Journey by coach to the Manavgat River to see Alanya’s famous waterfall. It’s one of the most photographed spots in Turkey, thanks to its white foaming water that plunges over low rocks. The rocks are so low, in fact, the waterfall completely disappears during flooding. You’ll also to explore the ancient city of Side on this tour. Once a Roman port, it’s now a modern town that’s dotted with ruins. See the marketplace where slaves were once traded, and wander around what’s left of the public baths and the ancient amphitheatre. Don’t miss the Temple of Apollo, either – it dates back to the 2nd century AD and, legend has it, it was a gift from Anthony to Cleopatra as a token of his love for her. Once you’ve had time to explore the ruins, there’ll be some free time in the city. Pull up a chair and buy a sizzling kebab at one of the eateries, or haggle for bargains in the stalls of the backstreets.
This tour kicks off with a visit to the Medieval castle in Alanya. Most of it was built in the 13th century by the Sultan of Seljuk, on top of earlier Byzantine and Roman fortifications. It’s setting is pretty special to say the least. It sits 250 metres high on a rocky peninsular, with the Mediterranean Sea protecting it from three sides. The area was pacified under the Ottoman Empire, so the castle stopped being purely defensive. During the 19th century, lots of villas were built within its walls. Today, it’s an impressive open-air museum, reflecting Seljuk art at its best. After some time here, you’ll stop at Dalmatas Magarasi – a small cave with beautiful calcite formations. It was discovered in 1948 by engineers building Alanya harbour, and in the 1960s Turks started coming to the cave for its alleged healing properties. The humid air is supposed to be good for asthmatic problems, and doctors prescribe treatment here regularly. Leaving the cave behind, you’ll have some free time in Alanya city centre before returning to the ship.
Also known as the heart of ancient Pamphylia, Perge is where St Paul preached his first sermon when he began his missionary journeys. On this trip you’ll see examples of Pergian architecture and ruins that’ll give you a real insight into the importance of the city. Afterwards, make your way to Aspendos and admire what is probably the best-preserved theatre of antiquity. Big enough to hold thousands of spectators, it’s still used today for performances and festivals. The galleries, stage decorations and acoustics all testify to the architect's success. The second highlight of Aspendos is its aqueducts, left behind by the Romans. Once you’ve seen those, we head back to Alanya. Cameras at the ready…
Start your day with a drive to Dalyan, an area of outstanding natural beauty, full of flora and fauna such as the Loggerhead Turtles which return to the area each year to lay their eggs. After driving through the tiny town of Dalyan and passing en route the famous monumental statue of the legendery turtles, you’ll arrive at the waters edge ready to take a scenic boat ride along the Dalyan River. Stopping in amongst the reeds to view the main attraction in the area, have your cameras ready as the ancient Tombs of Kings carved into the cliff face dating back to 4th Century B.C. appear before your eyes. Our experienced and knowledgeable guide will transport you back in time as he relays the fascinating history behind this magnificent spectacle. Next it’s on to Turtle Beach which with over 7 kms of golden sand was voted best beach in the world in 1995. Have your cameras at the ready as you might just catch a glimpse at some of the turtles nearby. There’ll be free time to relax on the beach or swim in the crystal clear sea before making our passage back to Dalyan to rejoin the coach.
You won’t want to forget your swimming gear, as you embark on a boat trip around Marmaris’ pretty coves. A bus will whisk you across to the town’s old docks, where you’ll board a traditional, twin-masted wooden boat – known locally as a gulet. From here, things can be as active or laid back as you like. You can bag a spot on the deck to catch a few rays, or leap into the striking blue water when the skipper drops anchor in a sheltered bay. The wave-free inlets are ideal for a gentle swim, and you’ll dry out in no time once you’ve clambered back aboard. Keep an eye out for the mysterious Blue Cave on your way back to the harbour, where a coach will be waiting to take you back to the ship.
This trip takes you on a curving route around the coastline from Marmaris to the town of Dalyan. It’s famed for its loggerhead turtle breeding sites, and you’ll see a gilded statue of the sea creatures in the centre of town. After a quick nosey around, you’ll head to one of the Dalyan Çayi River’s jetties for a motorboat tour along the winding waterways. As you coast through the reeds, you’ll see the jaw-dropping Lycian Rock Tombs come into sight. These column-fronted caverns are cut straight out of the cliff face, and are said to contain the remains of ancient kings. Your walk through the history books continues in Kaunos, where you can stroll among crumbling ruins that date back to the fifth century BC. After a leisurely boat trip back to Dalyan, you’ll board the bus back to Marmaris.
