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Voyages to Antiquity: Timeless Cities of Italy, Greece and Turkey

Program Number: 20721RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/13/2013 - 10/31/2013;
Duration: 18 nights
Location: Italy/Turkey/Greece
Price starting at: $6,090.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Ocean Cruises Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 47; 17 Breakfasts, 15 Lunches, 15 Dinners    
Meal Options: Gluten Free; Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian    

Legendary empires come alive on this voyage from Italy to Greece to Turkey. Grand cities, soaring theaters and beautiful artwork reveal what life was like in the eras when the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires reigned.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles per day; some uneven and hilly terrain, steep stairs without railings.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Rome (Italy), 2 nights; aboard Aegean Odyssey, 12 nights; Istanbul (Turkey), 3 nights.

Day 1: Overnight flight from the U.S.A.

Days 2-4: Arrival Rome (Italy) / embark Aegean Odyssey:

Discover Vatican City on a special field trip. En route to the ship enjoy lunch at a farmhouse in the countryside. Lodging: Four-star hotel.

Days 5-6: Pompeii & Sorrento:

Discover Pompeii and Herculaneum, cities frozen in time by the eruption of Vesuvius. Explore the seaside Roman colony of Sorrento.

Days 7-8: Palermo & Segesta:

On Sicily, find Palermo’s Palatine Chapel and the majestic Monreale Cathedral. Venture to ancient Segesta with its 36-columned temple.

Days 9-10: Taormina / At Sea:

Take a field trip to Taormina’s Greco-Roman theater, spectacularly located between Mount Etna and the sea.

Day 11: Nauplia (Greece):

Learn about the great Mycenaean civilization in the area where it flourished.

Day 12: Athens:

Survey the legendary Acropolis and discuss the remarkable achievements of the Athenian “Golden Age.”

Day 13: Delos & Mykonos:

Discover the islands of Delos, the paramount religious sanctuary of the ancients, and cosmopolitan Mykonos.

Day 14: Ephesus (Turkey):

Journey to this great site of the classical world to find the well-preserved ruins of temples, theaters and a library.

Day 15: Lemnos (Greece):

Explore this island stronghold that was fought for by the Byzantines, Venetians and Ottomans. Sail through the Dardanelles.

Days 16-19: Istanbul (Turkey) / disembark / departure:

Enjoy three days to experience Istanbul. Field trips include the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and the Spice Bazaar. Lodging: Four-star hotel.

Days 17-19: Rome / disembark / departure:

Enjoy expert-led excursions through Rome and the Vatican as well as a farewell dinner at a local trattoria. Lodging: Four-star hotel.

Aegean Odyssey

The Aegean Odyssey is a premium-class ship especially rebuilt for sailing along shallow coastlines, among remote islands and into small, uncrowded harbors that larger ocean liners can’t reach. Public areas include several gourmet restaurants, library, Internet center, sweeping sun decks, outdoor pool, gym and spa.

