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Beach of Aqaba

Ancient Civilizations by Sea: Israel, Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, & Turkey – with Smithsonian Journeys

Aqaba - Valletta - Example 13 Day Cruise aboard Le Champlain
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On an 13-day Le Champlain voyage from Aqaba to Valletta, explore the Eastern Mediterranean. Eilat in Israel will be the first point of call. You may find Massada, a magnificent fortification that towers over the Dead Sea. After that, continue sailing toward Egypt, stopping at Ain Sukhna in the northern Gulf of Suez. As you pass across the renowned Suez Canal, your experience continues. You will travel to Turkey and stop in Kusadasi after touring a Greek island. Le Champlain will transport you to the southern Aegean Sea so you may see Heraklion, the capital of Crete.
Relax on the shores of the Red SeaSuez Canal Bridge, EgyptExplore colorful villages on RhodesView of VallettaExplore the colorful city of VallettaBeach of Aqaba
Highlights
  • Sail along between the shores of the Levant and the Maltese capital
  • Explore UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Petra and Wadi Rum from Aqaba
  • Experience Crossing the Suez Canal
  • Wander through the colorful markets and narrow streets of Kusadasi, Turkey
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
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Full Itinerary

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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 holidaymakers and divers to this seaside destination; the underwater sites home to coral and fishes are some of the most beautiful in the world. Aqaba is also the gateway to the magnificent desert of Wadi Rum and the marvellous site of Petra.


Day 2: Eilat

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Situated in the far south of the State of Israel, on the banks of the Gulf of Eilat, on the edge of the Negev Desert between Egypt and Jordan, Eilat is internationally renowned as a high-end seaside resort and spa town, as well as for its magnificent natural sites. The first references to this place date back to the time of King Solomon. His legendary mines are said to be located not far from the now-modern city. It is the departure point for visiting the Masada fortress and for the incredible experience of swimming in the Dead Sea.

Day 3: 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 PONANT 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 4: Ain Sukhna

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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.


Day 5: Crossing the Suez Canal

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 nationalised by Nasser in 1956.


Day 6: Ashdod

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
On the eastern shore of the Mediterranean, discover Ashdod, the largest port in Israel. An former Philistine city, the town is today home to the only museum in the world dedicated to the culture of this ancient people. Ashdod is also famous for being one of the gateways to Jerusalem. This city is one of the most sacred in the world and is fascinating due to its millennia-old history, its spirituality, and its incredibly rich religious heritage. Within its defensive walls, the Old City holds over 200 historic monuments including the Western Wall (or Wailing Wall), the Dome of the Rock, and the Holy Sepulchre. Visiting Jerusalem makes for a fascinating and moving experience as you immerse yourself in a mystical and magical place.​

Day 7: Limassol

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Bathed by the azure waters of the Western Mediterranean, the city of Limassol enjoys a privileged natural position in southern Cyprus. Fall under its spell: nestled between lush mountains and idyllic fine sandy beaches, its history dates back to Ancient times. No wonder then that the charming city shelters many archaeological sites. Discover this rich cultural and architectural heritage, such as the emblematic 12th-century Byzantine castle where Richard the Lionheart married Berengaria of Navarre.  ​

Day 8: Paphos

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In southwest Cyprus lies Paphos, a modern town and sought-after seaside resort of this island situated in the eastern Mediterranean. The impressive Byzantine fort can be discovered during a walk around the port and provides a glimpse into the past of the Cypriot city. Occupied since the Neolithic period, the site of Paphos saw the rise of New Paphos during ancient times, which became the island’s capital until the 4th century BC, when there was a devastating earthquake. Important ruins bear witness to the cult of pre-Hellenic fertility deities and then the goddess Aphrodite, who, legend has it, was born in Paphos. By the sea in the lower town, the Kato Paphos archeological park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, reveals many ruins of villas, fortresses, theatres and tombs that date back to the Hellenic, Roman and Byzantine periods. On this site with its undeniable architectural and historic value, the floors of the villas are decorated with rare mosaics, among the finest in the world.​

