No tour escort; explore at your own pace
|Departures||October – November 2014|
|Departs||New York Kennedy (JFK); other gateways on request (flight schedule)|
|Highlights||Athens, Mykonos, Istanbul, Izmir, Santorini, & Crete. Optional Classical Greece extension|
|Included in the Price||
|What to Expect||This is a moderately-paced, independent package. Optional excursions with local tour guides include a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness.|
Just returned from my first trip with Friendly Planet and was so impressed that I had to write this note. You have a lot of choices in travel and I have found my tour company at last. Everything about my trip was amazing—our guide, Ibrahim, was not only extremely knowledgeable, but also patient and very funny. Hotels, transportation, meals, added excursions were all superb. Everything went off without a hitch—I felt safe and cared for every minute and could spend ALL of my time enjoying the trip instead of worrying about the travel details. Turkey, its people, scenery, food, monuments and parks are just wonderful. I can't wait for my next trip. So little time, so much to see...
Ann Ott, Cedar City, Utah
All prices, fees and deposits are per person. Prices below are subject to availability and confirmation. After we receive your booking, we will confirm all prices and availability within 1–2 business days. Prices are subject to change at any time and not guaranteed until we receive your final payment. More about our prices.
|Departures & Prices*|
|Tue||Sep 23||2014||Sat||Oct 4||2014||$3099||$2799||Closed|
|Tue||Oct 21||2014||Sat||Nov 1||2014||$2949||$2649||Available|
* Prices are per person, based on double occupancy, and include airfare and Airline Taxes, Fees & Sept. 11th Security Fee. Prices do not include excess baggage fees, extensions or optional items. Prices in orange reflect an early booking discount for bookings made by 8/05/14.
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.
|Optional & Upgrades|
|Port Charges of $2621||included|
|Rooming Selection/Cabin Categories|
|IB (standard inside cabin), Double Occupancy|
|All other departures||included|
|IB (standard inside cabin), Single Occupancy|
|All other departures||+$850|
|XA (standard outside), Double Occupancy||+$250|
|XA (standard outside), Single Occupancy||+$1100|
|XC (superior outside), Double Occupancy||+$350|
|XC (superior outside), Single Occupancy||+$1250|
|Optional Excursions in Athens|
|Discounted Athens Excursions Package2||+$145|
|Optional Drink Packages on Cruise|
|All-Inclusive Alcoholic Drink Package3||+$161|
|All-Inclusive Non-Alcoholic Drink Package4||+$105|
1. All port charges included in tour price.
2. Includes: half day Athens and Cape Sounion. Optional Excursions package must be pre-booked to receive discounted price.
3. 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.
4. 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.
|Classical Greece Extension|
|Classical Greece extension||+$875|
|Single room supplement||+$300|
|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.
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, 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.
Reservations are taken on a request basis so that cabin selections can be confirmed. Please allow 24 to 48 hours for us to confirm availability.
Transfers: Transfers for this tour are provided on a group basis only. For land-only passengers or for 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.
Join us for an amazing journey of discovery to the most important classical sites of western civilization aboard the Louis Cruises Lines MV Cristal. You'll experience the great treasures of Greece and Turkey without ever having to pack and unpack as you sail from country to country by night, and visit such world treasures as the Acropolis in Athens, the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, and so much more by day. All of this, plus airfare from New York and many other cities, is yours for an incredible price. We're excited about this new program and we know you will be too, but don't wait too long to book, as space is sure to sell out quickly.
To help you take full advantage of your visit to the Mediterranean, exciting optional excursions are offered in Athens and 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 Dec. 2012).
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: Royal Olympic Hotel.
