BLACK SEA DISCOVERY & MEDITERRANEAN ADVENTURE

From £4,299pp
28 Nights
Offers
Europe

Highlights:

  • Visiting five stunning cities in five different countries, be immersed in the remarkable ancient history, authentic flavours and breathtaking beauty of the Black Sea.
  • Step back to the days of Ottoman rule in unmistakable Istanbul; and take the chance to visit wine valleys and tea plantations in Russia and Georgia.
  • You can explore Odessa’s labyrinth-like Catacombs, and the Danube Delta – on boat tour from Constanta – too, while you’ll also experience the best of the beautiful Mediterranean.
  • Upto £250 per person onboard spend - if booked by 1 September 2020.

In unmistakable Istanbul, step back to the days of Ottoman rule at the glittering Topkapi Palace and fascinating Hagia Sofia; marvel at the mighty Blue Mosque; sample traditional Turkish delight and sweet Baklava; and experience the hustle and bustle of the Grand Bazaar. A tour from Sochi offers a visit to a Russian tea plantation on tour, to taste the local brew and see how locals harvest it, while some of Georgia’s most spectacular subtropical gardens, national parks and wine valleys await discovery from Batumi.

In the Ukraine, revel in Odessa’s melting pot of western European-influenced architecture, culture and art, and perhaps explore the city’s underground network of labyrinth-like, 17th century Catacombs. For a magical end to your Black Sea discovery, opt for a boat tour of Romania’s Danube Delta, a bird haven of peaceful marshlands and waterways, from Constanta.

If that wasn’t enough, you’ll get to experience the best of the Mediterranean on this incredible 28-night adventure too. Visit Gibraltar and enjoy grandstand views from the top of the ‘rock’; and sail into the magnificent Grand Harbour of Valletta, the 16th century walled capital of Malta and a treasure trove of Baroque architectural gems. Ancient Greek wonders also will reveal themselves; Piraeus is your starting point for exploring engrossing Athens, home of legendary ruins and temples such as the 2,500-year-old Parthenon and Agias Apostoli, while Olympia – the home of the Olympic Games – is within reach of Katakolon. Cities on Spanish shores will delight too. There’s time in the sun-kissed Menorcan city of Mahon and Cádiz, with its gorgeous coastline, ancient sites and traditional tapas bars. What’s more, to complement your time ashore to explore, Balmoral will also guide you through narrow straits and passages, including the Darnanelles and Bosphorus, for hours of unforgettable scenic cruising too.

Price Includes:

  • Comfortable, stylish cabins and suites equipped with a Smart TV, hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities, a fridge and individually controlled air conditioning

  • A tempting choice of cuisine every day throughout your cruise – with five-course à la carte dinners, casual breakfast and lunch buffets, late-night snacks and much more

  • Unlimited, self-service tea and coffee available 24hrs at selected venues, complimentary afternoon tea* with sandwiches and cakes, and in-room sandwiches and snacks

  • A full programme of evening entertainment, including cabaret shows, comedy, dancing and live music

  • Full use of on board leisure facilities, including swimming pools, Jacuzzis and gym

  • A wide choice of engaging on board activities and lectures throughout the day

  • All UK port taxes (where collectable in advance)

  • Luggage porterage between your cabin and the drop-off/pick-up point

  • Formal welcome and/or Captain’s Drinks Party and Gala Buffet

Itinerary

  • Day 1 Dover, United Kingdom

    Home of the famous White Cliffs, Dover is one of England's most iconic towns. Located on the south-east coast of England just 21 miles across the English Channel from France, Dover – home of the world's busiest passenger port – is the first sight for many visitors arriving from around the world.

  • Day 5 Gibraltar, Gibraltar

    British overseas territory, Gibraltar, on Spain's south coast is dominated by a 426m-high limestone ridge: The Rock. The Rock of Gibraltar is a sentinel that guards the Straits, and the overtly-British town nestled between the European and African continents. Its atmosphere is all the more familiar due to its helmeted policemen, red pillar boxes, fish and chip shops, traditional pubs and Marks & Spencer shops.

    Layers of fortifications on The Rock include the remains of a 14th-century Moorish Castle and the 18th century Great Siege Tunnels. The Europa Point Lighthouse and St. Michael’s limestone cave light show are both well worth seeking out.

