Athens & Greek Islands Adventure Cruise

Athens and 4 Day Greek Islands Cruise

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Overview

Style Independent/Self-Guided
No tour escort; explore at your own pace
Departs New York Kennedy (JFK); other gateways on request (flight schedule)
Highlights Athens, 4-Day Greek Islands Cruise plus optional shore excursions
Included in the Price
  • Round trip flights from New York JFK via Brussels Airlines including fuel surcharges and taxes and fees
  • 1 night hotel accommodations at the Titania Hotel in Athens
  • 4 nights aboard the Louis Cruise Lines MV Cristal or MV Olympia
  • Port Charges of $136 included
  • Cruise Tips of $10 per person per day included
  • 1 night Brussels Airport Hotel with complimentary airport shuttle service
  • 13 Meals: 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinners
  • All group transfers
Optional
  • Optional shore excursions
What to Expect This moderately-paced, locally hosted tour includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness on optional shore excursions. This tour does not include a tour guide or escort.

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Testimonials

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I judge the value of a vacation by the desire to return. After seeing Greece on this tour, I most certainly want to go back.

Carol Gargan

Dates, Prices & Options

Prices, fees and deposits are per person. Prices and availability are subject to change. More about our prices.

Departures & Prices
per person, double occupancy*
Depart Return Price Book by
Nov 18
Sat Oct 18 2014 Sat Oct 25 2014 $2135   Departed

Prices include Airline Taxes, Fees & Sept. 11th Security Fee, but do not include excess baggage fees or advance seat reservations, unless otherwise noted.

Want to stay longer? We may be able to arrange for you to extend your stay later than the scheduled dates, subject to availability. Contact us about dates, prices and restrictions.

Athens & Greek Islands Adventure Cruise
Port Charges of $1361 included
Rooming Selection/Cabin Categories
IB (standard inside cabin), Double Occupancy included
IB (standard inside cabin), Single Occupancy +$500
XA (standard outside), Double Occupancy +$150
XA (standard outside), Single Occupancy +$600
XC (superior outside), Double Occupancy +$200
XC (superior outside), Single Occupancy +$700
Optional Drink Packages on Cruise
All-Inclusive Alcoholic Drink Package2 +$92
All-Inclusive Non-Alcoholic Drink Package3 +$60

1. All port charges included in tour price.

2. Includes: select brands of whiskey, vodka, gin, rum, tequila, brandy, mixers, draught beer, house wine, select cocktails, soft drinks, juices, lemonade, regular tea & coffee, and 2 scoops of ice cream per portion from the pool bar. All cabin occupants must purchase package. Drink package is available from 10am until 2am. Other terms & conditions may apply.

3. Includes: soft drinks, juices, lemonade, regular tea & coffee, and 2 scoops of ice cream per portion from the pool bar. All cabin occupants must purchase package. Drink package is available from 10am until 2am. Other terms & conditions may apply.

Departure Airports
New York Kennedy (JFK) included

Coming from somewhere else? Before you book, ask us about availability and prices for flights from other cities. Additional charges for flights from other cities are due within 24 hours of your booking.

Booking Deposit
Standard Deposit $600

To make a reservation, we only require a per-person deposit payment, which you can pay with your credit card. This non-refundable deposit will be applied towards the cost of your package. You can pay the balance due later by credit card, PayPal, check or money order. Your final payment is due 75 days prior to departure, or within 72 hours of booking, whichever is later.

Ticketing: Airline tickets for this tour are usually issued within 24 hours of your booking, and once issued, cannot be changed, refunded or transferred.

Transfers: Transfers for this tour are provided on a group basis only. Passengers deviating in any way from the group program, transfers are not provided. Individual, private transfers can be arranged at a supplement in price. Taxis and other forms of transportation are also available and may cost less than private transfers. If you wish to arrange private transfers, please request this service at the time of reservation.

Itinerary

4 Day Idyllic Greek Islands Cruise itinerary Enjoy your vacation this year on an Athens and Greek Island cruise. This fabulous itinerary includes the iconic islands of Greece and the Aegean. Explore on your own, or enjoy the shore excursions. All the flexibility and fun is yours for an incredibly low price!

To help you take full advantage of your visit to the Mediterranean, exciting optional shore excursions are offered at each port-of-call. You may purchase shore excursions during your briefing upon arrival in Athens or once aboard your ship. We suggest pre-booking at the briefing to guarantee your spot and avoid lines and hassle during your vacation. Excursions are priced and paid for locally in Euros (you can pay with credit card or cash). For your convenience, we have listed approximate conversions to U.S. dollars (accurate as of Feb. 2014).

At the ports of Mykonos, Patmos & Santorini, disembarkation is by tender boats, weather permitting. Passengers taking the optional shore excursions disembark. The itineraries listed, including ports of call, embarkation/disembarkation times, shore excursions and prices, were correct at time of publication. We and our partner, Louis Cruise Lines, will do our utmost to adhere to the itinerary as listed, but due to sea conditions and other factors, minor changes to the itinerary may be necessary, and some shore excursions shown may not be available. As necessary, Louis Cruise Lines may also substitute another ship from their fleet of similar size and amenities. We will do our very best to immediately inform travelers of any such changes.