Day 3: Athens. Enjoy a full day to explore Athens. Your hotel is ideally located near many of the city's many major attractions, as well as the best shopping and dining. Our Athens representatives will be glad to make suggestions if you prefer to explore independently. To make the most of your visit, our representatives will offer you some exclusive excursions to the city's highlights. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Athens, €68. The striking contrast between breathtaking monuments of a glorious past and modern elegant structures is what you will enjoy during your tour of Athens. Visit the Acropolis, the crowning beauty and glory of Ancient Athens, with its many monuments atop its rocky base, including the awesome Parthenon, the Propylea, the temple of Athena Nike and the Erechtheion, with its Porch of Maidens. Drive to the Roman Temple of Olympic Zeus, the Panathinaikon Stadium (site of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896), the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front of the Parliament House on Constitution Square. See views of government buildings and elegant structures of the 19th century. Drive along Panepistimiou Avenue and view the Catholic Cathedral, the Academy, University, National Library. In contrast, conclude your tour with a visit to the new Acropolis Museum, a marvel of architecture with a full exhibition of the glory of Ancient Athens.
Optional Excursion: Cape Sounion, €43. Drive along the coastal road past countless coves and the beautiful beaches of Glyfada, Vouliagmeni, and Varkiza to Cape Sounion. Dominated by the spectacular Temple of Poseidon, the sanctuary at Sounion is one of the most important archeological sites in Attica. Although evidence suggests that the site dates back to the prehistoric period, the sanctuary is first mentioned in Homer's Odyssey, as the place where Menelaos stopped during his return from Troy to bury his helmsman, Phrontes Onetorides. Learn about the rich history of this area as you take in stunning views of the Aegean on this fascinating optional excursion.
Day 4: Athens & Lavrion. Transfer to Lavrion port this morning to board your cruise ship, the Louis Cruise Lines' MV Cristal. Spend the afternoon and evening at sea, enjoying the sun, sea breezes, pool and shipboard facilities. Accommodations: MV Cristal. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 5: Istanbul. This morning, arrive in Istanbul, a city at the meeting point of two continents—Europe and Asia. Istanbul boasts some of the world's most magnificent architecture such as Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and the Topkapi Palace with its treasures of the Ottoman Empire. In the early evening, set sail for your next port of call. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Optional Excursion: Highlights of Istanbul with Lunch, Adult: €99 ($129) Child: €59 ($77). Begin the excursion with a panoramic drive through the business center of the modern city, across the Galata Bridge, along the banks of the Golden Horn and under the Byzantine Aqueduct of Valens. On the way, you can see the Suleymaniye Mosque, dedicated to Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. Continue around the mighty city walls, which once protected Constantinople from the many invasions and attacks it suffered over the centuries. In the Old City, the first visit will be to the Byzantine Hippodrome, which was once one of the largest chariot race arenas in the Byzantine Empire. Visit the Sultanahmet Mosque, where large groups of pilgrims start their pilgrimage to Mecca. It is decorated with 21,000 blue Iznik tiles from where it gets its name, the "Blue Mosque". Walk to the famous Hagia Sophia, the Byzantine Church of Divine Wisdom, where you can admire the superb mosaics and the marble decorations. Walk through the large gardens to Konyali Restaurant and experience typical Turkish cuisine. After lunch, the tour continues with a visit to the magnificent Topkapi Palace, the official residence of the Ottoman Sultans. See the famous treasury and the "Spoonmaker's Diamond", the 7th biggest diamond in the world. During the tour you will also have the opportunity to get a cultural taste of Turkey by enjoying an exhibition of oriental carpets, jewelry or leather goods. Duration: 9 hours. Shoulders and knees must be covered while visiting the Mosque and shoes must be removed. The restaurant venue can be substituted with another one of the same level.
Day 6: Kusadasi. Arrive in Kusadasi, Turkey this afternoon. 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. In the evening after dinner, sail to Santorni. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Optional Excursion: Ephesus & the House of Virgin Mary, Adult: €59 ($77) Child: €35 ($46). 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. Excursion not suitable for passengers with walking difficulties.
Optional Excursion: Ancient Ephesus, Adult: €55 ($72) Child: €33 ($43). 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.
