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This tour has been cancelled. We are working on plans for possibly 4 new tours in 2023. Sign up for our Advance Notification list to be the first to hear about upcoming tours.

Please contact our tour coordinator, Colin Church of Thalassa Journeys, at, or call him at 866-633-3611 for more information if you have not already been contacted directly.

IN SEARCH OF HOMER (September 10–21, 2022 )

A Voyage to the World of the Iliad and the Odyssey in the Aegean and Ionian Seas Aboard the 34-Guest Yacht Callisto with Professors Emily Wilson and William B. Irvine

Dear Friends,

Perhaps no works exerted more influence in the Western literary tradition than Homer’s epic poems of the Iliad and the Odyssey. Set to writing sometime in the 8th century BC, the two ageless poems stem from a much older oral poetic tradition. They describe events that took place some 400 years before they were first written down. The earlier period they refer to is the heroic age of the Bronze Age, the time when the Mycenaean civilization flourished in Greece, from about 1600 BC to about 1200 BC.

The two Homeric epics played the greatest role in the development of ancient Greek culture and education. The Iliad and the Odyssey were used as textbooks in the ancient Greek world, and as Plato noted, Homer “has taught Greece.” Homer’s influence touched every discipline, including philosophy. His wisdom was praised, and during the Hellenistic and Roman periods the Stoic philosophers believed that the epics contained Stoic concepts.

Having Homer as our guide, on this voyage we will explore places that figure in the Iliad and the Odyssey. Sailing from Istanbul, founded as Byzantion in the 7th century BC by Greeks, later becoming Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, we will call at Canakkale, our gateway to Troy, where, as told in the Iliad, Greeks fought the Trojans for ten years. Navigating the narrow Dardanelles, we will enter the Aegean, Homer’s “wine-dark” sea, to call at Chios, the beautiful island that is reputed to be Homer’s birthplace. Sailing toward the Cycladic islands, we will stop in Delos, the sacred island where Apollo and his twin sister Artemis were born, continuing to fabled Argolis in the Peloponnese, where we will explore Mycenae, the most powerful city of Mycenaean Greece, and home of Agamemnon, who led the Greeks in the war against Troy. Homer described Mycenae as “rich in gold.” Rounding the southern shores of the Peloponnese, we will stop in Pylos to visit the Mycenaean palace that is associated with the wise King Nestor. From there, on to western mainland Greece for the visit to the Necromanteion of Ephyra, where Odysseus entered the Underworld, and to Ithaca, home of Odysseus. Sailing in the Gulf of Corinth and transiting the scenic Corinth Canal, we will disembark at a yacht marina near Piraeus, the ancient and modern port of Athens, where we will spend two days.

We are most fortunate to have with us as guest lecturers Emily Wilson, Professor in the Department of Classical Studies and Chair of the Program in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania, author of many books, and whose translation of the Odyssey received wide acclaim; and William B. Irvine, Professor of Philosophy at Wright State University, who authored several books, including Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy, which has been translated in several languages.

This is a journey that promises to enrich the spirit as much as the senses. As participation is limited, I urge you to reserve your cabin today.

With warm regards,
Dr. Michael Shermer

Executive Director, Skeptics Society

PS: 7% of your cruise fee will be a tax-deductible donation to The Skeptics Society — a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.


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Emily Watson

Emily Wilson is a Professor in the Department of Classical Studies and Chair of the Program in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania. Her books include The Death of Socrates: Hero, Villain, Chatterbox, Saint (2007) and The Greatest Empire: A Life of Seneca (2014). Her verse translations include Six Tragedies of Seneca, four translations of plays by Euripides in the Modern Library The Greek Plays, and Oedipus Tyrannos. She is the Classics editor of the revised Norton Anthology of World Literature. Her 2017 translation of the Odyssey was met with wide acclaim, and she is now at work on a new translation of the Iliad and translations of select dialogues of Plato. She was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2019, and won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2020.

William B. Irvine

William B. Irvine is professor of philosophy at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, USA. He is the author of eight books that have been translated into more than twenty languages. His Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy played a key role in the Stoic renaissance that has taken place in recent years. His subsequent Stoic Challenge: A Philosopher’s Guide to Becoming Tougher, Calmer, and More Resilient provides a strategy for dealing, in proper Stoic manner, with the setbacks we experience in daily living. He is currently at work on a book about thinking critically, but with an open mind, in the age of the internet.



Saturday, September 10, 2022

Depart the US for Istanbul, Turkey.


