Night view at St. Peter's cathedral in Rome, Italy

Optional Preludes

We are delighted to offer Inspire travelers the opportunity to prelude together before our core itinerary-- first in Rome, then in Malta. Consider joining both the Rome and Malta Preludes, or solely the Malta Prelude. Please note that the Rome Prelude is limited to 40 guests.

Rome Prelude: June 19 - 22

Malta Prelude: June 22 - 24

Rome Prelude

Thursday, June 19 | Friday, June 20

Depart the United States | Arrive in Rome

Depart the US on transatlantic flights for Rome (airport code FCO). On the way to your hotel, spot many famous sites throughout the city of seven hills.

Saturday, June 21 | Sunday, June 22

St. Peter’s Basilica - Domitilla Catacombs - Sistine Chapel & Vatican Museums

Showcasing the Christian heritage of Rome and the location of the Apostle Paul’s imprisonment and eventual martyrdom, you will visit St. Peter’s, the most renowned basilica in Christendom—and the masterpiece of many great Italian Renaissance architects
and artisans. Your itinerary includes a visit to the most ancient underground cemetery in Rome, the Domitilla Catacombs, where frescoes dating from the second century testify to the faith of some of the earliest Christians.

No visit to the eternal city would be complete without a visit to the Roman Forum. Pay particular attention to the relief showing spoils from the Sack of Jerusalem by Titus in 70 A.D. Every Christian visiting Rome should see the Colosseum: what courage some of our earliest brothers and sisters in the faith exhibited! And the ancient Mamertine Prison
is considered by many scholars to be the location where Paul was held before his appearance in front of the Roman court.

First Century Voyages is making special arrangements for an exclusive after-hours visit to the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums.* Noticeably absent will be the 9 to 5 crowds. Settle into the stillness of the vacant chapel as we gaze up in awe at Michelangelo’s magnificent ceiling masterpiece.

*Subject to Vatican Confirmation 30 days prior.

St. Peter's Basilica

Sunday, June 22

Hotel Phoenicia

If you plan to join both the Rome and Malta Preludes, our group flight will depart for Malta from Rome today. Enjoy a rejuvenating Sunday afternoon at your accommodations in the Phoenicia Hotel or the Hyatt Regency, both 5-star luxury hotels in Malta.

ROME PRELUDE PRICE INCLUSIONS

2 hotel nights at the St. Regis Hotel • 2 breakfasts at your hotel • private group dinner on June 21 • all gratuities, entrance fees, expert local guides and luxury motorcoach transportation • Flight from Rome to Malta on June 22

All ship categories:
$3,900/person
$795 single supplement

Malta Prelude

Saturday, June 21 | Sunday, June 22

Depart the United States | Arrive in Malta

If you would like to join the group in Malta for the prelude, please depart the US on Saturday, June 21 and arrive in Malta (MLA) on Sunday, June 22. Rooms will be ready for FCV travelers at Valletta’s grand dame, The Phoenicia, and the brand new Hyatt Regency in the heart of St Julian’s Bay. Both 5-star luxury properties are fresh and welcoming. Please dine at one of the many tasty restaurant choices located near both properties.

Monday, June 23

Knights of Malta - Grotto of St. Paul - Rabat - Mdina

Our exploration of Malta begins with a guided tour from the magnificent halls of the Knights of Malta to the modest Grotto of St. Paul in Rabat. According to tradition, this is where the apostle was held captive for three months after his shipwreck. Drawn to follow in the footsteps of the apostle, Rabat is still home to churches, catacombs, and monasteries maintained by thriving orders of Dominican, Augustinian, and Franciscan monks.

Nestled up to Rabat on the western part of the island, we will walk the timeless streets of the neighboring walled city of Mdina, regarded for grand palatial homes belonging to past and current noble families. Known today as the “silent city”, Mdina was traditionally called the “noble city”, predating Valletta as the island’s original medieval capital city. Be sure to step inside one of the city's gelaterias for a refreshing treat as we weave through the city’s high, limestone walls. Today we will enjoy lunch together in the quaint fishing village of Marasaxlokk, known for its colorful fishing boats and picturesque views.

Street within Mdina

Tuesday, June 24

Gozo

Ggantija Temples

Ta'Pinu Basilica

This morning, we’ll hop on a local ferry to Malta’s neighbor, Gozo, mythological home of the nymph Calypso of Odyssey fame. This second largest island in the Malta archipelago was reputed to be the land of the enchantress who held the hero Odysseus and his men captive for seven years. With its inviting landscapes and idyllic ambiance, Gozo’s reputation as “enchanting” is well-deserved.

Once we arrive on Gozo, we’ll venture inland, through a countryside dotted with farmhouses and Baroque churches. Our first visit is to the Ggantija Temples, which many consider to be the oldest freestanding structures in the world. Dating back to 3,500 BC, these Neolithic sanctuaries with their rudimentary altars are a mysterious reminder of mankind’s innate desire to worship.

Then we’ll fast forward a few millennia, where a peasant girl’s answered prayers spurred the restoration of Ta’ Pinu Basilica. During our brief stop, we will visit the remains of the 16th-century church upon which Ta’ Pinu is built. Famous as a place of miracles, the basilica’s “Room of Gratitude” is filled with thankful letters and mementos sent from all over the world, each one an expression of gratitude for answered prayers.

After lunch at a countryside taverna, we’ll take in panoramic views of Gozo from atop the Citadel of Victoria, the heart of the island. For centuries, this keep was Gozo’s strongest defense against marauding pirates, whose slave-trade plundering regularly decimated the local population.

Late this afternoon, we’ll return by ferry to the main island of Malta. We look forward to connecting with our fellow Inspire travelers and trip hosts at The Phoenicia for a Welcome Dinner.

MALTA PRELUDE PRICE INCLUSIONS

2 hotel nights at a location corresponding to the SEA CLOUD SPIRIT cabin selection • 2 breakfasts at your hotel • 2 lunches • all gratuities, entrance fees, expert local guides and luxury motorcoach transportation

Ship Category F: $1,890/person, single traveler
Ship Category C, D, E: $1,500/person
Ship Category B: $1,750/person at the Grand Hyatt Hotel
Ship Category B: $2,450/person at the Phoenicia Hotel
Ship Category A: $2,900/person