Cruising the Red Sea and the Aegean Sea (WAITLIST ONLY)
Join us for a comprehensive, 11-night journey across a rich tapestry of history and culture, from the beautiful Red Sea to the azure Aegean, exploring the treasures of Jordan, Egypt and Greece. Spend two nights in Amman, and one night in “rose-red” Petra, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Cruise for eight nights from Aqaba, Jordan to Athens, Greece aboard the exclusively chartered, Five-Star LE BOUGAINVILLE, launching in 2019 and featuring the world’s first multisensory, underwater Observation Lounge. Mid-cruise, an overnight excursion is included in awe-inspiring Luxor, site of ancient Thebes and the tombs of Tutankhamun and Ramses IV. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Great Pyramids of Giza and opt to overnight in pharaonic Cairo or stay aboard ship to transit through the historic Suez Canal. Tour Egypt’s Mediterranean port of Alexandria, including its brilliant New Library, before cruising to the quintessential Greek island of Santorini. Six-night Israel Pre-Program Option and the two- night Athens and Delphi Post-Program Option.
Shared departure: this departure is shared with other universities.
Depart the U.S. or Canada
Depart the U.S. for Amman. Upon arrival, check into the five-star, centrally located Fairmont Amman.
In vibrant Amman, visit the beautiful, blue-domed King Abdullah Mosque, built in 1989. Proceed to Amman’s hilltop Citadel to explore the ruins of the Temple of Hercules and gain spectacular views of the city’s skyline. See the three-tiered Roman Amphitheater, one of the largest in the Middle East. Explore the Jordan Museum, where the Neolithic plaster statues of ‘Ain Ghazal are preserved. Attend the Welcome Reception in the hotel and enjoy dinner at leisure. (B,R)
In Jerash, Jordan’s most captivating Greco-Roman site, the remarkably preserved colonnaded avenues, ceremonial gates, and golden-hued temples stand in testimony to one of the most important cities of the Roman Decapolis. Marvel at the impressive, three-gated Hadrian’s Arch and walk the Sacred Way to the Temple of Artemis to admire the elaborately carved Corinthian columns. Take in the immensity and the spectacular architecture of the Forum and the 56 soaring Ionic columns enclosing the oval plaza. See the Temple of Zeus and note the intricately decorated friezes. After lunch at a restaurant in Jerash, enjoy time for individual pursuits in Amman; dinner is at leisure. (B,L)
Depart Amman and traverse the dramatic beauty and awe inspiring wilderness of UNESCO World Heritage-designated Wadi Rum, known as the Valley of the Moon, where millennia of desert wind has carved a deep valley through towering granite and created spectacular sandstone formations. Embark on a Bedouin jeep ride through scenic canyons amid soaring mountains, undulating sand dunes, and rocky caverns etched with prehistoric inscriptions. Transfer to Petra and check into the Mövenpick Petra, ideally located adjacent to the site’s entrance. (B,L,D)
Become mesmerized by the ancient “rose-red city” of Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Petra’s majestic ensemble of temples, dwellings, and tombs, hewed from sandstone, holds a unique magnetism. Enter Petra through the narrow gorge known as the Siq, with its serpentine path and towering walls leading climactically to the spellbinding Khazneh (Treasury). Transfer to Aqaba and embark Le Bougainville. Join the Captain’s Welcome Reception and enjoy dinner while cruising the Red Sea. (B,L,R,D)
Hurghada, Egypt, for Luxor
Disembark the ship and travel through scenic mountains before descending into the lush Nile Valley. Arrive in Luxor and check into a Nile-view room in the Steigenberger Nile Palace Hotel. Begin your exploration of the UNESCO World Heritage designated Ancient Thebes with a visit to Karnak Temple, one of the largest religious structures ever built. This vast complex covers more than 100 acres and 2,000 years of history. Admire the exquisite craftsmanship of the statues of King Ramses II. Walk along the dramatic “Avenue of the Sphinxes.” Continue to the Temple of Luxor and view the temple’s fascinating bas reliefs depicting scenes from pharaonic times. (B,L,D)
