STEPS OF ST. PAUL CRUISE
Athens – Thessaloniki – Kavala – Istanbul – Dikili – Kusadasi – Patmos – Athens
Join us on a mesmerising voyage to discover the romance and the mystery of the Eastern Mediterranean as we follow in the footsteps of St. Paul the Apostle. As we journey through the emerald waters of Cyclades and the stunning coastline of Turkey, this wonderful 7-night adventure invites you to explore iconic landmarks, savor authentic cuisine and discover the trials and tribulations of St. Paul’s epic journey to the Eastern Mediterranean region.
As you explore the captivating coastal towns and discover charming Byzantine monuments you will learn about how St. Paul’s controversial ideas sparked riots and cast him into prison. Along the way, you will have the opportunity to visit famous landmarks including the Hagia Sophia, the Holy Grotto of the Apocalypse, the Faustina Baths of Miletus and ancient Ephesus, the best-preserved historical site in the Eastern Med.
- Accommodation at your chosen type of cabin
- Port taxes, tips & fuel surcharge 339USD/289EURO
- Full board meal plan with complimentary classic drinks package
- 2 complimentary tour excursions at Veria (Berroia) and Ancient Ephesus and Miletus
- Full participation on entertainment programs on board
- Port charges and gratuities
Day 1: ATHENS (GREECE) Depart 16:00
Your fascinating7-nights Steps of St. Paul journey begins in the magical city of Athens. The Greek Capital is one of the oldest cities in the world and home to the iconic landmark of Acropolis. Take your time to discover the heritage, history and culture that is firmly embedded in the heart of this captivating modern metropolis before joining us onboard as we head for Thessaloniki.
Day 2: THESSALONIKI (GREECE) Arrive 20:00
Following the path of St. Paul’s Second Missionary in Europe, leads you beyond the imposing Byzantine walls that guard the sophisticated post city of Thessaloniki. The beguiling architecture and meandering cobblestone streets are a pleasure to explore, topped only by the captivating site of the biblical city Berroia, known today as Veria. Join your expert guide to hear all about St Paul’s tribulations as he tried to win over the noble Jews that lived there.
Day 3: KAVALA (GREECE) Depart 16:00
The seaport resort of Kavala perched om the slopes of Mt. Symvolo offer spectacular panoramic views. It was there that St. Paul baptized the first Greek and European Christian convert, Lydia, and gave his first sermon. Visit the open-air baptistery, yeh monument that honors the Saint and the prison ruins where he was held captive with St. Sillas or join our specialist guide for a fascinating excursion to Neapolis and Phillipi.
Day 4: ISTANBUL (TURKEY) Depart 20:00
The vibrant city of Istanbul straddles the continents of Europe and Asia via the Bosporus Strait. Here you can visit the lavish Byzantine and Imperial mosques which pierce Istanbul’s skyline with their towering minarets. The iconic Sultanhmet (blue) mosque, The Romanesque Hippodrome, Topkapi Palace and the world-famous Church of Hagia Sophia are just a few of the enigmatic attractions to admire.
Day 5: DIKILI (TURKEY) Depart 20:00
Snaking its way along the beautiful coastline of Turkey’s seafrint city of Dikili is a lush landscape of green forestry and expansive golden sands. Sparkling crystalline turquoise waters complete the captivating scenery. Here you have the opportunity to visit the Ancient Pergamon and the ancient Akropolis. The remains of the healing temple of Asklepion are the final stop of the day.
Day 6: KUSADASI (TURKEY) Depart 23:30
The dynamic beach resort of Kusadasi welcomes you with its warm and friendly ambience. From here you will be whisked away for a guided tour around ancient Ephesus, one of the highlights of this Iconic Aegean cruise. Before returning to the ship, take your time to enjoy the scenic seafront promenade and the town’s impressive Grand Bazaar.
Day 7: PATMOS (GREECE) Depart 18:30
The monumental grid of medieval walls provides a picturesque setting as we pull into the port of Skala on the idyllic Greek island of Patmos. Locally known as the ‘Island of the Apocalypse’, Patmos boasts a spiritual vibe thanks to the legends of St. John. Take time to explore the lush, forest-like hills that encircle the capital, Chora or join our local guide for an exciting adventure.
