A voyage of discovery, unraveling the wonders of Antiquity and Byzantium
7-night 8 Day cruises starting and ending in Athens
Why go: a voyage dedicated to the Golden Age of Greek civilisation this cruise comes complete with a guest lecturer in the shape of Eugenia Alexiadou (see ‘In brief’ below) who will tutor you through all the classical sites and sights we visit – the Amphitheatre of Epidaurus; Nauplion & Mycenae; the walled town of Monemvasia, Byzantine Mystra, Ancient Olympia – Birthplace of the Olympic Games, the Ancient Oracle at Delphi and the spectacular Corinth Canal.
In brief: This is an educational experience with expert daily briefings on the ruins, wonders and historic back-stories that unfold on a daily basis. Eugenia, our guest lecturer, has a Master’s degree in Byzantine Art, is an expert historian and, as a graduate of the Athens’ Tour Guide Academy is perfectly qualified to give a comprehensive cultural and contextual background to all the sites and sights we visit. Essentially you get a masterclass on the journey through classical antiquity and the Roman conquest, ending with the transition to the Christian empire of Byzantium. Often overlooked by western historians, The Byzantine Empire lasted over 1000 years and has as significant an influence on European history and culture as the classical and Roman periods. It’s a cultural ‘tour de force’
Your vessel: the beautiful motor sailer Galileo
Ports of call: Athens – Palaia Epidaurus – Nafplion – Gythion – Pylos – Katakolon – Itea – Marina Zea (Athens)
The Yacht Cruise Experience
Daily sunshine is virtually guaranteed in the Greek Isles. The season runs from April to late October with temperatures ranging from the low to mid 20s in early and late season up to the high 30s in late June through August. Winds are predictable with moderate to fresh winds (force 2-5) in the afternoon.
Our Guest Lecturer
Born in Athens Eugenia studied Archaeology and the History of Art at the University of Athens gaining her Master’s degree in Byzantine art. She has lectured on Greek history and ancient Greek literature. As a graduate of the Athens’ Tour Guide Academy, Eugenia is an official archaeology and Greek history tour leader.
Eugenia also has a passion for Prehistoric Aegean Civilisation and, when not exploring the history of the Peloponnese, has worked extensively on Santorini on the excavations at Akrotiri, one of the most important Bronze Ae sites in the Mediterranean.
She looks forward to meeting you and sharing her knowledge and insight:
“I am so fortunate to come from a harmonious typical Greek family that always encouraged me to do and study only what I really loved. My love for the ancient ruins, the myths, the people, the flavours and aromas, the depth of history were all encouraged by family travels and summers spent in nature .After I graduated, I decided that I want to share all this fascinating history and beauty with all the wonderful people that visit our country”
Other than history Eugenia loves dancing, having participated in the opening and closing ceremony of the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Athens – Marina Zea
On arrival in Athens transfer to Marina Zea for welcome cocktails and dinner while we set sail for Palia Epidauros.
Epidauros – Nafplion
Highlight here is the ancient amphitheatre – one of the best preserved sites of Ancient Greece. You’ll hear its story this morning before returning to Gallileo for lunch and cruising off to Nafplion.
Nafplion – Gythion
Old Nafplion is worth a stroll around early this morning but the day’s real treasure is the city of Mycenae – the history of which Homer called rich in gold represents everything great about Greece’s ‘Golden Age’. Starting in 1650 BC it endured nearly 700 years until the fall of the Mycenaean dynasty around 1100 BC. Loads to see and great stories to tell. Overnight we sail to Gythion
Gythion – Pylos
Ancient Gythion was a Spartan naval base during the Peloponnesian wars. For us it’s a jumping off point to explore the Mani Peninsular, Cape Tenaro and the spectacular Dirou Caves. After dinner on board we cast anchor and sail for Pylos
Today Pylos is a lovely little seaside resort. Back in 1827 however it witnessed one of the most important naval battles of the time, the Battle of Navarino, where a combined British, French and Russian fleet liberated Greece from the clutches of the Ottoman Empire. You’ll hear all about this as we make an excursion to the Palace of Nestor on a scenic hilltop overlooking the bay.