Day 9: 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 centre 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 and its large walkways, perpetuating the myth of the famous Colossus, the legendary statue that is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.​

Day 10: Kusadasi

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The attractive seaside resort of Kusadasi is located in a gulf on the western coast of Turkey. You can bathe there in clear waters or stroll along the coastal walk, in the shade of palms. In the historical district, you can take a mosey down the narrow streets and explore the colourful shops in the bazaar. Close by, the Ephesus archaeological site in the hillsides provides an opportunity to discover the ruins of one of the most famous cities of Antiquity.​

Day 11: Heraklion, Crete

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Heraklion, the capital of Crete, is the island’s most populous city. The hustle and bustle of this seaport is an integral part of its charm. It is built on a hillside overlooking the port and is encircled by impressive Venetian walls. From the top of these, you will be able to enjoy one of the most beautiful views of the city. The old town is teeming with small shops, squares, cafés and vibrant architectural evidence of the city’s long history. The Palace of Knossos illustrates the wealth and power of its legendary sovereign, King Minos. The archaeological museum houses one of the largest collections of Minoan artefacts and is worth a visit.

Day 12: At sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During your journey 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 centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This journey without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, depending on the activities offered, or to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT 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 13: Valletta | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
The whole of the Maltese capital Valletta is UNESCO World Heritage listed and occupies a peninsula in the north-east of the island. From the fountain of Tritons to Saint-Elme fort, there are as many majestic streets as there are narrow staircase vennels to explore. The painted loggia and carved corbels on the tall houses will accompany you in your explorations, and you’ll rarely be bothered by traffic. You can visit the Grandmasters palace decorated with coats of arms and frescoes. Saint-John’s cathedral and the ramparts which have guarded the city since the 16th century are also among the most emblematic sites of the city. Arranged in terraces, the Barrakka Gardens will punctuate your promenade with a green and floral experience.

Ship/Hotel

Le Champlain

Le Champlain Pool
Ponant Sauna
Swimming pool

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$12,410
Rates are dynamic and fluctuate based on capacity. Contact us for a specific quote.
Cabin
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Deluxe Stateroom
Area: 19 m². 4m² private balcony with French window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 4
Area: 19 m². 4m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 5
Area: 19 m². 4m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 6
Area: 19 m². 4m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
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Deluxe Suite
Area: 27 m². 6m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower. Up to 3 passengers per cabin.
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Prestige Suite Deck 5
Area: 38 m². 8m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
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Prestige Suite Deck 6
Area: 38 m². 8m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
Cabin
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Privilege Suite
Area: 32 m². 8m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower. Up to 4 passengers per cabin.
Cabin
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Grand Deluxe Suite
Area: 45 m². 30m² private balcony with sliding bay windows. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower + bathtub.
Cabin
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Owner's Suite
Area: 45 m². 30m² private balcony with hot tub and sliding bay windows. King-size or twin beds and shower + bathtub.

Notes

Please Note:
Fares are based on double occupancy and are capacity controlled. Rates may increase at any time as the ship sells out and subject to change without notice.
Included
  • 12 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 12 Dinners
  • 12 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Port Fees
  • Unlimited Wifi
  • Onboard Entertainment 
  • Captain’s Welcome Cocktail and Gala Dinner
  • Gratuities to Onboard Crew
  • “Open Bar” (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands...list available upon request)
  • 24h Room Service (special selection)
  • English-Speaking Lecturer 
  • Highly experienced and bilingual (French-English) expedition staff
  • Park Entry Fees into Protected Areas
  • 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. 
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Visa Fees
  • Optional Excursions - Ponant allows you to pre-book your excursions approximately six to two months prior to the cruise* departure. Please note that this is subject to change. Please contact us for more details.
  • Any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones mentioned
  • Luggage Handling 
  • Laundry Services, Hair Salon, and à La Carte Spa Treatments
  • Pre or post cruise programs, overland programs or shore excursions 
  • Beverages other than the ones mentioned in inclusions
  • CDP recommends that every Traveler has full and adequate travel insurance covering the risks of cancellation, assistance being required, repatriation, damages to and loss of baggage, and medical expenses

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