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Black Tie International Travel  1
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Black Tie International:  Travel - Bob Nicolaides Destinations 2012 Delphi

with Bob Nicolaides

Destinations 2012- Delphi


delphi ancient theater

Restoration approved for Delphi Ancient Theater

The Ancient Theatre at Delphi, one of the most important ancient theatres in the world, will undergo restoration works following a unanimous approval of a relevant study by Greece's Central Archaeological Council (KAS). The study, funded by the Diazoma association with 100,000 euros, seeks to secure and restore the geometry of the Koilon, the bowl-shaped seating area, as well as of the remaining terraced seats.

Ancient Greek theaters were very large, open-air structures that took advantage of sloping hillsides for their terraced seating. Because of drama's close connection with religion, theaters were often located in or near sanctuaries. The Theater of Delphi is located in the sanctuary of the Pythian Apollo, set on the slopes of Mt. Parnassos above the northwestern corner of the renowned temple of Pythian Apollo, presenting the seated audience with a spectacular view of the sanctuary below and the valley beyond. It is the largest structure of the sanctuary, although classified among the average-size monuments of its kind, with a total capacity of 5,000 spectators.

The Theater was originally built in the 4th century BC of local Parnassos limestone and was subsequently remodeled several times, while the saved part is dated to the 1st century, in the early Roman era. Its 35 rows can accommodate around five thousand spectators who in ancient times enjoyed plays, poetry readings, and musical events during the various festivals that took place periodically at Delphi. The lower tiers of seats were built during the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

'Palace of Nestor' Overhauled

The regional governor of Peloponnese on Thursday approved a 3.1-million-euro project to erect a state-of-the-art roof over the Mycenaean-era palace complex at Pylos, in Messenia prefecture of the southwest Peloponnese. The archaeological site is popularly known as “the Palace of Nestor”, after the wise mythical king of Pylos in Homer's Iliad.

The structure will be designed to protect and highlight an archaeological site of roughly 2,500 square meters. The Mycenaean-era palace, located on the levelled peak of a hill known as Ano Eglianos, near the modern-day village Chora, flourished in the 13th century BC. It comprises a central courtyard with adjacent utility rooms.

Visitors tossing a coin into Rome's Trevi fountain usually make a wish. The usual wish is to come back to Rome. The wish now is to hope that the historic landmark be returned to its former glory. A AP story, the 250-year-old Baroque fountain seen in La Dolce Vita, Roman Holiday and the centerpiece of the 1954 movie Three Coins in the Fountain, has suffered damage. According to a report in the United Kingdom's Guardian newspaper, parts of "ornate stucco reliefs have crumbled from Rome's baroque masterpiece, making it the latest in a series of Italian monuments to suffer damage and reigniting a row over Italy's commitment to protect its heritage."

Workmen put up scaffolding around a section where bits of a gargoyle's head and leaves fell above the centerpiece statues. City officials attributed the damage to water infiltration including that from an unusual winter snowfall, the Guardian said. Italy's Green Party complained about the slowing of the flow funding to maintain monuments.

Other affected tourist sites include the Colosseum, where stone fell from a wall last year. Roman Emperor Nero's palace has been closed since a roof collapsed, the Guardian also said. Italy is in financial crisis, and civic funding is less plentiful. Britain's Daily Mail said the equivalent of 3,000 euros weekly (about $3,800) is scooped from the fountain and goes to charities. A popular reader comment on the online Mail story suggested using the money to repair the fountain. The Guardian quoted a Roman cultural official as saying one proposed maintenance-funding solution was to allow advertising on historic structures.

Embark on a refined safari experience with a choice of two private 5-star game lodges on this luxury South Africa trip for $3899* per person, including airfare from Philadelphia, taxes, game drives and meals.

Saving $2000 per person on competing packages, this seven-night vacation from Lion World Tours includes Roundtrip air from the U.S. to Cape Town, return from Johannesburg, Intra-country flights and transfers, Four nights at an upscale Cape Town hotel, Three nights at 5-star Lion Sands River Lodge or Tinga Game Lodge, Six open-vehicle game drives, Half-day tour of the Ernie Els Winery and 13 meals: Seven breakfasts, three lunches and three dinners. Departures are scheduled for Sept. 2, 11, 18; Oct. 31; Nov. 7, 14, 19, 28; Dec. 3, 9

Tinga Game Lodge in Kruger National Park immerses travelers amid "The Big Five." At Lion Sands River Lodge, a regular on the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List, guests can relax on their private viewing deck as wildlife drink peacefully from the Sabie River. This deal is priced for Philadelphia departures on South African Airways, but this package is available from 26 major U.S. cities -- all at the same price. Extend this luxury experience for $1490 per person with a three-night excursion, including two nights in Victoria Falls with a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River and one night in Johannesburg. Book by June 29. Top 20 deal – sells out quickly.

