AIA Tours: cruise

Petra to the Parthenon: Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt & Greece

Tour Dates: March 23 - April 5, 2024 (14 days)

Tour Leader(s): Okasha El Daly ,

This tour has been cancelled for the 2024 departure. For more information on additional tours in the planning stages for this region in 2025, please contact us at 800-748-6262 or aia@studytours.org.

Ancient Civilizations of the Red Sea & Eastern Mediterranean

Experience four countries and the distinct ancient cultures that span 5,000 years of history on this 14-day journey with engaging Archaeological Institute of America lecturer/ host Dr. Okasha El Daly. Cruise aboard the 59-cabin, all-suite Hebridean Sky, gazing upon true modern marvels in addition to a fascinating mix of historic wonders.

Begin at the ancient Spice Route outposts of Jordan’s Petra and Saudi Arabia’s Mada’in Saleh before exploring Egypt’s iconic pyramids of Giza and mysterious Sphinx, the treasures of Cairo’s famous museums, and decorated tombs in the Valley of the Kings. Continue to the Bronze Age Minoan palace of Knossos on Crete, then experience the glory of Greece’s Acropolis, including the mighty Parthenon and nearby Acropolis Museum.

Jump forward thousands of years while the ship transits the modern engineering marvel of the Suez Canal, and be immersed in local culture with a traditional lunch at a Wadi Rum desert camp and an optional horse ride to the gates of Petra. Along the way, enjoy engaging presentations by knowledgeable local guides and a team of onboard lecturers, including two archaeologists and a classicist, who will bring ancient times to life and help put people and places into historical context.

As you cruise between destinations, relax in a spacious suite aboard the ideally sized Hebridean Sky, enjoying the small-ship atmosphere, delicious meals, attentive service, and views of stunning seaside landscapes.

We are co-sponsoring this program with other organizations and, with only 59 cabins total aboard ship, I urge you to reserve your space today. Call AIA Tours at (800) 748-6262 or email aia@studytours.org.

Tour Pricing

Double Occupancy – Prices start at $11,990
Single Occupancy (limited availability) – Prices start at $17,990

Download the detailed brochure for more information.

Knossos, Crete

Mada'In Saleh, Saudi Arabia

Luxor, Egypt

Itinerary


SATURDAY, MARCH 23 & SUNDAY, MARCH 24: HOME / AMMAN, JORDAN

MONDAY, MARCH 25: PETRA

TUESDAY, MARCH 26: PETRA / WADI RUM / AQABA / EMBARK

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 27: AT SEA

THURSDAY, MARCH 28: MADA’IN SALEH, SAUDI ARABIA

FRIDAY, MARCH 29: LUXOR, EGYPT

SATURDAY, MARCH 30: VALLEY OF THE KINGS

SUNDAY, MARCH 31: CAIRO

MONDAY, APRIL 1: SUEZ CANAL

TUESDAY, APRIL 2: AT SEA

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3: KNOSSOS, GREECE

THURSDAY, APRIL 4: ATHENS

FRIDAY, APRIL 5: FLY HOME


OPTIONAL EXTENSIONS
JORDAN (MARCH 20–24, 2024)
Visit history-rich Amman, Jerash, Mt. Nebo, and Madaba during three full days in Jordan, including the Jordan Museum and Crusader-constructed Shobak Castle.

GREECE (APRIL 5–7, 2024)
Explore the National Archaeological Museum in Athens and the nearby Peloponnese Peninsula, with stops at the Corinth Canal, Nemea, Nafplio, Mycenae, and Epidaurus.

Further information will be sent to confirmed participants.

View Detailed Itinerary

(B)=Breakfast, (L)=Lunch, (D)=Dinner

SATURDAY, MARCH 23 & SUNDAY, MARCH 24: HOME / AMMAN, JORDAN
Depart home on international flights to Amman. Arrive March 24th and transfer to the five-star Mövenpick Resort at Petra, just steps from the entrance to the ancient city. Spend the evening getting settled and enjoying views over the stunning desert landscape from the hotel’s rooftop garden. MOVENPICK RESORT PETRA

MONDAY, MARCH 25: PETRA
Embark on a full-day guided tour through the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Petra, one of the true marvels of the ancient world. Reaching its height in the 1st century A.D., the “Rose City” (so nicknamed for the color of its stone) was carved from the sandstone cliffs surrounding the settlement, growing to become one of the most important trading centers of its time. In the evening, enjoy a gala dinner event held under the star-filled desert sky at a nearby Nabataean village, with traditional music and dance entertainment. MOVENPICK RESORT PETRA (BLD)

TUESDAY, MARCH 26: PETRA / WADI RUM / AQABA / EMBARK
Join an optional morning walk through Petra in the cool morning air, or relax at the hotel before a drive to the otherworldly desert landscape of Wadi Rum for a traditional Bedouin lunch. Venture into the sands on an optional four-wheel-drive excursion around the surrounding hills or take a stroll along trails from the tented encampment before driving to Aqaba to embark the Hebridean Sky. On board, enjoy a welcome reception with staff and crew, dine with the group, then relax in your room, at the ship’s bar, or on deck as the ship navigates the Gulf of Aqaba toward the Red Sea. HEBRIDEAN SKY (BLRD)