Katakolon (for Olympia)
Having sailed overnight we arrive in Katakolon early morning and quickly set off for our excursion to the legendary site of Olympia. The home of the original Olympic Games, Olympia is one of the most famous and important sites in the Ancient World. After lunch in town we visit the Museum of the History of the Olympic Games of Antiquity and, at the main site, you can even run on the original track. It’s a fantastic and hugely impressive place and you’ll want to make the most of your afternoon wandering round. Later we re-board Gallileo in Patras and sail to Itea in the Gulf of Corinth, where we overnight.
Itea (for Delphi)
Delphi, with its legendary Oracle, is one of the most revered sites in Antiquity. It’s also a site of stunning natural beauty, built into a mountainside. After of examination and exploration of the ruins we re-join Galileo to transit the amazing engineering feat that is the Corinth Canal, cut though solid rock in the 1880’s to join the Gulf of Corinth with the Aegean Sea.
Having sailed overnight, and enjoyed a farewell dinner, we arrive back in Marina Zea for onward transport to Athens airport, or the city itself if you choose a hotel add-on.
Optional Shore Excursions
These excursions have been carefully selected to enhance your cruise experience and can be booked on board.
EPIDAURUS – ANCIENT THEATRE
Duration approx. 3 hours – Incl. Bus/Guide/Entry fee: Per Person Euro 55
We leave our ship early in the morning to drive to Ancient Epidaurus. Epidaurus was known throughout the Greek world as a healing sanctury – It was reputed to be the birthplace of Apollo’s son Asclepius – and for its theater, which is once again in use today.
The Asclepieion at Epidaurus was the most celebrated healing center of the Classical world, the place where ill people went in the hope of being cured. The theater was designed by Polykleitos the Younger in the 4th century B.C. The original 34 rows were extended in Roman times by another 21 rows.
When full, the theatre seats up to 15,000 people. As it did during the time of the ancient Greeks, the theater is still marveled for its exceptional acoustics, which permit almost perfect perception of spoken words from the stage floor to all spectators, regardless of their seating.
We will return to our ship after completing our visit to all sites and enjoying time at leisure.
NAUPLION – MYCENAE
Duration approx. 4 hours – Incl. Bus/Guide/Entry fee: Per Person Euro 57.00
After a short drive through the colourful city of Nauplion and the beautiful fertile countryside of Argolis arrive at Mycenae, a major centre of Greek Civilization. The importance of the city, which Homer calls “rich in gold” begins in 1650 B.C and ceases around 1100 B.C with the fall of the civilization to which it gives name. Visit the remains of the ancient glorious city now a UNESCO World Heritage site, including the Cyclopean walls, the famous Lion’s Gate, the Palace –home to the Kingdom of mythical Agamemnon, the so called Agamemnon Tomb and the museum. Mycenae in legend was the royal seat of the ill-fated House of Atreus, and from Mycenae Agamemnon, “king of men”, went off as leader of the Achaean expedition to war against Troy. At the end of the tour we will have a short guided walk in the historical centre of Nauplion, first Capital of modern Greece.
GYTHIO – MANI AND DIROS CAVE
Duration approx. 6 hours – Incl. Bus/Guide/Entry fee: Per Person Euro 65
Ancient Gythion was inhabited during prehistoric times and later the Spartans used as a port, enlarging the natural harbor they made Gythion their naval base. . Leaving Gythion we will cross the scenic Mani Peninsula to reach Diros and visit the spectacular caves, discovered around the 60s, which are perhaps among the most important natural sites of Greece. The Paleolithic and Neolithic findings, many in display at the museum, mean that the caves were one of the earliest inhabited places in Greece. The human skeletons are those of unburied dead, a fact which has led the Head of Antiquities to suggest that at the end of the Neolithic period or at the beginning of the Bronze Age, a severe earthquake shook the area blocking the mouth of the cave, so that its inhabitants were walled up and died of starvation. The cave entrance remained sealed for about 4.500 years. The cave today is partially filled with water so we will board small fishing boats and explore the cave which is full of stalactites and stalagmites. After visiting the cave we will drive to nearby Areopolis for a short stroll through the town. Mani is at the tip of the Peloponnese, a distinctive area unlike any other area in Greece. A desolate region of underground lakes and rivers, windswept landscapes and towers who is strangely beautiful.
