Cruise the Greek Islands
When: September 18, 2017 - September 26, 2017 (iCal)
“It was fun, educational, and interesting. Just amazing. Tufts alums were each and every one a pleasure to travel with.”
While cruising the Aegean aboard the M.S. LE LYRIAL, we will call on Crete, Santorini, Delos, Mykonos, Patmos, and Rhodes. We will journey to Meteora in Central Greece, a UNESCO World Heritage site where centuries-old monasteries stand atop natural sandstone pinnacles. Additional UNESCO World Heritage sites to be explored include Rhodes Town and its Palace of the Grand Masters of the Knights of St. John, the cave of the Apocalypse, the Monastery of St. John on Patmos, and many more! Residents will relay their personal perspectives on the nature of the Aegean Sea’s maritime culture. Our voyage can be extended with the Athens pre-cruise option and the Peloponnese post-cruise option.
Activity Level: Moderately Active
Price From: $5,495
Price From: $4,495 (if booked by March 7, 2017)
Includes cruise only; per person, based on double occupancy.
Itinerary and price are tentative and subject to change.
To avoid the disappointment of a sold out program, Register Now!
Usha Nand Sellers Ed. D., Director Tufts Travel-Learn Program, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-627-5323.
Day 1: U.S.
Depart the U.S.
Day 2: Athens, Greece
Today, we arrive in the birthplace of democracy, home to many great philosophers and poets. Unmatched in its contributions to early Western civilization, Athen’s grandeur is encapsulated in the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Acropolis and the Parthenon. The Captain’s Welcome Reception and dinner are on board the M.S. LE LYRIAL this evening after we embark.
Day 3: Volos for Meteora
From the port city of Volos, birthplace of legendary Jason, leader of the Argonauts, we travel across the Plain of Thessaly to Meteora (“suspended in the air”). This UNESCO World Heritage site features Orthodox monasteries high atop soaring natural sandstone pinnacles, where early Christian traditions have continued for hundreds of years. Originally, the only access to these peaks was by way of long ladders and baskets suspended on ropes. Today we will visit one of the four still active monasteries by way of roads built along the slopes overlooking the Peneas Valley.
Day 4: Delos/Mykonos
The mythical birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, Delos is considered one of the most sacred islands and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. We will walk along the Sacred Way to the Sanctuary of Apollo, a rich archaeological site with remains of three separate temples. Delos’ ruins also showcase an entire district of Hellenistic and Roman-era houses as well as the theater, the site of choral competitions during the quadrennial Delian festival. We’ll also see the magnificent Terrace of the Lions, where legendary statues carved from Náxian marble still guard the island. After lunch onboard, the afternoon is at leisure for exploring Mykonos. According to ancient legend, the craggy hills and clefts of Mykonos were formed from the petrified bodies of giants defeated by Hercules. Mykonos’ iconic windmills, white cube-shaped houses, and azure bays epitomize the spectacular beauty of the Greek Isles. The Little Venice neighborhood resembles, in design, Italy’s famed canal city.
Day 5: Pátmos
On small island of Pátmos, the Greek Orthodox Monastery of St. John is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The monastery is inhabited by monks who maintain it as a pilgrimage site and place of religious study. St. John the Apostle of Ephesus very possibly wrote the Book of Revelation on Pátmos in the Cave of the Apocalypse. This afternoon, local residents will discuss with us contemporary life on these islands during the specially arranged ISLAND LIFE FORUM®. Later, a performance of traditional Greek music and dance are on board the ship.
Day 6: Rhodes
The island of Rhodes has been one of the most prosperous and strategic strongholds in the eastern Mediterranean. Docking at the fortified wall of Rhodes Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, we’ll step into this well-preserved medieval city, built over a great Hellenistic metropolis. A major Christian outpost during the Crusades, it is the site where the Knights of St. John erected the splendid Palace of the Grand Masters. On the optional excursion, we’ll walk through the ancient village of Lindos to see the frescoes of the Church of Panagia and the breathtaking views from its clifftop acropolis.
Day 7: Heraklion for Knossos, Crete
One of the great sites of all antiquity and Greek mythology is the extraordinary frescoed Palace of Minos at Knossos. Today we will tour this immense complex of chambers, corridors, and courtyards and, in Crete’s capital city Heraklion, visit the Archaeological Museum, which exhibits the world’s best collection of Minoan artifacts. The afternoon is at leisure to discover Heraklion’s colorful Agora Market.
Day 8: Santorini
This morning, we cruise into the spectacular harbor at Santorini, a natural caldera, beneath which is believed to be the lost city of Atlantis. Here, we’ll tour the ruins of Akrotiri. Held intact by layers of pumice and ash, Akrotiri’s streets reveal architectural sophistication and an advanced culture. A cable car descends to sea level from the elevated town of Fira, whose stunning white-walled buildings stand in stark contrast against the dark volcanic cliffs. You may choose to join the specially arranged C’EST BON! CULINARY TRADITIONS OPTION in Fira this afternoon and savor distinctive island dishes presented by a local chef and paired with native Santorini wines. The Captain’s Farewell Reception is this evening.
Day 9: Athens/U.S.
Disembark in Athens and continue on to the Peloponnese Post-Cruise Option, or transfer to the airport for return flights arriving later today to take us home.
*Price and Itinerary are tentative and subject to change