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Grand Black Sea and Mediterranean

Mix the unique flavours of The Black Sea and the rich cultures of The Mediterranean on this amazing 32-night no-fly cruise. Highlights include Istanbul, Gibraltar, and Catania.

No Fly Cruise
32 nights from £2669pp

Mid size Ship Holiday
  • Athens
  • Jerusalem
  • Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Istanbul

Call us now on 01756 706500 to secure your cabin!

AB

Europe is a continent of incredible contrasts and ancient cultures, and this month-long extravaganza brings you the very best it has to offer.

From Bulgaria, with its rich medieval history, to sun-drenched Limassol in Cyprus; from Istanbul, where east meets west in a glittering array of minarets and street bazaars, to ancient Athens; and from the neoclassical pastel buildings of Odessa to the proudly British high-rise exclave of Gibraltar, Europe will become a colourful and absorbing pageant that will delight and thrill.

AB117 Operated by Ambassador Cruise Line

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Grand Black Sea & Mediterranean Itinerary

Day 1 - Tilbury (UK)

Just 22 nautical miles down river from the Tower Bridge in London, Tilbury is a popular turnaround port for cruises visiting Baltic and Northern European destinations.

Days 2-3 - At Sea

Enjoy the facilities onboard at your leisure.

Day 4 - Leixões (Portugal)

Ever since the Romans constructed a fort here and began using it as a trading post, Oporto has been a prosperous commercial centre. In the 15th and 16th centuries the city benefited from the wealth generated by Portugal’s maritime discoveries, and later, the establishment of a lucrative wine trade with Britain compensated for the loss of the spice trade. Today, Portugal’s second-largest city is a thriving, cosmopolitan place and is famous for its production of the fortified, sweet 'port' wine. Its historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the city was also awarded the status of European Capital of Culture in 2001. A large sandbar prevents ships from sailing into Oporto itself, so for over a century they have used nearby Leixões instead, a man-made seaport constructed nine miles from the city. Leixões is one of Portugal's major sea ports and is also home to one of the country's oldest football clubs, winners of the Taça de Portugal cup in 1961.

Day 5 - At Sea

Enjoy the facilities onboard at your leisure.

Day 6 - Cádiz (Spain)

Believed to be the oldest town on the Iberian Peninsula, the Andalusian port of Cádiz enjoys a stunning location at the edge of a six-mile promontory. The town itself, with 3,000 years of history, is characterised by pretty white houses with balconies often adorned with colourful flowers. As you wander around be sure to take a stroll through the sizeable Plaza de Espãna, with its large monument dedicated to the first Spanish constitution, which was signed here in 1812. Cádiz has two pleasant seafront promenades which boast fine views of the Atlantic Ocean, and has a lovely park, the Parque Genoves, located close to the sea with an open-air theatre and attractive palm garden. Also notable is the neo-Classical cathedral, capped by a golden dome.

Days 7-8 - At Sea

Enjoy the facilities onboard at your leisure.

Day 9 - Palermo (Italy)

Once the intellectual capital of southern Europe, Palermo has always been at the crossroads of civilization. Favorably situated on a crescent-shaped bay at the foot of Monte Pellegrino, it has attracted almost every culture touching the Mediterranean world. To Palermo's credit, it has absorbed these diverse cultures into a unique personality that is at once Arab and Christian, Byzantine and Roman, Norman and Italian. The city's heritage encompasses all of Sicily's varied ages, but its distinctive aspect is its Arab-Norman identity, an improbable marriage that, mixed in with Byzantine and Jewish elements, created some resplendent works of art. No less noteworthy than the architecture is Palermo's chaotic vitality, on display at some of Italy's most vibrant outdoor markets, public squares, street bazaars, and food vendors, and above all in its grand climax of Italy's most spectacular passeggiata (the leisurely social stroll along the principal thoroughfare).

Days 10-11 - At Sea

Cruise the Messina and the Dardenelles Strait.

Day 12 - Istanbul (Turkey)

The only city in the world that can lay claim to straddling two continents, Istanbul—once known as Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine and then the Ottoman Empire—has for centuries been a bustling metropolis with one foot in Europe and the other in Asia. Istanbul embraces this enviable position with both a certain chaos and inventiveness, ever evolving as one of the world’s most cosmopolitan crossroads. It’s often said that Istanbul is the meeting point of East and West, but visitors to this city built over the former capital of two great empires are likely to be just as impressed by the juxtaposition of old and new. Office towers creep up behind historic palaces, women in chic designer outfits pass others wearing long skirts and head coverings, peddlers’ pushcarts vie with battered old Fiats and shiny BMWs for dominance of the noisy, narrow streets, and the Grand Bazaar competes with modern shopping malls. At dawn, when the muezzin's call to prayer resounds from ancient minarets, there are inevitably a few hearty revelers still making their way home from nightclubs and bars. Most visitors to this sprawling city of more than 14 million will first set foot in the relatively compact Old City, where the legacy of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires can be seen in monumental works of architecture like the brilliant Aya Sofya and the beautifully proportioned mosques built by the great architect Sinan. Though it would be easy to spend days, if not weeks, exploring the wealth of attractions in the historical peninsula, visitors should make sure also to venture elsewhere in order to experience the vibrancy of contemporary Istanbul. With a lively nightlife propelled by its young population and an exciting arts scene that’s increasingly on the international radar—thanks in part to its stint as the European Capital of Culture in 2010—Istanbul is truly a city that never sleeps. It’s also a place where visitors will feel welcome: Istanbul may be on the Bosphorus, but at heart it’s a Mediterranean city, whose friendly inhabitants are effusively social and eager to share what they love most about it.

