Above the city, looking out towards the blue Aegean, stands the Acropolis. Here lie the ruins of a culture 2,500 years old: the Propylaea; the Temple of Athena Nike; the Erechtheum temple, and, most famous of all, the Parthenon.
Meanwhile, modern Athens buzzes busily below, a city of chic restaurants, lively bazaars, sophisticated banking, historical museums, and the sights and smells of the Plaka district. Embark your ship this afternoon and settle in for your upcoming Mediterranean cruise.
Weather permitting... begin your Greece tour with a visit to Mykonos, the classic Greek isle, with hundreds of white-washed churches and cubist houses; round, thatched windmills catching the brisk breeze; and a harbor bobbing with fishing boats and luxury yachts. Sit in the shadow of a café and watch as native fishermen and jet set Europeans pass by. Or explore the Parportiani church, a Byzantine architectural masterpiece.
Santorini is a spectacular sight, especially when approached by sea. Steep cliffs rise dramatically from deep azure waters. The capital of Fira is located 1,000 feet above our anchorage, accessible by donkey, cable car, or foot. The views from on top are unforgettable: stark white-washed buildings are scattered along the clifftop village; the sea stretches outward from black volcanic sands. Santorini has an explosive history of volcanic activity, and some say that here in the ruins at Akrotiri lie the remnants of the lost civilization of Atlantis.
Rhodes, called the island of roses, is mountainous, with beautiful beaches. On the plains, figs, wheat, and citrus fruits grow. When the three ancient Doric cities of Ialissos, Lindos, and Kameros banded together in 408 B.C. to create a new capital, Rhodes flourished. Great temples were erected, a modern code of law was instituted, and the Colossus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, was built to symbolize Rhodian strength and wealth. In 1291, the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem took refuge on Rhodes and reigned for over two centuries. The Street of the Knights, from the 15th- and 16th-centuries, leads to the Palace of the Grand Masters.
Bodrum is a Turkish port town in Muğla Province, in the southwestern Aegean Region of the country. It is located on the southern coast of Bodrum Peninsula, at a point that checks the entry into the Gulf of Gökova, and it faces the Greek island of Kos. Today, it is an international center of tourism and yachting. The city was called Halicarnassus of Caria in ancient times. The Mausoleum of Mausolus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was here. Bodrum Castle, built by the Crusaders in the 15th century, overlooks the harbor and the International Marina. The castle grounds includes a Museum of Underwater Archeology and hosts several cultural festivals throughout the year.
Not far from the pier you'll come across Meryemana, the House of the Virgin Mary, said to be where St. John took the mother of Jesus after the crucifixion. From there you'll enjoy a panoramic view of Ephesus below. Take time in Kusadasi for a little shopping and a cup of Turkish coffee.
This is your invitation to a day of indulgence. Treat yourself to a luxurious spa experience. Stretch out by the pool with your favorite beverage. Grab a great book or your favorite movie from the library. Stretch your muscles with state-of-the-art fitness equipment. Dine in sumptuous casual style, or wrap yourself in that comfy waffle-weave robe and enjoy your meal in the privacy of your beautiful stateroom. Your delight is thesingle priority for your day at sea.
Byzantium, Constantinople, Istanbul… This final city on your Mediterranean tour is a city which has worn many names over the centuries, and its rich mix of cultures and history is present everywhere. Aya Sofya, built in 537A.D. and one of the world’s greatest churches, is here; along with the Blue Mosque, the splendid mausoleums of Suleyman the Magnificent, the palace of the Ottoman sultans, and museums filled with Byzantine frescoes and mosaics. Disembark this morning for your continued journey home.