Itinerary: Footsteps of Paul
MONDAY, JUNE 5 – DAY 1:
Embark upon your journey with an overnight flight to Athens. Prepare yourself for a life-changing experience and get some rest on the flight. Tomorrow you will be walking where the apostle Paul walked!
TUESDAY, JUNE 6 – DAY 2:
We arrive in Athens mid-afternoon and are met by our representative and given the tickets for our flight to Thessaloniki. This is the city where Paul was received by Jason. Paul was preaching the Word of God here until he was rushed out of the city. We transfer to our hotel for check-in and dinner.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 7 – DAY 3:
Thessaloniki, Philippi, Kavala
In the morning we start with the landmarks of the city: the White Tower, the Walls of the Byzantine Acropolis, the Roman Arch of Galerius and the Rotonda. We visit two of the city’s oldest and most admired Christian churches, the Basilicas of St. Demetrius and St. Sophia (Divine Wisdom). We then follow the route of the Via Egnatia and visit, like Paul and his companions, the area of Amphipolis, to see the famous funerary Lion of Amphipolis. Then we travel on to Philippi. There we visit the Baptistery of Lydia near the river where Paul baptized her. Lydia was the first convert of Paul on European soil, followed by the jailer. We also visit the ruins of the Forum of Philippi, the Christian Basilicas, the “Prison of Paul” and the Theater. Then we drive to Kavala (Neapolis), Paul’s first step in bringing the Gospel to present-day Europe. A picturesque port, we view the Byzantine Castle and the Roman Aqueduct. We return to Thessaloniki for dinner and overnight.
THURSDAY, JUNE 8 – DAY 4:
This morning we see the world famous Byzantine monasteries that are perched on summits of gray rock peaks of varied and beautiful shapes. Their history goes back to the 14th century when the monks sought refuge in the cliff-side caves, then fled higher to build the original wooden shelters, which were later transformed into monasteries. Afterwards we continue to Athens where we will have dinner and overnight.
FRIDAY, JUNE 9 – DAY 5:
Start Our 3-Night Mediterranean Cruise
We sail this morning from Athens to the quaint isle of Mykonos, called the island of windmills. We arrive at Mykonos, where we disembark and have time to experience the waterfront lined with shops and cafes. We stroll the charming walkways through a maze of white-washed buildings before returning to the ship for dinner and evening activities. No excursions are included today, as we will visit the island at our leisure by foot.
SATURDAY, JUNE 10 – DAY 6:
In the morning we arrive in Kusadasi, Turkey. Excursion included: A short drive takes us to Ephesus, where Paul spent three years during his ministry. The impressive remains of Ephesus include the Agora, the Theater, the Stadium, the Library of Celsus, the ruins of the Temple of Diana (one of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World”) and many more. Later, we sail for the island of Patmos. Excursion Included: Here we visit the Monastery of St. John, on one of the island’s highest points. From there, we walk down to the Grotto of the Apocalypse, the site of the apocalyptic Revelations of St. John the Divine.
SUNDAY, JUNE 11 – DAY 7:
Heraklion, Crete / Santorini
In the morning, we arrive at Heraklion, Crete and disembark. You can choose to visit the Minoan Palace of Knossos, home to king Minos and his legendary beast the Minotaur. In the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, we can find the unbelievable works of art (pieces of sculpture and pottery, jewelry, arms, frescoes) that have been found in a number of Minoan sites all over Crete. In the afternoon, we cruise to the isle of Santorini and disembark. Santorini is often referred to as the most breathtaking of all the Greek islands. The exquisite whitewashed villages, including the town of Fira, or Thira, cling to volcanic cliffs, accessible by cablecar, or mule.
MONDAY, JUNE 12 – DAY 8:
Piraes, Corinth, Athens
We disembark the cruise this morning in Piraes (formerly Piraeus). Afterwards, we will continue our sightseeing with a visit to Ancient Corinth. This is the once-glorious city near the Isthmus, where Paul met Aquilla and Priscilla and spent a year and a half preaching the Word of God. We visit the Archaeological Museum, the Forum, the Temples and the famous Bema, where Paul stood before Gallio, accused by the Jews of Corinth. Then we drive to Cenchreae, the little harbor from which Paul sailed back to Asia, thus ending his second missionary journey. Here we admire the architectural wonders of ancient Athens, as we follow our guide to the world-renowned Acropolis, to see the Propylea, the Erechtheum and the Parthenon. We visit Mars Hill, where Paul delivered his speech on the “Unknown God.” Then we see the Agora, the ancient center of the economic and public life of the city, where Paul preached to the skeptical Athenians. During the bus tour, we also see Constitution Square with the House of Parliament and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Temple of Zeus, the Old Olympic Stadium and the Neoclassical Buildings of Athens. The afternoon is at leisure to explore Athens on your own. Dinner and overnight are in Athens.
