Ancient Empires. Escorted Holyland Cruise Depart 28 September, 2023

 Cruising with Holland America is a great experience and great value. Shore excursions are included in the four main cities of interest - Galilee and Jerusalem in Israel, Athens, and Ephesus.


Tour 603. 

Day 1. Thursday. September 28, 2023    DEPART AUCKLAND

Depart Auckland. 

Day 2. Friday. September 29.           ARRIVE ATHENS

Arrive Athens. Transfer to accommodation.

Day 3. Saturday September 30.  ATHENS

This morning we climb to the Acropolis and visit the Parthenon, nearby Mars Hill, and pass by the Tomb of the unknown soldier, Parliament House, Temple of Olympian Zeus, and Hadrian’s Arch. 

Day 4. Sunday October 01.    SAIL FROM GREECE           (B)

Free morning in Athens and this afternoon join "Nieuw Statendam" in Piraeus. Sail at 5pm. (Nieuw Statendam. 99,500 gross tons,  2,666 guests, 1036 crew, 12 restaurants, 8 lounges,spa and salon).

Day 5. Monday October 02.    AT SEA                                 (BLD)

Full day at sea to enjoy all the facilities, food, and entertainment of your ship.

Day 6. Tuesday October 03.   NAFPLION - GREECE          (BLD)

Arrive 8am - sail 5pm. Optional tours available. (Tender required for shore)

Day 7. Wednesday October 04.         MYKONOS, Greece    (BLD)

Arrive  8am - sail 5pm. (Tender required for shore).

Day 8. Thursday October 05.           IRAKLION (Crete) Greece    (BLD)

Arrive 8am - sail 5pm. Optional tours available.

Day 9. Friday October 06.                             AT SEA      (BLD)

Day at sea to relax and get ready for Israel. Optional seminar on board

Day 10. Saturday October 07.         HAIFA. (Israel)          (BLD)

Arrive 8am - sail 11pm.  Disembark after breakfast and drive across the Valley of Jezreel to Nazareth. Visit the Church of the Annunciation and the ancient Israel Village presenting life in Israel as it was at the time of Jesus Christ. Continue to the Mt of Beatitudes where Jesus gave the 'Sermon on the Mount', Tabgha where Jesus performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes, and Capernaum where Jesus lived during part of his ministry. See the 2nd century Synagogue and enjoy a cruise on Lake Galilee  and fish lunch before returning to our ship with some sightseeing in Haifa if there is time.  Sail at 11pm. 

Day 11. Sunday October 08.           HAIFA - JERUSALEM.    (BLD)

Arrive Ashdod 7am. 

Disembark after breakfast and drive to Caesarea for a tour then a short drive through Tel Aviv and visit to ancient Joppa before climbing to Jerusalem.Visit the Mt of Olives for a fabulous panoramic view over the ancient city of Jerusalem including the Temple Mount. Visit the Garden of Gethsemane and Church of All Nations. Enter the Old City through the Jewish Quarter and see the 'Cardo', part of an unearthed main Roman thoroughfare from 2,000 years ago and marketplace. Visit David's City and walk gthe newly opened original path from the pool of Siloam to the temple on which Jesus and the disciples walked. Also visit the Western Wall and Temple Mount (subject to political conditions on the day) and walk the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This afternoon visit the Israeli Museum to see the model of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus Christ and the  Dead Sea Scrolls.  Overnight at a hotel in Jerusalem and this evening enjoy the Sound and Light spectacle at the Tower of David

Day 12.  Monday October 09.          JERUSALEM - DEAD SEA - SAIL FROM ASHDOD   (BLD)

We take the road going down to Jericho and visit the Qumrun caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found and the oasis of Ein Gedi where King David hid then take time for a swim in the Dead Sea. Climb the hills to Bethlehem and visit the Shepherds Fields before returning to our ship in Ashdod for dinner. Sail at 8pm.

Day 13. Tuesday October 10.          LIMASSOL (Cyprus)    (BLD

Arrive  8am - sail 5pm.  Optional tours available.

