Visit Salalah, Aqaba, Luxor, Jerusalem, Limassol, Rhodes, Patmos, Lesbos, Istanbul, Bozcaada, Ephesus, Santorini Island, Amalfi, Rome (Civitavecchia), Livorno, Monte Carlo, Marseille and Barcelona.
Located in the northeast United Arab Emirates, bustling Dubai attracts visitors with its international facilities and exotic, yet cosmopolitan lifestyle. Known as the Hong Kong of Arabia, Dubai’s modern duty-free shopping malls and traditional souks offer some of the best bargains in the world on such luxury items as gold jewelry and designer creations. For a more historic outing, visitors can explore the museum at Al Fahidi Fort or venture out into the Old Quarter of Bastakia.
The Sultanate of Oman is situated on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula, neighboring Saudi Arabia and Yemen. In 1970, the son of Sultan Said bin Taimur overthrew his father's government and renamed the nation the Sultanate of Oman. During the Persian Gulf War, Oman served as a landing base for the allied forces. Salalah is gateway for visitors to explore the site of "Jebel Qarra," fabled to be the tomb of the biblical Job.
Aqaba, in southwestern Jordan, is the only seaport of Jordan. It is also our gateway to Petra, which dates back to perhaps 7000 BC and was one of the earliest known farming communities in the Middle East. The town was built out of solid red rock and features intricate carvings. It was once the capital of the flourishing Nabataean civilization that stretched from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea. Enter the site through a half-mile long chasm and come face-to-face with the magnificent Treasury, Petra’s ancient masterpiece.
Cross the Nile to the famed Valley of the Kings and the magnificent tomb of Tutankhamen and the huge mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut. In the evening, witness the fabulous sound and light show at Karnak. Take a jeep safari into the desert to a Bedouin settlement for sweet tea and flatbread and enjoy the dramatic beauty of the sunset over the sands. Buy lovely hand-painted papyrus copies of tomb paintings, mother-of-pearl inlaid boxes, alabaster trinkets, jewelry, and replicas of ancient artifacts. Enjoy sizzling lamb dishes, falafel, and myriad other Middle Eastern and Egyptian specialties.
One of the great engineering marvels of the world. The canal stretches over 100 miles from Port Said and the Mediterranean Sea to Suez and the Red Sea. Excavation of the canal began on April 25th, 1859, and on November 17, 1869 the barrage of the Suez plains reservoir was breached and waters of the Mediterranean flowed into the Red Sea. Unlike the Panama Canal, the Suez Canal has no locks, because the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Suez have roughly the same water level. The passage takes between 11 and 16 hours at a speed of around 8 knots. The low speed helps prevent erosion of the canal banks by ship's wakes. Please be advised that due to the under-developed nature of this destination, organized tours are not available.
Visit the land of miracles - Galilee, the Jordan River, the Mount of the Beautitudes and Tabgha, or venture to Nazareth, home of the young Jesus. See the largest hanging gardens in the world at the Bahai Gardens of Haifa. The Panorama Center in Central Carmel offers some of the country’s best women’s clothing stores. For antiques and crafts, head to the boutiques on Massada Street. South of Haifa, the artists’ village of Ein Hod offers hand-blown glass, pottery, silver, gold, and crafts. From French to Continental to Middle Eastern cuisine, dining choices abound. Fresh fish and grilled lamb dishes are the highlight. The best dessert is homemade kanafeh, a traditional ancient dish of baked sweet cheese, pistachio and honey.
Limassol is the jumping off point to explore the ancient riches of Cyprus.View ruins, vast groves of lemons, oranges and olives, majestic mountains and scenery, and stunning beaches. Visit Lemesos Castle, where Richard-the-Lionheart married Berengaria of Navarre, and its fascinating museum. Or stroll through ancient Curium and admire its stunning mosaics, theater, basilica and panoramic views over the sea. Venture inland to Nicosia and its wonders, the Cathedral of St. John, the Venetian fortifications, a restored old town and mosque and the Museum. Take home some lovely lace, copper items, jewelry and pottery. Enjoy a selection of appetizers so extensive it can be a hearty meal as well as fresh seafood accompanied by a delicious glass of wine.
Renowned as the site of the former Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Rhodes was home to the Knights of St. John from the 12th to 16th centuries. Their famous Palace of the Grand Masters remains a “must-see,” as are many of the inns occupied by the Crusaders and the replica of the old church. For a more in-depth look at the city, visitors can take in the Archeological where the Acropolis of Rhodes and the ancient stadium offer perfect photo opportunities.
Discover the small, yet significant town of Patmos with its walled monastery and precariously perched whitewashed houses. Explore the tiny winding alleyways leading up to the imposing Monastery of St. John the Divine. Enter through the cave where he had his revelation in 95 AD. Have a look around the convent next door. Enjoy spectacular vistas of the pristine Aegean sparkling as far as the eye can see. Cool off at one of the many public beaches or discover your own private cove. Shop for sacred icons, exquisite jewelry, high quality leather goods, fine ceramics and original artwork. Enjoy a glass of local wine or tour a local olive grove.
