A Cruise to Ancient Greece and Turkey
Take part in an odyssey to the ancient windswept islands of Greece and the fabled coast of Turkey, where you will uncover the living legacy of the Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations and witness the stunning architectural achievements of the Byzantines.
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Save $1,000 when you book by March 24, 2015!
Join us for an odyssey to the ancient windswept islands of Greece and the fabled coast of Turkey. Cruise from Athens to Istanbul aboard the recently launched Le Lyrial, and discover sites associated with the cradle of Western civilization during excursions that showcase many World Heritage sites. You’ll visit some of the classic Greek islands, including Delos, the paramount religious sanctuary of the ancient Greek world; Mykonos, known for its iconic windmills; Santorini, with villages that perch above the volcanic caldera; Rhodes, featuring sites associated with the Knights Templar; and Pátmos, with its Monastery of St. John. And along the Turkish coast you'll visit Ephesus, the most spectacularly preserved Greco-Roman city in the world, and legendary Troy, boasting myriad layers of archaeological marvels. Historian and classicist Diane Cline enhances your experience with insightful commentary, while local residents offer an engaging personal perspective on contemporary Aegean culture.
Optional extensions to Athens and Istanbul/Cappadocia are also offered.
September 28- 29 — U.S., Athens, Greece
Depart U.S. and arrive in Athens, the birthplace of democracy and home to many of history’s greatest philosophers and poets from Socrates to Herodotus; Athens is unmatched in its contributions to early Western civilization. Transfer to Piraeus to embark the m.s. Le Lyrial. (D)
September 30 — Delos/Mykonos
The mythical birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, Delos is today a UNESCO World Heritage site and considered to be one of the most sacred islands in the Greek world, as central to Greek spiritual life as Olympia and Delphi. Visit the Sanctuary of Apollo, a spectacularly rich archaeological site with remains of three separate temples from the fifth and sixth centuries B.C. Delos’ awe-inspiring ruins also showcase an entire district of ancient houses (700 B.C.), the ancient Theatre (300 B.C.) and the second-century-B.C. House of the Dolphins.
See the magnificent Terrace of the Lions and its legendary statues carved from Náxian marble that have withstood the blight of wind and sea water for nearly 2600 years.
Visit Mykonos, where according to ancient legend, the craggy hills and clefts were formed from the petrified bodies of giants defeated by Hercules. Mykonos’ iconic windmills, sugar-white, cube-shaped houses and azure bays epitomize the spectacular beauty of the Greek Isles. The Little Venice neighborhood resembles, in design, Italy’s famed canal city. Enjoy free time to stroll the whitewashed streets or stop in an ouzeri to nibble mezethes and sip ouzo, the quintessentially Greek aperitif. Attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception this evening. (B,L,R,D)
October 1 — Santorini (Akrotiri)
Sail to Santorini, one of the most spectacular of the Aegean Islands, and into its perfect harbor, a naturally created caldera, beneath which is believed to be the legendary Atlantis, possibly lost during a cataclysmic volcanic eruption in the 16th century B.C. A cable car descends to sea level from the elevated town of Fira, whose stunning white walled buildings stand in stark contrast against the dark volcanic cliffs. Visit the Museum of Prehistoric Thera. On the southern end of Santorini lie the recently excavated (1967) phenomenal ruins of Akrotiri. Held intact by layers of pumice and ash for over 3500 years, Akrotiri’s streets reveal the artistry of its mysterious Minoan inhabitants.
This afternoon, join the optional C’est Bon! Culinary Traditions excursion. By special arrangement, savor distinctive island dishes presented by a local chef and paired with native Santorini wines in Fira. (B,L,D)
October 2 — Rhodes
The island of Rhodes has been one of the most prosperous and strategic strongholds in the eastern Mediterranean since the Neolithic period. Walk through Rhodes Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site and extraordinarily well-preserved medieval city, built over a great Hellenistic metropolis. A major Christian outpost during the Crusades, it is the site where the Knights of St. John erected the splendid 14th-century Palace of the Grand Masters.
Join the optional excursion to walk through the ancient village of Lindos and see the magnificent frescoes on its Byzantine church and the breathtaking views from its clifftop acropolis. (B,L,D)
October 3 — Pátmos
The small island of Pátmos looms large in the history of Christianity. Visit its Greek Orthodox Monastery of St. John, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Built in 1088, the monastery is still inhabited by monks who continue to preserve it as a pilgrimage site and place of religious study. St. John the Apostle of Ephesus was known to have been exiled to Pátmos for 18 months and very possibly wrote the Book of Revelation here in A.D. 95. Meet residents of Pátmos and Aegina who will discuss contemporary daily life on these ancient Greek islands during the specially arranged Village Forum™. This evening, enjoy a Greek folklore performance by local musicians and dancers on board. (B,L,D)
October 4 — Ephesus, Turkey (Kuşadasi)
The Greco-Roman city of Ephesus is one of the world’s most dazzling architectural treasures. The guided tour features the Ephesus Museum, the beautifully restored façade of the Library of Celsus and the Marble Way, which leads to an impressive 24,000-seat amphitheater where St. Paul addressed his Epistle to the Ephesians. According to legend, St. John the Apostle traveled with Mary, the mother of Jesus, to Ephesus. Here, he wrote his Gospel of John and later died and was buried. On the lower end of the slopes of Bulbul mountain, visit the Terrace Houses, where the wealthiest and most prominent families of first-century Ephesus once lived. (B,L,D)
October 5 — Troy (Çanakkale)
Located on a windswept plain near Çanakkale, Troy was immortalized by Homer’s 13th-century B.C. Trojan War epic, The Iliad, and inspired the tales of ancient Greek mythology at the core of Western literature. Explore the remnants of the Bronze Age citadel and nine cities built over a span of millennia on the very site where Troy fell, now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
This evening, join your traveling companions at the Captain’s Farewell Reception. (B,L,R,D)
October 6 — Istanbul/U.S.
Disembark in this legendary metropolis straddling the Bosphorus Strait. Continue on the Post-Cruise Options, or depart for the U.S. (B)
Pre- and Post-Cruise Options and Optional Excursions are available at additional cost. Details will be included with your reservation confirmation.
All program features are contingent upon final brochure pricing.