Day 13 - Burgas (Bulgaria)

Day 14 - Constanta (Romania)

Day 15 - At Sea

Cruise the Dardanelles & Bosphorus Straits.

Day 16 - Canakkale (Turkey)

Canakkale welcomes you into the city with its towering Trojan horse guarding the waterfront. Choose to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Site of Troy or discover the Gallipoli battlefields at the Historic National Park of the Gelibolu Peninsula.

Day 17 - Kusadasi

Now a popular and bustling cruise port, the Turkish town of Kusadasi was once a sleepy fishing village until the extraordinary ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus was discovered nearby. Should you choose to visit, Ephesus is a must – once the glorious Roman capital of Asia Minor and the site where St John and the Virgin Mary spent their last days.

Day 18 - Piraeus (Greece)

It's no wonder that all roads lead to the fascinating and maddening metropolis of Athens. Lift your eyes 200 feet above the city to the Parthenon, its honey-color marble columns rising from a massive limestone base, and you behold architectural perfection that has not been surpassed in 2,500 years. But, today, this shrine of classical form dominates a 21st-century boomtown. To experience Athens—Athína in Greek—fully is to understand the essence of Greece: ancient monuments surviving in a sea of cement, startling beauty amid the squalor, tradition juxtaposed with modernity. Locals depend on humor and flexibility to deal with the chaos; you should do the same. The rewards are immense. Although Athens covers a huge area, the major landmarks of the ancient Greek, Roman, and Byzantine periods are close to the modern city center. You can easily walk from the Acropolis to many other key sites, taking time to browse in shops and relax in cafés and tavernas along the way. From many quarters of the city you can glimpse "the glory that was Greece" in the form of the Acropolis looming above the horizon, but only by actually climbing that rocky precipice can you feel the impact of the ancient settlement. The Acropolis and Filopappou, two craggy hills sitting side by side; the ancient Agora (marketplace); and Kerameikos, the first cemetery, form the core of ancient and Roman Athens. Along the Unification of Archaeological Sites promenade, you can follow stone-paved, tree-lined walkways from site to site, undisturbed by traffic. Cars have also been banned or reduced in other streets in the historical center. In the National Archaeological Museum, vast numbers of artifacts illustrate the many millennia of Greek civilization; smaller museums such as the Goulandris Museum of Cycladic Art Museum and the Byzantine and Christian Museum illuminate the history of particular regions or periods. Athens may seem like one huge city, but it is really a conglomeration of neighborhoods with distinctive characters. The Eastern influences that prevailed during the 400-year rule of the Ottoman Empire are still evident in Monastiraki, the bazaar area near the foot of the Acropolis. On the northern slope of the Acropolis, stroll through Plaka (if possible by moonlight), an area of tranquil streets lined with renovated mansions, to get the flavor of the 19th-century's gracious lifestyle. The narrow lanes of Anafiotika, a section of Plaka, thread past tiny churches and small, color-washed houses with wooden upper stories, recalling a Cycladic island village. In this maze of winding streets, vestiges of the older city are everywhere: crumbling stairways lined with festive tavernas; dank cellars filled with wine vats; occasionally a court or diminutive garden, enclosed within high walls and filled with magnolia trees and the flaming trumpet-shaped flowers of hibiscus bushes. Formerly run-down old quarters, such as Thission, Gazi and Psirri, popular nightlife areas filled with bars and mezedopoleia (similar to tapas bars), are now in the process of gentrification, although they still retain much of their original charm, as does the colorful produce and meat market on Athinas. The area around Syntagma Square, the tourist hub, and Omonia Square, the commercial heart of the city about 1 km (½ mi) northwest, is distinctly European, having been designed by the court architects of King Otho, a Bavarian, in the 19th century. The chic shops and bistros of ritzy Kolonaki nestle at the foot of Mt. Lycabettus, Athens's highest hill (909 feet). Each of Athens's outlying suburbs has a distinctive character: in the north is wealthy, tree-lined Kifissia, once a summer resort for aristocratic Athenians, and in the south and southeast lie Glyfada, Voula, and Vouliagmeni, with their sandy beaches, seaside bars, and lively summer nightlife. Just beyond the city's southern fringes is Piraeus, a bustling port city of waterside fish tavernas and Saronic Gulf views.

