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Voyages to Antiquity: Greece, Sicily and Egypt

Program Number: 21378RJ
Start and End Dates:
3/21/2014 - 4/7/2014;
Duration: 17 nights
Location: Greece/Egypt
Price starting at: $5,995.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Ocean Cruises Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 47; 16 Breakfasts, 15 Lunches, 16 Dinners    
Meal Options: Gluten Free; Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian    

On this odyssey from Athens to Cairo, learn how the great civilizations of the ancient world used both brawn and brains to achieve power. Walk in the footsteps of Plato on the Acropolis, explore ancient and medieval cities of Sicily, experience the legacy of the Knights of Malta and absorb the grandeur of the Egyptians’ pyramids.




Activity Particulars

Walking up and downhill, up to two miles per day. Standing up to four hours per day, with breaks; uneven terrain and steep stairs without railings at historic sites.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

Athens (Greece), 2 nights; aboard Aegean Odyssey, 11 nights; Cairo (Egypt), 3 nights.



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


Days 2-4:
Arrival Athens (Greece) / embark Aegean Odyssey:

Walk in the footsteps of Socrates and Plato on the Acropolis of Athens. Examine archaeological treasures in a spectacular setting at the new Acropolis Museum. Lodging: Stylish four-star hotel.



Days 5-6:
At Sea / Syracuse (Italy):

Discover Syracuse’s outstanding Greek and Roman ruins including the 5th-century Greek theater where many of Aeschylus’s tragedies were first staged. This evening, sail past the active volcano on the island of Stromboli.



Days 7-8:
Palermo:

In the Sicilian capital, absorb a heady architectural mix of Byzantine, Arab and Norman influences. Experience Monreale Cathedral with its glorious 12th-century mosaics covering over 1.5 acres of wall space.



Day 9:
Trapani:

Journey to Segesta, where the ruins left behind by the ancient Elymian people include a theater and an unusually well-preserved Doric temple.



Day 10:
Valletta (Malta):

Go ashore in this city built by the Knights Hospitaller to visit the Baroque St. John’s Cathedral, the magnificent Palace of the Grand Masters and more. Continue to the enchanting medieval town of Mdina.



Days 11-14:
At Sea / Crete (Greece) / At Sea:

Spend two days exploring the island of Crete. Discover lovely Chania, a port held by the Romans, Venetians and Ottoman Turks. Explore Rethimnon with its Venetian-era fortress and visit the Minoan palace of Knossos.



Days 15-18:
Alexandria (Egypt) / disembark / coach to Cairo / departure:

An excursion in this city founded by Alexander the Great includes the new Library of Alexandria. Continue to Cairo to uncover some of the marvelous creations of the Ancient Egyptians: the Great Pyramids of Giza, the royal capital of Memphis and the necropolis at Sakkara. Lodging: Five-star hotel with pyramid views.



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
   Metropolitan Hotel
  Athens, Greece 2 nights
   MV Aegean Odyssey
  MV Aegean Odyssey - At Sea, At Sea 11 nights
   Le Méridien Pyramids Hotel - Cairo
  Cairo, Egypt 3 nights
 Metropolitan Hotel
Type: Five-Star Hotel
  Description: The Metropolitan Hotel, with its unique cosmopolitan atmosphere, combines traditional hospitality and luxury in central Athens. With a view to both the Acropolis and the Aegean Sea, the fully renovated Metropolitan Hotel is ideally situated in front of the Faleron Olympic Coastal Park. It is only 10 minutes away from Syntagma square, the center of Athens and the port of Piraeus.
  Contact info: Leoforos Syngrou 385
Athens,  175-64 Greece
phone: +30 210 947 1000
web: www.chandris.gr
  Room amenities: Each room has individually controlled air conditioning, satellite television, telephone, high speed Internet connection, radio, mini bar, hair dryer, safe box, and laptop and fax machine outlets.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a restaurant, lounge, bar, gift shop, fitness center, marble steam bath, outdoor heated swimming pool, business center, free wireless Internet access in lobby, and a hairdresser.
  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
web: www.voyagestoantiquity.com
  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

