23517
Greece/Turkey

Odyssey at Sea: The Greek Isles & Ephesus

Step aboard Road Scholar’s favorite ship and experience the magic of the Greek Isles on our most popular learning adventure aboard our first-ever floating campus.
Program No. 23517RJ
Length
11 days
Starts at
3,499
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Flights start at
FREE
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11 days
10 nights
26 meals
9 B 8 L 9 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Athens, Transfer to Port, Embark Aegean Odyssey
Piraeus (Athens)
D
Aegean Odyssey

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach with 4-5 steps up/down. Transfer to the port will take approximately 45 minutes. Walking about 1 mile including ship and port corridors and gangways.

Morning: Transfer from the airport to the Port of Piraeus. Meals aboard ship will begin with dinner; a light lunch will be available for those who arrive in time.

Afternoon: Embark the Aegean Odyssey. Complete boarding procedures, get your cabin, unpack, and freshen up. Then begin to explore this comfortable ship that will be our floating home. The ship’s courteous and friendly staff are scrupulous about hygiene and you will find numerous dispensers with hand-sanitizer we are encouraged to use. Along with everyone on board, we will meet at muster stations when called for the ship’s safety drill. During succeeding evenings aboard ship, there will be activities to choose from such as a guest speaker, a performance by talented musicians, and opportunities for interaction with fellow Road Scholars. Please note that lecture times and dates may vary due to time in port. Check your briefing memo for the most up to date lecture schedule.There is also a well-stocked library with daily newspapers received via satellite. Most mornings will begin with a group stretch session. On each full day of the program, we will gather for an informal “port talk” about what’s ahead. Each evening, we’ll get a briefing memo in our cabins with highlights of the next day’s activities. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. In most ports, we will have shuttle busses, or tender boats, running from/to the ship during the day for your convenience if you wish to explore independently. The extent and duration of elective walking and other free time activities depends on personal choice. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: Aboard ship, enjoy your first dinner on board in the venue of your choice: the a la carte Marco Polo restaurant, open for dinner as well as lunch on full days at sea; and the Terrace Café with its extensive buffet open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Chef-prepared meals feature fresh ingredients in tasty preparations including healthy choices. Both restaurants offer open-seating dining. All meals aboard ship are included as well as afternoon tea and late night snacks. Non-alcoholic beverages and select wines at dinner are included; other beverages are available for purchase upon request.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead. The ship is scheduled to remain in port overnight.

DAY
3
Port of Piraeus, Athens, Acropolis, Acropolis Museum
At Sea
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach with 4-5 steps up/down. Walking up to 4 miles; up/down a winding trail with many well-worn steps to Acropolis; no handrails; uneven, rocky sometimes slippery surfaces; standing up to 2 hours. At Acropolis Museum, walking and standing for more than an hour. Popular sites may be crowded at certain periods. NOTE: The “On Your Feet” activity level group will not climb to the Acropolis and will see it from the motorcoach followed by a slower paced visit to the museum.

Breakfast: In the Terrace Café — and on the Lido Deck in nice weather — there are freshly made hot and cold dishes to choose from such as eggs, breakfast meats, cereals, fruits, breads, pastries, and a variety of healthy choices as well as milk, juice, coffee, tea, water. Meals feature fresh ingredients in tasty preparations.

Morning: Orientation: We will gather this morning with the Group Leader, who will greet everyone and lead introductions. Following the Orientation session, we will step off the ship with our Group Leader and walk to our waiting motorcoach for a field trip to the city’s most iconic symbol, the Acropolis. From the UNESCO World Heritage Site inscription: “The Acropolis of Athens and its monuments are universal symbols of the classical spirit and civilization and form the greatest architectural and artistic complex bequeathed by Greek Antiquity to the world.” We will climb to the top of the rocky crag and stand in awe before ruins of the Parthenon and other temples. Built between 447-432 BCE, the Parthenon — named for the city’s patron goddess, Athena Parthenos — has been called “the supreme effort of genius in pursuit of beauty” and “the most perfect Doric temple ever built.” Its architectural proportions symbolize the ideals of Greek thought at the height of Greek civilization.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: The long-awaited Acropolis Museum was completed in 2007. Your Group Leader, or a local expert, will lead this exploration in the dramatic Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis. We will ascend floors of glass that seem to float above the excavations for an extraordinary perspective of the layers of Greek history that lie below. In addition to irreplaceable masterpieces, the exceptional collection includes items from everyday life and all historic periods. A recreation of the Parthenon’s frieze was based on existing original blocks as well as copies from museums in London and Paris. We will return to the ship by motorcoach with time to freshen up and relax. We will gather at the end of the afternoon for a port talk.