    Resolutely British for nearly 300 years, Gibraltar’s unique history is of interest but it's the camera-loving Barbary Apes that tend to steal the show.

  • Day 8 Valletta, Malta

    The cityscape is probably one of the most stunning in the Mediterranean – the city’s sun-drenched stone walls have an almost permanent warm, honey hue, while colourful, decorative balconies overlook the worn and tethered streets below. Fine restaurants and shops leap out from side streets or are tucked away in charming courtyards.

    Valletta is also well-situated to discover the silent city of Mdina, a fortified city in the Northern Region of Malta and home to the Roman burial complex of St. Paul’s Catacombs.

  • Day 11 Istanbul, Turkey

    Seen as the place where East meets West, Istanbul has a cultural diversity that's lasted for centuries, stemming from the multitude of rulers it's had in history.

    Among Istanbul's great wealth of monuments and landmarks are the ethereal Blue Mosque, glittering Topkapi Palace (once home of the sultans) vast Kapali Carsi (the world's largest covered bazaar) and the aromatic Egyptian Spice Market. Food is an important part of Istanbul's culture and particular highlights include çay bahçesis (tea gardens) kahvehans (coffeehouses) meyhanes (Turkish taverns) and kebapçıs (kebab restaurants) which the locals will welcome you into readily.

  • Day 13 Sochi, Russia

    Sochi received global recognition and attention as the host of the 2014 Winter Olympic & Paralympic Games, despite the fact that – thanks to its quite un-Russian warm climate – it’s often called Russia’s ‘Summer Capital’.

    Now more popular than ever, this Black Sea city welcomes large numbers of visitors from around the world, who come to enjoy the incredible coastline – complete with tall mountains, rocky coves and shingle beaches, the vibrant nightlife and stunning architecture of the city’s structures, including the colourful St. Vladimir Church, Summer Theatre and Michael Archangel Cathedral to name just a few.

    However, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t anywhere to enjoy some time on the slopes, and at the nearby Krasnaya Polyana resort – located in the Adler district of the city – you’ll discover the beautiful snow-smothered mountains that were used for the Alpine and Nordic events during the Olympics. A little closer to the city there are other natural delights to enjoy too, including the wonderful waterfalls of the Agura Valley and the dense forests and gorgeous flora of the UNESCO-listed Western Caucasus Biosphere Reserve.

  • Day 14 Batumi, Georgia

    Batumi is a seaside resort on the Black Sea coast, situated in a sub tropical zone, rich in citrus fruit and tea, with surrounding hills and mountains providing rainfall to make it lush and green, but also the wettest city in Georgia!

    The main sights are the oldest historic-architectural monuments, places of culture and a great variety of subtropical plants. The notable seaside Boulevard Park and Old Town have been tastefully restored, and there are many modern high-rise buildings standing alongside classical 19th century edifices. Also worth visiting are the Botanical Gardens and Dancing Fountains.

  • Day 16 Odessa, Ukraine

    Odessa has a reputation as a lively artistic and cultural centre, with architectural treasures that include a trio of palaces - and a prestigious 19th century Opera House, where Tchaikovsky performed. Don't miss the shopping arcades - or bargain-price local vodka and caviar!

    The famous Potemkin Steps cascade down to the Black Sea, and the intricate facade details of the many buildings and onion-domed churches are breath-taking. With almost year-round warmth, it's a popular holiday destination for many and is becoming more so as times goes on.

  • Day 17 Constanta, Romania

    Situated at the crossroads of several commercial routes, Constanta lies on the western coast of the Black Sea. Recalled by several Byzantine writers under the name of Constantia or Constanta.

    Today, Constanta has a superb archaeological museum, while Trajan’s victory monument is at Adamklissi. Landmarks include the Ovidiu’s Square, Roman Mosaics and the Genoese Lighthouse, which only stands at a height of 16 metres. Dating from the middle of the 19th century, it's octagonal shape makes it popular for it's construction; and it now stands as a enchanting tourist point in the city.

  • Day 19 Piraeus, Greece

    The port city of Piraeus has a vast, interesting history that extends back to the Ancient Greeks. From its beginnings in the 5th Century BC handling the country’s growing import trade to one of the most important passenger ports in Europe today, Piraeus has long served as a gateway to Athens.