Day 8: ATHENS (GREECE) Arrive 07:00
We arrive back in the Greek capital of Athens early, giving the entire day to do as you please in the beating heart of Greece. However, you don’t haver to leave us just yet. Our expert guides are waiting to escort you on a mesmerizing trip to either the ancient Corinth and Bema of St. Paul or show you the highlights of the ancient Acropolis.
|7 NIGHT CRUISE ITINERARY|
|SATURDAY||PIRAEUS PORT / ATHENS (EMBARKATION)||–||16:00|
|SUNDAY||THESSALONIKI – GREECE||09:30||20:00|
|MONDAY||KAVALA – GREECE||08:00||16:00|
|TUESDAY||ISTANBUL – TURKEY||09:30||20:00|
|WEDNESDAY||DIKILI – TURKEY||12:00||20:00|
|THURSDAY||KUSADASI – TURKEY||08:00||23:30|
|FRIDAY||PATMOS ISLAND – GREECE*||07:00||18:30|
|SATURDAY||PIRAEUS PORT / ATHENS (DISEMBARKATION)||07:00||–|
*Tendering weather permitting
Veria (Berroia) (INCLUDED)
The biblical city of Veria (Berroia) promises a unique pilgrimage experience. We journey from the port of Thessaloniki to the Citadel and Vlatadon Monastery. The 14th-Century structure features a mix of architectural styles and displays a collection of historic biblical manuscripts and religious icons.
We follow in the footsteps of St Paul who visited Vlatadon on his 2nd missionary journey. During his visit, he spent time in the city of Veria where he preached to the Jewish nobility. The traditional Tribune displays a recently finished mosaic that commemorates the patron Saint’s sermon.
Established in the foothills of Mt. Vermion, fortified Veria flourished as a city behind its massive protective walls. It was one of the first cities to surrender to the Romans in 168 BC and became the second most important city in Macedonia.
Discover the beautifully frescoed churches located in “Small Jerusalem.” We visit the 14th-Century Church of Christ, to admire the artistic masterworks of one of the most celebrated painters of his generation – Kalliergis.
Ancient Ephesus and Miletus (INCLUDED)
Venture back in time and hear the fascinating stories of the distant past. Our full-day tour to Ephesus and Miletus reveals the growth and collapse of the powerful and influential Hellenistic Empire.
Our tour starts with a visit to the impressionable ruins of Ephesus, a formidable city that became the second-largest city in the Roman Empire and remains one of the best-preserved cities of the Greco-Roman era. Wander through the marble streets and learn about the many impressive monuments including the Library of Celsus, the Great Theatre, and the awe-inspiring amphitheater that was capable of hosting 24,000 spectators – at the time one of the biggest in the world.
We then drive to the coastal city of Miletus, an ancient city that built its reputation as a central trade hub for the twelve leading cities of the Ionian Confederation. The city’s wealth can be seen in its remains including one of the world’s first mints and the famous Faustina Baths. Miletus was also the home of several well-known philosophers and architects, such as Thales, Hippodamos, and Isidoros.
Mykonian countryside tour with Hora & Little Venice
Ancient Ephesus and the Terrace Houses
For over 13 centuries the City of Ephesus has been at the heart of intense commerce, spiritual revelations and blooming art, and was the hub of the Christian community in the East established by St. Paul the Apostle. Our bus tour will take you to a selection of the city’s remarkable landmarks, allowing you to get a glimpse of its former glory and the history that still lives within its architectural jewels, inspiring edifices and narrow streets. You will also have the opportunity to bargain and shop local merchandise such as carpets, leather goods, souvenirs, etc. On our half-day excursion we will explore some truly memorable locations within the City of Ephesus. One of the most awe-inspiring sites is that of the Terrace Houses. There is so much to absorb here — we will take some time to walk through the ruins to discover what family life was like for the wealthy Romans who resided in these once opulent homes. Mosaic floors and frescos on the walls of dining rooms, living rooms and bedrooms tell lost tales of ancient times. Our visit will include stops at the Ephesus Agora, the Thermal Baths for Scholastica (built in the 1st Century AD), the monumental Great Theatre and Library of Celsus (the 3rd largest library of the ancient world, where 12,000 scrolls were once carefully stored), the Trajan fountain and the Prytaneum (the religious and political center of the city).
