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The caryatids of the Erechteion temple overlooking Athens

Civilizations and Mythologies

Aqaba to Athens - Example 8 Day Cruise aboard Le Lyrial (CDP)
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This 8-day will take take you on an expedition to explore the archaeological and historical sites, the reason for so many mythology stories.  Enjoy the Great Pyramids of Egypt and the new Grand Egyptian Museum of Cairo. Then get ready for an old medieval town, built by the Knights of St John, which is surrounded by ramparts as well as unique landscapes that blend long white beaches with rocky coves. Your journey will end in Athens, on the edge of the Saronic Gulf. To take in all of the city’s dazzling cultural past, visit the National Archaeological Museum or the Acropolis Museum, inaugurated in 2009.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Aqaba | Embark
Days 2-4 : Ain Sukhna | Crossing the Suez Canal
Day 5 : At Sea
Day 6 : Rhodes
Day 7 : Patmos
Day 8 : Athens | Disembark

Highlights

  • Discover wonderful archaeological sites from Jordan to Greece via Egypt
  • Visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Enjoy sailing in the Red Sea
  • Cross the Suez Canal and get the camera ready for some amazing pictures

Ship

Le Lyrial (CDP)

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

The caryatids of the Erechteion temple overlooking Athens Sunlight over the Aqaba skyline Explore the wonder that is Petra A view of Lindos, Rhodes Historic Patmos, Greece The historic Suez Canal Lindos Rhodes Rhodes

Day 1 Aqaba | Embark

Located in the Red Sea within the eponymous gulf, Aqaba offers Jordan its only access to the sea. At the crossroads of the land and sea routes that linked Asia, Africa and Europe, the town is rich with more than 5,000 years of history. The warm waters of the Red Sea attract tourists and divers to this seaside destination; the underwater sites, home to extensive coral reefs and myriad fish species, are some of the most beautiful in the world. Aqaba is also the gateway to the magnificent desert of Wadi Rum and the marvelous site of Petra.

Day 2-4 Ain Sukhna | Crossing the Suez Canal

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Ain Sukhna, which means “hot spring,” is located in the Gulf of Suez, facing the Red Sea. Around fifty kilometers from the entrance to the Suez Canal, and less than two hours from the Egyptian capital, it is an elegant seaside town that is popular with wealthy families from Cairo. Ain Soukhna is an ideal base for discovering the marvels of Ancient Egypt.

Choose from one of these excursions:

SAKKARA & MASTABA
From the pier, board your coach and start your day with a drive for around two hours and half to Dahshur area, located in South Saqqara where stand the pyramids of Dahshur: The Red and the Bent Pyramids. The constructor of these pyramids is thought to have been Snofru (2575-2551 BC), who was the first ruler of the 4th Dynasty. He is also thought to have built the pyramid at Maidoun. The Red Pyramid is thought to be older, and the Bent Pyramid was built out of limestone which was quarried locally. Following the visit to Dahshur, drive toward Memphis, the capital of ancient Egypt. Founded in 3100 BC by Menes of Tanis, Memphis was once considered the largest city in the world with a population of over 30,000. At its zenith, the city had many temples, palaces and gardens. Once arriving, you will see the enormous limestone statue, Colossus of Ramses. Over 33 feet (10 m) long, this giant lying statue depicts Ramses II, the Egyptian pharaoh from 1290 to 1224 BC. The Alabaster Sphinx and the ruins of the temple of Ptah can also be viewed during your visit. From Memphis, you will proceed to Sakkara, the necropolis of ancient Memphis. After lunch, visit the famous step Pyramid of Zoser built 5,000 years ago by the engineer Imhotep. The pyramid and its surrounding complex was designed to be as grand as it was unique and revolutionary. At the “cemetery city” of Sakkara, experience an inside visit to one of the mastabas, or funerary chambers. Finally, make a quick visit at a carpet school before driving back to join your ship for approximate another two hours.