4 Day Idyllic Cruise Itinerary: Jul 12, Jul 19, Aug 9, & Aug 16 departures

4 Day Idyllic Greek Islands Cruise itinerary Day 1: Depart USA. Your exciting journey to Greece begins this evening as you check in for your overnight flight.

Day 2: Athens. You'll be met by our representative and then escorted to your hotel, centrally located near Constitution Square and the famous Plaka (Old Town). Athens, the birthplace of western civilization, once hailed as the Paris of the Mediterranean, is now a bustling modern city, a colorful tapestry of eastern and western influences, full of outdoor cafes, pedestrian streets, parks and gardens, street bazaars, dilapidated mansions and ancient ruins. Accommodations: Titania Hotel.

Syros Day 3: Athens, Lavrion & Syros. After a leisurely morning in Athens, transfer to Lavrion port this morning to board your cruise ship, the Louis Cruise Lines' MV Cristal. Spend the remainder of the day enjoying the sun, sea breezes, pool and shipboard facilities. This evening, arrive in Syros to the port of Ermopouli, the capital of the Cyclades and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.

Ermoupolis at night Optional Excursion: Sublime Syros, Adult: €29 ($38) Child: €18 ($23). The port of Ermopouli in Syros is the capital of the Cyclades and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Our tour takes you south from Ermopouli to Anastasi Church, above Ermopouli, to visit this lovely domed church and to enjoy a breathtaking view of Tinos and Mykonos. From Anastasi we drive through the beach villages of Vari, Megas Gialos, Possidonia, Finikas, Galissas and Kini: the beach at Vari, a traditional fishing village, lies along a sheltered bay, while the beach at Megas Gialos stretches beneath the brightly-painted houses of the village; Possidonia is home to a number of ornate mansions and a picturesque blue church We drive one kilometer from Kini to the Agia Varvara (Santa Barbara) Monastery, which was founded in 1900 and exhibits icons from the life of Agia Varvara and many stunning embroideries. After Agia Varvara we stop at a traditional loukoumi factory to see how loukoumi, also known as Turkish delight, is made. After enjoying some samples, we return to Ermopouli. On arriving in Ermopouli we disembark from the bus and continue on foot. We visit the Holy Cathedral of the Dormition of the Virgin to see El Greco's The Dormition of the Virgin, which was painted before 1567. We then walk to the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Metamorphosis, the first high school of modern Greece and now part of the Aegean University. Our tour continues on to the impressive Orthodox Cathedral of Agios Nikolaos, then up the hill to the Vaporia district, "Little Venice," to see the neoclassical mansions built by the island's bankers, merchants and ship owners. We travel downhill from the Vaporia to the Apollon Theater, the first opera house in Greece and a copy of La Scala in Milan, then on to the Museum of Cycladic Art and the Archeological Museum, which includes a number of treasures unearthed on Syros, Paros and Amorgos. We conclude our tour of sublime Syros in the center of Ermopouli, at the town hall in magnificent Platia Miaouli, which is adjacent to interesting shops and atmospheric cafes. Duration: 4 hours.

Halicarnassus, Bodrum, Turkey Day 4: Cesme & Bodrum, Turkey. Arrive this morning in Cesme on the Turkish Aegean coast. In ancient times, this picturesque port marked the end of the Silk road. The port is nearby Izmir and a 2 hour drive from Ephesus.

Arrive late this evening in Bodrum, for a fun-filled night on the town in the Turkish Riviera. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.

Celsus Library, Ephesus Optional Excursion (Cesme): Experience Ancient Ephesus, Adult: €69 ($90) Child: €40 ($52). We travel by bus approximately two hours to the ancient city of Ephesus, passing many typical rural Turkish villages along the way. Ephesus, one of the 12 cities of Ionia, is a stunning marvel in the hills above the Aegean coast. Founded by the ancient Greeks circa 2000 BC, it became the second-largest city in the Roman Empire, at one time home to a quarter-million people. It was the first and most significant city in the Roman province of Asia and one of its key ports. Millennia ago the Aegean receded west, stranding the city on its sun-seared hillsides. It is believed the Virgin Mary lived and died here, and that Paul wrote his Letter to the Ephesians here. Ephesus is rivaled only by the Forum and the Acropolis as one of the most complete classical cities in Europe. Stroll between the marble colonnades of Curetes Street to visit Trajan's Fountain, Hadrian's Temple, the Scholastica Baths and the astonishing Terrace Houses, where many of the floor mosaics are still intact. Nearby, the spectacular Library of Celsus, which has been almost entirely reconstructed, towers above the famed
Marble Road. The Great Theater of Ephesus, where St. Paul once preached, was carved into the side of Mt. Pion in the 4th century BC. It held up to 24,000 spectators and is still renowned for its outstanding acoustics. There will be some free time to shop before returning to the ship.

