Trace the routes of the earliest merchants from Greece to India, stopping to meet caretakers of history. Accompany local guides to the ancient treasures of Greece, Egypt and Israel. Hear legends of the frankincense route of Salālah. Visit the astonishing red sandstone city of Petra and drive into Egy...
19 Aug 2018: Day 1 — Athens, Greece
Step on board in Athens, where you will have an entire day to explore this ancient city. Perhaps you will see the Hellenic Parliament, Constitution Square, the Panathenaic Stadium, the Temple of Zeus or the iconic Acropolis. Explore the bustling Plaka District at the base of the Acropolis. As we remain in port overnight, you’ll have time to enjoy dinner in town.
20 Aug 2018: Day 2 — Athens, Greece
Today, you will have the whole day to journey into ancient Athens via a panoramic drive, passing the promenade at Mikrolimano as you enter the city’s heart. There, you will see the Hellenic Parliament, Constitution Square, the Panathenaic Stadium, the Temple of Zeus and the iconic Acropolis. Explore the bustling Plaka District at the base of the Acropolis. Or as an option, explore the interior of this UNESCO Site; climb 80 steps to the entrance and glimpse an unforgettable view of the Parthenon at its peak.
21 Aug 2018: Day 3 — Cruise the Mediterranean Sea
Sail into the Mediterranean today, where civilizations rose and fell throughout history. The ships of Carthaginians, Romans, Greeks, Visigoths and innumerable others have plied these waters before you. As you cruise, take in the sea views from the Explorers’ Lounge or reserve a soothing massage at The Spa. Linger over tea and scones in the Wintergarden or soak up the sun on deck.
22 Aug 2018: Day 4 — Haifa, Israel
Arrive in Haifa today, an ideal port from which to explore the north of Israel. Ascend Mt. Carmel, where it is said that the prophet Elijah set fire to a sacrifice and ended a drought. On the mountain’s slope overlooking the city, you can also stroll the magnificent terraced Hanging Gardens of Haifa, center of the Bahá’í faith. Nearby, explore the fascinating Old City of Acre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world. Alternatively, you can choose to explore ancient Caesarea, built by King Herod as an early center of Christianity, go up Mt. Carmel for a closer look, and enjoy stunning views of Haifa and the countryside.
23 Aug 2018: Day 5 — Haifa, Israel
Today is free for you to explore more of Haifa and its surroundings. Or you might choose to travel across the coastal mountains of Israel to the city of Nazareth, where Jesus spent his youth, and the fabled Sea of Galilee, where he is said to have performed many miracles and delivered his Sermon on the Mount. Alternatively, combine visits to Jerusalem and Bethlehem on one enlightening tour.
24 Aug 2018: Day 6 — Cairo, Egypt
Call on Port Said today, founded about 150 years ago as a working base for the construction of the Suez Canal. Port Said is also a gateway to the Great Pyramids and Great Sphinx on the outskirts of Cairo. Join an included tour to uncover their mysteries.
25 Aug 2018: Day 7 — Scenic Cruising: Suez Canal
Cross the Suez Canal today, a travel milestone. This engineering marvel, opened in 1869, connected the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, changing the region’s geographic and commercial landscape forever. The sea-level, one-way waterway requires ships to travel in convoys. Two lakes allow north- and southbound ships to pass each other: Ballah Bypass and Great Bitter Lake.
26 Aug 2018: Day 8 — Luxor, Egypt
Call in Safaga today, an ancient Red Sea port in use since the 3rd century. Today, it is also the gateway to the magnificent temples of ancient Thebes, today’s city of Luxor. Traverse the desert sands to the shores of the mysterious Nile River, where you will visit the Great Temple of Karnak, long buried beneath desert sands. Walk through its monumental peristyles and examine the hieroglyphics illustrating how ancient Egyptians lived.
27 Aug 2018: Day 9 — Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt
Visit the seaside resort of Sharm el-Sheikh (called “Sharm” by the locals) on the southern tip of the Sinai Desert. This major Egyptian center of tourism on the Red Sea, renowned for its unrivaled scuba diving among vibrant coral, is surrounded by starkly beautiful desert. You’ll leave the city and explore the sands up close during a Desert Jeep Tour into a world shrouded in legend.
28 Aug 2018: Day 10 — Aqaba, Jordan
Call in Jordan’s only coastal city of Aqaba today, set amid coffee-colored desert hills. History here stretches back centuries, but it is best known as the site where, in 1917, T.E. Lawrence (known as Lawrence of Arabia) led troops in the Battle of Aqaba. You’ll get to know the port during a city tour. Stop to explore Mamluk Fort, won by the Arabs from the Turks during a 1916 camel charge, the opulent house of Sharif Hussein bin Ali and the lively waterfront. You might also journey to the region’s must-see archaeological treasure of Petra, an astonishing city of red sandstone carved from the earth millennia ago.