Day 7: Santorini. Arrive this morning to the striking island of Santorini, which 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. Explore Santorini on your own, or enjoy a variety of optional shore excursions, including an excursion that takes you up along the volcanic caldera and through several traditional villages to the picturesque town of Oia, which brims with many fine examples of Cycladic architecture. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Optional Excursion: Oia Village, Adult: €55 ($72) Child: €33 ($43). Driving along the road you will have the unique opportunity to admire the panoramic view of the Aegean Sea and the neighboring 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 board your tender boat to return to the ship. Duration: 3 hours. You have the option to remain in Fira and reach the port by cable car. Tickets are available at the cable car station.
Optional Excursion: Sailing & Volcano, Adult: €55 ($72) Child: €33 ($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.
Optional Excursion: Jeep Safari Adventure, Adult: €55 ($72) Child: €33 ($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.
Day 8: Crete. Arrive in AG. Nicholaos 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.
Heraklion 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.
After dinner on board, sail overnight to Rhodes. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Optional Excursion: 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.
Optional Excursion: A Taste of Crete, Adult: €49 ($64) Child: €30 ($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.
Day 9: Rhodes & Symi. This morning, 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.
After lunch on board, continue to the island of Symi. This small, lesser known island maintains its historic ambience with very little modern construction. The harbor is known as one of the most beautiful in Greece. Walk the ancient footpath of Kataratkis connecting the harbor and the village. Explore Symi on your own, or enjoy a variety of optional shore excursions. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Optional Excursion (Rhodes): Rhodes & Lindos, Adult: €55 ($72) Child: €33 ($43). Drive along the picturesque south-eastern coastline, dotted with white-washed 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: 5 hours. The journey from Rhodes to Lindos is approximately 50 min. Excursion not suitable for passengers with walking difficulties.
Optional Excursion (Rhodes): Old City and Philerimos, Adult: €55 ($72) Child: €33 ($43). 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.
Day 10: Chios & Mykonos. Arrive this morning in Chios. Located close to the coastline of Turkey separated by the Chios Straight. Another lesser known island, covered in forest. The island is known for its traditional culture and crafts, sand beaches, hiking rails and unspoiled villages.
Enjoy lunch on board while sailing the gorgeous island of Mykonos, arriving in the early evening. 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. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Optional Excursion (Mykonos): Delos Apollo Sanctuary, Adult: €57 ($74) Child: €34 ($44). Delos, once a sacred island, is the legendary birthplace of the Sun God Apollo and his twin sister Artemis. For 500 years, tiny Delos was the religious & commercial hub of the entire Aegean. Today, the only remaining inhabitants are the keepers of its treasured ruins. Depart from the port of Mykonos by boat, and sail along the western coast of the island, through Diles & Rhenia Islands, to the ancient harbor of Delos where you begin the guided walking tour. First you see Agora and beyond it, the Sacred Way, which leads to the Temple of Apollo. Next, you see the remains of a Hellenistic Quarter with its harbor, water house and luxurious villas, such as the House of Cleopatra, the House of the Dolphins, the House of the Masks, the House of Dionysos, and many other interesting buildings. Note the architecture and the mosaic floors, which have survived over 2,500 years. Continue and admire the spectacular Avenue of the Lions, where five Naxian marble lions from the 7th century B.C. crouch, vigilantly guarding the now dry sacred lake. Re-board the boat for the return journey to Mykonos town. Here you will have the chance to walk along the cobblestone streets of this famous island with its numerous shops, cafes and restaurants before you return to the port to re-join the ship. Duration: 3.5 hours. The cruise from Mykonos to Delos is approx. 45 minutes and subject to sea conditions. This excursion is not suitable for passengers with walking difficulties.
Day 11: Lavrion & Athens. Disembark from your ship at Lavrion and transfer to your hotel. Enjoy a full day to explore Athens. Your hotel is ideally located in the heart of the city, within short distance of many major attractions, as well as the best shopping and dining. Our Athens representatives will be glad to make suggestions if you prefer to explore independently.
