Philosophy and War: World War II in the Balkans

Athens • Crete • Corfu • Albania • Dubrovnik
September 22 – October 2, 2019
aboard the Iconic Sea Cloud

Tour Overview

Travel on the Iconic Sea Cloud, a living legend and sailing icon. With carefully restored original cabins and magnificent marble fireplaces, this larger than life vessel sets the perfect stage for our exploration of The Balkans, an area where for centuries civilizations have clashed, democracy was born, and some of World War II’s most harrowing battles took place.

A Historical Journey On a Legendary Vessel

The all-new land-and-cruise tour Philosophy and War: World War II in the Balkans begins with two nights in Athens to explore the German occupation of Greece and the civil war that followed. Embark on Sea Cloud in Athens and continue to Crete, the scene of the hardest fighting in Germany’s invasion of Greece. After exploring the ill-fated Italian occupation of the Ionian Islands and the region’s Jewish heritage in Korfu, the cruise continues to Albania where monuments and museums pay tribute to the “Anti-Fascist War.” Disembark in Dubrovnik, with the option to continue on the optional post-tour extension, Dubrovnik: 1991.


Book Your Trip With Us!

Save up to $2,000 per couple when booked by July 5, 2019!


Tour Inclusions

  • Travel with featured author and historian Robert M. Citino, PhD, Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of War and Democracy and the Samuel Zemurray Stone Senior Historian at The National WWII Museum
  • Full-time logistical Tour Manager
  • Shore excursions with expert local battlefield guides at each port
  • Roundtrip Airport Transfers when arriving and departing on scheduled group tour dates
  • Two nights at the historic five-star Hotel Grande Bretagne in Athens
  • Eight nights aboard Sea Cloud
  • Private, first-class, air-conditioned motor coach transportation
  • Personal listening devices on all included touring
  • Included gratuities to shipboard staff, guides, drivers, porters and servers
  • All meals onboard and as indicated on land in the program itinerary
  • Beer, wine, and soft drinks with included lunches and dinner on land
  • Unlimited beverages while on board the Sea Cloud including house wines, spirits, beer, coffee, water, teas, soft drinks, and juices
  • Welcome and Farewell Receptions
  • Informative map book including useful maps and archival images to be used throughout your journey
  • Personalized luggage tags and customized name badge
  • Keepsake journal and pen to document your journey



Lido Deck
Promenade Deck
Main Deck



Download The Brochure

Download the official Philosophy and War: World War II in the Balkans brochure for a full listing of inclusions, accommodations, and other useful information.

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Philosophy and War: World War II in the Balkans

Tour Itinerary & Map

Destination Map



September 22, 2019 - Day 1

Athens: Arrival

Upon arrival at Athens International Airport (ATH), transfer to the Hotel Grande Bretagne in the center of Athens. Enjoy an evening at leisure to rest or explore Athens on your own.

Hotel Grande Bretagne

September 23, 2019 - Day 2


The tour begins on the Plain of Marathon and in the year 490 BC when a large Persian army landed in Greece, seeking vengeance for Athenian participation in the Ionian revolts. Mounting a war of both expansion and retribution, Darius the Great became obsessed with Athens. According to Herodotus, Darius ordered his servants to tell him three times before each dinner, “Master, remember the Athenians.” The Persians landed at the Bay of Marathon with a numerically superior force. The Athenians stood alone after Sparta refused to come to their aid until the end of the festival of Carneia. As the battle began, the Athenians charged directly into the Persian lines. With superior armor and better hand-to-hand fighting techniques, the Athenians caused panic among the Persians. The Persian soldiers retreated to their ships in chaos, and Athens was secure. After the tour, return to Athens for a reception and introductory talk by Dr. Citino, followed by dinner with the group.

Hotel Grande Bretagne (B, L, D)

September 24, 2019 - Day 3


The Acropolis is a treasure of the world. Its UNESCO World Heritage status calls it “the greatest architectural and artistic complex bequeathed by Greek Antiquity to the world.” While exploring this archaeological site, visit the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike, and the Erechtheion. The influence of the site continues to this day as Neo-Classical monuments trace their heritage to those at the Acropolis. After lunch, continue to the National War Museum. Covering the military history of Greece from Antiquity to modern times, a special section on World War II highlights the Greek contributions to the Allied war effort. Of special interest is the Sacred Band, a special unit formed by Greek volunteers in the Middle East. The unit saw action in North Africa and throughout the Aegean. It disbanded after the war, but it is the precursor to the modern Greek Special Forces. Continue to the port city of Peraeus to board Sea Cloud.

