Road Scholar : Home
To Mediterranean Waters Aboard Minerva: Portugal, Spain, Italy and Tunisia

Program Number: 21369RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/28/2014 - 8/13/2014;
Duration: 16 nights
Location: England/Italy/Portugal/Spain/Tunisia
Price starting at: $3,299.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Ocean Cruises Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 43; 15 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 15 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Experience the thinking person’s Mediterranean on this small ship voyage from England to Italy. Discover ancient temples, historic trading ports and vivid natural beauty. Joining you aboard Minerva are exceptional lecturers who illuminate the history and cultures of the Mediterranean countries you explore.




Activity Particulars

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



Itinerary At-a-Glance

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



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


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

Take some time to experience England’s grand capital city independently. Lodging: Hotel overlooking the Thames and the Tower Bridge.



Days 4-6:
At Sea / Oporto (Portugal):

Set sail across the Bay of Biscay toward Portugal. Go ashore in 2,000-year-old Oporto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discover the Palácio da Bolsa and sample some of the famed port wine.



Day 7:
Lisbon:

Continue to Portugal’s historic capital city, where your shore excursion includes Belém Tower and the magnificent Jerónimos Monastery.



Days 8-9:
At Sea / Motril (Spain):

Sail through the Strait of Gibraltar to Motril. Journey to the Alhambra Palace, built by the Moors in the shadow of the snow-capped Sierra Nevada.



Day 10:
Cartagena:

Explore Cartagena, one of Spain’s hidden gems. An expert-led field trip spans the city’s history from the Roman Theatre to modernist architecture.



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

Sail east to the beautiful island of Sardinia. Discover the seaside ruins of Nora, believed to be the first town on the island.



Day 13:
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 14:
Trapani (Italy):

Continue to the lovely island of Sicily, where you visit the ancient city of Segesta with its graceful Doric temple and Greek theater.



Day 15:
Lipari:

On the small volcanic island of Lipari, walk to the imposing Spanish-built castle. Within its ramparts an archaeological museum showcases Lipari’s history.



Days 16-17:
Naples / disembark / departure:

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



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
   Millennium Gloucester Hotel
  London, UK:England 1 night
   Minerva
  Aboard the MV Minerva, UK:England 14 nights
 Millennium Gloucester Hotel
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Three restaurants and one bar.
  Contact info: 4-18 Harrington Gardens
London,   UK:England
phone: +4402073736030
web: www.millenniumhotels.co.uk/millenniumgloucester/
  Facility amenities: •24 hour Concierge •24 hour room service •Multilingual staff •Exercise room •Laundry and dry cleaning services •Foreign exchange •Postal/parcel service •Maid service •Air conditioning •Safety deposit boxes (available in rooms and at reception) •Shoeshine services •Doctor on call •Wifi •Disabled Access
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Rates vary depending on season Please contact Road Scholar if seeking additional nights.

 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 London, England at the program hotel. You will be staying at Millennium Gloucester Hotel 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 Naples and London.
To Start of Program
  Location:  London
  Transportation to site: All participants who are arriving on the program start date and arranged their air travel through Road Scholar will be transferred from London Heathrow Airport or London Gatwick Airport to the program hotel. If you did not purchase your air through Road Scholar, you may join the designated group transfer as long as your flight arrives before or at the same time as the group flight. From London Heathrow, we recommend Piccadilly Line of the London Underground: this runs from the airport to Hammersmith Underground Station. Change on the same platform to District Line to the Gloucester Road Station for the Millennium Gloucester Hotel. There's a train every 4 to 6 minutes of an hour. The Gatwick Express runs a service into Victoria. From the terminus, you can take the Circle Line of the Underground to Gloucester Road Underground Station for the Millennium Gloucester Hotel.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Aboard the MV Minerva
  Transportation from site: There will be two group transfers from the ship to Naples International Airport on the morning of Day 17. All participants are welcome to join these transfers.
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, July 28)
   
 In Transit: Flights depart from various US gateways

Day 2: Flights arrive in London, England
(Tuesday, July 29)
   
 Arrive To: London, England. Check-in time at the hotel is at 3:00 p.m. Although we will try to secure an early check-in for participants arriving before 3:00 p.m., we cannot guarantee that there will be availability. Luggage storage will be available.
 Afternoon: Check into the hotel for one night. Join your group leader at the hotel for your program orientation.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Millennium Gloucester Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: London / Embark MV Minerva
(Wednesday, July 30)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Free time in the morning to explore London on your own. Your group leader will be available for suggestions.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch on your own in London.
 Afternoon: Meet back at the hotel for a coach transfer to Portsmouth to board the Minerva. Portsmouth is approximately 1.5 hours from London.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
 Evening: The ship departs Portsmouth at 6:00 pm.
   
