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

Dear W&L Traveler,

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 two thousand years of Western civilization as we sail along ancient seas aboard Le Lyrial, the youngest member of the PONANT fleet of small luxury 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. 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 2nd millennium b.c. 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 1st century a.d. 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.

Popular Washington & Lee Assistant Professor of Classics Caleb Dance will join us onboard to discuss the origins of Western civilization-particularly humor and literature in ancient Rome. We'll also have the opportunity to enjoy music recitals aboard ship, performed by talented young singers under the direction of internationally-recognized bass-baritone, Ruggero Raimondi. 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 Professor Dance and fellow W&L travelers on this unforgettable journey.

Robert Fure, Ph.D., Director of Special Programs

W&L Host and Faculty: Caleb Dance

Caleb M. X. Dance is an Assistant Professor of Classics at Washington and Lee University, where he joined the faculty in 2014. A native of Colorado, he received his B.A. in Classics and Philosophy at Tulane University in New Orleans before moving to New York City to earn his M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. at Columbia University. His research interests include laughter, comedy, genre theory, and improvisation in the Greco-Roman world, and he is currently preparing a book-length study of Literary Laughter in the Age of Augustus. Professor Dance lived and studied in Rome and Athens for one year of his undergraduate career, and he has frequently returned to Italy and Greece-for both work and play - in the decade since.


Sun, 9/24 USA - Fly from the U.S. to Athens, Greece.
Mon, 9/25 Athens, Greece R Arrive in Athens and transfer to the luxury Hotel Grande Bretagne. Join fellow travelers this evening for a festive welcome reception.
Tue, 9/26 Athens | Piraeus | Embark B, D Board a motor coach for the short ride to the entrance of the Acropolis, where we explore the stunning architectural marvel of the Parthenon, built in the 5th century b.c. as a temple to the goddess Athena. We also tour the Acropolis Museum, an award-winning collection of artifacts from excavations of the Acropolis, housed in a modern building specially designed for the purpose. In the a ernoon, we transfer to the pier in Piraeus to embark Le Lyrial.
Wed, 9/27 Delos | Patmos B, L, D Tiny uninhabited Delos is one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece. A walking tour leads to the excavations of the main shrines dedicated to Apollo and Artemis as well as to the Terrace of the Lions, with its de ly carved archaic figures. In the early evening, call in Patmos, the island to where St. John the Evangelist was banished during the reign of Emperor Domitian. Enjoy time at leisure to stroll the harbor and waterfront.
Thu, 9/28 Santorini B, L, D Sail into the flooded volcanic crater of Santorini, one of the Mediterranean's most spectacular islands. From the sea enjoy a beautiful view of the whitewashed village of Phira, set atop a 1,000-foot-high palisade. In Akrotiri, we encounter a city that centuries ago was inhabited by a sophisticated Bronze Age society. In the 2nd millennium b.c., volcanic eruptions shrouded the island in a blanket of pumice and ash, preserving many of Akrotiri's buildings. The houses here still contain pottery and other household furnishings, and the streets and squares remain much as they were 3,600 years ago. Return to Phira to explore its excellent museum, containing the most complete collection of artifacts of Minoan civilization in the world.
Fri, 9/29 Corinth Canal | Itea | Delphi | Itea B, L, D A morning transit of the Corinth Canal brings us to the small port of Itea. A er lunch aboard, we drive through spectacular scenery to Delphi. Famous in antiquity as the home of the oracle of Apollo, Delphi continues to cast a spell as we marvel at the impressiveness of the site even in ruins.
Sat, 9/30 Katakolon | Olympia B, L, D This morning's excursion takes us to Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympics, and home to the ancient Sanctuary of Zeus-a vast expanse of well-preserved altars, temples, and other ruins. Highlights of the site include the Temples of Hera and Zeus, the Council House and the Treasuries. The a iliated Archaeological Museum houses exquisite sculptures and other artifacts from the site.
Sun, 10/1 Taormina, Sicily, Italy B, L, D Clinging to the side of Mount Tauro, Taormina looks out to sea and the dramatic cone of Mount Etna. A Greek colony was founded here in 403 b.c. and prospered throughout the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Explore the Greek theater and amble among Taormina's quaint streets and gardens.
Mon, 10/2 Naples | Pompeii | Naples B, L, D Explore Pompeii, the Roman city both destroyed and preserved by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in a.d. 79. No other place so completely captures the character of life in the early Roman Empire. Highlights include the Forum, the Temples of Apollo and Jupiter, and the Stabian Baths, the best preserved and most complete in Pompeii.
Tue, 10/3 Civitavecchia | Disembark | Rome | Fly to USA B -

All-Inclusive Fares & Unique Features

Our fares are truly all-inclusive. Coupled with the high-quality lecture and educational program, we provide a most attractive value.


  • 1 night in Athens at the deluxe Hotel Grande Bretagne, including breakfast
  • Welcome cocktail reception at the hotel
  • 7-night cruise aboard the deluxe Le Lyrial
  • Welcome and farewell cocktail receptions aboard ship
  • All meals aboard ship including early riser's coffee & pastry, breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner
  • Open bar aboard ship, including select wines with lunch and dinner
  • Complete program of tours and excursions as described in the itinerary
  • Enrichment program of lectures and discussions by accompanying W&L Professor
  • Music recitals aboard ship performed by rising young opera singers
  • Physician aboard ship
  • Comprehensive pre-departure materials
  • Baggage handling and airport transfers abroad on the designated program arrival and departure dates
  • Port taxes and charges
  • Gratuities to shipboard personnel, porters, guides, and drivers

Not Included

  • Airfare
  • Visa and passport fees (if applicable)
  • Luggage, cancellation, and accident insurance
  • Personal expenses such as laundry, telephone calls, internet, spa services and beverages other than those specified above

Le Lyrial

You will travel aboard the deluxe, five-star Le Lyrial, one of the most beautifully conceived and technologically sophisticated small ships afloat. Designed in France and built in Italy, Le Lyrial boasts an elegantly understated aesthetic that one associates with European sensibility and craftsmanship. It is one of four sister ships of the PONANT cruise line, selected as Best Luxury Cruise Line by Cruise Critic's editors in 2014.


