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The Greek Islands

May 3-14, 2007
With Ernie Ern, U.Va. Senior Vice President and Professor of Environmental Sciences Emeritus

Registration is Open

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We invite you to join us as we explore Athens and the Greek Islands of Santorini and Crete in the Hellenic Republic, one of the most fascinating and historic countries in southern Europe. Prepare to be dazzled by turquoise seas, azure skies, and brilliant white villages clinging to the coast as centuries of spectacular beauty bask under the Aegean sun. Stroll through villages brimming with local color and watch eye-popping sunsets as you relax over a glass of local wine and delicious regional specialties. Marvel at painstaking excavations and the stunning monuments that have survived the ages in Greece, home of the world's first direct democracy.

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Program Highlights

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Ernest H. Ern is a University of Virginia Senior Vice President and Professor of Environmental Sciences Emeritus. Ernie and his wife, Petie, came to Charlottesville in 1962 and Ernie taught in the Department of Geology, later the Department of Environmental Sciences, for 39 years. Concurrently, he held administrative positions as Dean of Admissions, Vice President for Student Affairs and, from 1993 to 2001, as Senior Vice President of the University. From 1989 to 2001 the Erns' lived on the Lawn in Pavilion X. Since retiring, they have hosted annual alumni trips to Italy.

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DAY 1 - USA-Athens

Depart your gateway city for Athens, Greece.

Day 2 - Athens

Upon arrival, transfer to the Athens Plaza Hotel. Independent Exploration: The afternoon is yours to explore or relax after your journey. This evening, gather for a Welcome to Greece Reception and Dinner with Greek cuisine.

Day 3 - Athens and Crete

Excursion: Highlights of Athens. See Athens' highlights, including the Acropolis, Olympic Stadium, Constitution Square and a marvelous view from Lykavittos Hill. After lunch, fly to Heraklion. Drive along the scenic northern coast to the Rithymna Beach Hotel. Educational Focus: The Island of Crete in History.

Day 4 - Rethymnon

Excursion: Rethymnon Walking Tour. Visit the Venetian Fortezza, the Old Harbor, the 16th-century Venetian Loggia, the Mosque of Nerantzes, the Orthodox Church of the Four Martyrs and the Mosque of the Kara Pasha. Local Flavor: Enjoy lunch in Rethymnon. Educational Focus: Realm of the Great King Minos. Independent Exploration: The afternoon is yours to explore independently. This evening, sample Greek specialties and ouzo during a reception at your hotel.

Day 5 - Knossos

Excursion: The Palace of Knossos. Tour the ruins of Knossos, center of the extinct Minoan civilization, followed by a guided tour of the site's museum. Local Flavor: Enjoy a seaside lunch. Independent Exploration: This afternoon, relax on the beach or explore on your own.

Day 6 - Chania

Excursion: Chania and the Monastery of Agias Triadas. Stroll through Chania to the Venetian Harbor. Visit the Monastery of Agias Triadas, a 17th-century multi-domed church where monks still reside. Local Flavor: Enjoy lunch in Chania. Educational Focus: Meet the People. Local Flavor: Enjoy a traditional Greek dinner with wine and music at The Taverna.

Day 7 - Santorini

Take a short flight to Santorini, and transfer to the El Greco Hotel. Independent Exploration: The remainder of the day is yours to enjoy as you please.

Day 8 - Akrotiri and Firsa

Educational Focus: The Minoan Life of Santorini. Excursion: Museum of Prehistoric Thira. See treasures unearthed from the excavation of Akrotiri, an ancient Minoan city. Local Flavor: Enjoy a delicious local lunch. Excursion: Fira. Visit Fira, percious local lunch. Excursion: Fira. Visit Fira, perched on an extinct volcano's rim for unforgettable vistas.

Day 9 - Thirassia

Independent Exploration: Enjoy time on your own this morning. Excursion: Cruise to Thirassia. Cruise to the nearby Caldera Islet of Thirassia where you'll admire a different perspective of Santorini. Local Flavor: Enjoy lunch at a local taverna. Independent Exploration: After lunch, return to Santorini for leisure time to explore.

Day 10 - Ia

Independent Exploration: Enjoy your morning at leisure to relax or explore. Educational Focus and Excursion: Winery Tour and Ia. Visit a local family-owned winery and enjoy a wine-tasting. Local Flavor: Enjoy dinner at Aspa Restaurant, known for its panoramic vistas.

Day 11 - Athens

After a morning at leisure, return to the Athens Plaza Hotel, where the remainder of the day is yours for last-minute exploration or shopping. Enjoy tonight's Farewell Reception followed by a Graduation Ceremony and Dinner.

Day 12 - Athens-USA

After breakfast, transfer to the Athens airport for the return flight to your gateway city.


The itineraries outlined are preliminary and are subject to change due to operational conditions. ^ back to top

Program Fees

$3,245 per person, double occupancy, land only. A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $350.

Price includes:

$4,145 per person, double occupancy with economy-class roundtrip airfare from Washington, Dulles. A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $350.

In addition to the inclusions noted in the land-only pricing, air-inclusive price includes:

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How To Register

Ready to register? The best way to do this is by phone so that we can ensure we are meeting all of your needs. Please call us at 800-346-3882. Or, e-mail with your contact information and the best time to reach you.

A deposit of $500 per person is required to reserve your spot. Final invoicing will be done approximately four months prior to departure. Final payment is due 75 days prior to departure.

