Holy Land & Greek Isles - Roundtrip Athens
Day 1 - Athens/Piraeus, Greece
Day 2 - Patmos, Greece
Day 3 - Kusadasi, Turkey A lovely seaside resort on Turkey's Aegean coast, Kusadasi [koo-SHAH-duh-see] is renowned for its inviting sparkling waters, broad sandy beaches and large marina. The shops in town are filled with designer clothing, carpets, jewelry and leather goods. South, along the Aegean coast, the ancient Greco-Roman cities of Priene, Miletus and Didyma furnish impressions of the sophisticated civilizations that once thrived here. Kusadasi is perhaps best known as the gateway to the archaeological site of Ephesus, one of the world's greatest archaic finds. Excavations continue in the 4,000-year-old city and it is believed that more than half of it still remains buried in the hillside. Its marble streets are lined with architectural masterpieces. The city played a significant role in the life of the Apostle Paul, who wrote an epistle to its people.
Day 4 - Mediterranean Sea Cruising
Day 5 - Ashdod, Israel A tidy planned community built on golden dunes, Ashdod is southern Israel's only Mediterranean harbor. Yet this new city has fabulously ancient roots: Ashdod is mentioned in the Old Testament, and archaeologists have found ruins almost 4,000 years old. This is the doorway to the historic treasures of Jerusalem, and the worldly pleasures of Tel Aviv.
Day 6 - Ashdod, Israel A tidy planned community built on golden dunes, Ashdod is southern Israel's only Mediterranean harbor. Yet this new city has fabulously ancient roots: Ashdod is mentioned in the Old Testament, and archaeologists have found ruins almost 4,000 years old. This is the doorway to the historic treasures of Jerusalem, and the worldly pleasures of Tel Aviv.
Day 7 - Haifa, Israel
Day 8 - Paphos, Cyprus
Day 9 - Rhodes/Lindos, Greece
Day 10 - Aghios Nikolaos, Crete, Greece
Day 11 - Santorini Thira, Greece Of all the Cyclades Islands, Santorini is often considered the most dramatic. Once an active volcano, it was known as Stongyle, or the Round Island. In about 1500 BC, the volcano erupted with such force that the center of the island literally exploded, leaving the haunting submerged crater into which Crystal Serenity sails. The island's small villages were preserved in the ashes and recent excavations have uncovered a fascinating view of everyday life from 3,500 years ago. Santorini's dark landscape offsets its simple, yet refined Cycladic buildings, which glimmer in the sunlight. The rich volcanic soil is ideal for grapes and the local vines produce a cherished crop known for its "special volcanic taste." Thíra, or Fira Town, is laid out along the edge of a cliff that partially forms the rim of the now extinct caldera. A picturesque site, it exudes charm and an atmosphere of leisure that can be attributed to the easy-going Greek lifestyle.
Day 12 - Mykonos, Greece Mykonos, a former 18th-century pirates' bastion, is now a sophisticated and cosmopolitan island resort. This quintessential Greek island offers a maze of winding streets, graceful windmills, inviting beaches, domed churches and whitewashed houses accented in blue. Dotting the waterfront are cafés, taverns and tempting shops.
Day 13 - Athens/Piraeus, Greece Piraeus is Greece's largest port and has been a gateway to the Mediterranean since 482 BC. It lies on the innermost point of the Saronic Gulf and is a short drive from Athens, the cradle of Western democracy and culture. Throughout the ages, Athens' lofty Acropolis has been a source of inspiration. The ancient ruins scattered throughout this legendary city are reminders of Greece's great cultural heritage.
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