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Crossroads of Empires: Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Lebanon, Egypt & Jordan
Sorry. There are no scheduled departures for this expedition.
Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.
An itinerary from a previous expedition is displayed below.
Day 1 Depart USADepart on your independent flight to Crete.
Day 2 Heraklion, Crete, GreeceArrive in Heraklion and make your way to our hotel. Gather this evening at the hotel for our welcome dinner and a briefing on tomorrow’s activities.
Day 3 Heraklion / Knossos / Embark Clipper Odyssey
After breakfast and a short tour of Heraklion, Crete’s capital, we drive inland to the Palace of Knossos, the most celebrated monument of Minoan civilization. Vivid frescoes adorn the 1,300-room palace where mythical King Minos held court. In the late afternoon board the Clipper Odyssey.
Day 4 Rhodes / Fethiye, Turkey
Our tour of Rhodes City departs from the quayside and brings us to Mount Smith where the acropolis of ancient Rhodes commands a dramatic view of the port. Back in the center, walk the winding streets built by the Knights of St. John to the Palace of the Grand Masters. During lunch on board we cruise to the resort town of Fethiye located on Turkey’s famed Turquoise Coast. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure or embark on a short historical tour to Lycian rock-cut tombs. Tonight choose to dine on board or on your own at one of the many charming restaurants in town.
Day 5 Kas / Kekova
Today we visit the picturesque seaside village of Kas. Stroll through meandering alleyways flanked by homes with flower-draped balconies and explore the seaside Hellenistic theater. During lunch, we sail past glorious Mediterranean scenery to tiny, cove-riddled Kekova. Options here include a hike to the medieval castle, perched on a hilltop and surrounded by sculpted sarcophagi. Or, view the remains of the sunken village of ancient Simena by glass-bottom boat. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to explore on your own, or perhaps take a refreshing swim in the turquoise waters.
Day 6 Antalya / Perge / Aspendos
This morning we go ashore in Antalya and visit the excellent museum which displays artifacts discovered throughout this region. We continue to the once-great center of learning, Perge, whose superb ruins make it one of the eastern Mediterranean’s most spectacular Greco-Roman sites. We then drive to Aspendos and enjoy a picnic lunch by the river, before we visit the impressive 15,000-seat Roman Theater.
Day 7 Anamur
Like the invaders of ancient history, our ship sails under the magnificent crenellated walls of Mamure Kalesi, Anamur’s fortress-castle, whose sheer walls plunge to the sea. We go ashore by Zodiac to marvel at this massive monument fortified with 36 turrets, constructed by the Cilician kings of Armenia and later occupied by Crusaders and Ottomans. We then make the short drive to Anemurium, the most southernly city of Ancient Anatolia. Partially excavated by archaeologists, it also offers the perfect opportunity for a swim with crystal-clear waters and a lovely beach.
Day 8 Kyrenia, CyprusToday we explore Kyrenia, or Girne as it is known locally, a bustling harbor town back-dropped by mountains. The magnificent Kyrenia Castle, believed to have been founded by the semi-nomadic Akkadians in the 9th century B.C., still gives the impression that it is protecting the busy horseshoe-shaped harbor below. We visit the castle and its Shipwreck Museum. The ship on display, along with its cargo of amphoras discovered off the coast of Kyrenia in 1965, is believed to be the oldest ship ever discovered in the Mediterranean. We then make our way to Bellapais Abbey, the jewel of the namesake village. This imposing ruin, built by monks in the 13th century, is in a wonderful position commanding a long view down to Kyrenia and the Mediterranean. We cap off our time in Kyrenia with lunch at a local restaurant before returning to the Clipper Odyssey to depart for Beirut, Lebanon.
