The Mediterranean Experience
Message from GOVERNOR MIKE HUCKABEE AND BLUE DIAMOND TRAVEL
I am thrilled to announce an unforgettable trip to the Mediterranean for the fall of 2021! After many years of the Israel Experiences and our most recent trip the Baltic Experience cruise, we are bringing you another phenomenal cruise, the Mediterranean Experience! This all-inclusive cruise will feature some of the most beautiful places in the Mediterranean Sea and we will get to travel to and absorb these destinations aboard a luxury cruise ship from the Azamara Cruise line. If you have traveled with us before, you already know that all-inclusive means exactly that and that there no surprises along the way. The Mediterranean Experience will be no different. Once again we have the entire ship to ourselves. We will fill our time on board with spectacular entertainment from special guests and engaging lectures from an expert on the Apostle Paul as we follow in his footsteps throughout the Mediterranean. In addition to the cruise we have multiple pre and post-cruise offerings you can choose from to extend your trip. Our last Mediterranean cruise sold out in record time so we encourage you to get your cabin secured soon. We look forward to traveling with you soon and as always we will work and do everything in our control to bring you The Greatest Trip.
See you on the ship,
Mediterranean Experience All Inclusive Price Distinctions
- Club Interior $4,995* per person
- Club Ocean View (Obstructed) $5,395* per person
- Club Ocean View $5,695* per person
- Club Veranda $6,395* per person
- Club Veranda Plus $6,895* per person
- Club Continent Suite $8,895* per person
- Club Spa Suite** $10,995* per person
- Club Ocean Suite** $10,995* per person
- Club Owner’s Suite** $12,995* per person
ALL INCLUSIVE PRICING FROM NEW YORK*
*Rates are per person, based on double occupancy and reflect a cash discount of $295 per person. Guests paying any amount via credit card forfeit the cash discount.
October 24 - Depart USA
October 25 - Athens, Greece
Arrive in Athens and see the best of Athens on a panoramic drive designed for those who prefer a more leisurely tour of the city. Board a comfortable coach for a narrated tour covering both modern and ancient attractions, including the Academy, Hadrian’s Arch, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the National Gardens, and a stop at the pedestrian zone below the majestic Acropolis. Conclude with free time to shop in the picturesque Plaka, the city’s most ancient neighborhood. Transfer to the ship to embark after your tour. (Late arrivals may experience a shorter panoramic tour and reduced free time.)
October 26 - Athens, Greece
Travel to the legendary city of Athens for an awe-inspiring immersion into Greek history, mythology and might. Upon arrival, you’ll begin a narrated sightseeing drive that winds past the ruins of the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Panathenaic Stadium, an ancient wonder reborn as the site of the first modern Olympics in 1896. Your drive will lead to the most iconic ancient site in Greece – the Acropolis. Climb the steep steps leading to this complex of temples and buildings dating back to the 5th century BC and built as a grand monument to thought and the arts. Witness the Temple of Athena Nike and explore the iconic Parthenon, dedicated to the Goddess Athena and offering sweeping panoramas overlooking the city below. A short walk from the ruins leads to Mars Hill where Paul preached to the Athenians. Enjoy Lunch before continuing on to the city of Corinth, where the apostle Paul met fellow tentmakers Aquila and Priscilla and received a vision from the Lord. As Paul spoke, Crispus (chief ruler of the synagogue) and many others believed and were baptized, establishing the church at Corinth to whom Paul later wrote his two epistles. Discover the Archaeological Museum, Market Place and Temples. As you walk among the ruins, stand on the Bema, where the apostle Paul stood before Gallio to face charges brought against him by the Jews.
October 27 - Kavala, Greece
Delve into ancient Greek and Christian history on this journey to ancient Philippi, Kavala, and the baptistery at the St. Lydia site. Philippi is one of the most important archaeological sites in Eastern Macedonia. The site received protection by King Philip of Macedon when the city was threatened by the Thracians in 365 B.C. Hellenistic Philippi had a fortification wall, a theatre, public buildings, and private
houses. The Roman road of the Via Egnatia made Philippi a significant regional center. It was later conquered by Octavius. Saint Paul founded the first Christian church on European soil in Philippi in 49 A.D. Visit the stunning archaeological and pilgrimage sites, and, on your way back to the ship, visit the St. Lydia site, the stream where Lydia was baptized. You’ll also see Kavala, with its stunning amphitheater construction on the slopes of Mt. Symvolo, one of the most visually- inspiring cities in Greece.
October 28 - Dikili, Turkey
October 29 - Kusadasi, Turkey
Marvel at the ancient city of Ephesus, known as an open-air archeological museum. Delve into the incredible treasures of Ephesus, including an in-depth exploration of the Terrace Houses. First built in the 10th century B.C. and lasting until its abandonment under Ottoman rule, Ephesus dazzles visitors with its ruins.
