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Grand Voyage: India, Arabia, Egypt and Jordan

Program Number: 21116RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/25/2013 - 3/27/2013;
Duration: 30 nights
Location: Sri Lanka/Oman/India/United Arab Emirates/Eritrea/Egypt/Jordan
Price starting at: $3,480.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Ocean Cruises Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 85; 29 Breakfasts, 27 Lunches, 29 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

From India to Arabia to Egypt and Jordan, experience a grand voyage to beautiful, exotic lands. Discover the energetic cities and vivid landscapes of India, the ornate palaces and desert forts of the Arabian Peninsula, the amazing ruins left behind by the ancient Egyptians and much more.




Activity Particulars

Walking a few miles per day. Some uneven terrain and stairs without railings.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

Colombo (Sri Lanka), 1 night; aboard MV Minerva, 28 nights.



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


Days 2-4: Arrival Colombo (Sri Lanka) / embark MV Minerva:

Discover the diverse neighborhoods of Colombo and learn how Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism mix in Sri Lanka. Lodging: Elegant, historic hotel beside the Indian Ocean.



Day 5: Tuticorin (India):

Journey through emerald green paddies to the towns of Palayamkottai, a historic center of missionary activity, and ancient Tirunelveli with its colorful temples.



Days 6-7: Kochi and Kerala Backwaters:

Explore Kochi and see its unique Chinese fishing nets in action. Board a traditional vessel to sail the peaceful backwaters of Kerala and observe life in its villages.



Days 8-9: At Sea / Goa:

Venture to the magnificent Temple of Mahalasa. Continue to a spice plantation where black pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon are grown.



Days 10-11: Mumbai:

Spend two days experiencing this energetic metropolis. Discover monuments, fine museums and the outdoor laundry of Dhobi Ghat. Venture to Elephanta Island to examine amazing cave sculptures.



Day 12: Porbandar:

Visit Kirti Mandir, the family home of Mahatma Gandhi. Ride through the streets in a tuk-tuk for an up-close look at everyday life in the “real India.”



Days 13-15: At Sea / Fujairah (United Arab Emirates):

Sail to the only emirate of the U.A.E. on the Arabian Sea, Fujairah. Explore the old quarter and a recreated traditional village.



Days 16-18: Muscat (Oman):

In this port city surrounded by rugged mountains, step inside the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and Al Alam Palace. Take a field trip to Nakhl, capital of the ancient Yaruba tribe. Plus enjoy a free day for independent exploration.



Days 19-21: At Sea / Salalah:

Spend two days exploring the mountainous region of Dhofar. Find Job’s Tomb, a pilgrimage site for Jews, Christians and Muslims. Journey to the archaeological site of Khor Rori, once an outpost on the “Frankincense Trail.”



Days 22-25: At Sea / Massawa (Eritrea):

Explore this historic Red Sea port whose architecture reflects periods of Arabic, Ottoman and Italian rule. Visit a village of the Rashaida people, a nomadic Arabic tribe.



Days 26-28: At Sea / Safaga (Egypt):

On your first day in Egypt, walk among the ancient temples of Karnak and Luxor then cross the Nile to the Valley of the Kings, where for 500 years the Pharaohs were entombed.



Day 29: Sharm el-Sheikh:

On an exciting 4x4 vehicle excursion, discover the Sinai Desert, the Straits of Tiran and the protected mangrove forest of Nabak National Park.



Days 30-31: Aqaba (Jordan) / disembark / departure:

Venture into the heart of Jordan, where mountains rise dramatically from the rose-red desert. Explore Wadi Rum, a valley famous for its Nabataean rock carvings. A group of Bedouins welcomes you to their camp for refreshments.



