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Deaf Turkey-Greece-Italy Cruise

November 12- 27, 2013



Istanbul by Night
Istanbul by Night
After arriving in Istanbul, the only city that is located on two continents, we made our way to the ship. We embarked our ship, the Celebrity Constellation, and got settled in. There was plenty of time to explore the different venues onboard the ship or to get off the ship at night since we stayed in port overnight. The cruise port in Istanbul is located at the Golden Horn with easy access to the Spice Market and the Old Town area.


Istanbul is a fascinating city with a long history and until this day very important because of its geographical location. Our extended tour started with a tour of The Blue Mosque, which is considered to be the last great mosque of the classical period. The magnificent structure and the stained-glass windows are breathtaking. Back on the bus, we went to the Topkapi Palace. The palace marks the area on the tip of land where the Golden Horn, the Sea of Marmara and the Bosporus come together. Once the residence of the Ottoman Sultans, Topkapi Palace is a great walled complex with a maze of buildings, courtyards and beautiful gardens. Today, the palace is a museum with an astonishing collection of Chinese porcelain, treasures, and the famous Topkapi Diamond. A very different place to visit was our next stop, the Grand Bazaar. Nobody who is visiting Istanbul should miss this maze of streets, festival of colors, and variety of all kinds of merchandise. It was the heart of commerce during Ottoman times and still one of the most vibrant places in the city today.
Spices at the Bazaar in Istanbul
Spices at the Bazaar in Istanbul




After our arrival at the port of Kusadasi, we started our bus tour to the ancient city of Ephesus. During a guided walking tour in this Open Air Archeological Museum we saw one of the most magnificent excavation areas in the world. We climbed the stairs in Theater where St. Paul preached. It was one of the largest theaters in antiquity with a seat capacity of 24,000 seats. The Library, the Temple of Hadrian and other buildings besides the Theater document the importance of Ephesus in past times. Leaving Ephesus, we had lunch in Sirince a small Aegean village located in the hills at about 1,000 feet above sea level. It is a famous location surrounded by vineyards and peach and apricot orchards. The delicious lunch was served in a rustic restaurant where we had a great time with a chance to taste the homemade fruit wines. Then, we had a chance to learn about one of the traditional crafts that Turkey is well known for: carpet weaving. In one of the villages close to Ephesus we visited such a workshop and were given information about this dying art form.

Group Picture in front of the Library in Ephesus
Group Picture in front of the Library in Ephesus
Picture Source: Joe Sapienza


Bodrum was once home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Mausoleum which collapsed as the result of an earthquake. Today, the port town is a popular resort area due to its rich history, crystal clear waters and friendly people. Situated on a peninsula facing the island of Kos it impresses with the Castle of St. Peter. The construction of the castle took years to complete. The castle's walls were strengthened by five towers known as the English tower, the Italian tower, the German tower, the French tower and the Snake tower. During our tour, we had plenty of time to visit the different parts of the castle with detailed explanation. Later, we went to the location of the old Mausoleum and saw the remains of the once so famous building that was erected between 353 and 350 BC for King Mausolus.
Bodrum
Bodrum
Stop on our way to Bayir
Stop on our way to Bayir

The port town and tourist resort Marmaris still retains its charm due to its location between two intersecting sets of mountains by the sea. It is a center for sailing and diving with its two major and several smaller marinas and a popular wintering location for boaters. Our bus tour took us through the local villages to Bayir, famous for a large tree that is estimated to be 2000 years old. We were treated to tea at a local tea house. Some of us tasted local honey, almonds or freshly squeezed pomegranate juice. While traveling the country side, our tour guide provided interesting inside into local traditions and the daily life of the villages.


Rhodes, named the sun island or island of light, is one of the most popular holiday islands in Greece. It has been famous since Ancient times because one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Colossus of Rhodes was found here. Today, there no remains of Colossus to be seen. But the citadel of Rhodes, built by the Hospitalliers, is a well preserved medieval town and very liked by tourists. After a scenic drive along the coast and through some parts of the island, we returned to Rhodes and enjoyed a guided walking tour in the old part of the town. We saw the Palace of the Grand Masters, the Hospital of the Knights and strolled in the Street of the Knights that is still paved with well-worn cobblestones. After the end of the tour, most of us had lunch in town and used the free time for shopping.
Rhodes
Rhodes
Santorini
Santorini

Santorini is the result of a large volcanic eruption that took place 3,600 years ago. The name of the island in the Aegean Sea is a reference to Saint Irene. The bus took us to the beautiful village of Oia that is perched atop the northernmost point of the island and famous for its white stone buildings and domed roofs with stunning blue color. While walking through the village, we enjoyed the panoramic views over the deep blue sea. The village is a maze of narrow, twisting cobblestone alleyways and steps with many cafes, shops and quaint restaurants. Back on the bus, we drove to a different part of the island that is well known for its flourishing wine industry. There, we visited a bodega and tasted Greek mezes and wine. Our tour terminated in Fira. There we had plenty of time to stroll through numerous shops in the pedestrian zone and enjoy the charm of this cliff-top village. We returned to the ship via cable car.