Day 19 - At Sea

Enjoy the facilities onboard at your leisure.

Day 20 - Limassol (Cyprus)

A major commercial port, cruise ship port of call, and wine-making center on the south coast, Limassol, 75 km (47 miles) from Nicosia, is a bustling, cosmopolitan town, with some of the liveliest nightlife on the island. Luxury hotels, apartments, and guesthouses stretch along 12 km (7 miles) of seafront, with the most luxurious ones just to the north of town. In the center, the elegant, modern shops of Makarios Avenue (where you'll mainly find clothes and shoes) contrast with those of pedestrian-only Agiou Andreou in the old part of town, where local handicrafts such as lace, embroidery, and basketware prevail; make sure you avoid shopping on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons, when many shops close at 2 pm. A luxurious marina that will hold 650 yachts as well as house apartments, shops, and restaurants should further boost the town's lively appeal.

Day 21 - Haifa (Israel)

Spilling down from the pine-covered heights of Mount Carmel, Haifa is a city with a vertiginous setting that has led to comparisons with San Francisco. The most striking landmark on the mountainside is the gleaming golden dome of the Baha'i Shrine, set amid utterly beautiful garden terraces. The city is the world centre for the Baha'i faith, and its members provide informative walking tours of the flower-edged 100-acre spot, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the top of the hill are some small but interesting museums, the larger hotels, and two major universities. At the bottom is the lovingly restored German Colony, a perfect area for strolling. Israel's largest port and third-largest city, Haifa was ruled for four centuries by the Ottomans and gradually spread its tendrils up the mountainside into a cosmopolitan city whose port served the entire Middle East. The climate is gentle, the beaches beautiful, and the locals friendly. You don't see the religious garb of Jerusalem or the tattoos and piercings of Tel Aviv in this diverse but fairly conservative city. In fact, you can't always tell at a glance who is part of an Arab or Jewish Israeli family, or if someone is a more recent immigrant from the former Soviet Union.

Day 22 - At Sea

Enjoy the facilities onboard at your leisure.

Day 23 - Alexandria (Egypt)

Founded by Alexander the Great, Alexandria was Egypt's capital for over 1,000 years. Now, it is visited by tourists looking to enjoy some diving and those interested in the Great Library, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Days 24-25 - At Sea

Enjoy the facilities onboard at your leisure.

Day 26 - Catania (Italy)

Fall in love with the power of this Sicilian city, lying in the shadow of the awe-inspiring Mount Etna, as you submerge yourself in intense flavours and romantic heritage.

Days 27-28 - At Sea

Enjoy the facilities onboard at your leisure.

Day 29 - Gibraltar

Tagged on to the end of Iberia, the intriguing British outpost of Gibraltar is dominated by a sandy peninsula and the stunning 1,400-feet-high limestone Rock. Although small, Gibraltar has always been seen as having great strategic importance on account of its advantageous position where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean, just 12 miles from the coast of Africa. Ever popular with British holidaymakers, Gibraltar is very much a home from home, boasting excellent duty-free shopping in many familiar British high street shops. Please note: Gibraltar’s small size and narrow winding roads mean that excursions are operated by 22-seater mini-buses, accompanied by a driver/guide. Local health and safety regulations prohibit the carriage of walking aids and collapsible wheelchairs on these vehicles. If you do wish to bring a mobility aid, we can arrange the Rock Tour by taxi, which has extra space. If this suits your requirements, please advise the Tours and Travel office when you join the ship, as numbers are limited.

Days 30-32 - At Sea

Enjoy the facilities onboard at your leisure.

Day 33 - Tilbury (UK)

Just 22 nautical miles down river from the Tower Bridge in London, Tilbury is a popular turnaround port for cruises visiting Baltic and Northern European destinations.

New Itinerary Description Here...

Price Includes

  • Full-board cruise in chosen cabin
  • Coffee and tea making facilities in every cabin
  • Tea and water available 24 hours a day in the buffet area
  • Onboard entertainment
  • Onboard enrichment and lifestyle programmes
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2022 Departures £ price per person based on 2 people sharing

  • October
    • Oct 23rd - Tilbury and back - Sailing on: Ambience From: £2669
      Cat 1 Standard Twin (Inner) Cat 2 Standard Plus Twin (Inner) Cat 3 Superior Twin Inner Cat 3S Superior Single (Inner) Cat 4 Premium Twin Inner Cat 6 Standard Twin Cat 6B Standard Twin Cat 6C Standard Twin Cat 6S Standard Single Cat 7 Standard Twin Cat 8 Standard Plus Twin Cat 9 Superior Twin Cat 10S Superior Single Cat 11 Superior Plus Twin Cat 12 Premium Twin Cat12S Premium Single Cat 14 Superior Balcony Cat 15 Superior Plus Balcony Cat 15S Superior Plus Single Balcony Cat 16 Premium Balcony JS Junior Suite DS Deluxe Suite
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Price Information

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