Meals and Lodgings
   Grand Hotel Beverly Hills
  Rome, Italy 2 nights
   MV Aegean Odyssey
  MV Aegean Odyssey - At Sea, At Sea 12 nights
   Armada Hotel
  Istanbul, Turkey 3 nights
 Grand Hotel Beverly Hills
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: A spacious and elegant reception hall welcomes guests to the Hotel Beverly Hills Rome. This is a precursor to the expert hospitality and warm welcome which guests will find inside. The warmth of this welcome is continued into the guest rooms and suites with their classic interiors and modern comforts. The ristorante Mascagni and the Puccini Bar are both elegant and lovely. The hotel is located in the prestigious Parioli neighborhood with easy connections to the center of Rome, highways, and airports.
  Contact info: Largo Benedetto Marcello 220
Rome,  00198 Italy
phone: +39 06 85 42141
  Room amenities: Each room has a hair dryer, mini bar, safe box, telephone, television, and wireless Internet access (for a fee).
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a restaurant, bar, air conditioning, laundry services, business center, Internet access (30 minutes of free wireless Internet in the lobby, additional wireless Internet available for a fee), and safe box.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 MV Aegean Odyssey
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: The MV Aegean Odyssey offers boutique-style cruising at its best. In contrast to the massive vessels cruising to and from major ports, it is a midsized ship adapted for island and coastal cruising. The Aegean Odyssey can visit smaller, less crowded harbors and sail closer to the coast enabling you to really appreciate the magical views.
  Ship Information: Ship’s Tonnage: 11,563 Length: 461 feet Beam: 67 feet Draft: 20.5 feet Cruising Speed: 18 knots Passenger Decks: 7 Stabilizers: 2 Passenger Staterooms/Cabins: 198 Passengers – lower beds: 378 Classification: Lloyd’s Register Society London Ship’s Registration: Malta
  Contact info: Voyages to Antiquity
1800 SE 10th Avenue, Suite 230
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316 USA
phone: 877-398-1460
  Room amenities: All cabins are equipped with a flat screen TV, air-conditioning, and personal safe. Particular importance is placed on the standard of bedding in cabins. Luxury bedding, including fine duvets, covers and sheets, ample soft pillows and quality towels can be expected. Also, shampoo, bath and shower gel, soap, and shower cap are provided. Your cabin steward is always available. Cabins and suites feature outlets with 220 voltage, using the “European” two round pin plug. Hair dryers are provided in your cabin and electric rollers, curling irons, electric shavers and other small appliances can be used in your cabin. For safety reasons, travel irons are not allowed.
  Facility amenities: Dining: MV Aegean Odyssey offers many dining facilities: The Marco Polo Restaurant is the ship's more formal restaurant, providing casual country-club elegance for lunch or dinner; The Terrace Cafe offers a combination of indoor and outdoor seating where you can indulge in breakfast, lunch and dinner from the grill or the sumptuous daily buffet. In the evenings, enjoy breathtaking views over dinner at Tapas on the Terrace. *There is a complimentary choice of wine, beer, or soft drinks with your evening meal. There will be a string trio, pianist and casual dancing before and after dinner. You may also wish to partake in afternoon tea, served in the Observation Lounge or enjoy an evening snack and cocktail, available in the Lido and Rendezvous bars. A limited room service menu is available. Special Diets: Please advise us at the time of booking of any special dietary requirements. The ship can usually meet most general requests such as those made with an air carrier; however, this cannot always be guaranteed. Services: Library; outdoor pool; spa; health center, saunas, massage and beauty treatment rooms and early morning yoga on the Lido Deck; elevators; Internet center (open 24 hours and a charge of $18 for 4 non-consecutive hours is applied, wireless available in reception area); beauty salon; medical center; laundry and pressing services (order form and laundry bag is provided in cabin); lecture theater and cinema and on board shop.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Armada Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The 4-star Armada Hotel is located in the historic peninsula of Istanbul, with views of two of the great masterpieces of world architecture; the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. The hotel offers modern comfort and convenience discreetly incorporated into the Turkish-inspired architecture, and period engravings throughout the hotel provide an insight into Istanbul's by-gone eras. The name of the Armada Hotel is a tribute to the memory of the renowned Ottoman Admiral Hayrettin Pasha Barbarossa. Located in the heart of the Old City, the hotel is within walking distance of museums, churches and other major attractions.
  Contact info: Ahirkapi Street 24
Istanbul,  34122 Turkey
phone: +90 212 455 44 55
  Room amenities: Each room has a mini bar, hair dryer, bathrobes, telephone, LCD television, safe box, free wireless Internet, 24-hour room service and air conditioning.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers two restaurants, a bar, lounge, meeting rooms, business center with computers and printers, library, free WIFI Internet access throughout the hotel, laundry service and air conditioning. The rooftop restaurants offer magnificent views of the area.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. 1-800-241-1404
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Rome, Italy. The program will begin at 5:00 PM in the hotel lobby. You will be staying at Grand Hotel Beverly Hills that night.
  End of Program:
Istanbul, Turkey. The program will end after breakfast on the last day. You will be staying at Armada Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. The Voyages to Antiquity Guest Registration Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: see above.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Rome
  Transportation to site: From the Fiumincino Airport take the Leonardo Express train to the Termini central train station. Take bus number 92 to the bus stop (7th stop) on the corner of Via Po and Via Simeto. From here it is a short walk to the hotel. Alternatively, you can book a shared van transfer on for 16 euro/person. This service runs from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM. If you wish to hire a private car (57 Euro), you may contact Italian Details at or 011-39-06-89087926.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Istanbul
  Nearest city or town:  In town
  Nearest airport:  Atatürk International Airport
  Transportation from site: The Armada Hotel is located about 10 miles from the airport. A taxi ride to the airport from the hotel costs approximately $30 USD and takes approximately 30 minutes. To book a private transfer, please contact
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Departures
(Sunday, October 13)
 In Transit: Depart US/Canada on international overnight flight.

