The Holy Lands & Ancient Kingdoms

Holland America Line on 

Ms Rotterdam

October 19 - November 2, 2019

15 Days / 14 Nights

(Roundtrip from Rome)


Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy ~ Katakolon (Olympia), Greece ~ Piraeus (Athens), Greece ~ Ashdod (Jerusalem), Israel ~ Haifa (Tel Aviv), Israel ~ Limassol, Cyprus ~ Rhodes, Greece ~ Souda (Chania), Greece ~ Messina, Italy ~ Naples, Italy ~ Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy 

With her multi-million dollar art and antique collection, wide teak decks and classic lines, Rotterdam evokes nautical tradition while delivering state-of-the-art amenities. While on board, enjoy a cooking show or hands-on workshop from America’s Test Kitchen. Work out in the fully equipped Fitness Center. Savor the world’s great cuisines in the specialty restaurants. Explore the world’s wonders with BBC Earth Experiences presentations and activities.Each day onboard offers delicious dining options, world-class entertainment and enriching activities.

 

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**Sample**


The Holy Lands & Ancient Kingdoms

Holland America Line on 

Ms Rotterdam

October 19 - November 2, 2019

15 Days / 14 Nights

(Roundtrip from Rome)


Day 1

Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy ~ Depart 7:00 PM

Step off the cruise ship, linger at a sidewalk café in the early evening and take in the pageant: the taste of your cappuccino, the kiss of warm air, the immaculately attired locals just getting their evenings started. Rome is nicknamed the Eternal City, and rightly so, for the array of icons – the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Castel Sant'Angelo, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Bascillica – and for the role it played shaping the Western world. But there is perhaps a less-recognized genius in the way the city embraces the sensual side of life, as if to acknowledge there's no eternity like the present.

 

Day 2

At Sea

For breakfast, lunch or an unforgettable five-course dinner, the elegant Dining Room is your destination for sophisticated dining, with menu selections from classic favorites to vegetarian options, to dishes inspired by the regions you’ll visit.

 

Day 3

Katakolon (Olympia), Greece ~ 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

The port of Katakolon is the gateway to the Peloponnese, one of Greece’s most intriguing and least well-known areas. Beyond the region’s famous site of ancient Olympia—one of the most treasured remnants of the classical world—the Peloponnese gets little of the glory given the Greek islands and Athens. And it deserves much more, as you’re about to discover.

A distinctly Greek welcome can be experienced here like nowhere else. The region reveals what it means to be Greek: traditions that go back thousands of years, simple but delicious and healthy cuisine, towering mountains, crystal blue seas and, above all, the true hospitality of the people. In Greek, xenos means "stranger," but the word also means "guest," and a respectful traveler will be treated like a favored friend.

In addition to Olympia, which is unmissable, the Peloponnese offers lesser-known but majestic and ancient sites, natural wonders and an insight into the traditional rural life that still endures in this country. Take the time to explore and see as much as possible—your efforts will be more than rewarded.

 

Day 4 

Piraeus (Athens), Greece ~ 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM

No modern metropolis is more steeped in myth than Athens, Greece. From the gritty port of Piraeus—gateway to Greece’s fabled isles—to the Parthenon—eternal symbol of Western civilization—Athens has attracted adventurers and classicists for centuries. This heritage is still very much alive for modern visitors sightseeing in Athens: ancient stadiums and temples dwell alongside apartment blocks, modern performances are staged in the marble amphitheaters where Greek drama was born and millennia-old monuments are scattered in the archaeological park that circles the Acropolis.

One of the world’s oldest maritime powers, Athens is blessed with a balmy climate and stunning coastline. The seaside suburbs of Athens are scalloped with sandy beaches, fancy yacht clubs and glamorous beach bars. While the Athenian lifestyle is known for late-night dinners and dancing until dawn, the city shines brightly by day in the bustling markets, lively cafés and fascinating museums that illuminate Greece's past and present. Contemplate the magnitude of all that culture and ancient tourist attractions while marveling at the sun setting into the Aegean or rising over the Acropolis.

