From Antiquity to Byzantium Cruise

On board Historian

A voyage of discovery, unraveling the wonders of Antiquity and Byzantium

A voyage through history dedicated to the Golden Age of Greek civilisation and beyond, this cruise comes complete with a guest lecturer, Eugenia Alexiadou. Eugenia has a Master’s degree in Byzantine Art, is an expert historian and, as a graduate of the Athens’ Tour Guide Academy, is the perfect tutor through all the classical sites and sights we visit.

On one hand this is a wonderful cruise to some of Greece’s most beautiful, but often less visited, places. On the other it’s 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 Greek and Roman periods. All things considered it’s a cultural ‘tour de force’ with great cruising attached – ideal for those with an appetite for both history and a good dinner over which to talk about the delights of the day.

Your Holiday Includes:

Return flights from the UK
In-destination transfers
7 Night Cruise on a Full-board Basis
Shore Excursions
2 Night Hotel in Athens on a Bed & Breakfast basis
Port Charges
ATOL Protection

Don’t miss…

The mystical island of Delos

Insights from our resident lecturer

The amphitheatre at Epidaurus

Medieval Monemvasia

Byzantine Mystra

Ancient Olympia

The Oracle at Delphi

The Corinth Canal

Day-by-Day Itinerary

Wednesday – Athens

Fly to Athens. You will be met in Athens airport and transferred to the Emporikon hotel for a 2 night stay.

Location is everything when it comes to exploring a foreign city and we have chosen the Emporikon Hotel as much for its central position as its creature comforts. In brief we’re talking four star comfort in a brilliant location. In detail it’s situated half way between the Acropolis and Omonia Square.

Thursday – Athens

Explore Athens at leisure or an Athens tour can be organized for you. Please ask for details.

As such you’ll find yourself within 500m stroll of all the famous places to go and see in Athens such as the Roman Agora, Syntagma and Hadrian’s Arch – and, of course, the Acropolis itself. It’s the perfect place to grab an early breakfast and you can get the hot-spots before the tourists and be first in the queue. As it is also well located for the little back streets where you can find the hidden bars and eateries the locals use, you can also be first for lunch. In the afternoon shop in the flea market as Monastraki and end the evening with dinner in one of many traditional taverna restaurants in the Plaka district. You’re guaranteed a big day and a short walk home.

Meals included: Breakfast

Friday – Marina Zea

Welcome drinks while we set sail for Palia Epidauros.

Embarkation Time: 14:00

Meals included : Breakfast & Dinner

Saturday – 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 Galileo for lunch and cruising off to Nafplion.

Meals included : Breakfast & Dinner

Greece, Nafplion in a beautiful summer day

Sunday – 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

Meals included : Breakfast & Lunch & Dinner

Gythion

Monday – 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

Meals included : Breakfast & Lunch & Dinner

Pylos

Tuesday – 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.

Meals included : Breakfast & Lunch & Dinner

Pylos

Wednesday – 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.

Meals included : Breakfast & Lunch & Dinner

Olympia

Thursday – 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  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.

Meals included : Breakfast & Lunch & Dinner

Delphi

Friday – Athens

Disembarkation after breakfast and transfer to Athens airport.
If your flight departs late we can organize an Athens sightseeing tour for you. Please ask for details.

Meals included: Breakfast

Flights from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London Luton, London Stansted, Manchester or Bristol

All local transfers

2 nights at Emporikon hotel on a bed and breakfast basis

On board M/S Galileo

Accommodation on board M/S Galileo for 7 nights in your chosen grade of cabin with private SH/WC & air conditioning, mini fridge and flat screen TV with complimentary movies.

Full-board: Buffet breakfast and two meals daily, including a Welcome Cocktail, a local themed party evening , fun BBQ on the beach or on deck (weather permitting) and Captain’s Dinner.

Shore excursions

Regular (filter) coffee, tea and drinking water free all day, plus abundant fresh fruit.

Use of fishing and snorkelling equipment, sea kayak and stand up paddle boards (subject to availability).

Professional English speaking Cruise Director.

