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Ancient Empires. 21 days escorted 15 October - 04 November, 2019
Day 1. Tuesday 15 October. Depart Auckland
Depart Auckland today
Day 2. Wednesday 16 October. ARRIVE ROME (D)
Arrive Rome and transfer to our hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax
Day 3. Thursday 17 October. ROME. (BD)
Sightseeing includes St Peters Square, Vatical City and Museum, Sistine Chapel, Tiber River, Trevi Fountain, and a tour of the Colliseum and Forum.
Day 4. Friday 18 October. ROME (BD)
Free day to explore at your leisure. Visit St Paul's Basilica, or take a day trip to Florence to Venice. All activities own expense.
Day 5. Saturday 19 October ROME DEPART (BD)
Free morning to explore as you wish. Early afternoon we transfer to the port of Civitavecchia and join Holland America cruise ship "Rotterdam". (61,849 tons. 1,404 passengers). Sail at 6pm.
Day 6. Sunday 20 October AT SEA. (BLD)
A free day to relax and enjoy all the facilities, restaurants, and entertainment on your ship. Optional seminar of introduction to 5,000 years of history.
Day 7. Monday 21 October OLYMPIA (BLD).
Arrive Katakolon 8am. Sail at 4pm Optional excursion to ancient Olympia, original home of the Olympic games first held in 776 BC and was a sacred precinct of the god Zeus
Day 8. Tuesday 22 October ATHENS (BLD) Arrive Piraeus 7am. Depart 6pm.
Full day sightseeing included. Climb to the Acropolis and visit the Parthenon and Mars Hill and pass by the Tomb of the Unknown soldier, Parliament House, Temple of Zeus, and Hadrians Arch and enjoy a lunch of Greek specialities before returning to our ship.
Day 9. Wednesday 23 October. AT SEA (BLD)
A free day to relax, try the spa, work out in the gym, enjoy the entertainment, and get ready for israel.
Day 10. Thursday 24 October. JERUSALEM (BLD) Arrive Ashdod 8am. Sail at 11pm. (We will overnight in Jerusalem).
Disembark on arrival and drive to the lowest place on earth, the Dead Sea. First we take the cable car to acend the rock fortress of Massada, where King Herod built a palace and 950 Jews took their own lives rather than surrendering to the Romans. Explore the area including the swimming pools and cisterns before driving to a Dead Sea hotel for lunch and the chance to swim in the mineral rich waters of the Dead Sea. Pass the oasis of Ein Gedi on the way to the Qumrun Caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Ascend the Judean Hills from Jericho to Jerusalem for a spectacular sunset view over the ancient city of Jerusalem including the Temple Mount. Overnight with dinner and breakfast at a Jerusalem Hotel. This evening enjoy the ancient history of Jerusalem at the Sound and Light show at the Tower of David.
Day 11. Friday 25 October. JERUSALEM - HAIFA (BLD)
First stop is the Mt of Olives for a magnificent view over the old city including the Kidron Valley, Golden Gate, and Temple Mount. Walk down the hill and through the Garden of Gethsemane to visit the Church of All Nations. Enter the Old City through the Jewish Quarter and see the 'Cardo', part of an unearthed main Roman thoroughfare and marketplace. 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. Enjoy a lunch of local delicacies and this afternoon visit the Garden Tomb, Yad Vashem and a brief look at the Israeli Museum to see the model of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus Christ and Dead Sea Scrolls OR Bethlehem and the Shepherds fields. Mid afternoon we depart for the ancient city of Caesarea and rejoin our ship in Haifa.
Day 12. Saturday 26 October. HAIFA (BLD)
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. Sail at 6pm.
Day 13. Sunday 27 October. LIMASSOL, CYPRUS. (BLD) Arrive 8am. Sail at 6pm. Free day for optional excursions.
Day 14. Monday 28 October. RHODES (BLD) Arrive 9am. Sail at 6pm.
Optional (extra expense) tour today will take us some 50km along the coast to the town of Lindos to climb some 250 steps to the Acropolis (or hire a donkey to take you part way up - extra expense) for a panoramic view including St Pauls Bay where the Apostle Paul arrived in AD51. See where the Colossus of Rhodes spanned the harbour and the 4th century BC Doric Temple of Athena. Stroill through the narrow streets and enjoy lunch in the old town before visiting the Palace of the Grand Masters. If nukmbers are sufficient we will organise our own guide and vehicle - otherwise Holland America offer a range of shore excursions.
Day 15. Tuesday 29 October. SOUDA - CRETE (BLD) Arrive 8am. Sail 5pm. Free day for optional tours.
Day 16. Wednesday 30 October. AT SEA (BLD)
Last day to relax and enjoy your ship with a full day at sea.
Day 17. Thursday 31 October. MESSINA (Sicily) (BLD) Arrive 8am. Sail 5pm
Optional excursions available.
Day 18. Friday 01 November NAPLES, ITALY (BLD) Arrive 8am. sail 6pm.
Optional tours to Pompeii etc available.
Day 19. Saturday 02 November ROME. (B) Arrive Civitavecchia 7am.
Disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport for our flight home.
Day 20. Sunday 03 November. EN ROUTE
Day 21. Monday 04 November AUCKLAND ARRIVE
Arrive Auckland this morning.