Day 2: Welcome
(Monday, October 14)
 Morning: Arrival in Rome Leonardo da Vinci - Fiumicino Airport (FCO). Meet group inside the customs area. Transfer to hotel.
 Afternoon: Welcome orientation to the program at 5:00 PM in the hotel lobby.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Grand Hotel Beverly Hills
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Rome, Italy
(Tuesday, October 15)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Enjoy a guided field trip to the Vatican -- the center of Christianity -- where you will visit St. Peter’s Square, the church and the Vatican Museum. The Vatican museum was founded in the 14th century and is considered by many to have one of the greatest collections of art from the Renaissance period. You will also visit the Gallery of Tapestries and Geographical Maps and the famous Sistine Chapel with its marvelous frescos by Michelangelo.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon to explore Rome on your own. You may wish to explore the Pantheon, or behold stunning views of the city from the top of the Spanish Steps.
 Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.
Accommodations: Grand Hotel Beverly Hills
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 4: Rome, Italy / Embark on the MV Aegean Odyssey
(Wednesday, October 16)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: We will enjoy a guided excursion of Rome. Highlights include the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Trevi Fountain. Transfer to Civitavecchia.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch at a charming farmhouse about 30 minutes from Civitavecchia. Dine on mouth watering regional cuisine while tasting local wines at a farmhouse in the Italian countryside. Absolutely breathtaking!
 Afternoon: Embark on the MV Aegean Odyssey and settle in to your cabin. Late afternoon Road Scholar orientation to the ship in the "Observation Lounge."
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Sorrento, Italy
(Thursday, October 17)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: A scenic hour drive takes us to Herculaneum which was engulfed by volcanic mud in the same eruption that claimed Pompeii. Fortunately for us, this mud sealed and protected entire buildings: today inlaid marble floors, paintings, mosaics and carbonized woods can all be seen. These range from the sculpture of the Drunken Hercules in the House of the Stags to mosaics of tritons in the city baths. Herculaneum was a wealthier town than Pompeii with an extraordinary density of fine houses, with far more lavish use of colored marble cladding. The discovery in recent years of some 300 skeletons along the sea shore came as a surprise since it was known that the town itself had been largely evacuated. Following our visit, we will return to central Sorrento where you have the option of exploring independently or returning to the ship in the company of the guide.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure to explore Sorrento on your own.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Overnight in Sorrento. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Sorrento, Italy
(Friday, October 18)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: The patricians who built their mansions in Pompeii came to escape the turmoil in Rome, but a different sort of violence awaited them in their southern retreats. In 79AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted at 10 AM and, within three hours, extinguished these affluent communities even as it preserved their remains for our discovery. Begin with a scenic hour drive along the Bay of Naples to Pompeii. On the walking excursion, you will be guided expertly through this spectacular site. Places not to be missed include the aristocratic mansions, temples, theaters, markets and large forum. At every turn, inscriptions bring the hustle and bustle of this ancient city to life: there are notices of wine sales and apartment vacancies, upcoming gladiatorial events in the theater and political announcements.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Enjoy the spectacular views as we spend the afternoon cruising the Amalfi Coast.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture as we sail towards Palermo.
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Palermo, Sicily
(Saturday, October 19)

