Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Agrigento and Syracuse; cruise among the scenic Aeolian Islands and enjoy up-close views of still-active Stromboli Volcano; and tour Monreale’s impressive 12th-century Cathedral, hailed as Italy’s most beautiful Norman church, all on this circumnavigation of the Mediterranean’s largest island.
• Attend cooking demonstrations where you will learn how to prepare traditional Sicilian dishes, plus enjoy several wine tastings to sample vintages from the Marsala and Licata regions.
• Tour Monreale’s impressive 12th-century Cathedral; hailed as Italy’s most beautiful Norman church, the interior is covered with intricate mosaics, gold leaf, and stone intarsia.
• Explore the exquisite Greek and Roman ruins of Agrigento and Syracuse—both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
• Cruise among the scenic Aeolian Islands and enjoy up-close views of still-active Stromboli Volcano.
• Enjoy ample free time to stroll through picturesque coastal towns with many opportunities to dine ashore on your own.
Arrive in Malta this afternoon and transfer to the Excelsior Grand Hotel with the remainder of the day at leisure. This evening, attend a welcome reception with dinner and overnight at our hotel.
After breakfast, explore historic Valletta, Malta’s enchanting capital city built by the Knights of St. John in the 16th century. Explore the fortress, ramparts, churches, and the national museum, then continue to the Tarxien Temples, monolithic edifices built between 3000 and 1900 B.C. Embark the Variety Voyager this evening.
This morning, enjoy a guided tour of Agrigento, a World Heritage Site. The exquisite architecture of the Valley of the Temples dates back to the 4th and 5th centuries B.C. and includes the Temple of Zeus—the largest Doric temple from Greek antiquity. A scenic drive through rolling countryside brings you to the Butera Winery and Villa. After a lunch of delicious Sicilian fare, accompanied by local wines, continue on to Licata for a short tour of the town center.
After breakfast, disembark in Mazara and drive to the sprawling 7th-century B.C. site of Selinunte. Local guides lead you through these Greek ruins to the Sanctuary of Demetra Malophoros and the Acropolis. Return to the ship for lunch, then drive to Marsala for a walking tour, including the Regional Museum that houses a Carthaginian shipwreck. Make a stop at Cantine Florio, one of Sicily’s ancient wine estates, to enjoy local specialties accompanied by Marsala wines.
Step ashore in the thriving fishing town of Trapani for a visit to the bustling fish market. Then depart overland to visit Erice, a charming medieval village perched high on a mountain-top with stunning views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Alternatively, visit the ruins of Segesta, once the center of the ancient Elymian civilization, and home to a magnificent Doric temple. Both groups will enjoy a typical Sicilian lunch near Monreale, then tour the fabled Cathedral, built in 1174. Hailed as Italy’s most beautiful Norman church, the interior is covered with mosaics, gold leaf, and stone intarsia. The rest of the evening is at leisure for you to explore Palermo, as the Variety Voyager remains pier-side overnight.
Palermo is famous for its jumbled and picturesque streets punctuated with ornate Baroque churches, domed Arab mosques, and glittering Byzantine mosaics. Visit the impressive 12th-century Cathedral and the Palatine Chapel in the Norman castle; today the building serves as the seat of the Sicilian government. Highlights of your walking tour through the town center include the Massimo Theater, Quattro Canti, Town Hall, and Martorana Church. Board the ship this afternoon for a sunset cruise along the northern coast of Sicily.
Situated on the northern coast, Cefalù is of Greek origin; its name, meaning “head,” derives from its position below a precipitous rocky headland. A walking tour includes the splendid Norman-Arab Cathedral, begun in 1131 and famous for its glittering Byzantine mosaics; a medieval wash-house; and the Osterio Magno, the 11th-century residence of King Ruggiero II. Lunch is a highlight today as you join a local chef at Tasca Lanza Estate who will teach you how to prepare traditional Sicilian dishes. There will also be time for wine sampling and a chance to explore the lovely grounds of the Estate, or to simply relax among your scenic surroundings.
