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Italy/France/Monaco/Spain

Odyssey at Sea: From Provence & the French Riviera to Barcelona

Program No. 23520RJ
The cultural treasures nestled along the French Riviera are the stars of an epic educational adventure aboard the Aegean Odyssey.
Length
13 days
Rating (3)
Activity Level
Starts at
4,599

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At a Glance

The artistic hilltop villages of Provence or the sensational beauty of the Côte d’Azur — why choose? Set off on an educational journey along a dazzling stretch of Mediterranean coast from the unspoiled landscapes of Corsica to elegant Aix-en-Provence, ending in the Catalonian capital of Barcelona. Discover the locales and vistas that inspired such artists as Matisse, Picasso and van Gogh, and soak up local life in bustling marketplaces and seaside villas. What’s more, you’ll experience these coastal gems during lovely moderate temperatures after the peak-season crowds have dispersed. Don’t miss your chance to experience the idyllic south of France!

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Discover the historic charms of Aix-en-Provence’s Old Town, followed by an exploration of a local winery.
  • Peruse the Picasso Museum for works from the artist's formative years.

General Notes

We’ll have up to 350 Road Scholar participants on the ship, divided into groups of 35 for shore excursions.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Antonio Gaudi, Master Architect
by Juan Bassegoda Nonell
This lavish little collection of Gaudi's work captures the evolution, imagination and exuberance of one of the most influential architects of the 20th century.
Lonely Planet French Phrasebook
by Marie-Helene Girard, Anny Monet
This handy phrasebook focuses on pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.
La Dolce Vita University: An Unconventional Guide to Italian Culture from A to Z
by Carla Gambescia
La Dolce Vita University (LDVU) is the perfect sampler for anyone curious about (or already in amore with) Italy and its remarkably rich cultural gifts, both past and present.
Four Queens, the Provencal Sisters who Ruled Europe
by Nancy Goldstone
Transporting you back to back to the apogee of independent Provençal power in the Middle Ages, Goldstone captures the drama of 13th-century Europe in this history of the four daughters of the count of Provence -- future queens of France, England, Germany and Sicily.
Matisse and Picasso, The Story of their Rivalry and Friendship
by Jack Flam
Jack Flam explores the compelling, competitive, parallel lives of these two artists and their very different attitudes toward the idea of artistic greatness, toward the women they loved and ultimately toward their confrontations with death.
Lonely Planet Italian Phrasebook & Dictionary
by Anna Beltrami, Mirna Cicioni, Karina Coates, Susie Walker
This handy phrasebook focuses on pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.
Barcelona
by Robert Hughes
A Longitude favorite, this big, thoroughly enjoyable cultural history of the city touches on architecture, art, religion and literature from Roman outpost to the present.
Lonely Planet Spanish Phrasebook & Dictionary
by Cristina Hernandez Montero
This handy phrasebook focuses on pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.
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13 days
12 nights
31 meals
11 B 9 L 11 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Barcelona, Transfer to Port, Embark Aegean Odyssey
Barcelona
D
Aegean Odyssey

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach with 4-5 steps up/down. Walking about 1 mile including ship and port corridors and gangways; further walking of about 2 miles; uneven terrain including steps without railings and cobblestones; standing up to 2 hours.

Morning: Transfer from the airport to the port in Barcelona. Meals aboard ship will begin with dinner; a light lunch will be available for those who arrive in time.

Afternoon: Embark the Aegean Odyssey. After completing boarding procedures and getting your cabin, take some time to unpack, freshen up, and relax. Then begin to become familiar with this comfortable ship that will be our floating home for the duration of the program. The ship’s friendly and courteous staff are scrupulous about hygiene and you will find numerous dispensers with hand sanitizer we are encouraged to use. Along with everyone on board, we will meet at muster stations when called for the ship’s safety drill. During succeeding evenings aboard ship, there will be activities to choose from such as a guest speaker, a performance by talented musicians, and opportunities for interaction with fellow Road Scholars. Please note that lecture times and dates may vary due to time in port. There is also a well-stocked library with daily newspapers received via satellite. Each evening, a Daily Journal with highlights of the next day’s activities will be posted in the reception area. Most mornings will begin with a group stretch session. On each full day of the program, we will gather for an informal “port talk” about what’s ahead. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. In each port, based on our berthing position, we will be offering shuttle busses running from/to the ship during the day for your convenience if you wish to explore independently. The extent and duration of elective walking and other free time activities are always dependent on personal choice. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: Aboard ship, enjoy your first dinner on board in either the Marco Polo restaurant or the Terrace Café. Chef-prepared meals feature fresh ingredients in tasty preparations including healthy choices. Both restaurants offer open-seating dining. All meals aboard ship are included as well as coffee and tea in the afternoons on the Lido Deck & late night snacks. Non-alcoholic beverages and select wines at dinner are included; other beverages are available for purchase upon request.

