Road Scholar : Home
Mediterranean Discoveries in Portugal, Spain, Italy and Tunisia

Program Number: 21113RJ
Start and End Dates:
8/27/2013 - 9/12/2013;
Duration: 16 nights
Location: England/Portugal/Spain/Italy/Tunisia
Price starting at: $1,999.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Ocean Cruises Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 42; 14 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 15 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Absorb the deep history and natural beauty of the Mediterranean on this voyage that brings you to magnificent palaces and monasteries, great ancient cities and enchanting islands.




Activity Particulars

Walking up to one mile per day. Some uneven terrain and stairs without railings.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

London (England), 1 night; aboard Minerva, 14 nights.



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


Days 2-3: Arrival London (England) / embark Minerva:

Enjoy some time to explore London on your own. Lodging: Elegant hotel in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.



Days 4-6: At Sea / Viana do Castelo (Portugal):

Sail south to the Mediterranean, where your first shore excursion brings you to the handsome squares of this historic port city.



Day 7: Lisbon:

Sail up the Tagus River to Lisbon, where you visit the tranquil cloisters of Jerónimos Monastery, a jewel of Manueline architecture.



Days 8-9: At Sea / Málaga (Spain):

Pass through the Straits of Gibraltar to the Andalucian port of Málaga. Venture to the Alhambra, a magnificent Moorish palace.



Day 10: Cartagena:

Discover this hidden gem, a port controlled by the Carthaginians, Phoenicians, Romans and Moors at various times in history.



Days 11-12: At Sea / Sardinia (Italy):

Go ashore on the island and journey to the archaeological site of Nora, an important trading town in ancient times.



Day 13: Carthage (Tunisia):

Explore the extensive ruins of Carthage, the powerful city-state founded by the Phoenicians and conquered by the Romans.



Day 14: Lipari (Italy):

On the volcanic island of Lipari step inside the imposing Spanish castle and examine the archaeological treasures housed there.



Day 15: Pompeii:

Enter the Bay of Naples in the shadow of lofty Mount Vesuvius and explore the wondrous ruins of buried Pompeii.



Days 16-17: Rome / disembark / departure:

Discover the ancient seaside district of Ostia including the Baths of Neptune and the offices of the merchant guild.



MV Minerva

This stylish, newly upgraded vessel is operated by a long-established British company and boasts a loyal following of British travelers. It offers its 350 passengers two restaurants plus al fresco dining, a cinema, two bars, a library/card room, a swimming pool, a gym and a sauna. The spectacular Orpheus Lounge provides panoramic views of your surroundings.