    The biggest port in the Mediterranean, the most attractive quarter of Piraeus lies around Zea Marina and Mikrolimano harbour. The latter is lined with welcoming cafes, restaurants and bars. Most visitors’ experience of the port, however, is when briefly passing through for the Greek capital.

  • Day 20 Katakolon, Greece

    Katakolon is the small, sleepy port town located on the western coast of the Peloponnese peninsula, which has undergone an extensive and very pleasing makeover over the last decade.

    Situated on a headland overlooking the Ionian Sea, the Greek seaside town is the gateway to the UNESCO-listed World Heritage site of Ancient Olympia. Founded in the 8th century BC, Olympia hosted the original Olympic Games and its extensive, must-see ruins include athletic training areas, a stadium and temples dedicated to the gods Hera and Zeus.

    The town of Kataolon itself offers the fascinating lighthouse built in 1865, the intriguing Museum of Ancient Greek Technology, and the sunken, ancient city of Pheia, which is within walking distance of the port. The Worldwide Mythology Exhibition Park was established in 2017 in Katakolo Square, where mythical monsters Minotaurs and Centaurs can be found in a labyrinth.

  • Day 21 Cruise Strait of Messina, Italy

    The Strait of Messina is steeped in legend and is famed for its rocks and whirlpools – many of which were personified as female monsters in Greek mythology.

    An extremely busy highway of seafaring traffic, this narrow waterway is seen as being key to the economic success of Messina. The currents, whirlpools, and winds of the strait, which still hamper navigation, gave rise in ancient times to many legends about its dangers to navigators.

  • Day 23 Mahon (Menorca), Spain

    Mahon is the capital of the Spanish island of Menorca. The city, situated on the east coast of the island, has a population of 31,000 and is most famous for its natural deep-water harbour, which stretches five kilometres inland and is one of the largest in the world. Mahon is easy to explore by foot. As you wander the streets, you’ll discover traces of the various civilisations that have passed through the town.

    Santa María Church, with its ornate 19th century organ, is worth discovery on central Plaça de la Constitució, and City Hall has a Renaissance facade and a clock donated by the island’s first British governor. The Menorca Museum displays art and exhibits on the island's history.

    From Mahón the true beauty of Menorca – its sleepy fishing villages, stunning beaches and Monte Toro, the island’s highest peak – is all waiting to be uncovered.

  • Day 25 Cádiz, Spain

    Cadiz, one of Europe's most ancient cities, hugs Andalusia’s sunlit Atlantic coast and is characterised by palm trees, lookout towers and weathered old buildings. Now into its fourth millennium, Cádiz's fascinating Old Town district features huge stone walls from the 1500s and is home to a wealth of historic highlights, including the beautifully crafted 18th century Cádiz Cathedral.

    Boasting over 100 watchtowers, including the iconic Torre Tavira, traditionally used for spotting ships; traditional tapas bars serving delicious traditional cuisine and local seafood; and fascinating maritime history; Cádiz offers a plethora of authentic sights and experiences. The winding streets assume the feel of a carnival, packed-out with friendly locals and humming to the sounds of upbeat alegrías (flamenco songs).

    Cádiz is also the gateway to the stunning city of Seville, with its maze of courtyards, atmosphere old quarters and ornate churches and cathedrals.

  • Day 29 Dover, United Kingdom

    Home of the famous White Cliffs, Dover is one of England's most iconic towns. Located on the south-east coast of England just 21 miles across the English Channel from France, Dover – home of the world's busiest passenger port – is the first sight for many visitors arriving from around the world.

    This historic town is much more than a gateway to Britain, and offers much to discover, including the 12th century Dover Castle – which overlooks the pretty harbour and houses the extensive Secret Wartime Tunnels – Archcliffe Fort, and the Western Heights, where a series of coastal defences and unspoilt nature reserves await exploration.

Customers Say

From £4,299pp
28 Nights
Offers
Europe

Highlights:

  • Visiting five stunning cities in five different countries, be immersed in the remarkable ancient history, authentic flavours and breathtaking beauty of the Black Sea.
  • Step back to the days of Ottoman rule in unmistakable Istanbul; and take the chance to visit wine valleys and tea plantations in Russia and Georgia.
  • You can explore Odessa’s labyrinth-like Catacombs, and the Danube Delta – on boat tour from Constanta – too, while you’ll also experience the best of the beautiful Mediterranean.
  • Upto £250 per person onboard spend - if booked by 1 September 2020.

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