Optional Excursion (Cesme): Sole Mare Beach Club and Alacati, Adult: €49 ($64) Child: €30 ($39). Sole Mare Beach Club is located on Aya Yorgi Bay, beloved of Cesme locals for its turquoise waters and pristine sand. For the past decade, Sole Mare has been a popular beach club during the day and, after sunset, one of Cesme's most popular nightclubs. Spend some time in one of Sole Mare's plush sun beds or in one of its boutique cafes, then travel with us to Alacati, a charming resort popular with the elite of Izmir, who visit year-round to enjoy the lovingly restored homes along its cobblestone streets.

Izmir cafes Optional Excursion (Cesme): Izmir Up-close, Adult: €35 ($46) Child: €20 ($26). Izmir, more than 12,000 square kilometers and home to more than three million people, is Turkey's third-largest city. It presents itself as a modern, teeming metropolis, but as we tour Izmir its magnificent ancient past comes alive. The remains of the ancient agora, built by Marcus Aurelius in 178 BC, lie at the heart of the city. Our guides will also show you the only two- storey agora yet discovered – its first floor was dedicated to trade, manufacturing and storage, its second to civic meetings and retailing. Many of the artifacts recovered from this remarkable site are on display at Izmir's New Archeological Museum, whose galleries are arranged to send you on an evocative journey through history.

Bodrum, Turkey Optional Excursion (Bodrum): A Twist of Moonlight, Adult: €39 ($51) Child: €20 ($26). Bodrum, once a small fishing village, has been described as the St. Tropez of Turkey, thanks to its pristine beaches and stellar nightlife. Homer called this exquisite peninsula "the land of the eternal blue." Looking for the ultimate in romance upon the sparkling turquoise waters of the Aegean? Our moonlight cruise on a private sailboat will take you deep into the eternal, romantic blue along the Bodrum coast, home to tranquil harbors and magical bays. As night falls, savor the richness of Turkish culture with a performance by local belly-dancers and delicious cocktails served with a twist of moonlight.

Optional Excursion (Bodrum): Bodrum Nightlife, Adult: €8 ($10) Child: €6 ($8). Our shuttle bus delivers you to the heart of Bodrum nightlife. Begin your evening out on Cumhuriyet Street ("Bodrum Bar Street"), a mile long and crammed with restaurants, bars and nightclubs. You'll hear live music everywhere up and down this festive thoroughfare. Rub elbows with the jet set as you dance the night away. We'll pick you up downtown and drive you safely home to your ship.

Day 5: Kos, Greece. Arrive in Kos, the birth place of Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine. The island is rich in history and mythology. Near the coast of Asia Minor and Turkey, it is the third largest island in the Dodecanese. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.

Asklepion columns Optional Excursion: Asklepion, Zia and the Platane of Hippocrates, Adult: €45 ($59) Child: €25 ($33). We start this excursion just outside Kos Town with a visit to the Asklepion, a health and healing center and a temple to Asklepios, son of Apollo and the god of healing – built in the 4th century BC, its Doric temple dates to the 2nd century BC. This is where Hippocrates, the father of medicine, developed and practiced many of the healing methods we still use today. We depart from the Asklepion for the lovely mountain village of Zia, where a spectacular panoramic view of Kos and a number of traditional cafes and tavernas await you. Zia is fast becoming popular with local artists and craftspeople, and you'll find unique, handmade art and crafts on sale throughout the village. This is also a great place to try the diverse local herbs grown near Zia and used in Greek gastronomy, and thyme honey! While strolling about the village, make sure to visit its picturesque cathedral. We walk through Kos Town to its main square, where we will take a guided tour of the Archeological Museum. Its exhibition halls feature Hellenistic and Roman statuary, including a statue of Hippocrates. On our way back to port we make a final stop at the Plane (Platanos) tree of Hippocrates, near the Knights' Castle on the harbor. It is said Hippocrates instructed his students under this very tree more than 2500 years ago.

Optional Excursion: Bravo Beach, Adult: €25 ($33) Child: €15 ($20). Our shuttle bus takes you to Bravo Beach, an expansive white sand beach on the northern coast of Kos. Drop yourself in a sun bed beneath one of the beach's palm-frond umbrellas for a few blissful hours, or challenge yourself on a windsurfer in Bravo's sparkling blue waters. If you're hungry or thirsty, you can visit Bravo's traditional taverna or have drinks and snacks delivered, with a smile, to your sun bed. Only sold onboard.

Kos beach Optional Excursion: Kos "Lazy Day" Cruise, Adult: €55 ($72) Child: €33 ($43). You'll board our "caico" boat in Kos Harbor and set sail for the island of Pserimos, a trip of about 45 minutes on beautiful blue seas. We will dock close to Vathy Beach, where you'll have time to swim and relax in its warm, clear waters. We leave Vathy Beach and sail to Vasiliki Beach for more swimming, followed by our arrival at Pserimos Central Beach, one of the true gems of the island's coastline—the deep blue of its waters will astonish you. While you enjoy your third splendid swim of the day, our crew will be busy preparing a mouthwatering buffet lunch, served on the beach. After lunch, and a bit of time to digest, we board the caico for a relaxing return cruise to Kos harbor.

