Day 1: Australia – – Athens
Make your way to the nearest airport and board your flight towards Athens, the ancient capital of beautiful Greece.
Day 2: Athens
Your flight touches down in Athens. Find your way to the hotel for check in and have the rest of the day as free time to start exploring or to rest up in your room. Tonight there is a 6pm welcome meeting and drink with your soon-to-be travelling companions and Tour Director. Those that chose to start sightseeing around Athens can cherry-pick from a wealth of things to do and see, or get your first taste of Greek cuisine by tracking down platefuls of dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), saucy keftethes (meatballs), crisp-fried loukoumades (fried doughnuts drizzle with syrup and nuts) and moreish moussaka (layered eggplant with a cheese sauce).
Day 3: Athens – Olympia (B, D)
Your first full day of touring sees you set out from Athens towards Olympia. This journey takes you across the Corinth Canal, and there is a stop at Mycenae. This incredible archaeological site is located near Mykines, and was a major centre of ancient Greek civilisation. This site was so important that an entire period of Greek history was named after it; the Mycenean era, between 1600BC to 1100BC. Greek legend has it that Perseus founded the citadel, and Homer even chronicled the city’s beginnings. On your visit here, take in sites including The Lion Gate, Grave Circle A, the Cyclopean Walls, and the remains of Agamemnon’s Royal Palace. There is a museum too. Afterwards, continue towards Olympia and arrive in the afternoon. Tonight you get to sit down to a cooking demonstration where you’ll learn the process behind making one of Greek’s most famous appetisers, tzatziki dip.
Day 4: Olympia – Delphi (B, D)
Meet up with a local guide for a sightseeing tour around Olympia. Learn about how ancient residents used to compete to honour their gods and goddesses, and gain insight into how the Olympic Games came to be as you wander the remains of the Gymnasium and Temples of Hera and Zeus. Make a stop in a nearby museum to see Praxiteles’ Hermes statue before departing on the scenic drive to Delphi. You’ll be spending the night in the eponymous small town near the UNESCO World Heritage Site-listed sanctuary. In the old world, Delphi was steeped in mysticism and was the seat of Pythia, the high priestess of the Temple of Apollo who also acted as oracle for some of Greece’s most powerful rulers. You’ll get to tour the ruins and wider site tomorrow. Tonight however, you get to tap into your inner performer with a dance lesson! Learn the steps of the sirtaki, the dance best-known for its appearance in the 1964 film, Zorba the Greek. A glass of traditional ouzo is enjoyed after.
Day 5: Delphi – Athens (B)
The entire morning is dedicated to exploring and learning about the ruins of the Delphi sanctuary. Hear about the roles the oracles had in this society and the cultural and historical importance of the site as you are shown around the excavations. Your discovery of Delphi also includes a visit to the Archaeological Museum where you can see the Charioteer, a gilded bronze statue dating back to 5BC. The group then hits the road to make the drive back to Athens. You have free time upon return to the Greek capital. Use this opportunity to continue your sightseeing around the city, or join the rest of your travelling companions on an optional dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 6: Athens – Pireaus (B, D)
Be taken to the port city of Pireaus. This is where you’ll embark on your cruise around the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. All of your meals are included whilst on-board.
Day 7: At Sea (B, L, D)
The cruise begins its voyage towards Egypt and the entire day is spent at sea. Use this opportunity to begin enjoying the ship’s facilities and getting to know fellow passengers.
Day 8: Alexandria (B, L, D)
Arrive at Alexandria, the legendary Egyptian city founded by Alexander the Great. Your port here is the launchpad for a full-day excursion to the Egyptian capital, Cairo. This guided outing sees you visit some of Cairo’s most emblematic sights: the Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx and the National Archaeological Museum. Have your camera fully charged for this trip as you marvel at iconic wonders, uncover more about ancient Egyptian culture, and take in priceless artefacts. You return to the ship, which has moved to now be docked at Port Said – an entry point to the Suez Canal.
Day 9: Ashdod (B, L, D)
Sail into the largest port in Israel this morning. Ashdod has a vibrant multicultural population – with influences from Morocco, Ethiopia, Georgia, France and Argentina, among others – and some of the things to see and do in the city include Jonah’s Hill, Ashdod Museum of Art, Lachish Park, and the gorgeous beach. Or take up one of the optional excursions (additional cost applies).
Day 10: Limassol (B, L, D)
Land in Limassol in Cyprus today. Have time to meander the streets of the pretty Old Town at your own pace, or make a point of seeking out some of the city’s best-known to-dos, including Limassol Castle, the Archaeological Museum, Prokymea Sculpture Park, and the tree-lined Promenade.
Day 11: Rhodes (B, L, D)
Your day is spent roaming around the island of Rhodes. First, there is a trip into the Old Town to see its ramparts and the palaces built by the Crusader-era Knights of St John. Rhodes has a rich Crusader legacy and remainders of this heritage are dotted around the island. The next stop on today’s sightseeing is the archaeological site at Lindos, which is known for the Temple of Athena. The temple is located on the Lindos acropolis. Be sure to cast your gaze down the slopes to see the village at the foothills – a beautiful panorama!
Day 12: Kusadasi (B, L, D)
Leave Greek territory temporarily as the cruise docks in Kusadasi, Turkey, and you make the sightseeing trip to the excavations at Ephesus. Be shown around by an expert guide and uncover the history of what was once one of the largest cities in the world. Take in some of its top sights: the Temple of Artemis, the Library of Celsus, and Great Theater. The ruins of Ephesus cover frescoed residences, grand public monuments, neighbourhood bathhouses, and even graffiti markings. Tonight is your final evening aboard the ship.
Day 13: Athens (B)
Take breakfast on-board and then disembark the cruise ship. Your final full day of the tour sees you adventure around Athens on an insightful excursion. You will be taken to the world-famous Acropolis, arguably the most recognisable site in Athens, and shown landmarks such as the legendary Parthenon, the Porch of Maidens at the Erechtheum, and the Temple of Athena Nike. Admire the views from the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Theater of Dionysus, and the Agora – the location where Socrates once taught. Your time at the Acropolis is followed by a city orientation that highlights Parliament House and the Panathenaic Stadium. The latter was built in 2BC and is the only one of its kind in the world – it is built completely out of marble. The remainder of the day is yours to squeeze in any last-minute sightseeing, souvenir-shopping, or feasting on Greek cuisine. There is also an optional dinner tonight (additional cost applies).
Day 14: Athens – – Australia (B)
Have breakfast at the hotel and then find your way to the airport at the necessary time to catch your return flight to Australia.
Day 15: Australia
Arrive back in Australia today.