Evening: We will gather in the Ambassador Lounge for a welcome briefing by the Cruise Director. As well as welcoming you to your floating campus, the Cruise Director will discuss some general ship policies and review any updated Covid-19 regulations. The rest of the evening will be at leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead. The ship will remain in port overnight.

DAY
3
Barcelona, Gothic Quarter, Modernist Barcelona
Barcelona
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking up to 2 miles and standing during field trip; cobblestones, uneven terrain. Outside visit of La Sagrada Familia only.

Breakfast: In the Terrace Café — and on the Lido Deck in nice weather — there are hot and cold dishes to choose from such as eggs, breakfast meats, cereals, fruits, breads, pastries, and a variety of healthy choices as well as milk, juice, coffee, tea, water. Meals feature fresh ingredients in tasty preparations

Morning: Orientation: We will gather this morning with the Group Leader, who will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. We will review COVID-19 protocols and will adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and requirements throughout the program. Following the orientation session, we will set out from the ship by motorcoach with a local expert, then take a field trip through the Barri Gòtic — Gothic Quarter — that still has traces of its ancient Roman heritage. We will also see Las Ramblas, a colorful boulevard that runs through the heart of the city.

Lunch: In either the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Afternoon: Continuing by motorcoach, we will see highlights of Gaudí’s “Modernist Route” with a local expert. Modernism was the Catalan version of Art Nouveau and its most important exponent was the visionary architect and designer Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926). We will stop to view the renowned towers of the Sagrada Familia church that remains Gaudí’s most famous legacy (outside visit only). The first stone was laid in 1882 and Gaudí took over design responsibilities the next year. Work continues to this day following his plans and is expected to be completed around 2026. It has become an internationally recognized symbol of Barcelona. We will also see emblematic sites including the famous Passeig de Gràcia with idiosyncratic buildings designed by Gaudí and other Modernists before returning to ship for the evening. At the end of the afternoon, we will gather for a port talk.

Dinner: In either the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy activities aboard ship, spend time with fellow Road Scholars, and be sure to check the Daily Journal with highlights for tomorrow in the reception area. The ship will remain in port overnight.

DAY
4
Barcelona, Picasso Museum, Free Time
At Sea
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; some pedestrian-only areas with restricted motorcoach drop off points. Walking up to 2 miles in Gothic quarter; cobblestones, uneven terrain; standing up to 1 hour at a time. Picasso Museum entrance times are strictly regulated and subject to change or substitution with another monument.

Breakfast: In the Terrace Café — and on the Lido Deck in nice weather — or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Morning: We will depart by motorcoach for a field trip to the Picasso Museum — Fundació Museu Picasso de Barcelona — where an expert will lead our exploration as we see works produced by the artist during his formative years. Opened in 1963, the museum occupies five large houses dating from the 13th-15th centuries and has a permanent collection of more than 4,000 works displaying the genius of young Pablo Picasso.

Lunch: In either the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant, or you may choose to stay on shore and dine on your own.

Afternoon: Free time to explore Barcelona at your own pace.

Dinner: In either the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy activities aboard ship, spend time with fellow Road Scholars, and be sure to check the Daily Journal with highlights for tomorrow in the reception area. The ship will leave Barcelona at 6:00 p.m. on our journey to Sete.

DAY
5
Sète-France, Cité de Carcassonne
At Sea
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving about 85 miles (136.5 km), approximately 1.5 hours each way, Walking 3 miles during the day; cobblestone and uneven terrain; standing up to 1 hour at a time. NOTE: The "Relaxed" group will not visit Narbonne or Carcassonne, we will have a panoramic field trip and discovery of Sete instead.

Breakfast: In the Terrace Café — and on the Lido Deck in nice weather — or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Morning: The ship is scheduled to arrive at 8:00 a.m. Travel to Narbonne via motor coach. On foot, we'll explore the historic sites and visit the halles. The halles is an indoor market featuring stalls for bakers, pastries, butchers, caterers, fishmongers, greengrocers, poultry merchants, delicatessens, and bars and wine merchants.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We will go by motorcoach to visit the fortified city of Carcassone. After learning about the history of this site, you'll have some free time to explore at your own pace. Return to the ship and gather for our port talk in the late afternoon.

Dinner: In either the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy activities aboard ship, spend time with fellow Road Scholars, and be sure to check the Daily Journal for tomorrow in the reception area. The ship will leave Sète-France at 6:00 p.m. on our journey to Marseille.