See the Odeon, a concert hall, the steam baths of Scholastica, the famed, two- story Library of Celsus and the Grand Theater where St. Paul preached. Walk the Arcadian Way, a procession route of Cleopatra and Marc Anthony. Enjoy Lunch before participating in a short carpet demonstration and the option to browse the amazing collection of authentic handmade Turkish carpets and other local products.
October 30 - Patmos, Greece
Venture within the towering walls of St. John’s Monastery to explore its battlements and religious history. This castle-like Byzantine structure looms in stark contrast to the gleaming white homes that rest below its dark façade. Built by the monk Christodoulos in 1088, it has remained in continuous operation, surviving epic raids by Norman pirates in the 11th and 12th centuries. Inside, countless treasures are safeguarded, including a magnificent collection of jeweled chalices, crowns and crosses, ancient transcriptions by Aristotle and masterful artwork by El Greco. Continue to the Grotto of St. John, built around a sacred cave where the disciple is said to have composed the Book of Revelation. Conclude your excursion with a panoramic drive along the jagged coastline of Patmos, where jutting spits of land stretch far into the deep-blue sea. Enjoy a full day immersed in the historical, religious and natural wonders of this amazing Greek Isle.
October 31 - Rhodes, Greece
Get the real, authentic Rhodes experience by exploring it on foot. Your walking tour will begin in picturesque Old Town, where you will pass through and learn all about Agora and Collachium, where the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem lived and worked. Marvel at the stunning churches, exquisite Jewish quarter, the Inns of Knights, and the Palace of Grand Masters. You will then tour the palace interior and down the Street of Knights — its path paved with impressive marble and mosaics. Then it’s on to the Hospital of Knights museum, where you’ll learn all about the ins and outs of this majestic town. Afterwards, stop for a refreshment in a local café. Exploring Rhodes on foot will inevitably leave a lasting impression on you.
November 1 - Santorini, Greece (on your own)
Dock in Santorini today, one of the most beautiful of the Greek islands where picturesque whitewashed villages topped with brilliant blue domes stand in stark contrast to the sheer drop cliffs overlooking the Aegean Sea. The island itself perches on the edges of a volcano whose eruption 3,500 years ago is thought to have led to the collapse of the Minoan civilization. You may choose to stay on the ship and enjoy the many amenities offered, or you may choose to wander this charming island on your own today.
November 2 - Return to USA
Disembark the Azamara Journey in Pireaus this morning and transfer to the Athens airport for your return flight home.
Mediterranean Experience 2021 Brochure
- The Mediterranean Experience - 2021 - HU21_57630_Huckabee_003.pdf (4.0 MBs)
Optional Pre Tours
October 21-25, 2021 • $1,999*
October 21 – DEPART USA
Your journey begins as you depart the USA on your international overnight flight.
October 22 – ARRIVE IN DUBAI & TOUR OLD DUBAI
After being picked up at the airport journey to the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood to explore Old Dubai. Part of the attraction of the district, which showcases the traditional way of life in Dubai from the mid 19th century until the 1970s, is simply wandering through its narrow lanes. Here you’ll discover creative art spaces, museums, and cafés housed in traditional L-shaped homes made from gypsum, coral and limestone. Look up and you can’t miss the buildings topped with distinctive wind towers. While exploring this neighborhood you will visit the Textile Souk full of colorful fabric and kitsch souvenirs. Next, visit the Saruq Al Hadid museum to see the archaeological treasures that have been discovered in and around Dubai. Embark on a water taxi ride at Bur Dubai Abra Station by Dubai Creek. This waterway continues to reflect Dubai’s historic roots, back when early settlers relied on its waters for their livelihood. You will queue for a short trip across the Creek to Deira on traditional wooden boats, known as abras. Once on the other side visit the Gold Souk where you can haggle with shopkeepers for beautiful jewelry, before continuing to the Spice Souk. As you wander through the stalls you can savor the aromas of cardamom, turmeric, dried lemons, and rose petals. After touring check in to your hotel and enjoy dinner and rest.
