It is sometimes said that if it was not for St Paul there would have been no Christianity. It was through his missionary journeys, from about 44 AD to 60 AD that the Christian message was spread to the Gentile world. St Paul made three journeys from Antioch across the Eastern Mediterranean and Anatolia, now modern day Turkey, to Thrace and finally onto Rome. In the process he founded some of the earliest Christian churches.

St Paul was born in Tarsus, around 5 AD, a time when the Eastern Mediterranean was under Roman Rule. In 33 AD, on his way to Damascus in Syria he had a religious experience, or revelation, which he believed to be of the resurrected Christ. From this moment on he became a Christian and was later known as Paul rather than Saul, his Hebrew name. The life of St Paul and the early Church was set within the context of the Roman Empire, which in turn succeeded the ancient Greek Empire. During our visits to the ancient sites we will see evidence of Greek, Roman and also Byzantine history and culture. The Ottomans followed the Byzantines and ever since the region has been predominantly Muslim.

During this cruise and from the comfort of the MS Serenissima we will have an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of St Paul, visiting Patmos, Perge and his birthplace, Tarsus. We will also visit Ephesus, which at the time of St Paul was second only to Rome in size and importance. During St Paul’s three-year stay in Ephesus he frequently preached on the steps of the Library, and whilst in Ephesus he wrote four letters, or Epistles; to the Galatians, Corinthians, Philemon and Philippians. We also visit the island of Patmos where St John the Divine wrote the Book of Revelation to the Seven Churches of Asia, some of which we will be visiting.