Loukoumades Optional Excursion: A Taste of Tradition with Zia, Adult: €45 ($59) Child: €25 ($33). Our "Taste of Tradition in Zia" tour is an excellent way to get to know the traditional side of Kos. We leave the harbor via air conditioned bus for our first stop, a family-run winery built on some of the island's most fertile land, at the foot of Mt. Dikeos. You'll have a chance to learn about winemaking and to sample some of the winery's outstanding wines, which are made from some of the finest local and international varieties of green and red grapes. Our next stop is the village of Kefalos, the most south-western village on Kos. At Kefalos we'll visit a family of beekeepers, where you'll learn how Greek honey is produced. You'll also have a chance to taste thyme honey, traditional "loukoumades" (mini honey donuts) and raki flavoured with honey. After the beekeepers we climb to the lovely mountain village of Zia, where a spectacular panoramic view of Kos and a number of traditional cafes and tavernas await you. Zia is fast becoming popular with local artists and craftspeople, and you'll find unique, handmade art and crafts on sale throughout the village. This is also a great place to try the diverse local herbs grown near Zia and used in Greek gastronomy. While strolling about the village, make sure to visit its picturesque cathedral.

Santorini at sunset Day 6: Ios & Santorini, Greece. Spend the morning in Ios, where according to Herodotus, is the burial place of Homer. This small island has some of the finest beaches in the Cyclades.

In the afternoon, set sail for Santorini. This striking island is a volcanic crater immersed in the sea. The island is famous for its breathtaking and rugged landscapes, whitewashed houses, open-air cafes and glittering boutiques which cling to steep cliffs, accessible by foot, cable car or mule.

Return to the ship for a final evening at sea. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.

Chora at sunset Optional Excursion (Ios): Panoramic Ios: Skarkos Chora & Manganari Beach, Adult: €35 ($46) Child: €18 ($23). From the port of Ios our bus rolls toward Skarkos, a prehistoric settlement that proves Ios has been inhabited since the early Cycladic period. Skarkos had a modern system for the disposal of rainwater and a sewer system. Its two-storey buildings included stone-built scales, domes, built-in door cases and stone-covered floors; inside these buildings archeologists have found metal, bone and stone utensils and tools, as well as earthen pots and containers, evidence of a very complex society. For its exceptional conservation efforts at Skarkos, Ios was one of six European locations awarded the EU Cultural Heritage prize in 2008. We leave Skarkos for Chora, a typical Cycladic village, where you'll enjoy a stunning panoramic view of the harbor. Chora is one of the most picturesque villages in the Cyclades – its bright white buildings line narrow streets and nestle beside twisting staircases. Inaccessible to vehicles, it's a paradise for pedestrians, particularly its main thoroughf are, which is packed with unique boutiques, stylish bars, lively cafes and traditional tavernas. From Chora we drive to magnificent Manganari Beach. The large bay at Manganari is one of the most famous in the Cyclades thanks to its exquisite beaches. Enchanting Manganari comprises one large and four smaller, idyllic beaches, all of them known for their soft, golden sand and transparent, aquamarine waters. Enjoy a snack in a lovely tavern, or challenge yourself with a variety of water sports, particularly windsurfing – the beaches at Manganari are also perfect for families with children. Welcome to paradise.

Manganari beach Optional Excursion (Ios): Magnificent Manganari, Adult: €25 ($33) Child: €15 ($20). The large bay at Manganari is one of the most famous in the Cyclades, thanks to its exquisite beaches. Enchanting Manganari comprises one large and four smaller, idyllic beaches, all of them known for their soft, golden sand and transparent, aquamarine waters. Enjoy a snack in a lovely tavern, or challenge yourself with a variety of water sports, particularly windsurfing – the beaches at Manganari are also perfect for families with children. Welcome to paradise. Only sold onboard.

Optional Excursion (Ios): Set sail on a Pirate Boat, Adult: €45 ($59) Child: €25 ($33). Ahoy, mateys! Dare ye stand beneath our black sails and trust us to take ye to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Aegean? You'll need your trusty scabbard and your sunscreen. From port we sail southwest past a number of lovely beaches to reach the stunning bay of Agios Ioannis, where can dive from the plank into the bay's crystal-clear waters. After a brief swim we'll sail to the amazing beach at Pikri Nero, where we'll take you 15 at a time straight to the beach, one of the true treasures of the island of Ios and only accessible by boat. Pikri Nero is actually a cluster of three small beaches in a protected, unspoiled cove. The landscape here is pure Cyclades, soft golden sand and transparent aquamarine water.

Oia, Santorini, Greece Optional Excursion (Santorini): Oia Village, Adult: $72 Child: $43. Driving along the road you will have the unique opportunity to admire the panoramic view of the Aegean Sea and the neighbouring islands. A unique sight is the various layers of lava that can be seen on the face of the rock, each layer being another phase of the activity of the volcano. Built on the Caldera rim, Oia Village is an excellent example of Cycladic architecture. Explore the village walking along the cobble-stone streets and the white washed houses with blue shutters where one gets the impression that they are a beautiful travel poster.Your coach will bring you back to the port of Athinios, where you will embark your tender boat. Duration: 3 hours. It will be possible to remain in Fira and reach the port by cable car. Passengers will have to purchase the ticket at the cable car station.