To make the most of your visit, our representatives will offer you some exclusive optional shore excursions to the city's highlights (see descriptions on Day 3 above). Accommodations: Royal Olympic Hotel or similar. Breakfast provided.
Day 12: Athens/USA. Bid farewell to Athens as you're escorted to the airport to board your return flight. Your journey comes to an end as you arrive in the USA later today. Breakfast provided. Or take advantage of your included flight and continue on our Classical Greece extension.
At the ports of Mykonos & Santorini, disembarkation is by tender boats, weather permitting. Kusadasi & Patmos stops might be in inverted order. Passengers taking the optional shore excursions disembark first. The itinerary 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.
Why not take advantage of your already-included international airfare and visit the classical cities of Corinth, Mycenae, Olympia, and Delphi? Your extension includes superior hotels, most meals and guided touring of the most fascinating sites, including entrance fees to places visited.
Day 12: Athens, Mycenae & Olympia. After breakfast this morning, board your touring coach and begin a tour of the classical cities of Greece. Drive across the Corinth Canal, which connects the Ionian Sea with the Aegean, to the Peloponnesian Peninsula, where 4,000 years of history are more fully and comprehensibly illustrated than anywhere else in Europe.
Here we'll visit the famous theater of Epidaurus, the best preserved in Greece, which reached the height of its fame in the 5th & 4th centuries B.C. The acoustics are so perfect that even from the last of the 55 tiers, every word can be heard. Continue to ancient Mycenae, which, according to the poets, was founded by Perseus and built with the aid of the mythological Cyclops. Drive on to Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic games, for dinner and overnight. Accommodations: Hotel Amalia Olympia or similar. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 13: Olympia, Nafpaktos & Delphi. This morning we'll tour the archeological site and museum at Olympia, where the Olympic games were conceived as a tribute to Hercules, son of Zeus. These games were the most important international event in the Hellenic world from 776 B.C. to 393 A.D. and continue today, with the lighting of the Olympic flame that is carried by runners throughout the world. Visit the Sanctuary of the Olympian Zeus and the Museum.
This afternoon we drive via Patras to Rion, Antirion and picturesque Nafpaktos, where according to mythology, Hercules slew the Erymanthine boar and where we'll view the lovely circular Venetian harbor. Continue our drive to Delphi for dinner and overnight. Accommodations: Hotel Amalia Delphi or similar. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 14: Delphi & Kalambaka. After breakfast we'll explore the ancient site of Delphi, located on the slopes of the breathtaking Mount Parnassus, in a landscape of unparalleled beauty and majesty. Here lie the ruins of the Sanctuary of Apollo Pythios, the Treasury of the Athenians, the Temple of Apollo and the museum, which contains masterpieces of ancient Greek sculpture including the famous bronze Charioteer.The site had been sacred since at least the Bronze Age. According to legend, the shrine was originally guarded by the she-dragon Pytho. She was killed by Apollo who then took over the oracle. In antiquity, Delphi was regarded as the center of the world.
Later, we'll depart for the small town of Kalambaka, built at the foot of the majestic gray rocks, at the point where the river Pinios leaves the Pindos Mountain. Accommodations: Hotel Amalia Kalambaka or similar. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 15: Meteora & Athens. This morning we will visit the spectacular Meteora monasteries, perched upon the summits of some precipitous and isolated rocky pinnacles, which rise above the almost flat valley of the Pinios river, 9 km beyond Kalambaka. The monastic history of Meteora goes back to the 11th century AD, when the monks constructed inaccessible eagle's nests in the crannies of these rocks and today, four are still occupied. Accommodations: Royal Olympic Hotel or similar. Breakfast provided.
Day 16: Athens/USA. Today you'll be escorted to the airport and bid farewell to Athens as you board your flight back home. Your exciting journey comes to an end as you arrive in the USA later today. Breakfast provided.
Save by pre-booking a discounted package of our most popular optional excursions in Athens:
You can book these excursions individually in Greece. But you can save if you purchase this special package ahead of time—with or before your final payment.
Follow Friendly Planet Share the love of travel