Sicily Circumnavigation aboard Sea Cloud II
Begin in Valletta, the vibrant capital city of the island nation of Malta and one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world. Then embark Sea Cloud II for a splendid seven-night cruise circumnavigating Sicily. Explore the island’s treasures with stops in Trapani (for Segesta, and Erice or Marsala), Palermo, Giardini Naxos (for Taormina and Mt. Etna), and Syracuse. Spend a day in the Aeolian Islands, one of seven UNESCO sites visited during this cruise, as well as a specially-timed sailing to enjoy up-close views of the still-active Stromboli volcano. Pre-trip extension on Malta and Gozo, with visits to remarkable Neolithic and medieval sites.
Depart the U.S. on an overnight flight to Valletta, arriving on Sunday, June 5. Transfer to the hotel and gather for a welcome reception this evening.
Grand Excelsior Hotel (R)
The entire city of Valletta is a UNESCO World Heritage site, built by the Knights of St. John to defend against Ottoman invasions in the 16th century. Today choose from three excursion options: 1) an archaeological tour featuring the Tarxien Temples and Hypogeum, 2) an architectural visit to St. John’s Cathedral and the new works of Renzo Piano, or 3) an exploration of Malta’s military history including the city’s underground tunnels and Fort St. Elmo. Embark Sea Cloud II in the late afternoon. Sea Cloud II (B,L,D)
Sit back and observe skilled deckhands as they scale the masts that reach 180 feet high to set the sails on what is the finest hand-sailed square-rigger of our age. Enjoy the continuation of the lecture series and free time to take advantage of the ship’s many amenities. Sea Cloud II (B,L,D)
Begin your exploration of Sicily with a visit to the two main monuments of Segesta: The well-preserved Doric Greek temple, thought to have been designed by an Athenian architect, and the semicircular theater, located on top of a nearby hill boasting wonderful views that made stage scenery unnecessary. Then choose between: 1) An ascent to the medieval hilltop town of Erice, where an impressive Norman castle sits atop the ruins of a temple of Venus and tiny treasure-filled churches dot the cobbled alleyways, or 2) A jaunt to seaside Marsala, an ancient city famous for its wine, to visit the oldest winery in the region and delve into its history on a private tour. Sea Cloud II (B,L,D)
Begin today with a visit to Monreale, home to a stunning 12th-century cathedral that is a UNESCO World Heritage site recognized as one of the world’s greatest surviving examples of Norman architecture. Continue to Sicily’s capital city of Palermo to marvel at its diverse architectural treasures, including the Royal Palace with its dazzling Cappella Palatina (Royal Chapel), also designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Enjoy a lunch that samples traditional Sicilian street food in the city’s atmospheric Old Town, and spend the rest of the afternoon exploring its narrow and lively streets including a visit to Palazzo Abatellis, a medieval palace sensitively renovated as an art museum, or explore Palermo’s famed Archaeological Museum, which features artifacts from the island’s major sites. Sea Cloud II (B,L,D)
Sail to the small volcanic islet of Lipari, part of the Aeolian Islands, another UNESCO World Heritage site, whose cultural history stretches back 7,000 years. While ashore choose between an e-bike excursion through Lipari’s stunningly beautiful landscape; a leisurely drive around the perimeter of the island with spectacular views of the other Aeolian volcanoes; or an in-depth walking tour of the town center with a visit to the Aeolian Archaeological Museum, displaying an impressive collection of ancient local artifacts. This evening, gather on deck for a cocktail reception as the ship cruises past the active volcano on the neighboring island of Stromboli. Sea Cloud II (B,L,D)
Spend the morning exploring the cliffhanging, old-world resort town of Taormina. See the charming market, buzzing shops and cafés on the fashionable pedestrianonly Corso Umberto, and the ancient Greek theater, hosting performances for more than two thousand years. Weather permitting, choose to forgo Taormina for a trip up Mt. Etna, ascending the slopes via cable car for stunning views from the top of Europe’s largest active volcano. Return to the ship and set sail for Siracusa, arriving in time to join Sicilians for La Passeggiata, the Italian tradition of taking a walk in the evening. Sea Cloud II (B,L,D)