PYLOS – NESTOR’S PALACE
Duration approx. 3,5 hours – Incl. Bus/Guide/Entry fee: Per Person Euro 60.00
Pylos town sits on the backside of stately Navarino Bay the site of several famous naval battles: In Antiquity between the Spartans and Athenians during the Peloponnesian conflict. In 1827 a fleet ofVenetians and other city states defeated an Ottoman fleet in one of the most important naval battles in history. This defeat led to the independence of Greece, which occurred in 1829.
After stopping to admire the scenery, we will continue up the road to Nestor’s Palace. The remains of the prehistoric Palace occupy a scenic hilltop setting north of Pylos. Though most of the palace is long gone, the foundation remains surprisingly intact and the entire site is covered by a large shed-like structure to prevent further damage from the elements. We know about old king Nestor thanks to Homer who wrote of him in the Iliad and the Odyssey. The palace at Pylos belonged to Nestor and was discovered in 1939 by the American archaeologist Carl Blegen.
Highlights include the well-preserved royal apartments and a bathtub that archaeologists have speculated belonged to the old king himself.
Following our visit to the remains of the palace, we will make the short trip to the town of Hora where the archaeological museum (optional visit) holds thousands of artifacts recovered from the site. Among the 3,000 year-old treasures are beautifully carved statues, pottery, and weapons.
A full day excursion starting in Katakolon and ending in Patras, where we re-board the ship.
Duration approx. 8 hours. – Incl. Bus /Guide/Entry fee/Lunch: Per Person Euro 84.00
We will disembark the ship early morning in the port town of Katakolo and travel by bus to Olympia, one of the most famous and important sites in the ancient world.
Olympia is revered as the birthplace of the Olympic Games. In the ancient Greek world, it was also the greatest Pan-Hellenic sanctuary for the worship of Zeus. Although the first recorded Olympics took place in 776 B.C., evidence indicates that some type of games or athletic contests were held as early as Mycenean times (11th-12th centuries B.C.). Remarkably, from 776 on, the games were held uninterrupted for the next 1,000 years. From 1875 onward excavation work, spearheaded primarily by the German government, revealed the fantastic treasures from antiquity that sit today in the marvelous archaeological museum. The most thrilling site at Olympia is the stadium, which looks much like it did more than 2,000 years ago.
You will also explore the Temple of Hera, the magnificent temple of Zeus the Philippeion – circular memorial of Ionic columns honoring the family of Alexander the Great and the Leonidion
– lodging place for the athletes who participated in the games.
We later visit the Olympia Museum, one of the most beautiful museums in the world. It is filled with treasures unearthed from the mud that covered Olympia after a flood in about 400 AD. Among the many astonishing exhibits are the bronze helmet of Miltiades, worn by the Greek general at Marathon in his victory over the Persians at Marathon in 490 B.C.; and the statuary from the east and west pediments of the temple of Zeus.
Following a traditional lunch in the town of Olympia, we’ll visit the museum of the History of the Olympic Games of Antiquity. Unlike the main archaeological museum, this building houses statuary and a host of artifacts specifically related to the ancient Olympic games. (The History Museum visit is optional provided it is open in the afternoon)
Duration approx. 3,5 hours – Incl. Bus/Guide/Entry fee: Euro 58.00
Itea is best knwn as the gateway to Delphi, one of the most revered sites from the ancient world. We will disembark the ship early this morning and proceed to the ruins complex.
Unlike other archaeological sites in Greece, Delphi is built on the side of a mountain. First time visitors are awed as much for the stunning natural beauty that surround the ruins as for the ancient buildings themselves. Behind the site, the bare limestone cliffs of the Phaidriades thrust several thousand feet up, towering over the archaeological site and museum, while to the south
runs a deep and fertile river valley. The panoramic views from the road are truly inspiring.