Or

EGYPTIAN MUSEUM & THE PYRAMIDS
This full day excursion provides a visit of the most important and significant sites of Egypt's: the Egyptian museum of Antiquities, the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. From the pier of Ain Sukhna, board your coach for the 2.5-hour drive to Cairo, via the desert road. Your guide will provide interesting facts about the sites you will be visiting. Once you arrive, visit the Great Pyramids of Egypt, located 9 miles west of Cairo. The Great Pyramids are considered the most famous of Egypt’s attractions and the only monuments left of the Ancient Wonders. The three main Pyramids at Giza were built as tombs by Cheops, his son Chephren, and Chephren’s son Mykerinus to preserve each of the pharaohs’ mummified body for eternity. For centuries, these unique structures have intrigued the world while surviving the rise and fall of great dynasties. Southeast of the Great Pyramids stands the Sphinx, carved out of solid rock around 2650 BC. Steeped in legend and superstition, the Sphinx was a monument either to the sun god Ra or to Pharaoh Chephren. It has the head of a man and the body of a lion. The monument faces east, probably to greet the rising sun and the return of life each day. After enjoying an early lunch, visit the Egyptian museum of Antiquities located in the heart of Cairo and established by the Egyptian government in 1835. Enter the museum and wander through time, starting from the Archaic Predynastic Period and into the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms. It houses the world’s most important collection of Egyptian antiquities from 2700 BC to the 6th century, with thousands of statues, jewels and artifacts from nearly every period of ancient Egypt. The museum consists of two floors: the museum's ground floor follows the history of Ancient Egypt, the second floor consist of thousands of smaller items from the span of Egyptian history. One of the most important rooms in the Egyptian museum on the second floor is the room of the treasure of Tutankhamun, the boy-king who ruled Egypt for nine years, and his god-like golden mask. You can also visit the Royal Mummies room.

Without the waterway linking the Red Sea to the Mediterranean this part of the world would be an arid sandy desert inhabited by a few nomads. The Suez Canal slices through 162 km of desert and was inaugurated in 1869 in the presence of Empress Eugenie, then nationalized by Nasser in 1956.

Day 5 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness center. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

Day 6 Rhodes

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
With its particularly agreeable climate, the island of Rhodes invites you to walk its pathways and discover its immaculate villages and sumptuous medieval city, a UNESCO World Heritage site. At the center of the island the mountains are covered in forest and on the western slopes we find vineyards and crops. Rhodes also owes much of its charm and its character to the Knights of St John who reigned over the island from 1310 to 1522 and built impressive defensive walls punctuated with majestic gateways. Do not miss this delightful island with its peaceful beaches, its large walkways and its lively nightlife, perpetuating the myth of the famous Colossus, the legendary statue that was one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Choose from the following excursions:

LINDOS & MEDIEVAL RHODES
From the pier, board your coach for an 1-hour drive through small villages with their white houses scattered among the orchards and olive groves to Lindos.
Built between the 7th and 6th century BC, the Lindos Acropolis is a sprawling complex of structures from various historic periods, perched dramatically above the town. A place of worship from the Mycenaean age, it was enlarged in the Hellenistic period before the Knights of the Order of Hospitalers established a fortress here, a role it retained until the Ottoman era. As in ancient times, access is via a rough-hewn path with many stairs. The first medieval gate, with steps down to the Knights’ building, is cut into the rock face. To one side, you will observe an ancient relief of a warship’s stern, sculpted into the same rock. The acropolis’ most sacred building is the Athena Lindia sanctuary, sited on the highest terrace. From here, you can admire a panoramic view on the sea and on a part of a city. Once your visit ended, you will have some free time to stroll in the streets of the lower city before boarding your coach to reach Rhodes where your typical Greek lunch will be served. After lunch, your tour will continue by exploring the old city of Rhodes. Then, discover the most imposing building of medieval Rhodes: The Palace of the Grand Masters. Built in the 14th century, you will discover Greek and Roman mosaics from Kos island. At the end of the walking tour, you may choose to stroll in the colorful shopping streets and return to the ship on foot, or join your coach and return directly to the ship.

Or

PANORAMIC VIEWS OF RHODES
From the pier, board your coach for a scenic drive around the east coast of Rhodes island. You will drive along the walls surrounded the city before heading up Mount Smith (named after the English Admiral Sydney Smith, who kept an eye on the Napoleonic fleet from here). From this point, you can enjoy panoramic views over Rhodes and the castles. If the weather is good, you may even catch a glimpse of the Turkish coast and the neighboring islands. Reach Lindos by a route passing through the hinterland. From one promontory, you can see the whole of the famous Acropolis. Built between the 7th and 6th century BC, the Lindos Acropolis is a sprawling complex of structures from various historic periods, perched dramatically above the town. A place of worship from the Mycenaean age, it was enlarged in the Hellenistic period before the Knights of the Order of Hospitallers established a fortress here, a role it retained until the Ottoman era. Following the panoramic route, arrive at Kolymbia, a traditional fishermen village where you will enjoy some local snacks with a glass of Greece’s trademark Ouzo.
The road back to your ship goes through the typical villages of Faliraki and Kalithea.