Accommodations: Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
(Thursday, July 31)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Relax on board as the ship sails the Atlantic Ocean. Learn more about the history and culture of Europe and the Mediterranean through a series of lectures presented by your study leader and on board experts.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
(Friday, August 1)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Relax on board as the ship sails the Atlantic Ocean. Learn more about the history and culture of Europe and the Mediterranean through a series of lectures presented by your study leader and on board experts.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure on board.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Oporto, Portugal
(Saturday, August 2)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Ship arrives in Oporto at 8:00 a.m. From the port, you will drive to Oporto, Portugal's second largest city and capital of the north. Oporto lies on the north bank of the Duoro, while the renowned port wine lodges are located in the Vila Nova de Gaia district on the south bank; the two riverbanks are linked by three technically remarkable bridges. Your sightseeing tour will include visits to the Arabian Hall in the Stock Exchange and one of the port wine lodges in Vila Nova de Gaia to sample some port. There will be some free time at the Waterfront overlooking Oporto on the opposite bank of the river, before returning to Minerva.
 Lunch: Return to the ship for lunch.
 Afternoon: Ship departs Oporto at 14:00.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Lisbon, Portugal
(Sunday, August 3)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Minerva will arrive in Lisbon at 8:00 a.m. Once at the forefront of the golden age of discovery and world trade, Lisbon has played an important role in shaping the modern world. Enjoy a panoramic drive through the city viewing many of its attractions, including the Monument to the Discoveries and the 16th century Belem Tower – starting point for many voyages of discovery, as well as taking the view from Parque Eduard VII. Discover Santa Maria Church followed by a visit to the remarkable cloisters of St Jeronimos, a jewel of Manueline architecture, noted for its richly sculpted stonework.
 Lunch: Return to the ship for lunch.
 Afternoon: This afternoon, you are free to explore Lisbon independently. The ship is scheduled to depart at19:00.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
(Monday, August 4)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Relax on board as the ship sails the Atlantic Ocean. Learn more about the history and culture of Europe and the Mediterranean through a series of lectures presented by your study leader and on board experts.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure on board.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Motril, Spain
(Tuesday, August 5)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Minerva arrives in Motril at 8:00. Discover the wonders of Granada on an excursion that will take you approximately 640m above sea level to the Alhambra Palace, magnificently situated in the shadow of the mighty Sierra Nevada. Stroll in the Generalife Gardens where you can admire avenues of stately cypress trees, exotic flowers, box hedges and ornate fountains and also visit the richly decorated interior of the Alhambra Palace, one of the finest examples of Moorish architecture in Spain. You can also enjoy some free time – perhaps climbing up the old citadel and the 13th century Alcazaba.
 Lunch: Enjoy a late lunch at a local hotel near the Alhambra.
 Afternoon: After lunch, transfer back to the ship. The Minerva is scheduled depart Motril at 17:00
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Cartagena, Spain
(Wednesday, August 6)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Minerva is scheduled to arrive in Cartagena at 8:00 a.m. This morning, visit the city’s main attractions which reveal the rich layers of history in Cartagena: from the Carthaginian and Roman periods to the Civil War and the present day, this well defended port city continues to evolve. Discover the Roman Theatre which was recently uncovered amidst the 20th century townscape, before strolling along the Calle Mayor to see the exterior of the modernist buildings built by industrial barons during the heyday of mineral extraction in the hinterland of Cartagena. Take the panoramic lift to enjoy the view over the city and harbour from Conception Hill. Cartagena was bombed heavily during the Civil War; visit the Civil War Air Raid Shelter and, through displays, photos and new footage, learn about everyday life during this period.
 Lunch: Return to the ship for lunch.
 Afternoon: If time allows, spend some free time exploring the port of Cartagena. The Minerva is scheduled to depart at 15:00
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Cruising the Mediterranean Sea
(Thursday, August 7)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Relax on board as the ship sails the Mediterranean Sea. Learn more about the history and culture of Europe and the Mediterranean through a series of lectures presented by your study leader and on board experts.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure on board.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy
(Friday, August 8)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Minerva is scheduled to arrive in Cagliari at 9:00. Visit the archaeological site of Nora, thought to be the first town founded in Sardinia and settled by the ancient Nuraghi people. It was colonized by the Phoenicians and, following the Roman conquest of Sardinia in 238BC, by the Romans. Nora’s geographical location, situated on a peninsula, made it an important trading town with two harbours, one on either side of the peninsula. Today much of the site remains – though some is on land belonging to the Italian military and is yet to be excavated.
 Lunch: Return to the ship for lunch.
 Afternoon: The Minerva is scheduled to depart Cagliari at 14:00. Relax on board the ship as you sail towards La Goulette, Tunisia.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: La Goulette, Tunisia
(Saturday, August 9)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Minerva is scheduled to arrive in La Goulette at 8:00 a.m. Discover the extensive site of ancient Carthage, founded by the Phoenicians and the area’s dominant city-state for 700 years until conquered by Rome in 146BC. Among the mainly Roman ruins that remain you’ll see the Punic military harbour, Antonine Baths, Roman villas, amphitheatre and Punic diggings. You’ll also drive past several Carthaginian temples, including the Sanctuary of Tophet, where over 20,000 urns have been discovered containing the remains of children sacrificed to Tophet and Baal.
 Lunch: Return to the ship for lunch.
 Afternoon: Minerva is scheduled to depart La Goulette at 19:00
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Trapani, Italy
(Sunday, August 10)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Minerva arrives in Trapani at 8:00 a.m. Explore the remains of the ancient Elymian city of Segesta, which dates back to the 12th century BC. An uncompleted graceful Doric temple dating from around 430 BC still stands on the site, an excellent example of form and proportion. You will also visit the Greek theater that stands on the northern slope of Mt. Barbaro, dating back to the 4th century BC. Another pleasure will be enjoying excellent views of the surrounding countryside and the far distant coastline.
 Lunch: Return to the ship for lunch.
 Afternoon: Your afternoon is free to independently explore the port of Trapani. The ship will be in docked until 19:00.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Lipari, Aeolian Islands, Italy
(Monday, August 11)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Minerva is schedule to arrive in Lipari at 8:00 a.m. Commence on foot to the Castle, built by the Spaniards in 1500. Within its powerful ramparts the Archaeological Museum houses artifacts that have been recovered from the many early civilizations that have contributed to the heritage of the island. The Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans and Spanish all spent time on the islands and left their legacy. Stroll through this charming town and visit St Bartholew Cathedral. Originally built by the Normans then destroyed by the pirate Barbarossa (Red Beard) in 1544, the baroque building you see today was built in 1654.
 Lunch: Return to the ship for lunch.
 Afternoon: If time allows, spend some free time exploring the port of Lipari. The ship is scheduled to depart at 17:00.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Naples, Italy
(Tuesday, August 12)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Minerva arrives in Naples at 8:00 a.m. Pompeii, buried under ash during the devastating eruption of Vesuvius in AD79, provides an evocative and fascinating insight into the daily life of a prosperous Roman city. Among the extensive ruins are impressive temples, a forum, one of the largest known amphitheatres in the world, beautiful homes, and streets lined with shops and houses.
 Lunch: Return to the ship for lunch.
 Afternoon: Free time in port to explore on your own. The ship will be docked in Naples overnight.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 17: Naples / Disembark / Departures
(Wednesday, August 13)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Disembark the ship and transfer to the Naples International 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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A Traveller's History of Spain


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Carthage


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Carthage Must Be Destroyed


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Fodor's London's 25 Best


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


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La Bella Figura, A Field Guide to the Italian Mind


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



La Bella Lingua


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


Author: Neill Lochery


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



Mediterranean Cruises Map


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Mediterranean by Cruise Ship


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



National Geographic Naples and Southern Italy


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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 Mediterranean in History


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The Smiles of Rome, A Literary Companion for Readers and Travelers


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