Expert guest lecturer on board

Port charges

London Heathrow

  • Wednesday Depart Heathrow:07:30 Arrive Athens: 13:00
  • Friday Depart Athens:13:50 Arrive Heathrow: 15:45

London Gatwick

  • Wednesday Depart Gatwick:05:45 Arrive Athens:11:20
  • Friday Depart Athens: 12:10 Arrive Gatwick: 14:00

London Luton

  • Wednesday Depart Luton: 06:50 Arrive Athens:12:30
  • Friday Depart Athens: 13:10 Arrive Gatwick: 15:10

Bristol

  • Wednesday Depart Bristol: 17:30 Arrive Athens:23:15
  • Friday Depart Athens:11:00 Arrive Bristol: 13:00

Manchester

  • Wednesday Depart Manchester: 10:40 Arrive Athens: 16:30
  • Friday Depart Athens:22:00 Arrive Manchester: 00:05 (+1)

All local transfers are included in your package.

  • Athens airport to Emporikon hotel – approximately 40 min
  • Emporikon hotel – Marina Zea (cruise embarkation) – approximately 30 min
  • Marina Zea – Athens airport – approximately 45 min
  • Beverages, except regular (filter) coffee, tea and drinking water.
  • Shore excursions on the islands or other land arrangements.
  • Crew gratuities (optional –  recommend  Eur10-14 per passenger per day).
  • Passenger personal expenses
  • Wi-Fi (available at charge)

Our Guest Lecturer

IMG_4374

Eugenia Alexiadou

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.

Some land  tours require a minimum of 14 guests and all  are exclusively run for our small groups. They may be  subject to changes due to site restorations, weather, or other  conditions.   The tours are active and require reasonable fitmess. Due to slippery stones and marble , we recommend comfortable rubber soled shoes, sun tan lotion and hats. We advise locally on the dress code for Church and Monastery visits.  

Included Shore Excursions

These excursions have been carefully selected to enhance your cruise experience. They are included in your cruise price

EPIDAURUS – ANCIENT THEATRE

EPIDAURUS – ANCIENT THEATRE

Duration approx. 3 hours 

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.

Mycenae

NAFPLION – MYCENAE

Duration approx. 4 hours 

After a short drive through the colourful city of Nafplion 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 Nafplion, first Capital of modern Greece.

mani greece

GYTHIO – MANI AND DIROS CAVE

Duration approx. 6 hours 

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.

Gythion Antiquity to Byzantium

PYLOS – NESTOR’S PALACE

Duration approx. 3,5 hours

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.

OLYMPIA

OLYMPIA

A full day excursion starting in Katakolon and ending in Patras, where we re-board the ship.

Duration approx. 8 hours

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)

DELPHI

ITEA -DELPHI

Duration approx. 3,5 hours 

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.

Ports of call: Athens – Palaia Epidaurus – Nafplion – Gythion – Pylos – Katakolon – Itea – Marina Zea (Athens)

Routes may need to be varied in the event of adverse weather and operating conditions at the captains discretion, in the interests of the comfort and safety of guests. The Captain and Cruise Director will will keep you fully briefed on the daily programme.

The Weather

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.

Your vessel: the beautiful motor sailer 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 enjoy the most a 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

Home at Sea

  • Single seating dining Indoor & Outdoor Lounge – Bar
  • Indoor Restaurant
  • Audiovisual in Lounge
  • Mini library
  • Beach Towels
  • Snorkeling equipment
  • Kayak
  • Board Games
  • Wi-Fi

Comfort Zone

  • Large portholes: upper deck cabins
  • Portholes: lower deck cabins
  • Triple Occupancy cabins: Category A
  • Flat-Screen TV
  • Mini Safe
  • Mini Fridge
  • Individually controlled A/C
  • En suite bathroom with shower
  • Hairdryers
  • Telephone for internal use
  • Central music
Galileo Cabin Category C

Category C:

Lower Deck

1 Double or 2 Lower Beds

9.5-11 sq.m. / 102.6-119 sq.ft.

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.
Galileo Cabin Category B

Category B:

Lower Deck

Flexible Bedding Configuration

11-14 sq.m. / 119-151 sq.ft.

The Category B cabins are located on the Lower Deck and have 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.

Galileo Cabin Category A

Category A:

Upper Deck

1 Double or 2 Lower Beds

12-13 sq.m. / 130-140.4 sq.ft.

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.

Galileo Lounge Area

Lounge Area

The lounge area is located on the main deck and has large windows providing for magnificent views. The lounge is a spacious, warm and cozy area with an American bar.
Galileo Sun Deck

Sundeck

The spacious sun deck is equipped with sun beds, deckchairs and shaded areas.
Galileo Upper Deck Outdoor Bar and Lounge

Upper Deck Outdoor Bar & Lounge area

Guests on Galileo very much enjoy the shaded outdoor deck area with an outdoor bar where they can just relax enjoying the most breathtaking sea views.
Galileo Dining Area

Dining Area

The spacious Dining room is located at the Main Deck and accommodates all passengers in a single seating.