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
   Hotel Galle Face
  Colombo, Sri Lanka 1 night
   MV Minerva
  Aboard the MV Minerva, UK:England 28 nights
 Hotel Galle Face
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Galle Face Hotel is located in the heart of the city, bordering the Indian Ocean, allowing many rooms to have panoramic views. The hotel was built by British Entrepreneurs in 1864 is a Luxuruy Heritage masterpiece boasting Victorian architecture.
  Contact info: 2, Galle road,
Colombo 3,   Sri Lanka
phone: +(941) 125-410-10/16
web: www.gallefacehotel.com/
  Room amenities: Air-conditioned room with a garden view, refrigerator, mini-bar, TV and IDD facilities. Optional garden view with a/c, T.V. attached private bathroom with hot/cold water, hair drier and local/IDD facilities direct from the room.
  Facility amenities: 9 restaurants and 4 bars, Specialty restaurants, Wine Lounge combined with an underground wine cellar, 3 grand ballrooms and 6 function rooms, Wedding and Conference facilities, Galle Face Hotel Spa, a 20,000 sq. ft. spa inclusive of Colombo's largest saltwater swimming pool and gymnasium, Business Centre offering all Secretarial facilities, A Salon, Laundry Services, A Museum and Art Gallery
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Additional nights prior: TBA Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for additional information.

 MV Minerva
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: Four star plus service & amenities of a traditional luxury vessel plus the hardware of an adventure ship 1A1 Super Ice Rating (highest possible for passenger vessel) Advanced environmental marine technology Fleet of Zodiac landing craft Extensive talks programme Crew to passenger ratio: 1 to 1.5 Well appointed, ocean-view cabins Single seating dining Beverages (teas & coffee) included Gratuities included
  Ship Information: Overall Length: 436 Beam (Width): 66 feet Draft: 19 feet Passengers: 397 Officers: European Crew: 146 European/International Passenger Decks: 6 Gross Tonnage: 12,500 Cruising Speed: 16 knots Shipyard: T. Mariotti, Genoa Ship's Registry: Bahamas
  Contact info: 1 Victoria Way, Burgess Hill
West Sussex,   UK:England
phone: +01444 462 180
web: www.swanhellenic.com
  Room amenities: Private Facilities Air-conditioning Television Hairdryer Safe Binoculars
  Facility amenities: The delightful country house-style lounge – comfortable by day and welcoming by night where you can listen to the Guest Speakers or join friends for after dinner coffee. Later in the evening this is the venue for dancing and classical concerts Conservatory-style Shackleton’s Bar - furnished with cane chairs and potted palms and beautiful, evocative style prints of Antarctica Oak-panelled Wheeler Bar – situated in the heart of the ship, is decorated with Sir Mortimer Wheeler memorabilia and has a club-like feel Superb library – containing the original Swan Hellenic collection. This encompasses a wide variety of non-fiction with the best fiction, newspapers, games & jigsaws Traditional styled Smoking Room* - with buttoned leather sofas
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Bathroom: Some cabins have showers only
  Elevators available: Yes


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
This program begins in the late afternoon on Day 2 in Colombo, Sri Lanka at the program hotel. You will be staying at Hotel Galle Face that night.
  End of Program:
This program ends on Day 31 after breakfast on board the MV Minerva. You will be staying at MV Minerva 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: Train/Bus not recommended
To Start of Program
  Location:  Colombo
  Transportation to site: The Galle Face Hotel is located approximately 35 km from Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) in Colombo. The transfer takes approximately 1 hour, or longer, depending on traffic conditions. Taxi service is available for participants who are not joining the group transfer. Taxi service in Sri Lanka is supervised by the Airport and Aviation Services (S/L)LTD which operates from a counter in the arrival Lobby. The Galle Face Hotel also has a reception counter at the airport if you need further assistance. Minerva will be berthed at the port of Colombo. The exact berth will not be confirmed until 24 hours prior to arrival.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Aboard the MV Minerva
  Transportation from site: The transfer to Amman, Jordan is approximately 4 hours. Participants who are not on program #21151 (Extension: Ancient Petra, Rose-Red City) will be picked up at the port, and transferred directly to Amman.
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
(Monday, February 25)
   
