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Join Ponant in Athens aboard Le Jacques-Cartier. You will discover major ancient sites from the great civilizations. After a stop in Athens, Le Jacques-Cartier will take you to Patmos, then Rhodes. You will cross the world-famous Suez Canal, built by Ferdinand de Lesseps and widened recently to facilitate trade, before arriving in Ain Soukhna, the gateway to the Great Pyramids of Egypt and the new Grand Egyptian Museum of Cairo, then on to Aqaba in Jordan.
Day 1 ATHENS
The Greek capital city is located on the edge of the Saronic gulf, in the east of the country. It bears a plural name in reference to the first villages that surround the Acropolis. You will be enchanted by the rocky plateau presided by its monuments listed as UNESCO World Heritage. In the city below, you can visit some of the liveliest districts in Athens: Plaka, with its maze of colourful streets, and where, in the evenings the drifting aroma of moussaka and garlic prawns will tickle your taste buds. The National Archaeological museum and the Cycladic Art Museum are also some of the city’s key attractions and allow visitors to discover Athens’ cultural past.
Day 2 PATMOS
Patmos is one of the legendary must-see islands in the Dodecanese. This is where Saint John resided, presumed author of the last book in the Bible. The cave of the Apocalypse and the Saint John Monastery are dedicated to him. These sites, which are listed by UNESCO as World Heritage, are located at the top of a hillside planted with vines and orchards. On the shore, the crystalline coves of Kambos and Lampi offer absolutely gorgeous swimming areas. You’ll be drawn to the bustle in Skala harbour and its taverns, famous for their fish soup and tiropita, which is a type of pasty filled with fresh Patmos cheese.
Day 3 RHODES
With its particularly agreeable climate, the island of Rhodes invites you to walk its pathways and discover its immaculate villages and sumptuous medieval city, a UNESCO World Heritage site. At the centre of the island the mountains are covered in forest and on the western slopes we find vineyards and crops. Rhodes also owes much of its charm and its character to the Knights of St John who reigned over the island from 1310 to 1522 and built impressive defensive walls punctuated with majestic gateways. Do not miss this delightful island with its peaceful beaches, its large walkways and its lively nightlife, perpetuating the myth of the famous Colossus, the legendary statue that is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Day 4 AT SEA
During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.
Day 5 Crossing the SUEZ CANAL
Without the waterway linking the Red Sea to the Mediterranean this part of the world would be an arid sandy desert inhabited by a few nomads. The Suez Canal slices through 162 km of desert and was inaugurated in 1869 in the presence of Empress Eugenie, then nationalised by Nasser in 1956.
Day 6 AIN SUKHNA
Ain Sukhna, which means “hot spring,” is located in the Gulf of Suez, facing the Red Sea. Around fifty kilometres from the entrance to the Suez Canal, and less than two hours from the Egyptian capital, it is an elegant seaside town that is popular with wealthy families from Cairo. Ain Soukhna is an ideal base for discovering the marvels of Ancient Egypt.
Day 7 AT SEA
Day 8 EILAT
Situated in the far south of the State of Israel, on the banks of the Gulf of Eilat, on the edge of the Negev Desert between Egypt and Jordan, Eilat is internationally renowned as a high-end seaside resort and spa town, as well as for its magnificent natural sites. The first references to this place date back to the time of King Solomon. His legendary mines are said to be located not far from the now-modern city. It is the departure point for visiting the Masada fortress and for the incredible experience of swimming in the Dead Sea.
Day 9 AQABA
Located in the Red Sea within the eponymous gulf, Aqaba offers Jordan its only access to the sea. At the crossroads of the land and sea routes that linked Asia, Africa and Europe, the town is rich with more than 5,000 years of history. The warm waters of the Red Sea attract holidaymakers and divers to this seaside destination; the underwater sites home to coral and fishes are some of the most beautiful in the world. Aqaba is also the gateway to the magnificent desert of Wadi Rum and the marvellous site of Petra.
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