Rose of Sophia
Journey to GREECE

The Best of Spiritual Greece
Including
a One-Week Greek Island Cruise

May 11-21, 2018

Come and meet Europe’s glorious past on its home ground on an ALL-INCLUSIVE Spiritual Greek Holiday.
Sophia is Greek for Wisdom and is a central theme is Hellenistic philosophy, Platonism, and Gnosticism. We will explore its relevance for us throughout our journey into the heart of ancient Greece.

In addition to staying in Athens, the “Cradle of Civilization,” we will tour Mycenae, Epidaurus and Delphi. Then visit the Greek Islands with stops in Mykonos; Milos; Santorini, the most dramatic island of the Aegean; the Island-Nation of Crete (Heraklion) with its treasures spanning centuries from Minoan to Byzantine times; Kusadasi, with a visit to Ephesus featuring the House of Mary … plus the fun and relaxation of cruising and more.

Throughout our journey Marybeth and Nancy will provide various opportunities to enhance our travel experience. We will share ceremonies, meditations and initiation rituals that connect with the powerful energies of the Greek Gods and Goddesses and the aspects of consciousness they represent within our consciousness that assist in our personal growth.

This tour includes just about everything we need on our trip – accommodations, cruising, sightseeing, entertainment, a casino, breakfast every day plus most dinners, all drinks while cruising and enjoying the sites of one of the most beautiful parts of Europe. In other words, there will be very little, if any, additional out-of-pocket expenses.

YOUR CO-HOST: Nancy Auspelmyer
Nancy Auspelmyer is a writer, astrologer, teacher, and intuitive life journey guide, exploring Soul’s landscape in our quest for healing and wholeness. A life-long journeyer on the trail of truth, she leads group travel opportunities to sacred places, sharing stories and insight about the myths and ancient truths that lay submerged beneath the surface of contemporary awareness and their relevance in our lives today. Her unique and innovative approach to the relevance of the Merkaba and the importance of every Life Story in our individual and collective evolution is the subject of her most recent work.

YOUR CO-HOST: Marybeth Max
Marybeth brings 36 years of travel industry experience specializing in sacred sites and energy vortexes. She opened her storefront travel agency Travelmax, Inc. in 1991 and operated it for eight years. As a former officer for ASTA with the upstate NY Chapter, she furthered her education in niche travel, evolving into “Sacred Journeys.” Her current writing workshops focus on Ekphrastic writing that enhances travel memories.

 

“Experience, Travel – these are an education in themselves.”
– Euripides

ITINERARY

Day 1- Friday, May 11 Arrive Athens (D)
Upon arrival in Athens, proceed to our reserved accommodations in the heart of Athens. Time to rest before our welcome dinner at a typical taverna in Plaka. Overnight in Athens.

Click images to view larger

Day 2- Saturday, May 12 In Athens (B)
After breakfast, we will start our city tour combining modern Athens with sites of historical importance featuring the city’s ancient sites such as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Constitution Square, the Parthenon, the all-marble temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, daughter of Zeus and Goddess of wisdom, war, and crafts that was long the religious shrine and high fortress for the Athenian people. Here we will experience the magnificence that was Greece, the cradle of western civilization! We will see the Roman Temple of Olympian Zeus.  Our tour continues as we explore the incredible Acropolis of Athens on foot, seeing one of the most important world heritage sites on the planet. We conclude our tour with a visit to the new Acropolis Museum with a staggering collection of more than 4.000 artifacts. Return to our hotel for the rest of the afternoon and evening on our own.

Day 3- Sunday, May 13: In Athens – Touring Mycenena and Epidaurus Mykonos (B/L)
Full day of touring today as we visit some of the most spiritual places in Greece and escape the modern world, immersing ourselves in the antiquity. Go back to 1350 BC to the ancient city of Mycenae home to the Kingdom of the mythical Agamemnon and look at the Cyclopean walls and the Lioness Gate. Lunch at a local taverna and then continue on to Epidaurus, reputed to be the birthplace of Apollo’s son Asklepios, the healer. Epidaurus was known for its sanctuary as well as its theater, which is once again in use today. The cult of Asklepios at Epidaurus is attested to have been in the 6th century BC. Epidaurus was the most celebrated healing center of the Classical world, the place where ill people went in the hope of being cured. In their dreams, the god himself would advise them what they had to do to regain their health. Asklepios, the most important healer god of antiquity, brought prosperity to the sanctuary. Even after the introduction of Christianity and the silencing of the oracles, the sanctuary at Epidauros was still known as late as the mid 5th century, although as a Christian healing center in Greek mythology. Return to Athens for a free evening.

