Take a Cruise Visiting Greece
Upon arrival in Athens, we begin visiting Greece with a transfer to our short flight to Thessaloniki. There we meet our guide and driver and transfer to our hotel in Thessaloniki. The next morning, we start with the landmarks of Thessaloniki: the White Tower, the Walls of the Byzantine Acropolis, the Roman Arch of Galerius and the Rotonda. We visit two of the city’s oldest and most admired Christian churches, the Basilicas of St. Demetrius and St. Sophia (Divine Wisdom). We then follow the route of the Via Egnatia and visit, like Paul and his companions, the area of Amphipolis, to see the famous funerary Lion of Amphipolis. Then we travel on to Philippi where we visit the Baptistery of Lydia near the river, where Paul baptized her. Lydia was Paul’s first convert on European soil, followed by the jailer. We also visit the ruins of the Forum of Philippi, the Christian Basilicas, the “Prison of Paul” and the Theater. Then we drive to Kavala (Neapolis), Paul’s first step in bringing the Gospel to present-day Europe. A picturesque port, we view the Byzantine Castle and the Roman Aqueduct. We return to Thessaloniki for dinner and overnight. The next morning of visiting Greece, we see the world famous Byzantine monasteries that are perched on summits of gray rock peaks of varied and beautiful shapes. We end the day in Athens.
Start our 3-NIGHT Mediterranean Cruise
We sail this morning from Athens and continue visiting Greece to the quaint isle of Mykonos, called the island of windmills. We arrive at Mykonos, where we disembark and have time to experience the waterfront lined with shops and cafes. We stroll the charming walkways at our leisure through a maze of white-washed buildings before returning to the ship for dinner and evening activities. No excursions are included today, as we will visit the island at our leisure by foot. The next morning we arrive in Kusadasi, Turkey. Excursion Included: A short drive takes us to Ephesus, where Paul spent three years during his ministry. The impressive remains of Ephesus include the Agora, the Theater, the Stadium, the Library of Celsus, the ruins of the Temple of Diana (one of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World”) and many more. Later, we sail for the island of Patmos. Excursion Included: Here we visit the Monastery of St. John, on one of the island’s highest points. From there, we walk down to the Grotto of the Apocalypse, the site of the apocalyptic Revelations of St. John the Divine.
In the morning of our visiting Greece tour, we arrive at Heraklion, Crete and disembark. Excursion Included: During this excursion, we take a short ride through the town of Heraklion and then arrive at the Knossos excavations. Here, Sir Arthur Evan’s archaeological discoveries revealed a civilization dating back to 4000 B.C., when a great empire flourished on the island of Crete. Paul left Titus in Crete and gave instructions on appointing church leaders in the towns. In the afternoon, we cruise to the isle of Santorini and disembark. Excursion not included: Santorini is often referred to as the most breathtaking of all the Greek islands. The exquisite whitewashed villages, including the town of Fira, or Thira, cling to volcanic cliffs, accessible by cable-car, or mule.
Explore Athens, Corinth, and Delphi
We disembark the cruise this morning and continue visiting Greece with a stop at Ancient Corinth. This is the once-glorious city near the Isthmus, where Paul met Aquilla and Priscilla and spent a year and a half preaching the Word of God. We visit the Archaeological Museum, the Forum, the Temples and the famous Bema, where Paul stood before Gallio, accused by the Jews of Corinth. Then we drive to Cenchreae, the little harbor from which Paul sailed back to Asia, thus ending his second missionary journey. Here we admire the architectural wonders of ancient Athens, as we follow our guide to the world-renowned Acropolis, to see the Propylea, the Erechtheum and the Parthenon. We visit Mars Hill, where Paul delivered his speech on the “Unknown God.” Then we see the Agora, the ancient center of the economic and public life of the city, where Paul preached to the skeptical Athenians. During the bus tour, we also see Constitution Square with the House of Parliament and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Temple of Zeus, the Old Olympic Stadium and the Neoclassical Buildings of Athens. We end the day with an afternoon at leisure to explore Athens on your own. Our last day of visiting Greece, we take a special visit to Delphi, this mountainous city which today is both an archaeological site and a modern town. For the ancient Greeks, Delphi was considered the center of the earth and it is here that the eternal flame burned in the Temple of Apollo. Delphi was the site of the Delphic oracle, the most important oracle in the classical Greek world. It was also here beginning in 586 B.C. that athletes from all over the Greek world competed in the Pythian Games, one of the precursors to the modern Olympics. We end our visiting Greece tour with a transfer to the airport for our flight home or on to Rome.
Continue on Optional Rome Extension
The first day visiting Rome, we enjoy a sightseeing tour, including a special visit to the Catacombs where we explore tunnels and see the carvings on the walls from early Christians. From here we continue for a visit to St. Peter in Chains. Then we visit the Colosseum, which symbolizes the eternity of the Roman civilization, the Forum and the Piazza Venezia, dominated by the imposing monument to Vittorio Emanuel II. In the afternoon, we visit St. John Lateran and the “Sacred Steps.” As a monk, Martin Luther climbed these steps on his knees, trying to merit forgiveness. Afterwards we make a special visit to St. Paul’s Church where tradition believes the Apostle Paul is buried. The next day, we travel south to visit the spectacular ruins of Pompeii, which were covered by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. The city remained buried and undiscovered for almost 1500 years until excavations began in 1748. These excavations continue today and provide insight into life during the Roman Empire. We return to Rome in the evening. Our first visit the next morning is to the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel, the celebrated Chapel of the Popes and the venue of the Conclaves for Papal elections. It is one of the most splendid masterpieces in the history of world art and is well known around the world for its magnificent ceiling, beautifully decorated by Michelangelo. From here, we visit the Basilica of St. Peter, the largest church in the world, which overlooks the enormous Piazza San Pietro. In the afternoon, we drive through the main streets of Rome, marveling at the monuments of this great capital. We stop near the Fontana di Trevi, following tradition by tossing a coin into the fountain, promising to return to Rome. We end our Rome tour with a transfer to the airport for our flight home.