 In Transit: Flights depart from various US gateways

Day 2: Flights arrive in Colombo, Sri Lanka
(Tuesday, February 26)
   
 Arrive To: Colombo, Sri Lanka
 Afternoon: Flights arrive in Colombo in the late afternoon/early evening. Join your group leader and fellow participants for introductions and brief program orientation.
 Dinner: Late welcome dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Galle Face
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Colombo / Embark MV Minerva
(Wednesday, February 27)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Lecture: Check out from the hotel & proceed to a nearby conference hall closer to for the lecture on "The conflict between LTTE and the government and the way forward". The Sri Lankan Civil War was a conflict fought on the island of Sri Lanka. Beginning on 23 July 1983, there was an intermittent insurgency against the government by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (the LTTE, also known as the Tamil Tigers), a separatist militant organisation which fought to create an independent Tamil state called Tamil Eelam in the north and the east of the island. After a 26-year military campaign, the Sri Lankan military defeated the Tamil Tigers in May 2009, bringing the civil war to an end. Following the lecture, set out to discover Colombo with visits to the following places: historic Fort and bustling Pettah, Cinnamon Gardens and Galle Face Green, the Hindu Temple at Sea Street – a street lined with goldsmith's shops – the Dutch Church at Wolfendaal, dating back to 1749, the historic Davatagaha Mosque, Independence Hall, B.M.I.C.H, see the replica of Avukana Buddha and the Independence Square and the National Museum.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own
 Afternoon: After lunch proceed to visit Bandaranaike Memorial International and see the replica of Avukana Buddha. Also visit Independence Hall, and the Independence Square and National Museum. Embark the MV Minerva for 28 nights.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Colombo, Sri Lanka
(Thursday, February 28)

Note: Hats must be removed before entering the temple. Admittance to the temple may be denied to those wearing shorts (either sex) and to those whose shoulders are uncovered (shorts sleeves are accpetable).



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Free time to explore the port on your own, or relax on board the ship.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: Kelaniya Temple: Discover this fascinating modern temple – after the Temple of the Tooth the most visited Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka - decorated with frescoes telling stories of the Lord Buddha, Buddhism in Sri Lanka, and Kelaniya Temple history. Other highlights include ceiling paintings in the main hall, Buddha images, and rows of comical dwarfs and elephants, copied from Polonnaruwa’s Tivanka Image House. Later enjoy some free time in Kelaniya, a centre of traditional Sinhalese pottery.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Tuticorin, India
(Friday, March 1)

Note: Admittance to the temple may be denied to those wearing shorts (either sex) and to those whose shoulders are uncovered. Shoes must be removed before entering the temples (we recommend bringing a pair of socks). Cameras and videos are permitted at Christ Church and the Temples for a small charge payable directly to the local guide. The order of visits may vary.



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Pallayamkottai and Tirunelveli: In Palayamkottai, the headquarters of the Church Missionary Society, visit Holy Trinity Cathedral and Christ Church- built for the British in 1846. Continue to the market town of Tirunelveli, one of the oldest Christian centers in Tamil Nadu, where St. Francis Xavier began his ministry in the late 16th century. Here you can explore Krishnapuram Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu with its beautiful pillars and life size sculptures. A comfort stop will be made at a local hotel for refreshments before you journey back to the ship.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Relax on board as ship sets sail for Kochi, India
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Kochi, India
(Saturday, March 2)

Note: Basic toilet facilities are available. Photography is not permitted inside the Dutch Palace; video cameras are not permitted inside St Francis Church



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Join your study leader for a presentation on Indian History: Examine the various periods in Indian History so that you can better understand the significance of some of the sites visited during the program.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Discover colorful old Kochi. See the historic Fort Cochin area, including St. Francis Church - the first church built by Europeans in India, the cantilevered Chinese fishing nets - introduced by traders from the court of Kubla Khan, and the fish market. Continue to the Mattancherry district where other highlights will include a visit to the 16th century Dutch Palace, a visit to the Indo Portuguese Museum and a walk along Jewish Street.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Kochi, India
(Sunday, March 3)

Note: There are no toilets on the boats (you will be on board for approximate 2 hours). This trip involves emarking and disembarking small boats and is not recommended for those who are disabled or have difficulty walking.



