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11 Nights aboard Enchanted Princess
1 Nov 2023
1 Nov 2023
Your gateway to the Eternal City, Civitavecchia has served as Rome’s seaport since the 13th century. The port has a long and venerable history. The emperor Trajan built a pleasure villa near the modern city, while Bernini and Michelangelo designed the harbor fortifications. Yet the Eternal City eternally beckons. The ancient capital of the Western World and the center of Christianity for nearly 2,000 years, Rome provides an inexhaustible feast. Visit the ruins of the Forum, view the splendors of the Sistine Chapel, or climb the Spanish Steps, once the heart of Rome’s Bohemian Quarter. Rome has been a magnet luring the world’s greatest artists, architects, and philosophers since the days of the Caesars.
Did the catastrophic volcanic eruption that ravaged Santorini circa 1600 B.C. destroy Crete’s ancient Minoan civilization – and give birth to the myth of Atlantis? In 1967, archaeologists on Santorini unearthed the remains of a Bronze Age city that may have been home to as many as 30,000 people. Whether the Lost Continent of Atlantis is rooted in myth or reality, an undisputed fact remains. The eruption created a caldera – and one of the most dramatic land and seascapes in the entire Mediterranean. On Santorini, whitewashed buildings cling to vertiginous cliffs that plunge to a turquoise sea. Part of the Cyclades Archipelago, the three-island group of Santorini, Thirasia and uninhabited Aspronisi present the traveler with unforgettable vistas. The island has had a number of names throughout history – from Strongyle or “Round” to Thera in honor of an ancient hero. Santorini is more recent and stems from the island church dedicated to St. Irene – Santa Rini to foreign sailors.
The past maintains a vibrant presence in the cradle of Western civilization. Atop the Acropolis, the serene Parthenon sails above the commotion of the modern city. The tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides were performed in the Theater of Dionysus at the foot of the Acropolis. On Pnyx Hill, citizens of a fledgling democracy gathered to cast their votes on Athens’ destiny. Then there is the hustle and bustle of the modern city, a metropolis of 4.5 million that spreads out from the foot of Mt. Lycabettus and across the plain. Packed with busy shops and lively tavernas, modern Athens is a colorful counterpoint to classical Greece. Piraeus is the port city for Athens and has been Athens’ port of entry for over two millennia.
A sleepy fishing village until only recently, Kusadasi has emerged as one of the most alluring spots for travelers along the Ionian Coast. Tourists from all over the world come to Kusadasi to visit Ephesus, one of the most fascinating archeological sites available to the modern-day traveler.
Thanks to its proximity to the mainland, Mykonos was one of the first Greek islands to become an international travel destination. During the late ’60s and early ’70s, Mykonos was famed as a haunt for the rich. The island’s nightlife – then and now – was a glittering whirl of colored lights, music, and parties. But there’s another side to Mykonos – the neighboring island of Delos. In classical mythology, Delos was the birthplace of Apollo and his twin sister Artemis. Travelers to Delos can stroll among the island’s vast ruins, which include three temples consecrated to the Sun God and the famed Lions Walk. Mykonos town features hip boutiques, restaurants, jewelry stores, souvenirs, taverns and cafés. The island’s famed windmills are found just south of the waterfront.
Perched on the west coast of the Peloponnesus, Greece’s largest peninsula, this sleepy fishing village of some 300 souls is your gateway to Olympia, site of the original Olympic Games. Held every four years between 776 B.C. and 393 A.D., when the Emperor Theodosius banned pagan festivals, the Olympic Games celebrated the ideal harmony of mind and body. Every four years, the sacred flame of Altis is rekindled to light the torch for the Modern Games. Olympia’s temples were destroyed after the games were banned. An earthquake in the 6th century compounded the destruction, and floods buried the site. Excavation of the ruins began in 1875, and Olympia was declared a National Park in 1976.
Corsica is an island that has switched hands many times throughout its turbulent history. Today it belongs to the French, yet the Corsicans maintain a pride and culture that is distinctly their own. The island’s geography remains wild, rugged and beautiful, and the people have not lost their old-world traditions.
Toulon has been the great bastion of the French navy since 1494, when Charles VIII chose its superb harbor as the site for a naval shipyard. Today, Toulon is homeport for the French navy’s nuclear-powered aircraft carrier “Charles de Gaulle.” The city is also the capital of the Var and provides an excellent gateway to the riches of Provence and the Cote d’Azur. To the north and west are medieval Provencal hilltop villages and superb vineyards. To the east lie the fabled coves and beaches of the Cote d’Azur, the setting for the legendary resort of St. Tropez. And everywhere there is the miraculous fusion of sky and sea that forms the essence of Southern France. Toulon’s Upper Town bears more than a strong resemblance to Paris – in the 1840s, the prefect of the Var was that same Baron Haussmann who gave the City of Light its elegant boulevards and architecture. Haussmann first tried his hand at urban renewal here in Toulon
The 1992 Summer Olympics revealed to the world what Europeans and seasoned travelers already knew – Barcelona is one of the world’s greatest treasures. Vibrant and earthy, commercial and cultural, this city of two million residents is the capital of Spain’s autonomous region of Catalonia. Stroll along the wide, tree-lined promenades of Las Ramblas and marvel at the spires of Gaudi’s Basilica La Sagrada Familia. Or visit the former Olympic Ring on the hill of Montjuic – also home to world-class parks, fountains and museums. Barcelona, which nurtured such artistic giants as Picasso, Dali, Miro and Casals, is definitely a traveler’s paradise.
11 Nights aboard Enchanted Princess
Departs 01 Nov 2023