Our journey takes us through an area steeped in history; a history of great empires, of conquest and of conflict and a history rich in cultural and religious diversity. It is an area that can lay claim to the foundation of the early Christian Church; a place where not only churches were built but where Christian doctrine was first formulated at the great Ecumenical Councils of Nicaea, Constantinople and Ephesus. While many of these early churches no longer exist, the sense of place remains and the legacy of St Paul lives on.
Fly by scheduled flight. On arrival transfer to the MS Serenissima for embarkation. Enjoy Welcome Dinner and Drinks as we sail this evening.
After breakfast we will drive to Troy which is associated with the sagas of the Trojan War and its description by Homer (750 BC) in his two epic poems “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey.” Archaeological digs have revealed nine cities and various ruins of the city walls, typical house foundations, a temple and a theatre. En-route we will visit the Archaeological Museum. This afternoon you can relax on board or take a drive to Ezine town, through pine forests towards Alexandria Troas which has a large unexcavated ancient site. It was founded by Antigonos, one of the commanders of Alexander the Great, in 310 BC. During the time of St Paul, it was known as Alexandeia-Troas and Paul stayed and sailed from here with Barnabas to Neapolis.
On today’s full day tour we will drive inland, past fertile fields and olive trees, to the present day modern town of Bergama, once known as Pergamon, a great centre of culture. Today Pergamon is one of Turkey’s finest archaeological sites. We will visit the Asclepion, a healing centre from the 4th century BC and one of the most important sites of Pergamon. Discover the Temple of Asclepios, the amphitheatre, and walk through the sacred corridor and down the ancient, arcaded, marble-paved boulevard. Continue into the town of Bergama and visit the Archaeological Museum which houses relics discovered during the excavations of Pergamon. En-route we will see the Basilica which was one of the earliest of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor. Take a cable car up to the Acropolis to explore the remains of the citadel and the city walls, the foundations of the Zeus Altar, and the Royal Palace. Lunch will be served ashore.
Arriving at Kusadasi at breakfast time we will drive to the nearby ancient city of Ephesus, a stunning and partially excavated site where digging has been taking place for over a century. Broad streets are lined by impressive buildings including the Library of Celsus and the temples of Serapis and Hadrian. Once the capital of Ionia, St Paul preached here on his second missionary journey and we will see the Church of the Virgin Mary, the most important Christian monument in Ephesus. We will see the spectacular Grand Theatre, originally built in the 3rd century BC by the Greeks, and later expanded by the Romans to its present capacity of 24,000. From this theatre, which has a row of seats 30 metres above the orchestra, St Paul used to give his sermons. Enjoy a free afternoon strolling in Kusadasi or join an excursion to the site of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and see the ruined Basilica of St John.
Of all the Greek islands, Patmos is the most sacred to Christians both Orthodox and Western; it was here that St John received his revelation. This morning we will make our way to the grotto of St John. This small cave, now converted into the beautiful chapel, is where the Saint lived, had his revelation and wrote ‘Book of the Apocalypse’. From here continue to the village of Chora, with its simple houses and Byzantine churches and climb to the Monastery of St John the Theologian. Return to the MS Serenissima for lunch and enjoy an afternoon and evening at leisure to explore the picturesque town of Skala or maybe enjoy a swim at a nearby beach.
From the port of Didim we will drive to Priene, an ancient Greek holy city and the home of an important temple of Athena. Priene’s picturesque ruins include several columns of the Temple of Athena, much of the city wall, a well-preserved theatre and a council chamber. We will continue to Miletus, one of the most important cities in ancient Greek world and visited by St Paul on his third missionary journey. Here were Minoans, Mycenaeans and one-time allies of the Trojans. The city foolishly led a revolt of the Ionian Greek cities against the powerful Persian Empire who ruled until the arrival of Alexander in the 4th century BC. Here is a fine theatre, well laid out chessboard street plans, two agoras (marketplaces), baths, a council chamber, fortifications, a stadium and harbour workings. After lunch on board we will have time to explore the colossal temple and oracle to Apollo in Didim. Please note that we may be at anchor today in which instance the vessel’s Zodiacs will be used.
From the harbour at Fethiye, we travel to the south east to discover the rich Lycian towns of the past. Drive along the Esme River to the ancient city of Xanthos, Lycia’s prominent capital city built on a great cliff overlooking the river. Xanthos boasts several significant ruins, including the Nereid Monument, an exquisite ionic building whose figured friezes are in the British Museum. Continue to Letoon, a city named after Leto, mother Goddess of Lycians. We will see the ruins of the temples dedicated to Leto, Artemis and Apollo and the amphitheatre. Enjoy a local lunch before visiting Patara, located amidst sand dunes and by a long sandy beach. The city was conquered by Alexander the Great and St Paul stopped here on his way to Rome in AD 60. It was also the birthplace of St Nicholas. See the Grand Theatre and the ruins of the temples. Please note that we may be at anchor today in which instance the vessel’s Zodiacs will be used.
Over breakfast we will arrive in Antalya from where we explore the principal Roman ruins along Turkey’s southern coast. We pass the modern city of Antalya en-route to the ancient city of Perge which dates back to 1000 BC and was founded by Mopsus and Calchas after their retreat from Troy. St Paul visited here on at least two occasions mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. See the Basilica of Perge, which played an important role in the spread of Christianity, the 2nd century AD stadium, the baths complex and two magnificent round towers of the Greek Gate. We drive further east for our visit of Aspendos, whose amphitheatre, built in the 2nd century AD is considered the best preserved in the Mediterranean. After a local lunch continue to Antalya to visit the excellent Archaeological Museum.
On a morning excursion drive through the town, with views of the Taurus Mountains in the east, then towards Incekum along the Turkish Riviera to the west, where we pass citrus and banana plantations and visit Damlatas Cave which is a masterpiece of nature, known for its curative effect on asthma. Drive along the beautiful Turkish Riviera towards the ancient city of Side which was one of the leading Pamphylian cities on the south coast of Anatolia. Visit the Grand Theatre, a perfect example of a Roman theatre built on vaults on flat land. Walk through the town, view the old harbour and see the remains of the Apollo Temple. From the MS Serenissima’s central berth, you can enjoy a free afternoon and evening to explore the town of Alanya with its Medieval fort perched on a rocky peninsula.
After a morning at sea we will arrive in Tasucu over lunch. We will drive to Silifke which was once ancient Seleucia founded between 296 and 280 BC by one of Alexander the Great’s generals. After a short drive, we arrive at the underground church of Aya Tekla, founded by Thecla, a disciple of St Paul’s teaching. We will drive back to the centre of Silifke for our visit of the Silifke Archaeological Museum which also has an ethnographic section. Continue along the shore to Corycos where, in 191 BC, the fleet of Antiochus the Great was defeated by the Romans. See the ancient tombs and view the castle of Kiz Kalesi from the shore.
Spend the morning in Mersin, the capital of Icel province which borrows its name from Myrtle, the evergreen vegetation which grows in the area. From here it is a short drive to Tarsus, the birthplace of St Paul which was an important part of the trade route to the interiors of Asia Minor. We will see the well dedicated to St Paul and the church built in 1862 to his name. Walk through the narrow streets of old Tarsus with typical stone and wooden built houses, see the Roman road in the north of the city and visit the Tarsus Museum where we see the relics from Gozlukule excavations. We end at the Ulu Mosque and Makami-Sherif Mosque, both converted from ancient churches. Return to the MS Serenissima for lunch and an afternoon at sea.
Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to London.

