Discover treasures left by the magnificent ancient civilisations of the Eastern Mediterranean. Visit the Minoan Palace of Knossos, legendary home of the labyrinth dwelling Minotaur. We’ll then dock for three nights in Alexandria, the city of Cleopatra, with opportunities to visit ancient monasteries and the World War II battlefield of El Alamein. Or join an optional two-night tour to Cairo and the Pyramids of Giza. Returning to the Greek islands, learn of Crusader history or the remains of the important ancient city of Lindos.
8 nights cruise on MV Aegean Odyssey
All meals on board the MV Aegean Odyssey
All onboard gratuities for restaurant and cabin staff
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home for your flight to Athens. On arrival, you are met by Voyages to Antiquity representatives and transferred to Piraeus to embark Aegean Odyssey (4T).
Crete is linked with many ancient Greek legends, the most famous being Theseus and the Minotaur. It is said the monstrous creature, son of the Cretan King Minos and Queen Pasiphae, was imprisoned in a labyrinth built under the royal palace. Today we’ll visit the Palace of Knossos, a magnificent complex originally constructed around 1900 BC. The excavations and restoration allows you to visualise the palace and lifestyle of the ancient Minoans.
Alexandria, Egypt (overnight)
We take a tour of Alexandria, including the beautiful minarets and domes of the Abu El Abbas Mosque, the 15th century Qait Bey Fortress and the Catacombs of Shawqafa, an extensive funerary complex from the 2nd century AD. We’ll also visit the National Museum of Alexandria, filled with exhibits detailing the history of the city and Egypt, including underwater photographs and statues recovered from the Palace of Cleopatra. This afternoon, there’s an optional tour to the stunning Royal Library of Alexandria, the beautiful Montaza Gardens and the extraordinary summer palace of King Farouk I.
Alternatively, you can take an optional overland trip to stay two nights in a Cairo hotel, with a sightseeing tour at Memphis, Egypt's first capital, followed by Sakkara, a favourite necropolis of Old Kingdom pharaohs and home to one of mankind's first monumental stone buildings - the Step Pyramid of King Zoser, built in 2750 BC.
This morning we’ll take a sightseeing tour to El Alamein, a seemingly insignificant port which was at the centre of some of the most notable battles of World War II. At the Military Museum, you’ll learn about the key battles and then continue to the Commonwealth Cemetery - the neatly rowed resting place for thousands of British Empire servicemen who died during the campaign. Meanwhile, those staying in Cairo will visit the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Sphinx.
The Valley of El-Natrun was sacred to the ancient Pharaohs, containing a natural form of sodium that was essential for the mummification process. Early Christian ascetics built a series of walled monasteries here in the 1st century AD, four of which are still fully functional. On our guided tour of the valley, you’ll discover these important temples, which hold the remains of great saints including Moses, an Egyptian slave who rejected violence and became a highly revered Desert Father.
Today you have a choice of World Heritage Sites to explore. Discover the ensemble of Gothic architecture of Rhodes’ Old Town. The Palace of the Grand Master served as a fortress in times of war, a residence for the Grand Master of the Knights and, in later times, a summer residence of both Mussolini and Victor Emmanuel II of Italy. Alternatively, visit the Acropolis at Lindos, a destination of both historic and scenic interest. Walk to the Acropolis, surrounded by 12th century crusader fortifications, and the Doric Temple of Lindian Athena, a 4th century BC jewel which is the only visible remain of one of the most important ancient cities of Rhodes. The site offers sweeping views over St Paul’s Bay. Then spend time in the village of whitewashed houses and tempting shops. A favourite resort since the time of Julius Caesar, Lindos is home to writers, artists and craftsmen.
Day 9 Piraeus - Athens - UK
We disembark in Piraeus and transfer to Athens airport for your return flight to the UK. Upon arrival your Titan vehicle will be waiting for the journey home.