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Black Sea Cruises

Often included as part of an Eastern Mediteranean itinerary, the Black Sea is a fascinating cruise destination in its own right. Often sailing from Athens through the Greek Islands to Istanbul, the Bosphorus Strait serves as the gateway to such varied cities as Sochi, Odessa, Contastanta, Trabazon and Batumi. Explore, a mix of cuisines, religions, histories and cultures like no other, from the Greek colonies and trade of antiquity to the Crimean war of the 1800’s and Olympic villages of today.

Black Sea cruises offer a unique opportunity to explore a region which still offers much mystique. A sumptuous cruise to this fascinating land will promise a wealth of experiences leaving you with a deeper understanding of the interesting places and the charming people that you visit. You can marvel at the ancient treasures, stand in wonderment before the stunning palaces and admire the awesome architectural masterpieces. Soak up the colourful history and be greeted by lively folklore performances when you venture ashore.

Keen to get onboard? Then waste no time by flying directly from the UK on a fly cruise as the fascinating culture and captivating beauty of the destinations visited on a Black Sea Cruise are just waiting to be discovered! For the ultimate in glamour, you can even travel in supreme sophistication and comfort on a luxury Black Sea luxury cruise.

Best time for a Black Sea cruise

If you're looking to embark on a Black Sea cruise, the season runs from April to October, meaning that you're bound to find a time that works best for you. While destinations on the Black Sea tend to be less crowded than those on the Mediterranean, June, July and August tend to be the busiest months, as well as the warmest, with long summer days meaning you can make the most of each port of call from morning to evening.

Alternatively, if you'd like something a little less busy, spring and autumn are a good time to cruise the Black Sea thanks to relatively warm temperatures, perfect for exploring the historic sites and beaches without the worry of hordes of tourists.

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Top Black Sea Cruise Destinations and Shore Excursions

Before you set sail on your Black Sea cruise, your cruise line will have carefully selected the golden highlights of the glittering itinerary that you will follow and will offer you the opportunity to get to know the destinations through a full programme of fascinating shore excursions. These excursions will enrich your whole Black Sea holiday experience and are the safest, most convenient and most comfortable way of exploring an area before you return to the luxury of your ship.

Black Sea Cruises in Turkey

Stop off in one of the most spectacular Black Sea cruise destinations in Turkey, Istanbul, an unforgettable city where the history and culture of Europe and Asia combine in stunning harmony. Take a walk down the narrow cobbled streets of Trabzon and enjoy the fascinating history of this strategic Black Sea port or head to the Archaeological Museum, St Sophia's Church and the Ataturk Pavilion for an interesting insight into this colourful country.

Recommended Shore Excursions

  • Istanbul Ottoman Wonders- the Blue Mosque is a magnificent sight to behold, while the nearby Topkapi Palace, the official residence of the Ottoman Sultans, is also well worth a visit.
  • Old City Tour- discover the Old City's greatest Byzantine and Ottoman imperial relics and treasure with a guided tour.
  • Spice Bazaar- the bazaar was constructed in 1663 as part of the Yeni Mosque complex, in order to generate funds for the maintenance of the mosque. Nowadays it's thriving with local life, and is a great place to practice your haggling skills!

Black Sea Cruises in Russia

Enjoy the balmy subtropical climate as you disembark to visit one of the Black Sea's pearls, located in Russia. It's not difficult to see why Sochi is the medicinal destination of choice for so many who visit to restore their health. This beautiful city will impress you with its eminent museums and 19th-century Russian Orthodox Church of Michael Archangel. Take a trip to see Stalin's Dacha and enjoy the outstanding panoramic views of Sochi, the majestic mountains and the glorious coastline from the summit of Mount Akhun.

Recommended Shore Excursions

  • Russian Tea tasting- sample tea grown at the plantations while enjoying Russian folklore dance.
  • Matsesta Springs- a major tourist attraction in Russia, the hot sulphur springs is Sochi's most renowned health spa.
  • Stalin's Dacha- take a step back in history and see the site of the former summer residence of Joseph Stalin.

