Day 1: Thursday - Arrive in Athens. Report to Hotel Herodion, located just next to the Akropolis.Day at leisure to explore the nightlife of Athens.
Day 2: Friday - Morning at leisure to visit the Akropolis and surrounding area and the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. At 14:00 transfer by private taxi to Piraeus Cruise Terminal to board the cruiseliner CRISTAL and start the 7-day cruise. Sail at 17:00 for Istanbul.
Day 3: Saturday - Arrival in Istanbul at 15:00. (Optional) Istanbul By Night. Take part in the entertainment and night life at one of the finest night clubs in the city. Depart by motorcoach and after a short drive through the illuminated streets of Istanbul you will arrive at the Kervansaray Night Club, a well-known Istanbul establishment. Enjoy a variety of Turkish specialties while you are entertained by Turkish musicians, belly dancers and folk dancers, performing dances from different regions of Turkey. At the end of the show, join in the singing of popular and favourite songs. Board your motor coach and continue your sightseeing by night before returning back to the ship.
Day 4: Sunday - (Optional)Highlights of Istanbul / Lunch On-Board
Begin the excursion with a sightseeing drive through the business centre of the modern city, across the Galata Bridge, along the banks of the Golden Horn and under the Byzantine Aqueduct of Valens. On the way, you can see the Süleymaniye Mosque, dedicated to Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. Continue around the mighty city walls, which once protected Constantinople from the many invasions and attacks it suffered over the centuries. In the Old City, the first visit will be to the Byzantine Hippodrome, which was once one of the largest chariot race arenas in the Byzantine Empire. Visit the Sultanahmet Mosque, where large groups of pilgrims start their pilgrimage to Mecca. It is decorated with 21.000 blue Iznik tiles from where it gets its name, the “Blue Mosque”. Walk to the world famous monument of Hagia Sophia, the Byzantine Church of Divine Wisdom, where you can see the superb mosaics and the marble decorations. Return to the ship for lunch on board. After lunch continue the tour with a visit to the Topkapi Palace, the official residence of the Ottoman Sultans. See the famous treasury and the “Spoonmaker’s Diamond”, the 7th biggest diamond in the world. Visit the kitchen buildings, displaying the third richest collection in the world of Chinese and Japanese porcelain. Sail at 18:00 for Mykonos and Delos.
Day 5: Monday - Arrival in Mykonos at 15:00. Visit Mykonos on your own. (Optional) Delos, once a Sacred Island, is the legendary birthplace of the Sun God Apollo and his twin sister Artemis. For 500 years, tiny Delos was the religious & commercial hub of the entire Aegean. Today, the only remaining inhabitants are the keepers of its treasured ruins. Depart from the port of Mykonos by boat, and sail along the western coast of the island, through Diles & Rhenia Islands, to the ancient harbour of Delos where you begin the guided walking tour. First you see Agora and beyond it, the Sacred Way, which leads to the Temple of Apollo. Next, you see the remains of a Hellenistic Quarter with its harbour, water house and luxurious villas, such as the House of Cleopatra, the House of the Dolphins, the House of the Masks, the House of Dionysos, and many other interesting buildings. Note the architecture and the mosaic floors, which have survived over 2.500 years. Continue and admire the spectacular Avenue of the Lions, where five Naxian marble Lions from the 7th century B.C. crouch, vigilantly guarding the now dry sacred lake. Re-board the boat for the return journey to Mykonos Town. Here you will have the chance to walk along the cobblestone streets of this famous island with its numerous shops, cafes and restaurants before you return to the port to re-join the ship. Sail from Mykonos at 24:00 midnight for Patmos.
Day 6: Tuesady - Arrival in Patmos at 07:00.(Optional) St. John's Monastery and Grotto. Depart from the port of Scala and enjoy a short drive to the village of Chora, where the monastery of St. John is built within the walls of a strong fortification. As you walk uphill towards the entrance of the monastery marvel at this magnificentstructure,whichwasbuilt900 years ago. View the courtyard, the monks’ dining room and the old bakery before you visit the main church noted for its outstanding frescoes and interior decoration. Next, visit the small museum where priceless ecclesiastical treasures, books, manuscripts, mosaics, icons, splendid medieval textiles, vestments and jewellery are housed. Return to your motorcoach and continue to the nearby Grotto of the Apocalypse and the Monastery of the Apocalypse above it. Walk down the steps to the Grotto of the Apocalypse. Here you will see the niches in the wall that mark the pillow and ledge used as a desk by the author of the Book of the Revelation and the crack in the rock made by the voice of God honouring the Holy Trinity. Afterwards, drive back to the port of Scala and enjoy some free time in this quaint and picturesque town. Remarks Tour not suitable for passengers with walking difficulties. Sail at 10:30 for Kusadasi. Arrive at 14:30.
(Optional)Ephesus and the House of Virgin Mary.