Dinner: Your choice of the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy activities aboard ship, spend time with fellow Road Scholars, and be sure to check the briefing memo placed in our cabins with highlights for tomorrow. The ship is scheduled to leave Piraeus on our journey to Mykonos.

DAY
4
Mykonos & Little Venice, Free Time
Mykonos
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach with 4-5 steps up/down. Walking about 3 miles including ship and port corridors and gangways; some steps; standing up to 2 hours. Extent and duration of elective walking and other free time activities depends on personal choice.

Breakfast: In the Terrace Café or on the Lido Deck in nice weather.

Morning: With our Group Leader, we’ll take a tender boat or shuttle bus into the Old Town and begin to explore Mykonos during a walking field trip. As we go, we will see the three main highlights of Mykonos: the Church of Panagia Paraportiani, one of the most photographed churches in Greece; the iconic windmills that can be seen from almost every angle in the village; and “Little Venice” where the buildings are built perched over the water’s edge. After the field trip, the Group Leader will accompany those who wish to return to the ship.

Lunch: Your choice of the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant, or you may choose to stay on shore and dine on your own.

Afternoon: Free time. Enjoy the activities of your choice aboard ship, including a lecture on topics relevant to our program. Or you may take advantage of the ship tender service, or seabus available for independent exploration.

Dinner: Your choice of the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy activities aboard ship, spend time with fellow Road Scholars, and be sure to check the briefing memo placed in our cabins with highlights for tomorrow. The ship is scheduled to remain in port overnight.

DAY
5
Sacred Delos, Free Time
At Sea
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Activity note: Getting on/off a local boat with steps up/down. Walking about 3 miles; some rough terrain, steps, no handrails; standing up to 2 hours.

Breakfast: In the Terrace Café or on the Lido Deck in nice weather.

Morning: We will board local boats for a walking field trip in Delos, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site. From the UNESCO inscription: “According to Greek mythology, Apollo was born on this tiny island in the Cyclades archipelago. Apollo’s sanctuary attracted pilgrims from all over Greece and Delos was a prosperous trading port. The island bears traces of the succeeding civilizations in the Aegean world, from the 3rd millennium B.C. to the Paleochristian era. The archaeological site is exceptionally extensive and rich and conveys the image of a great cosmopolitan Mediterranean port.” During our field trip, we will have an onsite lecture and explore the amazing remains here including the Marble Lions, the Sanctuary of Apollo, the Temple of Isis, and impressive mosaics. We will return to port after the field trip where you are welcome to enjoy free time aboard ship or stay ashore and explore independently.

Lunch: Your choice of the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant, or you may choose to stay in Mykonos Old Town and dine on your own.

Afternoon: Free time. Enjoy the activities of your choice aboard ship or take advantage of the seabus or tender available for independent exploration. We will gather aboard ship at the end of the afternoon for a port talk.

Dinner: Your choice of the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy activities aboard ship, spend time with fellow Road Scholars, and be sure to check the briefing memo placed in our cabins with highlights for tomorrow. The ship is scheduled to leave Mykonos on our journey to Kusadasi.

DAY
6
Ancient Ephesus, Terrace Houses, House of the Virgin Mary
At Sea
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach with 4-5 steps up/down. Walking about 5 miles; unpaved, winding trail with steps; no handrails; uneven and rough footpath; standing up to 2 hours exposed to sun, no shade. NOTE: The “On Your Feet” group will not visit the Terrace Houses.