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Drive to Allepy (1.5 hrs) to board a boat for a delightful cruise along the peaceful and wonderfully picturesque backwaters of Kerala. As you glide through the network of narrow canals and wide lakes you will see numerous unspoilt villages and, at close hand, many traditional activities which are so typical of this region's way of life. A photo stop will be made at the Chinese fishing nets before your return to Minerva.
 Lunch: A boxed lunch from the ship will be provided
 Afternoon: Make your way back to the ship in the port of Kochi.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Cruising the Indian Ocean
(Monday, March 4)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Join your Study Leader for an exclusive Road Scholar lecture on the Religions and Mythology in India.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Relax on board the ship as you sail the Indian Ocean.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Marmagoa (Goa), India
(Tuesday, March 5)

Note: Shoes must be removed before entering the temples, so we recommend bringing a pair of socks. Admittance to the temples may be denied to those wearing shorts/skirts above the knee and to those whose shoulders are uncovered (either sex).



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Free time in port to explore on your own, or relax on board the ship
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Temple and Spices: Visit the Shri Manguesghi Temple dedicated to Lord Mangueshghi, an incarnation of Shiva. One of Goa's largest temples, it was constructed in the 18th century and is adjacent to the Deepastambha, a seven story octagonal lamp tower. You can also enjoy a visit to the Savoi spice plantation, a well established plantation using organic methods. A walk through shady paths will reveal the different spices such as black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon as well as fruits in their natural environment. Learn about the production, preparations of curries and fruit juices as well as how the by products are used in local crafts.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Mumbai, India
(Wednesday, March 6)

Note: This excursion involves a steep climb of some 120 steps; some sedan chairs are available for those who do not wish to walk (at an additional fee). There are toilets on Elephanta Island. Video filming is permitted of the exterior of the caves only for a small fee. Still cameras and flash are permitted inside, but tripods are prohibited. Sunhats, sunscreen and comfortable shoes are recommended.



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Morning at leisure
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Elephanta Island: Disembark early and drive to the Gateway of India and board launches to cross to Elephanta Island, named after a huge elephant statue that once stood near the shore. A climb will bring you to the impressive caves where you'll see remarkable bas-reliefs carved entirely from a single piece of stone and panels depicting the Hindu deity, Shiva, in symbolic guises.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Mumbai, India
(Thursday, March 7)

Note: Good walking shoes are recommended. The order of visits may vary.



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Unexplored Mumbai:Stroll through an ancient temple complex where, in the narro streets, you will find the local barber, cobbler, blacksmith and residents of the area going about their daily life. Visit to the Bangenga, a sacred lake surrounded by 400 year old temples and modern skyscrapers. In the midst of the bustling city of Girguam is cocooned Khotachi wadi, the residential area belonging to the coastal community of Christians from Maharashtra and Goa who have preserved their heritage homes and culture. In the narrow streets are the picturesque houses built in typical Portuguese style with carved balconies and small gardens. Stop for tea at a local home and enjoy a chance to interact with the residents.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Free time to explore the port on your own, or relax on board the ship
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Porbandar, India
(Friday, March 8)

Note: Admittance to the temples may be denied to those wearing shorts/skirts above the knee and to those whose shoulders are uncovered. As the streets are extremely narrow in the city, coaches will park on the main road and you will have to walk to the temples and sites. Shoes must be removed before entering the temples and Kirti Mandir, so you may wish to bring a pair of socks. There are steep narrow flights of steps to climb in order to reach the different levels of Kirti Mandir.