Check out of the hotel and cruise across the Nile to the West Bank by motorboat. Framed by arid Theban hills, the sheer scale of the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Necropolis is displayed throughout memorial temples built to ready each pharaoh for the next world. Descend the narrow passageways to the burial chamber of King Ramses IV and arrive at the tomb of the world’s most famous pharaoh, King Tutankhamen. Continue to the Valley of the Queens for a specially arranged visit to the best preserved, most lavish Egyptian burial site, Queen Nefertari’s tomb, where the beauty of King Ramses II’s favorite queen is captured. Transfer to the ship for dinner this evening. (B,L,D)
Ain Sokhna for Giza
The Great Pyramids of Cheops, Chephren, and Mycerinus, riveting symbols of Egypt’s glory, are the only remaining Wonder of the Ancient World and now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Enjoy spectacular views of the mysterious Sphinx set against a backdrop of the Pyramids it stoically guards. Visit the Solar Boat Museum at the foot of the Pyramids to see Pharaoh Khufu’s reassembled funerary vessel. (B,L,D)
Suez Canal Transit
Transit the iconic and integral 120-mile-long Suez Canal. (B,L,D)
Alexandria for Historic Cairo OR Alexandria
Arrive in Alexandria and choose between a tour of the city or the UNESCO World Heritage site of Historic Cairo. See the Library of Alexandria’s visionary reincarnation, built in 2002. Trace the city’s history at Alexandria’s National Museum, home to a beautifully curated collection of artifacts. Visit the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa, Egypt’s largest Roman burial structure. Explore Qaitbey Fort, constructed on top of the remains of Lighthouse of Alexandria in 1480. Or, experience the grandeur of Historic Cairo and the Egyptian Museum, preserving Old, Middle, and New Kingdom artifacts, including the entire repository of treasures from boy‑king Tutankhamen’s tomb. Egypt’s 14th‑century Golden Age is reflected in the elegant Sultan Hassan Mosque. (B,L,D)
Cruising the Mediterranean Sea
Enjoy a day of cruising on the azure Mediterranean Sea. (B,L,D)
Be on deck as the ship cruises into picture-perfect Santorini. Tour the remarkable Bronze Age ruins of Akrotiri, held intact by layers of pumice and ash for over 3,500 years. Visit the Museum of Prehistoric Thera and conclude this captivating Cycladic excursion in the picturesque town of Fira. Enjoy lunch and time on your own in this elevated village or descend by aerial cable car to enjoy lunch aboard the ship. Attend the Captain’s Farewell Reception this evening. (B,L,R,D)
Athens/Arrive U.S. or Canada
Disembark and continue on the Classical Greece Post-Program Option or transfer to the airport for
your return flight to the U.S. (B)
Meet Your Trip Host
Ben van der Pluijm
Ben van der Pluijm is BR Clark Collegiate Professor in Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Michigan. He completed degrees at the Universities of Leiden and Utrecht in the Netherlands, and at the University of New Brunswick in Canada. He joined the faculty at U-M in 1985.
His research areas are structural geology, dealing with deformation of Earth’s crust from microscope to mountain belt, and societal resilience, dealing with Earth-Human interactions. Educational and outreach activities include professional and public lectures on geology, geohazards and global change. His research and professional activities are taking him around the world.
Professor van der Pluijm has served in many university roles, including the President’s Interdisciplinary Teaching Initiative and as Senior Counselor to the Provost. At the National Science Foundation he guided a $230M initiative on sustainability and societal challenges. He has served on multiple (inter)national agency panels and editorial boards; currently, he is Editor-in-Chief of the science journal Earth’s Future. He has (co-)authored >200 peer-reviewed publications, edited and authored several books, and is working on the college text “Earth Interactions”. His public outreach activities include lectures and writings on geology, geohazards, and societal resilience.
Professor van der Pluijm is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow of the Geological Society of America, and recipient of several awards, including the University Award for Service and Leadership. He is married to Elisabeth (Lies) Quint, UM Professor of OB/GYN, who shares his enthusiasm for travel, culture and discovery. They have participated in multiple UM-alumni trips.