November 04 - 21, 2020
Tour Status - Guaranteed
THE CRADLE OF CIVILIZATION
Join David and Brenda Layden as we discover the origins of Western civilization on this voyage to the resplendent lands where it blossomed centuries ago, from the profound mysticism of Jerusalem and the marbled colonnades of Greece to the Ottoman flair of Turkey.
Meander among centuries-old olive trees in Jerusalem’s striking Garden of Gethsemane
Absorb the enchanting Venetian ambiance of Chania while strolling beside the colorful harbor
Roam the spectacular remains of the 2nd-century Library of Celsus in Ephesus, a UNESCO World Heritage site
Cherish Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia, a UNESCO World Heritage site considered the ultimate expression of Byzantine architecture
Day 01 - Nov 04, 2020: Wed: Depart North America [IFM]
Depart North America for an overnight flight into Tel Aviv, Israel.
Day 02 - Nov 05, 2020: Thu: Tel Aviv - Dead Sea, Israel [IFM/L/D]
Arrive Tel Aviv and travel toward the Judean Desert as you make your way to the Dead Sea. The shores of the Dead Sea are the lowest point on the surface of the earth, and the saline water of the lake give lead to the name ‘Dead Sea’ because no fish can survive in the salty waters. The other result of the salty water of the Dead Sea is their renowned health and healing properties and the unique feature that one can float naturally in them. This afternoon, enjoy the facilities of the hotel and experience floating in the Dead Sea.
Day 03 - Nov 06, 2020: Fri: Dead Sea/Masada/Jerusalem, Israel [B/D]
Drive on to Masada (ascend by cable car), the last outpost of the Jewish Zealots, who committed mass suicide rather than surrender to the Romans in the 1st century. Masada today is one of the Jewish people's greatest symbols. Israeli soldiers take an oath there: "Masada shall not fall again." Next to Jerusalem, it is the most popular destination of Jewish tourists visiting Israel. Masada is located at the top of an isolated rock on the edge of the Judean Desert and the Dead Sea valley, between Sdom and Ein Gedi. After the tour continue to Jerusalem for the next 3 nights This evening, enjoy a Sound and Light Show
Day 04 - Nov 07, 2020: Sat: Jerusalem, Israel [B/L/D]
Today, enjoy a tour of Jerusalem. More than beautiful, Jerusalem is a spiritual centre, holy to the three great monotheistic faiths, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. That three religions have assigned so much importance to a solitary city makes Jerusalem one of the most fascinating places you’ll ever visit. You will visit the New City of Jerusalem and visit the Yad Vashem museum, memorial of Jewish Catastrophe during World War Two.
Day 05 - Nov 08, 2020: Sun: Jerusalem, Israel [B/D]
In the morning drive to Mt. of Olives for a spectacular view of the Old City. Walk downhill through the ancient Jewish Cemetery with views of the Church of Mary Magdalene and Orson Hyde Park. Enter the Garden of Gethsemane admiring the ancient olive trees and Church of All Nations. Proceed to the Garden Tomb and enjoy the serenity of this holy location. Walk along the Via Dolorosa and along the ancient city ramparts and rooftops of the old city exploring special new angles. Enjoy the colourful Arab Bazaar on top of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Spend time in the Church and then proceed to the ancient City of David for a walk through the Hezekiah tunnel.
Day 06 - Nov 09, 2020: Mon: Tiberius/Sea of Galilee, Israel [B/L/D]
Today you tour the Holy sites around the Sea of Galilee, also known as Lake Kinneret. Since biblical times the Sea of Galilee was famous for its abundance of fish. The beautiful area around the Sea of Galilee is brimming with a mix of fascinating historical and religious sites. Vast landscapes, towns and settlements, nature and wildlife, springtime blooming. Visit the remains of the 2nd century synagogue in Capernaum. Proceed to Tabgha, the site of the miracle of fish and loaves, and visit the Church of Multiplication with its 4th century mosaic floor. Continue to Mount of the Beatitudes, the place where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount.
Day 07 - Nov 10, 2020: Tue: Sea of Galilee/Board Oceania “Sirena” [B/L/D] Depart 10 PM
Enjoy a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, visit Nazareth and visit the Basilica of the Annunciation, a new church built over the ruins and foundations of successive churches on the site believed to have been the house of the Holy Family.
Transfer to Oceania “Sirena” for your Mediterranean Cruise.
Day 08 - Nov 11, 2020: Wed: Jerusalem (Ashdod), Israel [B/L/D]* Arrive 6 AM - Depart 8 PM
For Christians, Jews and Muslims, Jerusalem is one of the holiest cities on earth, and it is also one of the oldest. Early Bronze Age tools and writings show that Jerusalem has been settled since the 4th millennium B.C. Marvel at the beauty of the Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the walled Old City of Jerusalem, as you stroll through winding streets where people have lived for centuries.
