Itinerary | Accommodations | Dates & Pricing

11 Days • 24 Meals
Combine two-nights in Athens, Greece with a seven-night cruise of the Eastern Mediterranean aboard the elegant MV Louis Cristal and visit the lands where civilization was born. Immerse yourself in the very places where history’s first pages were written.

Since the dawn of civilization, the serene waters of the Eastern Mediterranean have been the lure to the sailor, the adventurer, the builder, the conqueror, the religious believer and to the traveler.

Here is an opportunity to explore the fascinatingly diverse continents of Europe, Asia and Africa. Highlights include a visit to exotic Istanbul; Israel, gateway to the Holy Land; Cairo with its Ancient Wonder of the Pyramids and Sphinx.

Highlights
• 24 Meals (9 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, and 8 Dinners)
• Services of a professional Tour Manager
• Airport transfers when air is provided by Faithful Holidays
• Two nights in Athens at the Divani Palace
Acropolis Hotel
• An included half-day excursion of Athens with a visit to the Acropolis and Mars Hill
• Welcome dinner
• 7 night cruise round trip from Athens calling at Istanbul, Turkey; Mykonos,
Greece; Ashdod (gateway to the Holy Land), Israel; Port Said/Alexandria
(Cairo), Egypt; Crete, Greece
• Optional full-day day excursions of Istanbul including lunch
• Optional full-day excursions to the Holy Land including lunch
• Optional full-day excursions to Cairo including the Pyramids

Day One: Departure
Today we board our overnight flight to Athens, Greece and our cruise to the Land of the Bible. This will truly be a life-changing experience as we visit ancient treasures, walk in the footsteps of prophets and where stories from the Bible come alive.

Day Two: Arrival in Athens
Upon arrival you will be met by your Tour Manager at the arrivals hall for a short transfer to your hotel situated in the heart of Athens. Join your tour manager this evening for a welcome dinner in the hotel followed by a short orientation walking tour to the Plaka, the old city of Athens. Dinner

Day Three: Embark the MV Louis Cristal – Cruise the Aegean and Sea of Marmaris to Istanbul, Turkey
After breakfast at the hotel, we transfer to the port of Piraeus for embarkation on the MV Louis Cristal for a seven night cruise. From the moment you embark the MV Louis Cristal, you will immediately feel pampered and delighted by the service what will be yours over the next seven days. Clear blue skies, unspoiled scenery, fascinating archaeological sites, friendly vibrant people, delicious food, captivating music and dances await. From early morning to late at night, enjoy a cuisine that combines the exquisite variety of the Mediterranean with other popular flavors from around the world, creating a culinary harmony that suits every palate. Enjoy tastefully furnished fully air-conditioned staterooms each with private bathroom and shower, telephone, hairdryer, TV. Breakfast in the hotel, lunch and dinner on board

Day Four: Istanbul, Turkey - Capital of Byzantium
Cruise into Istanbul (formerly Byzantium and Constantinople) where the great domes and minarets of more than 400 mosques rise gracefully above the Bosporus. A vibrant 2500 year old city where past and present, East meets West, Islam and Christianity, have stood side by side as a “Crossroads of Civilizations.” Enjoy a day on your own or choose from a selection of optional excursions and see Istanbul’s greatest monuments during an included full day excursion with visits to such highlights as the Chora Church built by Constantine the Great. Today the church is a museum displaying magnificent and rare mosaics and frescoes, most of which date back to the 13th and 14th centuries. Continue to Topkapi Palace the largest and oldest remaining palace in the world and which served as the Imperial Palace of the Ottomans between the 15th and 19th centuries and is famed for its jewelry collection, Council Hall, kitchen and its outstanding pavilions overseeing the view of Golden Horn. After an included lunch, visit the Hagia Sophia, the magnificent basilica built by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century and dedicated to Holy Wisdom. Today Hagia Sofia displays Christian and Islamic art as well as Byzantine mosaics. Then visit the Blue Mosque, a striking example of classical Turkish architecture from the 17th century and which is the only mosque in the world with six minarets - it is also known for the blue tiles used in the interior decorations. Nearby is the Roman Hippodrome dating from the 2nd century AD and which used to hold as many as 60,000 spectators. Finally, visit the covered Grand Bazaar where more than 3,000 shops are located. Breakfast, lunch and dinner on board

Day Five: Mykonos, Greece
Enjoy a morning at sea before we arrive in the early afternoon at the enchanting island of Mykonos often called the “Jewel of the Aegean,” Spotless white houses, red-roofed churches and well-preserved picturesque windmills are the essence of this Cycladic island. Visit charming white-washed tiny chapels, stroll the winding narrow streets and esplanade filled with fashionable boutiques. Find a table on the waterfront at one of the many Greek tavernas and enjoy the sunset over its picturesque harbor. Breakfast, lunch and dinner on board