Take a walking tour through the center of Lipari to reach the impressive fort, built in 1556 upon the ruins of an ancient Greek acropolis. Within the fort walls you will find the superb Aeolian Archaeological Museum and the lovely Norman St. Bartolomeo Church. Visit a local pizzeria for lunch and an interactive pizza–making demonstration. In the early evening the ship cruises past active Stromboli Volcano for sunset photos, with the chance to watch for the Stromboli “fireworks” as darkness falls.
This morning, board coaches for an excursion to 9,500-foot-high Mt. Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano. Take a cable car up Etna’s pock-marked slopes, then continue in 4x4 vehicles to reach the main crater at 9,000 feet, with the opportunity for a short hike. In the afternoon, a walking tour of charming Taormina takes you to the 3rd-century Greco-Roman Theater, renowned for acoustic effects that make it a favorite concert venue to this day. Then take a stroll along the lively pedestrian-only Corso Umberto and explore its many narrow off-shooting lanes that lead to pretty piazzas lined with shops.
Visit the famous morning fish market in Catania’s town square where a colorful variety of local products are on display. An inland drive takes you through a series of photogenic villages to Piazza Armerina, famous for its superb Roman mosaics in the Villa Romana del Casale. Enjoy lunch at a Sicilian restaurant near the Greek site of Morgantina, then tour the ruins and visit the small, but excellent Aidone Museum. Return to Catania with free time before dinner on board, or choose to enjoy the local cuisine on your own, and perhaps sample some of the wines from the many vineyards nourished by the rich volcanic soil of Mt. Etna.
Founded by the Corinthians in the 8th century B.C., Syracuse was one of the most powerful Greek cities—defending its sovereignty against such rivals as Carthage, the Etruscans, and the Romans, who later overtook the city, followed by the Arabs. Begin at the Saint John Catacombs with their maze of underground passageways then drive to the Archaeological Park, a World Heritage Site. Highlights include the Roman Amphitheater of Augustus; the Ear of Dionysius, a grotto with an extraordinary echo; and the massive 15,000-seat Greek Theater. Return to the ship, at port in Ortygia, for lunch, before striking out for a walking tour of the old town. Highlights include the ruins of the 6th-century B.C. Apollo Temple—the oldest in Sicily—and the Piazza Duomo, built around the ancient Temple of Minerva (Athena).
Disembark in Valletta this morning and transfer to the airport for your independent flights homeward.
We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.
Ocean-view staterooms on the Marina Deck are between 129 and 145 square feet, and feature one fixed queen bed or two fixed twin beds, en suite bathroom, and two portholes.
Category 1 Special Single
Ocean-view staterooms on the Marina Deck are 216 square feet, and feature beds that are configurable into two twins or one queen, en suite bathroom, and two portholes. Ocean-view staterooms on the Riviera Deck are between 145 and 216 square feet, and feature one fixed queen bed or two configurable twin beds, en suite bathroom, and two windows.
Category 2 Special Single
Category 2 for single passenger
Ocean-view staterooms on the Marina Deck are 167 square feet, and feature beds that are configurable into two twins or one queen, en suite bathroom, and two portholes. Ocean-view staterooms on the Riviera Deck are between 129 and 151 square feet, and feature one fixed queen bed or two fixed twin beds, en suite bathroom, and two windows.
Ocean-view staterooms on the Horizons Deck are between 227 and 248 square feet, and feature beds configurable into two twins or one queen, en suite bathroom, and two windows.
Ocean-view suite on the Horizons Deck that is 292 square feet, and features beds that are configurable into two twins or one queen, en suite bathroom, and four windows.
Vessel Type: Motor Yacht
Length: 68 metres
Passenger Capacity: 72
The new build 68m - 223ft state of the art Mega Yacht will accommodate just 72 passengers in 36 cabins. Built under the latest International “Safety of Life At Sea” (SOLAS 2010) regulations and classified by the American Bureau of Shipping (A.B.S.), the Variety Voyager guarantees guests safety with incomparable comfort and elegance.
The Variety Voyager will seduce her passengers with her sleek lines and ample deck space, very much what one expects from a millionaire’s super yacht. Inside, cabins and public areas are finished with warm fabrics, rich marbles, axminster carpeting and soft tones wood panelling. Everywhere, unobstructed views of the ocean and of the ports visited. And above all, the professional service of a crew of 28, always with a smile and a true desire to satisfy.
Ship Categories & locations may vary on some trips, please check for details.