Sunday, September 11

Arrive in Istanbul. Founded as Byzantion by Greeks in the 7th century BC on the Bosporus, the strategic narrow waterway that separates Europe from Asia, the city was later named Constantinople, becoming for over 1,000 years the capital of the Byzantine Empire, and after the 15th century, the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Upon arrival, transfer to the port to embark Callisto and sail into the Sea of Marmara. Meals: D

The ruins of the legendary ancient city of Troy, Turkey


Monday, September 12

From the port of Canakkale, travel to fabled Troy, which consists of nine cities superimposed in rings, on a massive mound rising above the “windswept” Plain of Ilium. It was to one of these cities, between 1240 BC and 1200 BC, that Paris abducted the beautiful Helen, igniting the Trojan War. The imposing city of King Priam, after ten years of fighting, finally fell to the Greeks on the clever ruse of Odysseus, the Trojan Horse. Meals: B, L, D

Nea Moni Monastery, Chios


Tuesday, September 13
CHIOS, Greece

Awake in the morning in beautiful and prosperous Chios, the island that claims Homer as a native son. Drive to Daskalopetra (“Teacher’s Stone”), an impressive spot between a ravine and the sea that is also referred to as “Homer’s Rock” because it is believed to be the spot where Homer taught poetry to his students. Continue to the 11th-century Monastery of Nea Moni, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most important ecclesiastical centers in Greece. The Monastery sits majestically in a wooded vale and is decorated with exquisite frescoes and mosaics. In the town of Chios, visit the Archaeological Museum. In the afternoon, tour the unique mastic villages in the south of the island. Meals: B, L, D

Typical narrow street in old town of Parikia, Paros


Wednesday, September 14

Spend the morning in the small island of Delos, one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece. Delos was sacred to ancient Greeks because it was identified as the birthplace of twins Apollo and Artemis. In the Odyssey, Odysseus mentions that he visited Apollo’s altar on his way to Troy. Reference to the island is also made in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo. A walking tour of this veritable open-air museum leads to the remains of the main shrines dedicated to the twin and other deities as well as to the Terrace of the Lions, with its deftly carved archaic figures, originally constructed to overlook and protect the Sacred Lake. Many of the excavated houses contain beautiful floor mosaics. Over lunch aboard, sale to nearby Paros, famed in antiquity as the home of the 7th-century BC poet Archilochus, considered to be almost as great as Homer, and as the source of very fine marble. Spend time at leisure in the island’s main town, which features the characteristic white-wash architecture of the Cycladic islands. You may wish to visit the Ekatontapyliani church, a historic place of worship for over 1700 years. Meals: B, L, D


Thursday, September 15

Arrive in storied Peloponnese, calling in Nafplion for an excursion to Mycenae and Tiryns, two centers of the Mycenaean civilization that flourished during the Bronze Age. Homer referred to Mycenae, the home of Agamemnon, as “rich in gold”, “well-built” and “broad-streeted.” Enter the fabled citadel through the celebrated Lion’s Gate and ascend to the Grave Circle A, where golden artifacts were found. See also the remains of houses and the palace, and visit the Archaeological Museum, and the Treasury of Atreus, an impressive beehive-shaped tomb, located outside the citadel. Homer speaks of “wall-girt Tiryns,” which we will visit next. A prominent Mycenaean fortress-palace, Tiryns is notable for its massive well-preserved walls. Spend the afternoon at leisure to explore Nafplion, one of the prettiest old towns of Greece. Meals: B, L, D



Friday, September 16

After rounding southern Peloponnese, Callisto will dock in Pylos, an attractive town built on the head of spacious Navarino Bay and guarded by two medieval castles. Drive to nearby Epano Englianos to visit the best-preserved Mycenaean palace discovered in Greece, which dates from around the 14th-century BC, and which is associated with the Iliad’s elder warrior King Nestor. In the Odyssey, the palace is the place of the meeting between Nestor and Telemachus, son of Odysseus, who traveled from Ithaca to seek news of his father. Here, excavators discovered, among other rooms, the palace archives that contained the famed clay Linear B tablets that contained inscriptions. When they were deciphered, in 1951, it was astonishingly revealed that the inscriptions were a form of early Greek, confirming that Greek was spoken for much longer than scholars had believed. Return to Pylos to spend time at leisure before sailing. Meals: B, L, D


Saturday, September 17

Arrive in Preveza, located at the end of a narrow opening that leads to a large gulf. It was off Preveza that the decisive Battle of Actium took place in 31 BC, when Octavian defeated the much larger combined fleet of Antony and Cleopatra. Take an excursion to Dodoni, mentioned in both the Iliad and the Odyssey, and described by Homer as “wintry Dodoni.” An archaeological site of great beauty and importance, Dodoni was an oracular site since deep antiquity dedicated to Zeus. After lunch at a restaurant in the picturesque seaside town of Parga, visit the Necromanteion of Ephyra, which, according to the ancient Greeks, marked the entrance to the Underworld. Pilgrims came here to communicate with the dead. As narrated in the Odyssey, Odysseus descended to Hades, the Underworld, to visit his dead comrades. Meals: B, L, D


Sunday, September 18

Call at Ithaca, the legendary home of Odysseus, a beautiful island of scenic coves and verdant woodlands. Callisto will navigate the long bay that leads to Vathy, the island’s main town, whose waterfront is lined with neoclassical buildings and cafes. Explore sites believed to be associated with Odysseus, including the Bay of Phokrys, where Odysseus landed after the ten-year Trojan War and ten years of wandering; the Arethusa Spring, where Odysseus met Eumaeus, his loyal swineherd; Alalkomenae, where Heinrich Schliemann, the rediscoverer of Troy, excavated a Mycenaean site he believed to be the location of Odysseus’ palace; and the more recent excavations near the village of Stavros, which have led modern archaeologists to identify the place as the location of the palace. Spend the afternoon at sea cruising in the Gulf of Corinth, later transiting the narrow Corinth Canal. Meals: B, L, D

