Call on historic cities in Turkey, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, and Bulgaria: Amasya, replete with classical half-timbered Ottoman mansions and Seljuk and Ottoman monuments; Trabzon, outpost of the 4th-century Sumela Monastery; Batumi, home to a renowned botanical garden; Sochi, host of the 2014 Winter Olympics and site of a dacha formerly owned by Stalin; Tbilisi, featuring notable houses of worship, an impressive fortress and the historic, blue-tiled Orbeliani Baths; Odessa, whose Potemkin Steps were made famous in the 1925 silent movie Battleship Potemkin; and Varna, where magnificent Scythian gold treasures can be viewed in the Archaeological Museum.
- Pricing from
- Trip Type
- Group Travel Tour, International Ocean & Sea Voyages
- Departure Dates
Sep 22, 2022 - Oct 3, 2022
Originally built in 1992 and refurbished and redecorated in 2010, the Island Sky accommodates all guests in 57 outside suites, each with sea views, a sitting room area, flatscreen TV, safe, mini-refrigerator, and an en suite, marble-appointed bathroom with robe, slippers, and hairdryer. Several suites have private balconies. Spacious and finely decorated public areas include a large lounge and elegant bar and a library. The dining room accommodates everyone at one seating, and house wine, beer, and soft drinks are included at lunch and dinner. Wi-fi access is available throughout the vessel (at additional cost and dependent upon satellite reception). The ship amenities also include a hair dresser, onboard clinic and doctor, elevator serving all passenger decks, top deck with Jacuzzi, and rear sun deck with a bar. The Island Sky is served by 75 experienced officers and crew.
Optional Pre-Tour Extension in Istanbul
Spend three days exploring the exceptional treasures of Istanbul, including the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, popularly known as the Blue Mosque; Chora Church, a Byzantine marvel of fine mosaics and frescoes; Topkapi Palace, an opulent royal enclave; and the delightful Grand Bazaar.
Richard Wagner, PhD, AIA, is a principal with David H Gleason Associates, Inc., Architects specializing in historic preservation and rehabilitation projects. Founder of the National Trust’s Urban Program for the National Main Street center, Richard also founded and directed the nation’s first on line graduate program in historic preservation at Goucher College, as well as served as Research Professor in Historic Preservation, The George Washington University. A graduate of the University of Virginia, and the University of Edinburgh, Richard brings an international perspective to his discussions of architecture, architectural history and historic preservation to his tours.
day 1 & 2
Home / Istanbul, Turkey
Depart home on an overnight flight to Istanbul. Upon arrival, transfer to the Island Sky for a welcome orientation and reception while cruising the Bosphorus Strait.
Relax aboard ship as the Island Sky cruises along Turkey’s coastline. Enjoy the beginning of the lecture program.
Samsun / Amasya
Dock in Samsun, where Ataturk orchestrated the birth of the new Turkish republic in the 1920s. Travel to Amasya, the former capital of the ancient Pontic Kingdom and a treasure of rock-hewn tombs, classical wooden mansions, and Seljuk and Ottoman monuments.
Upon arrival in Trabzon, travel to the spectacularly situated Greek Orthodox Monastery of the Virgin Mary (Sumela Monastery) in the Pontic Mountains. View the monastery’s colorful frescoes, some dating from the 9th century. Enjoy free time for an independent exploration before returning to the ship.
Batumi, a seaport on the Black Sea coast of Georgia, lies at the northern edge of the humid subtropical zone. This afternoon, visit the Batumi Botanical Garden, which overlooks the Black Sea and is one of the richest botanical gardens in the world. Admire lush plantings from nine different floristic sectors, from the Caucasus to Australasia, the Himalayas to the Mediterranean. Enjoy dinner off the ship and a performance by a noted Georgian folk dance ensemble.
Take an early morning charter flight from Batumi to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. On arrival explore the 4th-century Narikala Fortress, which dominates the Old Town skyline; Abanotubani, the historic bath house district; and the city’s churches and Eastern Orthodox cathedral. Return to Batumi for dinner on board.
Tour the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics and discover the Russian Riviera for Stalin’s Dacha and Matsesta Bathhouse.
The onboard lecture series continues as the ship cruises to Odessa.
Odessa is a city of resplendent mansions and fine old churches. Disembark this afternoon for a city tour and visit to the holocaust memorial and the Potemkin Steps, famously depicted in Sergei Eisenstein’s classic 1025 silent film Battleship Potemkin. Tour the stunning Hapsburg-style opera house and delight in the enchanting singing of the Eastern Orthodox Uspensky Cathedral choir.
Varna / Bulgaria
Late morning arrival in Varna; see the Archaeological Museum’s fabulous collection of Scythian gold and the domed Cathedral of the Assumption, followed by an a cappella choir performance.
Disembark and transfer to the airport for flights home.
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