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23587
Greece/Turkey

Odyssey at Sea: The Greek Isles, Ephesus & Istanbul

Join us for an adventure of grand proportions aboard Road Scholar’s favorite ship, the Aegean Odyssey, as you learn about iconic locales and hidden gems from Greece to Istanbul.
Program No. 23587RJ
Length
12 days
Starts at
3,999
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Flights start at
FREE
Greece/Turkey

Odyssey at Sea: The Greek Isles, Ephesus & Istanbul

Join us for an adventure of grand proportions aboard Road Scholar’s favorite ship, the Aegean Odyssey, as you learn about iconic locales and hidden gems from Greece to Istanbul.
Length
12 days
Starts at
3,999
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Flights start at
FREE
Program No. 23587 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
airfare
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climate
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itinerary
Please Note:
The itinerary for this program is different on certain dates.
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.

DATES & PRICES

Ship Inside
Details
Accommodation Details
A cabin with no window, porthole or balcony.
Ship Out
Details
Accommodation Details
A cabin with a window or porthole to view the outside.
Ship Balc
Details
Accommodation Details
A cabin featuring a verandah, or balcony, that allows you to step outside without going to a public deck.
Apr 22 - May 3, 2021
Ship Inside 3,999
Ship Outside 4,599
Ship Balcony 6,499
Special Offer

OFFER EXTENDED: Enroll by Dec. 31, 2020 for free air from many cities! Airfare availability may vary by date. Ask about low-cost air from other cities.

May 8 - May 19, 2021
Ship Inside 3,999
Ship Outside 4,599
Ship Balcony 6,499
Special Offer

OFFER EXTENDED: Enroll by Dec. 31, 2020 for free air from many cities! Airfare availability may vary by date. Ask about low-cost air from other cities.

Itinerary Note

This departure begins in Istanbul and ends in Athens. Please see itinerary for details.

Sep 30 - Oct 11, 2021
Ship Inside 4,199
Ship Outside 4,799
Ship Balcony 6,699
Special Offer

OFFER EXTENDED: Enroll by Dec. 31, 2020 for free air from many cities! Airfare availability may vary by date. Ask about low-cost air from other cities.

Oct 16 - Oct 27, 2021
Ship Inside 4,199
Ship Outside 4,799
Ship Balcony 6,699
Special Offer

OFFER EXTENDED: Enroll by Dec. 31, 2020 for free air from many cities! Airfare availability may vary by date. Ask about low-cost air from other cities.

Itinerary Note

This departure begins in Istanbul and ends in Athens. Please see itinerary for details.

DATES & PRICES

Ship Inside
Details
Accommodation Details
A cabin with no window, porthole or balcony.
Ship Out
Details
Accommodation Details
A cabin with a window or porthole to view the outside.
Ship Balc
Details
Accommodation Details
A cabin featuring a verandah, or balcony, that allows you to step outside without going to a public deck.
Apr 22 - May 3, 2021
Ship Inside 4,999
Ship Outside 5,599
Ship Balcony 7,999
Special Offer

OFFER EXTENDED: Enroll by Dec. 31, 2020 for free air from many cities! Airfare availability may vary by date. Ask about low-cost air from other cities.

May 8 - May 19, 2021
Ship Inside 4,999
Ship Outside 5,599
Ship Balcony 7,999
Special Offer

OFFER EXTENDED: Enroll by Dec. 31, 2020 for free air from many cities! Airfare availability may vary by date. Ask about low-cost air from other cities.

Itinerary Note

This departure begins in Istanbul and ends in Athens. Please see itinerary for details.

Sep 30 - Oct 11, 2021
Ship Inside 5,199
Ship Outside 5,799
Ship Balcony 8,199
Special Offer

OFFER EXTENDED: Enroll by Dec. 31, 2020 for free air from many cities! Airfare availability may vary by date. Ask about low-cost air from other cities.

Oct 16 - Oct 27, 2021
Ship Inside 5,199
Ship Outside 5,799
Ship Balcony 8,199
Special Offer

OFFER EXTENDED: Enroll by Dec. 31, 2020 for free air from many cities! Airfare availability may vary by date. Ask about low-cost air from other cities.

Itinerary Note

This departure begins in Istanbul and ends in Athens. Please see itinerary for details.

