Attention 2020 Travelers! Enrollments received by May 15 get a $175 discount.
Accommodations in centrally-located three-star or four-star hotels. Rooming on a triple basis. Inside cabins on Days 3, 4, 5 and 6 aboard ship. Double rooms: $360 per person. Triple/Quad cabins aboard ship are bunk style beds.
Round-trip transportation on scheduled airline.
All breakfasts. Four lunches. All dinners. Dinner aboard cruise ship on Days 3, 4, 5 and 6.
Special arrangements as noted.
Entrances and activities as noted on itinerary.
passports provides and pays for a Post Departure Travel Protection Plan that includes coverage for Trip Interruption, Trip Delay, Baggage Loss or Delay, Medical Expense and Evacuation and more.
Departure transfer, The sophisticated island of Mykonos
Kusadasi and Patmos: Shore Excursion to the ancient Greek city of Ephesus
Rhodes: Shore excursion to Lindos and the Citadel of the Knights
Crete, Santorini: Port of Heraklion, Optional Shore excursion to the Santorini village of Oia
Transfer from the pier
Half-day city sightseeing in Athens: Local Guide, Visit to the Acropolis, Sightseeing stop at the Parthenon, Visit to the Acropolis Museum
A dream comes true as your wide-bodied jet thunders off the airstrip, Europe-bound. Time for a meal, a movie and a nap. It gets light again, first off the left-hand side of the airplane, then everywhere. It's morning, and Greece!
You may want to stroll in the lively Plaka district, or ride the steep funicular railway up Mt. Lycabettus for a fabulous view of the city.
Head to Athens' port, and board your cruise ship.
Step ashore on an Aegean haven that combines the dazzling white beauty of a typical Cycladic island and a jet-set ambiance. Stroll through flower-decked lanes to the church of Paraportiani, or along the waterfront for great views of the famous windmills.
According to mythology, it's on this island named after the local hero Mykonos, son of the King of Delos, that Hercules slew the Giants. Their petrified corpses are still scattered about: keep your eyes open for large rocks!
Your ship docks in the port of Kusadasi, in Turkey. This is a picturesque market town where you will have fun browsing.
Enjoy an excursion to the ancient city of Ephesus, once one of the most important Roman cities in Asia-Minor with 250,000 inhabitants at its peak. The final resting place of St. John, it is also the site of the ruins of the Temple of Diana, four times larger than the Parthenon and designated as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Your guided walking tour commences at the Magnesian Gate, which leads into the ancient site. See the Forum, the Odeon, the Thermal Baths of Scholastica, the Library of Celsus, Temple of Serapis, the Temple of Hadrian, the Great Theater, recognized for its outstanding acoustics, and the Arcadian Way, where Mark Antony and Cleopatra once rode in procession.
The next port of call is Patmos, where the Christian author John lived in exile. Now known under many names (the Apostle, the Evangelist, the Divine, the Revelator), he wrote on this rocky island the last book of the New Testament, Revelation, which is also called The Apocalypse.
Rhodes' harbor was once guarded by the Colossus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In the Middle Ages, the island became a fortified stronghold ruled by the crusading order of the Knights of St. John. Go explore the Old City, or bask in the cosmopolitan atmosphere at the yacht harbor.
Enjoy an excursion to the majestic Acropolis of Lindos. This superb site graced by a Temple of Athena dating back to 300 BC overlooks the Aegean Sea and has attracted an artists' colony. At the foot of the hill stands the often visited Panagia Church, which dates back to the 14th century.
Get transported even deeper into the Middle Age on a visit to the walled Old Town built as a citadel in the early 1300s by the Knights of St. John. Landmarks include the Palace of the Grand Masters, the Street of the Knights, and Gothic mansions with Byzantine features.
Sail on to Crete, a land of mountains and valleys, which has stood for centuries at the crossroads of great civilizations.
Your ship docks at the port of Heraklion, Crete's capital city, and the birthplace of the Minoan civilization (3650 to 1400 BC).
City highlights include the Old Port;, El Venizélou Square; El Greco Square with a statue of the great painter himself, Domenikos Theotokopoulos, who was born in Crete in 1541; and the Venetian Walls, begun in 1462, when the Republic of Venice ruled over Crete.
The unforgettable sight of Santorini's steep cliffs rising over cobalt waters greets you as your ship sails into the stunning natural harbor formed by its caldera (the remnant of an ancient volcano that erupted around 1600 BC and wiped out a flourishing Bronze Age civilization).
Once ashore, you will be transported up the steep flank of the Santorini caldera to the top of the island. See the town of Fira (also spelled Thira), perched high above Santorini's Old Port, and head to Oia, a picturesque village set at the island's northern tip.
There's more to Oia than the sunsets for which it's gained fame. See why as you stroll along its lovely cobblestone streets, past white washed houses with blue shutters. Take in the panoramic view of the caldera's bay punctuated by the two black islets known as Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni. Check out the shops, pause at a local cafe.
Disembark your cruise ship at the of Piraeus and transfer to Athens.
Enjoy a coach tour of Athens, old and new.
See modern Athens, with the Greek Parliament, the 1896 Olympic Stadium, the Plaka district and Syntagma Square, where you may see the picturesque Evzones goose-stepping their way through the Changing of the Guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
A local guide, well-educated and specially-trained on the history and culture of Athens, will accompany your group.
Visit the awesome monuments built by Pericles on the Acropolis during Athens' Golden Age in the 5th century BC. On that hill, the goddess Athena reigned supreme. You'll see the Propylaea, the Temple of Athena Nike, and the Erechtheion with the Kore Porch, famous for its Caryatid columns.
Of course, you'll visit the centerpiece of the Acropolis, the 2,500 years old yet ageless Parthenon. For this huge temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, architects skillfully avoided straight lines and right angles to counterbalance the unsightly optical illusion called optical sagging, which deforms straight lines.
Delve deeper into antiquity at the contemporary archaeological museum open in 2009 at the base of the Acropolis hill, in the hope that it will one day house the superb and much disputed 5th century BC Parthenon Sculptures that were moved to England in the 19th century by Lord Elgin. For now, visitors can view a Permanent Collection with artifacts from the 7th century BC to the 5th century AD, and peer at excavations through a glass floor.
It's the birthplace of Western Civilization that glides by under the right wing of your jet airplane as you head for home. Arrive home later today, eager to share your adventures with family and friends.
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