Day Six: Day cruising the Eastern Mediterranean Sea
Breakfast, lunch and dinner on board

Day Seven: Ashdod, Israel – Gateway to the Holy Land
After breakfast disembark the MV Louis Cristal and join a Faithful Holidays full-day optional excursion to Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Upon arrival in Bethlehem, visit the Church of Nativity in Manger Square and birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth. Enroute to Jerusalem, a stop will be made at Mount Zion, site of a Jebusite fortress of the same name, which was conquered by David and is the scene of the Last Supper. Next arrive at the outskirts of Old Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives site of many important Biblical events. Enjoy a panoramic view of the Holy City. Visit the Church of Our Father Who Art in Heaven. We walk down the hill past the Dominus Flevit Church to the Garden of Gethsemane and its ancient olive grove dating back to the time of Christ. Visit the Church of Agony where the Bible says that Jesus prayed the night before his crucifixion and the nearby Tomb of Mary. We then enter the walls of the Old City and walk the Way of the Cross or the Stations of the Cross along the Via Dolorosa. This passage marks the final hours of Jesus Christ. Arrive at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, or the Church of the Resurrection. The church rests on the former location of the Hill of Calvary, where, according to the New Testament, Jesus was crucified. It also is said to contain the place where Jesus was reportedly buried. Then to the site on Calvary Hill where Catholicism sites Christ was crucified and ascended into heaven. After lunch we continue our walk through the narrow “souk” of Jerusalem to the Western Wall – the only remaining wall of Herod’s Temple. We continue on through the rebuilt Jewish Quarter, wander through the Cardo, the reconstructed shopping arcade of Roman times. After some free time return to Ashdod and re-embark the ship.Breakfast, lunch and dinner on board

Day Eight: Port Said and Alexandria (Cairo), Egypt
Arrive in Port Said, entrance to the Suez Canal. After an early breakfast, disembark the MV Louis Cristal and join a Faithful Holidays optional full-day excursion to the capital city of Cairo and a cruise on the Nile. Arrive at the Western Plateau of Giza, where Egypt's greatest monuments, the Great Pyramids, are located. Enjoy a panoramic view of the Pyramids of Cheops, Chephren and Micerinus before continuing to the nearby Sphinx. After lunch in Giza drive into the old city of Cairo. Here learn about Coptic Christian life in Egypt and where Christianity is a minority. Visit The Hanging Church built into the walls of the water gate of a Roman fortress and possibly the oldest Christian church in Egypt. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, it is one of Cairo's most beautiful churches. Continue to the Monastery and Church of St George one of the few remaining circular churches in the Middle East. Next visit Abu Serga a small church dating from the 10th century and one of the places where the Holy Family rested after fleeing Israel from King Herod. There are 24 marble columns lining the central court, and a series of 12th-century icons depicting the 12 apostles. Then drive to the ancient Mediterranean port city of Alexandria to reboard the MV Louis Cristal.Breakfast, lunch and dinner on board

Day Nine: Agios Nikolaos, (Crete), Greece
Agios Nikolaos located in peaceful Mirabello Bay is the capital of Lassithi province and is one of the most picturesque towns on the island of Crete. It takes its name from the charming 7th century Byzantine chapel of Agios Nikolaos. The town flourished under Venetian rule in the 12th & 13th centuries. During your stay you might wish to participate on an optional excursion to the picturesque village of Elounda situated in a natural bay of the same name. Then continue to the town of Krista and a visit to an Olive Oil Farm.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner on board

Day 10: Athens
After breakfast on board we disembark and enjoy a panoramic tour of the city. Named after the goddess of wisdom Athena, the capital city of Greece has a history that dates back almost four millennia. See the House of Parliament on Syntagma Square, the Evzones in their picturesque uniforms, guarding the Presidential Palace and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We will also see the Library, the University, the Panathenaic Stadium where the first Olympics of the modern era were held, the temple of the Olympian Zeus and Adrian's Arch. A highlight of the tour will be a visit to the Acropolis which stands tall, overlooking the city. See the ruins of the Parthenon, Erectheum and Propylae (UNESCO World Heritage sites). See the acropolis Museum. Then enjoy some free time and have lunch on your own. Ascend nearby Mars Hill where Paul spoke to the ancient Athenians about the one and only God. From here we have excellent views of the Ancient Agora; former centre of Athenian public life. This evening you will have time at leisure to enjoy some shopping and dinner on your own. Breakfast

Day Eleven: Athens, Greece - Homeward
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel. You will be transferred to the Athens Airport for your flight home. Breakfast


Hotel Accommodations
Day Two – Divani Palace Acropolis, Athens
Days Three through Nine – MV Louis Cristal
Day Ten – Divani Palace Acropolis, Athens

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