Sea Cloud (B, D)

September 25, 2019 - Day 4

At Sea: Aegean Sea

Experience the Sea Cloud at her finest—in full sail, cutting through the Aegean Sea towards Crete. Homer described the Aegean as a ‘wine dark sea’ at night. By day, she offers some of the most beautiful sights in the world: crystal blue water, open skies, and thousands of rocky islands bearing the history of the western world in their names. A presentation by Dr. Citino on the German invasion of Crete in 1941 will set the stage for the next two days of touring.

Sea Cloud (B, L, D)

September 26, 2019 - Day 5

Heraklion: Crete

Pass the Venetian walls of Heraklion, and journey to Archanes where British and Cretan operatives staged the dramatic kidnapping of German General Heinrich Kriepe. Departing his headquarters in Archanes, Kriepe’s car was stopped by agents disguised as German military policemen, who jumped inside and threatened Kriepe with a pistol. What followed was a three-week journey to the south of Crete with numerous false leads left behind for the German pursuers. The British successfully removed Kriepe from the island, and took him to Egypt for interrogation.

Sea Cloud (B, L, D)

September 27, 2019 - Day 6

Chania: Crete

From the ship’s location in Souda Bay, the tour visits the sites of the early battles in Crete. Near Maleme Airfield and Tavronitis Bridge, German paratroopers dropped in large numbers to seize the landing strips. On the first day, British, New Zealander, and Greek forces inflicted heavy casualties on the Germans, but miscommunications caused the airfield to fall the next day. A visit to Hill 107 and the German Cemetery underscores the losses inflicted upon the Germans in the first days of the battle. The study of the battle continues at Galatas, a defensive line held by troops from New Zealand. Over two days, the town changed hands several times before the New Zealanders withdrew further to the south.

Sea Cloud (B, L, D)

September 28, 2019 - Day 7

At Sea: Ionian Sea

The Ionian Sea is the gateway to the Balkan Peninsula and the site of numerous conflicts between the ancient Greek and Roman Empires. During World War II, the Ionian Sea would once again host a clash between these two ancient countries. While sailing, Dr. Citino presents on Mussolini’s efforts to bring the Ionian islands into a new Roman Empire, and of the later, harsh German occupation.

Sea Cloud (B, L, D)

September 29, 2019 - Day 8

Corfu: Greece

The historic island of Corfu lies in the Ionian Sea just off the western coast of Albania. It is an historic city, whose origins lie deep in the mists of ancient Greek mythology. It is said that Poseidon, Lord of the Sea, abducted the beautiful nymph Kerkyra and, seeking the most beautiful island in Greece, gave her Corfu as a gift. Its strategic location made it important to the Romans, Normans, Venetians, and others, and the island would repulse repeated Turkish attempts to conquer it. In World War II history, Corfu is renowned as the site of one of the first uprisings against Axis rule, when high school students staged a series of protests against the Italian occupiers of Greece in November 1941.

In 1943, much of Corfu was destroyed by German bombardment; many coming after Italy surrendered to the Allies. Tour the Old Town and Jewish Quarter while learning of the succession of battles for the island from 1923 - 1945.

Sea Cloud (B, L, D)

September 30, 2019 - Day 9

At Sea: Adriatic Sea

The end of World War II in the Balkans ushered in a new set of problems. Factions that unified to throw off the occupying Italians and Germans were now in conflict with each other. Civil wars in the region paved the way for dictatorships and new struggles. Sail through the Strait of Otranto and into the Adriatic Sea. On board, dive into the partisan motivations in the Balkans with Dr. Citino.

Sea Cloud (B, L, D)

October 1, 2019 - Day 10

Tirana: Albania

Fascist Italy occupied Albania in April 1939, before the outbreak of World War II, and the Germans would come as occupiers in 1943, and the city became the repeated target for Allied bombing raids. Tough armed resistance to Fascist occupation led to brutal Italian and German reprisals in Albania, leaving the country one of the most devastated in the world by 1945. The capital city, Tirana, was the first city in Europe to be liberated by its own partisans. After the war, Enver Hoxha rose to power, ushering in a period of paranoia, surveillance, and economic stagnation. During Hoxha’s reign, over 170,000 bunkers were built for defensive and security purposes. The tour will begin in Skanderbeg Square with a discussion of the partisans and martyrs before descending into one of the bunker complexes. At Bunk’Art 2, discover the methods of Albania’s secret police, the Sigurimi.

Sea Cloud (B, L, D)

October 2, 2019 - Day 11

Dubrovnik: Croatia

Bid farewell to the magnificent Sea Cloud and transfer to Dubrovnik Airport (DBV) for independent flights home. For those continuing on the optional post-tour extension program Dubrovnik: 1991, touring begins immediately after disembarkation.