Note: Please wear appropriate attire for religious sites; no shorts or bare shoulders.

 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: During Roger II’s reign as King of Sicily (1130AD to 1154AD), the island became a great maritime power and also the channel through which Greek and Arabic thought passed into Europe. The embracing spirit of Roger’s reign is gloriously expressed in many of the great buildings of Sicily, but nowhere more perfectly than the Palatine Chapel, built during the 1130s and 1140s. This is the king’s masterpiece – a miraculous fusion of Latin, Byzantine and Arabic architectural design. Creamy marble is inlaid with gold leaf, Byzantine mosaics blanket entire walls and the ceiling of carved wooden coffers speaks of the finest Arabic design. The palace in which the chapel is housed had its start in the 9th century AD, when the Emir of Palermo built on the site of a Punic Roman stronghold. Roger II turned the building into the city’s main fortress and his sumptuous palace, then crowned it with this jewel of a chapel. Following your visit to the Palatine Chapel, the walking excursion continues to nearby San Giovanni degli Eremiti, built by Roger II in 1132, a Norman church with Arabic domes and a Romanesque cloister. Drive next to Palermo Cathedral, site of the huge porphyry tomb of Roger II, as well as the silver urn that contains the remains of Palermo’s protector, St. Rosalia.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: It is an hour and a quarter drive to Segesta, once an advanced center of the Elymian civilization. The city is thought to have been founded in the 5th to 4th century BC by a combination of exiled Trojans, Phocaeans from Greece and Sicans of Sicily. Segesta was well defended, located on a vast plateau between two peaks and surrounded by walls. Presiding in splendid isolation is a stunning Greek theater and the majestic 36-columned, 5th-century BC Doric temple. This archaeological jewel is in an extraordinary state of preservation and makes a superb sight amid its surroundings of rolling hills.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Overnight in Palermo.
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Palermo, Sicily
(Sunday, October 20)

Note: Cathedral access is via steep steps; taxis are available for a small fee. Please wear appropriate attire for religious sites; no shorts or bare shoulders.

 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Travel just a short distance out of Palermo to discover Monreale Cathedral, considered by many to be the most beautiful Norman church in Italy. Designed by William the Good in 1174, the church offers visions of beauty, grace and the divine. The exterior’s thick walls and powerful towers have the look of an austere fortress, but just step inside: it is the interior that is this cathedral’s true glory. The large nave with its side aisles and gray granite columns draws the eyes upward to 12th-century gold mosaics that cover over one and a half acres of wall space. The excursion also visits the Benedictine cloisters, a magnificent synthesis of Romanesque and Arab architecture. Admire the serenity of the courtyard with its graceful arcade featuring 216 sets of twin columns and pointed Arabic arches. The ship will offer an optional extension of this excursion to Palazzo Gangi, a magnificent private residence dating to the 15th century (additional cost, bookable on board).
 Lunch: Road Scholar lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Road Scholar exclusive field trip to the ancient hilltop town of Erice.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Evening departure for Taormina. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Taormina, Sicily
(Monday, October 21)

Note: The streets of Taormina are mostly cobbled and there are some steps to navigate at the Greek Theater.

