Louis: Overnight in Mykonos and New Shore Excursions

Louis Cruises is introducing the opportunity to overnight in Mykonos as part of a cruise itinerary and is unveiling even more exciting shore excursions that further distinguish the line as specialists in cruising the Eastern Mediterranean.

As part of the line’s enhanced focus on showcasing its Aegean identity, guests sailing onboard Louis Cruises vessels can more fully experience the sights, sounds and tastes of Greece, the Greek islands, Turkey and beyond on their next Mediterranean adventure.

For the 2013 Mediterranean cruise season, Louis Cruises 8-day/-7night cruise program “Greece and Turkey” will sail to and from Lavrion (Athens/Attica) calling at the ports of Istanbul, Mykonos, Patmos, Kusadasi, Rhodes, Crete (Heraklion) , and Santorini.

New for the coming year, travelers will have the opportunity to overnight in Mykonos and experience the world famous nightlife for which the Greek Island is renowned. Then, they can enjoy a full-day to explore Mykonos or venture off to the island of Delos on one of the line’s superb shore excursions. Louis Cruises is pleased to be the only cruise line in the Eastern Mediterranean to bring this unique and highly-requested option for travelers to truly live the magic of Mykonos with an overnight stay in this vivacious village.

In addition to the new overnight stay in Mykonos, Louis Cruises is unveiling new additions to its robust shore excursion program for its 8-day/7-night “Greece and Turkey” cruise itinerary, providing guests with an enriching and profound destination experience. Here’s a look at some of the exciting shore excursion options presented for 2013:

— Cape Sounion & the Temple of Poseidon – Half Day excursion in Lavrion, Greece

An approximate 30 minute bus ride through the pine trees of Cape Sounion will bring you to the spectacular location of the Temple of Poseidon, built in the year 440 BC by Pericles during the Golden Age of Greece atop the ruins of a previous temple. During its heyday, the Temple of Poseidon in ancient Greece would have had 42 Doric columns, of which 16 remain today. As the Greek Mythology god of the seas, it only seems fitting that a temple built to honor him should be found at water’s edge.

The Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion is an enchanting place at Sounion known as one point of a magical triangle – from there, visitors will see the Temple of Aphaia on the island of Aegina, and the Acropolis too.

— Byzantine Heritage & Bazaars — Full Day Excursion in Istanbul, Turkey

This excursion begins with a sightseeing drive through the business center of the modern city, across the Galata Bridge, along the banks to reach the Orthodox Patriarchate where travelers will visit the Church of St. George. The exploration continues at the Kariye Museum, once the 11th century Church of St Saviour in Chora.

It was repaired in the Period of Commenses and Palaiologuses, and is considered to be the most important Byzantine monument in Istanbul after Hagia Sofia. Next travelers visit the “Misir Carsisi” or Spice Market to enjoy free time shopping and lunch. The adventure continues around the mighty city walls, walking to the world famous monument of Haghia Sofia the Byzantine Church of Divine Wisdom. One of the most historically important monuments, built as a grand cathedral in the 4th century by Constantius – the successor to Constantine the Great – it was dedicated to Divine Wisdom (an attribute of Christ).

It was converted into a mosque after the conquest of Istanbul and today is used as a museum. The building has survived various earthquakes and fires during its lifetime, and is surpassed in size only by St Peter’s in Rome and St Paul’s in London. Fatih Sultan Mehmet added the four minarets after his conquest of Istanbul. The beautiful mosaics were covered with plaster, and have slowly been uncovered. The last stop on this fascinating excursion is at the worldwide famous Grand Bazaar.

— Ancient Ephesus & The Terrace Houses – Half Day Excursion in Kusadasi, Turkey

Upon arrival at Ephesus, a short drive from Kusadasi in Turkey, travelers enter the ancient site through the Magnesian Gate where they will discover one of the most magnificent excavations in the world with countless monuments including the Forum, the Odeon, the Library of Celsus, the Thermal Baths of Scolastika and the Great Theatre built in the Greek Era and reconstructed in the Roman period, which is still noted for its remarkable acoustics.

Here they will view the symbols all around and marvel at the fact that one is still able to read the inscriptions in the ancient Greek language. Ephesus terrace houses are located on the hill, opposite the Hadrian Temple Also called as “the houses of rich”, as they reveal information about family life during the Roman period. The excavations of the terrace houses started in 1960. The restoration of the two of the houses has been completed and can be visited today.

There are six residential units on three terraces at the lower end of the slope of the Bulbul Mountain. The oldest building dates back into the 1st century BC and continued in use as residence until the 7th century AD. They had interior courtyards (peristyle) in the center, with the ceiling open. They were mostly two-storied edifices, but upper stories have collapsed over time. On the ground floor there were living and dining rooms opening to the hall featuring frescoes and mosaics, and upstairs there were bedrooms and guest rooms. Clay pipes beneath the floors and behind the walls carried hot air through the houses. The houses also had cold and hot water an amazing fact that showed advancements in Ephesus dating back more than two thousand years.

— St. John’s Monastery & Grotto of the Apocalypse – Half Day Excursion in Patmos, Greece

One of the most distinctive port Louis Cruises calls at in the Aegean that travelers rave about is Patmos. On this excursion, travelers depart from the port of Scala and enjoy a short drive to the village of Chora, where The Monastery of Saint John the Theologian (also called Monastery of Saint John the Divine) is situated, which was built 900 years ago and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1088, Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos gave the island of Patmos to the soldier-priest John Christodoulos.

The greater part of the monastery was completed by Christodoulos three years later. He heavily fortified the exterior because of the threats of piracy and Seljuk Turks.

Travelers will see the courtyard, the monks’ dining room and the old bakery before you visit the main church noted for its outstanding frescoes and interior decoration. Next, visit the small museum where priceless ecclesiastical treasures, books, manuscripts, mosaics, icons, splendid medieval textiles, vestments and jewelry are housed.

The excursion continues along to the nearby Grotto of the Apocalypse and the Monastery of the Apocalypse above it. Walk down the steep steps to the Grotto of the Apocalypse believed to mark the spot where John of Patmos received his visions that he recorded in Christian scriptural Book of Revelation. Here guests will see the niches in the wall that mark the pillow and ledge used as a desk by the author of the Book of Revelation. In 1999, UNESCO declared the cave a joint World Heritage Site together with the Monastery of Saint John “the Theologian.” Afterwards, drive back to the port of Scala and enjoy some free time in this quaint and picturesque town.

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