Cruise West Announces Six Captivating Mediterranean Voyages

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Seattle, WA – Six distinct Mediterranean voyages, from Alexandria, Egypt to Honfleur, France, mark the second chapter of small-ship exploration line Cruise West’s epic world adventure, Voyages of the Great Explorers. Delving deep into the heart of the Mediterranean — rich in myth and mystery — guests will journey to many fabled destinations in Greece and Turkey, and savor the cultural richness and sensory pleasures of Tunisia, Algeria, Italy, Sicily, Malta, Spain, Portugal and France. Guests can enjoy savings up to 21 percent savings if voyage is booked and paid in full by Oct 15, 2009.

There is incredible value with every voyage. In addition to an included excursion at every port, each of the six voyages will be enhanced by an extraordinary ‘Ultimate Explorers Experiences’ (UEE) excursion, designed to bring guests into direct personal contact with fascinating peoples, cultures and natural wonders. Engaging presentations by Smithsonian Journeys experts and local acclaimed authorities on the region’s culture, history and current events will bring each region to life.

Smithsonian Journeys experts illustrate Mediterranean history
Smithsonian Journeys guest speaker and author Jodi Magnes, Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology injects color into the classics throughout Voyage 5: Alexandria to Istanbul. Magnes will provide rich insights to the region as guests explore Paphos, birthplace of Aphrodite; Hadrian’s Gate, constructed by the second century Roman emperor Hadrian; and ancient Troy. A stop at the island of Lesvos offers a tantalizing glimpse of traditional Greek life before the voyage concludes at the gate of the Western world, historic and exotic Istanbul. Voyage highlights include an exclusive evening concert and reception amongst the ancient Roman ruins on Ephesus (UEE). The 14-night voyage departs May 4, 2010.

Voyage 6: Istanbul to Venice features Smithsonian Journeys guest speaker Diane Cline who holds impressive credentials including a B.A. in classics form Stanford University and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton in art and archaeology. Cline will unfold the mysteries and architectural treasures of the city known over the centuries as Byzantium, Constantinople and eventually Istanbul. The cruise journeys on to the ancient sites of Gallipoli (site of a famous WW1 battle), Delphi; the beautiful classic Greek islands of Syros, Sifnos, Santorini, Naxos; Katakolon, the site of the first Olympiad; ancient UNESCO site Butrint and Durres, the oldest city in Albania. The voyage continues to Dubrovnik, with its 13th-century ramparts; Mljet National Park, and the magnificent old town of Zadar before arriving in Venice. Highlight of note includes a tour of the legendary site of Delphi (UEE) on the slopes of Mt. Parnassus and a four-mile transit through the Corinth Canal. The 14-night voyage departs May 17, 2010.

Smithsonian Journey guest lecturer Glenn Bugh, professor of ancient, Byzantine and Venetian history at Virginia Tech, joins Voyage 7: Venice to Valetta. This exciting voyage showcases off-the-beaten track ports, villages and towns in Croatia, Montenegro, Italy, Sicily and Malta. Highlights include an overland tour of Croatia from the historical Roman town of Porec (UEE) to Pula to study first hand the influence of Rome and Byzantium; Split, known for its 17 centuries of building, renovating and remodeling; the UNESCO site Kotor; and Bari with the famous monument Basilica of Saint Nicholas. The 12-night voyage departs on May 30, 2010.

The 13-night Voyage 8: Departing June 10, 2010, Valletta to Rome combines Ottoman and Western history with beautiful rugged scenery, visits to seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and stops at picturesque ports in Tunisia, Algeria, Sardinia and Rome. Explore exotic Sousee and La Goulette (Tunis), Tunisia; and Annaba and El Kala, Algeria – all rich in history and intrigue. Discover the prehistoric architecture of Su Nuraxi di Barumini near Cagliari, and the important regional center of Arbatax, Sardinia; continuing to Italy’s magnificent Amalfi Coast, the ancient ruins of Pompeii (UEE); the Royal Palace of Caserta near Gaeta; and a sleepy fishing village on the Ponziane Islands before disembarking in Rome. Smithsonian Journeys guest speaker and architectural historian Gail Cornell will discuss historic preservation and architecture of the region.

The Renaissance art and medieval architecture of Italy, France and Spain are the highlights of Voyage 9: Departing June 22, 2010, Rome to Barcelona aptly enhanced by Smithsonian Journeys guest speaker Robert Davis, author and professor of Italian Renaissance and pre-modern Mediterranean history at Ohio State University. Port stops include Bonifacio, Corsica; Elba, where Napoleon spent years in Exile; Pisa and magnificent Florence, known for its Duomo, Uffizi Gallery & Museum (UEE) and more, continuing onto Portovenere and lovely Portofino, Italy; and the Spanish island of Menorca. Viva la France as the ship sails into Villefranche-sur-Mer located in the French Riviera, Port St. Louis-du-Rhone and Port Vendres where guests explore the serene Fontfroide Abbey and the walled city of Carcassonne.

Voyage 10: Departing July 4, 2010, Barcelona to Honfleur — the final voyage of chapter two — offers guests the opportunity to sail with Cruise West Chairman Dick West and wife Leslie into Spain, Portugal and France, where evidence of Roman rule and Moorish invasion await guests discovery, along with incredible natural beauty. View Islamic influences in Granada’s famed Alhambra Palace and Seville’s 14th-century Real Alcázar, and sample some of the world’s best port in Oporto, called Portus Calle by the Romans. Sail up the Bordeaux River, perfect for connoisseurs of vistas and vintages, where guests will be treated to an exclusive dinner and tour of Château Kirwan (UEE). After a day at historic Normandy Beach, the journey will end in Honfleur. Joining the voyage is Smithsonian Journeys guest speaker Dianne Konz who will discuss the integration of the cultural arts in the context of their time including art, architecture, literature, music and gastronomy.

Book by Voyage or Multiple Segments
The Voyages of the Great Explorers–an industry first–is a collection of 24 individual voyages (which can all be booked separately) combine to form a 335-day circumnavigation of the world along the major routes inspired by history’s great ocean explorers. Beginning March 5, 2010, on board Cruise West’s flagship, the 120-guest, all-suite Spirit of Oceanus, the world voyage will sail ever westward, returning to Singapore on Feb 3, 2011.

Prices per voyage include a pre-cruise hotel night, all transfers and a tour of the embarkation city. For maximum savings of 21 percent, book and pay in full by Oct 15, 2009. Guests who book more than one voyage will save an additional five percent. For further details on Cruise West’s itineraries, visit www.CruiseWest.com, call 800-296-8307 or a travel professional.