Nea Kameni volcano Optional Excursion (Santorini): Sailing & Volcano, Adult: $72 Child: $43. Enjoy a motorboat cruise around the active crater of Nea Kameni islet. Sail along the strange formations of its volcanic shores, where black lava rocks and white pumice are combined beautifully with the red color of lava. Take a walk to the top of the volcanic island where sulphur is spewed into the air by one of the craters. Enjoy this surreal landscape as your guide narrates the creation and history of the volcano and the last eruption leading to the destruction of the island of Santorini. The tidal wave created by the eruption was of such an immense magnitude, it destroyed the thriving city of Knossos on the island of Crete. As your caique enters the narrows of the two lava islets, Palea and Nea Kameni, the color of the water changes from dark blue to sulphur green. In the distance, admire the breathtaking sight of Fira town with its white washed houses clinging precariously on the rim of the Caldera. Take time to swim in the warm waters heated by Hot Springs on the sea floor. Your excursion will end in Fira where your guide will show you the way to the cable car and you will make your own way back to the ship. Duration: 3 hours. Excursion available from April to September, subject to weather conditions. Passengers should bring a swimsuit and towel. Please note that the water at the hot springs is reddish brown and may stain light colored swimsuits.

Santorini sunset Optional Excursion (Santorini): Jeep Safari Adventure, Adult: $72 Child: $43. Depart the ship by tender for Athinios port, where you will meet the guide and begin your jeep safari. Start by heading for the Faros ("lighthouse") at Akotiri, the most southern point of the island, for a quick photo stop. Then move on Vlychada Beach and the village of Vlychada, where all the local fishing boats are moored, for another photo opportunity. Then head to Perissa Beach, where the black sand is a gorgeous backdrop for a series of lively bars lining the beachfront. Here you'll have the opportunity to stop and enjoy refreshments in one of the many cafés, or walk around and stretch your legs before getting back into the jeeps. Continue on to the highest point of the island, Profitis Elias, where you'll enjoy the most amazing and dramatic panoramic view of the surrounding island. Head down the mountain and drive through the small sleepy village of Exo Gonia. Then continue to Kamari beach, a former fishing village that is now a hub of activity and a popular destination for tourists from all over the world, filled with hotels, restaurants and colorful shops. The last stop will be the lovely village of Monolithos, quieter and more sleepy than Kamari, but no less beautiful. Finish your safari tour at Fira Town, where you'll leave the jeeps behind and follow your guide up to the Metropolis Church of Fira town and return to the port by cable car. Duration: 3 hours.

Parthenon at night, Athens Day 7: Piraeus & Athens/Brussels, Belgium. Disembark from your ship at Piraeus. Bid farewell to Greece as you transfer from the port to the airport for your flight to Brussels. Upon arrival, make your way to your hotel via the airport shuttle for overnight. Accommodations: Hotel near Brussels airport. Breakfast provided.

Day 8: Brussels/USA. Return to the Brussels airport via the hotel shuttle for your return journey to the USA, arriving this afternoon in New York.


4 Day Iconic Cruise Itinerary: May 31, Jun 28, Jul 26, Aug 23, Sep 27, & Oct 18 departures

4-Day Iconic Greek Islands Cruise Day 1: Depart USA. Your exciting journey to Greece begins this evening as you check in for your overnight flight.

Day 2: Athens. You'll be met by our representative and then escorted to your hotel, centrally located near Constitution Square and the famous Plaka (Old Town). Athens, the birthplace of western civilization, once hailed as the Paris of the Mediterranean, is now a bustling modern city, a colorful tapestry of eastern and western influences, full of outdoor cafes, pedestrian streets, parks and gardens, street bazaars, dilapidated mansions and ancient ruins. Accommodations: Titania Hotel.

Day 3: Athens, Piraeus & Mykonos. Transfer to Piraeus this morning to board your cruise ship, the Louis Cruise Lines' MV Olympia. Spend the afternoon enjoying the sun, sea breezes, pool and shipboard facilities.

This evening, arrive at the gorgeous island of Mykonos. Enjoy an independent stroll through Mykonos town with its labyrinth of winding alleyways and whitewashed buildings, basket-laden donkeys, cascading geraniums and upscale shops and cafés. Accommodations: MV Olympia. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.

Ephesus, Turkey Day 4: Kusadasi, Turkey & Patmos, Greece. Arrive in Kusadasi, Turkey this morning. Just ten kilometers from the port is the ancient city of Ephesus, where you'll find an archeological site that ranks among the wonders of the world. Explore this fascinating town where history truly comes to life on an optional excursion that includes the Great Theatre of Ephesus, which had a capacity of 25,000 people, and the Library of Celsus dating from 135 A.D.

Later this afternoon, return to your ship for lunch aboard as you sail toward Patmos, Greece. Disembark at Skala harbor, a lively place with whitewashed houses, flowered courtyards, tavernas and shops. The Island of Patmos is famous in history as the place where St. John wrote the Book of Revelation. An optional tour takes you to the cave where St. John lived and the nearby Monastery, built on one of the island's highest points, housing priceless icons and manuscripts in its Treasury. Return to the ship for dinner and overnight. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.

