Board the ship around 6 PM and settle into your cabin before attending a welcome cocktail. Meet the staff of the ship and enjoy dinner on board, followed by an evening of entertainment. Remain in port overnight.
After breakfast, enjoy a full day optional excursion to Troodos Mountain (approximate duration 8 hours, lunch included). Set off by coach to the Troodos Mountains, where there are a great number of churches and chapels from the 8th to 12th centuries. Built by Orthodox Cypriots who took refuge in the mountains, ten of the churches are listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, fully justifying the name often given to Cyprus: the Island of Saints. Visit two Byzantine churches and the renowned Kykkos monastery. Founded in the 11th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos, it is the richest and most lavish monastery on the island. Stop for lunch at a restaurant in the mountains and return on board for dinner. In the evening, enjoy traditional Cypriot folk entertainment in the lounge bar.
Arrive in Paphos. Kato Paphos, which means 'the lower part of town,' is an important archaeological site where the narrow streets are full of hidden treasures, such as the medieval thermal baths or the catacombs. The official Paphos Archaeological Park is one of the must-see historic sites in the world. Begin with the houses of Dionysos, Theseus and Aion and admire the wonderful mosaic floors which were discovered quite by chance in 1962. Next, visit the Tombs of the Kings, spread over a vast almost desert-like landscape, then continue to the village of Yeroskipou. Return on board for lunch and spend the afternoon cruising the Mediterranean towards Israel.
Often called 'the blue beauty,' Haifa is one of the most attractive resorts on the Mediterranean and one of the prettiest towns in the Middle East. The Bahai Shrine and Gardens, the finest of Haifa’s unique attractions, are located on Mount Carmel. Enjoy a full day excursion to Jerusalem and Bethlehem (approximate duration 10 hours, return transfer approximately 4 hours). Travel through the Judea Mountains and the entrance to the valley which was besieged during the 1948 War of Independence. In Jerusalem, visit the Mount of Olives and the Church of Gethsemane, where Jesus Christ was captured by the Romans. In the afternoon, tour Bethlehem, the City of David and Jacob, and the famous Church of the Nativity. Return to Jerusalem and visit the Old Town, where people of the three main religions (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) live side by side. Next reach the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the holiest Christian site in the world believed to encompass both the Calvary where Jesus Christ was crucified, as well as the cave where his body was placed after his death. Continue along the Via Dolorosa and reach the Wailing Wall, the most sacred place of worship for Jews, where they write their prayers on notes of paper which are then placed in the wall. Finally, visit Mount Zion, where Jesus Christ ate the Last Supper with his disciples. Return to the ship for dinner.
Set off by coach to Galilee. First, visit the River Jordan, where Jesus Christ was baptised by John the Baptist, then continue to the Golan Heights from where there are spectacular views of the Sea of Galilee and Hula Valley. Then, journey to Nazareth and follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ via Canaan, where he performed the miracle of turning water into wine. Discover Nazareth as you travel through the lovely hills of Upper Galilee and the historic Jezreel Valley. Transfer back to the port in Haifa for lunch. Spend the afternoon on the water as you sail to Larnaca.
Making its living from the sea, Larnaca has managed to preserve its artistic and artisan traditions, particularly in the Turkish quarter. The ruins of the old town are still visible, and are just one of the many delights that await you under the sunny Larnaca sky.
Take an optional excursion to Nicosia and Kyrenia (approximate duration 8 hours, lunch included). Set off by coach to the capital of Cyprus. Take in the principal attractions of Nicosia, including the Archbishop’s Palace, St John’s Cathedral, the Venetian walls and the port of Famagusta, then visit the famous Cyprus Archaeological Museum. Marvel at exhibits dating back as far as the Neolithic period, then continue on foot into the popular Laiki Geitonia area of the town. Once over the green line (the demilitarised zone which has separated the Greek Cypriot Republic from the northern part of the island which has been under Turkish occupation since 1974), visit northern Nicosia before heading back to the coast and the town of Kyrenia, the main seaside resort in northern Cyprus. Take a walk along the pretty harbor near the Venetian castle, then visit Bellapais, the Gothic Abbey of Peace built in the 13th century. Stop for lunch in a local restaurant, then return on board for dinner.
A cosmopolitan town, Limassol is also the international business center of Cyprus. Set off for an optional excursion to visit the ancient city of Kourion and Kolossi Castle. Start at the ancient city of Kourion. This spectacular site, perched proudly on a hillside, has wonderful views over the fields and the sea. Discover an early Christian basilica, a classical Roman theater, and the House of Achilles and the House of the Gladiators, both of which have beautiful colored mosaic floors. Continue to the small village of Kolossi and visit the medieval Kolossi Castle. Built in the 15th century on the ruins of an ancient fortress, the castle belonged to the Order of St. John of Jerusalem (Knights Hospitallers) and was the seat of the Supreme military commandment. For several years in the 14th century, it was under the control of the Knights Templars. Return to the ship for lunch.
The afternoon is entirely devoted to an optional discovery of local Cypriot specialities and customs following a quite original tour. First, visit a donkey farm, then an orange orchard where we can help pick the citrus fruit. Continue with a visit to a museum of popular art before watching a demonstration of olive oil production using traditional methods (an old press operated with the help of a donkey). Finally, taste the olive oil, traditional bread and some oranges and try to make traditional Cypriot coffee.
Enjoy one last breakfast on board, then disembark at 9 AM. Continue on in your independent travels.