October 23 – ABU DHABI & DINNER CRUISE
Embark this exhilarating tour to the highlight destinations of Abu Dhabi. As you travel to your first destination along the Gulf coast of Abu Dhabi, listen to the region’s rich history and culture. Let’s visit the architectural beauty of the country’s largest mosque- Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which is known as the acclaimed symbol of contemporary Islam. The place offers a feast to eyes as it blends the cultural diversity of Islamic art and contemporary design. You will be driven to the next destination, Abu Dhabi Corniche. Feel relaxed seeing the sweeping curve of clean water harbor, pearl white sand beaches and the beautiful promenade that stretches the Northwest city shore. Next stop at Emirates Palace, a highly celebrated destination in the UAE. Get a chance to pose in front of this eminent destination and take a lot of photos. Later on, travel to the next photo stop destination, the stunning five towers of Abu Dhabi, Etihad Towers. The towers shout out the aggregate story of everything Abu Dhabi is and the futuristic view of the Emirate. Being the combination of luxury and modern views, the place is an ideal destination during the Abu Dhabi visit. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Now that your appetite is full, you will be taken to the next destination, Qasr Al Watan. The Palace is the reflection of Emiratis and their leaders. Absorb the essence of culture, architectural features and the awe-inspiring history of Emirates. Learn about the amazing journey of the spurring Arabian design to the present state. Peep to the Emirati governance and culture through the exhibits of the Palace. Return to Dubai and freshen up at your hotel before embarking on your dinner cruise on the Bateaux Dubai. As you sail around Dubai you will pass the illuminated Maktoum Bridge, Clock Tower, Twin Towers, and Grand Mosque.
October 24 – NEW DUBAI TOUR & DESERT TRIP
You begin your tour by driving to the famous man-made island Palm Jumeirah. Cross the 800-meter-long underwater tunnel and reach the 12-kilometer-long water-breaker with the luxury resort Atlantis, The Palm. Make a photo stop and take some special souvenir pictures of the magnificent Atlantis hotel. You then continue on to the Dubai Marina, an exclusive residence, leisure, and trade area. Enjoy a short stroll along the water and admire the new skyline with over 260 skyscrapers from the Marina’s yacht harbor. Wander through Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai’s “Little Venice”, with its highly elaborate construction as a lagoon city in the style of old Arabian palaces with the typical wind towers. Stroll over the colorful and lively Souk Madinat, a picturesque setting in Arabian style. From here you can enjoy a fantastic view of the 7-star luxury hotel Burj Al Arab, which you can photograph. As a magnificent finale to your tour, you visit the Burj Khalifa, which at 828 meters is currently the tallest building in the world, located next to the Dubai Mall, one of the world’s largest shopping centers with 1,200 shops. Visit the viewing platform at 452 meters above sea level. Ride the building’s express elevator to the 124th floor at a speed of 10 meters per second. From there you can enjoy a breathtaking 360-degree view of all of Dubai and its unique skyline. This afternoon zoom into the remote Lahbab desert that lies outside the city. During the drive, your guide answers any questions and shares information about the region. Head off-road into bright red dunes and have your camera ready to capture what looks like giant beanbags of sand. During a break to gather the convoy, make use of optional quad bikes on-site. Then hold tight as you cruise toward the highest slopes. Feel the adrenaline race as your vehicle plows up the dunes before sliding and slipping back down the slopes, churning up billowing clouds of sand in the process. Reach a high desert dune for a photo stop and admire 360-degree views of the desert landscape as the sun slowly sets. Take a camel ride and surf the dunes on a sandboard before you return to your hotel. (Guests not wanting to visit the desert can be dropped off at the Dubai Mall for shopping and can stay to see the fountain show before returning on their own to the hotel.)
October 25 – DUBAI to ATHENS
Fly across the Mediterranean to Athens this morning. Transfer to Pireaus to embark on the Azamara Journey.
October 21-25, 2021 • 1,499*
October 21 – DEPART USA
Your journey begins as you depart the USA on your international overnight flight.
October 22 – ARRIVE IN GREECE
You will arrive in Thessaloniki, Greece, where you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
October 23 – THESSALONIKA and VERIA (BEREA)
Discover Thessaloniki, where Paul was accused of turning the world upside down with his preaching of Christ (Acts 17: 3-6). As you explore St. George’s Basilica, believed to be built over the synagogue where Paul preached, reflect on the two epistles the apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church here. Stroll through the Archaeological Museum and the beautiful basilicas of St. Sophia and St. Demetrios, dedicated to a distinguished Roman proconsul martyred for his Christian faith. Along the Via Egnatia stands the Galerus Arch, and you can look out over the second largest city in Greece from the Old City Ramparts, some dating back to Roman times. Follow the path of Paul when he fled Thessaloniki for the safety of Veria (Berea), where Jews and some honorable Greeks accepted the new faith (Act 17: 10-12). Continue on to Kalambaaka for dinner and overnight.