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Porbandar City Tour: Experience the "Real India" and discover Kirti Mandir, the birthplace and family home of Mahatma Gandhi. You will also visit Sudama Mandir - a temple dedicated to Sudama, friend of Lord Krishna, with idols said to date back 5,000 years. Between Kirti Mandir and Sudama Mandir enjoy a local tuk tuk ride and enjoy street life. There will also be the opportunity to see the local street market. Please note: There might be a wait for the tuk tuk ride. The ride lasts approximately 15 minutes.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Free time to explore the port or relax on board the ship.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Cruising the Arabian Sea
(Saturday, March 9)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Join your Study Leader for an exclusive Road Scholar lecture on the societal facets of Indian culture, such as the caste system, arranged marriages and the sacred cow.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Relax on board the ship as you sail the Arabian Sea.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Cruising the Arabian Sea
(Sunday, March 10)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Lecture: Political trends in India from 1945 till date: Transfer of power (Independence), Partition, royal families, political parties, current situation.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Relax on board the ship as you cruise the Arabian sea towards the United Arab Emirates.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Fujairah, United Arab Emirates
(Monday, March 11)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Fujairah Heritage: With the Hajar Mountains providing a backdrop explore the main cultural sights of the only emirate on the Arabian Sea. Drive to the Old Quarter, with it's medieval fort, and visit the Fujairah Museum housing archeological finds from the region as well as collections of traditional costumes and tribal artifacts. Continue to the Heritage Village, a recreation of a traditional village where you can see typical dwellings and discover how the palm was essential to daily life. Continuing south, make a short stop to Khor Kalba, a large mangrove swamp and important conservation area. You will also visit 19th century Bait Al Sheikh Saeed, the private residence of the ruler's representative.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Muscat, Oman
(Tuesday, March 12)

Note: Notes: Photography is not permitted at the museum, nor during the drive through the embassy area. There is a 200-300m walk to view the Sultan's Palace and also to the entrance of the Grand Mosque. Ladies will be required to cover their heads (including their hair) to visit the mosque and must also cover their arms (to the wrists) and legs (to their ankles). Men will not be permitted to wear shorts for the mosque visit. Dress codes are strictly enforced. You will need to remove your shoes.



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Muscat City Discovery: Muscat has been described as a port unlike any other in the Arab world, enchanting visitors with its distinctive trading areas and beautiful Corniche, set against a mountainous backdrop. Enjoy visiting the Al Alam Palace area of Muscat, viewing Sultan Qaboos' official residence, a striking example of modern Arabic architecture, and the famous medieval Portuguese twin forts. Also enjoy a visit to the Grand Mosque built by the Sultan as a gift to the nation. The main prayer hall has exquisite, rich decoration whilst the floor is covered by a magnificent Persian carpet, said to be the largest in the world. You will also visit the Bait Al Zubair Museum, a private collection showcasing excellent artifacts from Omani heritage including jewelry, weapons, traditional clothing and manuscripts. The coach will drop you off at the Fortress Tower and Twin Forts, Mirani and Al Jalali. From here enjoy a walk through the grounds of the Sultan's Palace before returning to Minerva.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Relax on board the ship or continue to explore Muscat on your own (if time allows)
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 17: Muscat, Oman
(Wednesday, March 13)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Free time in Muscat to explore the city on your own, or join one of the ship's excursions. Transfers between the ship and Mutrah Souk will be provided for those who wish to explore independently. This morning your Indian group leader will disembark.
 Morning: Free day to explore Muscat on your own.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Continue exploring the city on your own. This afternoon, participants joining the program for the second half will embark the ship with your Egyptian study leader, who will lead the second half of the program from Muscat to Jordan.
 Afternoon: Continue exploring Muscat on your own.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 18: Muscat, Oman
(Thursday, March 14)

Note: Admittance to the Fort may be denied to those wearing shorts (either sex) and to those whose shoulders are uncovered. Toilet facilities at the fort are limited and basic . There are 135 steps in the fort complex. This tour will operate subject to a special opening of the fort.