 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Nowhere is the beauty of Sicily more apparent than in the hilltop town of Taormina. This morning, we will tender ashore for a short, scenic drive to this idyllic spot with its mountainous backdrop, lemonblossom scented air and narrow, medieval “streets”. This walking excursion proceeds past the Cathedral and the 15th-century Palazzo Corvaja with its black and white lava decoration. The highlight is a guided excursion of the theater. Originally built by the Greeks in the 3rd century BC and rebuilt by the Romans in the 2nd century AD, the site offers heart-skipping views of the sea and Mount Etna. Your excursion concludes with a stroll along the pedestrian Corso Umberto. In the small lanes and twisting viuzze you can shop for colorful ceramics, seek out the wines that won the praise of Pliny or dine on the mullet favored by Ovid. Participants wishing to linger in Taormina after the excursion can do so, as we have a later return shuttle to the ship.
 Lunch: Try one of the many excellent restaurants and trattorias in Taormina on your own or alternatively return to the ship.
 Afternoon: A free afternoon to explore Taormina. The ship will offer an optional excursion to the active volcano Mount Etna (additional cost, bookable on board).
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: At sea
(Tuesday, October 22)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: A relaxing morning at sea to enjoy the sunshine as the ship makes its way to Nauplia. Attend a talk by your Road Scholar Group Leader.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Enjoy the Observation Deck if the weather is nice, or dive into a good book from the ship's library.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture as the ship makes its way to Nauplia.
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Nauplia, Greece
(Wednesday, October 23)

Note: There is moderate to heavy walking over uneven surfaces in Mycenae and Epidaurus, and moderate walking in Nauplia unless you choose to climb the fortress.

 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Tales of Agamemnon and the time of Homer’s heroes take center stage today on this visit to Mycenae, one of the greatest cities of the highly-developed Mycenaean civilization. This culture dominated the eastern Mediterranean from the 16th to 13th century BC and laid the foundation for classical Greece. From the picturesque port of Nauplia, a scenic 45-minute drive across the Argolid Plain takes us to the imposing city of warrior merchants that Homer described as “rich in gold”. The citadel that stands guard over the city is built high above two rock-strewn ravines, and legend holds that it was erected with the aid of the Cyclops. Enter Mycenae on foot through the Lion Gate, Europe’s oldest piece of monumental statuary: it was here that the victorious, but battle-weary Agamemnon, was greeted by his wife, Klytemnestra, on his return from the long war with Troy, only to be murdered by her lover. Inside the gates, explore the Royal Palace, view the shaft graves and relive the tragic stories at an archaeological briefing in the Treasury of Atreus, also known as the Tomb of Agamemnon.
 Lunch: Lunch on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Free time to explore the elegant town of Nauplia where you will find an excellent Archaeological Museum, housed in the impressive former Venetian Arsenal. This afternoon there is an option to visit Epidaurus, sacred to Asclepios, the god of medicine, and the site of the best preserved of all ancient Greek theaters (additional cost, bookable on board).
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture as the ship sails towards Athens.
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Piraeus / Athens, Greece
(Thursday, October 24)

Note: Heavy walking for one or more hours over uneven terrain, with multiple uphill segments.

