Conflicts, Cures and Curiosities Cruise in the Eastern Mediterranean

6 - 15 May 2025
  • Cultural Tours

About the tour

Set sail on the MS Monet, a classic small cruise ship taking only 50 guests. From Dubrovnik to Valletta, journey through the Adriatic and across the Eastern Mediterranean along the coastlines of Italy, Albania and Greece, exploring history that spans thousands of years.

Hear about ancient pharmacology; how religion and medicine co-existed in the ancient world; and about plagues and sailors, Victorians and volcanoes from your expert onboard lecturers, Natasha McEnroe and Simon Chaplin.

Throughout the cruise, enjoy private excursions that take you beyond the everyday. Cruise from Dubrovnik down the lovely Adriatic coastline to Montenegro, Albania and Corfu, across to Puglia and Calabria, through the Aeolian Islands and the Straits of Messina and into dramatic Valletta Harbour. Explore ancient ruins from Butrint to Taormina; wander around medieval and Renaissance towns that have charmed visitors for centuries, and relax over delicious Italian lunches.

There is a pre-cruise extension to Dubrovnik and a post-cruise extension to Malta, which delve into the history and culture of each fascinating destination.

Your tour leader

Picture of JBT tour leader, Natasha McEnroe

Natasha McEnroe

Natasha McEnroe is the Keeper of Medicine at the Science Museum in South Kensington, London. Her previous post was Director of the Florence Nightingale Museum, and prior to this was Museum Manager of the Grant Museum of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy and Curator of the Galton Collection at University College London. From 1997 – 2007, she was Curator of Dr Johnson’s House in London’s Fleet Street, and has also worked for the National Trust and the Victoria & Albert Museum. Natasha was co-editor of The Hospital in the Oatfield – The Art of Nursing in the First World War (2014); The Tyranny of Treatment: Samuel Johnson, His Friends and Georgian Medicine (2003); and editor of Medicine: An Imperfect Science(2019) and co-editor of The Medicine Cabinet(2019). Her research interests focus on 18th and 19th-century medical humanities. Natasha is a Freeman of The Worshipful Company of Barbers.

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  • Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm
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Itinerary at a glance

Dubrovnik Pre-Cruise Itinerary: 4 – 6 May 2025

  • Day 1: Dubrovnik, Croatia (Sun, 4 May) Arrival in Dubrovnik and transfer to the hotel. Take a tour of the old city, along cobblestone streets, past The Rector’s Palace and visit the old pharmacy. There are no cars, making it ideal for walking. Dinner at a local restaurant.
  • Day 2: Dubrovnik, Croatia (Mon, 5 May) Transfer to out to the Peljesac peninsula. Explore the old town of Ston with its romantic medieval walls overlooking the town. Enjoy a seafood lunch in a family run tavern and wine tasting in a wine cellar. Transfer back to Dubrovnik.
  • Day 3: Dubrovnik, Croatia (Tues, 6 May) Take an excursion to Konavle region and transfer to the pretty coastal town of Cavtat, surrounded by mountains and pine and cypress forests. Enjoy a traditional lunch by the river Ljuta in Konavle. Transfer back to Dubrovnik port and embark MS Monet.

