GREECE VIA THE CORINTH CANAL & TURKEY: THE MARVELS OF ANCIENT RIVALS

From $ 6,699 pp Shipboard Credit Offer
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Greece via the Corinth Canal & Turkey: The Marvels of Ancient Rivals

From $ 6,699* pp, Shipboard Credit Offer

Athens to Athens

Greece via the Corinth Canal & Turkey: The Marvels of Ancient Rivals
Anticipate the unforgettable and immerse yourself in a distinctly different Eastern Mediterranean cruise that explores the Peloponnese in ways inaccessible to large-ship cruise lines. Walk among weathered marble blocks and the faded echoes of ancient athletic glory during the first Olympic Games nearly 3,000 years ago near Katakolon. Step inside the restored stone arches of Meryemama Evi—the House of the Virgin Mary—a Catholic and Muslim shrine situated near the steep, stony slopes of Mount Koressos, before making your way to a delicious and exclusive Turkish dinner among the towering walls and columns of Ephesus. Wander the Grand Bazaar, Topkapi Palace, and the majestic Blue Mosque before taking in the endless parade of busy Bosporus shipping lights during an overnight stay in Istanbul. Your journey circumnavigates the Peloponnese Peninsula by slipping through the narrow, high-walled Corinth Canal, an ancient engineering dream that wasn’t completed until the late 1800s, but remains inaccessible to large freighters and cruise liners. You eventually end up back where you started in Piraeus, adjacent to Athens and a perfect culinary jumping-off point for sampling the countless tavernas and psistarias serving up savory grilled Greek meats paired with tart wines and chilled beers within the shadow of the Parthenon.

A Complimentary Destination Discovery Event

Kusadasi: Evening in Ephesus

No one who has seen the magnificent Celsus Library of Ephesus will ever forget it. And Windstar guests will get a once-in-a-lifetime experience of the Library – after hours during this exclusive Evening in Ephesus event.
 
You will walk the Marble Road to the Library that housed more than 12,000 scrolls nearly two millennia ago. Your 5-course, white-glove-service dinner will be in the courtyard in front of the Library. The spectacularly illuminated façade allows you to examine the statues in their niches and the elegant details of the frames. Dinner under the stars will be accompanied by a trio from the Aegean Chamber Orchestra. 
 
Just as you'd expect. No crowds. No rush. Delight in every detail.

Please note: This Destination Discovery Event has been scheduled in a way that will allow you to book and experience another shore excursion on the same day and you will not miss anything.

On the day that Star Pride transits the Corinth Canal, Melissa Witsoe recommends rising early, grabbing an espresso up in the Yacht Club, and scoring a prime spot on the bow as you navigate the narrow limestone walls: "I felt as if I could reach out and actually touch them," she says.
Our Storyteller: Melissa Witsoe
Product Development Manager
Melissa has been trotting the globe for more than two decades now, precuring excursions, inspecting hotels, and building local relationships to ensure that Windstar guests’ shore experience is as carefree and rewarding as possible. A few fun facts about Melissa:


Countries visited: 51
Ports visited: 220 or so, 119 of which she currently manages
Estimated miles logged: 50,000 a year
Hours spent on an airplane: Between 80 and 100 annually
Travel must-have: Nikon D5600 DSLR camera - "My best traveling companion!"
Favorite part of her job: "Working with wonderful, amazing people around the world"

On the day that Star Pride transits the Corinth Canal, Melissa Witsoe recommends rising early, grabbing an espresso up in the Yacht Club, and scoring a prime spot on the bow as you navigate the narrow limestone walls: “I felt as if I could reach out and actually touch them,” she says. Most cruise ships sail around the Peloponnese Peninsula to reach Western Greece, depriving travelers of the dramatic passage — and just one of the highlights of this history-rich voyage that, according to Melissa, “should be our bestselling cruise.” It’s a bold claim, to be sure; yet she makes a persuasive case, beginning with visits to six(!) UNESCO World Heritage Sites. (You can add a seventh with a pre-cruise hotel stay that’s walking distance of Athens’ Acropolis.)

There are the Bronze Age ruins of Akrotiri; Delphi, whose storied oracle revealed the ancients’ fates; and Olympia, where the first Olympics where held — and the torch for every modern-day Games begins. The Greek gods Apollo and Artemis were said to be born at Delos, while the Celsus Library in Ephesus serves as backdrop to a private, white-gloved dinner exclusively for Windstar guests. “Listening to the string quartet as the sun set, its orange glow streaming through that glorious façade—the image still brings chills,” Melissa muses. An overnight in Istanbul lets you visit the Hagia Sophia and other UNESCO-designated sites, and still have time for a Whirling Dervishes performance. Add charming little ports like Chania and Myrina, a leisurely day of cruising The Dardanelles, and, well, as Melissa puts it: “This cruise has it all!”

IF I WERE THERE...
  • Slip through the Corinth Canal, a shortcut reserved for small ships like Star Pride, “with only meters to spare on each side!”
  • Relish an exclusive Destination Discovery Event in ancient Ephesus — “A late departure allows plenty of time to explore the fascinating ruins beforehand, like the home of Mary, mother of Jesus; and the Terrace Houses, where ongoing excavations continue to reveal riches”
  • Hunt for treasures in Istanbul’s bustling Grand Bazaar, where the friendly Turkish people will likely offer a cup of tea as you browse their shops for Byzantine jewelry, silk pashminas, and Iznik pottery — With two full days, you can also visit the Blue Mosque and take a sunset cruise on the Bosphorus: “The boat drops you off at a wonderful local seafood restaurant with amazing views”
  • Explore Santorini and its iconic, clifftop town of Oia — “I love to just get lost in the narrow pathways, which inevitably lead to the most picturesque spot or quaint restaurant”

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