 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Visit the sublime expression of Classical Greece, the Acropolis with its sweeping views of Athens. Commissioned by Pericles in the 5th century BC, the site is dominated by the majestic Parthenon: a building that embodies the stunning achievements of the Athenian “Golden Age”. Surrounding the great temple are the other architectural masterpieces of the citadel: the Propylaia (monumental gateway), the Erechtheion with its beautiful Karayatid Porch and the Temple of Athena Nike (Winged Victory). Below the temple complex is the theater of Dionysos where the dramas of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides were first performed. Then explore another marvel: the long anticipated $200-million, 226,000-square-foot Acropolis Museum. In the dramatic Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis, ascending floors of glass literally “float” you above the excavations for an extraordinary perspective of the layers of Greek history that lie below. Alternatively, if you'd like to visit the National Archeology Museum & the Agora (additional cost, bookable on board), you may choose to do that in the morning and take part in this included excursion in the afternoon.
 Lunch: Lunch on board, or at a local restaurant on your own.
 Afternoon: The afternoon is free to return to the ship or continue your exploration of Athens, returning later by shuttle bus. Or, if you booked the morning's optional excursion to the National Archeology Museum & the Agora, this afternoon you will have the opportunity to see the sights described above.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Late evening sail for Delos. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Delos / Mykonos, Greece
(Friday, October 25)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Discover the tiny, deserted isle of Delos, the religious center of the Cyclades, where columns lie glistening in the sun, and the Lions of Delos guard the Sacred Way. As the reputed birthplace of the god Apollo, Delos was once a principal religious and commercial center of the Eastern Mediterranean. Pilgrims, traders, politicians, and warriors alike came from all over the Mediterranean to this sanctuary. In fact, the “Cyclades,” the name of this island group, means “those islands around Delos.” In the 5th century BC, the Delphic Oracle decreed the island was to be purged of all the dead and that no person could either die or give birth on Delos to preserve the isle’s sanctity. Some of the richest archaeological treasure troves in Greece await as you leave the Sacred Harbour on your guided walking excursion. Imagine the merchants in the Agora and the pilgrims entering the Sanctuary of Apollo. Walk along the spectacular Avenue of the Lions. Pay homage to the guardians of the Sacred Lake where Leto gave birth to the twin gods, Artemis and Apollo. And above all, savor the almost-mystical silence that pervades this haunting site of antiquity.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: A lunchtime departure to the nearby cosmopolitan island of Mykonos. Enjoy a guided walk with your Road Scholar Group Leader followed by free time.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Izmir, Turkey / Ephesus
(Saturday, October 26)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: The ship will arrive at Izmir, Turkey in the early morning. Upon arrival in Izmir, we will meet with our local guides and transfer south to arrive at the ancient city of Ephesus, one of the largest and best preserved ancient cities in the world. The cosmopolitan city of Ephesus was, in its heyday, on par with Athens and Rome. Once home to over 250,000 people, this site affords ancient snapshots of daily lives of the Greeks, and their conquerors, the Romans. We will also visit the newly excavated Terraced Houses in Ephesus, where the rich and the ruling class once lived in homes where they had running water and were decorated with wonderful works of art.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: We will visit the Basilica of St. John, a Byzantine church built in the 6th century by Emperor Justinian (527-65 AD) and dedicated to St. John the Evangelist who was believed to have died in a church on the site where the ruins of the basilica now stands. Before returning to Izmir to board the ship, we will also stop at the remains of the Temple of Artemis, once one of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Lemnos, Greece / Cruising the Dardenelles
(Sunday, October 27)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Experience one of the most pleasant island capitals in the North Aegean Islands on this walking excursion that includes an optional climb to Myrina castle, or kastro, the largest fortification in the Aegean Sea. In Greek mythology, Zeus cast his son out of Olympus, hurling him to the volcanic island of Lemnos, where he reigned as the god of metalworking. The island's strategic position at the approach to the Dardanelles made it a key outpost for Byzantines, Venetians and Turks. The British army assembled here during World War I. What draws visitors now are the serene beaches, excellent cheeses and authentic character. Today's sightseeing is entirely on foot and focuses on the capital, Myrina, set at the foot of a rocky promontory. Walk the cobblestone streets past the traditional market. Admire the restored neo-classical homes in the Romeikos Gailos area. Visit the recently renovated archaeological museum, housed in an exquisite 19th-century mansion, where artifacts date to the Paleolithic Age. Then enjoy a short guided walk along the picturesque quay. From here you can return to the ship on your own or perhaps linger to try some of the local melipasto or feta cheeses or sip the fine white wine in a taverna.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon, the ship cruises through the Dardanelles and the Sea of Marmara. Enjoy a late afternoon talk by your Road Scholar Group Leader followed by a Road Scholar cocktail party.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Disembark / Istanbul, Turkey
(Monday, October 28)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: In the morning we disembark the Aegean Odyssey and begin the day with an excursion to the Topkapi Palace and the Harem. The Topkapi Palace was the seat of the Ottoman Sultans for 400 years and a great testimony to the wealth and power of the Ottoman Empire.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: An excursion to the Chora/Kariye Museum to witness its exquisite mosaics and frescoes from the 14th century, a period of Byzantine reawakening in the arts.
 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel dining room.
Accommodations: Armada Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 17: Istanbul, Turkey
(Tuesday, October 29)