Breakfast: In the Terrace Café or on the Lido Deck in nice weather.

Morning: We will step off the ship, board a motorcoach, and set out on a field trip to another UNESCO World Heritage Site, ancient Ephesus, where our group leader or a local expert will lead our exploration. From the UNESCO inscription: “Located within what was once the estuary of the River Kaystros, Ephesus comprises successive Hellenistic and Roman settlements founded on new locations, which followed the coastline as it retreated westward. Excavations have revealed grand monuments of the Roman Imperial period including the Library of Celsus and the Great Theatre. Little remains of the famous Temple of Artemis, one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the World,’ which drew pilgrims from all around the Mediterranean.” Unlike her Greek counterpart, this Artemis was primarily a fertility goddess. We will also see ruins of what have been called the Terrace Houses, residential structures once inhabited by wealthy Ephesians.

Lunch: In a local restaurant.

Afternoon: After lunch we will transfer to the Ephesus Archaeological Museum. This multi-room museum houses many findings from the Ephesus archaeological site. Originally built in 1929, it expanded over the years to accommodate the growing collection. The last expansion was in 1995. We will then board a motorcoach to take us to the House of the Virgin Mary. This catholic pilgrimage site is believed to be where the mother of Jesus spent the last years of her life. We will gather aboard ship at the end of the afternoon for a port talk.

Dinner: Your choice of the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy activities aboard ship, spend time with fellow Road Scholars, and be sure to check the briefing memo placed in our cabins with highlights for tomorrow. The ship is scheduled to leave Kusadasi on our journey to Patmos.

DAY
7
Patmos Chora, Grotto of the Apocalypse, Free Time
At Sea
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Activity note: Getting in and out of tender boats. Getting on/off a motorcoach with 4-5 steps up/down. Walking about 3 miles uphill; narrow alleyways paved with stones, some steps, no handrails; standing up to 2 hours. Extent and duration of elective walking and other free time activities according to personal choice. NOTE: The “On Your Feet” activity level group will have a bus excursion with photo stops on the south side of the island.

Breakfast: In the Terrace Café or on the Lido Deck in nice weather.

Morning: From the port of Patmos, we will ride a short distance to Chora where we will stroll along quaint alleyways of the 12th-century village to the Monastery of St. John the Evangelist. It was founded in 1088 by St. Christodoulos to commemorate the saint who was banished here in 95 CE by the Roman Emperor Domitian. We will then transfer to the cave, now a chapel, where tradition says St. John once lived. It was in this cave, now known as the Cave of the Apocalypse, that St. John is said to have written the Book of Revelation. We will return to port after the field trip where you are welcome to enjoy free time aboard the ship or stay on shore and explore independently.

Lunch: Your choice of the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant, or you may choose to stay on shore and dine on your own.

Afternoon: Free time. Enjoy the activities of your choice aboard ship, including a lecture on topics relevant to our program, or you may take advantage of the independent tenders for independent exploration. Returning to the ship, we will gather for a port talk at the end of the afternoon.

Dinner: Your choice of the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy activities aboard ship, spend time with fellow Road Scholars, and be sure to check the briefing memo placed in our cabins with highlights for tomorrow. The ship is scheduled to leave Patmos on our journey to Santorini.

DAY
8
Santorini Traditional Villages, Wine Tasting
Santorini
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Activity note: Getting on/off tenders and a motorcoach with 4-5 steps up/down. Walking about 3 miles uphill; narrow alleyways paved with stones, some steps, no handrails; standing up to 2 hours.

Breakfast: In the Terrace Café or on the Lido Deck in nice weather.

