Passage through Antiquity A Voyage of Discovery
© Nova Fisher

27th November to 15th December 2019


Wed 27 - London to Larnaca, Cyprus 07.25 London Heathrow arrive 14.05 Larnaca. (flight time 4hr 40min). Board MS Serenissima and sail at 23.00. Thu 28 - Limassol, Cyprus Tour the ruins of Kourion and the Temple of Apollo then visit the Marina, the Agia Napa Cathedral and the old town. Fri 29 - Haifa, Nazareth, Cana, Yardenit, Israel Haifa - stop at Mount Carmel for views over Bahai Gardens to the bay. Nazareth – visit the Church of the Annunciation and the Church of Joseph. Drive through Cana to the Sea of Galilee and Yardenit (where Jesus was baptized by John). Visit St Paul’s Primary Church dedicated to the 1st Pope of the Catholic Church, then the archaeological site of Capernaum. Sat 30 - Acre, Israel Visit the underground city to see the Crusader halls (built by the Knights of St John) and the crypt, then walk through the bazaar and past the Al Jazzar’s Mosque. Descend into the Templar’s tunnels used as a secret route to the port. Visit the ruins of the Roman city, Caesarea and the dual channel aqueduct that supplied water to Caesarea.


Sun 1 - Ashdod, Jerusalem, Israel Moor at Ashdod and drive inland to Jerusalem. Views from the Mount of Olives. Visit Garden of Gethsemane and the Basilica of Agony. Walk around Mount Zion to see the Room of the Last Supper, the Tomb of David and the Dormition Abbey. Enter the old city through the Jaffa gate and see the Western (or Wailing) Wall. Wander through the streets of the Old City and up the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Walk through the Christian Quarter passing the Roman Cardo in the Jewish Quarter. Mon 2 - Ashdod, Jaffa Israel Visit Jaffa, the ancient port city from which Tel Aviv developed. Explore the renovated alleys and buildings including Andromeda’s Rock. Visit St Peter’s Church and St Peter’s Monastery. Tue 3 - Suez Canal, Egypt Pass through the Suez Canal stopping at Great Bitter lake in the middle. Wed 04 - Cairo, Egypt Full day tour to the capital city of Cairo. Visit the Pyramids of Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Descend down the cramped corridors into the chamber of the Great Pyramid of Cheops. Visit the Solar Boat museum and then the Sphinx. After lunch at the legendary Marriott Mena House Hotel visit the Egyptian Museum in which the Gold Room displays the statues, jewels and treasures of Tutankhamun. Thu 5 - At Sea Sail through the Red Sea and Gulf of Suez. Enjoy a fruit carving demonstration and engine room visit. Arrive at Safaga port in the evening. Fri 6 - Luxor, Egypt Depart early for a 3.5 hour drive through the desert to Luxor. Lunch on board feluccas whilst sailing across the West Bank. Visit the Valley of the Kings, the burial ground of the pharaohs. Enter 3 tombs – Ramesis 3rd, Ramesis 7th and Ramesis 9th. Visit the temple of Queen Hatshepsut then the Colossi of Memmon. Check in to Hilton Luxor Hotel then go on a horse-drawn carriage for an evening tour of Luxor and market. Sat 7 - Luxor, Egypt Visit the Temples of Karnak and the Luxor Temple. Sun 8 - Aqaba, Jordan Morning at sea arrive then arrive in Aqaba, Afternoon drive past the 12th Century AD Crusader Aqaba fort (Fortress of Helim) and down the coast to the border with Saudi Arabia. Walk around the town past the Roman ruins of Ayla and through the souk. Evening BBQ and entertainment at Berenice Beach Club. Ate the traditional Sayyadieh fish dish and Knafeh pastry dessert. Mon 9 - Wadi Rum & Petra, Jordan Drive to Wadi Rum, also known as the Valley of the Moon. Excursion in a Bedouin open top four wheel drive vehicle. See the Alameleh inscriptions and ruins of Allat (Goddess) Temple of the AAD tribe. Lunch at a Bedouin camp then drive to Little Petra, walk through a small gorge into the area of carved tombs, monuments and the Painted Cave. Tue 10 - Petra, Jordan Explore the Nabatean city of Petra, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Walk past the Obelisk Tomb and down through the Siq, the narrow gorge that leads to Petra’s most impressive monument, the Treasury. Walk down the Street of Facades to the Theatre, the Royal Tombs, the Colonnaded Street, the 5thC Byzantine Church, the Temple, the Monumental Arch and the mighty Qasr el Bint Faroun. Lunch at the Basin restaurant and then climb about 900 steps up to the large, 1st century AD Monastery monument. Wed 11 - Madaba & Dead Sea, Jordan 7am drive to see the Madaba Byzantine mosaics. Visit the mosaic map of ancient Palestine which is located on the floor of the 6thC Greek Orthodox Church of St. George. Lunch at the Haret Jdoudna Village restaurant with traditional mezza appetisers and oven baked dishes. Visit Mount Nebo dating to the time of the Prophet Moses, around 12BC. Stay at Movenpick Resort & Spa on the Dead Sea and take a relaxing ‘float’ in the Dead sea. Thu 12 - Amman, Jordan & Beirut, Lebanon Depart at 7am for a 10.10 flight to Beirut (1 hour flight). Check in to Le Patio Boutique Hotel and walked around downtown – Martyrs’ Square, Roman Cardo Maximus five Roman columns, Saifi Village (Le Quartier des Arts) and went in the Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque, Fri, 13 - Anjar, Baalbek & Ksara, Lebanon Visit the archaeological sites of Anjar and Baalbek, one of the most famous historical treasures in Lebanon. Visit Ksara, in the Bekaa valley known for its dry red wine, raisin production and huge caves. Sat, 14 - Jeita, Harissa & Byblos Jaita grotto in Keserwan in the mountains, is one of the world’s largest collections of stalagmites and stalactites in the world, Harissa heights (more than 600m) - see the 20 ton bronze statue of the Virgin Mary that overlooks the bay of Jounieh. Byblos, a fishing village, one of the oldest Phoenician cities and directly associated with the history and diffusion of the Phoenician alphabet. Visit the Crusader-era castle and archaeological site with a Roman amphitheatre and Venetian ruins. Roam the medieval alleyways leading down to a Phoenician harbour. Sun, 15 - 15.30 Transfer to Beirut airport for a 17.35 flight to London

Fruit Carving

Whilst at sea we were treated to a demonstration on fruit carving.
Click on any photo to see a slideshow of larger versions
My birthday dinner