As its name suggests, this à la carte eatery specialises in the likes of marbled steaks and meaty lobster tails. You’ve also got other meat and fish options, as well as plenty to satisfy a vegetarian palate. This is one of the ship's speciality restaurants, so there's a charge to dine here – plus, we recommend you make a reservation in advance.
Marella Discovery 2’s main eatery is a big, stylish venue, finished in the colours of the sand and the sea. Daytime meals here come with a side-order of sea views, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows, and a grand double staircase leads up to a separate eatery.
You’ll find this trendy Italian restaurant on the second floor of the ship’s main dining room, 47°. It’s a laid-back place, where bookings aren’t necessary, and its designer look features a colour scheme inspired by the sunset.
ARRIVE IN PORT: 06:00 (DAY 6)
DEPART FROM PORT: 18:00 (DAY 7)
Jews, Christians, Muslims – they all hold this place dear. Sights here represent each of the faiths. Kicking things off is a fly-by driving tour, passing the Israeli parliament building known as the Knesset, the Museum of Israel and the Shrine of the Book. It’s the best way to see the city sights. Next you’ll drive to the top of the Mount of Olives. Named after its olive tree-planted slopes, this place is thought to be where the dead will be resurrected on Judgement Day. The views from here are epic. From here, you’ll head for the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus went to pray after the Last Supper and was betrayed by his disciple Judas. A visit to the Church of All Nations is also on the itinerary here. It’s followed by an active walk through the old city following the path Jesus took as he carried his cross to Calvary, a visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection and a glimpse of the shimmering mosques of Al-Aqsa and The Dome of the Rock. You’ll also stop off at the Western Wall, the place where Orthodox Jews nod in prayer and put prayer notes into the cracks of the wall. Finally, you’ll head to Bethlehem for lunch in a restaurant and to see one of Christianity’s most sacred sights, the Church of the Nativity, built on the same site as the stable where Mary gave birth to Jesus.
Tel Aviv is the lifeblood of Israel. Old and new collide in the nation’s biggest metropolis, which means you get a great feel for the city. One of the major draws is the beach, which you’ll visit on this tour. A sweep of pale sand rinsed by the clear Mediterranean waters, it’s the perfect place to relax for a little while. What’s more, there are beach bars nearby if you want to grab a drink or a snack. From here, you’ll head to Carmel Market, Tel Aviv’s largest fruit and veg market. You’ll find more than your five a day here, though – you can pick up traditional clothes, jewellery and pottery, too. Plus, you’ll find fish, meat and some local specialities. Make sure you try a ‘boreka’, a salty, puff pastry filled with egg, pickles and tomatoes. And don’t miss the Turkish and Japanese food sections, either. Once you’ve snapped up some bargains, you’ll head to Ramat Aviv Mall. This huge shopping centre is brimming with modern shops, cafés and restaurants, so it’s a world away from the traditional marketplace. You’ll have plenty of time here to grab a bite to eat and wander around the glitzy stores, before heading back to the port.
The Western Wall. The Gardens of Gethsemane. Mount of Olives. They’re some of the world’s most famous religious icons and just a drop in the ocean of Jerusalem’s line-up of superstar sights. In fact, there are more things to see here than you can feasibly fit into a day. But you can catch most of them on this guided tour. Kicking things off, you’ll travel from Ashdod to the Mount of Olives, where it’s said the Messiah will resurrect the dead on the day of judgment. It’s Jerusalem’s holiest cemetery and the view from the top is breathtaking, the whole city spreads out below you. From here, you’ll head to the Gardens of Gethsemane, the olive grove where Jesus prayed after the Last Supper and was betrayed by Judas the same night. Next up, is the Western Wall. Also known as the Wailing Wall, it’s the most sacred site in the Jewish world and for centuries Jewish worshipers have gathered here to pray. After a buffet lunch with time to relax, you’ll take a fly-by driving tour of the city. Highlights seen include the Knesset where Israel’s Parliament holds court and the Israel Museum where the world’s oldest-known biblical documents, the Dead Sea Scrolls, are kept. Finally, you'll head to see David's Tomb, the Dormition Church and the room of the Last Supper.