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Nakhl Fort: Drive to Nakhl, the headquarters of the ancient Yaruba tribe - a small group directly descended from the early Arab immigrants from Yemen - and discover the restored massive ochre fort set high on a rocky outcrop in the center of the village, overlooking extensive date plantations.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Your after noon is free to continue to explore the port, or relax on board the ship.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 19: Cruising the Arabian Sea
(Friday, March 15)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Join your study leader for a morning lecture.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Relax on on board the ship as you sail the Arabian sea.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 20: Salalah, Oman
(Saturday, March 16)

Note: Admittance to Job's Tomb may be denied to those who are wearing shorts (either sex) and to those whose shoulders are uncovered, ladies may also be required to cover their heads. As all visitors are required to remove their shoes when walking around the outside of the tomb you may wish to bring a pair of socks. Basic toilets are available at Al Balid and Job's Tomb.



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Free time on board as you sail towards Salalah, Oman.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Continue sailing towards Salalah.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 21: Salalah, Oman
(Sunday, March 17)

Note: Admittance to Job's Tomb may be denied to those who are wearing shorts (either sex) and to those whose shoulders are uncovered, ladies may also be required to cover their heads. As all visitors are required to remove their shoes when walking around the outside of the tomb you may wish to bring a pair of socks. Basic toilets are available at Al Balid and Job's Tomb.



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Sights of Salalah: Explore western Dhofar combining scenic drives and visits to the main sites around Salalah. Visit Job's Tomb, a sacred pilgrimage site for Muslims, Christians and Jews. This simple tomb is housed in a small domed building on Jebel Izzin. Enjoy the panoramic views over the striking Qata Mountains and Jubriah plain. Closer to Salalah, a visit to the Al Balid Archeological Museum will give an insight to the once thriving frankincense trade and the opportunity to view some of the frankincense trees that give rise to this prosperous trade.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Free time in the afternoon to explore the port on your own, or relax on board the ship
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 22: Crusing the Arabian Sea
(Monday, March 18)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Join your study leader for a morning lecture
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Relax on board the ship as you sail the Arabian sea.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 23: Cruising the Arabian Sea
(Tuesday, March 19)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Join your study leader for a morning lecture.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Relax on board the ship as you sail the Arabian sea.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 24: At Sea / Massawa, Eritrea
(Wednesday, March 20)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Join your study leader for a morning lecture.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Relax on board the ship as you sail towards Massawa, Eritrea.
 Dinner: On board the ship
 Evening: Ship arrives in Massawa late this evening
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 25: Massawa, Eritrea
(Thursday, March 21)

Note: Tourism is in its very early stages in Massawa. You will witness the economic and structural problems of the town with many buildings in need of repair. Tourist infrastructure is in its very early stages - transport and the level of guiding are not geared toward western expectations. Nevertheless we hope that you will enjoy this unique opportunity to gain an authentic and revealing insight into the life in this region of the Red Sea.



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Massawa City Discovery: Discover the Eritrean port town of Massawa, strategically located on the shores of the Red Sea and the largest deep water port on the Red Sea. The town has, for centuries, attracted the attention of traders and empires, the architecture reflecting periods of Arabic settlement, Ottoman rule, Italian colonisation, and Ethiopian rule prior to Independence. Massawa has suffered greatly from earthquakes and further damage was inflicted during fierce fighting in World War II and, more recently, the long Eritrean War of Independence which ended in 1991. The field trip will include a sightseeing drive through the old town near the port where you will see the Arab influence of coral buildings and ornate, decorative doorways. Located on a series of islands, you will also visit Taulud Island where more western and Ottoman architecture can be viewed. Here the main sights are the Old Railway Station, St. Mariam Cathedral, the 1920 Banco d'Italia as well as the formerly magnificent Imperial Palace and the impressive Tank Monument commemorating the end of the War of Independence. You will visit the Regional Museum with exhibits on the Red Sea, Archaeology as well as the Colonial era and Eritrean life. There will also be the opportunity to visit a salt factory.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Free time to explore the port on your own, or relax on board the ship.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 26: Cruising the Red Sea
(Friday, March 22)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Join your study leader for a morning lecture.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Relax on board the ship as you sail the Red Sea
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 27: Cruising the Red Sea
(Saturday, March 23)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Join your study leader for a morning lecture.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Relax on board the ship as you sail towards Safaga, Egypt
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 28: Safaga, Egypt
(Sunday, March 24)