Drive through the colourful town of Kusadasi to reach Mt. Koressos. Situated in a small valley, the humble chapel lies on the site of the little house where the Virgin Mary is believed to have spent her last days. Despite the many controversies, the Christian World still favors this belief and the site has been officially sanctioned by the Vatican for pilgrimage. Continue on to Ancient Ephesus accompanied by your guide walk through the Magnesian Gate which is the entrance to the ancient city of Ephesus. Your guided walking tour will take you through one of the most magnificent excavations in the world. See the Odeon (concert hall), the Fountain of Trajan, the steam-heated Baths of Scolastika, the Temple of Hadrian and the Latrians, the Library of Celsus and The Great Theatre, the largest one in antiquity with a capacity of 24.000 seats where St. Paul preached. Walk back to the coach along the Arcadian Way, where Mark Anthony and Cleopatra once rode in procession. While driving back to Kusadasi and just outside Ephesus, view the Basilica of St. John, which was erected over his grave in the 6th century A.D. by Emperor Justinian. Before returning to the ship, enjoy free time in Kusadasi or get a cultural taste of Turkey by enjoying an exhibition of oriental carpets and jewelry. Remarks Tour not suitable for passengers with walking difficulties.Sail at 20:30 for Rhodes.
Day 7: Wednesday - Arrival in Rhodes at 07.00 (Optional) Old City and Philerimos. Drive along the medieval walls to the summit of Mount Smith, the Acropolis of ancient Rhodes. From the tumbled massive pillars of the Temple of Athena, the view encompasses the nearby Temple of Apollo, the stadium of Diagoras and the port, once protected by the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. The drive continues across the island to Philerimos. The summit of Philerimos was the site of Ialysos, one of the three ancient cities of Rhodes. Later sites include the restored Byzantine church of our Lady of Philerimos, a chapel with 15th century frescoes, and the ruined Castle of the Knights. After the visit and some free time, return to Rhodes and begin a guided walk of the old walled city to the Porte d’Amboise. It is a pleasure to stroll the street of the Knights with its medieval buildings, winding alleys, towers, turrets and emblazoned facades. You will then visit the impressive Grand Master’s Palace and have the chance to see the superb mosaics. The pleasant walk passes through the marine gate to meet up with your motorcoach and return to the ship. Depart at 18:00 for Heraklion/Crete.
Day 8: Thursday - Arrival in Heraklion at 07:00.(Optional) - Knossos Palace & Heraklion City. Crete is the largest and the most rugged of the Greek islands. It is also the home of the great Minoan Civilization and the mythological home of Zeus. After a short drive through the town of Heraklion the tour will arrive at the Knossos excavations. Here, Sir Arthur Evan’s archaeological discoveries revealed a civilization dating back to 4000 B.C., when a great empire flourished on the island of Crete. Based on the wealth of artifacts that were found, Evans theorized that this was the site of the ancient Minoan Kingdom. These findings will be viewed in detail, as your guide will lead you on a journey of discovery to learn of the sophisticated culture that flourished thousands of years ago on this island.The Palace, decorated with frescoes and shields houses the Hall of the Royal Guard, the Hall of the Double Axes, the King’s Chamber with the alabaster throne, the Queen’s Apartment, beautiful courtyards and shrines. Having visited this remarkable site your coaches will take you to the heart of Heraklion where you will be given some free time to explore its beauties combining the facilities of a modern city with the unique Greek islands’ ambience. You will then re board your motor coach for the return journey to the Venetian lion-guarder port of Heraklion to rejoin your ship. Remarks Walking in the archaeological site of Knossos will be on uneven gravel surfaces. Passengers may not be allowed to enter the site with big bags/rucksacks. Depart at 12:00 for Santorini. Arrive at 17:00 (Optional) Thira and Oia Village.
Driving along the road you will have the unique opportunity to admire the panoramic view of the Aegean sea and the neighbouring islands. A unique sight is the various layers of lava that can be seen on the face of the rock, each layer being another phase of the activity of the volcano. Built on the Caldera rim, Oia Village is an excellent example of Cycladic architecture. Accompanied by your guide, explore the village walking along the cobble-stone streets and the white washed houses with blue shutters where one gets the impression that they are a beautiful travel poster. The tour will then proceed to the town of Thira, an attractive town perched on the Caldera rim. Here, you will have time to stroll along the lanes of the little town or relax over a coffee as you gaze down upon Kamenes, the two black volcanic islets in the Caldera bay. A short cable car ride will take you down. Depart at 21:00 for Piraeus.
Day 9: Friday - Arrive back to Piraeus at 06:00. After breakfast, disembarkation at 07:30 and transfer to Athens.
Sailing Dates: every second Friday, (April 1,15,29 May 13,27 June 10,24 July 8,22 Aug.5,19 Sept.2,16,30 Oct.14, 28)
The m/s CRISTAl is making 7-Day Three Continents Cruises from Piraeus to Istanbul,Mykonos,Israel,Egypt,Crete on the following dates: Every second Friday April 8,22 May 6,20 June 3,17 July 1,15,29 August 12,26 Sept. 9,23 Oct.7,21
7-day cruise as per program in sharing twin occupancy, inside superior cabins category ID on the cruise vessel Cristal. All meals included during cruise,one night accommodation in Athens at the 4* Hotel Herodion or similar, transfer to the cruise terminal in Piraeus for embarkation.
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