Tour Style : Luxury Cruise
Day 1 Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul is supremely exotic, warmly welcoming, and quite unique – after all, where else can you tour Europe and Asia on the very same afternoon? Must sees include Haghia Sophia, decorated in 30 million tiny mosaic tiles, the greatest church in Christendom for 1000 years, then a mosque and now a museum; and Topkapi, palace of sultans, complete with harem quarters. And of course shopping in the GRAND COVERED BAZAAR, a medieval version of a mall, for unusual gifts to take home, stopping along the way in a café for a cup of Turkish coffee or mint tea.
Day 2 At sea
Day 3 Piraeus (Athens), Greece
Piraeus is the main port of Athens, the biggest in Greece, and one of the most important in the Mediterranean Sea. Piraeus is walking distance from Kastella, a hill strewn with beautiful houses that offers a majestic view of the Saronic Gulf. Other points of interest include an archaeological museum, Mikrolimano, where you can enjoy an ouzo accompanied by seafood mezedes.
Day 4 Mykonos, Greece
Mykonos is known for its whitewashed villages sprinkled with blue and jade green. It's also famous for its sophisticated nightlife. The most popular island in the Cyclades is bustling with activity, awash in beautiful alleyways, and home to alluring sandy beaches.
Day 5 Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey
Kusadasi is your gateway to Ephesus, a city created by the Ionians in the 11th century B.C. and later expanded by the Romans. Now considered one of the grandest reconstructed sites in the ancient world, the region also hosted the likes of Cleopatra, Mark Antony, the Virgin Mary and John the Apostle.
Day 6 At sea
Day 7 Yalta
They say a visit to Yalta is good for your health, and it is only because the Russian aristocracy believed that, that the city became more than a backwater. In the mid 19th century, its mild climate was deemed beneficial for recovering from various ailments, and once the tsar bought property there, the race to wellness was on. The elite built neo-gothic chateaux, as did the tsar, whose Livadia Palace eventually hosted Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt for the Yalta Conference at the end of WWII. In the Soviet era dutiful comrades were rewarded with rest trips, though in somewhat less luxurious facilities.
Day 8 Sevastopol
Sevastopol's status as a strategic naval stronghold has contributed to its fascinating history, but has not been kind to the city itself. Under siege for 11 months during the Crimean War, the formerly glorious city was left in ruins. Reconstructed, it was then besieged again by Germans in WWII, reduced to rubble, and rebuilt once again. During Soviet times a closed city, Sevastopol opened to the outside world only in 1995, and not until 1997 did Russia and the Ukraine sign a peace and friendship treaty, ruling out Moscow's claims, and making Ukraine a sovereign nation.
Day 9 and Day 10 Odessa
Relatively new as European cities go, Odessa was founded in 1794 by Catherine the Great, and became an important commercial and cultural center, and the Black Sea's greatest seaport. Two famous sites claim the interests of most visitors: The neo-baroque Odessa Opera and Ballet Theater is considered one of the world's finest opera houses, with unique acoustics in its luxurious rococo hall, that allow even a whisper from the stage to be heard in every corner. The Odessa Steps were the set for an iconic scene in motion picture history, in a scene from the Battleship Potemkin, where hundreds of citizens were killed on the great stone steps.
Day 11 Burgas Island
Located on the Bulgarian Black Sea Riviera, Burgas is a place where the mountains blend with the sea in striking harmony. Nearby Lake Burgas is home to over 250 specials of birds, 61 of which are endangered making it a popular spot for bird watchers. Museums, an opera house, and the medieval churches and cobbled streets in nearby Nessebur, a UNESCO World Heritage site, offer an array of memorable experiences.
Day 12 Istanbul
Arrival in Istanbul