Day 1: LARNACA
Passengers are welcome to board our ship at 6:00 p.m. After comfortably settling into your cabins, we’ll introduce our crew at a welcome cocktail before dinner. The evening is free to do as you please.
Day 2: LARNACA (Cyprus)
Optional full-day excursion to Nicosia and Kyrenia (approx. 8 hours including lunch). The Cypriot capital has two faces and symbolizes two contrasting cultures united by a shared history. Brimming with gems to discover, Nicosia stands as the last officially divided European city. The Green Line, a UN-monitored demilitarized zone winding through the center of the city, separates the Mediterranean feel of southern Nicosia from the surprising architectural masterpieces in its northern counterpart. You’ll get to visit, among other places, the former Cathedral of Saint Sophia where Cyprus kings used to be crowned. In the afternoon, we’ll continue on to Kyrenia, the main seaside resort in northern Cyprus. We’ll take a walk along its picturesque harbor before moving on to Bellapais Abbey. Also known as “the Abbey of Beautiful Peace”, it was built in Gothic design in the 12th century and offers gorgeous views over the coast.
Day 3: HAIFA or ASHDOD (Israel)
Included full-day excursion to Jerusalem and Bethlehem (lunch included; approx. 10 hours total, including 4 hours round trip). We'll travel through the Judea Mountains and the entrance to the valley which was besieged during the 1948 War of Independence. In Jerusalem, you will visit the Mount of Olives and the Church of Gethsemane, where Jesus Christ was betrayed by Judas Iscariot and captured by the Romans. In the afternoon, we'll enjoy a discovery tour of Bethlehem, City of David and Jacob and the famous Church of the Nativity. After returning to Jerusalem, we'll visit the Old Town. We will first amble down the colorful market where the three main religions (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) live side by side before reaching the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the holiest Christian site in the world believed to encompass both the Calvary where Jesus Christ was crucified as well as the cave where his body was placed after his death. We'll move on along the Via Dolorosa all the way to the Wailing Wall, the most sacred place of worship for Jews, where they write their wishes on slips of paper which are then placed in the wall. Finally, we'll get to see Mount Zion where Jesus Christ ate the Last Supper with his disciples, which inspired the Cenacle.
Day 4: HAIFA or ASHDOD (Israel)
Optional full-day excursion through Galilee including the Sea of Galilee (lunch included; approx. 9 hours total, including 4 hours round trip). The Sea of Galilee, a freshwater lake also known as Lake Tiberias or Kinneret in Hebrew, is the main water source in Israel and crystallizes for Christians the place where many of the events described in the Bible occurred. Our excursion will first take you to Cana (or Kafr Cana), where Jesus performed the miracle of transforming water into wine. We'll continue on to the Mount of Beatitudes, from where there are wonderful views of Lake Tiberias. This is the hill where Jesus is believed to have delivered his “Sermon on the Mount”. We'll next head for Tabgha, believed to be the most beautiful and peaceful of holy Christian sites and which was the scene of many Gospel stories, before moving on to Capernaum, the base camp for Jesus during his Galilean ministry.
Day 5: HAIFA or ASHDOD (Israel) - LIMASSOL (Cyprus)
This morning, included guided tour of Nazareth. We'll set off for our discovery tour of Nazareth, travelling through the lovely hills of Upper Galilee and the historic Jezreel Valley until we reach the spot where the Angel Gabriel told the Virgin Mary that she would give birth to the Messiah. We'll visit the Church of the Annunciation, the largest Catholic church in the Middle East and one of the holiest shrines in the Christian world. Then, we'll continue to the Greek Orthodox Church of St Gabriel, where the water from an underground spring flows through the apse and into the adjacent Mary's Well. Finally, we will visit St Joseph's Church, built in 1914 on the very spot believed to be the workshop of Joseph the carpenter.
We'll spend all afternoon sailing towards Limassol.
Day 6: LIMASSOL (Cyprus)
This morning, optional excursion to the ancient city of Kourion and Kolossi Castle. Our journey will take us to the archaeological site of Kourion. This is one of the most spectacular sites in all of Cyprus, perched proudly on a hillside between land and sea with wonderful views over the bay of Episkopi. Here you can admire an early Christian basilica, the Greco-Roman theatre and the House of Eustolios with its superb 5th century A.D. mosaic floors. We'll continue on to Kolossi Castle, a fine example of military architecture dating from the 13th century, which was the seat of the Supreme military commandment of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem (Knights Hospitallers) and then later under the control of the Knights Templars.
This afternoon, optional guided visit of the medieval Byzantine castle of Limassol and the old town. We will see the castle and its shady gardens. The current building, dating from the 13th century, was built on top of the ruins of a Byzantine castle and has been restored and destroyed many times during the history of Cyprus. The Venetians demolished it, the Ottomans turned it into a military building and the British used it as a colonial prison. Today it houses the medieval museum of Cyprus with exhibits such as Ottoman pottery, medieval armor and everyday objects from the Byzantine era. Enjoy some free time in the old town before returning on board for our traditional Cypriot evening.
Day 7: LIMASSOL - LARNACA (Cyprus)
This morning, optional excursion to Paphos Archaeological Park. Listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site since 1980, this exceptional site features the Tombs of the Kings, a mysterious underground necropolis located amidst an almost deserted landscape. We'll then visit the houses of Dionysos, Theseus and Aion whose splendid mosaics were discovered by chance in 1962. A few kilometres further on, we will stop in the village of Yeroskipou to visit a small workshop where Loukoum (Cyprus Delight) is made, followed by a tasting session.
The afternoon will be spent sailing towards Larnaca.
Tonight’s our gala dinner and evening.
Day 8: LARNACA
Enjoy one last buffet breakfast on board before disembarking at 9:00 a.m. End of our services.