As a history geek, adventurer, and a Catholic – Viking’s new Cities Of Antiquity & The Holy Land itinerary is at the top of my cruise bucket list. And with Viking Cruises to boot? I’m already on my flight to Rome just to get myself onboard.
15 days of ports steeped in rich history – from Rome, the center of the Roman Empire and the Roman Catholic Church; Naples, the gateway to the lost city of Pompeii; Crete, home to the The Palace of Knossos; Jerusalem, a shared center of spiritual importance for Judaism, Islam, and Christianity; and Athens, one of the most important cities in our storied history. Among these incredible ports are numerous others, each holding their own unique spot history – Haifa, Limassol, Rhodes, and Mykonos, among a few relaxing days at sea. For anyone as fascinated with history and religion as I am, this itinerary is truly the pinnacle of enriching travel, bridging the worlds of secularism and religion into one amazing cruise itinerary.
Mike’s Itinerary Highlights
Each of these ports are packed with their own page worth of highlights, but when cruising, sometimes time can be short, only allowing a few hours to explore amazing and expansive cities. So, if you have only a few hours to explore, be sure not to miss these historically rich and important highlights.
Rome, Italy (2 days!) Day 1: The Colosseum & Roman Forum, Day 2: The Vatican, the home of the Roman Catholic Church.
Naples, Italy The ancient and lost city of Pompeii.
Crete, Greece The Palace of Knossos, home of King Minos.
Jerusalem, Israel The Western Wall, Dome of the Rock, or the Via Dolorosa.
Haifa, Israel (2 days again!) Day 1: excursion to Bethlehem, the site of the Nativity; Day 2: excursion to Nazareth & the Sea of Galilee.
Limassol, Cyprus Visit the capital of Nicosia, the only divided capital still in existence.
Rhodes, Greece Hike up to the Acropolis of Lindos and take in the incredible views.
Mykonos, Greece Take a relaxing day to walk through this traditional town and grab a bite to eat at a local cafe.
Athens, Greece (2 days again, amazing!) Day 1: visit the the Oracle at Delphi, Day 2: hike up to the Parthenon, the most iconic site of antiquity.
Here’s the best part: You’re sailing with Viking Cruises, which offers at least one complimentary excursion in each port, offering a guarantee of a fulfilling and rich experience in each port you sail to. If you’re looking for more than the included excursion, you can always pay the small fee for a variety of additional excursions that are sure to leave you with an even greater appreciation for these historical ports of call.
The Ship & Line
I’ve written (more like raved) about my experiences with Viking Cruises in the past, so it’s no surprise that I may sound like a broken record, but do yourself a favor and book yourself on this itinerary today.
Viking Cruises sails this itinerary only a few times year, rotating it’s Star class ships onto this itinerary. Each ship is practically brand new and are relatively identical, so you’re sure to enjoy the same elevated onboard experience during each sailing. Each ship features a plethora of excellent dining experiences, ranging from the traditional main restaurant and Lido marketplace, to complimentary speciality dining at Manfredi’s and the Chef’s Table. Grab some traditional Norwegian waffles in the morning at Mamsen’s and then roll into the afternoon with an unbelievable tea ceremony in the Wintergarden, featuring a host of flavored teas, desserts, and finger sandwiches. Do yourself a favor and order the White Strawberry Tea with a scone. Amazing. Go for a dip in the aft infinity pool and then towel off with a trip to the Nordic influenced spa. Later, top off the evening with a speciality cocktail in the Explorer’s Lounge as you watch your ship cast off from the dock and set course for your next port of call.
Not convinced yet? So, in addition to offering an incredible itinerary and a beautiful ship, Viking offers all guests complimentary wifi, complimentary self service laundry, an excursion in each port, all veranda staterooms, and complimentary beers and wines during meal times. Now you’re sold.
When & How Much
Viking only offers this unbelievable itinerary a few times during the year, with one more sailing in 2016 and four more in 2017. The lowest category staterooms, which are still spacious verandas, start at $3,099. Additional information on booking can be found on Viking’s website.
If you’re still not convinced, which would be hard to believe, feel free to browse my past articles and editorials on the Viking experience. Otherwise, for those of you who we’re sold only a few sentences in, I’ll see you onboard!