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No escort, freedom to explore at your own pace
|Departs||New York City (NYC); other gateways on request (flight schedule)|
|Highlights||Athens, Istanbul, Kusadasi, Santorini, Crete, Rhodes, Symi, Chios & Mykonos|
|Themes||Family Friendly, Small Ship Cruises|
|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.|
Join us for an amazing journey of discovery to the most important classical sites of western civilization aboard the Celestyal Crystal. 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.
Departures & Prices
per person, double occupancy*
|Tue||Sep 1||2015||Sat||Sep 12||2015||$2999||Departed|
|Tue||Sep 15||2015||Sat||Sep 26||2015||$2999||Closed|
|Tue||Sep 29||2015||Sat||Oct 10||2015||$2999||Closed|
Want to stay longer? We may be able to arrange for you to stay later than the scheduled dates, including extra hotel nights and separate airport transfers. Contact us about prices and availability.
|Options & Upgrades|
|Rooming Selection/Cabin Categories1|
|IB (standard inside cabin), Double Occupancy||included|
|IB (standard inside cabin), Single Occupancy||+$850|
|XA (standard outside), Double Occupancy||+$200|
|XA (standard outside), Single Occupancy||+$1100|
|XC (superior outside), Double Occupancy|
|Sep 15, Sep 29||+$350|
|All other departures||+$300|
|XC (superior outside), Single Occupancy|
|Sep 15, Sep 29||+$1300|
|All other departures||+$1250|
|Optional Drink Packages on Cruise|
|All-Inclusive Alcoholic Drink Package2||+$189|
|All-Inclusive Non-Alcoholic Drink Package3||+$119|
1. Cabin upgrades are subject to availability. We will confirm your cabin selection usually within 1 business day of your reservation. If the category you selected is unavailable, you'll have the option to select a different category (at the prices shown) or cancel your reservation and receive a refund of your deposit.
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. 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. 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|
|Taxes & Fees|
|Port Charges of $2751||included|
1. All port charges included in tour price.
|New York City (NYC)||included|
This package includes round-trip flights from the cities listed above. Please review the flight schedule, especially if you're booking connecting flights.
Coming from somewhere else? 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 reservation.
Note: NYC departures will be from either JFK or EWR based upon availability when you make your reservation. Your flight itinerary showing which airport that you are departing from will be emailed to you in 24-48 hours.
To make a reservation, simply select an available departure date and reserve online using our secure booking system. Or call us one of our travel specialists at 800-555-5765, Mon–Fri 9:30–6:00 Eastern time. But first, check out our Things to Know section.
We only require a per-person deposit payment, which you can pay with your credit card or PayPal account. This deposit will be applied towards the cost of your package, and is generally non-refundable (details). The balance is due 75 days prior to departure (or within 72 hours, if you're booking less than 75 days prior to departure), and can be paid by credit card, PayPal, check or money order.
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 (purchased locally). 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 (purchased locally). 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, Celestyal Crystal. Spend the afternoon and evening at sea, enjoying the sun, sea breezes, pool and shipboard facilities. Accommodations: Celestyal Crystal. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, Celestyal 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, Celestyal 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.
To help you take full advantage of your visit to the Mediterranean, we offer a variety of exciting optional shore excursions at each port-of-call.
Learn more about our shore excursions.
Shore excursions in Istanbul.
Shore excursions in Kusadasi.
Shore excursions in Santorini.
Shore excursions in Crete (AG Nikolaos).
Shore excursions in Rhodes.
Shore excursions in Symi.
Shore excursions in Chios.
Shore excursions in Mykonos.
I am here to sing Friendly Planet's praises! Last year, I was booked on a tour that included a cruise and four days on land in Greece. The flight was canceled due to torrential rains that caused a delay in the trip. All during that weekend, there was someone that could be contacted throughout what appeared to be a disaster. Our contact person was Harry who tirelessly worked to get us booked on another flight. All of the people were there to assist; in spite of everything, the trip was excellent! The tour company in Greece was excellent as well. Even after the trip was over, the staff was always there to answer questions and to assist. Kudos to Friendly Planet - I highly recommend their services.
Rita Berry, New York, NY