It is often said that we travel abroad to more fully understand ourselves upon returning home. Ancient Athens was a founding cradle of democracy, giving birth to notions of freedom and equality. Some 2,200 years later, when the United States gained its independence, its democratic system was greatly influenced by the Athenian model, and also by the writings of ancient Greek and Roman thinkers, including Homer, Plutarch, Xenophon, Aristotle, Epicurus, Cicero and Cato.
- Pricing from
- Trip Type
- Group Travel Tour, International Ocean & Sea Voyages
- Departure Dates
Sep 1, 2022 - Sep 11, 2022
OPTIONAL POST-CRUISE EXTENSION IN ISTANBUL
We are pleased to offer a 2-day post-cruise extension, with accommodations at the historic Hotel Pera Palace. Arrangements will include pier/hotel airport transfers and tours to the city’s main landmark sites.
Istanbul – 11 September 2022
Tour Ending at the Hotel: TREASURES OF ISTANBUL
- 08:30 Departure from the pier
- 09:00 –11:30 A visit to Topkapi Palace & Harem
- 12:00– 13:30 Lunch at a local restaurant
- 13:45 – 15:00 Walking tour of the Balat District, viewing the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, Ayios Nikola Church, Church of St. George and visit the Steffi Stefan Church (Bulgarian Iron Church)
- 15:15 – 15:45 A visit to Spice Market
- 16:15 – 16:30 Arrival at the Hotel for overnight
Istanbul – 12-September-2022
ICONS OF ISTANBUL: ISTANBUL FULL DAY TOUR ( B,L)
- 09:00 Departure from the hotel
- 09:30 –10:30 A visit to Blue Mosque & Byzantine Hippodrome
- 10:45 – 11:45 A visit to St. Sophia
- 12:00 – 12:30 A visit to Basilica Cistern
- 12:45 – 14:00 Lunch at a local restaurant
- 14:30 – 16:00 A visit to Grand Bazaar
- 16:30 – 16:45 Arrival at the Hotel
Departure – 13-September-2022:
Transfer from the hotel to the Istanbul Airport
$1,180 per person, double occupancy.
Supplement for single room occupancy: $395.
CANCELLATIONS & REFUNDS: All cancellations are subject to a $300 per person administrative fee. Cancellations received 61-90 days prior to departure will be assessed a penalty equal to 50% of the total program cost per person. Cancellations received within 60 days of departure are subject to 100% cancellation penalties. Requests for cancellations must be made in writing. No refunds will be made for any part of this program in which you choose not to participate.
Depart the United States for Athens.
Arrive in Athens and transfer to the Hotel King George, conveniently located on Syntagma (Constitution) Square, the center of the city. In the evening, enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.
One of the world’s most venerable sites, Athens is the capital of Greece and Europe’s oldest city. Its ancient monuments are testimonials to a glorious past that gave birth to democracy and witnessed the origins of many of the arts and sciences that constitute the Western tradition. Drive in the morning to Marathon, site of the great battle fought in 490 BC between the large invading army of the Persian Empire and the much smaller force of mostly Athenian citizen-soldiers that resulted in the improbable victory of the Athenians. After exploring the site and visiting the museum, enjoy lunch at a country restaurant, and then return to Athens to tour the Agora, the civic and commercial center of ancient Athens and the living heart of its democracy.
ATHENS/EMBARKATION ON CALLISTO
Spend the morning at leisure. In the afternoon, tour the Acropolis and its celebrated monuments. Occupied since prehistoric times, the rocky plateau of the Acropolis rises dramatically out of the plain and dominates the modern city as it did in ancient times. The incomparable Parthenon and other temples and structures built in the 5th century BC, during the height of Athens’s democracy, represent the highest achievement of architecture and art of the Classical period. Also, view the hill of the Pnyx, where the Athenian assembly met, the Areopagus, the
meeting place of the Athenian council, and visit the Acropolis Museum, which houses an outstanding collection of sculpture. Continue to the coast to board the Callisto and sail.