Note: The excursions in Istanbul involve significant walking. As we will be visiting religious sites, please no shorts or sleeveless shirts. Ladies may be asked to cover their heads.

 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Start the day by visiting the amazing church of Hagia Sophia, possibly the most important architectural monument in the city, standing gracefully since 537 AD. Field trip to the Hippodrome, the civic center of ancient Constantinople, where chariot races were run between the four teams of Blues, Greens, Whites and Reds. Then visit the 17th century Blue Mosque, world renowned for its exquisite Iznik tiles surrounding the interior of this wonderful mosque.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Explore the beautiful Underground Cisterns, built by the illustrious Byzantine Emperor Justinian in 532 AD to store water underground. A visit to the award winning Archeology Museum will broaden your horizons as you will witness an outstanding collection of artifacts spanning across millennia including the magnificent Sarcophagus of Alexander the Great.
 Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.
Accommodations: Armada Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 18: Istanbul, Turkey
(Wednesday, October 30)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Start the day with a visit to the Grand Bazaar to discover its maze-like streets and alleys and 4,000 shops! Then we visit the Rustem Pasha Mosque, built by the famous architect Sinan, a small but gem-like mosque demonstrating the most stunning examples of 16th century Iznik tiles. On to the Spice Bazaar, where exotic aromas immediately capture its visitors.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon we embark on a private cruise on the Bosphorus to explore the stunning palaces, mansions, and fortresses dotted along the Asian and European shores of this marvelous strait.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Armada Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 19: Departures
(Thursday, October 31)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Transfer to Istanbul Ataturk Airport (IST) for departures.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Rome Galleria Borghese
The Galleria Borghese is a wonderful museum within Villa Borgese Park. Dwelling within its walls are masterpieces from the 15th to 17th centuries, from such artists as Tiziano, Raffaello, Bernini and Caravaggio. *Please consider purchasing tickets in advance of your arrival as they do sell out. For additional information, visit
  Pantheon and Piazza Navona
Visit the Pantheon, an ancient temple dedicated to the gods, and the Piazza Navona, a lovely square boasting its famous fountain of the four Rivers.
  Spanish Steps
The entire area is rich with infamous fashion designer stores, including Valentino, YSL, Ferragamo, Gucci and more.
Trastevere is characterized by its narrow streets full of restaurants, pizzerias and small stores. Located in the heart of Rome on the west bank of the Tiber River, an evening visit is recommended.
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

1453, The Holy War For Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West

Author: Roger Crowley

Description: In this well-paced history, Crowley recounts with drama the events surrounding the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks.

Ancient Rome: Art, Architecture, and History

Author: Ada Gabucci (Editor)

Description: This lively, illustrated survey of Ancient Rome's monuments, history and art is a terrific introduction.

Eyewitness Guide Greek Islands

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: Color photography, excellent local maps and an island-by-island synopsis of attractions make this book the one to carry with you.

Eyewitness Guide Istanbul

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: This superb guide to Istanbul features color photography, dozens of excellent local maps and a district-by-district synopsis of the city's attractions. Handsome, convenient and up-to-date, this is the guide to carry.

Eyewitness Guide Italy

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: Another gem in the Eyewitness series, this superb guide is handsome, convenient and up-to-date. Featuring color photography, dozens of excellent local maps and a region-by-region synopsis of the country's attractions.

