Sep 17 - Oct 5, 2022
19 days
$21,150per person, twin share (land content only). $8,540 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.

Tour Leader

Robert Veel
Sep 17 - Oct 5, 2022

Tour Leader

Robert Veel$21,150per person, twin share (land content only). $8,540 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.
  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Tour Leader
  • Hotels
  • Inclusions


Academy Travel is proud to offer a unique journey that explores the Mediterranean in grand style aboard the luxury cruise ship Sea Cloud II. This 19-day itinerary combines the pleasure of sailing through one of the most beautiful parts of the Mediterranean with extended visits to Venice and Malta and a host of significant harbours.

We begin in Venice, where over five days we explore the art, history and maritime traditions of this remarkable city. A sunset sailing from Venice on Sea Cloud II marks the beginning of our sea passage. We’ll make our way down the stunning Adriatic coast of Croatia, stopping at the towns of Rovinj, Zadar, Split, and Korčula before we head west in the Ionian Sea for stops in Otranto in Puglia and Mount Etna and Syracuse in Sicily. Our tour ends with three days in Malta, exploring pre-historic and medieval sites and investigating the world of the Knights of Malta in Valletta.

COVID-19? Book with confidence
If Government imposed COVID-19 restrictions mean that we cannot run a tour, or that you cannot travel to join a tour, then you will be given a 100% refund of all monies paid to Academy Travel for your tour.

Vaccination requirements
Academy Travel requires all participants on its tours to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. We reserve the right to inspect your digital vaccination certificate.


Sea Cloud II

Travel onboard the luxurious 348-foot Sea Cloud II, launched in 2001, and offering a truly memorable travel experience. The design and fittings are modelled on her sister ship, the 1931 Sea Cloud, the private yacht of the renowned American heiress and businesswoman Marjorie Merewether Post. Teak decks, brass fittings, white cloth sails and luxurious decor create a unique environment, matching perfectly the historical themes of our tour. The food, wine and outstanding service on board are a real highlight of travelling on Sea Cloud II.

Exclusive Experiences in Venice

See Venice in a way that few tourists do: Explore the canals and the lagoon by private water taxi, enjoy a private evening visit to St Mark’s Basilica to witness the magical transition from darkness to glittering gold as more than 8,000 square metres of mosaics are illuminated just for our group of 16, share an al fresco lunch at the legendary Locanda Cipriani restaurant.

Historic ports on the adriatic and ionian seas

We have chosen this Sea Cloud II cruise because it offers a truly inspiring range of shore visits to some of the most interesting and varied ports along the Croatian and Italian coastlines: the Istrian peninsula, historic Zadar and Split, Otranto in Puglia, and Mount Etna and Syracuse in Sicily.

Stone Age Temples in Malta

The 5,500 year old temples at Hagar Qim and Mnajdra are among the oldest stone structures on earth and enjoy a UNESCO world heritage listing. Together with Valletta and the story of the Knights of Malta they make a wonderful finale to our voyage.

Start & Finish

The tour begins on September 17 at Venice airport with a private launch transfer to the hotel. The tour ends on October 5, with a transfer to Valletta airport for your onward journey from Malta.

Emirates and Qatar Airways offer the best connections between Australian cities and Europe. Contact us for bookings and quotes.

Detailed Itinerary

Saturday 17 September – Arrive Venice

The group will transfer by private launch from Marco Polo Airport to the hotel. Late this afternoon your tour leader will take you for an orientation stroll and light dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight Venice (D)

Sunday 18 September – The Origins & the Lagoon

This morning we travel to the remote northern islands of the lagoon to get a sense of what Venice was like in its earliest days. After calling in at Burano, with its brightly coloured fisherman’s houses, we’ll continue to Torcello to visit the 8th-century basilica with its Byzantine mosaics and marble decorations, among the oldest in Venice. We’ll also enjoy a welcome lunch at the legendary Locanda Cipriani before returning to the hotel. There will be a talk late in the afternoon. Overnight Venice (B, L)

