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Realms of the Mediterranean Aboard Minerva: Italy, Tunisia, Malta and Greece

Program Number: 21371RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/6/2014 - 10/22/2014;
Duration: 16 nights
Location: Greece/Italy/Malta/Tunisia
Price starting at: $3,799.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Ocean Cruises Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 44; 15 Breakfasts, 14 Lunches, 15 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Embark on a voyage beginning at the Trevi Fountain in Rome, ending on the Acropolis of Athens and visiting intriguing ports all along the way. You’re joined aboard the stylish small ship Minerva by renowned academic experts whose onboard talks illuminate the past and explain the present of the Mediterranean.




Activity Particulars

Walking up to one mile per day; some uneven, hilly terrain and stairs without railings.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

Rome (Italy), 1 night; aboard Minerva, 14 nights.



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


Days 2-4:
Arrival Rome (Italy) / coach to Civitavecchia to embark Minerva:

Examine the masterpieces of the Borghese Gallery, housed in a spectacular villa. Explore the neighborhood of Trevi and seaside Ostia. Lodging: Historic four-star hotel.



Day 5:
Portovenere:

Discover Portovenere, a picturesque harbor town of pastel-colored houses, independently. Byron, Shelley and Wagner drew inspiration from this area.



Days 6-7:
At Sea / Naples:

Journey to Pompeii, the prosperous Roman city preserved as it was destroyed by Vesuvius’s eruption in 79 AD.



Day 8:
Amalfi:

Sail along the lovely Amalfi Coast and go ashore in this town surrounded by dramatic cliffs. Enjoy some time to explore on your own.



Day 9: Palermo:

Continue to Sicily, where you visit Palermo, once Europe’s grandest city. Step inside Monreale Cathedral, a majestic example of Norman architecture.



Day 10:
La Goulette (Tunisia):

Venture to the ruins of ancient Carthage, the area’s dominant city-state for 700 years until it was conquered and occupied by the Romans.



Day 11:
Sousse:

Explore this historic walled town and journey to the Roman amphitheater at El Djem, where 35,000 spectators could gather to watch the gladiators.



Days 12-13:
Valletta (Malta):

Experience this island nation’s fascinating history. Begin with a walking excursion in Valletta, a fortified city built by knights. The next morning, take a field trip to the walled city of Mdina, known to locals as the “Silent City.”



Days 14-15:
At Sea / Itea (Greece):

Venture through sprawling olive groves to ancient Delphi on the slopes of Mount Parnassus. Learn about the prophesies of the Oracle of Delphi.



Days 16-17:
Piraeus / disembark / coach to Athens for departure:

Navigate through the narrow Corinth Canal then go ashore to walk in the footsteps of Socrates and Plato on the legendary Acropolis of Athens.



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 Massimo D'Azeglio
  Rome, Italy 1 night
   Minerva
  Aboard the MV Minerva, UK:England 14 nights
 Hotel Massimo D'Azeglio
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Hotel Massimo d’Azeglio is located in the heart of Rome, near the city's most important monuments. The Pantheon, the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore, the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, via Veneto, the Forum, the Opera House, the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, the National Museum of Rome and many other landmarks are within walking distance: a short romantic walk will take you back in time.
  Ship Information: n/a
  Contact info: Via Cavour, 18
Rome,  00184 Italy
phone: +39 06 4870270
  Room amenities: Wi-Fi in all rooms. The 184 rooms of the Hotel Massimo d’Azeglio are spacious, light and have been recently revamped. With wooden floors, oak classic furniture, high ceilings and large airy windows they offer its guests a “fin de siecle” atmosphere with modern comforts such as air conditioning, mini-bar, safe and Wi-Fi internet connection.
  Facility amenities: Room service is available from 6:30 am till midnight. From 6.30 am to 10.30 am you can order breakfast. During the opening hours of the restaurant you can have starters or main courses available on the menu of the day. In addition, throughout the day, you can request drinks, sandwiches or cold dishes such as salads, cold meats and cheeses. FITNESS AREA A gym equipped with modern equipment awaits you. You can also book Shiatsu, ayurvedic, anti-stress or relaxation massages, and aromatherapy. In the lobby you will find the Internet point for those wishing to connect to the Internet but do not have a portable PC. A printer is available for short prints, i.e. boarding cards or electronic tickets.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Minerva
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 Rome, Italy at the program hotel. You will be staying at Hotel Massimo D'Azeglio that night.
  End of Program:
This program ends on Day 17 after breakfast on board the MV Minerva. You will be staying at 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: Trains and buses are available in Rome and Athens.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Rome
  Nearest airport:  Rome International Airport - Fiumicino
  Transportation to site: Rome Fuimicino Airport is located approximately 26km northeast of the city of Rome. All participants who arranged their air travel through Road Scholar and are arriving on the program start date, will be met at the airport and transferred to the program hotel in Rome. 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. Taxi: If you are arriving independently in Rome and plan to make your own way to the hotel, taxis are readily available at the airport. Terravision Shuttle Bus: The bus line Terravision Shuttle Bus serves the route between the airport and the central station of Rome, Termini. Train: The Leonardo Express is the direct train that serves the route between the airport and the centre of the city of Rome every 30 minutes.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Aboard the MV Minerva
  Transportation from site: All participants who arranged their air travel through Road Scholar will be transferred from the ship in Piraeus to Athens International Airport at the end of the program. If you did not purchase 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.
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, October 6)
   