Patmos countryside tours with Chora & Grotto
We start our tour with a drive through Skala, the only port and the center of Patmos Island where you will also find a beautiful beach, the new modern marina and most cafes, restaurants, tavernas and bars of the island, all clustered together. Our first stop is the Cave of the Apocalypse — an important place of pilgrimage as it is said to have been the place where St John heard the voice of God and where he received the words of the Revelation. We will then go to Chora, a medieval settlement from where you will enjoy a wonderful view of the Monastery of the Apocalypse, Skala and the northeastern side of the island. Its architectural details have been respectfully restored ensuring full harmony and balance with the sacred Monastery. Our exploration continues with a scenic tour of the rocky, volcanic landscape of the island where we will also stop to take pictures of the ethereal windmills. We will say farewell to Patmos at Arion Bar on the Skala promenade — the oldest café on the island and the best place to enjoy a classic freddo cappuccino.
Religious visit to St. John's Monastery & the Grotto of Apocalypse
On this excursion you are sure to experience the sacred grandeur of this intensely spiritual Dodecanese island. We visit Chora, St. John’s Monastery and the Holy Grotto of the Apocalypse, which for centuries have drawn pilgrims to Patmos for prayer, esoteric seclusion and solemnity. From the port of Skala we travel up the mountain by air-conditioned coach to immaculate Chora. Its skirting of traditional white houses encircles the bottom of the exterior walls of the Monastery of St. John the Divine. An architecturally homogenous village, the cobblestone streets and alleys of Chora are lined with mansions built by wealthy ship owners during the 17th and 18th centuries. As you wend your way up to the Monastery, at the top of the hill, be sure to seek out an authentic taste of this unique Dodecanese village along some of its quieter thoroughfares. Now surrounded by the village, the fortified Monastery of St. John, whose walls are more than 15 meters high, was built with local gray stone. In 1088 St. Christodoulos requested the entire island of Patmos from Byzantine Emperor Alexis I Comnenus so he could found a monastery dedicated to St. John. Even after “The Blessed” was driven from Patmos by pirates, monks continued building the monastery which, within a few centuries, became an important cultural, religious and spiritual center. Within its warren of chapels and courtyards, the Monastery of St. John houses medieval icons of the Cretan school and the Chapel of the Theotokos (the Virgin Mary), whose beautiful frescoes date to the 12th century; the monastery’s main chapel dates to the end of the 11th century. There is also a museum within the monastery, with icons, religious objects of silver and gold, sacred relics and embroidered vestments of inestimable value on display. Halfway down the mountain to Plaka we stop at the Holy Grotto of the Apocalypse. According to Christian tradition, three fissures (a symbol of the Holy Trinity) opened in a wall in the grotto, and St. John heard the voice of God, who granted him a series of visions of the future (revelations), vivid pictures of how the Church would grow, battle the wicked powers of earth and hell and ultimately emerge victorious. The voice commanded the saint to transcribe these visions: St. John dictated the revelations to one of his disciples, Prochoros, and this text became the Book of Revelations. During his time in this sacred cave, St. John also composed the Fourth Gospel. The entrance to the grotto is marked with a mosaic of the visions of the saint. Inside the grotto, the nightly resting place of the saint’s head is fenced off and delineated in beaten silver. We return to Plaka, where you’ll have free time for shopping and a coffee beside the harbor. Close your eyes and let the grandeur of this miraculous island suffuse your soul.
Walking tour in the Medieval City of Rhodes
On our half-day walking tour we will explore the city’s medieval history and the fascinating story of the Knights of St. John. The citadel, one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe and the home of the Knights of St. John, will give you a glimpse into the everyday life and challenges of medieval Rhodes. We will walk among two centuries of Knights’ history in Rhodes as we explore the Street of Knights, where the seven lodges of the Order were once housed. At the top of the street we will enter a world of architectural and political might, as we visit the impressive, Gothic-style Grand Master’s Palace, the seat of power during the occupation of the Knights of St. John. Built in the 14th century, atop the ruins of a 7th century citadel, the palace is beautifully preserved as a key feature of the Old Town of Rhodes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will end our walking tour with free time in Rhodes’ Old Town, giving you the chance to enjoy a refreshment, take more photographs or search for the best souvenir from magical Rhodes.
