Full buffet breakfast daily; 5 three-course dinners with wine, including welcome and farewell dinners in Athens; plus all meals on board daily featuring full à la carte breakfasts, lunches, and dinners
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
ARRIVE IN ATHENS, GREECE. Welcome to Athens! At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions, then enjoy a welcome dinner at your hotel to celebrate the start of your upcoming spiritual journey.
ATHENS–THESSALONIKA. Head north to Thessalonika this morning for guided sightseeing. Named after Alexander the Great’s sister, it figures prominently in the New Testament. This city was the center of Apostle Paul’s activities in northern Greece—where he preached, founded a church, and to whom he wrote his two Thessalonian epistles. St. Paul, whose name was originally Saul, was a Roman citizen and a Pharisee. He experienced a powerful vision that caused him to convert to Christianity while on the road to Damascus, and he was baptized with the name of Paul. He then started traveling through Macedonia, Greece, Italy, the Holy Land, and Spain to spread the Word and led a very adventurous life. Paul wrote a series of letters, known as the epistles, that are an integral part of the New Testament giving advice on how Christians should live. He died in Rome, beheaded by order of Emperor Nero, in 67 AD.
THESSALONIKA. EXCURSION TO PHILIPPI & KAVALA. Today begins along Paul’s route via Amphipolis, a wealthy city in ancient Macedonia, where a large number of Christian churches were built in the 5th and 6th centuries. Next, travel to Philippi, a busy Roman colony with an impressive library and theater. It was here that Paul preached and established the first church in Europe, and to whom he wrote his Philippians epistle while imprisoned in Rome, in which he expressed great fondness for that community. Continue to Kavala, ancient port of Neapolis.
THESSALONIKA–VERIA–KALAMBAKA. This morning, stop in Veria (called Berea in the New Testament), where Paul and Silas were sent by friends after being accused of treason in Thessalonika. Visit the BEMA OF APOSTLE PAUL, where he preached the gospel to the local community, then continue to Kalambaka, home to the awe-inspiring Meteora monasteries.
KALAMBAKA–METEORA–ATHENS. A real highlight is in store today. Situated atop soaring cliffs and rock faces, the Meteora monasteries create one of the most inspirational sites in the world. Visit the HOLY MONASTERY OF VARLAAM, the second-largest of the monasteries, and the HOLY MONASTERY OF ST. STEPHEN, which was bombed by the Nazis during WWII but later was reconstructed by nuns. Here, you will be introduced to the many historical and religious treasures. Return to Athens for an overnight.
ATHENS–LAVRION/PIRAEUS (EMBARKATION)–MYKONOS. Awaken refreshed this morning and ready to begin your 3-night CRUISE around the Greek Isles and Turkey. Head first to mountainous Mykonos with its iconic windmills and brilliant whitewashed houses. Wander through the narrow winding streets, do a little shopping, or sit in a café to people-watch. (B,L,D)
CRUISING: KUSADASI, TURKEY–EXCURSION TO EPHESUS–PATMOS, GREECE. Visit the Turkish port of Kusadasi for an included excursion to the EPHESUS ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE, the former capital of the Roman province of Asia. Walk in the footsteps of Apostle Paul, who lived and preached here, and meditate on what life must have been like for the early Ephesian Christians in this pagan society. Also, visit the HOUSE OF MARY, where the Virgin Mary is said to have spent her last days. Continue your cruise to the island of Patmos, the “Jerusalem of the Aegean,” where you can join an optional excursion to see the Monastery of St. John and the Cave of the Apocalypse; here John the Evangelist received the visions that he recorded in the Book of the Revelation during his exile. (B,L,D)
CRUISING: HERAKLION, CRETE–SANTORINI. First port of call today is Heraklion on Crete. A few miles away is KNOSSOS, the center of the 3000 BC Minoan civilization and historic site of mythology’s tales about the Minotaur and the labyrinth. Afternoon call (weather permitting) at Santorini, the “Black Pearl of the Aegean.” The optional shore excursion takes you to the cliff-top village of Oia for one of the world’s most glorious panoramic views. (B,L,D)
LAVRION/PIRAEUS (DISEMBARKATION)–CORINTH–ATHENS. Disembark and travel to Corinth to visit the EXCAVATIONS, where Apostle Paul worked for 18 months and where he met his faithful followers Aquila and Priscilla. Learn about this ancient city-state and its early church community, which was the recipient of Paul’s two Corinthians epistles. Return to Athens for sightseeing that visits the ACROPOLIS with the Parthenon and AREOPAGUS, where Paul delivered his famous sermon about the identity of the “Unknown God.” Tonight, join your traveling companions for a final evening of fellowship and celebration at a farewell dinner at your hotel.
ATHENS. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.