Monday 19 September – The Trading Empire

This morning begins with a private motor launch ride down the Grand Canal from the Rialto to the Arsenale, a complex of former shipyards that consolidated Venice’s historical naval might. We’ll visit the Maritime Museum, then the Confraternity of San Giorgio, with its Renaissance-era paintings by Carpaccio. In the late afternoon, after the crowds have gone, we’ll tour the monuments of St Mark’s Square in a program that includes a private viewing of the interior of St Mark’s Basilica, whose glorious mosaics will be illuminated just for us. Overnight Venice. (B)

Tuesday 20 September – Merchants of Venice

We’ll begin the morning by strolling the Rialto, the hub of Venice’s commercial activities, with many historic buildings around its bustling modern markets. We’ll then visit a spectacular 15th-century merchant’s palace across the canal, the Ca D’Oro, today a museum of Renaissance art. From there we’ll walk to Venice’s historic ghetto district and stroll through the lively Cannaregio district before a group lunch at the buzzy Osteria da Rioba. After lunch we’ll call in at the nearby Madonna dell’Orto, the parish church of the great artist Tintoretto, who created several works for the church. There will be a talk in the early evening. Overnight Venice (B, L)

Wednesday 21 September – Art in Venice

Venice’s wealth and power made it a centre of painting in the Renaissance. This morning we’ll stroll the vibrant San Polo neighbourhood, arriving at the Franciscan church of the Frari, famous for its ground-breaking altarpiece by Titian and many other artistic treasures. After a coffee stop, we’ll marvel at the 16th-century Confraternity of San Rocco, a remarkable fusion of architecture, painting and sculpture. After lunch in Campo Santa Margherita, we’ll visit Ca’ Rezzonico, an important museum dedicated to the art and society of Venice in the 18th century. Tonight, we’ll attend an opera at La Fenice or an instrumental concert. Overnight Venice (B)

Thursday 22 September – Three Islands/Embark Sea Cloud II

After readying to depart Venice this morning, we’ll visit the island of San Lazzaro degli Armeni, home to a community of Armenian monks since the 18th century and containing a remarkable manuscript library and museum. Our lunch break will be on the Lido, with a stroll to see some of the Art Nouveau architecture from its glory days as a beach resort. Next, we’ll visit the island of San Giorgio, where we’ll see the church designed by Palladio and an art glass museum. We board the Sea Cloud II in the late afternoon for a sunset departure from Venice. Overnight Sea Cloud II (B, L, D)

Friday 23 September – Rovinj

The first three days of our cruise take us to three Dalmatian ports which were once part of both the Roman and Venetian Empires. We disembark at Rovinj with time to stroll the historic old town before a bus takes us to Pula which has a well preserved-Roman amphitheatre.  The afternoon is spent sailing the Dalmatian coast, with a talk on board later this afternoon. Overnight Sea Cloud II (B, L, D)

Saturday 24 September – Zadar

This morning we visit Zadar, a bastion-city notorious for its pirates which were a persistent threat to Venetian shipping.  Our walking tour of the old city will focus on the period after the Venetians captured the city and subdued the pirates. This afternoon’s sailing takes us past islands and passages on the Dalmatian coast.  Overnight Sea Cloud II (B, L, D)

Sunday 25 September – Split

In its day Split was one of the most important towns on the Adriatic and the birthplace of the Roman emperor Diocletian, whose magnificent waterside palace can still be visited today. We’ll also visit the nearby gorgeous coastal town of Trogir and explore the Ivan Meštrović sculpture gallery with works by one of Croatia’s leading modern sculptors. This evening you can opt for dinner in Split or aboard the ship. Overnight Sea Cloud II (B, L)

Monday 26 September – Korčula

This morning the ship docks at the Croatian island of Korčula, where we’ll take a walking tour of the stunning old town. You might sample some of the island’s famous wine before reboarding. Overnight Sea Cloud II (B, L, D)

