The magnificent Black Sea region is still new territory for many visitors—an exciting irony, since so many pivotal events of world history have played out within its margins, from the fall of Constantinople to the fall of the Soviet Union. In addition to its splendid history and culture, the Black Sea region—particularly the Crimean coast—enjoys a subtropical climate akin to that of the Mediterranean. Palm trees, rare flowers, vineyards, and orchards flourish, and the golden beaches and invigorating mineral spas draw visitors from throughout Europe.
After sailing from Athens, we call in Constanta, Romania’s main port, where we will explore the ruins of Tomis Danubius. Discover Ukraine’s Odessa, a city rich in 19th-century architecture, including the famous Potemkin Steps, as well as Yalta and Sevastopol, crucible of the Crimean War. Before concluding the voyage in Istanbul, sail to the seldom-visited north coast of Turkey to explore Trabzon, and the nearby Sumela Monastery, as well as the soaring citadel of ancient Amasya.
The Black Sea - Crossroads of Culture itinerary:
Day 1: ATHENS, Greece
Upon arrival in Athens, transfer to the King George II Hotel.
Day 2: ATHENS | PIRAEUS | EMBARK
The birthplace of Western culture, Athens boasts a plethora of historic monuments. In the morning, tour the Acropolis, including the Erechtheion and the majestic Parthenon. After lunch at a taverna, continue to the stunning new Acropolis Museum before embarking Corinthian II.
Day 3: AT SEA
Attend lectures while sailing toward Romania.
Day 4: CONSTANTA, Romania
Arrive in Constanta, Romania’s main port. A tour of the city will include the Ruins of Tomis Danubius, the Archaeological and National History Museum, the Archaeology Park, the Orthodox Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul, and Piata Ovidiu, the central square of the old quarter where you will have time at leisure.
Day 5: ODESSA, Ukraine
Stroll through Odessa’s elegant leafy streets, lined with stately mansions. Discover its prime landmarks, including the grand, Viennese Baroque-style Opera House; the historic Potemkin Steps, site of the 1905 uprising of workers and sailors from the battleship Potemkin; and the Archaeological Museum. In the afternoon, you will have the chance to meet with local families in their homes, or enjoy time at leisure in the city.
Day 6: SEVASTOPOL | CHERSONESOS | BAKHCHYSARAY | SEVASTOPOL
Arrive in Sevastopol, a beautiful port city and the former base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet from the days of Catherine II until the fall of the Soviet Union. Drive to nearby Chersonesos, an ancient city founded by Greeks in the 5th century B.C. that became a prosperous trading post. Return to Sevastopol to visit the Panorama Museum, featuring a circular, three-dimensional work of art depicting the defense of the city during the Crimean War. In the afternoon, enjoy time at leisure in Sevastopol, or alternatively, drive to the Crimean interior to explore Bakhchysaray, the seat of the Tatar state from the 16th to the 18th centuries. Visit the imperial Khan’s Palace, built in 1519.
Day 7: YALTA
In the mid-19th century, the Russian imperial family chose Yalta for its summer residence, and almost overnight the town mushroomed into an elegant and popular resort. Tour the Alupka Palace, a stunning 19th-century edifice with both English Tudor and Byzantine embellishments, and Anton Chekhov’s House. After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the Livadia Palace, famed site of the 1945 Yalta Conference among Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin, and attend a private concert at its Organ Hall.
Day 8: TRABZON | SUMELA MONASTERY | TRABZON, Turkey
Trabzon, the ancient Trapezus, lies on a small tableland between two deep ravines, and was one of antiquity’s greatest cities and commercial centers. Founded by Greek colonists during the early part of the 1st millennium b.c., it continued to prosper under the Romans and Byzantines, reaching its golden age in the 13th and 14th centuries. Travel to the Sumela Monastery, founded in the 4th century and situated high in the mountains in a spectacular setting. Back in Trabzon, visit the city’s most stunning church, the 13th-century Hagia Sophia, and spend time at leisure exploring the city, known throughout Turkey for its silver workshops.
Day 9: SAMSUN | AMASYA | SAMSUN
From Samsun, drive to Amasya, which (legend has it) was founded by the Amazon queen Amasis. Admire its setting amid a narrow gorge on the Iris River, flanked by cliffs. Ascend to the cliff-top fortress for panoramic views and probe the rock tombs of the Pontic kings, which were carved into the cliff. Also visit the 15th-century Sultan Beyazit Mosque, whose buttressed domes and columns commend it as an architectural hallmark, before savoring lunch at a hilltop restaurant with postcard-perfect views. Visit the Archaeological Museum in Samsun before returning to the ship.
Day 10: AT SEA
Spend the day at sea enjoying the ship’s amenities and attending lectures.
Day 11: ISTANBUL | DISEMBARK | USA
Disembark in Istanbul and transfer to the airport for return flights to the U.S.
The deluxe Corinthian II is an all-suite yacht accommodating up to 114 guests. Built in 1992 and refurbished and redecorated in 2005, it has 57 suites, each with:
• Sea view
• Queen-sized bed separable into two twin-sized beds
• Sitting area
• Satellite TV, DVD/CD player
• Marble-appointed bathroom with fine toiletries
• 225 square feet or more
• Plush terry robes and slippers
• Fresh flowers and fruit basket
• 24-hour room service
The Penthouse Suites and Veranda Suites (400 and 300 square feet, respectively) feature private balconies accessed via sliding-glass doors, as well as white glove butler service.
Corinthian II’s superb Continental cuisine is created by master chefs who select fresh local ingredients at many ports of call. Meals are served either in the stately restaurant or al fresco on the umbrella-studded sun deck. Fine regional wines are complimentary with lunch and dinner, and beginning in 2008 open bar service will be available throughout the day.
BESPOKE SMALL-SHIP AMENITIES
Returning from excursions, guests enjoy complimentary refreshments, afternoon tea and all-day coffee in The Club, a gracious space for relaxation, surrounded by panoramic windows. Before or after dinner, cocktails are served to live music performed by the ship’s pianist.
Other Corinthian II features include:
• Library with Internet access
• Lounge with audiovisual facilities
• Dining room
• Wraparound sun deck with Jacuzzi
• Exercise Room
• Beauty salon
• Medical facilities with available doctor
• Elevator serving all passenger decks
• Swimming platform
Corinthian II complies with the latest international safety regulations and is outfitted with the most current navigational and communications technology as well as with retractable fin stabilizers for smooth sailing, an ice-strengthened hull, and a fleet of Zodiacs. Corinthian II’s 75 officers and crew ensure gracious personalized service and a convivial atmosphere akin to a private club.