DAY BY DAY ITINERARY:
(B,L,D) indicates if breakfast, lunch and/or dinner is provided
Day 1 - August 27, 2020 - USA - GREECE
Your magical journey to Greece and the Greek Isles begins as you depart Houston, TX today on your overnight flight.
Day 2 - August 28, 2020 - Athens
Arrive today in Athens, the capital of Greece and the birthplace of western civilization. You’ll be met at the airport and transfer to the hotel. The balance of the day is at your leisure. Accommodation at the Amalia Hotel (D)
Day 3 - August 29, 2020 - Board onto the Celestyal Crystal Cruiseship
After a sumptuous breakfast, check out of the hotel and board a bus for a guided Athens city tour including visits to the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum. Afterwards, transfer to Piraeus, your port of embarkation, and settle into your cabin onboard the ship. Over the next seven days you’ll sail the deep blue waters of the Aegean Sea and explore Turkey and the fascinating Greek Isles.
Your ship sails at 7pm. Dinner and overnight aboard ship. (B,L,D)
Day 4 - August 30, 2020 - Kusadasi, Turkey
Dock this morning at the Turkish port of Kusadasi located a short driving distance from the ancient city of Ephesus. Take a shore excursion to ancient Ephesus where you will find immortal relics of the Hellenistic, Roman and Early Christian era. At the archaeological site, you will be given a guided tour among the Agora, the Odeon, the Library of Celsus, the marble-paved main street of Kouretes, the Baths of Scholastica, Trajan’s Fountain, the Public Latrines, the Residences of the Patricians, the Prytaneum, and the Temple of Hadrian. The Great Theatre, built in the 4th century B.C., could accommodate 24,000 spectators and it is famous even nowadays for its acoustics. The finds from the excavations, which have brought to light only 13% of ancient Ephesus, reside in the Archaeological Museum of Ephesus, in the city of Selcuk. During this excursion you will have the opportunity to do some shopping such as carpets, jewelry, leather and other souvenirs.
Return to the ship and set sail towards the lively Island of Rhodes, Greece in the evening. Dinner and overnight aboard ship. (B,L,D)
Day 5 - August 31, 2020 - Rhodes, Greece
Today’s port of call is Rhodes, the beautiful “Island of Roses”. A visit to the old city of Rhodes is like stepping back to the time of the Crusades as you stroll the polished cobblestones of the Street of the Knights and explore the medieval Palace of the Grand Masters. You can relax at leisure or enjoy one of the optional shore excursions to the acropolis of Lindos, perched high on a hilltop overlooking the sparkling Bay of St. Paul. In the heart of the port city of Rhodes is the largest inhabited medieval town in Europe, a fascinating web of Byzantine, Turkish and Latin ruins. Its mighty fortifications provide the finest surviving examples of defensive architecture of all time. Rhodes’ most picturesque town is Lindos where whitewashed houses are clustered beneath a soaring castle-capped acropolis dedicated to the goddess Athena.
Set sail later today. Dinner and overnight aboard ship. (B,L,D)
Day 6 - September 1, 2020 - Heraklion, Greece
Morning arrival to the island of Crete, rich with history and culture. Awake to the island’s bustling capital, Heraklion. The busy capital of Crete is a former Venetian harbor with a history dating back even further, to the time of the Minoans. Visit Knossos, once home to Europe’s oldest civilization and the setting of the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur and delve further into the art and creativity of the Minoans at the city’s extraordinary Archaeological Museum. You can visit one of the island’s most picturesque places: the Lion’s Square. Stop in a local cafe where you can savor a “bougatsa”, a local Cretan pastry.
The ancient city of Knossos, with constant habitation from the Neolithic era until the 5th century A.D. and is beyond doubt the land that “gave birth” to the first civilization of Europe. The first excavations were begun in 1878 by the Heraklian Minos Kalokairinos. A bit later (1900-1913 & 1922-1930) the excavations by the British Sir Arthur Evans were to complete the scientific research, bringing to light the Minoan palace in its entirety, which was, according to tradition, the residence of the wise King Minos. The palace of Knossos spreads around the large Central Court. You will reach the awe inspiring Throne Room, the fresco of the “Prince of the Lilies”, the imposing Grand Staircase, and the Queen’s Megaron in the east.