Standard Stateroom

£ 5195 GBP pp
Standard Stateroom
The standard staterooms range in size from 10 to 15.5 square metres. All cabins are fully air conditioned with an en-suite bathroom with shower and a selection of toiletries in addition to a hairdryer, robes and slippers. All cabins come equipped with telephone, flat screen television, safety deposit box and other thoughtful appointments. Bottles of still and sparkling water are replenished daily.

Standard Single

£ 5395 GBP pp
Standard Single
The standard single cabins range in size from 7.1 to 12.7 square metres. All cabins are fully air conditioned with an en-suite bathroom with shower and a selection of toiletries in addition to a hairdryer, robes and slippers. All cabins come equipped with telephone, flat screen television, safety deposit box and other thoughtful appointments. Bottles of still and sparkling water are replenished daily.

Superior Stateroom

£ 5795 GBP pp
Superior Stateroom
The superior staterooms range in size from 11 to 19.6 square metres. All cabins are fully air conditioned with an en-suite bathroom with shower and a selection of toiletries in addition to a hairdryer, robes and slippers. All cabins come equipped with telephone, flat screen television, safety deposit box and other thoughtful appointments. Bottles of still and sparkling water are replenished daily.

Deluxe Stateroom

£ 5995 GBP pp
Deluxe Stateroom
The deluxe staterooms range in size from 15 to 25.4 square metres. All cabins are fully air conditioned with an en-suite bathroom with shower and a selection of toiletries in addition to a hairdryer, robes and slippers. All cabins come equipped with telephone, flat screen television, safety deposit box and other thoughtful appointments. Bottles of still and sparkling water are replenished daily.

Junior Suite

£ 6395 GBP pp
Junior Suite
The junior suites range in size from 20.9 to 21.7 square metres. All cabins are fully air conditioned with an en-suite bathroom with shower and a selection of toiletries in addition to a hairdryer, robes and slippers. All cabins come equipped with telephone, flat screen television, safety deposit box and other thoughtful appointments. Bottles of still and sparkling water are replenished daily.

Owners Suite

£ 6695 GBP pp
Owners Suite
The owner’s suites are 22.7 square metres. All cabins are fully air conditioned with an en-suite bathroom with shower and a selection of toiletries in addition to a hairdryer, robes and slippers. All cabins come equipped with telephone, flat screen television, safety deposit box and other thoughtful appointments. Bottles of still and sparkling water are replenished daily.

Serenissima

Vessel Type: Small Ship

Length: 87 metres

Passenger Capacity: 107 (from Dec 2018 - 95)

Built / refurbished: 1960 / 2013 / 2018

We are delighted to have had the MS Serenissima on long term charter since 2013. There are so few ships of her generation still cruising and the fact that she is is a great testament to her owners who invest considerable sums to keep her in top form. In December 2018, the vessel will once again undergo a significant refurbishment after which she will accommodate a maximum of just 95 guests.

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. 

PLEASE NOTE: Deck plan varies for 2019 cruises, no inside cabins.

Cabin layout for Serenissima

Post-Cruise Cyprus Extension. From (525.00 GBP)

5th to 8th April 2020 Day 1 Larnaca to Limassol. Day 2 Limassol. Day 3 Paphos. Day 4 Larnaca to London.

Pre-Cruise Istanbul Extension. From (695.00 GBP)

22nd to 25th March 2020 Day 1 London to Istanbul, Turkey. Day 2 Sultanahmet. Day 3 Istanbul. Day 4 Istanbul.

Serenissima

Serenissima in Black SeaSerenissima

Black Sea Expedition Expedition

12 Days from
£ 5195 GBP pp

Highlights

• Travelling with You - The Rt Revd Graham James. The Rt Revd Graham James became Bishop of Norwich in 1999. He entered the House of Lords in 2004. Among his national responsibilities in the Church of England he was lead bishop on media issues for a long period, and has served on the Lords Select Committee on Communications. He has been a frequent presenter of Radio 4’s “Thought for the Day”. Earlier in his career he travelled widely when serving at Lambeth Palace, and has lectured on cruises for the past 20 years. His recent books “The Lent Factor” and “A Place for God” reflect the range of his interests and travels. One of his earliest publications was about Paul’s understanding of Christ and the character of his human nature. He looks forward to reflecting on the life, times and travels of Paul in the first century on this cruise, and placing Paul within the setting of his own age.

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NZ Freephone
0800 945 3327

AUS Freephone
1800 107 715

to help you make your reservation

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