Journey into Antiquity - New Addition!

Join distinguished scholars, Karen Armstrong and John Prevas, on this remarkable journey that takes in Istanbul, the Greek islands, coastal Turkey, and Cyprus, and ends in Athens. Experience Istanbul, ancient Byzantium, which Emperor Constantine renamed after himself and designated the new capital of the Roman Empire, we make our way through the Sea of Marmara to visit the storied ruins of Troy before calling in Chios to see the 11th-century Byzantine monastery of Nea Moni. Continuing along the Turkish coast and the route of Alexander the Great’s early conquests, marvel at stunning Ephesus, one of the world’s great archeological sites. On Patmos see the cave where St. John received visions of the Apocalypse, and in Rhodes wander in one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval towns. Along the mountainous coast to the south, we make calls at the ancient Lycian capital of Xanthos and the Hellenistic complexes at Perge and Aspendos before disembarking in Cyprus and flying to Athens to experience its ancient monuments that stand as testimonials to its glorious Golden Age of the 5th-century BC.  

Sep 23 - Oct 5, 2023  (13 days)

from $9,890 per person, double occupancy

For more Information

(415) 597-6720

    Saturday, September 23
    Istanbul, Turkey/Embark

    Arrive in Istanbul and transfer to the port to embark on Diana. Overnight aboard docked in Istanbul. Diana (D)

    Sunday, September 24

    Founded by Greeks in the 7th-century BC and named Byzantion, in AD 324, Emperor Constantine made the city the capital of the Roman Empire, naming it after himself, Constantinople. For over 1,000 years, it was the capital of the Byzantine Empire. Renowned as the most resplendent city in Europe, in the 15th-century, it was taken over by the Ottoman Turks, making it the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Spend the day touring the city’s principle historic monuments, including the Byzantine Church of Hagia Irene; the Topkapi Palace, the sumptuous palace of the sultans for three centuries; the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque; the Hippodrome; the underground Basilica Cistern; and the colorful Spice Bazaar. Diana will sail in the evening. Diana (B,L,D)

    Monday, September 25

    Located on the southern shore of the narrow channel of the Dardanelles, the port of Canakkale is our gateway to storied Troy where excavations began in the second half of the 19th-century and have revealed nine different layers of cities superimposed in rings on a massive mound rising above the “windswept Plain of Ilium.” As Homer recounts in the Iliad, one of these cities is where the Greeks fought the Trojans over a period of ten years before King Priam’s city finally fell to Odysseus’s ruse of the Trojan Horse. Diana (B,L,D)  

    Tuesday, September 26
    Chios, Greece

    Chios, the legendary birthplace of Homer, is known for its beautiful landscapes, historic sites, and old villages. Here we visit the Monastery of Nea Moni, built in the 11th century in a wooded vale in the center of the island. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, Nea Moni is decorated with exquisite mosaics and frescoes. In the afternoon, take an excursion to the traditional old villages of Mesta and Pyrgi, and also visit the interesting Mastic Museum. Diana (B,L,D)

    Wednesday, September 27
    Kusadasi / Priene / Ephesus, Turkey

    From Kusadasi, on Turkey’s Aegean coast, we drive to Priene, site of a well-preserved 4th-century BC city. Dominating the site is the imposing Temple of Athena, a superb example of Ionic architecture set against a backdrop of tree-covered hills. In the afternoon, explore Ephesus, one of the world’s most celebrated archaeological sites. Renowned in antiquity as a center of worship of the mother goddess Cybele, Ephesus was also one of the communities where St. Paul preached the gospel of Christianity. See the stunning façade of the Library of Celsus, the Temple of Hadrian, the Theater, and other large public monuments, as well as restored houses that give a glimpse into the daily lives of the ancient Ephesians. Diana (B,L,D)

    Thursday, September 28
    Patmos, Greece

    The rugged island of Patmos is where St. John the Evangelist was exiled during the reign of the Roman Emperor Domitian and is said to have received visions of the Apocalypse, which later became the Book of Revelation. Visit the 11th-century Monastery of St. John with its enormous towers, domed roofs, belfries and battlements. Admire the artistry of the icons, manuscripts and fine embroideries. Enjoy time at leisure in Chora, the island’s main town, one of the most beautiful in the Greek archipelago. Diana (B,L,D)