Religious and Medieval tour - Philerimos church and the Palace of the Knights
This half-day tour of Rhodes is a feast for the eyes and the spirit, as we experience Rhodes’ fantastic history, beautifully layered from its elegant ancient temples to the grand medieval fortified structures. The Philerimos hill, one of the city’s most famous landmarks, is a prime location for enjoying magnificent views of the homonymous bay and marvel at the elegance of the Byzantine church of St. George Hostos, which is home to stunning 14th century frescoes. We will also see the Philerimos Monastery, unique throughout Greece because of its surprising Gothic architecture. Our tour will also explore the hill of Monte Smith, named after a Napoleonic British admiral, upon which the impressive Acropolis of Rhodes has stood throughout centuries of Greek, Roman, Byzantine or Ottoman rule. Amazing structures, such as the Apollo Temple and the Diagoras Ancient Stadium, still evoke the ancient glory of Rhodes. We will end our tour with free time in the Old Town, following a brief view of the majestic Grand Master Palace, the symbol of power for the Knights of St. John of Rhodes.
Medieval tour - Acropolis of Lindos and the Citadel of the Knights
Centuries of culture and layer upon layer of extraordinary civilizations await to be discovered during our bus tour through impressive Lindos and within the awe-inspiring structure of the Acropolis of Lindos. We will follow the footsteps of heroes as we walk along the Knight’s Street in the heart of historical Rhodes. The seven lodges of the Order, still bearing their original coats of arms, are displayed along the cobblestone street where Rhodes’ history was written for over two centuries. Sitting at the top of Knights Street, the Grand Master’s Palace is well worth its name. You will be awed by the fort’s imposing Gothic architecture and strength displayed throughout its court structures, as you get a glimpse into the fascinating era of the Knights. We will end our tour of historical Rhodes with free time so that you may fortify your memories of Rhodes at your own pace.
Experience the Cretan countryside and lifestyle
We begin our bus tour from the port of Heraklion, guarded by its Venetian Lions, and continue beyond the city’s landmarks and limits, on a panoramic drive to Peza, the wine valley of Crete. Over 20% of Greece’s wine production originates from the sun-kissed island of Crete and our drive will impress you with beautiful sights of Crete’s countryside and its 4,000 year old vineyards. As we arrive in Stironas, a small traditional Cretan village located at an altitude of 550m, you will embark upon a complete sensorial experience. The Botanical Parterre, a formal garden nesting a multitude of aromatic herbs and medicinal plants native to the mountains of Crete, will reveal to you some of Cretan cuisine’s secrets and indulge you with fragrances of all kinds. Our final and festive stop will be at the traditional Raki distiller of Stironas, where our host will greet you with pure Cretan wine produced and stored in his cellar and will share with you the secret art of wine producing and bottling. Following the Cretan hospitality, we will be invited to experience a traditional Cretan meal, with all the best natural products, while a group of traditional dancers will make you feel right at home.
Minoan Palace of Knossos - 1st European civilization
As we venture into the incredible open-air museum of the Palace of Knossos, our bus tour will take you along the proud Venetian heritage of Heraklion – the Koules Fortress (the stronghold overlooking the Heraklion harbour), the Venetian Loggia (the 17th century administrative and social center), the harmonious Morozini fountain and the 10th century Church of St. Titus. As you explore the Palace of Knossos, considered Europe’s oldest city, you are entering and experiencing the incredible world of the legendary Minoan civilization. The long and winding roads of Crete’s ancient city gradually expose the remarkable art, architecture and daily life of the Minoan people. Breathe in the millennia of history and imagine the legends of Daedalus, Theseus and the Minotaur come to life in the remarkable Hall of the Royal Guard and the Double Axes, the King’s Chamber or the Queen’s Apartment. Enjoy free time to savour the beauty and uniqueness of Crete’s largest city (and the fourth largest in Greece). The city is brimming with an assortment of museums that satisfy every taste- entre, full of busy cafes and elegant shops or retrace the steps of its Venetian rulers at the impressive fortified port, the vast arches and the arsenals.
Welcome to a half-day tour of Plato’s source of inspiration for the legend of Atlantis, the Minoan Bronze Age settlement of Akrotiri. During our exploration we will discover ancient treasures exceptionally preserved by the same element which led to the destruction of the Akrotiri civilization – volcanic ash. Dating back to the 4th millennium BC, the archeological site of Akrotiri will simply amaze you with the complexity of the edifices and decorations unearthed here since 1967. Delicate art treasures, including vivid frescos, furniture and vessels, tell magnificent stories of the ancient life and society of the Minoan civilization. We will end our immersion in Santorini’s astounding history with free time in the town of Akrotiri, beautifully located close to the famous Red Beach and overlooking the southeastern side of the island.