Note: Photography is not permitted in the tombs. Sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreen are strongly recommended. This excursion is scheduled to depart at approximately 6:30 am.



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Valley of the Kings: Drive across the desert to Luxor for your first visit to the magnificent Karnak Temple, and view its stunning columns. Continue for lunch before crossing to the west bank of the Nile to visit the dramatic Valley of the Kings, where you can visit three tombs independently. You will also enjoy a short visit to the Ramesseum and a photo stop at the Colossi of Memnon. NOTE: All coaches traveling to/from Luxor are required to travel in convoy with a police escort. The convoy may be stopped at checkpoints enroute and these stops may vary in length. As guiding is not permitted in the tombs, guides will giveyou explanations outside and you will visit the tombs independently. Entry to the Tomb of Tutankhamun costs approximately $20 USD per person. This charge is not included in this excursion and is payable locally if you wish to visit the tomb independently.
 Lunch: Lunch will be served at a hotel on the east bank.
 Afternoon: Return through the desert to Safaga.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 29: Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
(Monday, March 25)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Desert Drive: Undertaken in 4WD vehicles, this exciting excursion reveals views of the southern Sinai desert, the Straits of Tiran and the coast of Saudi Arabia. An hour’s drive will bring you to the Nabak National Park where you can see the mangrove forest – the most northerly in the world – and enjoy a short visit to the National Park Visitor Centre. Continue your desert drive, enjoying dramatic views of the desert’s mountains and wadis; a stop will also be made to sample traditional tea and bread in a Bedouin camp.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Glass Bottomed Boat Trip: Dirve to a local hotel to join your glass bottomed boat from which you can discover the fantastic reefs and exotic marine life that flourish in the clear waters of the red sea. Notes: You will need to walk across the beach, and along a floating jetty (which is wobbly - no handrail) to jion the glass-bottomed boats. The boat trip will last approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 30: Aqaba, Jordan
(Tuesday, March 26)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Wadi Rum: Drive into the heart of Jordan to see extraordinarily shaped mountains rising out of the rose-red desert. There’ll be a photo stop en route at the Seven Pillars of Wisdom – a dramatic formation of hills – before driving into the Wadi to see the Nabataean rock carvings and Lawrence’s Well. Later you can enjoy refreshments at a Bedouin camp before returning to Aqaba.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Relax on board the ship, or explore the port on your own. The ship will be in port overnight.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 31: Aqaba, Jordan / Disembark
(Wednesday, March 27)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Disembark the ship for flights returning to North America. If you are continuing on to the Petra extension, you will transfer by coach to Petra.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
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


An Autobiography, Or the Story of My Experiments with Truth


Author: Mohandas K. Gandhi


Description: There is no substitute for reading Gandhi in his own simple, direct prose. A highly recommended glimpse into the personality and life of this remarkable figure.



Culture Smart! Oman


Author: Simone Nowell


Description: This handy introduction to local attitudes, beliefs and culture includes tips for travelers.



Culture Smart! Sri Lanka


Author: Emma Boyle


Description: A concise, no-nonsense guide to local customs, etiquette and culture with a short overview of the land and people along with practical travel advice.



Death on the Nile


Author: Agatha Christie


Description: How could we resist? Christie wrote Egypt's most famous murder mystery on the terrace of the Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan.



Egypt, A Short History


Author: Robert L. Tignor


Description: Princeton historian Tignor distills five decades of study and travel for this vivid account of the sweep and tumult of Egyptian history from the settlement of the Nile to the present.