Library of Celsus Optional Excursion (Kusadasi): Ephesus & the House of Virgin Mary, Adult: $81 Child: $49. Drive through the colorful town of Kusadasi to reach Mt. Koressos. Situated in a small valley, the humble chapel lies on the site of the little house where the Virgin Mary is believed to have spent her last days. Despite the many controversies, the Christian World still favors this belief and the site has been officially sanctioned by the Vatican for pilgrimage. Continue on to Ancient Ephesus accompanied by your guide walk through the Magnesian Gate which is the entrance to the ancient city of Ephesus. Your guided walking tour will take you through one of the most magnificent excavations in the world. See the Odeon (concert hall), the Fountain of Trajan, the steam-heated Baths of Scolastika, the Temple of Hadrian and the Latrians, the Library of Celsus and The Great Theatre, the largest one in antiquity with a capacity of 24,000 seats where St. Paul preached. Walk back to the coach along the Arcadian Way, where Mark Anthony and Cleopatra once rode in procession. While driving back to Kusadasi and just outside Ephesus, view the Basilica of St. John, which was erected over his grave in the 6th century A.D. by Emperor Justinian. Before returning to the ship, enjoy free time in Kusadasi or get a cultural taste of Turkey by enjoying an exhibition of oriental carpets, jewelry or leather goods. Duration: 3.5 hours. Tour not suitable for passengers with walking difficulties.

Great Theatre, Ephesus Optional Excursion (Kusadasi): Ancient Ephesus, Adult: $75 Child: $47. Drive through the colorful town of Kusadasi and along the coast to reach Ephesus, famous in antiquity for its Temple of Diana—one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World—and later the home of St. John. During the years of the Roman Empire, the Greek port of Ephesus became the greatest city in Asia Minor. Upon arrival at Ephesus follow your guide to enter the ancient site through the Magnesian Gate. Discover innumerable monuments including the Forum, the Odeon, the Library of Celsus, the Thermal Baths of Scolastika and the Great Theatre built in the Greek era and reconstructed in the Roman period, which is still noted for its remarkable acoustics. View the symbols all around and marvel at the fact that one is still able to read the inscriptions in the ancient Greek language. Walk back to your coach along the Arcadian Way, where once Mark Anthony and Cleopatra rode in procession. As you drive back to Kusadasi, on a hill above Selcuk, just outside Ephesus, view the Basilica of St. John, which was erected over his grave in the 6th century A.D. by Emperor Justinian. Before returning to the ship, enjoy free time in Kusadasi or get a cultural taste of Turkey by enjoying an exhibition of oriental carpets, jewelry or leather goods. Duration: 3 hours. Excursion not suitable for passengers with walking difficulties.

Grotto of the Apocalypse, Patmos Optional Excursion (Patmos): St. John's Monastery & Grotto of the Apocalypse, Adult: $61 Child: $46. Depart from the port of Scala and enjoy a short drive to the village of Chora, where the Monastery of St. John is built within the walls of a strong fortification. As you walk uphill towards the entrance of the monastery marvel at this magnificent structure, which was built 900 years ago. View the courtyard, the monks' dining room and the old bakery before you visit the main church noted for its outstanding frescoes and interior decoration. Next, visit the small museum where priceless ecclesiastical treasures, books, manuscripts, mosaics, icons, splendid medieval textiles, vestments and jewelry are housed. Return to your motor coach and continue to the nearby Grotto of the Apocalypse. Walk down the steps to the Grotto of the Apocalypse. Here you will see the niches in the wall that mark the pillow and ledge used as a desk by the author of the Book of the Revelation and the crack in the rock made by the voice of God honoring the Holy Trinity. Afterwards, drive back to the port of Scala and enjoy some free time in this quaint and picturesque town. Duration: 2 hours. Excursion not suitable for passengers with walking difficulties.

Scala, Patmos Optional Excursion (Patmos): Patmos Scenic Island Tour, Adult: $59 Child: $46. An interesting scenic island tour has been designed for those passengers who prefer to discover the beauties of Patmos from the comfort of an air-conditioned motor coach. Start the tour from the port of Scala and drive to the central part of the island "Chora" which is the location of the Majestic Byzantine Monastery of St. John the Divine, built in 1088. Your sightseeing will first bring you to the Grotto of the Apocalypse, and then to the windmills of Chora, once upon a time the landmark of all Aegean Islands, from where you will enjoy a beautiful view and have the chance to take photos. Afterwards, continue around the island to see its landscape of outstanding natural beauty comprising of rocky hills, dozens of tongues of land reaching out into the sea, tranquil beaches and many picturesque inlets. Before arriving at the port, a stop of 10 minutes is made at the square at Kambos in the north part of island. The tour ends at the port of Scala to enjoy free time in the quaint and picturesque little town. A refreshment or a coffee will be offered at Arion Café, the oldest and most beautiful café of the town. Duration: 2 hours.

Port of Rhodes Day 5: Rhodes. Today you'll visit Rhodes, the beautiful "Island of Roses". In the heart of the city of Rhodes is the largest inhabited medieval town in Europe, a fascinating web of Byzantine, Turkish and Latin ruins. Its mighty fortifications provide the finest surviving examples of defensive architecture of the time.