Officially named Lesbos, more often called Mytilini after its principal city, the island is the third largest in Greece, famed for its olive oil. Its undulating hills are said to support 11 million olive trees, which glisten silver in the sunlight, while the higher peaks are swathed in deep pine forests. It was the birthplace of leading figures in the intellectual world, such as Sappho, the world’s greatest lyrical poetess; Pittacus, one of the Seven Sages of antiquity; the poet Alcaeus and many, many others.
Bridging both Europe and Asia Minor, Istanbul is literally where “East meets West.” The city was founded by Constantine the Great and the history of this capital dates back sixteen centuries to the powerful Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. Many of our voyages include overnight stays in this legendary city, allowing more time to explore Istanbul’s highlights. Shop among the winding byways of the Grand Bazaar and the exotic stalls of the Spice Bazaar. Tour the magnificent courtyards of Topkapi Palace, stroll among the treasures of the Blue Mosque with its unique six minarets, then view Dolmabahce Palace, the one-time residence of the sultans. Or you may cruise along the Bosphorus for a unique perspective of the city’s numerous seaside mansions, mosques and palaces.
Originally a minor port, Kusadasi now serves as the gateway to Ephesus, one of the ancient world’s largest and most important archaeological and religious sites. As you walk the white marbled pathway, note the grooves made by centuries of chariot wheels. Stand in awe before the great Library of Celsus, and sit for a moment as the past seems to come alive at the Great Amphitheater, carved from the side of a mountain. Sacred places nearby include the Basilica of St. John and the House of the Virgin Mary.
With dramatic views of classic whitewashed houses clinging perilously to the side of the caldera and stunning beaches of white and red sand or black pebbles, it’s no wonder this may be the most photographed scenery in the world. Visit Ancient Akrotiri, the archeological site of a town frozen in time by ash from an eruption 3,600 years ago. Also worth a day trip is the Volcano of Santorini Palea (old) Kameni and Nea (new) Kameni , two small islands of black lava positioned in the centre of the basin of Santorini.
Whether enjoying the street performers at the Spanish Steps and people-watching over a fine glass of wine in colorful Trastevere, or taking in the historical and architectural glory that is Rome, visitors are spoiled for choice in this truly Eternal City. St. Peter’s Basilica is a full-day outing, featuring the Sistine Chapel and panoramic city vistas for those willing to climb to the top of the dome. Other landmarks not to miss include the renowned Trevi Fountain, the Coliseum, and Aventine Hill, which provides you with a grand view of the imposing remains of the Imperial Palaces and the Circus Maximus, of Ben Hur fame.
Livorno, located in the center of Tuscany, is the gateway to the glory of Renaissance Florence and Pisa. From the 13th to 16th centuries, this era of creative freedom encouraged the genius of Dante, Donatello, Michelangelo, Giotto, Botticelli, da Vinci, and Machiavelli to create some of the world’s most noted masterpieces. Elegant Florence offers the Galleria dell'Accademia, with its iconic masterpiece, Michelangelo’s David. The Uffizi is home to the most renowned art gallery in Italy, with representative works by the titan’s of Renaissance art. Join us for an excursion to Pisa, and tour the city's beautiful and historic Campo dei Miracoli. Nearby Siena captures the spirit of Medieval Italy and Lucca offers the memorable chance to bicycle through the fragrant Tuscan countryside.
Tiny, but packed with fun, Monte Carlo offers a wonderful combination of history, beauty, entertainment and leisure. The wealthiest spot in Monaco, Monte Carlo is an enchanting place, known as the international capital of luxury and for its celebrity-sightings, casinos and nightlife. Yet the old world shines through in its art and architecture. Palaces, cathedrals and museums dot this small municipality in an old town full of rich history. Be sure to catch the once-daily changing of the guard, then tour the public areas at the Palais du Prince, home to the royal family, whose most famous resident was famous actress Grace Kelly.
Located in southeastern France, today’s Marseille is a far cry from the sleepy villages it once inspired in Cézanne’s paintings. With more than a million people, the city remains the cosmopolitan and exuberant capital of southern Europe, with its picturesque Old Quarter, lively sidewalk cafes and shops, and Romanesque-Byzantine Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica, overlooking the steep cliffs and offering a bird’s eye view of the city’s colorful “quartiers” stretching down toward the sea.
One of Europe’s most visually stunning cities, Barcelona balances the medieval intimacy of its Gothic Quarter with the grace and distinction of the wide boulevards in the Moderniste Eixample. It was the home of architect Antoni Gaudí, whose Sagrada Familia Cathedral, Park Güell and Casa Milà are the most profound statements of Modernisme. View the splendid works at the Picasso Museum and the Miro Foundation, or discover Barcelona’s passionate ambiance at a flamenco show.