All accommodations aboard Le Lyrial face outside affording sea views, and, other than the eight superior staterooms, all feature a private balcony. All staterooms include a bedroom with either two twin-size beds or a king-size bed, sitting area (separate living room for the Prestige Suites), mini-bar, safe, spacious closets, climate control, telephone, WiFi access, TV with movies on demand, iPod player, and bathroom with marble vanity, shower, and fine amenities.

Room TypeFare (Per Person, Double Occupancy)
Superior Stateroom $5,990
Deluxe Stateroom $6,490
Prestige Stateroom, Deck 4 $6,890
Prestige Stateroom, Deck 5 $7,090
Deluxe Suite $9,590
Prestige Suite, Deck 5 $12,690
Prestige Suite, Deck 6 $13,090

Single Occupancy Staterooms are available at the following rates: $9,190 (Prestige Stateroom - Deck 4), $9,490 (Prestige Stateroom - Deck 5). Subject to availability.

The Fine Print

Compagnie du PONANT, PONANT Group USA, LLC, and PONANT USA, LLC are hereinafter collectively referred to as "PONANT GROUP". Please read carefully the following terms and conditions, which constitute the sole, legally enforceable agreements between the passenger and PONANT GROUP and the tour's sponsoring organization.

Payment Schedule

In order to secure a booking, the guest is required to pay a 25% deposit. Final payment is due by June 24, 2017, 90 days prior to departure. Checks and credit cards are accepted.

Cancellation, Modification Penalties & Refunds

All cancellations or modifications must be in writing. Any and all guests not reporting for departure or prevented from reporting for departure or waiving for any reason whatsoever the benefit of services included in the program cannot claim any refund. PONANT GROUP shall not be required to refund any monies to any guests who must leave the cruise prematurely for any reason, nor shall PONANT GROUP be held responsible for any costs, fees, damages or causes of action which result from the transportation expenses incurred by guest's early departure.

For any deposited or fully paid booking, cancellation penalties will be assessed as noted below. These cancellation penalties are applicable on all services booked with PONANT GROUP.

  • For cancellations received up to 10 months of departure, by November 23, 2016, no cancellation penalty applies.
  • From November 24, 2016 up to 91 days prior departure: 10% of full fare
  • 90-61 days prior departure: 50% of full fare
  • Within 60 days prior to departure: 100% of full fare.

Travel Insurance

Passengers shall be responsible for subscribing to cancellation/luggage/assistance repatriation/medical insurance(s).


PONANT GROUP reserves the right to withdraw and/or cancel a sailing to make changes in the itinerary whenever, in its sole judgment, or in the judgment of the vessel owner or operator, conditions warrant it.

Independent Contractors/Limit of Liability

The passenger agrees that PONANT GROUP acts as agent and/or trustee for any person, ground and maritime agents and subcontractors, who provide any service forming, or in connection with, any part of the cruise. Transportation services to the port of departure, transfers to the ship, including, as applicable, hotel room and restaurant bookings or guided tours, are performed by independent suppliers who are not employees of PONANT GROUP. In this respect, PONANT GROUP acts only as an agent and shall not be held liable for said services or for the acts or omissions of sub-contractors or other contractors. PONANT GROUP shall not be held liable for bodily injury to, or death of passengers, or for loss of, or damage to luggage or other personal belongings, unless it is proved that the carrier has infringed statutory obligations or that it or one of its employees or agents has committed gross negligence. However, in the event the liability of PONANT GROUP is incurred, such liability is limited (details available upon request).

PONANT GROUP shall in any case not be liable for failure of an improper performance when the same is due to or caused by the fault of the passenger; the unforeseeable or unavoidable fault of a third party unconnected with the provision of any services to be provided under the contract; unusual and unforeseeable circumstances beyond the control of PONANT GROUP; an event of "Force Majeure" such as a war, threat of war, riots, civil commotion, acts of God, terrorist activities, natural and nuclear disaster, fire, technical problems with transport, closure of ports, strikes and any industrial action, or any other event beyond the control of PONANT GROUP.


The prices given at the time of booking are based on economic conditions known on June 1, 2015 and are subject to change. These conditions are, amongst others, the cost of transport and fuel, relevant dues and taxes for the proposed operation (port taxes, embarkation and disembarkation taxes, entrance costs to tourist sites), currency exchange rates relevant to the pricing of these programs. PONANT GROUP reserves the right within the legal limits of applicable laws to vary the prices if necessary. All variation of the cost of transport, fuel, taxes, dues and visa costs will be passed on within the voyage cost. Additionally, any surcharge levied will be increased to include an amount to cover agent's commission. Any change in fare cannot be imposed less than 60 days prior to departure.


These terms & conditions are subject to and interpreted according to International regulations and concern the transportation of passengers and their luggage from the time of boarding the ship to the moment of disembarking, as well as at ports of departure, destination, or stopover. PONANT GROUP shall incur no liability outside this period of time. Without prejudice to required legal regulations, any actions related either to the interpretation, or execution of this agreement shall be brought before the competent courts of Marseille-France.

PONANT GROUP is not responsible for omissions, printing and/or presentation errors and reserves the right to make corrections as required.

Ships' Registry: France
FL Seller of Travel Ref No ST37706
CA Seller of Travel Ref No 2120712-40