Lindos, with its whitewashed houses clustered beneath a soaring castle-capped acropolis, is Rhodes' most picturesque village and most important Doric settlement because of its natural harbor and vantage point built 125 meters above sea level. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.

Port of Rhodes Optional Excursion: Rhodes and Lindos combined, Adult: $74 Child: $46. Drive along the picturesque south-eastern coastline, dotted with whitewashed villages, to Lindos, one of the most important of the three great cities of ancient times. See how this entire city is guarded by medieval walls which were constructed by the knights of St. John in the 13th century. Within them stands the ancient Acropolis of Lindos, on the brink of a precipice 400 feet above the sea. From the Acropolis, marvel at the breathtaking views covering the great expanse of the Aegean Sea and St. Paul's Bay, where the apostle cast anchor during his historic voyage to Ephesus. Proceed on foot uphill, to the great staircase leading from the Hellenistic Portico to the Acropolis and Temple of Athena. Should you wish to make your way up by mule, a fee must be paid to the local muleteer. After the guided tour of the Acropolis, enjoy some free time on your own in Lindos village before meeting up with your motor coach. Return to Rhodes city and enjoy a panoramic drive through the new part of the city before continuing to Mount Smith to see the ruins of ancient Rhodes, the Temple of Apollo and Diagoras Stadium. Afterwards your motor coach will drop you off at Porte d'Amboise, the start of the walking tour through the medieval city of Rhodes. Follow your guide through the northern part where once lived the knights and their attendants. View the Palace of the Knights, continue your walk down Chevaliers Road to the Marine Gate and return back to the ship. A short visit to a ceramic factory is included. Duration: 3 hours. The journey from Rhodes to Lindos is approximately 50 min. Tour not suitable for passengers with walking difficulties.

Temple of Apollo, Corinth Optional Excursion: Old City and Philerimos, Adult: $74 Child: $46. Drive along the medieval walls to the summit of Mount Smith, the Acropolis of ancient Rhodes. From the tumbled massive pillars of the Temple of Athena, the view encompasses the nearby Temple of Apollo, the stadium of Diagoras and the port, once protected by the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. The drive continues across the island to Philerimos. The summit of Philerimos was the site of Ialysos, one of the three ancient cities of Rhodes. Later sites include the restored Byzantine Church of Our Lady of Philerimos, a chapel with 15th century frescoes, and the ruined Castle of the Knights. After the visit and some free time, return to Rhodes and begin a guided walk of the old walled city to the Porte d'Amboise. It is a pleasure to stroll the street of the Knights with its medieval buildings, winding alleys, towers, turrets and emblazoned façades. You will then visit the impressive Grand Master's Palace and have the chance to see the superb mosaics. The pleasant walk passes through the Marine Gate before you return to the ship. Duration: 4 hours.

Palace of Knossos, Crete Day 6: Heraklion, Crete & Santorini. Arrive in Heraklion early this morning. An optional shore excursion will take you to see the ruins of Knossos, the ceremonial and political center of the Minoan civilization on Crete, just five kilometers from Heraklion city center. The palace at Knossos was an intricate collection of over 1000 interlocking rooms, used as a religious and administrative center, as well as for workshops for artisans and food processing. The ruins have largely been excavated and much of them colorfully painted and restored.

Back in Heraklion, the open air market is a must-see, where a boisterous crowd buys and sells everything from goats and sheep to huge cauldrons of fresh yogurt. Other points of interest here include the Archaeological Museum, one of the finest in Greece, housing exquisite findings from Knossos and other Minoan ruins, numerous Venetian fortresses, fountains and loggias scattered throughout the city and the Historical Museum of Crete, with its Byzantine and folklore collections.

Blue domes, Santorini Return to the ship to continue sailing to Santorini. This striking island is a volcanic crater immersed in the sea. The island is famous for its breathtaking and rugged landscapes, whitewashed houses, open-air cafes and glittering boutiques which cling to steep cliffs, accessible by foot, cable car or mule.

Return to the ship for a final evening at sea. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.

Knossos ruins, Crete  © www.heraklion.gr Optional Excursion (Crete): Knossos Palace, Adult: €49 ($64) Child: €30 ($39). Crete is the largest and the most rugged of the Greek islands. It is also the home of the great Minoan Civilization and the mythological home of Zeus. After a short drive through the town of Heraklion the tour will arrive at the Knossos excavations. Here, Sir Arthur Evan's archeological discoveries revealed a civilization dating back to 4000 B.C., when a great empire flourished on the island of Crete. Based on the wealth of artifacts that were found, Evans theorized that this was the site of the ancient Minoan Kingdom. These findings will be viewed in detail, as your guide will lead you on a journey of discovery to learn of the sophisticated culture that flourished thousands of years ago on this island. The Palace, decorated with frescoes and shields houses the Hall of the Royal Guard, the Hall of the Double Axes, the King's Chamber with the alabaster throne, the Queen's Apartment, beautiful courtyards and shrines. Having visited this remarkable site your coaches will take you back to the Venetian lion-guarded port of Heraklion to rejoin your ship. Duration: 3.5 hours. Walking in the archeological site of Knossos will be on uneven gravel surfaces. Passengers may not be allowed to enter the site with big bags or backpacks.

