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LGBTQ+ Island Life® Greek Isles and Ephesus

Program Overview

Our inaugural Pillars of Pride cruise to ancient Greece and Turkey, developed in partnership with the American LGBTQ+ Museum in New York City, features tours of historic sites from a more enlightened perspective. This all-inclusive, deluxe cruise round-trip Athens also features a full-day tour of Santorini with an afternoon at leisure, a special visit to the ruins of Ephesus, and a full overnight docked at Mykonos with opportunities to enjoy nightlife at this legendary destination.

Eric Marcus, a founding board member of the museum and the founder and host of the award-winning Making Gay History podcast, will also speak on board about the history of the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement in the U.S. Join us as we see this part of the world from a different lens, honoring voices from the past and creating meaningful connections for a brighter future. Extend your journey with the Athens Pre-Program and/or Delphi Post-Program Options.

Program Details

October 7 to 15, 2024 (Le Bougainville)
From approximately $5,215 plus air View Terms & Conditions
  • Discover multicultural Chania, located on the western coast of Crete.
  • Be on deck as the ship cruises into the port of Santorini, beneath which some believe to be the legendary lost city of Atlantis, to tour the Minoan ruins of Akrotiri and more.
  • Dock in Rhodes at the wall of Rhodes Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and visit the 14th-century Palace of the Grand Masters.
  • Arrive in Kusadasi, Turkey, and drive to Ephesus, a vast archaeological site of Greek, Roman, and Byzantine ruins.
  • Visit UNESCO-inscribed of Delos—legendary birthplace of Artemis and Apollo—and walk along the Sacred Way to the Sanctuary of Apollo. 
  • Explore the island of Mykonos—where according to ancient legend, its craggy hills and clefts were formed from the petrified bodies of giants defeated by Hercules—with the option to experience its legendary nightlife at leisure.
  • Cruise the Aegean Sea en route to Athens with a day at leisure to enjoy special onboard lectures and activities.

Day 1 - Depart home city

Day 2 - Athens, Greece/Embark Le Bougainville

Day 3 - Chania, Crete

Day 4 - Santorini, Greece

Day 5 - Kusadasi, Turkey for Ephesus

Day 6 - Rhodes/Lindos, Greece

Day 7 - Delos/Mykonos

Day 8 - Day at Sea

Day 9 - Athens/Disembark ship/Return to home city

Le Bougainville

Exclusively Chartered, Five-Star Luxury Small Ship

Le Bougainville, launched in 2019, ushers in a new generation of 5-star small ships, combining revolutionary design and a new standard of luxury for unparalleled cruising. Dock in smaller ports inaccessible to larger ships, where authentic cultural experiences and majestic scenery await you.

Learn more about the Le Bougainville >

Acropolis, Athens, Greece

Athens Pre-Program Option

Begin your journey with an immersive experience in the ancient city of Athens. Explore the monumental Acropolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its perfectly proportioned Parthenon, a graceful example of Doric architecture. Tour the archaeological treasures of the Acropolis Museum and enjoy the colorful neighborhood of Plaka, the oldest section of Athens. Discover the idyllic coves and sparkling Aegean waters of Cape Sounion and follow the ancient route of Pericles to the Temple of Poseidon—where 15 of the original 34 Doric columns are remarkably still standing. Accommodations are for two nights in the five-star Hotel Grande Bretagne.

 

Delphi, Greece

Delphi Post-Program Option

Extend your journey with a two-night itinerary exploring Delphi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Thiva, or Thebes—featuring a visit to the Archaeological Museum of Thebes, where exhibits span from the Neolithic era to the end of the Ottoman rule. Tour Delphi and visit the Delphi Archaeological Museum. Walk on the Sacred Way to see the Treasury of Athens, the Temple of Apollo, the theater, and the impressive stadium. Spend one night in the Domotel Anemolia Hotel and one night in the Sofitel Athens Airport Hotel.

The Pre- and Post-Program Options are available at additional cost. Details will be provided with your reservation confirmation.