 Le Méridien Pyramids Hotel - Cairo
Type: Five-Star Hotel
  Description: Le Méridien Pyramids, nestled between the city and the wilderness, boasts unparalleled views of the Giza Pyramids. The hotel is surrounded by landscaped gardens, providing a respite of greenery amidst golden sands. With a peerless choice of restaurants and cuisines, a Royal Club floor, a magnificent swimming pool, and spa amenities, Le Méridien Pyramids is a luxurious stay, and conveniently located only twenty minutes from Cairo’s city center.
  Contact info: El Remaya Square - Pyramids
PO Box 25 Pyramids
Cairo,  12561 Egypt
phone: +20 2 33 77 70 70
web: www.starwoodhotels.com
  Room amenities: Each room has a television, telephone, safe, bidet, mini bar, radio/alarm clock, air conditioning, 24-hour room service, High Speed Internet access (for a fee) and a hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers restaurants, bars, a swimming pool with waterfalls, floodlit tennis courts, shopping arcade, beauty salon, 24-hour currency exchange, safe, laundry services and High Speed Internet access (for a fee).
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after:  Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Athens, Greece. Meet at 5:00 PM in the hotel lobby. You will be staying at Metropolitan Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Cairo, Egypt. The program will end after breakfast on the last day. You will be staying at Le Méridien Pyramids Hotel - Cairo the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. The Voyages to Antiquity Guest Registration Form is required.
  Parking availability:
N/A
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Athens
  Transportation to site: Take a taxi from exit 3 of the arrivals level at the airport. Cost is approx. 35-40 Euros (USD $45-52), after midnight the cost increases to 60 Euros (USD $78).
  From End of Program
  Location:  Cairo
  Transportation from site: Take a taxi from the hotel to the airport; this will cost approximately $15-18 per car. If the taxi driver is not using a meter, make sure to determine the price of your journey before you get in. Alternatively, you may wish to pre arrange a car transfer through Road Scholar, this will cost $50.00 per car (up to 3 guests). You may arrange this by calling 413-253-9736.
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
(Friday, March 21)
   
 In Transit: Depart US/Canada on international overnight flight.

Day 2: Welcome
(Saturday, March 22)
   
 Morning: Arrival in Athens International Airport (ATH). Meet group outside of customs. Transfer to hotel.
 Afternoon: Settle in at the hotel. We gather in the hotel lobby at 5:00 PM for a welcome orientation to the program.
 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Metropolitan Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Athens, Greece
(Sunday, March 23)

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



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: We will explore 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.
 Lunch: Lunch at a restaurant in Plaka.
 Afternoon: A guided excursion through the ancient citadel of Athens, the Acropolis. Built during the "Golden Age" of Athens between 447-438BC under the orders of the great statesman Pericles, the Acropolis represents the magnificent achievements of Athenian culture during this remarkable era.
 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Metropolitan Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Athens / Embark the MV Aegean Odyssey
(Monday, March 24)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: A guided walk through Plaka - the picturesque old historical neighborhood of Athens, clustered around the northern and eastern slopes of the Acropolis, and incorporating labyrinthine streets and neoclassical architecture.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: We transfer to Piraeus where we will embark the MV Aegean Odyssey. 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: At sea
(Tuesday, March 25)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: At sea. Attend a talk by your Road Scholar Group Leader.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: At sea. A chance to relax on deck and enjoy the shipboard guest lectures as the ship makes its way to Syracuse.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Syracuse, Italy
(Wednesday, March 26)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Many a conqueror set his sights on Syracuse, one of the largest and wealthiest cities of ancient Europe that, at the height of its power, rivaled Athens, Carthage, and Rome. Enjoy a field trip to the city's outstanding collection of Greek and Roman ruins including the Roman Amphitheater of Augustus and the 2nd-century BC Altar of Hieron. The highlight of this excursion is a visit to the 5th-century Greek theater where many of Aeschylus's tragedies were first staged.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: At sea. Take advantage of the ship's well stocked library that has a wide selection of volumes covering classical history, literature, art, architecture, and philosophy. The frequently updated collection also includes an extensive reference section as well as modern and classic novels.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: A sunset departure will pass through the Straits of Messina and take you past the living volcano of Stromboli en route to Palermo.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Palermo, Sicily
(Thursday, March 27)

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



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: A gem of a day. The morning is centered on the Piazza della Vittoria, one of the city's major squares, where some of Palermo's most remarkable buildings are to be found. Visit the Norman Royal Palace and the Palatine Chapel, the perfect illustration of that miraculous Norman combination of Latin, Byzantine, and Arab culture. We will also have the opportunity to visit the Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti, a Norman church decorated with Arabic domes and an exquisite Romanesque cloister. A short walk from here will take you to Palermo Cathedral and its fascinating mix of architectural styles.
 Lunch: Lunch on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Free time in Palermo.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Palermo, Sicily
(Friday, March 28)

