Newt & Susan Crenshaw
June 8 - 18, 2024

From Rome to Malta
Aboard the Legendary

Eleven Day Core Itinerary

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Depart United States

Depart the United States for overnight transatlantic flights to Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci Airport (FCO-Fiumicino).

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Arrive in Rome

Rome's Trevi Fountain

Transfer from the airport to either the St. Regis Hotel or the InterContinental Rome Ambasciatori Palace* in the heart of the Eternal City. Before we board the world’s most elegant sailing yacht, begin getting accustomed to elegance and five-star service at these grand palace hotels, both recently reopened after full renovations from ground floor to penthouse. Be sure to arrive in time for our Welcome Reception with Newt & Susan at the St. Regis Hotel this evening.

Dinner tonight is on your own with old friends or new. Experienced travelers usually agree—there is no such thing as a bad restaurant in Italy!

*Hotel accommodation corresponds to selected cabin category aboard Sea Cloud II.

Monday, June 10

Rome, Vatican City & Embarkation

Your day begins with special arrangements for an exclusive before- hours visit to the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums.* Noticeably absent will be the regular-hours crowds. We will be by ourselves in the chapel, gazing up in awe at Michelangelo’s magnificent masterpiece ceiling.

Enjoy a mid-morning breakfast and prepare to depart for the busy port of Civitavecchia. On our way to the ship, relax with your fellow YOUNG LIFE travelers for a peaceful luncheon at the 5-star Michelin restaurant, Mirabelle. A leisurely repast with a magical rooftop view of Rome is the perfect introduction to a week of restorative sailing with like-minded adventurers.

There awaiting us is our home-away-from-home, SEA CLOUD II, our beloved sailing yacht, faithfully prepared with her gilded masthead and gleaming white hull, this three-masted sailing ship representing a bygone era will be the star attraction in port. Once everyone has been welcomed aboard with a flute of bubbly, the lines are loosed and SEA CLOUD II slips out into the Tyrrhenian Sea. The Italian coastline begins to fade on the port-side horizon. Another maritime adventure has begun.

* Subject to Vatican Confirmation 30 days prior.

Vatican City

Tuesday, June 11

Day at Sea

Sea Cloud II Lido Deck

Wake up this morning to the smell of early risers' coffee on the Lido deck. Our ship’s baker has been up since 4:00 a.m., so the croissants are warm from the oven. Taking our course southeastward toward Naples, June offers the strong likelihood of a sailor’s delight—“fair winds and following seas.” After breakfast venture up to the Lido Deck, settle into a cushioned teak chaise and look up to the rigging rising the equivalent of seventeen stories above us! While an officer gives us an as-it-happens explanation, two dozen nimble deck crew climb aloft to set 23 sails and 32,000 square feet of canvas above our heads. No need to pay for marine fuel when the winds fill SEA CLOUD II’s billowing sails for free!

Our first YOUNG LIFE Club is today, always a creatively inspiring and relationship-building experience you do not want to miss. For some in our sailing party, the Sea Cloud ships are like old friends. And today, we renew the acquaintance. For everyone on board there are new friendships to begin. Camaraderie with our shipmates is a secret sauce on every FIRST CENTURY VOYAGE.

In the afternoon, we sail through the Pontine Islands, twenty miles off the coastline of Italy. This evening the captain hosts a welcome party to introduce the officers and key members of the crew. Our Welcome and Farewell Dinners are culinary highlights of our cruise week and occasions to spiff up. Expect four courses— each equally pleasing to the eye and the palate.

Wednesday, June 12

Naples & Pompeii

At sunrise, we should be nearing the modern port of Pozzuoli. In the first century, when the Apostle Paul landed here on his way to Rome (Acts 28:13), this same harbor was called Puteoli. Once we have finished breakfast, SEA CLOUD II will maneuver into the bustling port of Naples. Welcome to the undisputed birthplace of America’s favorite food, pizza pie!

