Small Ship Cruises

Antiquity To Byzantium


27 Oct 2023 –
8 Nov 2024


8 days

From €1485 / per person

Untold secrets: discover Ancient Greece with Variety

This cruise includes a guest lecturer named Eugenia Alexiou and is a journey through history focused on the Golden Age of Greek culture and beyond. Eugenia is the ideal guide through all the historic monuments and attractions we visit because Eugenia has a Master’s degree in Byzantine art, is an experienced historian, and graduated from the Athens Tour Guide Academy. This journey to off-the-beaten track locales in the Peloponnese peninsula is a masterclass on the journey through classical antiquity and the Roman conquest, ending with the transition to the Christian empire of Byzantium.

Transit the amazing engineering feat that is the Corinth Canal, cut though solid rock in the 1880’s to join the Gulf of Corinth with the Aegean Sea.

Day By Day

Day 1 | Friday 

Athens, Marina Zeas (Piraeus) – Ancient Epidaurus
Marina Zea (2pm – 3pm) – Nafplion
Welcome aboard. Before we set sail back in time to see Greece’s intriguing past, get to know your fellow explorers and enjoy a welcome drink together. Nafplion, the first capital of modern Greece, is where we initially intend to go. It is one of the most picturesque cities in the Peloponnese and is known for its forts, strongholds, and castles. Dinner on board and overnight in port.

Day 2 | Saturday 

Ancient Epidaurus
Nafplion (Palaia Epidaurus & Mycenae optional excursions)
History lovers, rejoice. The past is your oyster today. A full day will be spent in Nafplion, with optional tours available. Visit Ancient Epidaurus’ famed healing temple and theater, Mycenae’s Lion’s Gate and Agamemnon Tomb, or wander through colorful Argolis and its Neoclassical architecture. Our expertise is Greece, so let us know your interests so we can offer specialized tours. Dinner and overnight sail to Gythion.

Day 3 | Sunday 

Nafplion – Mycenae
Gythion (Dirou Caves optional excursion)
Spend the day in Gythion, the former Spartan stronghold. Visit the abandoned fortifications and underground lakes at Mani Peninsula, which were formerly used by native warriors as a training ground. Or explore the Dirou Caves, which were concealed for more than 4,000 years before being found in the 1960s and are dripping with stalactites. We’ll gather in the evening to share stories from the day and have dinner on board. Overnight at sea.

Day 4 | Monday 

Pylos (Nestor’s Palace optional excursion)
Arrival in the picture-perfect coastal town of Plyos in the morning. Many naval conflicts in recent history have taken place there, one of which—the Battle of Navarino in 1827—led to the independence of Greece two years later. Join us for an optional visit to the Palace of Nestor in the afternoon. This Mycenaean palace is incredibly well maintained; it even has a bathtub that King Nestor is said to have used. An archaeological museum with 3000 years of history is located close to Chora. Dinner on board and an overnight sail to Katakolon.

Day 5 | Tuesday 

Katakolon (Olympia optional excursion)
Katakolon is the perfect starting point for an optional excursion to Olympia, one of the most important sites in ancient Greek history. It is the birthplace of the Olympic Games. In those days, they were pan-hellenic and a way to worship Zeus. The most exciting sight here is, of course, the old Olympic Stadium, still looking like it did 2,000 years ago. But you can also discover the Temple of Zeus, the Temple of Hera, Palaestra (the ancient Greek wrestling stadium), and a wonderful and informative museum. Dinner on board. Overnight sail to Monemvasia.

Day 6 | Wednesday 

Katakolon For Olympia
Welcome to the castle town of Monemvasia, the “Gibraltar of the East”. You can see why at a glance. Today, an onboard archaeologist uncovers the mysteries and history of the medieval fortified city, birthplace of the Greek poet Giannis Ritsos. Explore the Byzantine and Venetian architecture in a setting flowing with natural beauty. Afternoon departure to Isthmia. Dinner on board and overnight at sea.