    Friday, September 29

    Call in Rhodes, among Europe’s largest medieval towns, and once the site of the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Explore the Old Town including the Palace of the Grand Master and the Archaeological Museum. In the afternoon, travel to the village of Lindos, where either by walking or taking a donkey ride, we will ascend to the top of the acropolis to visit its monuments, admire the incredible view, and walk the narrow alleyways of the village. Diana (B,L,D)

    Saturday, September 30

    From antiquity to the mid-20th century, Kastellorizo’s position in the maritime route between the Aegean Sea and the coast of the Middle East has given this Greek island importance beyond its tiny size. Remote and undisturbed by mass tourism, Kastellorizo’s spacious horseshoe harbor lined with Neoclassical houses and mansions presents one of the loveliest and most harmonious sights in the entire Greek archipelago. Enjoy exploring the town’s narrow alleyways and the waterfront’s boutiques and cafes at a leisurely pace. Weather permitting, visit the captivating Blue Grotto, which is larger and as impressive as the more famous grotto in Capri. Diana (B,L,D)

    Sunday, October 1
    Fethiye, Turkey

    From Turkey’s Fethiye, visit nearby Xanthos, the most prominent city of ancient Lycia, built on a cliff overlooking a river. Xanthos boasts significant remains, including a theater, temples, an agora, unique tombs with rock-cut facades, and sarcophagi mounted on pillars. Diana (B,L,D)

    Monday, October 2

    From Antalya, the largest seaside resort on the Turkish Riviera, travel inland to visit two of Turkey’s most famous ancient sites: Perge and Aspendos. The Greco-Roman ruins of Perge, once among the most prosperous cities of the Hellenistic world, include its great Stadium, a colonnaded and marble main street, and the Theater. At Aspendos, tour the grand 20,000-seat theater commissioned by Marcus Aurelius in the 2nd-century AD. It is one of the best-preserved ancient theaters in the world and serves as the site of an international opera and ballet festival every year. Diana (B,L,D)

    Tuesday, October 3
    Limassol, Cyprus / Athens, Greece

    Disembark Diana in Cyprus’s Limassol and transfer to the airport for the flight to Athens. One of the world’s most venerable cities, Athens’s ancient monuments are testimonials to its glorious past that gave birth to democracy, among other ideas and concepts. Tour in the afternoon the ancient Agora, the civic and commercial center of Athens and the living heart of its democracy. Spend the next two nights at the Hotel Athens Capital (or similar). (B, L)

    Wednesday, October 4

    Spend the morning at leisure for independent activities. Tour the Acropolis and its fabled monuments in the afternoon, including the incomparable Parthenon. Built in the 5th century BC, the Parthenon and the other monuments on the Acropolis represent the highest achievement of architecture and art of the Classical period. Visit also the Acropolis Museum, which houses a remarkable collection of sculptures. Enjoy in the evening a farewell dinner. Hotel Athens Capital (or similar). (B,D)

    Thursday, October 5
    Athens / US

    Transfer to the airport for the return flight home. (B)


    Constructed in Finland and launching in April 2023, Swan Hellenic’s Diana is a new-generation expedition cruise ship. Although at 12,100 tons the ship is large enough to accommodate more than 350 passengers, Diana will accommodate a maximum of 192 guests in 96 spacious staterooms and balcony suites. The low guest density results in one of the most generous indoor and outdoor space-to-guest ratios among cruise ships. Featuring the latest advances in technology and engineering, Diana is among the world’s first environmentally-responsible ships. Equipped with hybrid engines, a system of powerful batteries, and a unique water filtration system, Diana leaves a minimal footprint.  Operated by a complement of 135 experienced European officers and international crew members, Diana will carry a fleet of Zodiacs, versatile landing boats, and kayaks. Powerful stabilizers provide a smooth ride. Diana’s interior spaces exude sophisticated elegance, with most rooms opening to panoramic views of the sea. All staterooms and suites face outside and are equipped with private facilities, climate control, TV, Wi-Fi and USB connections and other amenities. Of the ship’s 96 staterooms, 76 have balconies. Public areas include a spacious observation lounge equipped with state-of- the-art facilities for lectures and presentations; a club lounge; a restaurant that accommodates all guests at one seating; an outdoor café/ bar that surrounds the heated swimming pool; a wellness area with gym, spa, and sauna with an adjoining outdoor jacuzzi; library; beauty salon; and an infirmary that is attended by a full-time doctor and nurse. The ship also features expansive open-deck areas. Two elevators connect all decks. Attentive service is provided on a 24-hour basis. The outstanding cuisine is complemented by fine wines at lunch and dinner.

