Blugold Marching Band
Mediterranean Cruise
January  4 - 18, 2012

Wednesday January 4    Fly from Minneapolis to Rome, Italy
Flight information is under the Flight Lists tab.
All flights leave MSP between 10:05 and 1:50pm

Thursday January 5    Arrive in Rome, Italy
All flights arrive in Rome between 7:10 and 9:15am
Motorcoach from Fiumicino airport to Rome city center.
Panoramic tour of Rome.
Check into Hotel Universo Free afternoon and evening in Rome.
Our hotel is within easy walking distance of the Colosseum, Forum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps.  There is also a Metro station about a block away if you choose to go to the Vatican or other, more distant areas.  You are free this evening to explore central Rome on your own.  There will be guided tours of the main attractions on Jan 6 and 7.
Friday January 6    Tours and Free Time
Morning tours of Colosseum, Forum, etc.
Free afternoon and evening
Saturday January 7    Tours and Free Time
Morning tours of St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel
Afternoon performance to be arranged
Free evening for you to wrap up your visit to Rome.

Sunday January 8    Transfer to Genoa, Italy and Board Ship
Check out of hotel.  This will be an early morning.
Motorcoach from Rome to Genoa (approximately 5 hours not including a stop.)
Arrive at Port Savona (Genoa)
Check in and board Costa Serena
3:30pm  Full group meeting in Luna Lounge
Monday January 9    Day at Sea
1:00  Concert Band Performance
5:00  Marching Band Performance

Tuesday January 10    Free Afternoon in Katakolon, Olympia, Greece   
(1:00pm -  6:00pm)
Explore Katakolon/Olympia on your own.  Katakolon is the gateway to Olympia, where the ancient Greeks flocked every four years for more than a millennium to celebrate the sacred games dedicated to Zeus. Visit the ruins of the Sanctuary, with its athletic quadrangles, stadium,temples and treasuries; then browse in the modern Archaeological Museum, a treasure house of Archaic, Classical and Roman sculptures, including the famous Niki Winged Victory.

Wednesday January 11    Day at Sea
1:00  Concert Band Performance
5:00  Marching Band Performance

Thursday January 12   Tour of Jerusalem, Israel
(9:00am - 9:00pm)
All of your tour accomodations today will be handled by BMB. 
Guided Tour of Jerusalem Itinerary
Return to ship
Friday January 13    Free Day in Haifa, Israel
(9:00am - 9:00pm)
Explore Haifa on your own.  Israelís third largest city and one of its prettiest, Haifa has a lot to offer visitors. It has the countryís largest port, a particularly active beach and is the home of the World Center of the Bahai Faith. Surrounded by abundant nature sites, the city contains an interesting mix of modern neighborhoods and older districts; churches and mosques; mountain and sea.
Optional excursion possibilities from Haifa:
    Nazareth (Costa excursion or taxi)
    Sea of Galilee (Costa excursion or taxi)
Saturday January 14    Day at Sea
1:00  Concert Band Performance
5:00  Marching Band Performance

Sunday January 15    Free Day in Izmir, Turkey
(8:00am - 6:00pm)
Explore Izmir on your own.  Izmir has almost 3,500 years of recorded urban history (see Timeline of Izmir) and possibly even longer as an advanced human settlement. Lying on an advantageous location at the head of a gulf running down in a deep indentation midway on the western Anatolian coast, the city has been one of the principal mercantile cities of the Mediterranean Sea for much of its history.
Optional excursion possibilities from Izmir:
    Ephesus (Costa excursion)
    House of Virgin Mary (Costa excursion)
    Pergamo (Costa excursion)
Explore Athens on your own.  The oldest known human presence in Athens is the Cave of Schist which has been dated to between the 11th and 7th millennium BC.  Athens has been continuously inhabited for at least 7000 years.  By 1400 BC the settlement had become an important centre of the Mycenaean civilization and the Acropolis was the site of a major Mycenaean fortress whose remains can be recognised from sections of the characteristic Cyclopean walls.  Unlike other Mycenaean centers, such as Mycenae and Pylos, it is not known whether Athens suffered destruction in about 1200 BC, an event often attributed to a Dorian invasion, and the Athenians always maintained that they were "pure" Ionians with no Dorian element. However, Athens, like many other Bronze Age settlements, went into economic decline for around 150 years following this. 
The following optional excursions are recommended ONLY if you have already visited all the major sites in Athens.
Optional excursion possibilities from Athens:
    Ancient Corinth
    Cape Sounio and Temple of Poseidon

Tuesday January 17    Day at Sea
Last day to enjoy the Costa Serena.

Wednesday January 18    Arrive in Rome (Civitivecchia), Depart for MSP
(8:00am)  Arrive at Port Civitivecchia
Disembark very quickly and load buses.
Transfer to FCO
Depart for MSP
All flights leave FCO between 10:20 and 1:05 am
    Those with early flights must hurry off the ship and onto the bus. 
    We have not yet established the bus schedule for the trip from MSP to Eau Claire.

Tuesday January 3     BMB Meets in Eau Claire
9:00 - 12:00  Concert Band rehearsal
1:00 - 4:00   BMB rehearsal
4:00 Final instructions and dismissal
Monday January 16   
Free Day in Athens, Greece
(8:00am - 5:00pm)