Founded around 734 B.C. by Greek Corinthians, Siracusa was conquered and ruled by Romans, Saracens, Byzantines, Normans, and Ottomans, who each left a legacy of archaeological treasures that have earned the city UNESCO World Heritage status. Tour the expansive archaeological park, home to the stunning Greek theater and Roman amphitheater that combine to make this one of the greatest archaeological sites in all of Italy. Continue to the adjacent fortified island of Ortigia to take in the sights and smells of the bustling food market before strolling through the beautiful alleyways and piazzas to the Piazza del Duomo, home to the city’s monumental cathedral. Take a private tour of the Santa Lucia alla Badia church, home to Caravaggio’s arresting masterpiece Seppellimento di Santa Lucia (Burial of St Lucy, 1609). In a nearby palazzo dating back to the Middle Ages, enjoy a wine tasting in the owner’s cellar and a private viewing of the family’s collection of etchings of Siracusa and Sicily. Gather aboard Sea Cloud II for a farewell dinner en route to Malta. Sea Cloud II (B,L,D)
Gather on deck this morning as the Sea Cloud II returns to Valletta’s spectacular Grand Harbor. Following breakfast, prepare to disembark for flights home. (B)
Cost and Details
Program rates, per person based on double occupancy
Category 1, 150 sq ft, upper and lower single beds, two portholes, shower $6,990
Category 2, 204 sq ft, forward, twins or queen, two portholes, shower $9,990
Category 3, 215 sq ft, twins or queen, two portholes, shower $11,490
Category 4, 226 sq ft, midship, queen, three portholes, shower $12,990
Category 5, 215 sq ft, twins or queen, panorama windows, shower $13,990
Category 6, 247 sq ft, twins or queen, panorama windows, shower $14,990
Category 7, 290 sq ft, king, panorama windows, bathtub and shower $17,990
Category 1 - $11,490
Category 2 - $14,490
Category 3 - $17,490
This program is limited to 78 participants, including travelers from the Commonwealth Club, the Archaeological Institute of America and Smithsonian Journeys.
Sea Cloud II
The iconic Sea Cloud II is perhaps the most luxurious three-masted sailing yacht on the seas today. Like Marjorie Merriweather Post’s legendary Sea Cloud, she combines the seafaring elegance of a bygone era with the highest modern standards of luxury. In the grand tradition of the world’s finest sailing vessels, guests can experience this marvelous ship under sail as the skilled crew hand-sets over 30,000 square feet of canvas. The Sea Cloud II offers an intimate setting of just 47 beautifully appointed cabins, gracious common areas, world-class service, and 5-star dining.
All accommodations and excursions as specified in the itinerary including one night hotel accommodations and seven nights aboard the Sea Cloud I; comprehensive program of lectures, and presentations; Transfers for all participants on group arrival and departure dates; Baggage handling; Gratuities to porters, waitstaff, guides, and drivers; Gratuities to shipboard personnel; Port charges; Entrance fees; House wine, beer, and soft drinks with all group lunches and dinners; Bottled water on motorcoaches; professional tour manager throughout.
U.S. domestic and international airfare; Passport/visa expenses; Medical expenses and immunizations; Private transfers or airport transfers outside of group arrival and departure days; Travel insurance; Optional excursions or deviations from the scheduled tour; Airline baggage charges; Meals not specified in the itinerary; dishes and beverages not part of the included meals; liquor or soft drinks except as noted; Laundry or dry cleaning; Telephone, fax, internet, and email charges; Room service; Other items of a personal nature.
This is a moderately strenuous program, at times physically demanding and busy, with considerable walking at some sites. The ship does not have an elevator, and travelers must navigate stairs, possibly while on choppy seas. Activities can involve up to two miles of walking, often on cobbled streets and uneven terrain; elevators may not be available and stairs may not have handrails. Participants should be fit and in active good health. Limited medical facilities are available on board the Sea Cloud II. All participants, tour staff, and shipboard crew will be required to be fully vaccinated for SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19), plus follow safety/sanitization protocols set forth by the tour operator, cruise management, local staff, and host country laws.