*All meals unless you are on a shore excursion
Day 09 - Nov 12, 2020: Thu: Paphos, Cyprus [B/L/D] Arrive 10 AM - Depart 7 PM
Paphos isn’t just sunny, it’s really sunny – with an average of 13 hours a day in the summer and five hours during what are normally dreary months. It’s easy to fall in love with this beautiful land of rocky coastline and clear blue waters, which is why it was the perfect setting for the legendary birthplace of Aphrodite, goddess of beauty and love. UNESCO World Heritage sites reveal the area’s historic devotion to the deity. The Kato Paphos part of town has extensive remains of Aphrodite’s Sacred City, while the nearby village of Kouklia has the ruins of a temple erected in her honor as well as the site of Old Paphos, where she was revered.
Day 10 - Nov 13, 2020: Fri: Alanya, Turkey [B/L/D] Arrive 8 AM - Depart 6 PM
Alanya rose to prominence during the Middle Ages under the Seljuks, a tribe from central Asia that built the fortress and protective wall that still dominate the city. Several other buildings from that time also remain, including the octagonal Red Tower and the Seljuk Shipyard. Thousands of archaeological pieces in the Alanya Museum attest to the city's importance through the ages. But history only touches on Alanya's considerable allure. The city sits on a lovely gulf, backed by the pine-forested Taurus Mountains on Turkey's beautiful Mediterranean coast.
Day 11 - Nov 14, 2020: Sat: Marmaris, Turkey [B/L/D] Arrive 8 AM - Depart 7 PM
Turkey's most notable beach resort, Marmaris has a chic and tony 'Riviera' feel to it. An elegant, palm-lined promenade weaves its way around the shoreline, while the marina plays host to a flotilla of gleaming white yachts. Ancient and natural history are served up in Dalyan or discover a Turkish tradition with a visit to a hammam or Turkish bath.
Day 12 - Nov 15, 2020: Sun: Bodrum, Turkey [B/L/D] Arrive 8 AM - Depart 6 PM
A playground for yachters, tourists and jet setters, modern Bodrum stands on the site of the ancient city of Halicarnassus. You can still see the foundations of the mausoleum, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, which was destroyed by earthquakes. The Knights of St. John used its stones to build Bodrum Castle, fascinating not only as a medieval monument but also for the Museum of Underwater Archaeology within its walls, which includes a display of the oldest known shipwreck.
Day 13 - Nov 16, 2020: Mon: Chania (Crete), Greece [B/L/D] Arrive 8 AM - Depart 6 PM
Chania wears its past on its sleeve. Spend the day in museums, from those uncovering the ancient history buried beneath the rocky soil to those celebrating Greece’s magnificent maritime history and the region’s unique folklore. Visit the ruins of the city-state of Aptera, a powerhouse in Minoan and Hellenistic times and eventually a Roman stronghold.
Day 14 - Nov 17, 2020: Tue: Athens (Piraeus), Greece [B/L/D] Arrive 8 AM - Depart 7 PM
Climb up the magnificent Acropolis and stand in awe of the Parthenon, the beautiful temples and the view over Athens stretched out before you. See city highlights including the new and old Olympic stadiums. Journey to Cape Sounion and the temple of Poseidon overlooking the sea, or visit ancient Corinth and the narrow Corinth Canal cut through miles of solid rock.
Day 15 - Nov 18, 2020: Wed: Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey [B/L/D] Arrive 9 AM - Depart 7 PM
Meander through the ruins of ancient Ephesus and marvel at the famed Library of Celsus, the huge amphitheater, the marble roads with their chariot marks, the amazing mosaic sidewalks and the superb, rarely opened Terrace Houses. Or journey to three monumental cities of antiquity - Priene, Miletus and Didyma - renowned for their majestic temples and impressive, beautifully preserved stadiums.
Day 16 - Nov 19, 2020: Thu: Cruising the Aegean Sea [B/L/D]
Day at sea. You may want to catch up on your photos that you have taken and maybe take a few moments to connect with family about your cruise so far.
Day 17 - Nov 20, 2020: Fri: Istanbul, Turkey [B/L/D] Arrive 8 AM
Indulge your eyes and senses in this magnificent city astride two continents. Visit beautiful Topkapi Palace and the awesome Hagia Sophia.
SPECIAL INCLUDED SELECT HOLIDAYS EXPERIENCE
Enjoy visiting the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, as well as enjoy lunch and cruise the Bosporus Strait, the strait separating Europe & Asia. You will have the opportunity to shop in the Grand Bazaar, as there are more than 5,000 shops in it, covering 60 streets!
Day 18 - Nov 21, 2020: Sat: Istanbul, Turkey - End of Cruise - Disembark at 8:00 am [B/IFM]
This morning, you disembark from your cruise and transfer to the Istanbul for your flight back to North America.