Located in South-eastern Europe, the Black Sea is bordered by Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia and Georgia. There are various theories as to how the Black Sea got its name; one common assumption goes back to the days when the ancient Greeks called it the ‘Inhospitable Sea’ as it was once difficult to navigate and many fierce tribes lived along its shore lines. Others believe the name is simply reference to the visibility levels in the water, which are much lower than in neighbouring seas. However the Black Sea got its name, one thing that we do know for sure is that is has now become a popular tourist destination and offers many opportunities to explore areas of mystery.
The countries located in this region combine rich cultural history, heritage and expressive architecture. An exciting destination for cruisers to discover is the popular city of Istanbul with its intriguing mix of modern and ancient architecture, not forgetting the intriguing point of which East meets West.
In Romania, Constanta offers an entrance to the historical city of Bucharest, while those stopping off in Bulgaria can relax on some of Eastern Europe's most stunning beaches.
The Black Sea is the ideal cruise destination for those wishing to see a variety of countries, landscapes and famous landmarks all in one trip.
Most Black Sea cruises are during the height of the summer months between June and August as they are the warmest, and coincidentally the busiest. If you’d like to avoid the peak tourist season and don’t mind cooler temperatures (though still pleasant) consider cruising during the spring and autumn. A cruise to this fascinating land promises unforgettable experiences, leaving you with a deeper understanding of the culture and the charming people that you’ll meet. You can marvel at the ancient treasures, stand in wonderment before the stunning palaces and admire the inspiring architectural works of art. Soak up the colourful history and be greeted by lively folklore performances when you venture ashore; a Black Sea cruise is a truly wonderful experience.
The Eastern Mediterranean serves up a delight of incredible destinations, none more spectacular than Istanbul. At 3,000 years old the city boasts an amazing array of culture combined with cosmopolitan wonders to create an experience like no other. Often known by many as where east meets west it is a regular port of call for many cruise operators, with passengers returning year after year to once again take in it’s beauty. Most ships even spend the night to ensure that passengers get a real flavor for the Turkish city lifestyle.
The City connects two continents through the fascinating suspension bridge that welcomes ships upon their arrival. Lit up by glistening light shows in the evening the views along the magical Bosphorus are breath taking.
The archaeological highlights this city has to offer are endless and often require several days just to scratch the service of the history Istanbul possesses.
This is by far one of the cities most famous and recognisable attractions. Known as the Blue Mosque because of the blue iznik tiles that surround the interior design, this incredible landmark attracts thousands of tourists everyday.
We would definitely advise approaching the Blue Mosque from the Hippodrome direction in order to gain the best vantage point of its spectacular stature.
Passengers are advised that shoes will need to be removed before entering the Mosque itself, as this is still a very active mosque and only closed to non-worshippers for approximately half an hour during the five daily prayers. A bag will be provided for tourists entering the mosque, free of charge, for your shoes to be placed in until you depart. You will also be required to ensure that you take items of clothing that will cover both shoulder and knees before entering the mosque.
Most excursions aim to visit the Blue Mosque mid-morning to ensure you get the most from your visit, however, if visiting independently we also recommend planning your day for a similar time. This allows for a visit to be enjoyed between the calls to prayer and a key factor for passengers is that the Blue Mosque is free of charge to enter, so go along and enjoy the wondrous experience this famous structure has to offer.
The largest covered market in the world, the Grand Bazaar features over 4,000 shops. This magnificent shopping experience revolves around some of Turkeys finest exports, from jewellery to carpets, there is no stone left unturned when it comes to catering for individual desires.
Take the time to browse at your leisure, soak up the vibrant atmosphere and fine-tune those bargaining skills.
Avenues will veer off left, right and center to fill the hearts desire, be it culinary demonstrations, cultural souvenirs or something special to take home to savor that special occasion.
The sheer size of the Grand Bazaar can take up a lot of time to get through and believe us when we say you’ll want to experience every bit of it. It’s important to plan your day around this to ensure you get the most from your visit and if your doing an excursion, most tour guides will include an optional carpet demonstration to really get a feel for the creativity that goes into producing such beautiful pieces.
A visit to the Topkapi Palace is a once in a lifetime experience. It is hard to believe such heritage and history can be captured so beautifully but somehow the Topkapi Palace manages to do so exquisitely.
Home to the Ottoman Sultans for 400 years this magnificent sight can be explored both through an excursion with your cruise operator or independently within comfortable reach of the port.
Freedom to roam allows tourists the opportunity to discover this great culture and absorb the true identity of the once royal residence.
Often used as the setting for royal amusements and vital state occasions, the Palace is now home to some of the most stunningly decorated rooms in the city, showcasing a collection of Ottoman costumes and what many believe to be a key attraction; the Topkapi Dagger.
Excursions will provide an overview commentary from within the Palace gardens, giving a thorough insight into the history the Palace possesses. The many rooms available for tourist to enter are often vast in size and prevent regular commentary from your tour guide, however, there are comprehensive descriptions into each artifact as you make your way around the rooms, capturing the essence of the prestigious history.
Away from the cultural highlights this magnificent city has to offer, it really is an extraordinary place to relax and soak up the atmosphere.
Local cuisine will have you raring for more and the views from the hilltop over the Bosphorus are simply stunning.
For a touch of luxury during an overnight stay in port, venture up the hill to one of the many outstanding restaurants and bars to get a real taste for this magical metropolis. The Sunset Grill, for example, is one of the highest rated restaurants in the city and will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression.