October 24 – METEORA and DELPHI
As you visit the rock forest of Meteora (“in the heavens above”) in western Thessaly, imagine the apostle Paul walking that treacherous terrain on his missionary journey. Gaze up at the breathtaking Byzantine monasteries spectacularly perched on soaring, sheer-sided grey sandstone pillars. In the 13th century, monks sought refuge in cliff-side caves before fleeing higher to build the original wooden shelters that later became these monasteries. After a monastery tour, travel to scenic Delphi, religious center of the ancient Greek world and marked by the conical stone called the omphalosor (“navel”). Walk the Sacra Via to the Athenian Treasury, Theatre and the Temple of Apollo, where the oracle performed her prophetic rituals. As you consider the incredible amount of pagan influence just in Delphi alone, you will gain a new appreciation for the tremendous spiritual opposition the apostle Paul faced in preaching the Gospel of Christ here. In the Museum are many ancient treasures, including the 5th century bronzed Charioteer, so detailed you can see his eyelashes. Continue to Athens for overnight.
October 25 – FREE MORNING IN ATHENS & EMBARKATION
Enjoy a morning at leisure in Athens today. You will transfer to Pireaus this afternoon to board the Azamara Journey this afternoon.
November 2-4, 2021 • $1,899*
November 2 - Vatican City & Christian Rome
Disembark the ship and travel to Rome. Upon arrival visit the Vatican, and explore its museum. Marvel at the beauty of St. Peter’s Basilica, and stand in awe of Michaelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. This evening you will check in to your deluxe hotel in Rome. Enjoy a special Opera dinner this evening.
November 3 - Ancient Rome
Discover the history woven throughout Rome with visits to the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Forum, Circus Maximus, the Arch of Titus, the Baths of Carcalla and the Arch of Constantine today. Climb the graceful Spanish Steps and stop at the famous Trevi Fountain before returning to your deluxe hotel in Rome for dinner and overnight.
November 4 - Return to USA
Bid farewell to Italy as you transfer to the Rome airport this morning for your return flight to the USA.
Istanbul & Cappadocia Post Tour
November 2-6, 2021 • $1,599*
November 2 - ATHENS TO ISTANBUL
This morning depart Athens and arrive in Istanbul. Next you will embark on a cruise of the Bosphorus, the winding strait that separates Europe and Asia and connects the Black Sea with the inland Sea of Marmara. Then, you will enjoy shopping at Eminonu’s Spice Bazaar (Egyptian Bazaar). Afterwards, head to the Grand Bazaar, the massive covered market that houses a labyrinth of streets lined with shops. Check in to your hotel in Istanbul for dinner and overnight.
November 3 – ISTANBUL
Overnight in Istanbul. Immerse yourself in Istanbul’s six best sights on this guided full-day tour. Stroll Istanbul’s historic Sultanahmet neighborhood, brimming with iconic buildings and storied streets. Tour the Blue Mosque, one of the most important sites in the Muslim world. Delve into history of the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and Istanbul Hippodrome as well as the sunken palace of Basilica Cistern. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Istanbul.
November 4 - CAPPADOCIA
Fly to Cappadocia, where you will be met by your guide and driver at the airport. Journey to Uchisar Castle, a tall volcanic rock outcrop and one of Cappadocia’s most prominent landmarks. Riddle with tunnels it was used for centuries by villagers as a place of refuge when enemy armies would overtake the plains. Afterward, visit the Goreme Open Air Museum, home to a vast monastic complex. Explore it’s ancient rock churches with beautiful frescoes on their walls before journeying to Cavusin. In Cavusin you will visit the 5th century Church of St. John the Baptist situated in the center of the old Greek village. The frescoes inside depict various scenes from the Bible. Travel to Avanoa Oren Yeri and enjoy a traditional Turkish lunch in one of the restaurants in the charming old town area. Continue to Monk’s Valley after lunch to visit the Pasabag site with highly remarkable earth pillars and fairy chimneys. Your final visit today will be to Devrent Valley, also known as Imagination Valley. This famous pink valley excites visitors with its lunar-like landscape. Check in to your hotel in Cappadocia this evening for dinner and overnight.
November 5 - CAPPADOCIA
Get up this morning for a 1.5 hour sunrise balloon ride over Cappadocia. Afterwards, stop at the Goreme Panorama for amazing photos of the unique landscape in Cappadocia. Travel to Derinkuyu Yeralti Sehri to explore the ancient, multi-level, underground city. The city can accomodate up to 20,000 people and included wine & Oil presses, stables, cellars, refrectories and chapels. 14th Century Christians hid out in the underground city to avoid Mongolian incursions and Ottoman persecution. After lunch explore the Ihlhara Valley, a canyon more than 100 meters deep. While in the valley visit the Selime Monastary home to a Cathedral sized church built in to the rocks. Fly back to Istanbul and enjoy dinner and overnight at your hotel.
November 6 - Return to USA