Day 4- Monday, May 14: Full Day Tour of Delphi. Early evening start of our Greek Island Cruise (B/L/D)
After breakfast, we leave our hotel and depart for Delphi for a full day of touring as we drive through the beautiful countryside, passing areas of historical importance from ancient mythology and tradition. Delphi is the home of the ancient oracle, one of the most famous, mystical sites in the world. After the Acropolis, Delphi is the most popular archaeological site in Greece. In ancient times, it was considered the center of the known world, the place where heaven and earth met, and where man/woman were considered closest to God/Goddess. First, we visit the magnificent Temple of Apollo, located in a spectacular mountain setting. Apollo Delphinus or Delphinius was the dolphin-form of the god that was revered at Delphi, despite its location high in the mountains. The oracle that was located at this site was said to be founded by Apollo, the God of Healing and Oracles. Oracles were given once a month and would attract people from all over Greece. The temple was destroyed by fire in the fourth century BC and then rebuilt. The temple walls were inscribed with words of wisdom such as “Know Thyself” and “Nothing in Excess.” This spiritual experience, whereby the spirit of Apollo was asked for advice on critical matters relating to people’s lives or affairs of the state, was a “magical” occurrence for several thousand years. And, the fact that the town still attracts a million visitors a year could make one believe some of that magic is still there. If you have a belief that you can receive guidance from other realms, can keep an open mind, and are receptive when you are at the Oracle, it may be a magical and enlightening experience. Time allowing, we may visit the ancient springs that pre-dated the temples and whose water is purported to have special healing powers. There will be time for personal meditation to experience the very special qualities of this site. In the late afternoon, we depart to the port of Piraeus and board our cruise ship. Dinner on board at your leisure before departing at 9 pm for overnight sailing.

Day 5- Tuesday, May 15: Cruise the Greek Islands to Mykonos (B/L/D)
The Greek Island, Mykonos, flaunts its double personality the moment you set eyes on its coastline. Basking in year-round sunshine, its rugged rocky landscape blends seamlessly with smooth sandy beaches. In the distance, undulating hills host the island’s iconic windmills, turning in symphony with the seasonal winds that have branded Mykonos ‘island of the winds.’

Day 6- Wednesday, May 16: Cruise the Greek Islands to Milos (B/L/D)
Dramatically emerging from the Aegean Sea before you, you’ll be spellbound by Milos’ contrasting volcanic landscape full of refreshing surprises. Its coastline reveals surreal shapes of sculpted rock that captivate viewers for hours, juxtaposed with quaint white stone fishing villages that blend seamlessly into the landscape After lunch, we take a Magical Milos tour. We start with a short drive from the harbor that takes us to Sarakiniko, an inlet of pure white stone sculpted by volcanic eruptions. This startlingly beautiful, otherworldly spot is one of the island’s many geological wonders and perhaps one of the most photographed places in the Cyclades. We’ll walk down to the inlet so we can experience this one-of-a-kind beach and take photographs, feeling as though we have landed on the moon. We continue our drive along the dramatic Milos coastline toward Papafranga, a cluster of deep-sea inlets and sea caves at the base of a pristine ravine, which, like Sarakiniko, was shaped by volcanic activity. We’ll linger for a short while at this picturesque locale, to peer down into clear turquoise waters and watch some rather adventurous tourists swimming and snorkeling in the caves at the bottom of the ravine. Then we travel the picturesque main road along the coast to the cobblestone streets and alleys of Plaka, a classic Cycladic village of white stone houses and bougainvillea flowers 250 meters above the Aegean. We’ll stroll through the village to admire its traditional architecture and its stunning view of the sea, and we’ll sample some homemade sweets at a few of the village’s local pastry shops. Very close to Plaka, next to Trypiti village, we will visit the ruins of ancient Melos and its Roman amphitheatre, which is cut into the rocky slope of the hill near the ancient agora. There we’ll find large Dorian walls and column fragments. The marble amphitheatre, fully restored in 2015, still includes seven intact rows of seats and offers a lovely view of the bay. On our way back to the bus, we will visit the site where the Venus de Milo (now residing in the Louvre in Paris), was discovered in 1820. Last stop is at the award-winning Mining Museum. It’s a stop that summarizes all the bits of our Step back in Time. The mining history of the island, the rich geology and a wide collection of obsidian are displayed, allowing us to understand how the rich geology of Milos has shaped the island’s history. Also, we will have a chance to see the materials that are currently excavated from the island and where we find them in our everyday life. Return to our ship in the late afternoon for dinner.