At a Glance

Join us for an adventure of grand proportions aboard our first-ever floating campus! Step aboard Road Scholar’s favorite ship, the Aegean Odyssey, and learn about iconic locales and hidden gems from Greece to Istanbul. Beginning in legendary Athens, you’ll discover countless treasures across the Aegean — both ancient and modern — from the energetic local life of Mykonos to the romantic vistas of Santorini, ending in the historic capital of Istanbul. Unlike most cruise ships that are briefly in port, you’ll have overnight stays in many locations, giving you plenty of opportunity for deeper exploration. We’ve taken care of every detail — and can’t wait for you to join us aboard our first-ever floating campus!

For an easy travel experience...

We offer extra hotel nights before or after this program.

Odyssey at Sea: Lodging in Istanbul II

The lively streets and vast history of Istanbul are yours to explore independently before your Odyssey at Sea voyage, complete with a one-night stay in the heart of the city.
Activity Level
Choose Your Pace
This program offers two activity levels to choose from on every departure date: one that has less walking and fewer stairs and another at a more active pace.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Experience authentic local life and time-honored treasures on two of the most popular Greek Isles, Mykonos and Santorini.
  • Visit Istanbul’s legendary Church of Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque with a local expert.
  • Discover the storied past behind the ruins of Ephesus, the jewel of Greek-Roman cities, during your time in Turkey.
  • Sail exclusively with ship mates who are all Road Scholar participants, as dedicated to learning as you are.