Meals and Lodgings
   Tower Hotel
  London, UK:England 1 night
   MV Minvera
  Aboard the MV Minerva, UK:England 14 nights
 Tower Hotel
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Located on the River Thams in the heart of London, the Tower Hotel enjoys panoramic views of the Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, the River Thames and St Katherine Docks. Vibrant, contemporary and spacious, this non-smoking hotel feels relaxed and enjoys an abundance of natural daylight.
  Contact info: St Katharine's Way
London,  E1W 1LD UK:England
phone: +44 845 305 8335
web: www.guoman.com/en/hotels/united_kingdom/london/the_tower/index.html
  Room amenities: Air conditioning, coffee and tea making facilities, flat screen LDC TV, hairdryer, iron and ironing board, mini bar, room safe, trouser press
  Facility amenities: Air conditioning, gym, meeting rooms, restaurant with outdoor terrace, bar, wifi internet (for an additional charge)
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: TBD Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for rates and bookings.
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 MV Minvera
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: No matter which corner of the globe you choose to discover, after exploring ashore, you will always appreciate Minerva’s stately comforts: a relaxed lounge with entertainment, well-stocked library, restaurants, gym, Wheeler bar and Shackleton's bar. An elegant environment in which polished wood and gleaming brass are complemented by works of art and fresh flowers. With over 50 years experience in discovery cruising, Swan Hellenic knows all the ingredients for the perfect cruise. From the on board environment to inspiring itineraries, and from our knowledgeable reservations team to our European ship's officers and attentive crew, we are committed to providing you with the ultimate discovery cruise experience. You will travel with like-minded people and as you share the experiences of your voyage, you may find acquaintances turn into lasting friendships. Your cruise will be further enriched by the presence of distinguished speakers drawn from the academic, diplomatic and media worlds. Their presentations and the more informal conversations you can enjoy in the Darwin Lounge will really bring our destinations to life.
  Ship Information: Gross Tonnage - 12,449 Length - 437 ft Beam - 66 ft Draft - 19 ft Cruising Speed - 14 knots Passenger Decks - 6 Stabilisers - retractable fin Registration - Bahamas Passengers - 350 Crew - 160; mainly Filipino and Ukrainian Officers - British and European Entered Service - 29th April 1996
  Contact info: Swan Hellenic - North America
1800 S.E. 10th Avenue, Suite 205
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 USA
phone: 866-923-9182
web: us.swanhellenic.com/homeus.html
  Room amenities: TV, Hairdryer and Personal Safe in Every Cabin
  Facility amenities: Facilities include: 44 Balcony cabins 100 Outside cabins (74% outside cabins including 23% balcony cabins) 2 Restaurants Orpheus Lounge Internet Lounge Livingstone Lounge Darwin Lounge Shackleton & Wheeler Bars Cinema Library/Card Room Boutique and Gift Shop Swimming Pool Gymnasium, Sauna and Spa Services Complimentary Launderette with Washers and Dryers Beauty Salon Medical Centre Telephone, Fax and E-mail Facilities
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
This program begins in the late afternoon on Day 2 in London, England at the program hotel. You will be staying at Tower Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
This program ends on Day 17 after breakfast on board the MV Minerva. You will be staying at MV Minvera the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. **IMPORTANT: REGISTERING FOR YOUR CRUISE ONLINE** Swan Hellenic requires all guests to provide full passport details, including address and telephone number. They also require next of kin contact information in case of an emergency. This information must be received no later than 60 days prior to departure. Passengers must visit the website at www.swanhellenic.com - click on "Already Booked" then "Required Passenger Information" to enter your details. The embarkation date is the date you board the ship. Furnished data will be provided to foreign government immigration officials and is required for on-board administration. PLEASE NOTE: Your cruise documents will not be issued prior to your online registration, and embarkation onto the ship may be denied. If you did not receive a booking number or if you need assistance registering online, please contact our program department at 1.866.359.5966 and someone will assist you.
  Parking availability:
We do not recommend driving to the site
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Trains and buses are available in Rome and London.
To Start of Program
  Location:  London
  Transportation to site: All participants who arranged their air travel through Road Scholar will be transferred from London Heathrow Airport to the program hotel. If you did not purchase your air through Road Scholar, you may join the designated group transfer as long as your flight arrives before or at the same time as the group flight. The designated group transfer time will be sent with your final program materials, approximately 5 weeks prior to the start of your program.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Aboard the MV Minerva
  Transportation from site: Rome Fuimicino Airport is located approximately 26km northeast of the city of Rome. All participants who arranged their air travel through Road Scholar will be transfer from the ship to the airport at the end of the program. . If you did not purcahse your air through Road Scholar, you may join the designated group transfer as long as your flight departs at the same time or after the group flight. The designated group transfer time will be sent with your final program materials, approximately 5 weeks prior to the start of your program. Taxi: If you are departing independently in Rome and plan to make your own way to the airport, taxis are readily available at the port.
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 from the US
(Tuesday, August 27)
   
 In Transit: Flights depart from various US gateways

Day 2: Flights arrive in London, England
(Wednesday, August 28)
   
 Arrive To: London, England
 Afternoon: Join your group leader for your program orientation.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel
   