The tour in Athens was a combination of an overview of the highlights of Athens, a guided tour of the Acropolis and free time for shopping and sightseeing. The Acropolis is the architectural masterpieces of the Golden Age of Greece with structures built in the latter part of the 5th century BC. The Parthenon, dedicated to Athena, the patron goddess of Athens, is Greece's largest and most impressive temple. After our visit of the Acropolis, we saw many of the well-known sights of the city during a bus tour: Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian's Arch, the National Gardens, the National Library and the Parliament Building, and the Panathinion Stadium that was the site of the first modern Olympics. The city bus tour terminated at the pedestrian zone with plenty of time for shopping and enjoying lunch in a traditional Greek restaurant.


At the Acropolis in Athens
At the Acropolis in Athens
Walking Tour at Delos
Walking Tour at Delos
By boat we arrived at the uninhabited island of Delos. It is a place in the Aegean Sea famous for its significant archeological ruins. According to mythology, Delos was the birthplace of Apollo, the god of sun, light, music, harmony, and beauty. The city prospered for centuries due to its location at important trade routes in the Aegean. During a guided tour, we learned a lot about the importance of the sanctuary with the Temple of Apollo, the architectural styles of the Hellenistic mansions, the daily life in Delos with its traditions and customs. At the conclusion of our tour, we had free time in Mykonos. The town is famous for its windmill panorama and the narrow, twisting cobblestone paths that are accessible to pedestrians only.
There were two different tours for our group scheduled in the port of Naples. Half of the group decided to visit Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast during a day tour. The other part of the group went on a shorter more leisurely tour to Sorrento. Due to its location upon an elevated cliff-top, Sorrento is a tourist magnet for Italian and foreign visitors alike. Pompeii was an ancient Roman city that was destroyed and buried under ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. The site was lost for many centuries. Today, it is an open air museum visited by tourist during the last 250 years. After touring the excavation site that has UNESCO World Heritage Site status, we proceeded to the Amalfi Coast with a stop in Amalfi. There, we had free time to explore the quaint town on our own. Enjoying lunch in Pompeii
Enjoying lunch in Pompeii
On our bus ride to Rome
On our bus ride to Rome
Rome was our port of disembarkation. Some people in our group went to the airport in order to get home via air. Others stayed on the ship and continued their way home via a Transatlantic Cruise. And the third part of our group stayed in the Italian capital for three nights. Every day in Rome was packed with a lot of sightseeing. After arriving at the hotel and checking in to our rooms we went into town with our deaf tour guide Terry. We took a leisurely walk through the city and went together for dinner.
The next day was reserved for "Ancient Rome" where we started with the Forum Romanum. That area was the center of the city of Rome in ancient times. Today, it is covered with ruins of architectural fragments. We spent several hours in the Forum area before we moved on to the Colosseum, the largest amphitheater of the Roman Empire. It took ten years to build the Colosseum. It could hold between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators. Visitors in ancient times enjoyed watching gladiatorial contests, public spectacles, executions and animal hunts. The Colosseum was damaged by earthquakes and stone-robbers. At the Forum Romanum
At the Forum Romanum
Inside View of St. Peter's Basilica
Inside View of St. Peter's Basilica


The next day was reserved for a visit of the smallest country in the world which is Vatican City. The population at Vatican City is around 840. The independent city-state was established in 1929. We started with a visit of the Vatican Museums with its rich display of paintings and statues. The highlight of that visit was Michelangelo's frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. After a lunch break, we continued to the St. Peter's Basilica the famous Renaissance church in Vatican City and one of the largest churches in the world. The church, one of the holiest Catholic sites is the burial site of its namesake Saint Peter, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. Impressed and positively overwhelmed by all what we saw that day, we returned to the hotel and had our farewell dinner.


Group Picture
Group Picture


Thank you note
Thank you note


Thank you note
Thank you note


What our clients said after the tour:

Hi Kerstin
I wanted to emphasize you that we did enjoy the wonderful trip in every moment. It was great to visit many places that were built a way back to B.C. and early A.D. where we never saw anywhere before. I wish we could stay there much longer!! Yes, we would love to go back to Europe again someday. I will share our trip and your agency with friends. Sue Berkeley

Hi Kerstin,
I had a great time wih you and the group. Sightseeing in Turkey, Greece and Italy were wonderful. You, interpreters and Terry were great. Will look forward going on trip with you in the future. Will spead words about you and have my friends join us for the trip.Bev

Kerstin,
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL YOU HAD DONE AND MADE OUR TOUR VERY AWESOME AND ENJOYABLE. :) DIANA

Hi Kerstin!
I really enjoyed my trip and with the group of friends we met on this trip. Jill

The cruise and shore excursions in Turkey, Greece and Italy especially Rome guided by a Deaf guide, Terry, were amazing and wonderful. Thank you very much for arranging the wonderful and unforgettable trip! Rosalee and Clark



Fundraising Poster

We would like to thank the following people for their donation:
  • Aaron May
  • Maureen Woods
  • Eric & Isabel Lammerth
  • Diana Dewar
  • Geraldine Bain
  • Brian McMahon
  • Cari Carter

Contact Kerstin's Deaf Travel to book your next cruise by sending an e-mail to kerstin@kerstinstravel.com



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