Greece, A Traveler's Literary Companion

Author: Artemis Leontis (Editor)

Description: In this terrific anthology 24 modern Greek writers offer a flavor of their nation, its culture and people, its beautiful landscapes and rich history.

Istanbul, Memories and the City

Author: Orhan Pamuk

Description: Nobel Prize-winner Pamuk writes with quiet grace of the city of his birth, celebrated in his many novels: a magical place of crumbling mansions and Ottoman riches, mingling Asian, Islamic, secular and European influences.

Italian Days

Author: Barbara Grizzuti Harrison

Description: Grizzuti Harrison writes with warmth and depth of her journey from Milan south to Calabria in this sprightly account of Italy and the Italians.

Italy, A Short History

Author: Harry Hearder

Description: Elegantly written, generous and informative, this compact book takes in the sweep of Italian history from the Roman Republic through the Renaissance, World War II and up to the present.

Lords of the Horizons

Author: Jason Goodwin

Description: Goodwin artfully combines his modern travels with scholarship, history and reflection, capturing the outrageous personalities, events and vagaries of the 600-year-old Ottoman empire.

Mediterranean Cruises Map

Author: Freytag & Berndt

Description: A double-sided, full-color map of the Mediterranean, including the Iberian Peninsula and Black Sea, North Africa and the Levant, at a scale of 1:2,000,000.

Mediterranean by Cruise Ship

Author: Anne Vipond

Description: The best-selling, compact guide, featuring excellent local maps, hundreds of color photographs, concise background information and recommended excursions for ports-of-call throughout the Mediterranean.

Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling

Author: Ross King

Description: Presented with flair and backed by a wealth of research, King's captivating chronicle of Michelangelo's painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel tells the story of its conception and creation.

On Persephone's Island

Author: Mary Taylor Simeti

Description: Strong on the delights of rural life, Simeti's portrait of Sicily takes the form of a yearlong journal, capturing the spirit of the people, daily life, traditions and the land.

The Ancient Mediterranean

Author: Michael Grant

Description: Grant explores the realms of archaeology, geography, art and economics to sketch this classic portrait of the ancient world, from prehistory through the Roman Imperium, and the influence on western civilization.

The Colossus of Maroussi

Author: Henry Miller

Description: Miller captures the spirit and warmth of the resilient Greek people in this inspired tale of a wartime journey from Athens to Crete, Corfu and Delphi with his friend Lawrence Durrell.

The Leopard

Author: Giuseppe Di Lampedusa

Description: Evoking a lost world of privilege and tradition, Giuseppe Di Lampedusa's memorable tale, set on a rural Sicilian estate during the days of independence, follows the world-weary Don Fabrizio, Prince of Salina. A classic, now in a 50th anniversary edition.

The Mediterranean in History

Author: David Abulafia (Editor)

Description: A professor at Cambridge, David Abulafia leads a team of eight historians in this engaging, richly illustrated overview of the civilizations, societies and grand themes in the history of this great sea at the heart of Europe. Published in conjunction with the J. Paul Getty Museum, the book features 150 well-integrated color and 150 black-and-white illustrations.

The Odyssey

Author: Homer, Robert Fagles (Translator)

Description: Translator Robert Fagles captures the poetry and power of the blind bard's epic in this translation, celebrated for its clarity and expressiveness.

The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Greece

Author: Robert Morkot

Description: This pictorial survey of Greek antiquity, recording its culture and expansion, features dozens of full-color maps.

The World of Odysseus

Author: Moses I. Finley

Description: A classic portrait of ancient Greek society based in large part on the author's ground-breaking interpretation of the Iliad and Odyssey.

Turkish Reflections, A Biography of a Place

Author: Mary Lee Settle

Description: Settle's captivating travelogue is a richly detailed portrait of contemporary Turkey, its people, monasteries, myths, archaeological treasures and living traditions. Exemplary.

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