DAY
6
Marseille, Arles
At Sea
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach. Walking up to 4 miles; cobblestone and uneven terrain, steep steps to ascend Montée des Accoules; standing up to 1.5 hours at a time.NOTE: The “Relaxed” group will not visit the Amphitheatre or Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde.

Breakfast: In the Terrace Café — and on the Lido Deck in nice weather — or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Morning: The ship is scheduled to arrive at 1:00 a.m. Set out by motor coach to explore Arles. In Arles, we will discover its ancient history, which goes back more than 2,000 years. We will visit the historic city center as well as the Roman amphitheater. Return to the ship for lunch.

Lunch: In either the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Afternoon: We'll continue our exploration of Marseille with an expert-led field trip and encounter the rich diversity of this city, a designated Cultural Capital of Europe. We will see highlights including the fishing village of Vallon des Auffes, the majestic seaside drive Corniche Kennedy, and the city's Old Port founded in 600 BCE by the Greeks. We'll continue exploring Marseille and venture to the Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde before returning to the ship.

Dinner: In either the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy activities aboard ship, spend time with fellow Road Scholars, and be sure to check the Daily Journal with highlights for tomorrow in the reception area. The ship will leave Marseilles at 10:00 p.m. on our journey to Toulon.

DAY
7
Toulon, Aix en Provence
Toulon
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving about 1 hour each way. Walking up to 2 miles; cobblestones, uneven pavement; standing up to an hour at a time.

Breakfast: In the Terrace Café — and on the Lido Deck in nice weather — or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Morning: The ship is scheduled to arrive at 8:00 a.m. We will board a motorcoach for a field trip to the heart of Provence. On foot with our local expert we will explore the center of Aix-en-Provence. Here we will have a chance to see many historical sites such as the Saint Sauveur Cathedral, the Museum of Old Aix, the Archbishops' Palace, Town Hall, Albertas Square and the Palace of Justice. We'll walk along medieval streets and discover the city's architectural heritage ranging from the 5th to the 18th century. We will also see the Cours Mirabeau, Aix's elegant tree-lined main street, dotted with fountains of fresh spring water discovered by the Romans. We will also visit the Mazarin district with its discretely ornate 17th century private town-houses.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Continue your exploration of Provence with a visit to a local winery, before returning to the ship via motorcoach. We will then gather for a port talk at the end of the afternoon.

Dinner: In either the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy activities aboard ship, spend time with fellow Road Scholars, and be sure to check the Daily Journal with highlights for tomorrow in the reception area. The ship will remain in port overnight.

DAY
8
Toulon, Toulon Exploration
At Sea
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach. Walking about 3 miles; uneven pavement, cobblestones; standing up to 1.5 hours at a time.

Breakfast: In the Terrace Café — and on the Lido Deck in nice weather — or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Morning: Toulon lined with sandy beaches has a significant naval base, the harbor is home to submarines, warships, fishing boats, & ferries. We will explore this picturesque city full of ancient fountains and colorful markets with our group leader.

Lunch: In either the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Afternoon: Free time to enjoy the activities of your choice aboard the ship. Later in the afternoon, we will also have our daily port talk. The ship will leave Toulon at 2:00 p.m. on our journey to Sardinia.

Dinner: In either the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy activities aboard ship, spend time with fellow Road Scholars, and be sure to check the Daily Journal with highlights for tomorrow.

DAY
9
Alghero-Sardinia, Nuraghe Palmavera Archaeological Site
At Sea
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Activity note: Getting on/off tenders. Walking up to 4 miles; cobblestone and uneven terrain. NOTE: The "Relaxed" Group will not visit the Archaeological Site and will drive to Capo Caccia & have a short walking exploration of Old Town Alghero.

Breakfast: In the Terrace Café — and on the Lido Deck in nice weather — or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Morning: The ship is scheduled to arrive at 6:00 a.m. We will take tenders to the port of Alghero where will board our motorcoach for a visit to an ancient Nuragic settlement. Let the scenery and history of Sardinia unfold as we drive 30 minutes to the Nuraghe Palmavera Archaeological Site.Dating to the Nuragic Age between 1900 and 730 BC, this ancient settlement is typical and symbolic of Sardinia. There were once more than 10,000 nuraghes dotting the island, mostly in northwest and south-central Sardinia. Today, there are fewer than 7,000. While exploring we will encounter numerous truncated circular stone buildings and huts. The main tower, dating to 1100 BC, still has its dome-shaped roof. The Relaxed group will head to Capo Caccia to admire striking views from atop this rugged limestone headland overlooking the clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Next we will head to Alghero for a short exploration of the Old Town including St. Mary’s Cathedral. Founded in the 14th century, the church features five radiating chapels of the original building, fine examples of gothic design. The center of the church is largely Renaissance, while the neoclassical façade was added in the 20th century.