 

Day 5

At Sea

Enjoy a wide variety of duty-free shopping in the Signature Shops such as Merabella, a luxury jewelry boutique featuring high-end watches and pieces from noted designers.

 

Day 6

Ashdod (Jerusalem), Israel ~ 8:00 AM - 11:00 PM

Jerusalem is one of the world’s most fabled cities, with an extraordinary history. Travelers today can’t help but be struck by the overwhelming sense of antiquity and the powerful feeling of being in the midst of more than 26 centuries of civilization. At countless sites, the city’s layers are peeled away and exposed.

The spiritual heart of Judaism, the Western Wall is the last remnant of the Temple of Jerusalem. For Christian travelers—or those interested in the early days of Christianity—visiting the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and the Garden of Gethsemane are unforgettable experiences. For the third great monotheistic religion, Islam, Jerusalem is also a holy city. The Al Aqsa Mosque, the third most important holy site of that faith, is located on the Temple Mount, the holiest site of Judaism.

Much of the magic of Jerusalem, however, is that it’s also a living vibrant city. As you make your way to its landmarks, you’ll pass through neighborhoods bustling with Israelis, Palestinians and travelers and pilgrims from every corner of the globe. William Faulkner’s famous phrase, “The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past,” describes the experience of Jerusalem perfectly as it continues its role as a unique cultural crossroads to this day.

In Ashdod, meander along the seaside promenade, or HaMidrehof this area is being termed the Southern Riviera of the city and includes many spectacular beaches. Dip your toes in the Dead Sea waters, long known for their health benefits. Visit the Bar-Gera Museum to view a collection of art by artists who were either banned or persecuted by the Nazis and other fascist governments. The Yad Vashem Memorial Museum is dedicated to the six million Jews who lost their lives during the Holocaust.

 

Day 7

Haifa (Tel Aviv), Israel ~ 8:00 AM - Overnight 

Haifa, the largest city in northern Israel, has an enviable location, built along the slopes of Mount Carmel, overlooking the Mediterranean. The port is also a gateway to a region with an almost unreal collection of captivating historic sites and natural beauty—snowcapped mountains, undeveloped wilderness and diverse, culturally rich cities that trace their histories back to ancient empires. In fact, the area can claim some of the oldest continuously occupied sites in the world, as well as archaeological ruins where ancient Roman, early Christian and Byzantine relics have been unearthed all within feet of each other.

For many travelers, Haifa and the surrounding area offer the chance to visit sites associated with the life of Jesus. Travelers can follow in his footsteps in Nazareth and along the Sea of Galilee. Others are drawn by the area’s natural wonders and scenic beauty, such as the forests and volcanic hills of the Golan Heights. Wherever you turn and whatever draws you to Haifa, you’ll find fascinating multicultural cities where Jewish, Muslim and Christian communities thrive side by side.

 

Day 8

Haifa (Tel Aviv), Israel ~ Depart 6:00 PM

 

Day 9

Limassol, Cyprus ~ 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

On the island's south coast, Limassol is very much in the Greek sector of Cyprus. A delicious place to sun-worship. Limassol Castle is where Richard the Lionhearted married Queen Berengaria in 1191. Wizened lacemakers weave the traditions of their ancestors into their detailed work.

 

Day 10

Rhodes, Greece ~ 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Rhodes, the largest of the Dodecanese (the name translates as "twelve islands"), draws more visitors than most other Greek islands. Its capital, Rhodes Town, offers an enduring blend of history and architecture, and the island's interior is filled with lushly forested hills. To the south, Lindos, one of the most stunning villages in all of Greece, is watched over by a picture-perfect ancient ruin on the hill above.