Whatever your desire, let this wonderful port of call fill your mind with memories like never before, for it truly is like no other.
This fascinating port in Montenegro presents a hugely Venetian influence which is clearly evident from the moment passenger arrive. Set in the charming Gulf of Kotor this delightful setting features at one of the most delicately poised locations of the Adriatic Sea, sliding into one of the most intimate indentations of this mesmerising region. Often referred to as the southernmost fjord in Europe it is in fact formed by a somewhat drowned river valley remaining open to the sea and presenting as a fascinating coastal inlet. This is more than often referred to as a Ria and portrays this distinctive port of call in its true glorious picture postcard setting.
The town was under Venetian control for a significant period of time spanning over hundreds of years. This control therefore created an abundance of Venetian features throughout the area reminiscent of a charmingly intimate version of Venice itself. Perhaps the most dominant feature of the city itself is the awe inspiring structure of the city walls. Kotor is enclosed by impressive walls created in medieval times and still standing proudly to this day.
Perhaps the most alluring feature of Kotor is the magnificent array of architectural beauty. This scintillating location continues to wow passengers with its historic buildings of an exquisite nature. Guests need only look at the sheer splendour of the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon to understand the marvellous creations to behold; this is one of the finest examples of Roman construction throughout the coastline. The sensational natural beauty of the Gulf of Kotor combines perfectly with the old town to form a spectacular itinerary highlight and one not to be missed.
The old town is a place to wander, stroll and enjoy the majestic beauty in front of you. Cobbled streets wind through the many alleyways, each portraying their own individual characteristics. Local stores provide you with the chance to take home a souvenir of Kotor or perhaps enjoy a refreshing break at one of the many bars and cafes as you meander through the city squares. Thanks to the medieval architecture and monuments of culture, the enchanting Old City of Kotor is now a UNESCO listed Historical Heritage Site. Kotor’s splendour also continues on as you head for such treasures at the Prince’s Palace and Napoleon’s Theatre.
Whether you are looking for a day of sightseeing bliss or a more relaxing day of cultural expedition this is the place for you. Often a best-selling tour, many cruise operators provide the opportunity for you to take in an overall account of the Montenegrin coast which is legendary in its own right. Islands, beaches and divine hidden gems lie in wait for passengers to arrive. Along with taking in the sights of Kotor, guests will have the chance to marvel at the town of Budva. Along with sightseeing opportunities, guests can sample the local flavours of the food and drink. For this often the ideal location is to head further afield to Krstac, that sits at tremendous height of 3000 feet, therefore providing stunning views of Boka Bay and providing the gateway to the inland attraction of Njegusi. Here guests are in the perfect place to enjoy local specialities such as homemade cheese, brandy and the blissful wineries. Lovcen National Park is another area of huge attraction for visiting tourists. This area is of paramount beauty and also provides a truly breath taking contrast depending on the way you face. To one direction you have the amazing views of the bay whilst to the other guests face the fabulous mountainous backdrop. Instead of sightseeing bliss or cultural expedition, perhaps you’d prefer finish your day with a trip to the Kotor Maritime Museum?
The port of Kotor is not only a special place to visit but also completely unique in every way. The magnificent history of this spectacular destination makes for a truly captivating day, no matter whether it’s for adventure or relaxation, Kotor has something for all.
Located in the south-eastern region of Bulgaria, the municipality of Nessebar consists of 3 towns, Nessebar, Obzor and St Vlas, and has a history dating back over two millennia. The Eastern Balkan Mountains and the Black Sea wrap their individual charms around the island, whilst the impressively narrow man-made isthmus is the only thing that connects the island to the mainland.
This island is split into two varying areas; simply put, old and new. The Old Town is delightfully intimate, spanning just 850m long and 350m wide but still able to portray a fantastic setting of local heritage. At every turn there is something extraordinary to explore, especially when it comes to striking architecture, with ornamental facades of dramatic church designs that provide a real highlight when visiting this port of call. Preserved monuments from the renowned Roman and Byzantine eras can also be found combined with the captivating charm of the romantic peninsula backdrop. The Old Bishop’s Residence is a must see for all tourists wishing to visit the area and an enthralling location to discover along with the many fortress walls. Whilst in Nessebar, don’t miss the chance of visiting the Roman Baths that date back to the second century!
The contemporary part of the island very much revolves around the impeccable architectural designs of the modern world. Exquisite resorts welcome tourists to a cosmopolitan haven with many beautiful hotels and water sport activities.
Tucked away in narrow winding streets, you’ll find many of Nessebar’s restaurants, where you can taste traditional Bulgarian dishes, fish delicacies, game and more. The Chateau Medovo is a popular location to visit and discover an amazing open air museum, as well as witness the workshops of many skilled artisans with the opportunity to even have a go yourselves. Perhaps you’d prefer a wander to Pomorie? Here you can see the brilliant highlights of the Thracian Tomb before indulging in the superb tastes of the local wineries.
Your day doesn’t have to be full of exploring and walking as you can sit back, relax, soak up the sun and work on your tan on one of the many beaches this island has to offer.
Surrounded by lush beaches, sapphire waters and deep rooted history, it’s not hard to see why Nessebar is an enticing port of call on cruise itineraries and why it has also been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
One thing you should be aware of when visiting Nessebar, is that there are many narrow cobbled streets meaning this port of call is not easily accessible to all passengers.
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