Day 7- Thursday, May 17: Cruise the Greek Islands to Santorini (B/D)
Morning arrival in Santorini Being in Santorini is like being swept away on a current to somewhere truly magical. We will feel its pull almost instantly. The island will greet us with its striking cliffs, promising adventure and legendary tales. The almost vertical towns of whitewashed houses and blue-domed churches will rise above the blue Aegean like an oasis of beauty and calm. After breakfast, we start our tour heading up to Megalochori village, one of the most authentic and unspoiled villages of the island with its distinctive architecture and character. With the background of settlements like Kamari and Monolithos, we continue east, passing through Fira, the small traditional villages of Firostefani and Imerovigli, with delicate architecture and beauties. During the entire route, we will see little islands of Thirasia, Palea and Nea Kameni and an unsurpassable panoramic view. Soon we arrive at the settlement of Oia, where we will have plenty of time to stroll through the marble-paved alleys, gaze at the adorable cute shops and take pictures as we become acquainted with the characteristic buildings that are carved into the rocks. We will also view the unusual captains’ manors and the settlement Ammoudi at the foot of the caldera. Soon after viewing this exceptional natural beauty we return to our ship for the balance of the day at leisure.

Day 8- Friday, May 18: Cruise the Greek Islands In Santorini (B/L/D)
A full day for independent activities in Santorini. Its incredible cliffs rise from the blue waters of the Aegean toward the azure sky. Here we have a tour to explore the Akrotiri Village excavations, the beautiful hilltop village of Fira, the island’s unique capital and relax in a café watching the sunset before dinner and our departure at 9 pm.

Day 9- Saturday, May 19: Cruise the Greek Islands to Heraklion (Crete) (B/L/D)
As we arrive in the port of Heraklion (Crete), we will view the intimidating walls of Koules Fortress emerging from the sea to guard the ancient treasures found within the city. Capital of Crete, Heraklion is brimming with landmarks, world-class museums, golden beaches and a stylish nightlife scene that shape a destination to please everyone’s taste, including our tour to Knossos Palace & Cretan. From Heraklion’s port, we start our tour of the ancient city of Knossos, with its habitation from the Neolithic era until the 5th century A.D. It’s beyond doubt that this land “gave birth” to the first civilization of Europe, the Minoans. The first excavations were begun in 1878 by the Heraklian Minos Kalokairinos. A bit later (1900-1913 & 1922-1930) the excavations by the British Sir Arthur Evans were to complete the scientific research, bringing to light the Minoan palace in its entirety, which was, according to tradition, the residence of the wise King Minos. The palace of Knossos spreads around the large Central Court. We will reach the awe-inspiring Throne Room, the fresco of the “Prince of the Lilies”, the imposing Grand Staircase, the Queen’s Megaron in the east. Walking through the apartments of the Knossos palace and observing the treasures, we will feel part of this cultural heritage. On the way back to our ship, we will stop in Heraklion. Heraklion was founded in 824 and is an important homeland of many contributors to Literature and Art. Some examples are the Nobel winning poet Odysseas Elytis, the Renaissance painter Domenikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco) and the writer Nikos Kazantzakis. Heraklion is also endowed with some wonderful edifices: the “Koules” fortress, the award-winning Venetian structure of the Loggia, the Morosini Fountain, the Basilica of Saint Mark, and the Church of Agios Titos. From here we will walk from Liberty Square and the shopping streets of Dedalou and 25th August, as we return to our cruise ship for lunch.