    Cabin Categories (Prices are per person, double occupancy). Download the brochure for photos and the deck plan.

    • E - $9,890  Oceanview staterooms with two large oval windows. 206 sq. ft. Deck 4. (forward)
    • D - $10,210 Oceanview staterooms with two large oval windows. 206 sq. ft. Deck 4. 
    • C - $11,590 Suites with balcony & living room area. 300 sq. ft. Deck 5. (forward and aft)
    • B - $11,990 Suites with balcony & living room area. 300 sq. ft. Deck 5.  
    • A - $12,690 Suites with balcony & living room area. 300 sq. ft. Deck 6. 
    • AA - $13,990 Suites with large balcony, separate bedroom & living room. 474 sq. ft. Decks 5 & 6. 
    • SINGLE OCCUPANCY: A limited number of cabins are available for single occupancy in categories D to B at no additional charge. Additional single cabins are available at a supplement of 50% of the per person double occupancy rate, instead of the normal 70% supplement.  

    ■ Two nights at the Hotel Atehns Capital or similar ■ Welcome dinner in Istanbul    ■ 10-Day cruise aboard the Diana as described in the itinerary. ■ All meals aboard ship, including wine, beer, and soft drinks with lunch and dinner. ■ Coffee, including espresso and cappuccino, tea and soft drinks throughout the day and night ■Gratuities to shipboard personnel ■Complete program of tours and excursions and other activities ashore, with professional English-speaking guides. ■ Program of lectures Karen Armstrong and John Prevas ■ Airport transfers  at specified transfer times. ■ Open bar aboard ship  ■ Port, embarkation, and all other local taxes. ■ Gratuities to guides, drivers and porters. ■ WiFi aboard ship ■ 24-Hour Room Service ■ Experienced Thalassa Journeys trip director. ■ Comprehensive pre-departure material.

    Not included:
    Airfare ■ Travel insurance ■ Expenses of a personal nature ■ Any items not mentioned in the Program Inclusions  

    What to Expect

    This is a moderately active tour and participants must be able to keep up with an active group of travelers. For the safety and enjoyment of each participant and the group, participants must be able to:

    • Walk on average 1-2 miles at a steady pace.
    • Walk in cities and towns for approximately 2-3 hours of touring at a time.
    • Be able to walk on cobblestone, dirt and pavement.  Some of walking excursions require good balance as you walk over cobblestone sidewalks/dirt roads and uneven pavement.  
    • Stand for up to approximately 2 hours at a time each day.
    • Walk up and down steep stairs without hand rails, without the assistance of another person.
    • Get off and on tour vehicles without assistance
    Trip Educators
    Karen Armstrong

    Karen Armstrong is the author of numerous books on religion, including A History of God, which became an international bestseller. Her other works include The Battle for God: A History of Fundamentalism; Islam: A Short History; The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions; The Case for God; as well as a memoir, The Spiral Staircase. Her most recent works are The Lost Art of Scripture: Rescuing the Sacred Texts (2019) and Sacred Nature: How Can We Recover Our Reverence for the Natural World (2022). Her books have been translated into 45 languages. She has addressed members of the US Congress on three occasions and lectured to policy makers at the US State Department. In 2006, she was invited by Kofi Anan to join the High-Level Group of the new UN Alliance of Civilizations; in 2008, she was awarded the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Medal; in 2009, she won the TED Prize and with TED founded the Charter for Compassion, which is now a global movement. From 2008 to 2016, she was a Trustee of the British Museum; in 2013, she was awarded the inaugural British Academy Al-Rodhan Prize for Improving Intercultural Relations; in 2017, she was awarded the Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences and an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire)

    John Prevas

    John Prevas, Professor of Classics at the University of South Florida, is the author of five books on leadership figures from the ancient world, including The New York Times best-selling Power, Ambition, Glory – The Stunning Parallels Between Leaders of the Ancient World and Today, which he co-authored with Steve Forbes. Also an adventurer, John climbed the Alps in search of Hannibal’s pass and followed in Alexander the Great’s footsteps through the “terrorist belt” of Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. John is a frequent speaker at the Smithsonian Institution and other organizations and has been featured on C-Span, the History Channel, CNN, CNN International, and Fox. On these voyages, John will lecture on the history of the places we will visit and bring the past to the present.