Tuesday 27 September – At Sea

The second part of our cruise crosses to Italy, and the regions of Puglia and Sicily. Today is at sea, with a background talk and, winds permitting, the chance to enjoy Sea Cloud II under sail. Overnight Sea Cloud II (B, L, D)

Wednesday 28 September – Otranto

The Italian port of Otranto has seen much in its long life, including a murderous raid by Turkish sailors in 1480, something still commemorated in the medieval cathedral. On arrival we’ll travel to the provincial city of Lecce, famous for its Baroque architecture. You can enjoy an agriturismo-style lunch, with wine and olive oil sampling. After lunch we’ll return for a walking tour of Otranto before returning by coach to the ship. Overnight Sea Cloud II (B, L, D)

Thursday 29 September – At Sea

Our second full sailing day crosses the Ionian Sea at the foot of Italy to Sicily. There will be a talk on board and plenty of chance to relax and enjoy the hospitality and atmosphere of the ship. Overnight Sea Cloud II (B, L, D)

Friday 30 September – Mount Etna – Sicily

We’ll cross the straits of Messina and arrive early this morning at Giardini Naxos, just below the pretty resort town of Taormina. We depart immediately for the summit of Europe’s largest active volcano, Mt Etna. We’ll take a coach to a base station, hop first on a cable car, then four-wheel drive vehicles to the summit, some 3,000 metres above sea level. You will walk around the rim of active craters and enjoy incomparable vistas over eastern Sicily. Back on board, we weigh anchor in the mid-afternoon. There will be a talk on Syracuse and Greek Sicily. Overnight Sea Cloud II (B, L, D)

Saturday 1 October – Syracuse

Syracuse was the most important ancient Greek city on Sicily, second only to Athens in importance. This morning we’ll stroll the island of Ortigia, combining Greek ruins and Baroque architecture, we also view the famous Greek theatre built in the 5th-century BCE. Back on board, we’ll have a talk on Malta before our cruise farewell dinner. Overnight Sea Cloud II (B, L, D)

Sunday 2 October – Disembark Sea Cloud II/Ancient Malta

This morning we disembark Sea Cloud II. Back on land, we’ll head to one of Malta’s most ancient sites, the Neolithic temples at Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra temples, the oldest stone buildings in the Mediterranean, dating from 3,000BCE. We’ll enjoy a simple lunch near the remarkable sea caverns and bright blue waters of the Blue Grotto before returning to Valletta to check in to our hotel. This evening we’ll take an orientation stroll to the Upper Barakka Gardens, which command a breathtaking view of the Grand Harbour. Overnight Valletta (B, L)

Monday 3 October – Valletta

Valletta has been described as a city ‘built by gentlemen for gentlemen’ – the Knights of Malta. After a talk in the hotel, we’ll undertake a coach circuit of military Valletta: its bulwarks and walls, the fortified town of Floriana, the bastioned Sant’Angelo Fort at Birgu, and the war museum. In the early afternoon we’ll visit the sumptuously decorated church of St John’s, which holds, amongst other treasures, two paintings by Caravaggio. Overnight Valletta (B, L)

Tuesday 4 October – Mdina – Roman and Medieval Malta

Today we travel by coach to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Mdina. Once the capital of Malta, it remains one of Europe’s finest examples of an ancient walled city, with a mix of medieval and baroque architecture built harmoniously from a local stone. We’ll also visit the adjoining town of Rabat to explore the site of a Roman villa, today a museum of mosaics and Roman antiquities and St Paul’s catacombs, dating from the early Christian period. Our farewell lunch is at the elegant Xara Palace. We return to Valletta via Mosta, well known for the imposing Baroque cupola of its church. Overnight Valletta (B, L)

Wednesday 5 October – Departure

The tour ends after breakfast. (B)

Robert Veel

A cultural historian and founding director of Academy Travel, with a strong interest in visual arts, architecture and music.