Day 14. Wednesday October 11.      RHODES (Greece)      (BLD)

Arrive 8am - sail 5pm.    Optional tours available

Day 15. Thursday October 12.        KUSADASI   - EPHESUS (Turkey)   (BLD)

Arrive Kusadasi 7am - sail 7pm 

Our included tour will take us to one of the best preserved ruins of the ancient Roman Empire - Ephesus. St Paul spent some years here teaching and being a tentmaker and was the subject of a major riot in the Grand Theatre. See the theatre, Celsius library, and the few remaining ruins of the Temple of Diana. We will also visit the traditional house of  Mary, mother of Jesus, and Basilica of St John who wrote the book of Revelation on the nearby island of Patmos. See the remains of the nearby Selcuk fortress from the Byzantine and Ottoman era. A traditional Turkish lunch will be provided at a local restaurant. 

Day 16.  Friday October 13.       AT SEA    (BLD)

Last day at sea to relax and enjoy the memories of your tour.

Day 17. Saturday October 14.      KATAKOLON  - Olympia - Greece.     (BLD)

Arrive 8am - Sail 5pm. Full day tour available to ancient Olympia.

Day 18.   Sunday October 15.          ARRIVE PIRAEUS - Athens.    (B)

Arrive Piraeus 7am. Disembark and transfer to the airport.

Day 19.  Monday October 16.       EN ROUTE

Day 20.  Tuesday October 17.      AUCKLAND ARRIVE

Arrive Auckland and enjoy the memories for the rest of your life




PLEASE NOTE. If conditions permit we will offer an extension to Istanbul and other parts of Turkey including GALLIPOLI on ANZAC DAY. 



Day 18.  Sunday October 15.    ATHENS

Arrive Piraeus and transfer to Athens for one night.   

Day 19. Monday. October 16. MYCENAE AND CORINTH (BD)

Explore the imposing ruins of Mycaenae, the ancient city Homer called 'a city rich in gold'. Enter the city by the Lions Gate and visit Agamemnons Royal Palace. Continue to ancient Corinth and explore the city where Paul taught. See the Corinth canal and return to Athens.

Day 20 . Tuesday October 17.  ATHENS – METEORA (BD)

Drive north to the amzing monasteries at Meteora perched high on the mountainous rocks and visit 2 or 3 of the monasteries. Overnight near Meteora 

Day 21. Wednesday October 18. METEORA – BEREA–THESSALONIKI (BD)

Drive to Berea where the people were 'more honourable than those in Thessaloniki” in Paul's time and continue to Thessaloniki. This afternoon tour the city, second largest in Greece. See the Egnation Road, Galerius Arch. Citadel, and Rotunda

Day 22.  Thursday October 19. PHILIPPI – KAVAL A (BD)

Enjoy a picturesque drive to Philippi where Paul established the first church in Europe. See the river where Lydia met Paul, and the ancient Forum and jail where Paul and Silas were kept. On the return pass Kavala (Neapolis) with panoramic views of the harbour where Paul, and the christian message,  arrived over 1900 years ago.

Day 23. Friday October 20.  THESSALONIKI DEPART (B)

Depart Thessaloniki

Day 24. Saturday October 21. EN ROUTE

Day 25. Sundayt October 22. ARRIVE AUCKLAND

Arrive Auckland this morning



Tour 603. 

Ancient Empires   20 Days escorted. 28 September - October 17, 2023,  From just $9,990 share twin.


** Return economy class air fares from Auckland (Upgrade to Premium Economy and Business class available) 

** Arrival and departure transfers in Athens

** 14 night Holland America cruise aboard "Nieuw Statendam". Inside cabins included in basic cost. Upgrade to outside and verandah cabins available.   

** Full day sightseeing in Athens

** 3 days touring in Israel including 2 days touring to Jerusalem and 1 day to Nazareth and Galilee and ! night hotel, dinner, breakfast in Jerusalem. 

** Day tour to Ephesus


Projected cost per person        2 per room/cabin 

Inside cabin                      $9,990

Oceanview cabin              $10,990

Verandah cabin               $11,990

Vista cabin                       $13,400 

Upgrade to Premium Economy fares   $2,000 extra per person 

Upgrade to Business Class $4,000 per person.

25% deposit required on booking. Balance due 09 June, 2023.


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