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

OFFER EXTENDED: Enroll by March 31, 2021 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 March 31, 2021 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.

Apr 24 - May 5, 2022
Ship Inside 4,199
Ship Outside 4,799
Ship Balcony 6,699
Special Offer

Enroll by March 31, 2021 for free air from many cities! Airfare availability may vary by date. Ask about low-cost air from other cities.

May 14 - May 25, 2022
Ship Inside 4,399
Ship Outside 4,999
Ship Balcony 6,899
Special Offer

Enroll by March 31, 2021 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 29 - Oct 10, 2022
Ship Inside 4,399
Ship Outside 4,999
Ship Balcony 6,899
Special Offer

Enroll by March 31, 2021 for free air from many cities! Airfare availability may vary by date. Ask about low-cost air from other cities.

Oct 19 - Oct 30, 2022
Ship Inside 4,399
Ship Outside 4,999
Ship Balcony 6,899
Special Offer

Enroll by March 31, 2021 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.
Sep 30 - Oct 11, 2021
Ship Inside 5,199
Ship Outside 5,799
Ship Balcony 8,199
Special Offer

OFFER EXTENDED: Enroll by March 31, 2021 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 March 31, 2021 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.

Apr 24 - May 5, 2022
Ship Inside 5,199
Ship Outside 5,799
Ship Balcony 8,199
Special Offer

Enroll by March 31, 2021 for free air from many cities! Airfare availability may vary by date. Ask about low-cost air from other cities.

May 14 - May 25, 2022
Ship Inside 5,399
Ship Outside 5,999
Ship Balcony 8,399
Special Offer

Enroll by March 31, 2021 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 29 - Oct 10, 2022
Ship Inside 5,399
Ship Outside 5,999
Ship Balcony 8,399
Special Offer

Enroll by March 31, 2021 for free air from many cities! Airfare availability may vary by date. Ask about low-cost air from other cities.

Oct 19 - Oct 30, 2022
Ship Inside 5,399
Ship Outside 5,999
Ship Balcony 8,399
Special Offer

Enroll by March 31, 2021 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).
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Christopher Witcombe
Christopher Witcombe studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy. He earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s in art history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a Ph.D. in art history at Bryn Mawr College. He taught art history for 37 years and was a Visiting Scholar at Oxford University, England, and the American Academy, Rome. He is Emeritus Professor of Art History at Sweet Briar College, Virginia. He has published nine books and is working two new books on art.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Christopher Witcombe
Christopher Witcombe View biography
Christopher Witcombe studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy. He earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s in art history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a Ph.D. in art history at Bryn Mawr College. He taught art history for 37 years and was a Visiting Scholar at Oxford University, England, and the American Academy, Rome. He is Emeritus Professor of Art History at Sweet Briar College, Virginia. He has published nine books and is working two new books on art.
Profile Image of Brian Williams
Brian Williams View biography
Brian Williams is Emeritus Professor of Geology at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. He has published more than 100 papers and several books. He is also a consultant to the oil industry and small geological companies. His studies have taken him to all corners of the globe, giving him the opportunity to share his enthusiasm for rocks and earth processes with adult education classes, industry personnel, and students alike. When he is not "geologizing," Brian is passionate about rugby, American jazz, literature, film, and travel.
Profile Image of Spyros Tsampikakis
Spyros Tsampikakis View biography
Spyros Tsampikakis is a photographer from the island of Rhodes in Greece. He will be aboard the Aegean Odyssey during a number of Road Scholar programs leading photography sessions on deck and ashore. His approachable style aims to capture the emotion and atmosphere of every moment recorded. In 2007 he hosted his first personal exhibition and since has since taken part in many other team-work projects. Spyros’ photos are published in international magazines such as National Geographic, Yachting magazine, and the book “Hellas Bound.”
Profile Image of Ioanna Kopsiafti
Ioanna Kopsiafti View biography
Ioanna Kopsiafti is an art historian, professor, and writer living in Athens for the past 20 years. She earned her Masters from St. Andrews University and her doctorate from Oxford. Ioanna currently lectures in Athens and Rome, primarily on ancient Greek and Roman art and civilization. Her publications include “Style City Athens” (Thames & Hudson 2006) and “Thinking Space, Advancing Art: Cassirer with Crowther” (Routledge 2015) on the philosophy of symbolic forms that explores language, myth, religion, and art within the philosophy of culture.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.





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