DAY 10

Monday, September 19

Disembark in the morning in Zea Marina, a yacht harbor near the port of Piraeus, and drive to the ancient Agora, the civic and commercial center of Athens and the living heart of its democracy. Socrates could be seen here daily questioning the assumptions of his fellow citizens. See remains of the civic buildings, including the Stoa Poikile (“Painted Porch”), where the founder of the Stoic philosophy, Zeno of Citium, lectured. Stoicism took its name from this “stoa.” Also, visit the well-preserved 5th-century Temple of Hephaistos, and the Agora Museum housed in the restored Stoa of Attalus. Continue to Plato’s Academy, a sacred precinct made famous as the location of Plato’s school of philosophy. After lunch at a local restaurant, check-in at the Hotel Athens Capital, conveniently located in the center of the city, and spend the afternoon at leisure. Meals, B, L

The Athenian Acropolis

DAY 11

Tuesday, September 20

Visit in the morning the National Archaeological Museum, which houses masterpieces from the many periods of Greek history and culture. Included are the famous gold objects of Mycenae and other Mycenaean centers, including the gold funerary masks, one of which Heinrich Schliemann, the excavator of Troy and Mycenae, identified (wrongly) as the Mask of Agamemnon. Continue to the recently- discovered ground of the Lyceum, where in 334 BC, Aristotle founded his Peripatetic school of philosophy. In the afternoon, tour the Acropolis and its celebrated monuments. Occupied since prehistoric times, the rocky plateau of the Acropolis rises dramatically out of the plain and dominates the modern city as it did in ancient times. The incomparable Parthenon and other temples, built in the 5th century BC, represent the highest achievement of architecture and art of the Classical period. Visit also the Acropolis Museum and view an outstanding collection of sculpture. Farewell dinner will be served at a restaurant near the Acropolis. Meals: B, D

DAY 12

Wednesday, September 21

Transfer to the airport for the return flight home. Meals: B


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Program Inclusions

  • Cruise aboard the Callisto, as described in the itinerary.
  • Two nights at the elegant Hotel Athens Capital, Athens.
  • Full breakfast each morning at the hotel.
  • All meals aboard ship, including wine, beer, and soft drinks with lunch and dinner.
  • Meals in Athens as described in the itinerary.
  • Complete program of tours and excursions and other activities ashore, with professional English-speaking guides.
  • Program of lectures and discussions by Professors Emily Wilson and William B. Irvine.
  • Airport/hotel/pier transfers and handling of luggage abroad.
  • Open bar aboard ship throughout the voyage.
  • Port, embarkation, and all other local taxes.
  • Gratuities to guides, drivers and porters.
  • Experienced Thalassa Journeys trip director.
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material.

Not included: Airfare; travel insurance; expenses of a personal nature; gratuities to shipboard personnel; any items not mentioned in the Program Inclusions.

Optional Pre-Cruise Istanbul Extension (September 9–11, 2022)

Explore storied Istanbul on a two-day pre-cruise optional interlude. Accommodations will be at the historic Hotel Pera Palace. Tours will include the city’s principal Byzantine and Ottoman monuments. Also included are airport/hotel/pier transfers and a welcome dinner. Please download the Expedition Brochure for rates on this tour extension.

The 34-Guest Callisto Mega Yacht welcomes you onboard 164 feet of classic beauty, luxury, comfort and safety. Callisto invites you onboard an intimate and floating boutique hotel.

The 34-Guest Yacht Callisto

In an era of mega cruise ships that carry thousands of passengers, Callisto is a delightful alternative. More like a private yacht than a cruise ship, Callisto accommodates a maximum of just 34 guests in 17 cabins that face outside. Unlike the formalities found on larger cruise ships, a relaxed and informal atmosphere prevails aboard. A well-trained English-speaking crew of 18 manages the ship and provides friendly and efficient service. The dining room, surrounded by large windows, accommodates all guests at one unassigned seating, while the adjoining lounge, which is also lined with windows, is a good place to meet and socialize with fellow travelers, and attend lectures. When the weather permits, several meals will be served al fresco. A library faces the spacious Sun Deck.

The 17 cabins range in size from 130 sq.ft to 145 sq. ft. There are four different categories of cabins arranged on two decks, all of which feature either windows (Categories A & B), or portholes (Categories C & D); twin, double or queen-size beds; individually controlled air-conditioning; flat-screen TV; mini fridge; wardrobe; safety deposit box; and telephone (internal use). Each cabin has a private bathroom with shower, marble sink countertop, hair dryer, and fine toiletries. Callisto is equipped with stabilizers that provide smoother sailing.

Download the Expedition Brochure for complete details about the 34-Guest Yacht Callisto, including Rates and Deck Plan.


For rates, yacht & cabin descriptions, and deck plan, please download the Expedition Brochure.


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