General Notes

We’ll have up to 350 Road Scholar participants on the ship, divided into groups of 35 for shore excursions. Please note roommate matching is available in categories F, H and L. Looking to extend your stay? If your departure begins in Istanbul, you may enroll in "Odyssey at Sea: Lodging in Istanbul II" (#24025). If your departure begins in Athens, you may enroll in "Odyssey at Sea: Lodging in Athens II" (#24023).
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Travels With Epicurus
by Daniel Klein
Daniel Klein's witty meditation on the ancients, life in the Greek Islands, his favorite philosophers -- and growing old gracefully -- is also a delightful romp through the Aegean, primarily set on Hydra.
Istanbul: The Imperial City
by John Freely
Whether you call it Byzantium, Constantinople, or Istanbul, the “old Turkish hand” John Freely tells the story of each creation and decline up to today’s Istanbul under the Turkish Republic. Spirited and colorful, Freely gives his readers a lively account of the turmoil each incarnation brought. In addition to “page turning history”, Freely gives a complete listing of monuments & museums in the city - he has lived there for decades. This is the one to read on Istanbul if you have a short list of books and limited time to get into its history.
A Traveller's History of Greece
by Timothy Boatswain, Colin Nicolson
A nicely written survey from prehistory through the 1990s: wide-ranging, accessible and necessarily condensed.
Greece, Land of Light
by Nicholas Gage, Barry Brukoff
Brukoff's dramatic color photographs are paired with incisive commentary by award-winning author Nicholas Gage for this striking portrait of the people, land and history of Greece and the islands
Constantinople; City of the World’s Desire, 1453-1924
by Philip Mansel
Mansel is a noted historian and author of several works about the Sultans and the Ottoman World. This book focuses on the political and architectural history of the capital Constantinople (modern day Istanbul) and covers the span of the Ottoman empire. The book ends on November 17, 1922 when the last Sultan and a small party slipped out of Palace at 8 AM and scrambled aboard a British naval ship that hauled anchor for Malta at 8:43 AM. A fine work, lots of detail, very readable and helpful in sorting out the complexities of 600 years of Ottoman power.
Circe
by Madeline Miller
#1 New York Times Bestseller, Madeline Miller weaves an intoxicating tale of gods and heroes, magic and monsters, survival and transformation.
Essential Rumi
by Coleman Barks
A collection of poetry by the 13th-century Sufi mystic. Coleman renders a well-chosen selection of Persian estatic poetry into contemporary English.
The Greek Myths, Complete Edition
by Robert Graves
A new edition of Graves' classic collection with a cover by comic book artist Ross MacDonald. This expert retelling by Graves, a poet, memoirist and the author of I, Claudius (ITL429), still remains the seminal modern translation of the mythologies of Ancient Greece.
Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds
by Stephen Kinzer
A passionate love for the Turkish people and an optimism that its ruling class can complete Turkey's transformation into a Western-style democracy mark Kinzer's reflections on a country that sits geographically and culturally at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. Kinzer, the former New York Times Istanbul bureau chief, gives a concise introduction to Turkey: Kemal Ataterk's post-WWI establishment of the modern secular Turkish state; the odd makeup of contemporary society, in which the military enforces Ataterk's reforms. In stylized but substantive prose, he devotes chapters to the problems he sees plaguing Turkish society: Islamic fundamentalism, frictions regarding the large Kurdish minority and the lack of democratic freedoms. Kinzer's commonsense, if naeve, solution: the ruling military elite, which takes power when it feels Turkey is threatened, must follow the modernizing path of Ataterk whom Kinzer obviously admires a step further and increase human rights and press freedoms. Kinzer's journalistic eye serves him well as he goes beyond the political, vividly describing, for instance, the importance and allure of the narghile salon, where Turks smoke water pipes. Here, as elsewhere, Kinzer drops his journalist veneer and gets personal, explaining that he enjoys the salons in part "because the sensation of smoking a water pipe is so seductive and satisfying." Readers who want a one-volume guide to this fascinating country need look no further.
Ataturk: A biography of Mustafa Kemal - Father of Modern Turkey
by Lord Kinross
Kinross tells the story of Ataturk in such an engaging way that you stay glued to the page. Beginning with his birth in 1881 in Salonika, Greece, during the usual Balkan struggles, the book traces his youth through his early education and military service. Along the way Kinross reveals the experiences that formed Ataturk’s rebel spirit, leads you through the evolution of his hatred for the rich, the corrupt, and the abusive religious and political classes. He takes you onto the battlefield where Ataturk’s leadership and inspiration routs the Greeks who invaded Turkey in the aftermath of W.W.I. Kinross takes you step by step through the formation of a new, secular Republic, free of domination by Sultans, Moslem Caliphs or foreign countries, and describes how Turkey secured a place among nations. You’ll learn of Ataturk’s commitment to equality for all people, men and women alike, and how he lead the new Turkish nation westward by adopting the western alphabet overnight, creating a new Turkish language, and provided free education for all. A “must read” in order to understand present-day Turkey’s struggle to maintain the secular principles Ataturk established.
Eyewitness Guide Turkey
by Eyewitness Guides
Gorgeously illustrated and filled with excellent maps, this compact book is a thorough overview of Turkey, its history, traditions, cultures and sights. With hundreds of color photographs and illustrations.
Greece, A Traveler's Literary Companion
by Artemis Leontis (Editor)
In this terrific anthology, 24 modern Greek writers offer a flavor of their nation, its culture and people, beautiful landscapes and rich history.
It's All Greek to Me
by Charlotte Higgins
With timelines, a who's who, charts and maps, this handy little primer is a thoroughly entertaining introduction to everything Greek, from poetry and drama to philosophy, history and culture.
Ancient Greece: Art, Architecture, and History
by Marina Belozerskaya, Kenneth Lapatin
This lyrical novel captures the humanity, quirks and loves of village life in the Greek islands. A satire of war, this charming and richly-colored novel is set on Cephalonia during the Italian occupation in the 1940s.
Harem - The World Behind the Veil
by Alev Lytle Croutier
The author left Turkey at age 18 for the US, returning 15 years later to visit her birthplace and family. Intrigued upon learning that her grandmother had lived in a harem, she interviewed aunts and other family members about their recollections. About that same time (mid 1970’s) the Harem of Topkapi Palace was opened to visitors. With thoughtful research and richly illustrated, Croutier pieces together a realistic description of daily life in the Sultan’s Harem. Her fascinating insights into customs, food and ceremony of the Palace through 450 hundred years, make this an enjoyable read. The addition of family photographs and an amusing chapter about Western misconceptions of the term “harem” sets this work apart from all other books of its kind.
A Traveller's History of Athens
by Richard Stoneman
A brief history of Athens through the 1990's -- wide-ranging, accessible and effectively condensed. With a useful chronology and historical gazetteer, this book marches confidently through the centuries.
Mediterranean by Cruise Ship
by Anne Vipond
A 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.
Athens Map
by Borch Maps
An excellent laminated map of the city center at a scale of 1:7,500 with inset maps of the Acropolis, Epidaurus, Mycenae, Attica and the surrounding region.
Turkey: A Modern History
by Erik J. Zürcher
A revised edition looks at Turkey's modern day changes and continuations into a capitalist and modern world. Focuses on the 1950s and forward, Zürcher focuses on politics, military, human rights issues, Turkey's relationships with Europe and the West and their ambivalent relationship with the Middle East.
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12 days
11 nights
28 meals
10 B 8 L 10 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Athens, Transfer to Hotel, Orientation
Athens
D
Acropolis Select