Day 10- Sunday, May 20: Cruise the Greek Islands to Kusadasi (B/L/D)

Morning arrival in the port of Kusadasi, in western Turkey where we will instantly feel at home. Then we depart for our tour to Ephesus. Ephesus is the best-preserved classical city of the Eastern Mediterranean, and among the best places in the world enabling one to genuinely soak in the atmosphere of Roman times. The site of a succession of great ancient civilizations, Ephesus, on the southwest coast of modern Turkey, embodied a peculiarly fertile synthesis of architecture and culture. During the 2nd century BC, Ephesus was the fourth largest city in the eastern Roman Empire. Some scholars estimate the number of people living at Ephesus to have exceeded 250,000 inhabitants. The City of Ephesus played a great role in ancient times with its strategic location, wealth and religious influence. The Celcius Library in Ephesus was the third largest library after the Alexandra and Pergamum and had a capacity of 12,000 scrolls. The theater of Ephesus is one of the most magnificent structures in Ephesus and the largest in Anatolia having the capacity of 25,000 seats. In the 1st century AD, the Apostle Paul spent over three years in Ephesus preaching the Gospel. According to tradition, he delivered a sermon condemning pagan worship in this theater. The House of Virgin Mary is a Christian and Muslim shrine located on Mt. Koressos, discovered by a French priest and then verified by a Papal visit in 1967. It has since been accepted that Mary spent her last few years here until her passing. The Church of St. Mary in Ephesus is the first church in the world dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is the same church also known as one of the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse. Time for some shopping for local items like carpets, jewellery, leather and other souvenirs before we return to our cruise ship for a late afternoon departure.

Day 11- Monday, May 21: Cruise back to Athens (the Port of Piraeus) – Tour ends (B)
Arrive in the port of Piraeus at 9am where the tour ends. A transfer to the airport will be provided, so schedule your flight after 1 pm.

Your Tour Includes:

  • First Class Accommodations for 3 nights in Athens
  • A One-Week Greek Island cruise on board the cruise ship SS Crystal
  • Choice of Inside or Outside sea-view cabins
  • Optional Cabin upgrades
  • Breakfast & 2 lunches in Athens
  • Welcome dinner in Athens at a local taverna
  • Breakfast, lunches, dinner and afternoon tea while cruising
  • ALL DRINKS on board the cruise including alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages

Our Cruise Ship
The SS Crystal is especially designed for Greek Island cruising. Whether you are relaxing beneath the stars or having the time of your life in the nightclub, you will experience authentic Greece with all your senses. Because it is a medium sized vessel, it cannot be compared to the Caribbean Mega ships like Carnival, but it does allow you access to all the hidden gems the Mediterranean has to offer.

Our Cruise Ship Features
Both the Inside and Outside Staterooms, while small is an entire experience of Greek hospitality, where you can do whatever you please, Porthole or window (on Outside sea-view cabins), twin beds, air conditioning, private bathroom, hair dryer, TV and safety deposit box. They are designed to be the ideal personal space while at the same time the cabin stewards with their flawless personalized service make sure you have everything you need.

Dining Experience
Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, you participate in the time-honored Greek tradition of sitting down for a feast with friends. Every dish is fresh, with the finest local and imported ingredients. Prior to each cruise they purchase quality meats, dairy products, fruits and vegetables. They do this both to provide you with the freshest, most authentic, healthiest ingredients possible and to honor our homeland and its culture and customs. The cruise includes three complete meals every day. Breakfast is International, with a Greek touch and includes fresh-baked rolls, muffins and Danish pastries. At lunch and dinner, choose from dozens of appetizers, salads, soups, and traditional, International or Greek dishes, all prepared for your delight. All this followed by a variety of decadent cakes, rich ice creams and fresh fruits. There also is afternoon tea every day.

Our cruise is packed with fun, excitement and full of laughter. There’s always something to do for everyone, and activities are a great way to spend time with the people you love and to meet your fellow passengers.

You can try your luck at the Casino and enjoy a specialty cocktail while you play blackjack, poker, roulette or our slots — all day and night. Celestyal Cruises is known for its fantastic on-board entertainment: there’s always something to do for everyone that begins bright and early, first thing in the morning, continues all day, and right into the evening. There’s always something to do on board, even if all you want to do is sit down with a close friend and play backgammon set (they also have checkers, chess and other board games). Check the daily program for live classical piano concerts, duet performances, dance classes (including Greek dancing) and talent shows. The days on board are packed with fun and excitement, carefree and full of laughter.

Once evening arrives you’ll probably find yourself in one of the lounges, a delicious cocktail in hand, listening to a performance of classical music, the sun seeping into the Aegean through the window beside your table, another wonderful day reaching its brilliant finale, another thrilling night on board about to begin. And Nighttime Is the Right Time. “Kalo vradi.” Good evening. What better way to throw yourself into the Greek experience than with authentic Greek music and dancing? You will feel the magic of a night at a taverna on board – you will be unable to resist the call of the bouzouki, and you’ll soon find yourself on one of our dance floors.

