Singer Frankie Avalon, celebrity speakers and an exclusive evening gala cocktail party at the Ephesus archeological site are among the festivities set for Crystal Cruises' annual "President's Cruise." Hosted by the line's president Gregg Michel and his wife, Adrianna, the 12-night "Isles of Antiquity" cruise departs August 24 from Athens to Rome aboard Crystal Serenity, recently awarded "Best Mid-Sized Ship" by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine.
The roster of speakers and special programs include:
* Frankie Avalon - The singer, actor and former teen idol will headline evening performances during the voyage.
* Tom Lippman - The former Washington Post Middle East bureau chief is the author of Inside the Mirage: America's Fragile Partnership with Saudi Arabia.
* Scott O'Grady - Captain O'Grady is author of Return With Honor, which chronicles his story of surviving capture when his F-16 was struck down in Bosnia.
* President's Shore Excursion: An Evening at Ephesus - During the port call in Kusadasi, Turkey, Michel will host a private elegant evening cocktail party in Ephesus at the ancient Library of Celsus, which is normally closed to the public. Classical musicians and modern dancers from the Izmir State Ballet will perform at the ruins. (Open to all guests purchasing the evening excursion.)
* Question-and-Answer Session with the President - Michel will field questions from guests in a candid open forum.
* President's Cruise Alumni Party - Michel hosts a complimentary cocktail party for past "President's Cruise" travelers, in addition to the Crystal Society party for all repeat guests.
"I am looking forward to sharing the extraordinary experiences on board and shore-side that our team has created for the President's Cruise," says Michel. "Besides enjoying some of the most stunning cities in the Mediterranean, our guests particularly relish personally voicing their thoughts and ideas about their connection to the Crystal product. It's important to them and it's important to us."
The August 24 itinerary, sailing from Athens to Rome, will call at Kuşadasi, Turkey; Greece's Santorini, Rhodes, Aghios Nikolaos and Corsica; and Italy's Taormina and Sorrento. Cruise fares start at $5,166 per person, double occupancy, with Crystal's 10 percent savings promotion. Business class air upgrades and a family package are also available at promotional rates.