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 27: AT SEA
Relax on board during a full day at sea, cruising between Egypt’s Sinai desert and the coast of Saudi Arabia, then into the Red Sea. Enjoy the continuation of the expert lecture series, providing historical context as well as the modern significance of sites and excursions along the journey. HEBRIDEAN SKY (BLD)

THURSDAY, MARCH 28: MADA’IN SALEH, SAUDI ARABIA
Dock at Al Wajh, Saudi Arabia, and board a motorcoach for a ride through the desert to the UNESCO World Heritage archaeological site of Mada’in Saleh, the historic Nabataean trading city with close ties to Petra. This southernmost outpost of the ancient Spice Route is similar to Petra with its massive carved rock façades, but far less visited. Your guide will help you explore and understand this “Capital of Monuments.” Return to the ship for dinner on board and depart for Egypt.HEBRIDEAN SKY (BLD)

FRIDAY, MARCH 29: LUXOR, EGYPT
Cross the Red Sea to disembark in Safaga, Egypt, for a drive to Luxor and the famed open-air Karnak Temple Complex, where the construction of hundreds of temples spanned nearly 2,000 years across the reign of 30 pharaohs. Take in the grandeur of Luxor Temple at sunset, known in its day as the Southern Sanctuary, famous for its iconic obelisks and avenue of sphinxes. Overnight in Luxor at the luxurious Sonesta St. George Hotel, situated on the banks of the Nile. SONESTA ST. GEORGE (BLD)

SATURDAY, MARCH 30: VALLEY OF THE KINGS
Depart the hotel this morning and descend into the earth to explore some of the amazing hieroglyphics and painted walls of the royal tombs dug into the rocky grounds of the Valley of the Kings, including the beautifully decorated tomb of Seti I and the tomb of young pharaoh Tutankhamun. Return to the ship in the afternoon and enjoy lectures that preview upcoming site visits while cruising up the Gulf of Suez toward Cairo. HEBRIDEAN SKY (BLD)

SUNDAY, MARCH 31: CAIRO
Call at Sokhna and drive to Cairo, where you will experience the sole remaining site of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: the Pyramids (and the Great Sphinx) at Giza. Soak in the atmosphere in the morning with an expert guide to reveal the latest insights on the construction, meaning, and continued significance of these monuments. After a lunch featuring local cuisine, take a tour of the new Grand Egyptian Museum (pending opening), featuring a comprehensive, multi-millennium-spanning collection of artifacts. HEBRIDEAN SKY (BLD)

MONDAY, APRIL 1: SUEZ CANAL
This will be no ordinary day at sea, as the Hebridean Sky cruises through the Isthmus of Suez along the 120-mile-long Suez Canal. Stay on deck to watch the nearby landscape and shipping traffic as our vessel completes the transit process. The lecture series aboard will highlight the historic significance of the canal, from the ancient times of the Silk Road connecting Europe with Asia, to the 1859-1869 construction of the canal and the impact it has had on trade and politics ever since. HEBRIDEAN SKY (BLD)

TUESDAY, APRIL 2: AT SEA
Enjoy a full day on board as the Hebridean Sky crosses the Mediterranean Sea. Relax in the lounges, on deck, or in your suite, and preview upcoming Greek ports of call with continued insight from expert lecturers. HEBRIDEAN SKY (BLD)

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3: KNOSSOS, GREECE
Dock at Heraklion, the capital of the historic and beautiful Greek Island of Crete. In the morning, join a guided tour through the Bronze Age archaeological site of Knossos, considered by many to be Europe’s oldest city, with colorful remnants of its ancient Palace. Feast on a traditional Cretan lunch accompanied by a wine tasting, only fitting on an island that was producing wines more than 3,500 years ago. After lunch, choose to either continue your exploration of Knossos or join a guided visit to the Heraklion Archaeological Museum before returning to the ship for a farewell reception and dinner. HEBRIDEAN SKY (BLRD)

THURSDAY, APRIL 4: ATHENS
Disembark in Athens for a day of guided and independent touring. Begin with an expert-led tour of the iconic white marble structures of the Acropolis, including the famed Parthenon. Stop at a local restaurant for a gala farewell lunch with the group, then choose either a transfer to the hotel for time at leisure or a guided tour through the Acropolis Museum before a free evening of independent exploration. HOTEL ELECTRA METROPOLIS (BL)

FRIDAY, APRIL 5: Transfer to the airport for flights home or begin an optional two-night post-tour extension in Greece. (B)

 

OPTIONAL EXTENSIONS
JORDAN (MARCH 20–24, 2024)
Visit history-rich Amman, Jerash, Mt. Nebo, and Madaba during three full days in Jordan, including the Jordan Museum and Crusader-constructed Shobak Castle.

GREECE (APRIL 5–7, 2024)
Explore the National Archaeological Museum in Athens and the nearby Peloponnese Peninsula, with stops at the Corinth Canal, Nemea, Nafplio, Mycenae, and Epidaurus.

Further information will be sent to confirmed participants.


For reservations or questions, please email us at aia@studytours.org (and include your full name) or call us toll-free at (800) 748-6262 (toll: 603-756-2884). To reserve your space using the online form, click here.

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