Passage Through the Levant

Passage Through the Levant

From GBP £6,795


Christmas in the Eastern Mediterranean is a very special time and exploring by sea allows us to incorporate a heady mix of fantastic places with great ease from the ancient sites of Turkey and Cyprus and the biblical landmarks of Israel to the wonders of Cairo and Luxor on the Nile. The gentle temperatures and crowd free sites make it a lovely season to explore this corner of antiquity and with the 95-passenger MS Serenissima as our comfortable base, and the aid of our knowledgeable local guides and excellent Guest Speaker, we will learn of some fascinating civilisations.

Setting sail from Turkey’s southern coast city of Antalya we will visit the ancient city of Perge and, from Limassol in Cyprus, the Temple of Apollo and the ruins of Kourion with its Greco-Roman Theatre and lovely coastal views. Continue on to Israel for four days of exploration as we discover an extraordinary collection of both classical and Biblical sites from the City of Annunciation, Nazareth, to the ancient port city of Jaffa and the ‘Golden City’ of Jerusalem. Following our transit of the Suez Canal we spend time in Egypt exploring some of the great monuments of the Pharaohs, the divine kings of thirty dynasties who ruled Egypt for some thirty-five centuries. See the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx and spend some time in Cairo’s magnificent Egyptian Museum.

Enjoy a relaxing Christmas Day at sea as we sail to Safaga from where we have arranged an overnight stay in Luxor in order to maximise our time spent visiting the fascinating sites here such as the Valley of the Kings and the great temples of Karnak. Our journey through history ends in the Red Sea port of Aqaba where we disembark the MS Serenissima with the option to return home or join the post-cruise extension to explore delightful Jordan and one of the most spectacular archaeological cites in the region, the ‘Rose Red City’ of Petra.

Trip Name
Passage Through the Levant
Vessel Type: Small Ship Length: 87 metres Passenger Capacity: 95 Built / refurbished: 1960 / 2013 / 2019 MS Serenissima is a charming vessel and one of her best known and loved features of this vessel is its unique style. During a major refit the then owners commissioned Swedish interior designers to create a Gustavian style interior. This bright Swedish 18th century influenced, country house style works particularly well on a vessel of this vintage, providing intimacy and classic nautical sensibility often lacking in larger vessels. The vessel is equipped with a fleet of Zodiac landing craft allowing us to visit remote places where normal tender arrangements are not possible. The European Captain, Officers, Expedition Staff, and crew offer a first class service and have been selected for their professionalism and caring attitudes. The atmosphere on board is warm and welcoming and dedicated to discovery and relaxation. AIR-CONDITIONING The ship is air conditioned throughout. Please note that only the Serenissima Suites have individually controlled air-conditioning. DAILY PROGRAMME A Daily Programme, detailing the following day’s arrangements as well as any specific information about the day’s activities is produced onboard and delivered to your cabin each evening during the turn down service. DINING, DRINKING AND DIETARY REQUIREMENTS The Venice Restaurant onboard serves international cuisine and accommodates all guests at a single open seating. Tables seat 4 to 10 diners. In addition, there is an outside dining area for when the weather and itinerary permit. Breakfast and lunch are both buffet style, dinner is waiter service only. Complimentary (red and white) house wine, beer and soft drinks are included with lunch and dinner. Bar drinks and other beverages with meals are not included; these may be purchased onboard and paid for at the end of your cruise. Complimentary tea and coffee are available between 07:00 hours and 23:00 hours at the tea and coffee station located in the Andrea lounge. Please advise of any special dietary requests in advance. DISABLED FACILITIES The ship can accommodate passengers with mobility restrictions and wheelchair dependent passengers in cabin 407, which has a wider door and no step into/out of the bathroom and shower area. There is a lift serving decks 3 to 6, but there is no stair lift. DOCTOR A medical doctor is available on board 24 hours a day. A fee is charged for any consultations and medication prescribed. Please ensure you carry adequate supplies of any regular medications you may require.  ELECTRICITY The electrical outlets in the cabins and public areas are 220V and take a two-round-pin plug (as in continental Europe). There is a 110/220V, 60Hz outlet for electric shavers in the bathroom. We recommend that you bring an international adaptor. GRATUITIES Gratuities to crew and whilst on excursions are included in the cost of your holiday. INTERNET The onboard library has a computer equipped for email/internet access and Wi-Fi access is available in public areas, although you will require your own laptop, tablet or smartphone, and charges apply – 100mb for €15 Euros, or 500mb for €25 Euros. Please note that connection is dependent on weather conditions and location. LANGUAGE All members of the crew speak English. MONEY The following payment methods are accepted for settlement of shipboard accounts: Cash (Euros or British Pounds), Credit Card (MasterCard, Visa, American Express), Debit Card (MasterCard and Visa). Please note that personal cheques and Travellers’ Cheques are not accepted. PUBLIC AREAS • Andrea Lounge (on Deck 5). The bar is open from 11.00 until 24.00. • Harald Jarl Lounge (on Deck 5). There is a small library here with books and games. There is also a computer for public use (charges apply for internet access) • Lido area (on Deck 5) with a Jacuzzi and fitness room with two running machines • Observation Deck (access from Deck 5 lido area) • Deck 5 and Deck 6 outside seating areas SNORKELLING Snorkelling equipment is kept onboard. Please note that there is no snorkelling from Zodiacs. All snorkelling stops will operate from a beach.  TELEVISION The ship is equipped with a satellite TV system which receives 15 channels. TV reception depends on the satellite dish and on occasion it may not be possible to receive a signal. There is one central video channel on which it is possible to listen to the lectures delivered in the Andrea Lounge. There is also a channel for the ship’s camera located in front of the ship. ZODIACS Some destinations may require the use of Zodiacs to go ashore. These are usually on expedition cruises though may sometimes be used on destination cruises. 