Caribbean Paradise on Sale

Take advantage of the year's biggest sale for Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas -- a luxurious resort playground that rarely discounts to this level. Save as much as 65% on regular prices at the five Atlantis "towers," plus special prices on activities, entertainment and two nearby Paradise Island hotels. Also, summer vacations through Aug. 18 come with a perk for every member of the family: free breakfast and dinner for kids 11 and younger, plus $150 worth of free food and drink samples for adults. Book a complete trip by adding on airfare to Nassau (available from across North America) in
 the Atlantis reservation process.

Note: Popular dates and certain towers may sell out quickly. To secure the best sale prices, we suggest that you book quickly and be flexible with travel dates.

Mediterranean Cruise With Air

Until July 22nd, Balcony stateroom plus air from select gateways starting from $1,934 per person! Cruise the Mediterranean in Modern Luxury aboard the Celebrity Solstice this Summer. Save $500 per person with Cruise + Air Bundle.

Cruising News: Two Ships on Course, Five to Go, Three Spruced Up

The following cruise lines have or will add new ships over the next two years, beginning with the two already on itineraries as of this month.

MSC Divina, MSC Cruises --- May 27, 2012
--- 4,363 passengers

The 4-star MSC Divina is modeled after sister-ships MSC Splendida and MSC Fantasia, taking on some of their most popular features, but also incorporates several enhancements. The MSC Yacht Club suite complex will be expanded and will include a private, V.I.P. area with its own restaurant, bar, pool, solarium and concierge. Yacht Club suites also offer butler service.

The state-of-the-art Pantheon Theater will host nightly entertainment, and young guests are sure to like the video game room, called Virtual World. An infinity pool will be situated at the aft of the ship, giving passengers a unique view of the ship's wake and the horizon. This is in addition to the Carnival Breeze, Carnival which began sailing on June 3. --- 3,690 passengers.

Like its sister-ships Carnival Magic and Carnival Dream, the 4.5-star Carnival Breeze will feature the WaterWorks aqua park, the tranquil, kids-free Serenity area and extensive children's and teens' areas with activities for three age groups. Adults will enjoy the huge Cloud 9 spa, as well as the scenic whirlpools extending beyond the ship's beam.

Other new features include the laid-back RedFrog Pub, home to Carnival's exclusive house brew, ThirstyFrog Red and Cucina del Capitano, a specialty restaurant featuring family-style Italian fare. Accommodation options include "cove" balcony staterooms located close to the waterline, deluxe oceanview staterooms featuring two bathrooms, and spa staterooms and suites with exclusive amenities and spa privileges.

Queen of the Mississippi, American Cruise Lines --- August 11, 2012 --- 150 passengers

This 4.5-star ship will have the look of a traditional paddle wheeler as it plies the waters of the Mississippi and its tributaries, but will feature the enhanced technologies and amenities of a brand new vessel. Large, comfortable staterooms, most with private balconies, boast flat-screen TVs, DVD players and hair dryers. Other features include six lounges, a library, a putting green, ship-wide Wi-Fi and an elevator.

Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity --- October 12, 2012 --- 3,030 passengers

When it debuts, the 5.5-star Celebrity Reflection will be the fifth and final ship in Celebrity's popular Solstice class. Now-familiar Solstice-class features, such as the Lawn Club and AquaSpa are represented, along with new venues such as the Lawn Club Grill; The Alcoves, a cabana-style retreat; and the Art Studio, with hands-on instruction in things like painting, drawing, beading, mixology and cooking.

New AquaClass Suites feature 40-inch LCD televisions, large verandas and the service of a butler. Guests staying in these suites receive priority seating at the exclusive Blu restaurant, and unlimited access to AquaSpa facilities, including the Persian Garden and Relaxation Room.

Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian ---
April 30, 2013 --- 4,000 passengers

As the newest member of an innovative fleet, the 5-star Norwegian Breakaway will incorporate the most popular elements of all of Norwegian's existing ships, as well as introduce some exciting new features. Staterooms will have a contemporary feel with clean, modern lines and a neutral palette with splashes of color. The extremely popular Studio staterooms from the Norwegian Epic, designed and priced with solo travelers in mind, will be featured, as well as an exclusive area called The Haven, a private enclave home to the most luxurious accommodations on the vessel, tucked away near the top of the ship.

Norwegian's ships are known for their unique hull artwork, and Norwegian Breakaway will be no different. Renowned pop artist Peter Max, whose other large projects have included an airplane and a stage for Woodstock, will paint the ship's hull. Few details about this ship's public spaces have been released at this time.

Royal Princess, Princess --- June 16, 2013 --- 3,600 passengers

Innovative features aboard the 5-star Royal Princess include the SeaWalk, a glass-floored, enclosed walkway that extends from the ship's top deck and the SeaView Bar, also with a glass floor and cantilevered out from the port side of the ship. Also on the top deck is Princess' largest-ever onboard pool. At night, guests can enjoy a water and light show here.

The Royal Princess boasts an enhanced Movies Under the Stars screen and several new dining venues, such as the Ocean Terrace seafood bar and Gelateria, serving Italian-inspired gelato. All oceanview cabins on the Royal Princess feature private balconies, and mini-suites and suites each have two flat-screen televisions, a spacious closet and a bathtub.

Le Soleal, Ponant Yacht Cruises --- July 23, 2013 --- 264 passengers

Rated 5.5 stars, Le Soleal was specially designed to safely navigate the extreme waters of the regions it will visit -- its inaugural season will be spent plying the Arctic. A Zodiac vessel will allow passengers to get even closer to shore to observe the flora and fauna in areas most ships cannot reach.

The ship also features an advanced navigation system that eliminates the need to drop anchor, protecting the seabed, and an underwater detection system that helps the ship avoid collisions with marine life. All staterooms and suites on Le Soleal feature ocean views and 94% have private balconies.

And now, the ships that will be refurbished and renamed:

MV Voyager, Voyages of Discovery --- December 4, 2012 --- 556 passengers

Formerly the Alexander von Humboldt, the 3-star MV Voyager is small enough to reach off-the-beaten-path ports, yet large enough to offer all the comforts of cruising on a much larger ship. Eighty-six percent of staterooms feature ocean views, and all have a TV, hair dryer and safe. Suites come with a few extra perks, such as bathrobes, slippers, a fruit basket and bottle of champagne.

There are three restaurants onboard, two with open seating, plus four bars, an Internet center, a swimming pool, two hot tubs and a gym.

Tere Moana, Paul Gauguin Cruises --- December 29, 2012 --- 90 passengers

Currently sailing for Ponant Yacht Cruises as Le Levant, this 5-star ship will undergo renovations in November and early December, and make its debut as Tere Moana in late December. Tere Moana will accommodate just 90 guests in oceanview staterooms.

Two restaurants will feature open seating dining, and an onboard watersports marina will allow guests to enjoy windsurfing, kayaking and other activities right from the ship. As with the line's other ship, Paul Gauguin, the upfront price for Tere Moana's sailings includes gratuities, soft drinks and select wines and spirits.

Carnival Sunshine, Carnival --- April 12, 2013 --- 3,006 passengers

Currently sailing as the Carnival Destiny, this ship will undergo an extreme makeover before emerging as the 4.5-star Carnival Sunshine. As part of the revitalization, two decks will be expanded and a new partial deck will be added.

Seven new restaurants, including Guy's Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina and Cucina del Capitano will be added, as well as 10 new bars and lounges, 182 cabins, the SportSquare recreation complex, the kids-free Serenity area and Punchliner Comedy Club.

MSC Cruises Makes Europe Affordable This Summer & Fall

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL--(Marketwire - Jun 11, 2012) - MSC Cruises is making it possible to visit Europe during the height of the vacation season and into the fall on its elegant fleet of ships -- including the new MSC Divina -- with limited-time-only rates that begin at $449.

Available only for bookings made by June 30, 2012 on select sailings, these special cruise-only rates (per person, double occupancy; government fees and taxes are additional) begin at $449 for select 7-night summer cruises and at $499 for select 7-night fall itineraries.