Cruise to Santorini's islands and volcanoes
Our half day boat tour takes you on a unique journey around one of the most photographed landscapes in the world – the island of Santorini. This intimate boat tour will allow you to discover this incredibly romantic island from a unique perspective, getting up close and personal with Santorini’s coarse volcanic silhouette. We will pass by Palea and Nea Kameni, two uninhabited and wholly volcanic islands in the Santorini complex. These islands, made of black lava, present an astonishing landscape, violently moulded by the powerful volcanic eruption of circa 1600 BC which created Santorini’s current scenery. The famous Santorini volcano crater is found on Nea Kameni and a brief walk takes the curious visitor to the edge of the still active crater. The raw power, visible among the rugged landscape, is exceptionally impressive and will fill you with a rush of adrenaline as you peer into its seemingly bottomless darkness. We will end our tour of Santorini with a visit to Palea Kameni’s hot springs, where the healing waters can reach up to 35 degrees celsius. Here you will have a chance to swim to the springs.
Spectacular Oia Village perched on the caldera rim
Our tour to Santorini’s jewel, the village of Oia, is a trip into the picture-perfect world of an island where romance and beauty reign supreme. As we board our tour to discover the island’s second largest village, we will drive by the picturesque villages of Firostefani, Imerovigli, the “balcony to the Aegean”, and Megalochori surrounded by its famous vineyards, where we will stop briefly to capture the experience with photos. Our tour will continue with a panoramic drive by Santorini’s caldera which offers breathtaking views. We will admire from afar the village of Fira, the capital of the island, as well as Thirassia, Palea Kameni and Nea Kameni — three of the five islands which form the cluster that surround Santorini. As we arrive in Oia we will walk through the gleaming white streets of the village through a beautiful labyrinth of shops, cafes, art galleries and hotels, harmoniously built in the unmistakable Cycladic style. You will have free time to enjoy your moments in one of the world’s best known and loved living postcards — taking photos of the awe-inspiring scenery, shopping for fine jewelry or art, or simply relaxing and breathing in the beauty of Santorini.
Athens tour and the New Acropolis Museum
Discover what lies at the heart of the rich history of Greece and savor the intensity of its proud capital city in a swift bus tour of Athens. Explore the metropolis and some of its most emblematic sights, from the cradle of the modern Olympic Games to the city’s vibrant squares and the archaeological treasury of the Acropolis. The panoramic bus tour will immerse you in the effervescent atmosphere of the city where ancient heritage and modern culture blend seamlessly, as you drive by the gleaming Panathenian Stadium (home of the 1st edition of the modern Olympic Games), the awe-inspiring Temple of Zeus and the lively Omonoia and Syntagma Squares. You will then arrive at the fantastic Acropolis Museum, a state-of-the-art architectural jewel which tells the fascinating stories of numerous, priceless artefacts retrieved from the Acropolis since 1834. The time spent here will allow you to uncover a powerful visual representation of the life and culture of ancient Greece. Finish the Athenian experience with a stroll through the charming narrow streets of Plaka, where you can use your free time to shop, enjoy a coffee or simply explore the “Neighborhood of the Gods”.
Classical Athens and its Monuments
For an overview of Athens, look no further than this half-day tour to the Panathenaic Stadium and historic neighborhood of Plaka. You’ll see two of the main attractions in Athens whilst exploring at your own pace. Firstly, you’ll travel back through the centuries at the Panathenaic Stadium, originally built in circa 330BC for the Panathenaic Games. This 45,000-seat marble beauty is a sight for sore eyes with its never-ending expanse of bright white tiers. Afterwards, you’ll navigate the maze of cobbled alleys that make up Plaka, the oldest area in the city. Its streets are lined with neoclassical buildings, pavement-side tavernas churning out delicious food around the clock, and flashes of hot pink bougainvillea draped across historic walls – it’s magical! And to top it off, you’ll also pass by Syntagma Square, the Academy of Athens and the National Library, all while catching fantastic glimpses of the Acropolis above.