TUESDAY, JUNE 13 – DAY 9:
Athens, Delphi, Athens
Today we will include a special visit to Delphi, this mountainous city which today is both an archaeological site and a modern town. For the ancient Greeks, Delphi was labeled the “omphalos” (navel) of the earth and it is here that the eternal flame burned in the Temple of Apollo. Delphi was the site of the Delphic oracle, the most important oracle in the classical Greek world. It was also here beginning in 586 B.C. that athletes from all over the Greek world competed in the Pythian Games, one of the precursors to the modern Olympics. On our way up to Delphi, we’ll have time to stop and enjoy the small scenic villages that cling to the mountainsides. Dinner and overnight are in Athens. Those taking the optional Rome extension will proceed to the Athens airport for the evening flight to Rome.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 14 – DAY 10:
We transfer in the morning to Athens Airport for our return flight back to the U.S.A. We arrive home the same day.
- Tour members who choose not to take the optional excursions can explore the islands on their own.
- Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this brochure. While we will do our utmost to include all the sites listed above, the order of the sites and/or days and the number of days may be altered to accommodate changes in airlines, hotel schedules, time constraints, the cruise lines and local conditions. Rotation of ports of call may vary for congestion reasons at certain ports, with or without prior notice and changed by cruise lines without notice. Celestyal Cruises reserves the right to substitute vessel trading under the Celestyal Cruises name, for the scheduled vessel without notice.
- Breakfast and dinner included daily while on land. Three meals will be provided each day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) on board the cruise. Drinks are not included with meals, except for customary items served at the buffet.
OPTIONAL ROME EXTENSION
$1595 per person double occupancy
Includes: air taxes of $55, gratuities of $60, and Rome tourist tax
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 14 – DAY 10:
Rome, Catacombs, St. Peter In Chains, Colosseum, Forum, St. John Lateran, Basilica of St. Paul
Today we enjoy a sightseeing tour, including a special visit to the Catacombs where we explore tunnels and see the carvings on the walls from early Christians. From here we continue for a visit to St. Peter in Chains. Then we visit the Colosseum, which symbolizes the eternity of the Roman civilization, the Forum and the Piazza Venezia, dominated by the imposing monument to Vittorio Emanuel II. We have a break for lunch during the tour (not included). In the afternoon, we visit St. John Lateran and the “Sacred Steps.” As a monk, Martin Luther climbed these steps on his knees, trying to merit forgiveness. Afterwards we make a special visit to St. Paul’s Church where tradition believes the Apostle Paul is buried. Dinner and overnight are in Rome.
THURSDAY, JUNE 15 – DAY 11:
After breakfast, we travel south for Pompeii to visit the spectacular ruins of Pompeii, which were covered by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. The city remained buried and undiscovered for almost 1500 years until excavations began in 1748. These excavations continue today and provide insight into life during the Roman Empire. We return to Rome in time for dinner and overnight.
FRIDAY, JUNE 16 – DAY 12:
Rome, Vatican & Sistine Chapel, Trevi Fountain
Our first visit this morning is to the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel, the celebrated Chapel of the Popes and the venue of the Conclaves for Papal elections. It is one of the most splendid masterpieces in the history of world art and is well known around the world for its magnificent ceiling, beautifully decorated by Michelangelo. From here, our next visit is to the Basilica of St. Peter, the largest church in the world, which overlooks the enormous Piazza San Pietro. After lunch (not included), we start our sightseeing of the eternal city. Driving through the main streets of Rome, we marvel at the monuments of this great capital. We stop near the Fontana di Trevi, following tradition by tossing a coin into the fountain, promising to return to Rome. Dinner and overnight are in Rome.
SATURDAY, JUNE 17 – DAY 13:
We have a morning transfer to the Leonardo da Vinci Rome Airport for our return flight back to the U.S.A.