 In Transit: Flights depart from various US gateways

Day 2: Flights arrive in Rome, Italy
(Tuesday, October 7)
   
 Arrive To: Rome, Italy
 Afternoon: Join your group leader for your program orientation at the hotel.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Massimo D'Azeglio
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Rome / Embark MV Minerva
(Wednesday, October 8)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: ROAD SCHOLAR EXCLUSIVE: Visit the fascinating Villa Borghese Gallery. This beautiful setting on the outskirts of Rome houses paintings and sculptures from the 16th and 17th centuries.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: After lunch, visit the Trevi district of Rome to see the Trevi Fountain, one of the most famous fountains in the world. Legend has it that if you throw a coin into the fountain, you are sure to return to Rome. Enjoy some free time in the area before returning to the coach for the transfer to Civitavecchia to embark on the Minerva.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Rome, Italy / Ostia
(Thursday, October 9)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: 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 centre, 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 theatre and the offices of Ostia’s merchant guilds.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Spend some free time at the port until the ship sets sail. The ship is scheduled to depart the port of Civitavecchia at 19:00.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Portovenere, Italy / Independent Visit
(Friday, October 10)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Learn more about the history and culture of the Mediterranean through a series of lectures presented by your study leader and on board experts. The ship is scheduled to arrive in port at 12:00 noon.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a two hour walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Portovenere and its harbour, lined with brightly coloured houses and narrow medieval streets which lead up the hill to a castle. The main street lined with shops, is entered through Portovenere's ancient city gate and there is a picturesque church on the promontory, once the site of a temple to Venus from which the village gets its name. Minerva is scheduled to depart at 21:00.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Sailing the Tyrrehenian Sea
(Saturday, October 11)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Relax on board as the ship sails the Tyrrehenian Sea. Learn more about the history and culture of the Mediterranean through a series of lectures presented by your study leader and on board experts.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: At Sea
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Naples, Italy / Pompeii
(Sunday, October 12)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Minerva is scheduled to arrve in port at 7:00 am. Pompeii, buried under ash during the devestating 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: Return to the ship for lunch.
 Afternoon: Your afternoon is free to explore Naples independently. The ship is scheduled to be in port until 23:00.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Amalfi, Italy / Independent Amalfi
(Monday, October 13)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: The Minerva is scheduled to arrive in Amalfi at 8:00. Independent Amalfi: The delightful town of Amalfi is centrally situated on the coast of the same name, itself renowned for the natural beauty of its coastline. Disembark for an independent visit and wander through its cobbled streets and alleyways, pass brightly colored buildings and enjoy the atmosphere in the lovely cathedral square.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: The ship is scheduled to depart Amalfi at 14:00.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Palermo, Sicily
(Tuesday, October 14)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Minerva is scheduled to arrive in Palermo at 8:00. The magnificent Monreale Cathedral is considered the finest example of Norman architecture in Sicily. Within, see the Roano Chapel and admire walls lavishly embellished with 12th century Old and New Testaments and, outside, stroll through tranquil cloisters with richly inlaid and remarkable carved capitals. You can also enjoy some free time in Monreale's main square.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Enjoy some free time in the afternoon to independently explore the port of Palermo. The Minerva is scheduled to depart at 19:00.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: La Goulette, Tunisia / Carthage
(Wednesday, October 15)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Relax on board as the ship sails the Mediterranean Sea towards La Goulette. Learn more about the history and culture of the Mediterranean through a series of lectures presented by your study leader and on board experts. The ship is scheduled to arrive at 12:00 noon.
 Lunch: Enjoy a typical Moroccan lunch at a local restaurant on your way to Carthage.
 Afternoon: Carthage: Discover the extensive site of Carthage, founded by the Phoenicians and the area's dominant city for 700 years until conquered by Rome in 146BC. Among the mainly Roman ruins that remain you'll see the Punic military harbor, 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 Tophet and Baal. The ship is scheduled to depart the port of La Goulette at 18:00.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Sousse, Tunisia / El Djem & Mosaic Museum
(Thursday, October 16)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: El Djem & Mosaic Museum: Visit the spectacular 3rd century Roman amphitheatre of El Djem, once the sixth largest arena in the Roman Empire, where some 35,000 spectators could watch the gladitorail contests - sometimes from dawn until dusk. A short visit will also be made to the nearby museum, housing an extensive collection of superb mosaics as well as a reconstruction of a Roman villa.
 Lunch: Return to the ship for lunch.
 Afternoon: If time allows, enjoy some free time in the afternoon to independently explore the port of Sousse. The Minerva is scheduled to depart at 18:00
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Valletta, Malta
(Friday, October 17)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Relax on board as the ship sails the Mediterranean Sea. Learn more about the history and culture of the Mediterranean through a series of lectures presented by your study leader and on board experts. The ship is scheduled to arrive at 12:00 noon. Disembark the ship following lunch.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Valletta Town Walk: Valletta, the city of Knights of the Order of St. John, is an architecturally superb and seemingly unchanged since the 16th century. A short drive will bring you to the Castille area of the city, close to the Upper Barrakka Gardens, from where you will begin your walking tour of this remarkable fortified city. You will walk past the Upper Barrakka Gardens, the ruins of the Old Opera House and the church dedicated to Our Lady of Victory. You will visit the Archaeological Museum and St. John's Co-Cathedral, commissioned in 1572 by Grand Master Jean de la Cassiere as the Conventional Church of the Order of the Knights of Hospitaller of St. John.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
 Evening: Minerva will be docked in port overnight.
   