A robust educational program rounds out this outstanding journey. Laetitia La Follette, Professor of Greek and Roman Art and Architecture, and Gary Radke, an expert on Italian medieval and Renaissance art and architecture, will offer a series of illustrated lectures and informal discussions along the way.
Laetitia La Follette is Professor of Greek and Roman Art and Architecture, founding chair of the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and President of the Archaeological Institute of America. She earned her BA in Classics at Harvard-Radcliffe and her PhD in classical archaeology at Princeton. Laetitia has published in the field of ancient art and archaeology as well as cultural heritage policy. She has excavated in Greece and Israel, and her research interests include Greek and Roman architecture, Roman religion, Roman sculpture, and Roman women.
Recipient of the College Outstanding Teacher Award, College of Humanities and Fine Arts, UMass Amherst, she is currently working on a book on the portraits of an ancient Roman noble family that were discovered in (and smuggled out of) Rome in the 1880s.
Gary Radke, Emeritus Professor of Art and Music Histories at Syracuse University, is one of the world’s leading experts on Italian Medieval and Renaissance art and architecture, with a special interest in 15th-century Florentine sculpture. Since 2001, Radke has served as a guest curator at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, where he organized a series of high-profile shows featuring works by Leonardo, Michelangelo, Ghiberti, Verrocchio, and other Italian Renaissance masters. Radke is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome.
Terms and Conditions
Complete terms and conditions, including a Statement of Responsibility, will be made available to you at the time of registration, or in advance upon request. A signed release is required from each applicant prior to participation on the tour.
Reservations & Payments
An initial deposit of $1,000 per person is required to reserve a space on this tour. Final payment is due by February 4, 2022. For those who register after February 4, 2022, full payment is due on registration.
CANCELLATIONS & REFUNDS
Upon payment of the $1,000 per person deposit all reservations are subject to the cancellation provisions set forth below. Cancellation fees are based on the date written notice is received by the Commonwealth Club. Tour operator will refund on the following basis:
- Deposits are !00% refundable if written notice of cancellation is received before February 4, 2022.
- Cancellations after February 4, 2022: All payments are 100% non-refundable, regardless of the booking date.
No refunds will be made for any part of this program on which you choose not to participate. Neither Criterion Travel nor The Commonwealth Club of California accept liability for any airline cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a nonrefundable ticket in conjunction with this tour.
We require membership to the Commonwealth Club to travel with us. People who live outside of the Bay Area may purchase a national membership. To learn about membership types and purchase a membership, call 415-597-6720 or visit https://www.commonwealthclub.org/membership.
All participants should be in good health and capable of keeping up with an active group of travelers. By forwarding the deposit for passage, the passenger certifies that he/she does not have any physical or other condition or disability that would create a hazard for him/herself or other passengers. SARS-COV-2 (COVID 19) vaccinations are a requirement. Up-to-date COVID-specific protocols and requirements for this destination will be sent to confirmed participants and are available upon request.
We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance, which is available for coverage of expenses in conjunction with cancellation due to illness or accident. Baggage insurance is also recommended. In the event you must cancel your participation in the travel program, trip cancellation insurance may be the only source of reimbursement. Information will be sent upon registration and can be viewed Travel Insurance Services website.
The itinerary presented for this tour is subject to modification and change by the Commonwealth Club and Criterion Travel. Every reasonable effort will be made to operate the program as planned; however, should unforeseen world events and conditions require the itinerary to be altered, the Commonwealth Club and the tour operator reserve the right to do so for the safety and best interest of the group. Any extra expenses incurred in this situation are the responsibility of the participant.
Please call (415) 597-6720 or email email@example.com.
California Seller of Travel Program • 2088800-40
California Seller of Travel Program • 2096889-40