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Perhaps it’s the opportunity to explore Greek ruins, visit Gothic cathedrals, see the works of the Old Masters, or enjoy performances by current dance and music groups. Whatever element of Europe’s culture most interests you, it’s undeniably one of the main reasons why Americans book their tickets to the Continent each year. Many settle for an audio guide or the short summaries in their guidebooks while visiting landmarks. One cruise line, however, has created specific itineraries focused on various aspects of Europe’s culture and cuisine, allowing passengers to dive deeper as they sail from port to port.

With curated performances and events, Silversea’s Enriched Voyages guarantee that your cruise will be a culturally immersive odyssey. Here’s a look at three of Silversea’s innovative programs for travelers ready to embark on a voyage of discovery.

Opera
Few art forms are more associated with Europe than opera, with what is generally considered the first opera, Dafne, having been composed in Florence at the end of the 16th century. Silversea’s Opera Voyages call at ports that are home to some of the world’s most famous opera houses. In Barcelona, you can visit the 19th-century Gran Theatre de Liceu, long associated with composer Richard Wagner. In Sorrento, operas are performed every summer in the Correale Museum, a restored mansion overlooking the Gulf of Naples. And there are more contemporary must-sees (and must-hears), too. On cruises that call in Athens, travelers can attend a performance by the Greek National Opera at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, designed by architect Renzo Piano. It’s one of the world’s newest opera houses, noteworthy for both its state-of-the-art acoustics and elegant interiors.

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Silversea’s special Enriched Voyages excursions include opportunities like traveling along Venice’s canals aboard a motorboat to the Fenice Opera House. After you arrive at the elegant 18th-century building, you’ll enjoy a performance of Puccini’s most famous opera, Madame Butterfly. Like many of the highlights of Silversea’s Enriched Voyages, the performance is exclusive to Silversea guests.

The music continues on board the Silversea ships on the Opera Voyages, produced in partnership with Milan’s famous Accademia Teatro alla Scala. Guests enjoy exclusive performances by singers from the company while cocktail evenings offer opportunities to meet them in an intimate setting. Learned experts in opera are also onboard on all these sailings, leading discussions and lectures that provide context for the art.

Ballet
When you think of ballet, it’s likely that two different cities may come to mind: Paris and St. Petersburg. Rather than choose between the two, Silversea’s Ballet Voyages feature performances by dancers from both L’Opéra de Paris and the Bolshoi Theater of St. Petersburg. You’ll also have opportunities to see performances by other ballet companies in ports like Monte Carlo, where the art has thrived since the days when renowned choreographer Serge de Diaghilev based his company there. Today that tradition is continued by the Monte-Carlo Ballet Company, founded in 1985 by Caroline, Princess of Hanover (Prince Albert II’s older sister). Silversea’s Ballet Voyages includes exclusive experiences like a tour of Venice’s Teatro Fenice, one of Italy’s most important cultural landmarks, on a Venice to Monaco cruise this August.

While seeing some of the world’s most acclaimed companies perform on stage is unforgettable, there’s something entirely different about the experience of seeing them in the intimacy of a Silversea ship. Dancers from the two companies will perform both classic and contemporary pieces and, as with the Opera Voyages, the ballet ones include cocktail events with the artists as well as formal interviews—so someone else can ask the questions in case you find yourself speechless in front of a prima ballerina.

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Cuisine
From smørrebrød in Copenhagen and oysters in Saint Malo in Brittany to tapas in Barcelona and cold pints in London, Silversea’s Culinary Voyages are, literally, moveable feasts. Given Silversea’s partnership with Relais & Châteaux, which allows guests to enjoy culinary excellence on all seven continents, no cruise line is better suited to introduce Europe’s many varied cuisines. On the Culinary Voyages you can spend your days in port on visits to local markets, accompanied by members of the ship’s culinary team. You’ll sample what’s in season while meeting the farmers who grew the fruits and vegetables.

Back on board, cooking demonstrations will teach you how to transform those ingredients into flavorful dishes as you meet leading chefs from the renowned Ecole de Chefs. Exclusive dinners and tastings provide additional opportunities to learn more about regional flavors and specialties. Of course a culinary voyage wouldn’t be complete unless it also included introductions to Europe’s many wines, and you’ll have opportunities to learn more about them as well as how to pair them with regional dishes.

Discover more AFAR's favorite Silversea Europe itineraries at cruiseafar.com/europe