Passage Through Antiquity

Passage Through Antiquity

From GBP £7,295


Join us on a passage through antiquity, an incomparable journey which includes a wealth of sites including biblical landmarks, Crusader castles, Egyptian temples and tombs as well as the magnificent Nabatean city of Petra. We have planned the journey for March when temperatures will be pleasant for exploring and with the aid of our knowledgeable local guides and excellent Guest Speaker, we will learn of some fascinating civilisations.

Our itinerary begins with a six day land tour of Jordan during which time we will stay in five star hotels. From the mystical Dead Sea to the grandeur of Petra and the desert sands of Wadi Rum, Jordan is steeped in history and awe inspiring beauty. Petra, a city set deep in the Edom mountains and lost to Western ‘civilisation’ for hundreds of years was hewn directly from the rock by the Nabateans and is an amazing feat of engineering and construction. As you explore this vast and complex city, whose wealth came from its proximity to the ancient Middle East trade routes, you cannot help but be impressed by the industry and sophistication of this ancient civilisation. Whilst in Jordan, we also visit Bethany, the site where John the Baptist met and baptised Jesus Christ, and spend some time in Aqaba before embarking the MS Serenissima.

Our journey continues as we sail through the Gulf of Aqaba to Egypt where we explore some of the great monuments of the Pharaohs, the divine kings of thirty dynasties who ruled Egypt for some thirty-five centuries. See the great temples of Karnak, the Valley of the Kings, the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx and spend some time in Cairo’s magnificent Egyptian Museum. Following a transit of the Suez Canal, one of the world’s greatest feats of civil engineering, we then have four days in Israel to explore an extraordinary collection of both classical and Biblical sites before our voyage ends in the Cypriot port of Limassol.

