SeaDream Yacht Club, operating the top ‘Boutique Ships’ in the world as rated by the 2012 Berlitz Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships, has revealed details of a newly created 2012 itinerary featuring unique Turkish and Greek ports. The voyage was specially designed to follow in the footsteps of Paul the Apostle, said to be one of the most famous citizens of the Roman Empire .
“We’re excited to introduce this voyage. Guests will enjoy the award-winning service and cuisine SeaDream is well known for, while partaking in an authentic travel experience. SeaDream continues to create a variety of new itineraries, many of which feature unique experiences that cannot be matched on the larger ships” said SeaDream’s President, Bob Lepisto.
Voyage # 21220b sails June 30 – July 8, 2012 from Istanbul , Turkey to Pireaus ( Athens ), Greece. The intermediary ports include Dikili, Turkey; Izmir , Turkey; Kusadasi, Turkey; Demre ( Myra ), Turkey; Rhodes , Greece and Hydra , Greece and highlights include:
Dikili, Turkey: A short, scenic drive from the port is one of the Seven Churches of Asia referred to by St. John in the Book of Revelation; the city of Pergamum. Pergamum was first settled in the 8th century BC and because of its great library, housing some 20,000 volumes, many scholars and teachers lived in this city of culture. Guests will tour the Temple of Trajan , built by Hadrian; both of these Roman emperors worshiped there. Guests will also visit the best-known attraction in the town; the Kizil Avlu (Red Basilica), a temple made of red brick dedicated to the gods of Egypt . The temple lies in what is now the modern day town of Bergama . SeaDream’s excursion will conclude with a visit to the ancient healing center of Asclepion, a complex built to honor the God of Medicine, Asclepio.
Izmir, Turkey: Visit the ancient city of Sardis which was one of the important cities of the Persian Empire . Sardis is named as one of the Seven Churches of Asia in the Book of Revelation. The first large archaeological expedition in Sardis (1910 – 1914) unearthed the Temple of Artemis and more than a thousand Lydian tombs. They have since unearthed perhaps the most impressive synagogue in the western diaspora yet discovered from antiquity. From Sardis , SeaDream guests will travel to Thyatira, famous for its dyeing and was a center of the indigo trade. In early Christian times Thyatira was home to a significant Christian Church , mentioned as one of the Seven Churches in the Book of Revelation 2:18-29. The apostle Paul visited the city on a number of occasions during his missionary travels. Guests will also view the Saint Polycarp Church, the oldest church in Izmir and represents ancient Smyrna ’s role as one of the Seven Churches of Revelation 2:8-11.
Kusadasi, Turkey: Tour the magnificent archaeological site of Ephesus including the recently excavated Terrace Houses and the House of the Virgin Mary on Mt. Pagus . Walk through one of the most imposing sites at Ephesus , the Library of Celsus. Finely decorated with columns and sculptures, the library was erected in 135 BC by a son in homage to his father. A short walk away is another significant structure, the amphitheater. Known for its excellent acoustics, here is where St. Paul preached to the Ephesians, imploring them to give up their worship of Artemis and embrace the Christian faith. The guided SeaDream tour takes guests to the newly opened and recently excavated portion of the historic site, the so-called Terrace Houses. These houses were inhabited by wealthy Ephesians and are finely decorated with mosaics and frescoes. According to the evidence of the excavations, they were built in the period of Augustus and continued to be inhabited until the 7th century AD.
Demre ( Myra ), Turkey: Visit the ancient city of Myra , home to the earliest church of St. Nicholas (the original Santa Claus), built in the 6th century. St. Nicholas became bishop of Myrain the 4th century. Legend has it that he would drop small bags of gold coins down the chimneys of houses with poor girls who were old enough to marry, but had no dowry. Sanctified for his good works, he became the patron saint of virgins, sailors, children, pawnbrokers and Holy Russia; known as Santa Claus. A short drive inland are the ruins of Roman Myra, with some of the most impressive and well preserved ruins in all of Turkey. Paul the Apostle preached here.
Rhodes, Greece: Take part in a guided walking tour of this medieval city where St Paul lived. Pass through narrow, cobblestone streets to reach the most imposing building of medieval Rhodes , the Palace of the Grand Masters, built in the 14th century. Walking down the Street of the Knights and passing by numerous colorful shops, one may admire the 15th-century Hospital of the Knights, which now houses the Archaeological Museum .
SeaDream Yacht Club, 800-707-4911, www.SeaDream.com