Dubrovnik: 1991 - Two-Night Optional Post-Tour

Continue your journey on the exclusive post-tour, Dubrovnik: 1991. Bringing the story of the Balkans to the present, tour the walled city of Dubrovnik with an emphasis on the siege of the city in 1991. As the multi-ethnic state of Yugoslavia disintegrated, several groups, including the Croats, sought their independence. Under the regime of Josip Tito, the ethnic rivalries had been silenced by force. Following the dissolution of other Communist dictatorships, Yugoslavia began showing cracks in its control. In 1991, the Croatian War of Independence pitted the Croats against Yugoslavian security forces, made up mainly of Serbs and Montenegrins. In 1991, the Old Town of Dubrovnik came under heavy shelling, despite its status as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Walk the walls of the city, originally meant to protect the city from Venetians and Ottomans, but which were integral again in the late twentieth century. From the walls, a discussion of the war’s effect on the city can be noticed from the orange roofs, which were originally gray in color. The city’s cosmetic change came when the original shingles were preserved for the most historic buildings of the city center while the new, orange tiles went to the new buildings. A visit to War Photo Limited showcases some of the world’s most evocative war photography in a gallery environment.

Hotel Excelsior Dubrovnik

Philosophy and War: World War II in the Balkans

Featured Historians

Featured Historian

Robert M. Citino, PhD

Robert M. Citino, PhD, is the Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of War and Democracy and the Samuel Zemurray Stone Senior Historian at The National WWII Museum, as well as one of America’s most distinguished military historians. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, he attended St. Ignatius Loyola High School on the city’s west side, received his BA in History from The Ohio State University and his MA and PhD from Indiana University. He joined the Museum in August 2016.

Dr. Citino is an award-winning military historian and scholar who has published ten books including The Wehrmacht Retreats: Fighting a Lost War, 1943; Death of the Wehrmacht: The German Campaigns of 1942; and The German Way of War: From the Thirty Years’ War to the Third Reich and numerous articles covering World War II and 20th century military history. He speaks widely and contributes regularly to general readership magazines including World War II. Dr. Citino enjoys close ties with the US military establishment, and taught one year at the US Military Academy at West Point and two years at the US Army War College.

Philosophy and War: World War II in the Balkans


Sea Cloud

Sea Cloud was built in 1931 at the Krupp family shipyard in Kiel, Germany, according to plans of the renowned American contractors Gibbs & Cox. After her launch in the last week of April, the largest private sailing yacht of that day was christened the Hussar V.

Hotel Grande Bretagne

Athens, Greece

With breathtaking views of the fabled Acropolis, regal Syntagma Square and the Parliament, lush Lycabettus Hill, or the original Olympic Stadium, the five-star Hotel Grande Bretagne offers an unrivaled perspective of Athens’ mythical history. Located right in the heart of the city since 1874, the multi-awarded landmark hotel is within walking distance of exclusive shopping areas, museums, and the business district. With meticulous attention to detail, the 320 rooms and suites marry charming old-world elegance with state-of-the-art facilities, and the 58 suites enjoy additional benefits including personalized butler service. Visit the picturesque GB Roof Garden Restaurant for the finest Mediterranean cuisine or the Winter Garden for an afternoon high tea, and do not miss the GB Spa for a signature massage, beauty treatment, or an indulgent respite in the thermal suite. Meet our concierge team members, who stand ready to unlock the secret treasures of Athens.

Hotel Excelsior Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Hotel Excelsior Dubrovnik is a beloved landmark located just steps from the Old City of Dubrovnik, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and a short walk from the medieval fortress walls. Located in a royal villa that was built in 1913 to take full advantage of views of the Old Town and the Adriatic Sea, the interior was recently completely refurbished. Refined, modern rooms are equipped with free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs, as well as minibars, safes and designer toiletries. Amenities include tranquil gardens, a beautiful private beach, three restaurants, an indoor swimming pool, luxury spa, and a fitness center.

Philosophy and War: World War II in the Balkans

Tour Pricing


Price per person based on double occupancy

Owner's Suite 1 & 2
$25,999 $24,999


Deluxe Stateroom Category B
$20,999 $19,999


Deluxe Stateroom Category C
$16,999 $15,999


Category 1 Stateroom
$12,999 $11,999


Category 2 Stateroom
$12,499 $11,499


Category 3 Stateroom
$11,999 $10,999


Category 4 Stateroom
$11,499 $10,499


Category 5 Stateroom
$10,999 $9,999


A limited number of single occupancy cabins are available in Category 3 ($17,999 $16,999) and Category 5 ($14,999 $13,999).

*Taxes and fees are an additional $399 per person and will be included on your final invoice.

Optional Post-Tour Extension Program - Double Occupancy


Optional Post-Tour Extension Program - Single Occupancy


*Taxes and Fees of $229 per person are included in the prices listed above for the post-tour extension.

Philosophy and War: World War II in the Balkans

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