Eric Marcus

Eric Marcus

Three-and-a-half decades ago, Eric Marcus left his job at CBS Morning News to pursue a passion project that would change his life and countless others who have been affected by his work. Having been commissioned to bring the history of the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement to life through the voices of the people who lived it in an oral history book, Marcus began interviewing both known and long forgotten people who contributed in some way to the movement. His conversation with activist Barbara Gittings became part of the original 1992 edition of Making Gay History, which has evolved into a podcast and a nonprofit educational organization of the same name. Today, Marcus serves as Executive Director and uses his podcast platform to ensure these firsthand stories of struggle and triumph are shared with future generations. He is also the author of ten other books, and is a founding board member of the new American LGBTQ+ Museum in New York City.

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Program Itinerary

Day 1 Depart home city

Depart your home city for an overnight flight to Athens, Greece.

Day 2 Athens, Greece/Embark Le Bougainville

Arrive in Athens, Greece, and embark the 5‑star Le Bougainville.

Day 3 Chania, Crete

Look for Venetian, Ottoman, and Turkish influences in Chania, an ancient city on the western coast of Crete. Here, will you be able to choose from three included tours. Options include a visit to its multicultural Old Town, an excursion to its pristine beaches, or a tour of the impressive Roman cisterns and bath houses of Aptera. Enjoy the Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner this evening. 

Day 4 Santorini

Plan to be on deck as the ship cruises into the port of Santorini, beneath which some believe to be the legendary lost city of Atlantis. Explore the Minoan ruins and newly revealed findings at Akrotiri—a unique archaeological site that has been held intact for over 3,500 years by layers of pumice and ash. Excavations show this amazing city with houses, squares, and workshops was buried during a massive eruption in the 17th century B.C. Our tour concludes in Fira, perched high above sea level. 

Day 5 Kusadasi, Turkey for Ephesus

Arrive in Kusadasi and drive to the UNESCO-inscribed Ephesus, a vast archaeological site of Greek, Roman, and Byzantine ruins. Enjoy views of rural Turkish villages and a countryside dotted with fig trees on the way to visit these ancient ruins. From there, embark on a walking tour that includes the beautifully reconstructed façade of the Library of Celsus and the finely preserved Great Theatre—built during the Hellenistic Age to hold 24,000 spectators and where Ephesians rioted against the preaching of St. Paul. A traditional barbecue lunch will be served at the Nakkas Weaving Center made with ingredients from the weavers’ gardens. Return to Kusadasi for a classical concert at the Ottoman-era Caravanserai building, built in 1618 as a wayside inn for travelers and merchants.

Day 6 Rhodes/Lindos, Greece

Dock at the wall of Rhodes Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and visit the 14th-century Palace of the Grand Masters— a formidable Gothic castle that houses a treasure trove of art, furniture, and icons from that era. Enjoy lunch on board the ship and embark on an included excursion of your choice. You may opt to climb up to the ancient village of Lindos to see its clifftop acropolis, or visit the Great Hamman, originally constructed in 1558 and one of the few remaining Turkish baths in Rhodes Town. Return to the ship this evening for a lively performance of traditional Greek music and dance as we cruise the Mediterranean.

Day 7 Delos/Mykonos

Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Delos—the legendary birthplace of Artemis and Apollo. Walk along the Sacred Way to the Sanctuary of Apollo, a rich archaeological site with remains of three  temples from the 5th and 6th centuries B.C. See the legendary Terrace of the Lions, dedicated to Apollo, where hand-carved marble statues guarded the island for nearly 2,600 years. After lunch on board the ship, explore the island of Mykonos, where according to ancient legend, its craggy hills and clefts were formed from the petrified bodies of giants defeated by Hercules. Get ready for a night out as we dock overnight at Mykonos with time to experience its legendary nightlife.

Day 8 Day at Sea

Indulge in one of the many luxury amenities offered on board on this blissful day at sea. Whether you choose a spa treatment or opt to unwind with your favorite book in the sunshine, this day is for recharging and reflecting on your adventures so far as we cruise the Aegean Sea. Enjoy the Captain’s Farewell Reception this evening. 

Day 9 Athens/Disembark ship/ Return to home city

Disembark and continue on the Delphi Post‑Program Option or transfer to the airport for your return flight home.