Lunch: In either the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Afternoon: Free time for independent exploration to further discover Alghero's cobbled walkways and perhaps stroll along the centuries-old seawall on your own or enjoy the activities of your choice aboard ship. At the end of the afternoon, we will gather for a port talk.

Dinner: In either the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy activities aboard ship, spend time with fellow Road Scholars, and be sure to check the Daily Journal with highlights for tomorrow in the reception area. The ship will leave Alghero at 6:00 p.m. on our journey to Olbia, Sardinia.

DAY
10
Olbia-Sardinia, Ethnographic Museum of Aggius
At Sea
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach with 4-5 steps up/down. Walking about 3 miles including ship and port corridors and gangways; uneven terrain, steps without railings, cobblestones; standing up to 2 hours.

Breakfast: In the Terrace Café — and on the Lido Deck in nice weather — or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Morning: The ship is scheduled to arrive at 8:00 a.m. We will ride to Aggius along a panoramic road while admiring the Sardinian landscape. Upon arrival, we will explore the Ethnograpic Musuem to discover the ancient traditions and culture of the peasants of Aggius and Gallura where we will see tools of daily use. We will also learn how bread and cheese were prepared, how wine and olive oil were produced and also learn about carpet manufacturing. At the end of the museum visit, we will enjoy a Sardinian style snack (sausage, cheese, pane carasau, wine and water). After our Sardinian snack, we will reboard our coach and depart from Aggius to reach Olbia and back to the ship.

Lunch: In either the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Afternoon: Free time to explore Olbia at your own pace. NOTE: some color groups will have Free Time in the morning and go to the Ethnographic Museum in the afternoon. We will gather for a port talk at the end of the afternoon

Dinner: In either the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy activities aboard ship, spend time with fellow Road Scholars, and be sure to check the Daily Journal with highlights for tomorrow in the reception area. The ship will leave Olbia at 6:00 p.m. on our journey to Ajaccio.

DAY
11
Ajaccio-Corsica
At Sea
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles; cobblestones, uneven terrain, stairs without railings; standing up to 2 hours at a time. NOTE: The "Relaxed" Group has a panoramic drive along the coastline instead of a walking field trip and will not visit the Fesch Museum.

Breakfast: In the Terrace Café — and on the Lido Deck in nice weather — or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Morning: The ship is scheduled to arrive at 8:00 a.m. After arriving in Ajaccio, Corsica, we will set out on a walking field trip to explore this imperial city and cultural capital of the French island. Led by a local expert we will walk through the old Genoese and Corsican districts, the harbor, and the historic Sanguinaires road. We’ll view a 16th-century Genoese defensive tower as well as the beautiful shoreline. During our exploration, we will stop for a visit at the Fesch Museum, a fine arts gallery housed in the grand 19th-century Palais Fesch. This former residency was the birthplace of the museum’s founder cardinal Joseph Fesch. Fesch's vision was to bring an institute of arts and sciences to Ajaccio, and in that pursuit, he donated a great number of artworks from his own enormous collection to the museum. We will have the opportunity to discover the museum’s masterpieces at our own pace or with an expert to learn about specifically about the floors dedicated to Napoleon, contemporary artists, and 14th- to 18th-century art. Some of the more famed pieces include works by Botticelli and Titian. We’ll return to the ship for lunch.

Lunch: In either the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Afternoon: Free time. Enjoy the activities of your choice aboard ship. At the end of the afternoon, we will gather for a port talk. The ship will leave Ajaccio at 4:00 p.m. on our journey to Savona.

Dinner: In either the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy activities aboard ship, spend time with fellow Road Scholars, and be sure to check the Daily Journal with highlights for tomorrow in the reception area.

DAY
12
Arrive Savona, Disembark Aegean Odyssey
Milan
B,D
Sheraton Milano Malpensa

Activity note: Disembarkation begins in the late morning. The exact time of disembarkation depends on local schedules.

Breakfast: In the Terrace Café — and on the Lido Deck in nice weather — or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Morning: After completing disembarkation procedures, you will transfer via motorcoach to Milan for a city excursion with a local expert followed by time for independent exploration.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: We will rendezvous at a designated time and place, board a motorcoach to the overnight hotel, and check in or if you prefer to spend more time out exploring Milan on your own, there will be a motorcoach at a designated time and place later in the afternoon and transfer you to the hotel for dinner and check-in.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
13
Program Concludes, In Transit From Program
In Flight
B

Activity note: Refer to your personal air itinerary for specific flight information.

Breakfast: At the hotel. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.