Your Hotel: Emporikon Athens Hotel

Stay in the heart of Athens

Located in the centre of Athens City, the neoclassical Emporikon Athens Hotel, in Agia Irini Square, is a 19th century building. It features air-conditioned accommodation with Acropolis or Lycabettus Hill views. Monastiraki Metro Station is 350 yards away.

Fitted with a flat-screen TV, all rooms and suites of Emporikon Athens come with a minibar. Each has a private bathroom with free toiletries. Some units open to a balcony or offer an open-plan or separate seating area.

The property facilities include a 24-hour front desk and a ticket service. Bicycle and car rental services are provided.

Several café bars and restaurants can be reached within a short walk. Syntagma Square is 650 yards away and the popular sites of the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum are at a distance of approximately 0.6 miles. The scenic Plaka district is a 5-minute walk away.

Facilities

  • Free WiFi
  • Airport shuttle
  • Family rooms
  • Non-smoking rooms
  • 24-hour front desk
  • Room service
  • Tea/coffee maker in all rooms

Basic Room, City View(Included in your Holiday)

The following room types are available with a supplement

  • Superior Triple Room, City View
  • Exclusive Suite
  • Executive Suite (Double, Acropolis View )
  • Superior Double Room, Balcony (Acropolis View)
  • Junior Suite, Balcony (Acropolis View)
  • Family Suite

Location is everything when it comes to exploring a foreign city and we have chosen the Emporikon Hotel as much for its central position as its creature comforts. In brief we’re talking four star comfort in a brilliant location. In detail it’s situated half way between the Acropolis and Omonia Square.

Explore Athens at leisure or an Athens tour can be organized for you. Please ask for details.

As such you’ll find yourself within 500m stroll of all the famous places to go and see in Athens such as the Roman Agora, Syntagma and Hadrian’s Arch – and, of course, the Acropolis itself. It’s the perfect place to grab an early breakfast and you can get the hot-spots before the tourists and be first in the queue. As it is also well located for the little back streets where you can find the hidden bars and eateries the locals use, you can also be first for lunch. In the afternoon shop in the flea market as Monastraki and end the evening with dinner in one of many traditional taverna restaurants in the Plaka district. You’re guaranteed a big day and a short walk home.

Prices

december, 2022

Antiquity to Byzantium 2023 flight inclusive package

Prices (£) per person from:
Departure DatesCategory CCat C Special OfferCategory BCat B Special OfferCategory ACat A Special Offer
22/3/2023£2,411£2,889£3,454
29/3/2023£2,977£3,533£3,977
5/4/2023£2,998£3,554£3,998
12/4/2023£2,998£3,554£3,998
25/10/2023£2,998£3,554£3,998
1/11/2023£2,432£2,120£2,910£2,728£3,475£3,236
8/11/2023£2,432£2,120£2,910£2,728£3,475£3,236

Antiquity to Byzantium - 2023 - Single & Triple occupancy

 Category CCat C Special OfferCategory BCat B Special OfferCategory ACat A Special Offer
Single occupancy
March & November£3,331£2,815£4,048£3,774£4,896£4,537
April & October£4,150£4,984£5,650
3rd Person Price
March & NovemberN/AN/A£2,771£2,603
April & OctoberN/AN/A£3,126

Antiquity to Byzantium 2023

Prices (£) per person
Departure DatesCategory CCat C Special OfferCategory BCat B Special OfferCategory ACat A Special Offer
24/3/2023£1,705£2,183£2,748
31/3/2023£2,227£2,783£3,227
7/4/2023£2,227£2,783£3,227
14/4/2023£2,227£2,783£3,227
27/10/2023£2,227£2,783£3,227
3/11/2023£1,705£1,571£2,183£2,001£2,748£2,509
10/11/2023£1,705£1,571£2,183£2,001£2,748£2,509

Antiquity to Byzantium - 2023 - Single & Triple occupancy & port charges

 Category CCat C Special OfferCategory BCat B Special OfferCategory ACat A Special Offer
Single Supplement
March & November£2,379£2,177£3,097£2,823£3,944£3,586
April & October£3,162£3,997£4,662
3rd Person Price
March & NovemberN/AN/AN/AN/A£2,031£1,864
April & OctoberN/AN/AN/AN/A£2,366
Port Charges£270-£270-£270-

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