In its prime, Delphi was revered for its wealth and reputation, attributes which grew from the site’s location as hosting the most important oracle in the classical world. Indeed, because everything in Greece is connected to mythology, Delphi became the premier site for the worship of the god Apollo. The oracle had the ability to prophecy the future and give advice. Visitors from across the Greek world traveled here to consult with the oracle, and responded by offering thanks to Apollo in the form of treasure.
We will have a half day to walk around the ruins complex and visit the adjoining museum. Some of the highlights include the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia, the Castalian Spring, the Gymnasium, the Temple of Apollo, the Treasuries (built by various Greek city-states to commemorate victories), and the stadium.
The Yacht - M/S Galileo
The 48 meter “Galileo” is a classic steel Motor Sailer, with spacious and well appointed interiors renovated in 2016.
At the main deck, a lounge area with an American bar leads into a warm and elegant dining room finished with wood and leather.
Guests on the Galileo can enjoy the shaded outdoor deck area with an outdoor bar and the ship’s sun deck. The M/S Galileo, built with the most stringent safety regulations, was launched in 1992 and rebuilt in 2007.
|Launched Rebuilt||1992 / 2007|
|Crew||16 - 18 persons|
|Cruising speed||11.00 knots|
1 Double Bed or 2 Lower Beds
The Category C cabins are located on the Lower Deck and have portholes. The cabins are air-conditioned and fitted with flat-screen TVs, mini fridge, central music, internal telephone, safe deposit boxes, hair dryer & en suite bathroom with shower.
Flexible Bedding Configuration
1 Double or 2 Lower Beds
The Category A cabins are located on the Upper Deck and have large Portholes. The cabins are air-conditioned and fitted with flat-screen TV, mini fridge, central music, internal telephone, safe deposit boxes, hair dryer & en suite bathroom with shower
Antiquity to ByzantiumPRICES FOR 2017 – PRICES (£) PER PERSON FRIDAY DEPARTURES FROM ATHENS
|Deapertures Dates||Category C||Category B||Category A||Special offers|
|20/10/2017||£ 1,273||£ 1,636||£ 2,000||25% OFF|
|27/10/2017||£ 1,273||£ 1,636||£ 2,000|
|03/11/2017||£ 955||£ 1,264||£ 1,627||25% OFF|
|Optional Excursion Package||£ 299||£ 299||£ 299|
Antiquity to Byzantium - port charges, flights and supplements 2017
|Category C||Category B||Category A|
|Flights inc luggage from||£245||£245||£245|
|3rd person reduction||N/A||-30%||N/A|
Antiquity to Byzantium2018 PRICES (£) PER PERSON FRIDAY DEPARTURES FROM ATHENS
|Departure Dates||Category C||Category B||Category A||Early Booking Discount|
Antiquity to Byzantium - port charges, flights and supplements 2018
|Category C||Category B||Category A|
|Flights inc luggage from||£245||£245||£245|
|3rd person reduction||N/A||-30%||N/A|
- Accommodation in your chosen grade of cabin with ensuite SH/WC, individually controlled air conditiioning, mini fridge and flat screen TV with complimentary movies.
- Full-board: Buffet breakfast and two meals daily, including a Welcome Cocktail, local themed party evening, fun BBQ on the beach or on deck (weather permitting) and Captain’s Dinner.
- Regular (filter) coffee, tea and drinking water free all day, plus abundant fresh fruit.
- Use of fishing and snorkelling equipment and sea kayak (subject to availability).
- English speaking expert Guest Speaker.
- Professional English speaking Cruise Director.
Beverages, except regular (filter) coffee, tea and drinking water.
Shore excursions on the islands or other land arrangements.
Passenger personal expenses
Wi-Fi (available at charge)
Flights from London Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Manchester morning departures. Afternoon and evening return flights from Athens.
ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 9511
Road transfer to and from marina Zea in Pireaus port approximately 30 minutes by car or minibus.