Or 

RHODES & CULINARY MAKING
From the pier, board your coach for a scenic drive around the east coast of Rhodes island. You will drive along the walls surrounded the city before heading up Mount Smith (named after the English Admiral Sydney Smith, who kept an eye on the Napoleonic fleet from here). From this point, you can enjoy panoramic views over Rhodes and the castles. If the weather is good, you may even catch a glimpse of the Turkish coast and the neighboring islands. Then, you will reach the Old town of Rhodes for a walking tour through the cobblestone streets. Pass by the imposing Palace of the Grand Masters of the Order of Hospitalers. Built in the 14th century, it houses Greek and Roman mosaics from Kos island. You will also pass by the Old Town’s Archaeological Museum. The museum is housed in the monumental edifice that was the hospital of the Knights of St. John. Its construction begun in 1440 and brought to completion in the time of the Grand Master d'Aubusson. Following your walking tour, you will board your coach for a short drive to a restaurant located in the new town of Rhodes where you will have the opportunity to experience the tastes and secrets of the local Greek cuisine and prepare a Mediterranean meal using fresh ingredients, spices, and herbs. After the preparation of the meal, taste the fruits of your labor with locally produced wines.

Day 7 Patmos

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Patmos is one of the legendary must-see islands in the Dodecanese. This is where Saint John resided, presumed author of the last book in the Bible. The cave of the Apocalypse and the Saint-John-the-Theologian Monastery are dedicated to him. These sites, which are listed by UNESCO as World Heritage, are located at the top of a hillside planted with vines and orchards. On the shore, the crystalline coves of Kambos and Lampi offer absolutely gorgeous swimming areas. You’ll be drawn to the bustle in Skala harbor and its taverns, famous for their fish soup and tiropita, which is a type of pasty filled with fresh Patmos cheese.

Choose from the following excursions:

ST JOHN MONASTERY & APOCALYPSE CAVE
From the pier, board your coach for a drive to the Saint John Monastery. Overlooking Skala port and the island’s southern region this medieval monastery looks more like a fortress than a house of prayer. It was built to repel attacks by pirates. In 95, Saint John the Evangelist was banished from Ephesus and exiled to Patmos, which in the days of the Roman Empire was where those who were exiled were sent. In 1088, the Byzantine Emperor Alexios Komnenos authorized Saint Christodoulos, an abbot from Asia Minor, to erect a monastery in memory of Saint John. The whole island was yielded to the monastery. The adjoining Theotokos Chapel has frescoes dating back to the 12th century. The other part of the Byzantine treasures is to be found in the monastery. Today this holy place is a veritable museum of Byzantine art thanks to the countless frescoes, icons, holy objects and manuscripts contained within its walls. After visiting the monastery, the coach will take you to the Apocalypse Cave where the final chapter of the New Testament was revealed to John the Apostle. The Book of Revelation prophecy came to him through a symbolic vision and was written in Greek. This cave was the house of the evangelist and now is surrounded by a monastery and school of theology. You can see the resting place outlined in beaten silver where St John laid his head every night. To the right the rock is shaped like a pulpit and is where the disciple, Prochoros, wrote the revelation as dictated by John.

Or

PHOTO SAFARI IN PATMOS
This tour, covering the south side of the island, not only gives you the opportunity of discovering hidden places but also an opportunity to photograph the most amazing land and seascapes along. From the pier, board your minibus to the old village of Chora, the island’s capital and a photographer’s paradise! Your first experience is a panoramic view right over the island and over the 11th century monastery built like a fort, standing with proud dominance. You will be guided through Chora’s labyrinth of winding cobbled streets and maze of arched alleyways. The settlement of houses date from 16th century, and their white-washed walls reflect the light, casting shadows and creating geometric patterns. The alleys, arches and doorways display a harmonious balance revealing subtle architectural details which, through your lens, can become exciting atmospheric images trapped in time. You will continue with a 10-minute drive to the top of the mountain of Profitis Illias, the highest point of the island - 269 meters above sea level. Next you will make your descending drive to Diakofti stopping off to photograph the view of the mystical rock of Petra and then go to a boatyard. Here you will have the opportunity to photograph the local islanders at work and the streamline shapes of vessels in dry dock before enjoying refreshment. Return to Skala with a camera full of memories.