Be on deck this morning to admire one of the most memorable sights in the Mediterranean – the white-washed town of Santorini perched on the edge of the 1,000 foot-high palisade of Santorini’s volcanic caldera. Known in classical antiquity as Thera, the island was a flourishing trading center inhabited by a prosperous and well-organized society during the Bronze Age. In the late 17th century BC, a massive volcanic eruption collapsed half of the island and buried its main town, now called Akrotiri, in a thick layer of ash and pumice, thus preserving its houses, streets and squares as they existed 3,700 years ago. Excavations have brought to light the town and precious artifacts. After exploring Akrotiri, visit the Museum of
Prehistoric Thera, which houses objects from the excavation. Enjoy lunch at a restaurant ashore that provides beautiful views of the caldera, as well as time at leisure for individual activities.
Dock in the morning in Heraklion, Crete. The largest of the Greek islands, Crete is the reputed birthplace of Zeus, and home of Europe’s earliest civilization, the Minoan, which dominated the Aegean world during most of the Bronze Age, starting in 2000 BC. Drive through the island’s striking countryside to Gortyn, an important ancient city and the island’s capital during the Roman period. Gortyn’s remains include the Law Code, stone blocks attached to a public building on which the laws of the city were inscribed. The Code dates from 500 BC. In the afternoon, visit the magnificent palace of Knossos, the largest and most impressive Minoan palace in Crete. Clustered around a courtyard, the palace contains a maze of rooms, passages and stairways that probably inspired the concept of the labyrinth. More than any other palace, Knossos reveals the brilliance and refinement of the Minoan civilization. Walls decorated with frescoes illustrate life as it was 4,000 years ago. Continue to the superlative Heraklion Museum, home to the world’s finest Minoan artifacts.
DELOS and NAXOS
Disembark in the morning in Delos, the small island that was sacred to ancient Greeks, because it was the birthplace of the divine twins Apollo and Artemis. After the defeats of the Persians in the 5th century BC, and under the leadership of Athens, Delos was the center of the Delian League, the treasure of which was used by Athens for its expansionist plans. After exploring this UNESCO World Heritage site, a vast open-air museum, sail to nearby Naxos, the lovely island that was sacred to Dionysus, the god of the grape harvest, winemaking, and ecstasy. Naxos was a major center of the prehistoric Cycladic culture, and later, a member of the Delian League. Spend time at leisure to explore quaint Chora, the island’s main town.
Arrive in the morning in Kusadasi, on Turkey’s Aegean coast. Drive to Priene, dating from the 4th century BC, and known today for the exceptional quality of its buildings that convey an excellent impression of a city from that era. Dominating the well-preserved site is the imposing Temple of Athena, a superb example of Ionic architecture. In the afternoon, tour Ephesus, one of the world’s great archaeological sites. Renowned as the center of worship of the mother-goddess Cybele, later known as Artemis, Ephesus was also the site where St. Paul preached Christianity (AD 52-54). See the stunning façade of the Library of Celsus, the Temple of Hadrian, the Theater, and other buildings. Excavations continue and archaeologists have restored the Terrace Houses, giving a glimpse of the daily lives of the Ephesians.
The reputed birthplace of Homer, the island of Chios is known for its beautiful landscapes, historic sites and old villages. The island is also home to the Adamantios Korais Library. Korais, an 18th-century Greek scholar, corresponded extensively with Thomas Jefferson, and a good portion of the correspondence is housed in the beautiful library, which we will visit in the morning. Continue to the 11th century church of Nea Moni, one of the most important Byzantine monuments in Greece, renowned for its architecture and mosaics. In the afternoon, visit the old villages of Mesta and Pyrgi.
Sail in the morning through the narrow strait of the Dardanelles to arrive in Turkey’s port of Canakkale, which gives easy access to Troy. Excavations that began in Troy in the second half of the 19th century, and which continue to this day, have revealed nine different layers of cities superimposed in rings on a massive mound rising above the “windswept” Plain of Ilium. As Homer recounts in the Iliad, one of these cities is where the Greeks fought the Trojans. After ten years of war, the city of King Priam finally fell to Odysseus’s ruse of the Trojan Horse.
Dock in the morning in Istanbul. Disembark and transfer to the airport for the return flight home.
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