Day 7 | Thursday 

Itea For Delphi – Corinth Canal Crossing – Marina Zeas (Athens)
Isthmia (Delphi optional excursion) – Marina Zea
Breakfast will be served on board before disembarking. Head to Isthmia to be more precise. It was home to the Isthmian Games held in ancient times in honor of the sea god Poseidon. Athletic and musical competitions were held, including wrestling and pentathlon, horse riding and chariot, poetry and rhetoric. Take an optional tour from Isthmia to Delhpi and learn about one of the most important oracles in the classical world. Oracle aside, Delphi is worth the trip for the scenery. It is carved into the mountain with panoramic views. Enjoy lunch at leisure before a bus ride to Marina Zea, where we rejoin the ship for our Signature Captain’s Farewell Dinner. Overnight in Marina Zea.

Day 8 | Friday 

Athens – Marina Zeas (Piraeus)
Breakfast and goodbyes. We hope to sea you again soon!

In case of severe weather conditions our expertly designed routes are adjusted ensuring your safety & comfort by applying our rich marine knowledge, garnered since 1949.
Stay flexible – Adventure on.


Corinth Canal Crossing

A crossroads in time and space. Carved out of a huge rock in the 1880s to connect the Gulf of Corinth with the Aegean Sea, the Corinth Canal is a marvelous feat of engineering. Under Periander, 6th century BC. The ancients cut out runways that allowed ships to be pulled to land, which required a great deal of muscle strength. The canal finally opened in 1893 after 11 years of digging. Six kilometers long, it slices through cliffs 90 m high and is a perennial favorite with sightseers.

4 UNESCO Heritage Sites Await

Mycenae, Olympia, Delphi, Epidaurus… Enjoy guest lectures onboard, or join like-minded travelers on small-group excursions to less crowded locations. Spring and fall in Greece are the perfect times to discover the wonders of Antiquity and the Byzantine Empire around the fascinating Peloponnese coast.

Guest Review

“Our trip around the Peloponnese was filled with sights we had only read about in history books. The crowds at the temples and ruins were very minimal, in fact we often were the only visitors which made for a much more pleasant visit. I would highly recommend going on the off season trips for this reason. What made our visits even better were the very knowledgeable cruise director and even more knowledgeable tour guide…”



Bio Of Guest Lecturer Eugenia Alexiou

With a degree in archeology and art history from the School of Philosophy in Athens, experience excavating historical sites, and a licence for guided tours in Greece, Evgenia is the perfect complement to our historical Antiquity to Byzantium cruises. Not only does she know everything there is to know about ancient Greek history in the Peloponnese, her passion and love for the topic is evident as her face lights up from the second she begins to talk about it.

With 15 years experience at Variety Cruises, Evgenia has always felt connected to the historical sites we visit. She describes them as places with an energy that you can feel. Indeed, she points out that these historical sites are not here by chance, but that their locations were chosen by the ancient Greeks as they knew how special they were.

The Variety Cruises Antiquity to Byzantium cruise is a fascinating way of exploring the Peloponnese, says Evgenia, as it docks in ancient harbours and offers an opportunity to visit the sites in the same way the ancient Greeks did many years ago. She also believes the cruise excursions achieve a great balance; small groups and ample time at each location means guests can soak up all the history, ask questions, sample the cuisine, and speak to locals.

Born and brought up in Athens, Evgenia loves to show guests her country and gains satisfaction from seeing the country through a visitor’s eyes. She considers the reactions when someone sees a statue for the first time, or begins to understand the history of ancient sites, priceless.

Outside of work, Evgenia loves to take part in Greek customs such as dance or carnival, and to travel. Her favourite places are those with history; Greece, of course, but also India. Her dream is to tour Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa – though she admits the latter is more for the wine tasting than the history!


Dates & Rates

Category C

9.5-11 sq.m. / 102.6-119 sq.ft.
Lower Deck
Twin or double beds
With portholes



Port Charges €310

Category B

11-14 sq.m. / 119-151 sq.ft.
Lower Deck
Flexible beds
With portholes



Port Charges €310

Category A

12-13 sq.m. / 130-140.4 sq.ft.
Upper Deck
Twin or double beds (Triple cabins available)
With portholes



Port Charges €310