Black Sea Cruises in Ukraine

Set against a backdrop of lush green wooded hills, the fashionable resort of Yalta sits proudly on the emerald green coastline and was a firm favourite amongst the Russian aristocracy. Take a trip ashore to enjoy the wonderful Russian Orthodox temple, Chekhov's house now preserved as a museum and also the magnificent Livadia Palace. Take a ride along the beautiful Crimean Riviera and don't forget to stop at the Swallow's Nest for breathtaking photo opportunities. Visit Odessa, home to the famous Potemkin Steps and also Sevastopol, where modern buildings stand side by side with ancient landmarks. The world really is your oyster if you take a Black Sea cruise to Ukraine.

Recommended Shore Excursions in Yalta

  • Palaces of Yalta- visit the delightful Loire-style Palace of Alexander III and The Livadia Palace, the summer residence of the last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II.
  • Nikitsky Botanical Gardens- one of the oldest and biggest botanical gardens in the world, take a stroll along shady alleys and enjoy the fresh Crimean air.
  • Massandra Winery- take a tour to this unique winery which boasts one of the biggest wine collections in the world.

Recommended Shore Excursions in Sevastopol

  • Crimean War- visit the sites of the first battle of the Crimean campaign.
  • Bakhchisaray Khan's Palace- built by slaves and craftsmen from Iran and Turkey, visit the residence of the Crimean Khan Sahib I Giray in 1532.
  • Black Sea Navy Fleet Museum- founded in 1869 by the participants of Sevastopol defence of Crimean War period (1854-1855), here you can discover the nautical history of this part of the world.

Recommended Shore Excursions in Odessa

  • Odessa Palaces- let yourself be impressed by the intricate architecture of the three Odessa Palaces.
  • City Walk- there's no better way to learn about the foundation of Odessa and visit the most famous attractions in Odessa, such as the Potemkin Staircase, than by taking a guided tour of the city.
  • Catacombs- make your way out of the city though the countryside passing small villages and farms into the town of Nerubayskoye where you can explore the catacombs used as underground forts by the Soviet Army during World War II.

Black Sea Cruises in Romania

Rich in culture and heritage, the busy port of Constanta lies at the beginning of your Romanian adventure. Dig a little deeper and you can venture into the heart of Romania to discover a fascinating history in this intriguing country from the largest mosaic in Europe to St Paul and St Peter's Cathedral. Before you leave, don't forget to take a trip to sample some of the most delicious wines at one of the many vineyards scattered across the country.

Recommended Shore Excursions

  • Constanta and Zamfirei's Wedding- enjoy a Romanian folkloric show of a traditional wedding and tour the old city centre to explore the city of Constanta.
  • Ancient Histria- visit the ancient city of Histria, the 'Romainian Pompeii', with one of the largest Roman mosaics in the world.
  • Sightseeing and Wine Tasting- have your camera ready for when you come across the famous statue of Roman poet 'Ovid' and sample some of the most popular wines from the region.

Black Sea Cruises in Bulgaria

Travel ashore to experience the colourful narrative of Bulgaria, rich in historic monuments with a veritable bounty of treasures from Ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine times. Enjoy the pleasant coastal town of Nessebar, home to some of Bulgaria's finest beaches and its myriad of magnificent churches. Visit the Monastery of St George and the Cathedral of St Cyril and Methodius in Sozopol for the beautiful frescoes and incredible wooden altar. What's more, the folklore performance and traditional lunch in the charming town of Bourgas will leave you with warm memories before heading back to your ship for your onward journey.

Recommended Shore Excursions

  • Bulgarian Experience- Bulgaria's rich culture and traditions are great to experience while on your tour through Nessebar including traditional cooking and the national dancing.
  • Ancient Nessebar- discover the rich heritage of Nessebar, while walking the narrow, quirky streets.

Speak to a Cruise expert 0203 848 3600