Day 1 - Day 1 London to Antalya, Turkey.
Fly by scheduled indirect flight. Arrive this afternoon and transfer to the MS Serenissima for embarkation. Enjoy welcome drinks and dinner as we moor overnight.
Day 2 - Day 2 Antalya.
This morning we explore one of the principal Roman ruins along Turkey’s southern coast. We pass the modern city of Antalya en-route to the ancient city of Perge which dates back to 1000 BC and was founded by Mopsus and Calchas after their retreat from Troy. See the Basilica of Perge, which played an important role in the spread of Christianity, the 2nd century AD stadium, the baths complex and two magnificent round towers of the Greek Gate. Return to the MS Serenissima for lunch and spend the afternoon at sea.
Day 3 - Day 3 Limassol, Cyprus.
From our berth we take a morning tour which will include the Temple of Apollo, one of the main religious centres of ancient Cyprus where Apollo was worshipped as God of the Woodlands. It seems that the worship of Apollo on this site began as early as the 8th century BC and continued until the 4th century AD. We will continue to the ruins of Kourion, a city built in 1200 BC. Of particular interest are the public baths, the necropolis, the Fountain House, House of The Itinerary Gladiators and House of Achilles. The most spectacular site at Kourion is the Greco-Roman Theatre that has been completely restored and is used today for open-air musical and theatrical performances. The afternoon is free for independent exploration.
Day 4 - Days 4 & 5 Haifa, Israel.
We arrive in Israel at the northern port of Haifa for two days of exploration including options to visit Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus. Called the City of Annunciation, Nazareth is revered as the spot where the Angel Gabriel appeared before Mary to tell her she was to bear the Son of God. Enjoy panoramic views of the city and visit the Church of the Annunciation, which is built where Mary is said to have lived. Maybe visit the shores of the Sea of Galilee where we find Capernaum’s ancient synagogue and Peter’s House before stopping in Tabgha, home to the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Leaves, with its 5th century mosaic floor. We will drive up Mount Carmel for a breathtaking view over the bay from the top of the city’s famous Bahai Gardens. We also plan to visit Acre, one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites of the region and once the chief port of the Crusaders. Visit the underground city seeing the Crusader halls, crypt and the tunnels used as a secret route to the port. Also visit the bazaar and the UNESCO site of Kahn El Umdan (Inn of the Columns) one of the best-preserved caravanserai in Israel. The last option is to drive to Caesarea – the impressive ruins rest on the coast halfway between Haifa and Tel Aviv. This grand ancient city and harbour were built by Herod the Great between 22 and 10 BC and reigned capital over its region for almost 600 years. Named after the Roman Caesar Augustus, it had all the amenities of a splendid Roman city: baths, a hippodrome, a theatre and an aqueduct and we can explore the remains in the archaeological park.
Day 5 - Days 6 to 8 Ashdod.
We continue our exploration of Israel from the southern port of Ashdod where we will spend two and a half days. During our time here we will organise visits to Jaffa, the ancient port city from which Tel Aviv developed. Famous for its association with the biblical stories of Jonah, Solomon and St Peter, it has a fascinating history stretching back over four thousand years. We will explore the highlights including the Clock Tower, Flea Market and the renovated alleys and buildings of the fascinating city. We will also drive inland to Jerusalem including a visit to the Mount of Olives from where we can enjoy spectacular views over the ‘Golden City’ of Jerusalem. Follow in the footsteps of Jesus as you walk through the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus spent the last moments before his arrest. Wander the streets of the Old City from Jaffa Gate to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and continue through the Christian Quarter to the bazaar, passing the Roman Cardo in the Jewish Quarter and the Western (or Wailing) Wall. We also hope to visit Bethlehem seeing the Church of the Nativity, the oldest functioning Christian church in the world, and the grotto venerated as the birthplace of Christ. Our last afternoon is at sea as we arrive in Port Said in the evening to prepare for our transit of the Suez Canal.