Morning: What we call Santorini is really a group of islands born out of violent eruptions — often associated with the legend of Atlantis. The sea-filled caldera covers what is still an active, though currently dormant, volcano. We will step into tender vessels, then board a motorcoach and drive through the village of Megalochori on our way to Oia on the northern coast. This is the most picturesque village on Santorini with charming houses, narrow streets, and blue-domed churches. We will explore the village with a local expert and take in the amazing views over the caldera.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: There is no way to describe the wild volcanic beauty of Santorini where cliffs drop straight down to the dark waters of the caldera. We will go to the edge of the cliffs where one of the best-known wineries of the island is located to taste some of the finest types of Santorini wine, local meze (appetizers), and marvel at the amazing views. The remainder of the afternoon is free. You are welcome to return to the ship and enjoy activities on board or take this time for independent exploration.

Dinner: Your choice of the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant, or you may choose to stay on shore and dine on your own.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy activities aboard ship, spend time with fellow Road Scholars, and be sure to check the briefing memo placed in our cabins with highlights for tomorrow. The ship is scheduled to remain in port overnight.

DAY
9
Free Time, Akrotiri, Museum of Prehistoric Thera
At Sea
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Activity note: Getting on/off tenders and a motorcoach with 4-5 steps up/down. Walking about 3 miles including uphill; rough, winding paths with some steps, no handrails; standing up to 2 hours. Extent and duration of elective walking and other free time activities depends on personal choice.

Breakfast: In the Terrace Café or on the Lido Deck in nice weather.

Morning: We’ll continue our exploration of Santorini at Akrotiri where archaeological excavations are uncovering the remains of this town destroyed during the eruption of the volcano in 1630 BCE. With our Group Leader, we will see the remains of three- and four-story buildings, houses that once had fresh running water, drainage systems, and wonderful frescoes. Pumice from the volcano enveloped everything but also preserved it until excavations began in 1967. Akrotiri is regarded as one of the most fascinating sites of prehistoric Greece. We will move on to the Museum of Prehistoric Thera to view some of the most important finds from Akrotiri.

Lunch: Your choice of the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant, or you may choose to stay on shore and dine on your own.

Afternoon: Free time. Enjoy the activities of your choice aboard ship, including a lecture on topics relevant to our program, or take advantage of the independent tender service available for independent exploration. We will gather aboard ship at the end of the afternoon for a port talk.

Dinner: Your choice of the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy activities aboard ship, spend time with fellow Road Scholars, and be sure to check the briefing memo placed in our cabins with highlights for tomorrow. The ship is scheduled to leave Santorini on our journey to Syros.

DAY
10
Syros, Free Time
At Sea
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Activity note: Walking about 5 miles including ship and port corridors and gangways; some steps; standing up to 2 hours at a time, mainly flat paved streets further walking and steps at St Nicholas Church. Extent and duration of elective walking and other free time activities according to personal choice. NOTE: The walk from the port involves some busy, bustling streets.

Breakfast: In the Terrace Café or on the Lido Deck in nice weather.

Morning: Setting off the ship with our Group Leader, we’ll take off on foot to explore Ermoupoli the principal port where architecture is characterized by classical design of two storied houses with stone plastered walls, red tiled roofs and wooden cornices, balconies, open terraces and courtyards. Syros stands out for its impressive architectural culture where great architects from Greece, Italy and Germany devise the Neoclassical Architecture of Syros which becomes a symbol of the status of the island. We will discover numerous little squares displaying statues of various commemorations, proudly and grabbing everyone’s attention at first sight. After the field trip, the Group Leader will accompany those who wish to return to the ship.

Lunch: Your choice of the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant, or you may choose to stay on shore and dine on your own.

Afternoon: Free time. Enjoy the activities of your choice aboard ship, including a lecture on topics relevant to our program, or take advantage of this time for independent exploration. The ship is scheduled to leave Syros on our journey to the Port of Piraeus.

Dinner: Your choice of the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during your final dinner on board.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy activities aboard ship and spend time with fellow Road Scholars. Prepare for disembarkation and departure in the morning.

DAY
11
Port of Piraeus, Disembarkation, Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Disembarkation begins as early as 2:00 a.m. depending on local schedules. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers.

Breakfast: In the Terrace Café or on the Lido Deck in nice weather.

Morning: We will complete disembarkation procedures. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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