Deposits can be made via Visa, MasterCard, or check. Checks will need to be made payable directly to the travel provider. We will provide you with this information, along with a mailing address. Checks only can be accepted for final payment.

Early registration is encouraged as space is limited. ^ back to top

Terms & Conditions

Trip Insurance

Your tour operator will include information on obtaining trip insurance in your confirmation letter. Please note that there is a time frame for securing trip insurance. The University of Virginia will cancel its endorsement of and faculty and staff participation in any program destination for which a Travel Warning is issued by the U.S. Department of State. Vendor Terms of Agreement will specify under what circumstances the vendor will cancel a program and/or under what circumstances participants might receive some reimbursement if they cancel their travel with the vendor themselves. U.Va. strongly recommends that all participants purchase trip cancellation insurance which includes protection in the face of political unrest, natural disasters, and personal emergencies and participants should discuss this insurance directly with the vendor or other travel services with whom they deal. You will find more useful travel information by going to the Travel Resources link on this website.

Alumni Holidays will send information offering you the opportunity to purchase trip insurance with your confirmation package. The Alumni Holidays Passenger Travel Protection Plan now offers a low-cost Any Reason Cancellation feature.


Any increases in U.S. and Canadian air and airport taxes and security or fuel surcharges imposed by air carrier or other transportation suppliers; fees for passports and, if applicable, visas; personal gratuities; laundry and dry cleaning; excursions, wines, liquors, mineral waters and meals not mentioned in this brochure under included features; travel insurance; all items of a strictly personal nature.


The right is retained to decline to accept or to retain any person as a member of this trip who, in the opinion of Alumni Holidays (AHI International) is unfit for travel or whose physical or mental condition may constitute a danger to themselves or to others on the trip, subject only to the requirement that the portion of the total amount paid which corresponds to the unused services and accommodations be refunded. Passengers requiring special assistance, including without limitation those who permanently or periodically use a wheelchair, must be accompanied by someone who is fit and able to assist them, and who will be totally responsible for providing all required assistance.


The price of this trip is based on an Advance Purchase Excursion fare. After tickets are issued, penalties up to 100% of the ticket price may be levied. If connecting flights are requested, special promotional fares may be used, in which case penalties of as much as 100% may be assessed by the airlines if reservations are changed or cancelled after ticketing. After departure, if the reservations are changed, you will be charged the higher, all year Economy class fare. VARIATIONS TO THE GROUP ITINERARY MUST BE REQUESTED NO LATER THAN 60 DAYS PRIOR TO DEPARTURE.


In addition to airline cancellation penalties, all cancellations for any reason whatsoever will be subject to a $150 per person cancellation fee. Cancellation from 90-61 days prior to departure will result in forfeiture of 10% of the entire cost of the trip per person; 60-31 days, 30%; 30-15 days, 50%. Cancellation from 14 days up to the time of departure will result in forfeiture of the entire cost of the trip. TRIP CANCELLATION INSURANCE IS AVAILABLE. AN APPLICATION WILL BE SENT AFTER YOU RESERVE. All cancellations must be submitted in writing to AHI International Corporation.


General airline regulations allow two checked pieces per passenger for which the total sum (length + width + height) should not exceed 107 inches. No single piece may exceed the three-dimensional sum of 62 inches nor a maximum weight of 70 pounds. One piece of carry-on luggage is allowed per passenger for which the total sum should not exceed 46 inches, nor a maximum weight of 22 pounds and must fit completely under the aircraft seat. However, on this program, more restrictive baggage allowances apply. NOTE: On all flights within the Greek Isles, the maximum baggage allowance is 33 pounds for checked bags and 13 pounds for carry-on bags. More restrictive baggage allowances may apply, depending on program carrier. Baggage allowances are subject to change by the carrier without notice. For additional or oversized/overweight pieces, excess baggage charges are expensive and not included in your trip price, so you should plan your wardrobe accordingly. Liability is clearly stated on the passenger contract. In no event shall liability exceed the actual loss incurred, subject to proof of the amount lost.


Alumni Holidays and the Sponsoring Association act only as agents for the suppliers of travel conveyance, transport, accommodations or other service and have no responsibility for any delays, delayed departure or arrival, missed carrier connections, loss, death, damage or injury to person or property or accident, mechanical defect, failure or negligence of any nature howsoever caused in connection with any accommodations, transportation or other services or for any substitution of hotels or of common carrier equipment, with or without notice, or for any additional expenses occasioned thereby. Dates, Program Details and Tour costs, although given in good faith and based on tariffs, exchange rates and other information current at the time of printing, are subject to change at or before the time of departure. No revisions of the printed itinerary or its included features are anticipated; however, the right is reserved to make any changes, with or without notice, that might become necessary, with the mutual understanding that any additional expenses will be paid by the individual passenger. Baggage and personal effects are the sole responsibility of the owners at all times. If the entire program is cancelled for any reason, participants shall have no claim other than for a full refund. By forwarding the deposit, the passenger certifies that he/she has no physical, mental or other condition of disability that would create a hazard for himself/herself or other passengers and accepts the terms of this contract. The airlines and other transportation companies concerned are not to be held responsible for any act, omission, or event, during the time passengers are not on board their conveyances. The passage contract in use, when issued, shall constitute the sole contract between the company(ies) and the passenger and/or purchaser of this trip. ^ back to top