Activity note: Diethnís Aeroliménas Athinón Elefthérios Venizélos — Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos (ATH). Refer to your personal air itinerary for specific flight information. Transfer to your hotel.

Afternoon: After transferring to the hotel and checking in, take some time to freshen up and relax before our Orientation session. Orientation: 6:00 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. 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: In the hotel dining room, have what you like from the dinner buffet with beverage choices of wine, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

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

DAY
3
Athens, Acropolis, Acropolis Museum, Embark Aegean Odyssey
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: At the hotel

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we'll board a 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. During an expert-led 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. Late afternoon, we board the motorcoach to transfer to the port of Piraeus, approximately 30-minutes drive. Embark the Aegean Odyssey. After completing boarding procedures and getting your cabin, take some time to unpack, freshen up, and relax. Then begin to become familiar with this comfortable ship that will be our floating home for the duration of the program. The ship’s friendly and courteous 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. 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. The extent and duration of elective walking and other free time activities is according to personal choice. In most ports, complimentary shuttle busses will be available for those who wish to explore independently.

Dinner: Aboard ship, have dinner in the venue of your choice: the à 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. Meals feature fresh local ingredients in tasty preparations. Both restaurants offer open-seating dining. All meals aboard ship are included, as well as afternoon tea and late night snacks. Non-alcoholic beverages plus select wines at dinner are included; other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: On different 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. There is also a well-stocked library with daily newspapers received via satellite. Each evening, a briefing memo/daily journal will be placed in our cabins with highlights of the next day’s activities. Most mornings will begin with a group stretch session. On each full day of the program, we will gather with our Group Leader for an informal “port talk” about what’s ahead. The ship is scheduled to leave the port of Piraeus and begin our journey to Hydra.

DAY
4
Hydra, Free Time
At Sea
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Activity note: Getting in/out of tender vessels. Walking about 3 miles; narrow, cobblestone streets; standing up to 2 hours at a time. Extent and duration of free time activities according to personal choice.

Breakfast: In the Terrace Café — and on the Lido Deck in nice weather — there are 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: We will anchor off the island of Hydra and board tender boats. Then set out on a walking field trip with our Group Leader to learn about local traditions and customs. Separated from the Peloponnese by a narrow strip of water, Hydra has developed a strong maritime culture around the many natural bays and harbors. It was around these harbors that towns grew into picturesque port towns along the steep hillsides. 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 or take advantage of the tender vessels available for independent exploration. Later in the afternoon, we will gather for a port talk.

Dinner: You may choose either the Marco Polo Restaurant that serves a variety of á là carte items or the Terrace Café with its buffet.

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

DAY
5
Santorini, Akrotiri, Free Time
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 according to personal choice.

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 to start our exploration of Santorini at Akrotiri. Here, 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.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Free time to do or see what interests you most in port or onboard the ship. The Group Leader is happy to offer suggestions. We will gather aboard ship late afternoon for a port talk.

Dinner: You may choose either the Marco Polo Restaurant that serves a variety of á là carte items or the Terrace Café with its buffet.

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

DAY
6
Mykonos & Little Venice, Free Time
Mykonos
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Activity note: Getting in/out of tender boats. Getting on/off a motorcoach with 4-5 steps up/down. Walking about 4 miles including ship and port corridors and gangways; some steps; standing up to 2 hours. Extent and duration of free time activities according to 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. Explore Mykonos on foot. As we walk, 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. At the end of 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 the ship tender service, or seabus available for independent exploration.

Dinner: You may choose either the Marco Polo Restaurant that serves a variety of á là carte items or the Terrace Café with its buffet.

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

DAY
7
Mykonos, 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. Extent and duration of free time activities according to personal choice.