Accommodations: Tower Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: London / Embark MV Minerva
(Thursday, August 29)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Free time in the morning to explore London on your own.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own
 Afternoon: Transfer and board the Minerva. The ship will be docked in Portsmouth, located approximately 1.5-2 hours from London.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minvera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
(Friday, August 30)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Join your study leader for a presentation.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: Relax and enjoy the ship's amenities and entertainment.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minvera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
(Saturday, August 31)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Join your study leader for a presentation.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Relax and enjoy the ship's amenities and entertainment.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minvera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Viana do Castelo, Portugal
(Sunday, September 1)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Field trip "Bom Jesus and Braga": Braga became the seat of Portugal’s archbishops in the 12th century and the country’s religious capital. Visit the Shrine of Bom Jesus, Portugal’s most spectacular religious sanctuary, the Chapel of Miracles – located on a hill facing the city – and have the opportunity to ride on the 18th century water operated funicular. In the centre of Braga, walk through the stunning Santa Barbara Gardens to the Cathedral and, having explored here, will have some free time to explore Braga’s maze of narrow streets.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Ship sets sail towards Lisbon
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minvera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Lisbon, Portugal
(Monday, September 2)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Join your study leader for a lecture.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Field trip "Lisbon and Jeronimos Monastery": Once at the forefront of the golden age of discovery and world trade, Lisbon has played an important role in shaping the modern world. Enjoy a panoramic drive through the city viewing many of its attractions, including the Monument to the Discoveries and the 16th century Belem Tower – starting point for many voyages of discovery, as well as taking the view from Parque Eduard VII. Discover Santa Maria Church followed by a visit to the remarkable cloisters of St Jeronymos, a jewel of Manueline architecture, noted for its richly sculpted stonework.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minvera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
(Tuesday, September 3)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Join your Study Leader for an exclusive Road Scholar lecture
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Relax and enjoy the ship's amenities and entertainment.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minvera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Malaga, Spain
(Wednesday, September 4)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Field trip "Alhambra Palace and Generalife Gardens": Discover the wonders of Granada on an excursion that will take you approximately 640m above sea level to the Alhambra Palace, magnificently situated in the shadow of the mighty Sierra Nevada. Stroll in the Generalife Gardens where you can admire avenues of stately cypress trees, exotic flowers, box hedges and ornate fountains and also visit the richly decorated interior of the Alhambra Palace, one of the finest examples of Moorish architecture in Spain. You can also enjoy some free time – perhaps climbing up the old citadel and the 13th century Alcazaba.
 Lunch: Late lunch at a local hotel near the Alhambra
 Afternoon: Return to the ship.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minvera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Cartagena, Spain
(Thursday, September 5)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Relax on board the ship as you sail towards Cartagena. You will arrive in the late morning.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Field trip "Cartagena Walk and Roman Theatre": Visit the city’s main attractions which reveal the rich layers of history in Cartagena: from the Carthaginian and Roman periods to the Civil War and the present day, this well defended port city continues to evolve. Discover the Roman Theatre which was recently uncovered amidst the 20th century townscape, before strolling along the Calle Mayor to see the exterior of the modernist buildings built by industrial barons during the heyday of mineral extraction in the hinterland of Cartagena. Take the panoramic lift to enjoy the view over the city and harbour from Conception Hill. Cartagena was bombed heavily during the Civil War; visit the Civil War Air Raid Shelter and, through displays, photos and new footage, learn about everyday life during this period.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minvera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Cruising the Mediterranean Sea
(Friday, September 6)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Join your study leader for a presentation.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Relax and enjoy the ship's amenities and entertainment.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minvera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy
(Saturday, September 7)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Field trip "Nora": Visit the archaeological site of Nora, thought to be the first town founded in Sardinia and settled by the ancient Nuraghi people. It was colonized by the Phoenicians and, following the Roman conquest of Sardinia in 238BC, by the Romans. Nora’s geographical location, situated on a peninsula, made it an important trading town with two harbours, one on either side of the peninsula. Today much of the site remains – though some is on land belonging to the Italian military and is yet to be excavated.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Relax on board the ship as you sail towards La Goulette, Tunisia
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minvera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: La Goulette, Tunisia
(Sunday, September 8)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Field trip "Carthage": Discover the extensive site of ancient Carthage, founded by the Phoenicians and the area’s dominant city-state for 700 years until conquered by Rome in 146BC. Among the mainly Roman ruins that remain you’ll see the Punic military harbour, Antonine Baths, Roman villas, amphitheatre and Punic diggings. You’ll also drive past several Carthaginian temples, including the Sanctuary of Tophet, where over 20,000 urns have been discovered containing the remains of children sacrificed to Tophetn and Baal.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Relax on board the ship as you sail towards the Aeolian Islands
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minvera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Lipari, Aeolian Islands, Italy
(Monday, September 9)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Continue sailing towards the Lipari
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Field trip "Lipari Town Walk and Archaeological Museum": Commence on foot to the Castle, built by the Spaniards in 1500. Within its powerful ramparts the Archaeological Museum houses artifacts that have been recovered from the many early civilizations that have contributed to the heritage of the island. The Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans and Spanish all spent time on the islands and left their legacy. Stroll through this charming town and visit St Bartholew Cathedral. Originally built by the Normans then destroyed by the pirate Barbarossa (Red Beard) in 1544, the baroque building you see today was built in 1654.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minvera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Castellammare di Stabia, Italy
(Tuesday, September 10)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Field trip "Pompeii": Pompeii, buried under ash during the devastating eruption of Vesuvius in AD79, provides an evocative and fascinating insight into the daily life of a prosperous Roman city. Among the extensive ruins are impressive temples, a forum, one of the largest known amphitheatres in the world, beautiful homes, and streets lined with shops and houses.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Ship sets sail for Civitavecchia
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minvera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
(Wednesday, September 11)

Note: The field trip to Ostia is subject to change. Please see your Final Information Packet for finalized field trip details.



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Field trip "Ostia": Ostia, at the mouth of the River Tiber, was founded by the Romans in the 4th century BC and became a strategically important military and commercial center populated by merchants, slaves and sailors. The city declined in the 4th century AD and when abandoned became buried under river silt; the preserved ruins now give a good impression of everyday life in a working Roman town. Sights will include the Baths of Neptune, the large restored theater and the offices of Ostia's merchant guild.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Free time in port to explore on your own. The ship will be docked in Civitavecchia overnight.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minvera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 17: Disembark / Departures
(Thursday, September 12)
   
 Morning: Disembark the ship and transfer to the Rome airport for flights returning to North America.
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


A History of Modern Tunisia


Author: Kenneth Perkins


Description: Perkins explores the history of Tunisia from the mid-19th century to the present, with an examination of French colonial rule from 1881 to 1956, when the Tunisians achieved independence, and the subsequent process of state-building.