Or

THE BYZANTINE HERITAGE
From the pier, board your coach for a drive to the Saint John Monastery. Overlooking Skala port and the island’s southern region this medieval monastery looks more like a fortress than a house of prayer. It was built to repel attacks by pirates. In 95, Saint John the Evangelist was banished from Ephesus and exiled to Patmos, which in the days of the Roman Empire was where those who were exiled were sent. In 1088, the Byzantine Emperor Alexios  Komnenos authorized Saint Christodoulos, an abbot from Asia Minor, to erect a monastery in memory of Saint John. The whole island was yielded to the monastery. The adjoining Theotokos Chapel has frescoes dating back to the 12th century. The other part of the Byzantine treasures is to be found in the monastery. Today this holy place is a veritable museum of Byzantine art thanks to the countless frescoes, holy objects, manuscripts contained within its walls, as well as a collection of icons by many famous painters including El Greco. After visiting the monastery, you will have the opportunity to visit the Monastery’s icon restoration studio, where you see meticulous skilled work in progress and learn about restoration techniques. Finally, the coach will take you to the Apocalypse Cave where the final chapter of the New Testament was revealed to John the Apostle. The Book of Revelation prophecy came to him through a symbolic vision and was written in Greek. This cave was the house of the evangelist and now is surrounded by a monastery and school of theology. You can see the resting place outlined in beaten silver where St John laid his head every night. To the right the rock is shaped like a pulpit and is where the disciple, Prochoros, wrote the revelation as dictated by John.
 

Day 8 Athens | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
The Greek capital city is located on the edge of the Saronic gulf, in the east of the country. It bears a plural name in reference to the first villages that surround the Acropolis. You will be enchanted by the rocky plateau presided by its monuments listed as UNESCO World Heritage. In the city below, you can visit some of the liveliest districts in Athens: Plaka, with its maze of colorful streets, and where, in the evenings the drifting aroma of moussaka and garlic shrimp will tickle your taste buds. The National Archaeological museum and the Cycladic Art Museum are also some of the city’s key attractions and allow visitors to discover Athens’ cultural past.

Le Lyrial (CDP)

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28 cabins, 200 sq. ft. + 43 sq. ft. balcony located on Deck 3. Individually-controlled A/C, en suite shower, desk, Wi-Fi access, TV, and stereo.
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Prestige Stateroom - Deck 5
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Prestige Stateroom - Deck 6
1 cabin, 200 sq. ft. + 43 sq. ft. private balcony. Individually-controlled A/C, en suite shower, Wi-Fi access, TV, and stereo.
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Deluxe Suite
3 cabins on Deck 6, 290 sq. ft. + 54 sq. ft. private balcony. Individually-controlled A/C, en suite shower, sofa, armchair and pedestal table, Wi-Fi access, TV, and stereo.
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Prestige Suite - Deck 5
11 cabins, 398 sq. ft + 86 sq. ft. private balcony. Individually controlled A/C, ensuite bathroom with shower, desk, sofa, armchair & table, 2 TVs, stereo, Satellite telephone, Wi-Fi access.
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Privilege Suite
8 cabins, 398 sq. ft + 86 sq. ft. private balcony. Individually controlled A/C, ensuite bathroom with shower, desk, sofa, armchair & table, 2 TVs, stereo, Satellite telephone, Wi-Fi access.
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Grand Deluxe Suite
1 cabin, 484 sq. ft. + 96 sq. ft. private balcony. Individually controlled A/C, ensuite bathroom with jacuzzi and shower, desk, TV, stereo, Satellite telephone, Wi-Fi access.
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Grand Privilege Suite
7 cabins, 398 sq. ft. + 86 sq. ft. private balcony. Individually controlled A/C, ensuite bathroom with bathtub and shower, desk, minibar, TV, stereo, Satellite telephone, Wi-Fi access.
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Owner Suite
On Deck 6, 592 sq. ft. + 129 sq. ft. private balcony. Individually controlled A/C, ensuite bathroom with jacuzzi and shower, desk, sofa, table with 4 chairs, armchair and table, 2 televisions, stereo, Satellite telephone, Wi-Fi access.

Notes

*Rates are capacity controlled and are subject to change without notice.

Cruise fares are per person and include the following:
  • All meals while on board the ship 
  • Captain’s welcome cocktail and gala dinner
  • Gratuities to onboard crew, local guides and drivers
  • “Open Bar” (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands...list available upon request)
  • Evening entertainment and events
  • 24h room service (special selection)
  • English-speaking lecturer 
  • Water sports activities (except scuba diving) using the ship’s equipment, when permitted by local authorities and confirmed by ship Master according to safety and sea conditions onsite
  • Highly experienced bilingual (French-English) Expedition team 
  • Park entry fees into protected areas
  • Free and unlimited Wi-Fi (Internet access may be slower or in some situations interrupted, depending on certain geographic locations or other circumstances beyond our control).
Cruise fares do not include:
  • Any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones mentioned
  • Pre or post cruise programs, overland programs or shore excursions mentioned
  • Visa expenses and/or immigration reciprocity taxes if applicable
  • Luggage handling
  • Optional Spa package to be booked prior to your departure
  • Beverages other than the ones mentioned
  • Laundry services, hair salon, and à la carte Spa treatments
  • Personal expenses, on board medical consultations and drug prescriptions
  • Cancellation/luggage/assistance/repatriation/medical insurance(s)
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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