Enjoy a drink while DJs spin the best contemporary sounds, both Greek and international. Get to the pool deck or at any of our well-appointed bars and lounges for a cold beer, a glass of wine, or a specialty cocktail or coffee. Try our Santorini whites, like assyrtiko, dry and fruity, and athiri, which is slightly aromatic, or our Peloponnesian wines, like white Moschofilero, with its aroma of roses and violets and spice, and Agiorghitiko, a dry aromatic red. Enjoy a chilled glass of ouzo, the famous anise-flavored liqueur of Greece, or have the bartenders’ spectacular Skinos cocktails, delicious one-of-a-kind concoctions with mastiha, a liqueur made from the mastic bushes of Chios.

Services Onboard

The Spa & Health Club – Want to improve your health and fitness while cruising? Start your day with one of the exercise and stretching programs. Looking for a workout? Head over to the gym Two of the most relaxing places on earth are a comfortable cruise ship at sea and a modern spa designed to be the most lovely, harmonious, relaxing space possible! Why not take a few hours out of one of your magical, sunlit days on board and enjoy the kind of deep, refreshing relaxation that comes with an expert massage or deep beauty treatments? Make an incredible vacation even more unforgettable at the wonderful spa. Or simply stroll onto the sports deck for ping pong or a game of pickup basketball.

Internet & Wi-Fi – Your cruise ship is equipped with Internet access, so you can always get in touch with your loved ones or take care of any business needs. They also offer tablets for rental for you to access the Internet. They also offer on-board Wi-Fi services (satellite permitting) at a charge.

Shop ‘til You Drop  – Onboard Shopping is like being transported to the hottest European outlets. You’ll be dazzled by an immense array of products at exceptionally competitive prices, from tobacco and alcohol to souvenirs. From designer clothes and jewelry, to perfume and cosmetics. And every purchase you make on board is duty free. Shops often have special offers and fashion shows, and each member of the helpful staff will assist you in finding whatever you want or need.

Professional Hairdressing Services on Board – Just because you are traveling, there’s no reason you can’t feel well-coiffed and glamorous every day. Your cruise ship is equipped with a professional salon staffed by expert hairdressers, stylists, manicurists and pedicurists and stocked with the best products. .

Please Read the Terms and Conditions for this Tour.

** Bonus! SAVE! You will receive a 5% discount if ALL payments are made by check or money order. This discounted price is noted below in red.

*Special No Interest + No Payments for 6 Months Plan Now Available!
RMC Travel now offers the “PayPal Credit” Plan (Click here for details)

PRICE PER PERSON IN OUTSIDE SEA-VIEW CABIN

Tour – Land & Cruise Only Costs Per Person, double occupancy:
$3,479 payments via check or money order
$3,669 payments via credit card

Tour – Land & Cruise Only Costs Per Person, single room occupancy:
$4,059 payments via check or money order
$4,279 payments via credit card
 
Please add:
Pre-Paid Port Charges, Cruise Taxes and Gratuities for guides and cruise crew:
$420 ($442 by credit card)
 
Special Rates
Reduction for an Inside Cabin is $250 pp ($263 via credit card)
Triple room and triple cabin reduction @ $129 pp ($135 via credit card)
Upgrade for a cabin on Apollo Deck @ $95 pp in a twin-bedded cabin ($100 via credit card)
 
Deposit Schedule:
Initial Deposit – due on or before December 15, 2017 in order to ensure a place on the tour
Per Person Double or Single accommodations: $500 by check or money order, $525 by credit card
 
Non-Refundable 2nd Payment – on or before February 1, 2018  
Per Person Double or Single accommodations: $500 by check or money order, $525 by credit card
 
Final Payment (final installment due on or before March 11, 2018

Click Here to Register Now

If you have already registered online and require access to the PayPal payment page, click here.

Travel Insurance
RMC Travel highly recommends the purchase of Trip Cancellation/Interruption Travel Insurance, and we therefore provide you with an easy way to contact RMC’s preferred insurance provider, Allianz Global Assistance. If you need additional information or have questions, please call Allianz directly at 800-284-8300, and refer to code F025323.