29 Aug 2018: Day 11 — Cruise the Red Sea
Ancient Egyptians sailed the waters of the Red Sea as long ago as 2500 BC. More famously, Moses is said to have parted its waters. And it was a favored route among ancient Romans as they traded with India. History and legend are rich here, and you can learn more about them during an enrichment lecture about the Middle East. This evening, enjoy cocktails in the Explorers’ Lounge or perhaps an authentic Italian meal at Manfredi’s trattoria-style restaurant.
30 Aug 2018: Day 12 — Scenic Cruising: Bab El Mandeb Strait
Today’s journey traverses the 23-mile-wide Bab el Mandeb (“Gate of Grief”) strait. It is believed that these waters were once so shallow as to have allowed the earliest migrations of humans from Africa. After construction of the Suez Canal, the English commanded the Red Sea from a lighthouse they constructed on Perim Island, which you will pass during your transit. Take advantage of the many amenities of your ship. Lounge by the Main Pool, with its retractable roof, and enjoy a cocktail at the Aquavit Bar.
31 Aug 2018: Day 13 — Cruise the Gulf of Aden
Sail a major shipping route as you cruise the Gulf of Aden. Plied by ships for centuries, these waters have linked Africa and Arabia culturally and commercially. Start your day with a walk around the Promenade Deck; once around measures one mile. Later, you might indulge in the Nordic Bathing Ritual in The Spa or take a tour of your ship’s onboard art. Tonight, enjoy an elegant meal in The Restaurant.
1 Sep 2018: Day 14 — Cruise the Arabian Sea
Critical to trade and central to cultural exchange, the Arabian Sea has been traveled by coastal sailing vessels for thousands of years, as far back as the third millennium BC. You will follow the coast of the Arabian Peninsula in the spirit of those before you, perhaps learning about the Portuguese presence here during an onboard lecture. Enjoy an evening under the stars on the Sun Deck.
2 Sep 2018: Day 15 — Salālah, Oman
Explore the Omani city of Salālah today on the southeastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula. For centuries, Salālah was a major port for frankincense, a trade which extended far beyond the region. This fascinating cultural history was supported by several sites around the city, some of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites today. Take in the major landmarks when you stop for photos at the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, rich in Islamic architecture, visit the Al-Baleed archaeological site, where you will learn more about the frankincense route, and explore a local souk, brimming with myrrh, incense and myriad colorful items.
3 Sep 2018: Day 16 — Cruise the Omani Coast
Enjoy a leisurely day as your ship makes its way along the Arabian Coast. Share a cappuccino in the Viking Bar with new friends, enjoy a visit to The Spa or relax on the Sun Deck. Finish the day with a drink in Torshavn.
4 Sep 2018: Day 17 — Muscat, Oman
Call in the Arabian Peninsula today for a fascinating visit to Muscat, capital of Oman. Enjoy a city tour among its whitewashed buildings, featuring a photo stop at the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, able to accommodate 20,000 worshippers, and explore the low-lying structures of the Old Town, huddled around a small bay. Visit the private House of al Zubair museum with its remarkably preserved items of Omani heritage, and take in authentic local color in the city’s traditional souk. This sleepy historic enclave serves as the home of the ruling sultan.
5 Sep 2018: Day 18 — Cruise the Arabian Sea
Follow in the wake of traders, seafarers and adventurers who crossed the Arabian Sea over millennia. The first vessels traced the coastline some 5,000 years ago. In the days of the ancient Greeks, the Indian city of Bharuch to the north of Mumbai was already an established sea port. As you sail, relax by the Main Pool or enjoy the sea breeze from your stateroom veranda.
6 Sep 2018: Day 19 — Cruise the Arabian Sea
The Arabian Sea has been known variously as the Persian Sea and Erythraean Sea. Spices, metals, precious stones and wine have all made this crossing throughout history. Take this relaxing day at sea to unwind in The Spa’s sauna and Snow Grotto or take a dip in the Infinity Pool.
7 Sep 2018: Day 20 — Mumbai, India
Witness the cultural splendor of Old Bombay today, one of the world’s greatest ports. Constructed over seven islands, today the city straddles a flat peninsula jutting into the sea. The city’s Portuguese and British influences come to light as you view the Library of the Asiatic Society, the Hanging Gardens, Kamla Nehru Park and Dhobi Ghat, where locals still do laundry. You will also visit the National Gandhi Museum, housed in a mansion known as Mani Bhavan that the Indian hero used as his headquarters from 1917 to 1934, and see major monuments built during the British era.
8 Sep 2018: Day 21 — Mumbai, India
Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for your flight home. Or, extend your stay with a post-extension cruise package in Mumbai.
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