Market at Heraklion  Photo by Böhringer Friedrich Optional Excursion (Crete): A Taste of Crete, Adult: $66 Child: $39. The excursion begins from the Venetian lion-guarded port of Heraklion with a drive through the city to the famous wine producing area of Peza, south of Heraklion. The drive is through breathtaking landscape of countryside and vineyards as old as Minoan times. The first stop is a modern winery, where you will see the updated methods of wine making and sample some of the delicious Cretan wines. The drive continues through rural villages to the village of Archanes, the municipality in the area. On the way, a photo stop is made at Vathypetro to view one of the oldest farmhouses in Crete, dating to the Minoan period 16th century B.C.. The tour continues through the island's hilly countryside where olive groves and vineyards existed from as far back as 4,000 years. Arriving at the village of Archanes, which is situated 10km south of the Palace of Knossos, the quaint market town of Archanes has many restored sandstone houses dating from the Turkish period. At a taverna in the village's tree-shaded square, you can sample an assortment of Cretan snacks and locally produced wine, and have a chance to mingle with many of the locals themselves while listening to typical Greek music. You will have free time to browse before the return drive to the port of Heraklion and the ship. Duration: 3.5 hours.

Oia, Santorini, Greece Optional Excursion (Santorini): Oia Village, Adult: $72 Child: $43. Driving along the road you will have the unique opportunity to admire the panoramic view of the Aegean Sea and the neighbouring islands. A unique sight is the various layers of lava that can be seen on the face of the rock, each layer being another phase of the activity of the volcano. Built on the Caldera rim, Oia Village is an excellent example of Cycladic architecture. Explore the village walking along the cobble-stone streets and the white washed houses with blue shutters where one gets the impression that they are a beautiful travel poster.Your coach will bring you back to the port of Athinios, where you will embark your tender boat. Duration: 3 hours. It will be possible to remain in Fira and reach the port by cable car. Passengers will have to purchase the ticket at the cable car station.

Nea Kameni volcano Optional Excursion (Santorini): Sailing & Volcano, Adult: $72 Child: $43. Enjoy a motorboat cruise around the active crater of Nea Kameni islet. Sail along the strange formations of its volcanic shores, where black lava rocks and white pumice are combined beautifully with the red color of lava. Take a walk to the top of the volcanic island where sulphur is spewed into the air by one of the craters. Enjoy this surreal landscape as your guide narrates the creation and history of the volcano and the last eruption leading to the destruction of the island of Santorini. The tidal wave created by the eruption was of such an immense magnitude, it destroyed the thriving city of Knossos on the island of Crete. As your caique enters the narrows of the two lava islets, Palea and Nea Kameni, the color of the water changes from dark blue to sulphur green. In the distance, admire the breathtaking sight of Fira town with its white washed houses clinging precariously on the rim of the Caldera. Take time to swim in the warm waters heated by Hot Springs on the sea floor. Your excursion will end in Fira where your guide will show you the way to the cable car and you will make your own way back to the ship. Duration: 3 hours. Excursion available from April to September, subject to weather conditions. Passengers should bring a swimsuit and towel. Please note that the water at the hot springs is reddish brown and may stain light colored swimsuits.

Santorini sunset Optional Excursion (Santorini): Jeep Safari Adventure, Adult: $72 Child: $43. Depart the ship by tender for Athinios port, where you will meet the guide and begin your jeep safari. Start by heading for the Faros ("lighthouse") at Akotiri, the most southern point of the island, for a quick photo stop. Then move on Vlychada Beach and the village of Vlychada, where all the local fishing boats are moored, for another photo opportunity. Then head to Perissa Beach, where the black sand is a gorgeous backdrop for a series of lively bars lining the beachfront. Here you'll have the opportunity to stop and enjoy refreshments in one of the many cafés, or walk around and stretch your legs before getting back into the jeeps. Continue on to the highest point of the island, Profitis Elias, where you'll enjoy the most amazing and dramatic panoramic view of the surrounding island. Head down the mountain and drive through the small sleepy village of Exo Gonia. Then continue to Kamari beach, a former fishing village that is now a hub of activity and a popular destination for tourists from all over the world, filled with hotels, restaurants and colorful shops. The last stop will be the lovely village of Monolithos, quieter and more sleepy than Kamari, but no less beautiful. Finish your safari tour at Fira Town, where you'll leave the jeeps behind and follow your guide up to the Metropolis Church of Fira town and return to the port by cable car. Duration: 3 hours.

Plaka café, Athens Day 7: Piraeus & Athens/Brussels, Belgium. Disembark from your ship at Piraeus. Bid farewell to Greece as you transfer from the port to the airport for your flight to Brussels. Upon arrival, make your way to your hotel via the airport shuttle for overnight. Accommodations: Hotel near Brussels airport. Breakfast provided.

Day 8: Brussels/USA. Return to the Brussels airport via the hotel shuttle for your return journey to the USA, arriving this afternoon in New York.

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