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 paleo Christian era. The archaeological site is exceptionally extensive and rich and conveys the image of a great cosmopolitan Mediterranean port.” 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 shuttle busses available for independent exploration. We will gather aboard ship late afternoon for a port talk.

Dinner: You may choose either the Marco Polo Restaurant that serves a variety of á là carte items or the Terrace Café with its buffet.

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

DAY
8
Samos, Free Time
At Sea
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach with 4-5 steps up/down. Walking about 3 miles, some steps; standing up to 2 hours. Extent and duration of free time activities according to personal choice.

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

Morning: Setting off the ship with our Group Leader, we’ll board a motorcoach for a field trip into Samos, a small island in the eastern Aegean Sea. In Vathi, the capital and main port, we will explore on foot and see where neoclassical architecture intertwines winding streets and small squares. We will also learn about Pythagoras, the influential philosopher and mathematician born here in the 6th century BCE. For a time, he lived in a cave apart from society where he developed and taught his theories. We will return to port at the end of 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 on shore and dine on your own.

Afternoon: Free time. Enjoy the activities aboard the ship, or take advantage of free time for independent exploration. Back aboard ship, we will gather for a port talk in late afternoon.

Dinner: You may choose either the Marco Polo Restaurant that serves a variety of á là carte items or the Terrace Café with its buffet.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy activities aboard ship, spend time with fellow Road Scholars, and be sure to check the briefing memo/daily bulletin placed in our cabins with highlights for tomorrow.

DAY
9
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: Upon arrival in the port of Kusadasi, 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 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: At 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.

Dinner: You may choose either the Marco Polo Restaurant that serves a variety of á là carte items or the Terrace Café with its buffet.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy activities aboard ship, spend time with fellow Road Scholars, and be sure to check the briefing memo/daily bulletin placed in our cabins with highlights for tomorrow.

DAY
10
At Sea, Lectures, Shipboard Activities
At Sea
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Activity note: Extent and duration of free time activities according to personal choice.

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

Morning: Enjoy the activities of your choice aboard ship, including a lecture on topics relevant to our program.

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

Afternoon: Free time. Enjoy the activities of your choice aboard ship. In the late afternoon, we will gather for a port talk.

Dinner: You may choose either the Marco Polo Restaurant that serves a variety of á là carte items or the Terrace Café with its buffet.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy activities aboard ship, spend time with fellow Road Scholars, and be sure to check the briefing memo/daily bulletin placed in our cabins with highlights for tomorrow, when the ship will arrive in Istanbul.

DAY
11
Disembark, Istanbul, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque
Istanbul
B,D
Marmara Taksim

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach with 4-5 steps up/down. Walking about 5 miles including steps at Palace; no handrails; standing up to 5 hours. NOTE: The “On Your Feet” group will not go inside the harem apartments. Check-in begins at 3:00 p.m.

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

Morning: We will disembark from the ship and then board a motorcoach and ride to the Topkapi Palace. Constructed from 1460-1478, it served as the residence of Ottoman sultans as well as their administrative and ceremonial center until the mid-19th century. A local expert will lead our exploration as we see aspects of the Imperial Treasury that holds riches of royal history including thrones, jeweled pendants, and precious stones, sacred items from the tomb of the Prophet Mohammed, decorated weapons, and much more. We will also see parts of the harem apartments that originally contained more than 300 rooms including living quarters for the sultan and his family, bath houses, courtyards, dormitories for concubines, a hospital, laundry, mosques, and pavilions.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: Moving on, we will visit the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, known as the Blue Mosque for what were originally richly hued blue tiles decorating its interior. It was constructed from 1609-1616 facing Hagia Sophia. Still an active mosque, it is the only one in Istanbul with six minarets where a Muezzin calls the faithful to prayer five times each day. Beneath its multiple domes, there are more than 20,000 handmade ceramic tiles, some 260 stained glass windows, and verses from the Qu’ran displayed in calligraphic art. Late afternoon, we'll transfer to the hotel and check in.

Dinner: Enjoy a farewell dinner as a group.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for departures in the morning.

DAY
12
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Transfer to the Istanbul International Airport. See your program’s "Transportation Information" regarding transfers. Check out is at 12:00 p.m.

Breakfast: At the hotel depending on departure times.

Morning: We will board a motorcoach and transfer to the Istanbul airport. This completes 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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