Goa, and the Blue Mountains or Six Months of Sick Leave


Author: Richard Burton


Description: A facsimile edition of Burton's first book, an account of travels in Goa, the Nilgiri mountains and cities along the Malabar coast of southwestern India, first published in 1851.



In Spite of the Gods, The Strange Rise of Modern India


Author: Edward Luce


Description: Luce tackles the challenges and reality of the world's largest democracy with insight and balance in this portrait of a nation in transition.



India


Author: Stanley Wolpert


Description: Reflections on India - its religion and philosophy, its art, culture and politics - by the dean of the country’s American historians: beautifully written and provocative as well as evocative.



India South Map


Author: Nelles


Description: A double-sided colorful regional map of India south of Mumbai, including Sri Lanka and the Andaman and Nicobar islands, at a scale of 1:1,500,000. With maps of Goa, Hyderabad, Bangalore (Bengaluru), Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram.



India, A Traveler's Literary Companion


Author: Chandrahas Choudhury (Editor)


Description: Each of these 14 stories evokes place and landscape, providing an excellent introduction both to contemporary writers and to India's diverse cultures and history.



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.



Lonely Planet Jordan


Author: Jenny Walker


Description: A practical guide in the popular series, featuring 54 maps, tips and much sightseeing information.



Lonely Planet South India & Kerala


Author: Lonely Planet, Lonely Planet Publications


Description: Featuring maps, a good overview of culture, history and nature, and information on accommodations, excursions and sightseeing.



Luxor Illustrated, With Aswan, Abu Simbel and the Nile


Author: Michael Haag


Description: The ideal companion to a Nile cruise, Haag introduces all the famous monuments and temples of Upper Egypt from Luxor, Karnak, Valley of the Kings and the tomb of Tutankhamun to the marvels of Aswan and Abu Simbel in full color.



Married to a Bedouin


Author: Marguerite van Geldermalsen


Description: "Where you staying?" the Bedouin asked. "Why you not stay with me tonight -- in my cave?" Thus begins the fascinating odyssey of a young nurse from New Zealand who would marry and raise her family among the community of 100 Bedouin families living in the ancient city of Petra.



Midnight's Children


Author: Salman Rushdie


Description: Crowned Best of the Booker in 2008, Rushdie's greatest novel is a madcap, comic take on the birth of modern India in all its splendid and unexpected manifestations.



Northeast Africa and Arabia Map


Author: Michelin Travel Publications


Description: A folded map of the Northeast region of the continent at a scale of 1:4,000,000.



Surrender or Starve: Travels in Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, and Eritrea


Author: Robert D. Kaplan


Description: Robert Kaplan, the prolific journalist and author of Balkan Ghosts, travelled through Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea for this illuminating travelogue examining the culture, religion, and politics of the region.



The Complete Valley of the Kings


Author: Nicholas Reeves, Richard Wilkinson


Description: A thorough and intriguing look at the burial place of the New Kingdom pharaohs, this book brings together the art, architecture and history of the valley; contains profiles of archaeologists, diagrams and detailed site descriptions.



The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Egypt


Author: Bill Manley


Description: Ingenious color maps, site plans, photographs and accompanying essays trace Egyptian civilization from the founding of Memphis through the sacking of Thebes and the invasion by Alexander the Great in 332 BC in this authoritative, remarkably concise history.



The Search for Ancient Egypt


Author: Jean Vercoutter


Description: This pocket encyclopedia, packed with illustrations, tells the tale of Greek travelers, buried treasure, international intrigue and scholarship as it delves into the world's long-standing fascination with Egypt's glorious heritage.



What the Buddha Taught


Author: Walpola Sri Rahula


Description: A classic account of Theravada Buddhism by a respected monk and scholar from Sri Lanka. Provides translations from original texts with explanations for Western readers. A good foundation for any visitor to Southeast Asia.





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