    A deposit of $1,500 per person is required to reserve your space on the tour. Final payment is due 90 days prior to departure. Payment can be made by personal check or charged to a credit card.

    All cancellations are subject to a $300 per person administrative fee. Cancellations received 61-90 days prior to departure will be assessed a penalty equal to 50% of the total program cost per person. Cancellations received within 60 days of departure are subject to 100% cancellation penalties. Requests for cancellations must be made in writing. No refunds will be made for any part of this program in which you choose not to participate.

    INSURANCE:We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance, which is available for coverage of expenses in conjunction with cancellation due to illness or accident. Baggage insurance is also recommended. In the event you must cancel your participation in the travel program, trip cancellation insurance may be the only source of reimbursement. Information will be sent upon registration and can be viewed Travel Insurance Services website

    We require membership to the Commonwealth Club to travel with us. People who live outside of the Bay Area may purchase a worldwide membership. To learn about membership types and to purchase a membership, visit our membership page or call (415)597-6720.

    The itinerary, accommodations and arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of Thalassa Journeys.

    RESPONSIBILITY: Please read carefully the following terms and conditions, which constitute the sole, legally enforceable agreements between the traveler and Thalassa Journeys. Thalassa Journeys acts solely as agents for the traveler with respect to all transportation, hotel and other tour arrangements. In that capacity, we exercise all reasonable care possible to ensure the traveler’s safety and satisfaction, but, we neither assume nor bear any responsibility or liability for any injury, death, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity arising in connection with the services of any ship, airplane, train, automobile, motor coach, carriage or other conveyance, or the actions of any third-party, involved in carrying the traveler or in affecting these tours. We are not responsible for damages, additional expenses, or any other losses due to cancellation, delay or other changes in air or other services, sickness, weather, strike, war, civil disturbances, acts or threats of terrorism, travel warnings or bans, termination or suspension of war risks or other carrier insurance, quarantine, acts of God or other causes beyond our control. All such losses must be borne by the traveler, and tour rates provide for arrangements only for the time stated. In the event of cancellation, delay or rescheduling mandated by any of the aforesaid causes beyond our control, the traveler shall have the option of accepting in lieu of the original tour such rescheduled tour or other substituted tour(s) as may be offered by us, or else, receiving a refund of as much of such advance tour expenditures as we are able to recover on the traveler’s behalf from carriers, third-party tour vendors, etc., but, we shall not have any obligation or liability to the traveler beyond the foregoing. We reserve the right to make alterations to the tour’s itinerary and to substitute hotels, transportation methods, or lecturers if this is required. We reserve the right to cancel, delay, or reschedule any tour prior to departure, and, so long as this is not due to any of the aforesaid causes beyond our control, the traveler shall be entitled to a full refund of all monies paid to that point if he/she so desires. No refund shall be made for any unused portion of any tour. By forwarding their deposit(s), the traveler certifies that he/she and/or their dependents, minors or others covered thereby do not have any mental, physical or other condition of disability that could create a hazard for them or other travelers. We reserve the right to decline to accept or to decline to retain any person as a member of any tour should such person’s health, condition or actions adversely affect or threaten the welfare or safety of other travelers or impede the tour. Baggage or valuables brought on the tour shall be transported, handled or stored at the traveler’s risk entirely, and, we shall bear no liability or responsibility for any damage or other loss thereto. Resolution of any disputes arising hereunder shall be affected exclusively in the state or federal courts presiding in Florida, pursuant to applicable Florida law.

    RATES: Tour costs are based upon current airfares, tariffs, and currency values. While we do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change.

    CST 2138603-50
    Commonwealth Club CST 2096889-40
    ST 42048