The island owes its rich history to a good climate and a strategically valuable position between Asia and Europe. Adding to this is a fine natural port where its former main attraction, an immense statue of the sun god Helios—the Colossus of Rhodes—once stood. One of the Seven Wonders of the World, the statue made Rhodes a must-visit destination for ancient world travelers until it collapsed in an earthquake in 226 B.C.E. Even the statue’s ruins were grand enough to bring curious travelers to Rhodes for another 800 years until the metal pieces were melted and sold off by an occupying army.

Though many civilizations have left their mark on Rhodes, its independent spirit has endured and the island has managed to retain its natural beauty, from the mountain heights down to the gorgeous beaches and coves. 

 

Day 11

Souda (Chania), Greece ~ 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

The port of Souda on the Aegean Sea is home to a Greek and NATO naval base and is located six kilometers (three miles) from Chania—the second-largest city on Crete, which itself is the largest of the Greek Islands. Once you’re in Chania, set your compass for the historic waterfront with its famous Venetian Harbor dating to the 14th century. Walk along the breakwater to the restored 500-year-old lighthouse for views that are particularly photogenic from late afternoon until sunset. The atmospheric tangle of streets that is Old Town is easily explored on foot, and you can stop at one of the many outdoor cafés for a bouyatsa (custard pastry) or a glass of Cretan red wine.Soúda can also be a jumping-off point for a visit to Rethymnon, located about 54 kilometers (33 miles) to the east. Shaped by centuries of invasion, namely by the Venetians and Turks, its Fortezza was built by the Venetians in the late 16th century and captured by the Ottomans in 1646. The Old Town has the same kind of architectural character as Chania, but on a smaller scale.        

 

Day 12

At Sea

We take great pride in our onboard art collections. Now, fine art goes high tech. Take a self-guided walking tour highlighting your ship's eclectic collection, valued at tens of millions of dollars.

 

Day 13

Messina, Italy ~ 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Gateway to Mt. Etna, the awe-inspiring and still-active volcano, the seaport of Messina is the third-largest city in Sicily. Known for its fine cathedral, museums and for its rich Sicilian wines, Messina and the surrounding area was also the location for much of the Godfather series of films. An afternoon or a day in Messina can include a drive up to the windswept side of Mt. Etna (hold on to your hat—it is seriously windy here!) or to the shop-lined streets of Taormina. Many stores sell Sicilian ceramics, with colorful hues painted on volcanic earthen pottery, pieces created in the same way that they have been for centuries. Look also for jewelry and crafts made from beautiful black volcanic glass, collected from the slopes of Etna.

Don’t miss a chance to taste the wines of the region, which are gaining fame worldwide for their rich body and incomparable flavor. The 62-acre San Michele Estate, within driving distance of the port, creates wines that take advantage of the location's unusual, sheltered microclimate and volcanic soil.

 

Day 14

Naples, Italy ~ 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Rising behind the wide curve of its bay with brooding Mount Vesuvius and the deep blue sea as a backdrop, Naples, Italy enjoys a magnificent natural setting. It is the third-largest city in Italy after Rome and Milan, and arguably the most colorful and seductive of them all: Splendor and squalor live side by side in 21st-century Naples, and the mix is intoxicating. Home to world-class museums and attractions, superb restaurants, eclectic shopping, a thriving contemporary art scene and an edgy, vibrant street life, Naples has something for everyone. But once you’ve had enough of the pounding traffic and jostling crowds while sightseeing in Naples, there are endless opportunities for exploration further afield. The celebrated Roman ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum, both victims of Vesuvius’ devastating 79 C.E. eruption, lie just south of the city. The delightful town of Sorrento and the magnificent scenery of the Amalfi Coast are within easy reach, and the dolce vita glamour of Capri—not to mention the healing thermal waters of Ischia—are a short hydrofoil hop from the mainland. Naples and its surrounding area offer a perfect mix of cultural and natural attractions.

 

Day 15

Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy ~ Depart 7:00 AM

 

 

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