Day 9 Beirut, Lebanon / Byblos
This morning we arrive in Lebanon’s historic capital, Beirut, and depart overland to beautiful Byblos. The city’s history reaches back 7,000 years and offers a panoply of Phoenician, Roman, and Byzantine-era ruins. This seaport, from which the words “Bible” and “book” are derived, once imported papyrus and exported it as scrolls. A highlight is a visit to Byblos Castle, built by Crusaders and enclosing a picturesque walled city of Phoenician monuments. After lunch on board we visit the National Museum where artifacts from prehistoric times to the medieval Mamluk period are on display. Then continue with a guided tour of Beirut whose recent turbulent past is in a remarkable state of fast-forward recovery. The modern and ancient worlds collide here in a collage of architectural marvels. We drive through the commercial Hamra area and past Martyr’s Square. The afternoon is at leisure for you to explore the “Paris of the Middle East.”
Day 10 Beirut / Baalbek
Today we drive across the fertile Bekáa Valley to Baalbeck, one of the most impressive sites of the ancient Roman world. We explore the well-preserved temples of Jupiter, Bacchus, and Venus, surrounded by lovely gardens, as well as the Roman Acropolis, considered to be among the most important ever built.
Day 11 Port Said, Egypt / Tanis
We disembark in Port Said and depart for Tanis—once capital of Egypt from 1070 to 715 B.C., this is the most important and impressive archaeological site in Egypt’s northern delta. Our historians guide us through the walled city, which is studded with obelisks, statues, and columns, many inscribed with royal rulers’ names, particularly Ramses II.
Day 12 Port Said / Suez Canal TransitAn extraordinary experience awaits us today as our ship slips into a convoy of vessels for the southbound transit of one of the world’s greatest engineering feats: the 101-mile-long Suez Canal. Its completion in 1869 marked the severing of the African and Asian continents, providing a convenient shortcut for ships that formerly made the arduous and lengthy journey around the Cape of Good Hope. We learn the history of the canal and the ancient trade routes that preceded it and our vantage point on deck affords us close-up views of the contrasts in landscape—rugged terrain on one side and lush greenery on the other.
Day 13 Sharm el Sheikh / Monastery of St. Catherine
Choose between two options today. From the coastal town of Sharm el Sheikh, we ascend nearly 5,000 feet to explore the splendid 6th-century Byzantine Monastery of St. Catherine. Built by the Emperor Justinian to commemorate the site where Moses received the Ten Commandments, the church is a treasure trove of one of the world’s most magnificent collections of gold icons, dating back to the 5th century, and the museum has a sampling of manuscripts second in importance only to those of the Vatican. Alternatively, take a local boat to Ras Mohammed, where the Gulf of Aqaba meets the Gulf of Suez, for a delightful snorkel experience among some of the world’s best coral reef ecosystems.
Day 14 Aqaba, Jordan / Disembark Clipper Odyssey / Wadi Rum / Petra
Disembark this morning in Aqaba, Jordan’s only seaport. We drive north to Wadi Rum, the majestic valley made famous by T.E. Lawrence and featured in the epic movie Lawrence of Arabia. Dramatic sandstone formations tower over the desert floor strewn with immense boulders. Arrive in Petra this evening for dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Day 15 Petra
We rise early this morning to visit the superb ruins of Petra, capital of the Nabataean civilization, which flourished between 200 B.C. and A.D. 200. In a dramatic approach we enter the Siq, a narrow chasm between 600-foot-high rock walls, which opens into the ancient city. Before us are spectacular rock-cut tombs, temples, and a theater, each carved from vividly hued, iron-rich sandstone, which earns it the nickname “Rose-Red Petra.” The façade of the treasury, remarkably well preserved, bears testimony to Petra’s prominence as a wealthy center monopolizing the lucrative trading routes north of the Red Sea. Overnight at our hotel.
Day 16 Petra / Amman
In the morning, we drive north along the King’s Highway through the picturesque Jordanian countryside, passing traditional villages and the spectacular canyon of Wadi al-Mujib en route to the Castle of Kerak. Dating from 1132, this stunning castle lies within a walled crusader city situated on an ancient caravan route between Egypt and Syria. We arrive at our hotel in time for dinner and overnight.