Trip Name
Passage Through Antiquity
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 Amman, Jordan.
Fly by scheduled flight. Arrive in Amman this evening and transfer to the Movenpick Resort (or similar) in the Dead Sea area, our base for the next two nights.
Day 2 - Day 2 - Dead Sea & Bethany.
Enjoy breakfast in the hotel and a leisurely morning. You may wish to swim or float in the Dead Sea which, at 423 metres below sea level is the lowest spot on earth. The high salt content prevents the existence of any life forms but is also believed to provide healing properties with the mud on the seabed being rich in minerals. After lunch in the hotel restaurant we will drive to Bethany, the site where John the Baptist met and baptised Jesus Christ. The excavations conducted at Bethany in Jordan have uncovered a 1st century AD settlement with plastered pools and water systems that were used almost certainly for mass baptisms, and a 6th century Byzantine settlement with churches, a monastery and other structures most probably catering to religious pilgrims. This evening we will meet for dinner at the hotel.
Day 3 - Day 3 - Kerak & Little Petra.
This morning we drive southward along the Dead Sea shore before heading to the imposing Crusader stronghold of Kerak where we visit the fortified castle which was built in AD 1142 and had witnessed many battles between the Crusaders and Saladin’s Muslim armies. See the network of the dimly lit vaulted rooms and long winding corridors, which lead into each other through heavy arches and doorways. After our visit we continue our journey south to the rose-red city of Petra. On the way we will stop at the spectacular site of Little Petra, where a modest gorge (Siq el-Barid) leads into the area of carved tombs and monuments. See the Painted Cave which is believed to have been a shelter for a sect focused on Dionysus, the ancient Greek god of wine, as it contains remains of Greek-style plaster artwork, quite unique for Petra, displaying tangled vines and flowers with brightly coloured birds and cupid-like figures. A kilometre further to the southwest of Siq el-Barid is one of the region’s most important archaeological sites, the 6800 BC Neolithic village of Beidha which was inhabited, long before the Nabateans, by the New Stone Age people where over 60 stone-built structures have been discovered among the ruins of this early farming community. After our visit we continue to our hotel where we enjoy dinner this evening.
Day 4 - Day 4 - Petra.
After breakfast in the hotel we will explore the breathtaking Nabatean city of Petra which was carved out of the rose-red sandstone about 2000 years ago and has been voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Walk past the Obelisk Tomb and then through the Siq, the narrow 1.2 kilometre gorge that leads to Petra’s most impressive monument, the Treasury which was carved out of the pale reddish sandstone in the 1st century BC. Pass by the dozens of classical Nabatean ruins and tombs known as the Street of Facades, the remarkable 3000 seat Theatre, the Royal Tombs, the Colonnaded Street, the Byzantine Church, the Temple, the Monumental Arch and the mighty Qasr el-Bint Faroun. After lunch amidst the ruins of Petra you will have the option to return to the hotel for an afternoon at leisure or stay and explore the site further independently. The active may choose to climb about 900 steps up to the large, 1st century AD monument known as the Monastery with its remarkable views over Wadi Araba. Meet tonight for dinner.
Day 5 - Day 5 - Wadi Rum & Aqaba.
This morning you can choose to relax in the hotel or return to Petra for a second half day visit and climb up to the High Place of Sacrifice, known as El-Madbah in Arabic, one of Petra’s most important sacred sites, chosen as places of devotion and sacrifice. Animal offerings were made at the sacrificial altar, which has been carved flat, and drainage channels have been cut into the rock to allow the blood of sacrificial animals to drain away. Taking lunchboxes from the hotel we will drive to Wadi Rum, also known as the Valley of the Moon where the desert landscape is mixed with awe-inspiring shapes to create an almost supernatural atmosphere. We will embark on an adventurous excursion by a Bedouin open top four-wheel drive vehicle. We begin at the visitor centre from where there is a view in the distance of the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the famous landmark named after the book by T.E. Lawrence ‘Lawrence of Arabia’. During our excursion we will also see the Alameleh inscriptions which are a good example of ancient rock drawings, Siq Um Al Tawaqi, a short canyon containing a carving of the head of T.E. Lawrence and ruins of Allat (Goddess) Temple of the AAD tribe. We will finish the excursion at the sunset site where there are dramatic views of Wadi Rum as the sun sinks below the horizon. At the camp we will enjoy dinner before driving to Aqaba and embarking the MS Serenissima.
Day 6 - Day 6 - Aqaba.
After a busy few days we will have a relaxing morning in Aqaba. For those keen to spend time in the Aqaba Marine Park containing fringing reefs, over 100 species of hard coral and many species of fish, we will base ourselves at one of the beaches from where you can enjoy swimming or snorkelling in the clear waters. Alternatively explore the town of Aqaba seeing the 16th century fort, originally built as part of the pilgrimage route to Mecca but later a vital location in the overthrow of the Ottomans and take time to walk through the bustling souk. Return to the ship for lunch and relax on board as we spend the afternoon sailing through the Gulf of Aqaba.
Day 7 - Day 7 - Safaga for Luxor, Egypt.
Arrive this morning in the Egyptian port of Safaga, our base for our overnight trip to Luxor. After clearing immigration formalities we will embark our coaches for the drive 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 this evening.
Day 8 - Day 8 - Luxor.
After breakfast in the hotel we visit 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. This afternoon we will board our coaches and return to the MS Serenissima in Safaga.
Day 9 - Day 9 - At Sea.
Spend the day on board as we sail through the Red Sea and Gulf of Suez. Join one of the lectures or find a spot on deck as we sail to Sokhna where we arrive this evening and moor overnight.
Day 10 - Day 10 - Sokhna 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 11 - Day 11 - Suez Canal Transit.
Departing Suez at dawn we begin the day-long transit of the Suez Canal and the Great Bittar Lake arriving in Port Said this evening.
Day 12 - Days 12 & 13 - Ashdod, Israel.
Our first call in Israel will be the southern port of Ashdod where we will spend two fascinating 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. Visit Tel Aviv and drive through Rothschild boulevards of the White City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that holds the world’s largest concentration of Bauhaus architecture. We will also drive inland to Jersualem 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.
Day 13 - Days 14 & 15 - Haifa.
We sail to the northern port of Haifa for two more 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 capitol 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 14 - Day 16 - Limassol, Cyprus.
Enjoy a relaxing morning at sea as we cruise to Cyprus arriving in Limassol at lunchtime. An afternoon tour 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 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.
Day 15 - Day 17 - Larnaca to London.
Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to London.
Day 16 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
01-03-202017-03-2020GBP £7,295Standard Stateroom
01-03-202017-03-2020GBP £7,495Classic Stateroom
01-03-202017-03-2020GBP £9,995Serenissima Suite
01-03-202017-03-2020GBP £7,895Superior Stateroom
01-03-202017-03-2020GBP £8,295Standard Single
01-03-202017-03-2020GBP £8,395Deluxe Stateroom
01-03-202017-03-2020GBP £8,895Junior Suite
01-03-202017-03-2020GBP £9,595Owner’s Suite


    • Visit Jordan, Egypt, Israel & Cyprus with Guest Speaker Ernie Rea (2020) or George Hart (2019)
    • Swim or float in the Dead Sea which, at 423 metres below sea level is the lowest spot on earth
    • Explore the breathtaking Nabatean city of Petra which was carved out of the rose-red sandstone about 2000 years ago and has been voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World
    • Visit the temples of Karnak, one of the most memorable and popular historical areas to visit in the world