Witness the revered and the sacred during an inspiring 15-day cruise framed by enriching time spent in Rome and Athens. Visit Naples, gateway to Pompeii, and Crete, home of the legendary Minotaur. In Israel, a day in Ashdod and an overnight in Haifa put the holiest sites within reach: Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth and more. You will also call on Limassol, Cyprus, and storied Rhodes and Mykonos.
Step on board to begin your journey. The ship will be berthed in Civitavecchia, the closest port to the airport and Rome. Relax and settle in to your stateroom, perhaps also unwinding at our Infinity Pool.
Explore the 'Eternal City' today with a local guide. Marvel at the magnificent Colosseum, where gladiators once battled; the historic Roman Forum, gathering place and political center of the ancients; and Vatican City. You might also choose one of our fascinating tours that highlights Rome's treasures. Alternately, visit Tarquinia's Etruscan necropolis or the excavated town of Ostia.
In Naples, your choice of excursions abounds. Take in magnificent examples of Greek and Roman architecture and the Piazza del Plebiscito, the grandest public square in the city, facing the former Royal Palace of the King of Naples. Optionally, also explore Herculaneum, Italy's 'other' Pompeii, drive along the stunning Amalfi Coast, or take a trip to the summit of Vesuvius. In your spare time, sample a hot espresso, a slice of pizza (the world's first pizzeria opened here in 1830) or a locally made limoncello.
As you cruise to your next port, spend the day savoring the amenities of your elegant ship. Indulge in Nordic-inspired treatments at The Spa or find your inner calm with some yoga on the Sports Deck. Tonight, dine on thoughtfully prepared cuisine that connects you to the flavors of Italy and the Mediterranean and watch a movie beneath the stars at the Main Pool.
Call on fabled Crete today, home to the Minoans, Europe's oldest recorded civilization. Here, you will uncover local remnants of the Venetian Empire, which brought great wealth to the capital of Heraklion. Admire the Koules Fortress—known to the Venetians as the Rocca al Mare, or 'fortress by the sea'—at the Old Port's entrance. Explore the café-lined Lions Square and the arched gallery of the celebrated Loggia. And pause to sip tsikoudia, a grape-based brandy distilled in the hills. Alternatively, you might venture to the ancient Palace of Knossos, the famed site where Theseus is said to have slain the mighty Minotaur, or take in the splendid coastal scenery during a tour of the island's traditional villages.
Enjoy a day on board as you cruise the Mediterranean Sea. Take in the sea views from the Explorers' Lounge or reserve a soothing massage at The Spa. Linger over tea and scones in the Wintergarden or soak up the sun on deck.
Call on the port of Ashdod today, just one hour from Jerusalem. You can explore the holy city on a full-day included excursion that takes you into the heart of the Jewish Quarter to view the Western Wall, the Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock. Trace the final steps of Jesus along the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, believed to be the site of his crucifixion. You will sample Israeli cuisine for lunch before returning to the ship. Or, you can opt to combine visits to Jerusalem and Bethlehem, city of Jesus's birth.
Arrive in Haifa today, an ideal port from which to explore the north of Israel. Ascend Mt. Carmel, where the prophet Elijah is said to have set fire to a sacrifice and ended a drought. On the mountain's slope overlooking the city, you can also stroll the magnificent terraced Hanging Gardens of Haifa, center of the Bahá'í faith. Nearby, explore the fascinating Old City of Acre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world. Alternatively, you can choose to explore ancient Caesarea, built by King Herod as an early center of Christianity, go up Mt. Carmel for a closer look, and enjoy stunning views of Haifa and the countryside. We're docked overnight here, so you will have a full day tomorrow to explore this historic port.
Today is free for you to explore more of Haifa and its surroundings. Or you can venture deeper into Israel to immerse yourself in this sacred land on an inspiring two-day optional tour of the Holy Land, rejoining our ship at its berth in Ashdod tomorrow. Visit Nazareth, where Jesus spent his youth … the Sea of Galilee, where he delivered the Sermon on the Mount, said to be the site of many of his miracles … the Dead Sea, where King David sought refuge … Bethlehem, city of Jesus's birth … and Jerusalem, center of Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
See the cosmopolitan side of Cyprus in Limassol's busy beachfront and contemplate the centuries of history at the castles from the era of the crusaders. In one of them, Richard the Lionheart married Berengaria of Navarre and crowned her Queen of England. Our berth in Limassol is overlooked by the dramatic Troodos Mountains, where most of the island's grapes are grown. You'll visit the village of Kolossi and its 13th-century castle, built by the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.
Spend the day on board reflecting on your journey during a day of cruising the Mediterranean. You might attend an illuminating lecture on board. This evening, unwind with a pre-dinner cocktail in the Explorers' Lounge; for dinner, try some wine and food pairings at the Chef's Table.
Discover the Old Town of Rhodes today. This 'Island of Knights' prospered from the wealth brought here from the Holy Land by the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem. You will follow the Street of the Knights past the 15th-century Hospital of the Knights to the most imposing building on Rhodes: the Palace of the Grand Masters, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will tour this fascinating building, which was first a castle, then a royal palace, and later a holiday retreat for Italian dictator Mussolini. Our berth is very near the city's historic quarter, allowing you to linger at your leisure after your included walking tour. You can also opt to visit the Acropolis of Lindos; from its rocky perch, you'll have magnificent views of the whitewashed village and fishing harbor below.
Call on sun-drenched Mykonos today, brought to the world's attention by Jackie Onassis in the 1960s. Though it is the smallest of the Greek Islands, it strikes a picture-perfect pose, with its centuries-old windmills perched on seaside ridges and labyrinthine streets of whitewashed houses with sky-blue doors. You'll walk its narrow lanes and see the Paraportiani Church. Visit the Little Venice quarter and marvel at those famous windmills up close. You might also meet the island's mascot, a pelican named Petros, on the waterfront.
Today, you will have the opportunity to journey into ancient Athens via a panoramic drive, passing the promenade at Mikrolimano as you enter the city's heart. There, you will see the Hellenic Parliament, Constitution Square, the Panathenaic Stadium, the Temple of Zeus and the iconic Acropolis. Explore the bustling Plaka District at the base of the Acropolis. Or as an option, explore the interior of this UNESCO Site; climb 80 steps to the entrance and glimpse an unforgettable view of the Parthenon at its peak.
Awake in Athens, where you will disembark your ship. From here, you can easily take a few extra days to further explore this historic city with our post-cruise extension.
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