We will stop in Heraklion on the way back to the ship. Heraklion was founded in 824 and is an important homeland of many contributors to Literature and Art, some examples of which are the Nobel winning poet Odysseas Elytis, the Renaissance painter Domenikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco) and the writer Nikos Kazantzakis. Heraklion is also endowed with some wonderful edifices: the “Koules” fortress, the award winning Venetian structure of the Loggia, the Morosini Fountain, the Basilica of Saint Mark, and the Church of Agios Titos. Starting the walk from Liberty square of Heraklion, guests will pass by the shopping streets of Dedalou and 25th August and see the aforementioned sights along the way.
Return to the ship in the evening. Ship will sail at night for the next destination. (B,L,D)
Day 7 - September 2, 2020 - Santorini, Greece
Early arrival in Santorini. Sprinkled like sugar over sheer black volcanic cliffs, Santorini’s whitewashed capital, Fira, is a sight to behold. Wander the narrow streets or venture along the clifftop to pretty Oia for that iconic shot of the blue domed church. The ship will spend the evening in port, so take a ringside seat in a cliff top bar to watch the fiery sunset.
After breakfast the next day is your included excursion to Santorini’s Oia Village. First we head up to Megalochori village, one of the most authentic and unspoiled villages of the island with its distinctive architecture and character. We will continue to the east passing by small traditional villages of Kamari, Monolithos, Fira, Firostefani and Imerovigli, with delicate architecture and beauties, to eventually arrive at the settlement of Oia. During the entire route, to the west is lace-like caldera, the little islands of Thirasia, Palea and Nea Kameni and a magnificent panoramic view. In Oia, we will have plenty of time to stroll through the marble-paved alleys, to gaze at cute shops, to take pictures, to become acquainted with the characteristic buildings carved into the rocks, and the unusual captains’ manors. The settlement Ammoudi is at the foot of the caldera. After your curiosity has been sated of the area which is characterized as being of “exceptional natural beauty”, you will return to the ship. Afternoon at leisure in Santorini.
Return to the ship. Dinner and overnight sailing to the next destination. (B,L,D)
Day 8 - September 3, 2020 - Santorini - Milos - Mykonos, Greece
This morning, arrival in the island of Milos. Volcanic Milos shows off classic Cycladic beauty: the pretty whitewashed capital Plaka spilling over a hilltop, the coastline fringed with wind-and sea-sculpted rock formations, soft sandy beaches and aquamarine coves. Bask on the flat rocks of stunning Sarakiniko Beach or explore 2,000-year-old catacombs. You can visit at leisure or select one of the optional shore excursions. We will sail early afternoon to Mykonos and arrive in the evening. A cosmopolitan paradise that attracts more than its fair share of beautiful people, Mykonos Town is the archetypal image of the Cyclades, with immaculate whitewashed houses, windmills and winding alleys. Explore the sandy beaches, wander through the ancient temples on neighboring Delos and venture out on your overnight stay to enjoy the legendary nightlife.
Dinner and overnight aboard the ship in Mykonos (B,L,D)
Day 9 - September 4, 2020 - Mykonos, Greece
After breakfast, enjoy your day at leisure in Mykonos or select one of the optional shore excursions to discover the island of Delos with the Apollo sanctuary or travel to the South coast of the island and enjoy the day at the Kalafatis beach.
Return to the ship where we will sail early evening. Dinner and overnight sailing to the next destination. (B,L,D)
Day 10 - September 5, 2020 - Port of Piraeus, Greece
Early breakfast and arrive in Piraeus at 9 am. You will disembark from the ship and take a bus transfer back to your hotel in Athens for an overnight stay. Enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure or you can opt for an optional excursion visiting the Vassiliou winery with wine tasting followed by a mezze lunch with seafood appetizers.
Enjoy a memorable farewell dinner at a local restaurant with an incredible view of the Acropolis. Return to the hotel. Accommodation at the Amalia hotel (B/D)
Day 11 - September 6, 2020 Athens - USA or Extension stay in Athens
Following breakfast, early transfer to the airport for your return flight to the USA. Your memorable journey ends as you arrive back in Houston, Tx later today or hop on to the post cruise extension for 2 more nights in Athens (B)