DAY 1 | Sept. 22. Depart your gateway city for Athens, Greece
DAY 2 | Sept. 23. Athens
Upon arrival, transfer to the NJV Athens Plaza. Tonight, enjoy a Welcome Reception.
DAY 3 | Sept. 24. Athens
Excursion: Athens and the Acropolis. Roam the remnants of Pericles’ extravagant architectural display, which crowns the city. Study the Parthenon’s illusory column design. Examine treasures and legendary sculptures in the Acropolis Museum.
Independent Exploration: The rest of the day is at leisure. (B)
DAY 4 | Sept. 25. Athens / At Sea
Excursion: Benaki Museum. Delve into Greek history at the Benaki Museum, which has an extensive collection that will take you from antiquity through the early 20th century. This afternoon, embark MV Aegean Odyssey. (B, D)
DAY 5 | Sept. 26. Syros
Visit the island of Syros in the heart of the Cyclades. The island first reached prominence as a trading center of the Venetian Republic, but it blossomed as Greece’s first major port and industrial center in the 19th century. (B, L, D)
DAY 6 | Sept. 27. Santorini
Excursion: Santorini. The cliffs of Santorini rise from a great half-moon caldera. Visit Oia, a village of whitewashed houses, blue-domed churches and tavernas carved into the cliffs. Wealthy sea captains built the pastel mansions that now are homes to cafés, boutiques and art galleries. Continue to Akrotiri to see the excavations at the ancient Minoan settlement. The Captain’s Welcome Reception is tonight. (B, L, D)
DAY 7 | Sept. 28. Kos
Just off the Turkish coast, Kos is best known as the birthplace of Hippocrates. The father of Western medicine was born on Kos in 460 B.C. The Asklepeion is the island’s most famous landmark. Named after the god of healing, it was a temple as well as a hospital where Hippocrates received his training. (B, L, D)
DAY 8 | Sept. 29. Rhodes
The famed Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, once stood watch over the island’s harbor. During the Crusades, armies used the strategically located island to resupply and stage their campaigns. The Knights Hospitaller occupied the city in the early 14th century. Over the next two centuries they built a magnificent medieval city. The city fell to the Ottomans, whose improvements add an Eastern flair. (B, L, D)
DAY 9 | Sept. 30. Rhodes
The Acropolis of Lindos stands watch over a village of whitewashed houses that stand in stark contrast to the deep, blue water of the sea. This fascinating archaeological site features the Temple of Athena, a theater and more. The island of Rhodes is known for its unique style of ceramics, and many artisans who produce these items are based in Lindos. (B, L, D)
DAY 10 | Oct. 1. Antalya, Turkey
Excursion: Aspendos & Perge. These sites once were part of the ancient kingdom of Pergamon. Aspendos, a major port city in Roman times, boasts a marvelous aqueduct and a well-preserved Roman theater. In Perge, whose ruins date from 1,000 B.C., visit the basilica where St. Paul preached his first sermon before heading out to spread Christianity, and walk through the Roman Gate. (B, L, D)
DAY 11 | Oct. 2. Fethiye
Excursion: Patara & Xanthos-Letoon. Enjoy a guided tour of Patara, which offers one of Turkey’s best beaches and is the birthplace of St. Nicholas, the model for Santa Claus. Later, visit the archaeological site of Xanthos-Letoon, which was the capital of Lycia. (B, L, D)
DAY 12 | Oct. 3. Bodrum
Bodrum sits on the ruins of a great ancient city and the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. An earthquake destroyed the mausoleum in the 13th century, but the Knights Hospitaller, who founded Bodrum, used the tomb’s ruins in the construction of the Castle of St. Peter. The castle sits on a promontory, which at one time was an island in the bay, according to the historian Herodotus. Near Bodrum is what many believe to be the last home of the Virgin Mary. Built on a mountain overlooking the Aegean Sea, the home is a sacred site for both Catholics and Muslims and its spring is believed to have healing powers. The foundation dates from the first century. (B, L, D)
DAY 13 | Oct. 4. Izmir
Excursion: Ancient Ephesus. During its heyday, the cosmopolitan city of Ephesus was on par with Athens and Rome. The seaside port that fueled the city’s prosperity in an- cient times is filled with silt, leaving the grand sites frozen in a state of remarkable preservation. Over the centuries, Ephesus has been both a Roman stronghold and a center of Christianity. Highlights of your walking tour include the Library of Celsus with its splendid columned façade, the Grand Theater where St. Paul once preached his sermons, the terraced houses and the Temple of Hadrian. Few places bring antiquity so vividly to life. (B, L, D)
DAY 14 | Oct. 5. Izmir
Excursion: Pergamon. Ride a cable car to the hilltop capital of Pergamon and visit the city’s ancient healing center on this adventure. Both the ancient Greeks and Romans left their mark on Pergamon. Pass through the Royal Gate to explore the noted library, the 10,000-seat theater carved into the steep slopes and the dramatic Temple of Trajan overlooking the Selinus River below. See a shrine to Dionysus, a sanctuary of Demeter, the gymnasium, the Agora and the Asklepeion, an ancient spa and sanitarium. (B, L, D)
DAY 15 | Oct. 6. Canakkale
Canakkale is the gateway to the storied city of Troy, a city described in ancient Greek lore. Troy itself was long believed to be a mythical city until the late 19th century, when a series of excavations uncovered the ruins of a fortress and other evidence of a great city. These digs provided vital information about the ancient Greeks and Romans who built the city, which as a great trading port helped develop this region as the crossroads between East and West. Tonight, attend a Farewell Reception. (B, L, D)
DAY 16 | Oct. 7. Istanbul
Disembark the ship and explore the city before checking in to the Marti Istanbul Hotel.
Excursion: Inspiring Istanbul. See the glittering mosaics in Hagia Sophia, a sixth- century Byzantine church that later became a mosque and now is a museum. Tour Sultan Ahmet I’s 17th-century Blue Mosque, renowned for the blue Iznik tiles adorning its interior. Wander through Topkapi Palace, residence of Ottoman sultans for 400 years.
Independent Exploration: The afternoon is at leisure. (B)
DAY 17 | Oct. 8. Istanbul
Excursion: Profound Moments. Tour Süleymaniye Mosque, which crowns one of Istanbul’s seven hills. Imperial architect Mimar Sinan combined space and tranquility into one expression of 16th-century Ottoman culture. See Byzantine mosaics and frescoes in the Church of St. Savior in Chora.
Independent Exploration: The afternoon is at leisure. (B)
DAY 18 | Oct. 9
Depart for the Istanbul airport and the return flight to your gateway city. (B)