-preserved Roman temples in the world, and the Cathedral of Saint Domnius, regarded as the world’s oldest Catholic cathedral (A.D. 305) that remains in use in its original structure.

CULTURAL ENRICHMENTS: In 1947, Ivan Meˇstrovi´c, one of the most renowned artists of the 20th century and Croatia’s most accomplished sculptor, became the first living artist to exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Experience his unique vision on a visit to the Ivan Meˇstrovi´c Gallery.

Disembark ship/Return to the U.S.


  • Seven-night cruise from Athens, Greece, to Venice, Italy, with port calls at Itea for Delphi and the island of Corfu, Greece; Sarandë for Butrint, Albania; Kotor, Montenegro; and Dubrovnik, the island of Korcˇula and Split, Croatia.
  • Elegantly appointed, Five-Star Suite or Stateroom, each with a private bathroom.
  • Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Receptions.
  • Complimentary alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages are available throughout the cruise.
  • All meals—early continental breakfast, buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, afternoon tea and dinner— throughout the cruise, featuring fine international and regional cuisine, served at single, unassigned seatings.
  • Complementary wine is served with lunch and dinner.
  • Tour of the Delphi Archaeological Museum.
  • Visit to the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Old Fortress on the historic island of Corfu.
  • Walking tour of medieval Kotor, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Walking tour of the walled city of Dubrovnik, a UNESCO World Heritage site, including visits to the Rector’s Palace and the Maritime Museum.
  • Tour the picturesque island of Korcˇula including a visit to the 17th-century Abbey Treasury.
  • Tour of Split, featuring a visit to the thriving community living within Diocletian’s third-century palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Rare cruise through the historic Corinth Canal, the storied link between the Peloponnese and Greek mainland.
  • Excursion to Mount Parnassus to see the UNESCO World Heritage site of the glorious Oracle of Delphi and the iconic Temple of Apollo.
  • Walking tour of Corfu’s UNESCO World Heritage-designated Old Town.
  • Tour of the Greco-Roman ruins of Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Time at leisure to explore the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Kotor and Dubrovnik.
  • Specially arranged, private, traditional Croatian a cappella klapa performance.
  • Specially arranged COASTAL LIFE FORUM®, where local residents will discuss daily life along the Adriatic.
  • Visit to Split’s Meˇstrovi´c Gallery, home and atelier of Croatia’s iconic creative genius Ivan Meˇstrovi´c.
  • Transfers and luggage handling abroad for participants whose arrival(s)/departure(s) coincide with the scheduled group transfer(s).
  • All excursions and visits, as outlined above, with experienced local guides.
  • Gratuities to local guides and drivers on included excursions and transfers.
  • Complimentary bottled water in your Suite or Stateroom and on excursions.
  • Hospitality desk aboard ship.
  • The services of experienced Gohagan & Company Program Directors throughout the program.
  • Complimentary use of a state-of-the-art audio headset for each participant during guided excursions.
  • Travel document wallet, name badge and pre-departure information.

Not included:
Airfare; Taxes; passport fees; visas and fees for obtaining visas; personal expenses such as laundry and telephone calls; accident/sickness, trip cancellation, and baggage insurance; gratuities to ship and hotel personnel; optional sightseeing excursions; excess baggage charges on aircraft; local departure air taxes; airfare and associated local taxes*, airport facility taxes and federal inspection fees not listed int he "included features" section of the program brochure; transfers and baggage handling to/from airport/hotel on day(s) of arrival and/or departure if you are arriving earlier or later and/or departing earlier or later that scheduled group transfer(s); meals and and alcoholic beverages not listed in the "Included Features" section of the program brochure; and all other services not specifically mentioned in the "Included Features" section of the program brochure.

Please call us toll-free at (866) 325-8664 or email us at travelstudy@columbia.edu for more details.