Civilisations and Mythologies
8 days with Ponant Rating:
DAY 1 AQABA
Located in the Red Sea within the eponymous gulf, Aqaba offers Jordan its only access to the sea. At the crossroads of the land and sea routes that linked Asia, Africa and Europe, the town is rich with more than 5,000 years of history. The warm waters of the Red Sea attract holidaymakers and divers to this seaside destination; the underwater sites home to coral and fishes are some of the most beautiful in the world. Aqaba is also the gateway to the magnificent desert of Wadi Rum and the marvellous site of Petra.
DAYS 2-3 AIN SUKHNA
Ain Sukhna, which means “hot spring,” is located in the Gulf of Suez, facing the Red Sea. Around fifty kilometres from the entrance to the Suez Canal, and less than two hours from the Egyptian capital, it is an elegant seaside town that is popular with wealthy families from Cairo. Ain Soukhna is an ideal base for discovering the marvels of Ancient Egypt.
DAYS 3-4 CROSSING THE SUEZ CANAL
Without the waterway linking the Red Sea to the Mediterranean this part of the world would be an arid sandy desert inhabited by a few nomads. The Suez Canal slices through 162 km of desert and was inaugurated in 1869 in the presence of Empress Eugenie, then nationalised by Nasser in 1956.
DAY 5 AT SEA
During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.
DAY 6 RHODES
With its particularly agreeable climate, the island of Rhodes invites you to walk its pathways and discover its immaculate villages and sumptuous medieval city, a UNESCO World Heritage site. At the centre of the island the mountains are covered in forest and on the western slopes we find vineyards and crops. Rhodes also owes much of its charm and its character to the Knights of St John who reigned over the island from 1310 to 1522 and built impressive defensive walls punctuated with majestic gateways. Do not miss this delightful island with its peaceful beaches, its large walkways and its lively nightlife, perpetuating the myth of the famous Colossus, the legendary statue that is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
DAY 7 PATMOS
Patmos is one of the legendary must-see islands in the Dodecanese. This is where Saint John resided, presumed author of the last book in the Bible. The cave of the Apocalypse and the Saint John Monastery are dedicated to him. These sites, which are listed by UNESCO as World Heritage, are located at the top of a hillside planted with vines and orchards. On the shore, the crystalline coves of Kambos and Lampi offer absolutely gorgeous swimming areas. You’ll be drawn to the bustle in Skala harbour and its taverns, famous for their fish soup and tiropita, which is a type of pasty filled with fresh Patmos cheese.
DAY 8 ATHENS
The Greek capital city is located on the edge of the Saronic gulf, in the east of the country. It bears a plural name in reference to the first villages that surround the Acropolis. You will be enchanted by the rocky plateau presided by its monuments listed as UNESCO World Heritage. In the city below, you can visit some of the liveliest districts in Athens: Plaka, with its maze of colourful streets, and where, in the evenings the drifting aroma of moussaka and garlic prawns will tickle your taste buds. The National Archaeological museum and the Cycladic Art Museum are also some of the city’s key attractions and allow visitors to discover Athens’ cultural past.
All This Included
This 8-day itinerary combining history and archaeology will take you from Jordan to Greece. During your cruise, Le Lyrial will visit several unmissable sites between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.
After your embarkation in Aqaba, Jordan's only port, you will reach Ain Soukhna, the gateway to the Great Pyramids of Egypt and the new Grand Egyptian Museum of Cairo.
You will cross the world-famous Suez Canal, built by Ferdinand de Lesseps and widened recently to facilitate trade. You will then join Rhodes, whose old medieval town, built by the Knights of St John, is surrounded by ramparts. It is the largest of the Dodecanese islands and was once home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: its famous Colossus.
Le Lyrial will then take you to Patmos, also known as the 'Jerusalem of the Aegean Sea', this divine island where Saint John is said to have received his visions features unique landscapes that blend long white beaches with rocky coves.
Your journey will end in Athens, on the edge of the Saronic Gulf. To take in all of the city’s dazzling cultural past, why not visit the National Archaeological Museum or the new Acropolis Museum inaugurated in 2009.
Cruising: Standard cabin onboard Le Lyrial
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.