Robert Veel is a cultural historian with over 20 years’ experience leading tours to Italy, the USA, Scandinavia and Turkey. He has a strong personal interest in the visual arts, architecture and music, and is a founding director of Academy Travel.

Robert holds a BA, Dip. Ed and M.Ed, all from the University of Sydney. He worked as a lecturer at the University of Sydney before a long stint at the University’s Centre for Continuing Education, lecturing in Italian history and culture and working as Assistant Director.  Robert continues to teach occasionally in Continuing Education courses.

Robert’s historical and artistic knowledge stretches from the Middle Ages through the early 20th century. In Italy he has led many tours focusing on the Medieval and Renaissance periods.  In the United States he likes to focus on the founding of the Republic and the Gilded Age of the early 20th century. In Scandinavia he is particularly interested in national identity and its role in Scandinavian literature, design and architecture. Robert speaks fluent Italian.

Robert led his first tour to Italy in 1990 and has not looked back! He has led more than 50 tours and designed many of Academy Travel’s most popular tours, including Sicily, New York, Rome and Venice residential tours, and our Scandinavia tours. More recently Robert led the first offering of Academy Travel’s tours to Tasmania and New Zealand.

We asked Robert, what do you enjoy most about leading tours?

“I really enjoy travelling with like-minded, interested travellers who are up for a bit of an intellectual adventure. It’s often the unexpected things that create the ‘shared joy’ of group travel”, says Robert “a wonderful, but little-known painting, a great performance or a fabulous meal. These are the things we travel for.”

“Over the years travellers have commented on my seemingly boundless enthusiasm. It’s true that I am curious about most things – people, places, history and artistic expression. There’s a kind of alchemy when this enthusiasm rubs off on others – hopefully with a bit of useful information as well!”

View Bio & Upcoming Tours


Hotel Al Codega, Venice (5 nights)

This four-star small, independent, family-run hotel is in a quiet cul-de-sac in the heart of Venice.

Onboard, Sea Cloud II (10 nights)

Comfortable E grade cabins on this luxury windjammer.

The Phoenicia Malta Hotel, Valletta (3 nights)

Located at the entrance to the historic quarter of Valletta, this grand five-star hotel is ideal for excursions and strolling the old town.

Tour Inclusions

What is included in the tour price? 

Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:

All tours

  • All accommodation at properties mentioned in the itinerary
  • Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Taxis may also be used for short trips on some tours. Some city stay tours may involve local transport
  • All breakfasts
  • Lunches and dinners indicated with the letters L and D in the itinerary
  • Beer, wine and soft drinks at sit-down lunches and dinners. Picnic and light lunches may not include alcoholic drinks
  • Services of tour leader throughout tour
  • All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
  • Local guides at some sites
  • All tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals

On international tours only

  • Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required, and when stated as included
  • Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
  • Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
  • Some trips may be made by public transport such as high-speed train and subway

What is not included in the tour price?

Our tours do not include the following:

  • Air or land travel from your home city to the tour start/end points
  • Local taxes and airport levies that we are not able to prepay on your behalf. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
  • Lunches and dinners not specifically indicated with the letters L or D in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses such as passports, laundry and phone calls
  • Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity
  • Airport Transfers on international tours
  • Tours may begin at either the arrival airport or the first hotel. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel, and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers

Airport Transfers

Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.

Travel Insurance

We require all tour participants to have adequate insurance coverage.

  • For domestic tours, Medicare and your private medical insurance should be used to cover any medical expenses.
  • Domestic travel insurance is available and strongly recommended to cover non-medical expenses such as cancellation.
  • For international tours, we require you to have comprehensive travel insurance. Prices vary according to your age, your pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the length of your journey abroad.

Tour Details



Fitness Requirement

Grade Two

A Grade 2 tour is appropriate for travellers in good health with good mobility, who can comfortably participate in up to 3 hours of physical activity per day on most days.
More Details


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The consultant for this tour is Hannah Kleboe. For further information or to have the consultant call you, please email.
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