The 'Cradle of Civilization' is a perfect title for October's cruise to Egypt, the Greek Islands, Israel and Turkey. From the Old Kingdom of the Egyptian pharaohs to the Ottoman Empire of the Turkish sultans, experience a remarkable variety of great eastern Mediterranean cultures, while savouring the delights of shipboard life in one of the world's most scenic and stimulating regions.
Appropriately, the host for this cruise is Dr. Peter Smith, professor of Greek and Roman Studies and the 1996 Distinguished Alumnus, who accompanied two cruises to the Mediterranean in 1989 and 1992 and has a deep appreciation for the history and culture of this region.
The tour begins October 4 with one night in Athens before boarding Royal Olympic Cruises' Stella Solaris to head southward to the Nile Delta, and Alexandria, once the cosmopolitan centre of the Hellenistic world. Excursions from Alexandria or Port Said to Cairo offer a never-to-be-forgotten visit to the Pyramids of Giza, followed by a tour of Cairo's incomparable Egyptian Museum. An optional hotel overnight may be taken in Cairo.
Next we cruise to seven Greek Islands. Highlights include the spectacular volcanic caldera of Santorini whose Bronze Age eruption may have inspired the Atlantis myth; Kos, birthplace of Hippocrates, the most celebrated of ancient physicians; the serene and lovely Patmos, where St. John the Divine composed the Book of Revelations; and Mykonos, whose windmills and whitewashed homes remain as picturesque and charming as ever.
The second week the Stella Solaris cruises the Aegean coast of Turkey to the two great cities of Roman Asia Minor, Ephesus and Pergamum.
The cruise ends with a sail through the Dardanelles to Byzantium--once the majestic city of Constantinople and now the bustling metropolis of Istanbul.