Why settle for mainstream cruising when you can immerse the kids in ancient history? Hop aboard Ponant’s Treasures of the Mediterranean World voyage and set sail from Rome to Athens next summer.
The sailing, set for July 2019, not only teaches kids how to perfect their selfies with photo workshops, but also lets them compete in mock Olympics on the grounds of the original Olympic Games. More importantly, it offers opportunities for the whole family to learn together about the destinations they are visiting, thanks to lectures and activities especially tailored to parents, grandparents and kids.
Scheduled for July 15–22 aboard Le Lyrial, the trip was designed especially for American families, and plunges passengers of all ages into real ancient history and mythology. The itinerary showcases the ruins and museums of Rome and Olympia; the birthplace of the Olympics; and where the massive Sanctuary of Zeus, with its well-preserved altars and temples, still exists.
In Greece, the ship calls in Crete and Santorini, where passengers explore remnants of the Bronze Age civilization of the Minoans, followed by a visit to Ephesus in Turkey, boasting one of the most eye-popping and well-preserved Roman cities in the world.
Best of all, these activities are geared to young passengers, thanks to Ponant’s signature Young Explorers Program offering kid-friendly activities aboard the ship.
Professor Kathleen Lynch of the University of Cincinnati will be on hand during the cruise to help the entire family understand and appreciate what they see, and skilled youth education counselors lead groups of children and young adults — along with parents or grandparents — in the various Young Explorers Program activities. Guided excursions include beach walks, forest hikes, boat rides and explorations of ancient sites such as Pompeii, Zeus’s Temple at Olympia, the Palace of Knossos on Crete and, of course, the Parthenon. Young Explorers programs are designed for children aged 8 to 17, although exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis.
Jason Weiser, host of the Myths & Legends podcast, leads discussions designed for all generations about the region’s history, literature and culture.
Le Lyrial, the fourth in Ponant’s fleet, is equipped with 122 staterooms and suites, and the overall vibe is of an oversized luxury yacht. Ponant is a French company with culinary options — a main Gastronomic Restaurant and The Grill for less-formal outdoor dining — reflecting that heritage.
Other amenities include a full-service Sothys spa with a Turkish hammam for pampering after a long day of sightseeing.
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