We recently received a letter from a reader asking for help finding a cruise across the southern Mediterranean along the coast of North Africa. She hopes to visit cities founded during the Roman Empire rich with remnants of the past.
Here are three travel companies with excellent cruising options for exploring the region. All trips are education-oriented and feature prominent speakers and guest lecturers on relevant topics from archaeology to classical culture and language. One of the highlights of all of the tours is the magnificent Leptis Magna Theater on the coast of Libya, pictured here, and featured as one of our “50 Places of a Lifetime” in our current issue.
The product of founder John Norwich’s love of the Mediterranean, this tour operation seeks “to combine the excitement of exploring the remarkable classical civilizations of the Mediterranean with the excellent comfort and service of boutique-style cruising.” Aegean Odyssey is staffed by classical history graduates with lectures and guides from distinguished scholars. Airfare from select U.S.
cities is included with reduced rates from most others.
AL Voyages offers two trips with similar itineraries named “North African Mediterranean Coast Through the Centuries” on the 114-passenger, all-suite Corinthian II. Both 18-day trips originate in Cairo, Egypt and end in Casablanca, Morocco. The tours visit important sites from antiquity such as Roman ruins as well as places that have figured more recently in world history like the World War II battlefields of Tubruq. Leading academics in the fields of archaeology and religion offer tours at the sites as well as on-board lectures. Trip price includes all meals, alcoholic beverages and land excursions. From $9,700.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
This travel group offers a buffet of tours that focus on art, architecture, gastronomy, archaeology, history and music. One cruise, “The Romans in Africa,”
explores “the cities strung along the Mediterranean’s southern coast that were among the most prosperous and architecturally impressive of the Greco-Roman world,” yet relatively bypassed by modern travelers. The 12-day, 236-passenger cruise is accompanied by notable lecturers and visits Roman ruins in Tunisia and Libya with a focus on Carthaginian, Greek, Roman and Byzantine archaaeology and architecture. Trip price includes airfare from the U.K., transport to the ship, concerts, excursions and most meals and beverages. From 3,300 GBP (approximately $5,280 USD).
Have you taken a North African cruise? Let us know. And send your own travel queries for Ask IT to firstname.lastname@example.org.