Our morning excursion will take us to the astonishing archaeological site of ancient Pompeii. With the eruption of nearby Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD, Pompeii was quickly engulfed in a storm of ash, essentially freeze-framing the city and leaving an archaeological “snapshot” of daily life in a Roman city of the first century. Prepare to be awed by the sophistication of Pompeii’s art and culture, but simultaneously moved by the sense of tragedy—ordinary people and everyday scenes preserved in the suffocating ash Vesuvius spewed.

After lunch, we will explore the Museo Archeologico Nazionale. Among its treasures are valuable relics from the ruins of Pompeii and neighboring Herculaneum, as well as an impressive display of ancient Greek and Roman artifacts.

Napes, Italy & Mount Vesuvius

Thursday, June 13

Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast

Villa Ravello

As we slept last night, SEA CLOUD II crept around the jagged coastline of the Sorrento Peninsula, slipped past the Isle of Capri and the mythical Sirens on Li Galli, and eased into the Bay of Salerno. We wake this morning to a sailor’s view of the town of Salerno. Legend has it that Hercules loved a girl named Amalfi, whose premature death led him to bury her in the adjacent town of Amalfi—the most beautiful place in the world.

Amalfi was once one of Italy’s greatest maritime powers, rivaling neighbors Genoa and Venice during the height of its glory in the 11th century. Its demise came with twin disasters in the 14th century—a sea quake (like tsunamis in the Indian and Pacific Oceans) and a subsequent plague. It wasn’t until the 19th century—when the scenic beauty and wonder of Amalfi’s coastline were rediscovered by European artists and travelers—that the area began enjoying more prosperity and fame.

During the morning we will enjoy spectacular views of the treasured Amalfi Coast and the Island of Capri. This area of the Mediterranean is some of the best cruising in the world.

After lunch we will stop in famed harbor town of Amalfi for a brief visit, which cozily hugs the steep, surrounding hills. At Amalfi we come ashore aboard SEA CLOUD II’s tenders where our local guides escort us through the city’s narrow streets to Duomo di Sant’ Andrea— the Cathedral of Saint Andrew. Saint Andrew’s colorful, brightly decorated façade dominates the adjacent piazza. Tradition holds that the remains of the disciple Andrew are buried in the church’s crypt.

After a short tour of the cathedral and its neighboring cloister, we'll be free to browse the town's ships and tavernas before returning to SEA CLOUD II.

Friday, June 14

Day at Sea

With no port calls today, sleep in if you wish. Join the chefs for a mid-morning Seamen’s Brunch up on the Lido Deck. On port side are the scenic Campanian and Calabrian coastlines of Italy’s “boot.” Officers on the open bridge are always delighted to explain the operations of our historic vessel. Guided visits can also be arranged if you would like to inspect the engine room.

This afternoon we sail amongst the Aeolian Islands, named for the mythical god of the winds, Aeolus. Depending on those winds and our speed-of-advance under sail, we hope to reach a quiet anchorage just off the volcanic island of Stromboli for tonight’s barbecue on deck. As darkness falls, we hope to see the red-hot glow of molten lava on the uppermost slopes of the volcano. On three previous Sea CLOUD trips, we have seen the fiery spectacle of an eruption every time! Once it was a passenger’s birthday—of course we took credit for arranging the volcanic “fireworks” in her honor.


Saturday, June 15

Taormina, Sicily

During our morning sail, Newt and Susan, together with YOUNG LIFE staff guests, will gather us for some inspiration and fun on the Lido Deck. The passing scenery is the strategic and historic Straight of Messina. Brush up on your WWII history.

During lunch, we’ll anchor in Naxos Bay just below Taormina, Sicily. Sicily is the Mediterranean’s largest island and Taormina is its crown jewel. During our excursion ashore, we will visit the city’s 3rd- century BC Greco-Roman amphitheater where whispers still carry from the stage to the back row cheap seats! The Greeks, famous for building their theaters in places of natural beauty, really outdid themselves here. Surely, the views of land, sky, and sea alone was worth the price of a ticket. Behind the stage is Mt. Etna, Europe’s highest, still-active volcano. Taormina is also a shopper’s delight. To sample Sicilian cuisine, some of us might stay ashore for dinner. Don’t miss the last tender back to Sea CLOUD II at 9:00 p.m.!