Main Cruise Itinerary: 6 – 15 May 2025

  • Day 1: Dubrovnik, Croatia (Tues, 6 May) Embark MS Monet. Enjoy a welcome dinner with your group, followed by a drinks party as you sail out of Dubrovnik Harbour into the Adriatic.
  • Day 2: Kotor, Montenegro (Wed, 7 May) Early morning arrival into beautiful Kotor Fjord. Take a guided walk through Kotor’s Renaissance squares to the 12th century cathedral of St Tryphon. Cruise along the coast. Talk: ‘Plague Ports of the Adriatic’ - Simon Chaplin.
  • Day 3: Sarande, Albania / Corfu Thursday, 8 May At sea. Talk: ‘The Durrells’ medical connections’ - Natasha McEnroe. Talk:'Health in Butrint from Asclepius to Byron’ - Simon Chaplin. Visit historic Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with remains of Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman settlements, including the sanctuary and temple of Asclepius, Roman baths, an amphitheatre and medieval fortress. The ship will overnight in Corfu.
  • Day 4: Corfu, Greece Friday, 9 May Drive out to the Kapodiatrias Museum, dedicated to the work and legacy of Ioannis Kapodistrias, first governor of Greece and a major 19th century European diplomat. Visit the British Cemetery and explore the UNESCO listed historical centre of Corfu on a walking tour. Explore Corfu at leisure after a light lunch. In the evening depart Corfu.
  • Day 5: Otranto / Lecce/ Otranto Italy (Sat, 10 May) Cruise to Otranto in Puglia and travel to the beautiful city of Lecce, known as ‘the Florence of the South,’ and visit the historic Ospedale delle Spirito Santo* and the Piazza del Duomo. Following lunch take a scenic tour through the beautiful countryside to re-join the ship at Otranto, an important Roman and medieval port, which is also one of Puglia’s most charming towns. Afternoon at leisure.
  • Day 6: Crotone (Sun, 11 May) Sail along the southern coast of Calabria to the ancient city of Crotone. Discover the history of Graeca Magna’s oldest city, home of the Pythagorean School, which made Crotone one of the great centres of medical and scientific thought in the ancient world. Explore the traditional market in Piazza Pitagora, the Archaeological Museum and see the Castle of Charles V*. Afternoon at leisure before returning to the ship. Talk: ‘Pythagoras and the medicine of Graeca Magna’ - Simon Chaplin.
  • Day 7: Lipari/Stromboli (Mon, 12 May) Sail through the Straits of Messina to Lipari, the largest of the Aeolian Islands. Visit the Museum of Lipari** and the Ecomuseo della Memoria, which covers the island’s extraordinary geology and the therapeutic use of its thermal baths. At leisure before a sunset cruise past Stromboli Volcano, which has been in almost continuous eruption for the past 2,000 years. Talk: ‘Volcanoes and the Grand Tour’ - Natasha McEnroe.
  • Day 8: Messina/Taormina (Tues, 13 May) Dock in Messina, once one of Caravaggio’s Sicilian refuges, and drive to beautiful Taormina. Visit the Teatro Greco and the Park Giovanni Colonna to discover the story of the remarkable English noblewoman, Lady Florence Trevelyan. Lunch at a winery on the slopes of Mount Etna. Return to Messina. Talk: -‘Syphilis and Seafarers’ – Simon Chaplin.
  • Day 10: Pozzallo/Modica/Scicli (Wed, 14 May) Dock at Pozzallo to visit two of southern Sicily’s UNESCO-listed baroque gems in Modica; the museum dedicated to doctor and polymath, Tommaso Campailla, and a historic chocolate factory that still uses an Aztec recipe brought to Sicily by the Spanish in the 16th century. Enjoy a local lunch before returning to the ship via Scicli, where you will visit the Antica Farmacia Cartia.
  • Day 10: Valletta, Malta (Thurs, 15 May) Sail into magnificent Valletta Harbour in Malta. Transfer to the airport or join the Malta extension.

*During May there are some events taking place in Crotone in honour of the patron saint; this may impact on some of the visits.

** The opening schedule for the Museum of Lipari has not been confirmed for May 2025.

*** The opening schedule for the Campailla Museum has not been confirmed for May 2025.

Malta Post-Cruise Itinerary: 15 – 18 May 2025

  • Day 1: Valletta, Malta (Thursday, 15 May) Disembark in Valletta. Visit Upper Barrakka Gardens for views over the Grand Harbour. See Fort St. Elmo and visit the Sacra Infermeria, before watching the Malta Experience. Drive back to the hotel past the Siege Bell. Overnight at the charming Victoria Hotel in Sliema.
  • Day 2: Valletta, Malta (Friday, 16 May) Tour of Fort Mosta and look out over the Victoria Lines. Walking tour of Mdina past Xara Palace Hotel and visit Mdina Cathedral. Panoramic view of the Island from Fontanella Tea Rooms. Return to the hotel via Mtarfa to visit a WWII hospital site and Mtarfa Military Cemetery.
  • Day 3: Valletta, Malta (Saturday, 17 May) Visit the Grand Master’s Palace gardens and armoury. Visit the Casa Rocca Piccola, a 16th-century palace. The home of the noble Maltese family, de Piro, it is also a museum that includes the collection of surgical instruments used in the Knights’ medical practices.
  • Day 4: Valletta, Malta (Sunday, 18 May) Depart hotel after breakfast.

Tour cost

Cabin prices start at USD $6,574. Please see the brochure for a full range of cabin options.

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