A Traveller's History of Portugal


Author: Ian Robertson


Description: A lively, admirably concise survey from prehistory to the present, great for travelers to Portugal who would like an overview of the country's history and culture.



A Traveller's History of Spain


Author: Juan Lalaguna


Description: A swift survey from prehistory through the Romans, Goths and Moors to the present.



After the Divorce


Author: Grazia Deledda, Susan Ashe (Translator)


Description: This powerful and tragic tale of murder and infidelity is set, like many of the Nobel Prize winning author's novels, on her native Sardinia. First published in 1902.



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.



Carthage


Author: Ross Leckie


Description: The final chapter in Leckie's Punic War Trilogy, a riveting tale of the rivalry between Hannibal and Scipio's sons, the great war between Carthage and Rome and the fall of the Carthagenian empire.



Carthage Must Be Destroyed


Author: Richard Miles


Description: Drawing on a wealth of new archaeological research, Richard Miles vividly brings to life the history and civilization of Carthage from its origins to mighty trading center and its ultimate destruction by by the Romans in 146 BCE.



Empires of the Sea


Author: Roger Crowley


Description: Crowley vividly reconstructs the epic clash between the Ottoman Empire and Christendom for the control of the Mediterranean -- and the soul of 16th-century Europe -- in this thrilling account of dramatic battles and brutality, rival faiths and larger-than-life personalities.



Fodor's London's 25 Best


Author: Louise Nicholson


Description: This slim guide to London (with handy full-color maps) has everything you need to know for a short visit to the city, including recommended sightseeing, restaurants, hotels and shops.



Islam, A Short History


Author: Karen Armstrong


Description: Armstrong brings authority and experience to this vivid, clear-headed survey of the history and impact of Islam from the birth of Muhammad to present-day challenges. The best short introduction to the subject.



Italy in Mind


Author: Alice Powers


Description: A terrific collection of some of the best literary writing on Italy, including pieces by Melville, Lawrence, Henry James, Mary McCarthy and many others.



Italy, Monuments Past and Present


Author: R.A. Staccioli


Description: This informative volume shows Italy's most important monuments as they look today and, via overlaid illustrations, as they were once upon a time. The book surveys the history and archeological highlights of Pompeii, Rome and Sicily.



Journey to Portugal, In Pursuit of Portugal's History and Culture


Author: Jose Saramago


Description: Jose Saramago's richly detailed account of his journey across Portugal in 1979. He combines his vivid impressions of the Portuguese landscape and people with a dose of history, fiction and meditations.



La Bella Figura, A Field Guide to the Italian Mind


Author: Beppe Severgnini


Description: Italians themselves love this guide to the Italian character, which addresses their never-ending passion for beauty, disorder and high emotion. Severgnini opens the book with a snapshot of the hubbub at Malpensa Airport, then moves on to Tuscany, Rome, Naples and Sardinia.



La Bella Lingua


Author: Dianne Hales


Description: Inebriated with the sounds of Italian, lovesick for its phrases and enamored of its earthy idioms, Hales, "a sensible woman of sturdy Polish stock," dives into the Italian of the piazza, literature, movies and streets in this charming memoir.



Lisbon, War in the Shadows of the City of Light, 1939-1945


Author: Neill Lochery


Description: Lochery's tale of prime minister Antonio de Oliveira Salazar and his efforts to remain neutral during WWI in this gripping tale of exiled royalty, refugees, spies, secret police, bankers, prominent Jews, writers and artists, escaped POWs, black marketers and others who sought refuge in WWI-era Lisbon.



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.



National Geographic Naples and Southern Italy


Author: Tim Jepson


Description: This attractive, visual guidebook features photographs, maps and information on history, culture and nature. Includes Puglia, Basilicata, Campania and Calabria, along with excursions to Sicily and Sardinia.



Pillars of Hercules


Author: Paul Theroux


Description: Theroux seems to have had an exceptionally good time on his tour of the Mediterranean, circling the celebrated sea on foot, horseback, train and boat from Gibraltar to North Africa.



Sea and Sardinia


Author: D.H. Lawrence


Description: A marvelous account of a trip to Sardinia, evoking both the charms and travails of the then-remote island, and the personality of the author. It's a pleasingly exaggerated, accessible portrait of life on the island, circa 1921.



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 Smiles of Rome, A Literary Companion for Readers and Travelers


Author: Susan Cahill


Description: A wonderfully inspired anthology featuring excerpts from 29 writers and artists interspersed with practical suggestions for travelers.





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