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



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Travel a small distance out of Palermo to experience the beauty and grace of Monreale Cathedral, with its glorious 12th-century mosaics covering over 1 1/2 acres of wall space and its cloister, perhaps the most magnificent in the world.
 Lunch: Lunch on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Enjoy free time to explore Palermo on your own or sit, relax and people watch at the Piazza Verdi or the Piazza Castelnuovo, two of Palermo's main squares.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Trapani, Italy
(Saturday, March 29)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Experience the ancient Greek city of Segesta with its majestic 36-columned, 5th-century BC temple and stunning Greek theater on today’s excursion.
 Lunch: Lunch on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Free time to take a relaxing stroll through the charming port of Trapani.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Valletta, Malta
(Sunday, March 30)

Note: This excursion involves significant walking on flat surfaces and may be operated in reverse. As we will be visiting religious sites, please no shorts, sleeveless shirts or stiletto heels. If the Palace or Cathedral are closed for an event, we will substitute a visit to the Palace Armory or the Museum of Archaeology.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: A morning excursion through the city of Valletta, including the Baroque St. John’s Cathedral and the magnificent Palace of the Grand Masters. We will also enjoy a field trip to the enchanting medieval town of Mdina.
 Lunch: Lunch on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: A free afternoon to explore Valletta’s wonderful palaces, gardens and museums.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: At sea
(Monday, March 31)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: At sea. Treat yourself to one of many spa services offered by the ship. Attend a talk by your Road Scholar Group Leader.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: At sea. Find your way to one of the ship's lounges for a conversation with fellow travelers.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Chania, Crete / Rethinmon, Crete
(Tuesday, April 1)

Note: This excursion involves two hours of walking and there is no wheelchair access to the Fortezza.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: The beautiful town of Chania was, along with Heraklion and Rethimnon, one of the main Venetian strongholds on Crete. The morning will be spent visiting Chania’s fortified harbor.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Continue today's excursion with a short drive from the ship along Crete's historic north coast to Rethimnon. Dominating the town is the star-shaped Fortezza, a 16th-century castle containing a church and mosque within its massive fortifications. Following your visit, enjoy a short walk to the pentagonal fort that houses the charming Archaeological Museum founded in 1887 by the Society of the Friends of Education. Then continue on a walking excursion of Old Town with its well-preserved Venetian and Ottoman buildings.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Heraklion, Crete
(Wednesday, April 2)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: The morning is dedicated to the Minoan site of Knossos. The heyday of Minoan civilization (2000-1600BC) was marked by the construction of great palaces, the best known of which is Knossos. Excavations were begun in 1899 by the British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans, who controversially “restored” the palace with his own eccentric ideas of Minoan interior design.
 Lunch: Road Scholar lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Continue with a drive to the scenic Lassithi Plateau that takes you through landscapes suggestive of El Greco, a native of Crete.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: At sea
(Thursday, April 3)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: At sea. Stretch your body and mind during early morning yoga or pilates.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: At sea. Enjoy a rousing board game with fellow travelers.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Alexandria, Egypt / disembark
(Friday, April 4)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Coach transfer to Le Méridien Pyramids Hotel - Cairo.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon to unpack, relax and enjoy the hotel's amenities.
 Dinner: Dinner in hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Le Méridien Pyramids Hotel - Cairo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Cairo, Egypt / Giza
(Saturday, April 5)

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



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: This morning you will travel by coach to visit the Pyramids in Giza. Although modern civilization has landed on the doorstep of this phenomenal site, it still remains an impressive affair. Dominating the site are the pyramid complexes of the kings of the 4th dynasty, Cheops, Chefren and Mycerinos, surrounded by the tombs of their families and courtiers. The pyramids of Giza are the only survivors of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon to enjoy the hotel's wonderful amenities.
 Dinner: Dinner in hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Le Méridien Pyramids Hotel - Cairo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 17: Cairo, Egypt / Sakkara
(Sunday, April 6)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Drive a short distance through the countryside to Memphis. Egypt's first capital is situated at the apex of the Nile delta. For thousands of years this huge, cosmopolitan city was the capital of the Old Kingdom (2650-2134BC). Continue a short drive from Memphis to Sakkara, a favorite necropolis of Old Kingdom pharaohs. View one of mankind's first monumental stone buildings, the Step Pyramid of King Zoser, built in 2750BC by the engineer Imhotep.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon to relax and reflect on your journey.
 Dinner: Dinner in hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Le Méridien Pyramids Hotel - Cairo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 18: Departures
(Monday, April 7)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Transfer to Cairo's International Airport (CAI) for departures.
   
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.


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