Day 6 - Day 9 Suez Canal Transit, Egypt.
Spend the day in the transit of the Suez Canal and the Great Bitter Lake.
Day 7 - Day 10 Port Tawfiq for Cairo.
Today is a full day tour dedicated to the capital city of Cairo. We visit the impressive Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx, the only survivor of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and the tombs of the great Pharaohs and their queens. After lunch we visit the Egyptian Museum with 107 halls that are separated into seven sections. The museum houses statues, jewels and treasures of Tutankhamun. We will visit the Amarna Room and see the Fayoum portraits and monuments from the later periods from the Greeks and the Romans. Return to the MS Serenissima for dinner this evening.
Day 8 - Day 11 Christmas Day At Sea.
Celebrate Christmas Day on board sailing through the Red Sea and Gulf of Suez. Join one of our lectures or find a spot on deck as we sail to Safaga where we arrive this evening and moor overnight.
Day 9 - Days 12 & 13 Safaga for Luxor.
The port of Safaga will be our base for our overnight trip to Luxor. After driving through the desert our first call will be on the West Bank, one of the most famous and important archaeological sites in the world. See the Valley of the Kings, burial ground of the pharaohs for a period of 500 years. The tombs vividly depict the journey of the sun god and pharaoh through the dangers of the underworld. In the temple of Queen Hatshepsut you will discover scenes commemorating the reign of this exceptional monarch such as the ambitious voyage where she sent her ships on the Red Sea to the mysterious land of Punt. After our visit we transfer to our hotel in Luxor for some time to relax before meeting for dinner. Our second day will include the temples of Karnak, one of the most memorable and popular historical areas to visit in the world. Here you will witness the unbelievably vast array of monuments dedicated to Amun-Ra, king of the gods, his wife Mut and their son Khonsu. Just two of the highlights you will see are the great hypostyle hall with over 130 columns some 22 metres high and the obelisk of the powerful queen pharaoh Hatshepsut. We will have some time to explore the souk before continuing to the Nile for a short cruise including lunch. In the afternoon we will board our coaches and return to the MS Serenissima in Safaga.
Day 10 - Day 14 Aqaba, Jordan.
After a busy couple of days we will have a relaxing morning at sea arriving in Aqaba at lunchtime. This afternoon explore the old town of Aqaba including time to walk through the bustling souk or take a chance to swim in the clear waters.
Day 11 - Day 15 Aqaba to London.
Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for our scheduled indirect flight to London.
Day 12 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
15-12-202129-12-2021GBP £6,795Standard Stateroom
15-12-202129-12-2021GBP £6,995Classic Stateroom
15-12-202129-12-2021GBP £7,395Superior Stateroom
15-12-202129-12-2021GBP £7,795Standard Single
15-12-202129-12-2021GBP £7,795Deluxe Stateroom
15-12-202129-12-2021GBP £8,395Junior Suite
15-12-202129-12-2021GBP £8,895Owner’s Suite
15-12-202129-12-2021GBP £9,295Serenissima Suite


    • Visit Limassol, Cyprus.
    • Discover Haifa, Israel.
    • Spend the day in the transit of the Suez Canal and the Great Bitter Lake.
    • Celebrate Christmas Day on board sailing through the Red Sea and Gulf of Suez.
    • Explore Luxor.