No tour escort; explore at your own pace
|Departures||April – October 2015|
|Departs||New York City (NYC); other gateways on request (flight schedule)|
|Highlights||Athens, Istanbul, Kusadasi, Santorini, Crete, Rhodes, Symi, Chios & Mykonos|
|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
Prices, fees and deposits are per person. Prices and availability are subject to change. More about our prices.
Departures & Prices
per person, double occupancy*
|Tue||Apr 28||2015||Sat||May 9||2015||$2899||$2599||Available|
|Tue||May 12||2015||Sat||May 23||2015||$2899||$2599||Available|
|Tue||May 19||2015||Sat||May 30||2015||$3349||$3049||Available|
|Tue||Jun 2||2015||Sat||Jun 13||2015||$3449||$3149||Available|
|Tue||Jun 9||2015||Sat||Jun 20||2015||$3499||$3199||Available|
|Tue||Jun 23||2015||Sat||Jul 4||2015||$3499||$3199||Available|
|Tue||Sep 1||2015||Sat||Sep 12||2015||$2899||$2599||Available|
|Tue||Sep 15||2015||Sat||Sep 26||2015||$2999||$2699||Available|
|Tue||Sep 29||2015||Sat||Oct 10||2015||$2999||$2699||Available|
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 $275 per person1||included|
|Rooming Selection/Cabin Categories|
|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 Excursions in Athens|
|Discounted Athens Excursions Package2||+$145|
|Optional Drink Packages on Cruise|
|All-Inclusive Alcoholic Drink Package3||+$189|
|All-Inclusive Non-Alcoholic Drink Package4||+$119|
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. 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. 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 City (NYC)||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 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, 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 your reservation, whichever is later.
Ticketing: Airline tickets for this tour are usually issued within 24 hours of your reservation, 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 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.
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 October, 2014).
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, 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.
Optional Excursions available:
Istanbul: Highlights of Istanbul with Lunch, Adult: €120/$153 Child: €74/$94.
Istanbul: Orthodox Churches & Greek Patriarchate, Adult: €82/$105 Child: €49/$62.
Istanbul: Hidden Secrets of Sultanahmet Square, Adult: €60/$76 Child: €36/$46.
Istanbul: Bosporus Cruise from Europe to Asia, Adult: €39/$49 Child: €24/$31.
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.
Kusadasi: Ephesus & the House of Virgin Mary, Adult: €65/$91 Child: €40/$56.
Kusadasi: Ancient Ephesus, Adult: €60/$84 Child: €37/$52
Kusadasi: Ancient Ephesus and the Terrace Houses, Adult: €65/$91 Child: €40/$56
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.
Santorini: Oia Village, Adult: €57/$80 Child: €34/$48
Santorini: Cruise to Santorini’s Islands and Volcanoes, Adult: €57/$80 Child: €34/$48
Santorini: Off-the-Beaten-Track Safari Adventure, Adult: €57/$80 Child: €34/$48
Santorini: Akrotiri Village Excavations, Adult: €57/$80 Child: €34/$48
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.
Crete: Elounda & Spinalonga, Adult: €57/$80 Child: €34/$48
Crete: A Delectable Day in Crete, Adult: €53/$74 Child: €31/$43
Crete: Knossos Palace & Cosmopolitan Heraklion, Adult: €53/$74 Child: €31/$43
Crete: Jeep Safari, Adult: €107/$137 Child: €65/$83
Crete: River Trekking, Adult: €71/$91 Child: €43/$55
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.
Rhodes/Lindos: Rhodes & Lindos Combined, Adult: €59/$83 Child: €36/$50
Rhodes: Old City & Philerimos, Adult: €59/$83 Child: €36/$50
Rhodes: Rhodes Medieval Walking Tour, Adult: €33/$46 Child: €20/$28
Rhodes: Transfer to Tsampika Beach, Adult: €20/$28 Child: €15/$21 (This optional excursion is sold only on the boat).
Symi: Authentic Symi Feast, Adult: €39/$50 Child: €17/$22
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.
Chios: Anavatos, Nea Moni & Chios Town, Adult: €45/$57 Child: €20/$28
Chios: Best of Chios Town & Spoon Sweet Citrus, Adult: €45/$57 Child: €20/$28
Chios: Mesta Anavatos, Adult: €45/$57 Child: €20/$28
Chios: Karfas Beach Transfer, Adult: €15/$21 Child: €11/$14 (This optional excursion is sold only on the boat).
Mykonos: Walking Tour & Myconian Feast, Adult: €36/$50 Child: €17/$24
Mykonos: Myconian Countryside Tour with Hora & Little Venice, Adult: €41/$57 Child: €26/$36
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.
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.