Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations: Athens to Rome September 24-October 3, 2017

Early fall is undoubtedly the best time of the year to cruise the Mediterranean Sea, when the climate is fair, the sea inviting, and the tourist crowds of summer have thinned. Much of the Mediterranean bears witness to the splendid history and culture of the Greco-Roman Empire. On this exquisite cruise, we'll survey 2,000 years of Western civilization as we sail along ancient seas aboard Le Lyrial, the youngest member of the Ponant fleet of small luxury sailing yachts. There is simply no more enjoyable way to explore the harbors and sites of these fabled shores.

We'll begin in Athens, birthplace of democracy during the Age of Pericles, at the full flowering of Classical Greek culture. Here we'll spend a full day visiting the Parthenon and the marvelous new Museum of the Acropolis. On Santorini, we'll enjoy an intimate glimpse into the way of life in early Minoan civilization as we walk through the ruins of Akrotiri, a city frozen in time during a cataclysmic eruption in the second millennium BCE. Then as our voyage nears an end, we'll devote a day to exploring life in Imperial Rome as seen through the excavations at Pompeii, similarly preserved in an eruption of Vesuvius in the first century CE Between these signposts, we'll call at a variety of other iconic sites: the shrines dedicated to Apollo and Artemis in Delos; the seat of the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi; the Sanctuary of Zeus in Olympia; and Taormina, where amid later Roman ruins a classical Greek theater overlooks the Bay of Naxos and Mount Etna. In the space of one week, this voyage encompasses the entire span of Greco-Roman antiquity by surveying the very best sites in the eastern Mediterranean.

W&L Traveller lecturer Caleb Dance, assistant professor of classics, will join us onboard to enhance our understanding of the origins of Western civilization from the Bronze Age to Imperial Rome. If you wish to cruise and explore one of the Mediterranean's most beautiful and historically rich regions in extraordinary style, we invite you to join fellow W&L travelers on this unforgettable journey.