Accommodations: Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Valletta, Malta
(Saturday, October 18)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Valletta invites independent exploration, with so much to see close at hand. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, there are more than 300 listed monuments in Valletta, making it one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world.
 Lunch: Return to the ship for lunch.
 Afternoon: The Minerva is scheduled to depart Valetta at 14:00.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: At Sea
(Sunday, October 19)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Relax on board as the ship sails the Mediterranean Sea. Learn more about the history and culture of the Mediterranean through a series of lectures presented by your study leader and on board experts.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: At sea
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Itea, Greece / Delphi
(Monday, October 20)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: The ship is scheduled to arrive in Itea at 8:00 am. Drive up through one of the largest olive groves in Greece to discover the wonders of Delphi, regarded by the Ancient Greeks as the center of the world and the site of the famous sanctuary and powerful oracle. Lying on the slopes of Mount Parnassos, overlooking the Gulf of Corinth, both its location and impressive ruins make Delphi a spectacular site. While there you will also visit the fascinating museum, containing a marvellous collection of sculptures, friezes and artifacts found in and around Delphi.
 Lunch: Return to the ship for lunch.
 Afternoon: The Minerva is scheduled to depart the port of Itea at 13:30.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Piraeus, Greece / The Acropolis
(Tuesday, October 21)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Acropolis: Visit the Acropolis of Athens, one of the earliest settlements in Greece. From the 5th century BC, the acropolis has been dominated by the elegantly beautiful Parthenon, the largest Doric temple in the country.
 Lunch: Return to the ship for lunch.
 Afternoon: Your afternoon is free to explore the port of Piraeus. The ship will be in port overnight.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 17: Piraeus / Disembark / Departures
(Wednesday, October 22)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Disembark the ship and transfer to the airport for flights returning to North America.
   
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


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Carthage Must Be Destroyed


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Empires of the Sea


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Homer's Mediterranean, A Travel Companion


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Ironfire, A Novel of the Knights of Malta and the Last Battle of the Crusades


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Mediterranean Passages, Readings from Dido to Derrida


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Mediterranean by Cruise Ship


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On the Shores of the Mediterranean


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Palmento, A Sicilian Wine Odyssey


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Description: An American journalist living in France, Robert Camuto roams the vineyards and visits with vintners from Palermo to Marsala and the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna in this year-long celebration of the culture and spirit of Sicily, Italy's largest and oldest wine region.



Pillars of Hercules


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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.



The Ancient Mediterranean


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Description: Grant, a well-known classical scholar, provides this comprehensive history of the peoples and cultures of the Mediterranean, including Egypt, Israel, Crete, Greece, the Roman states and many others. A very well-researched account of Western history's roots.



The Colossus of Maroussi


Author: Henry Miller


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



The Fires of Vesuvius, Pompeii Lost and Found


Author: Mary Beard


Description: With the panache of a gifted classicist, Mary Beard (Wonders of the World) conjures daily life in celebrated Pompeii, not only demolishing with particular relish the many myths that have grown up around the place but also emphasizing the limits of our knowledge. Some things we simply shall never know for certain.



The Mediterranean in History


Author: David Abulafia (Editor)


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





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