Ancient theatre of Taormina Siciliy Italy  with Etna erupting volcano at sunset

Greek Theater, Taormina

Sunday, June 16

Siracusa, Sicily

Siracusa, Sicily

Sunday morning under full sail in the Mediterranean—what a setting for worship! Perhaps you might read from Acts 28 where we find the story of the Apostle Paul sailing to Syracuse and staying there for three days on his way to trial in Rome. We will only stop over for a few hours this afternoon. The history of Siracusa, our last port of call in Italy, goes back to the 8th century BC when it was a Greek trading colony. Sitting at one of the crossroads of the ancient Mediterranean world, over the centuries the port city became a melting pot—Phoenicians first, then the Greeks, followed by Roman influences, Spanish, Arabic, Norman, and French. And let’s not forget General Patton’s U.S. Seventh Army blazing through Sicily in July, 1943 on their way to the European continent after finishing off Rommel in North Africa.

Two tours are planned today—one focused on the Ancient Greek and Roman theaters and the Paradise Quarry where you can experience the acoustics of the famous Ear of Dionysius. The other affords leisurely wandering-around time in the Old City, Ortigia Island, with its cobblestone roads and palaces from past centuries. Wear the best you brought tonight for the Captain’s champagne party before a grand finale dinner one deck below.

Monday, June 17

Disembarkation in Malta

Enjoy a full day in Malta

Every ship at sea has an official port of registry whose name is lettered on the stern of the vessel and whose national flag the ship always flies. Since its inception, SEA CLOUD II has flown a red-and-white flag with the Maltese Cross. The port of Valletta is emblazoned across her stern. Though she may only spend one or two days each year in her official port of registry, we could easily refer to as “sailing home” today.

After breakfast, we bid a fond but sad farewell to our beautiful sailing yacht and her wholly attentive crew. Walking down the gangway, one always hopes to return soon—but there is so much to see in Malta!

Dubbed “the city built by gentlemen for gentlemen,” Valletta was founded in 1566 by the fabled Knights of St. John as part of their campaign against the Ottoman Empire. Appropriately we will start our touring at St. John’s Co-Cathedral, an excellent example of high Baroque artistry combined with subtle engineering. It has fulfilled dual roles as military installation and religious center. The carvings and paintings that fill St. John’s from floor to ceiling detail the life of this beloved saint. And his death! A must-see is Caravaggio’s monumental painting, The Beheading of John the Baptist. We have also arranged a private tour of the Grand Master’s Palace, historically the residence of the head of the Order of the Knights of Saint John, but now home to Malta’s Parliament. Next our local guides will lead us from the magnificent halls of the Knights to the modest Grotto of St. Paul. According to tradition, this is where the apostle was held captive for three months after his shipwreck.

Our hotels for tonight are Valletta’s grand dame, The Phoenicia, and the brand new Hyatt Regency* in the heart of St Julian’s Bay. Both properties are fresh and welcoming. Please dine at one of the many tasty restaurant choices located near both properties.

*Hotel accommodation corresponds to selected cabin category aboard Sea Cloud II.

Tuesday, June 18

After your final breakfast at your hotel, return home with hearts full of warm memories.

Valletta, Malta

St. John’s Co-Cathedral

Tuesday, June 18

One-Day Extension in Malta

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 a 16th-century church upon which Ta’ Pinu is built. Famous as a place of miracles, the basilica’s “Room of Gratitude” is full of letters of thanks and mementos sent from all over the world expressing gratitude for answered prayers.

After a 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. Dinner choices are as varied as the island’s multi-ethnic heritage. Before retiring for the evening, take a moment to savor the beautiful places, warm friendships, and inspiring teaching that have filled your days. Traveling mercies for your return home on June 19th.


Ship Category F, E, D: $560/person, $190 single supplement
Ship Category C, B: $730/person
Ship Category A: $980/person

Map of Your Journey