While visiting some of Europe's most beautiful and historic destinations in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, guests will also enjoy MSC Cruises' rich Mediterranean heritage and international experience with world-class entertainment, the exotic MSC Aurea Spa and Mediterranean cuisine on the line's elegant ships, including MSC Divina, which entered the fleet in May.

Like sister ships MSC Fantasia and MSC Splendida, MSC Divina features the exclusive MSC Yacht Club, 69-71 suites (depending on the ship) in a "ship-within-a-ship" oasis of tranquility where guests indulge in comfort and convenience, complete with 24/7 Butler and concierge services, complimentary wines and spirits, private restaurant, lounge, pool and relaxation area, private access to MSC Aurea Spa and more.

On all 12 of MSC Cruises' ships, guests will discover what earned the line Porthole Cruise Magazine's 2011 Readers' Choice Award for "Best Onboard International Experience." Surrounded by elegance and white-gloved service, guests can be pampered with a Balinese massage in the MSC Aurea Spa, dine in the many restaurants featuring international cuisine, sunbathe poolside, gamble in the casino or enjoy the highly acclaimed entertainment in the lounges or the magnificent theater. For guests seeking more activity, there is miniature golf, swimming, tennis, basketball, volleyball, and shuffleboard as well as a wide variety of excursions sure to satisfy the interests of
all guests.

Among the roundtrip itineraries available this summer and fall at limited-time-only rates are: MSC Divina's 7-night "Divine Mediterranean" itineraries, sailing from Venice and calling at Bari, Katakolon, Izmir, Istanbul and Dubrovnik. Rates begin at $1,049 (select summer sailings) and $599 (select fall sailings). -MSC Sinfonia's 7-night "Sparkling Mediterranean Rivieras" departing Genoa and visiting Civitavecchia, Salerno, La Goulette, Ibiza and Marseille, beginning at $449.- MSC Splendida's 7-night "Splendid Mediterranean" cruises, sailing from Genoa and calling at Civitavecchia, Barcelona, La Goulette, Valletta and Messina. Rates begin at $499.-MSC Magnifica's 7-night "Baltic Castles & Russian Palaces," calling at Kiel, Stockholm, Tallin, St. Petersburg and Copenhagen. Rates begin at $1,049.- MSC Musica's 7-night "Greek Islands in the Sun," sailing from Venice and calling at Bari, Katakolon, Santorini, Mykonos, Piraeus, Corfu and Dubrovnik. Rates begin at $499.-and MSC Opera's 8-night "Majestic Medieval Europe" itinerary, sailing from Southampton and calling at Ijmuiden, St. Peter Port, La Coruna, Bilbao and La Rochele. Rates begin at $799.

For more information about MSC Cruises, visit us online at, call 877-665-4655, or contact a local travel professional. Be certain to ask for promo: Last Minute Sale (for eligible summer dates and rates) and Fall Promo (for eligible fall dates and rates).

MSC Cruises is a privately-held, family-owned, Mediterranean cruise line with a fleet of 12 ships: MSC Magnifica, MSC Splendida, MSC Fantasia, MSC Poesia, MSC Orchestra, MSC Musica, MSC Sinfonia, MSC Armonia, MSC Opera, MSC Lirica and MSC Melody. Its 12th ship, MSC Divina, a sister ship to MSC Fantasia and MSC Splendida, debuted in May 2012, with sister ship MSC Preziosa scheduled to join the fleet in March 2013. The fleet cruises year round in the Mediterranean and seasonally in Northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean, South America, the Indian Ocean, and South and West Africa.

$499 -- 10-Night Italy, Greece & Egypt Cruise

Travelzoo Staff, Miami

The port in Alexandria

Escape to faraway lands on a 10-night Mediterranean cruise for $499 per person. That is just $50 per person, per night, including all meals and entertainment -- all for less than the cost of a standard hotel room. Sail roundtrip from Rome aboard the Norwegian Jade and get $150 onboard credit per cabin. This cruise drops anchor in the ancient cities of Olympia and Athens, Greece; Ephesus, Turkey; and Alexandria, Egypt, before heading back to Rome. Choose from several departure dates: Oct. 31; Nov. 21; Dec. 12; Jan. 2, 23. Similar 11-night itineraries are also available for $549 per person.
 Taxes are an additional $65 per person.

For more information on this deal, which is part of a larger mid-year clearance sale call Norwegian or your travel agent.. This sale features discounts, onboard credits and bundled airfare on 2012-'13 sailings aboard several cruise lines with itineraries around the globe.


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