Cruises offer holidaymakers a great opportunity to both explore and relax in style, and Black Sea Cruises are no exception. They allow tourists to explore an area that is traditionally off the beaten track for most.
This article contains some key information about what the Black Sea Cruises 2011 season has to offer, with details of the top cruise companies and of the top destinations and tourist attractions we think you should visit.
Black Sea Attractions and Shore Excursions
The most popular destinations around the Black Sea are in Ukraine – particularly the cities of Odessa, in the West and Yalta, in the Crimea. If you are interested in Soviet history, submarines, or you just have fond memories of James Bond, then a trip to Balaklava, just up the coast, is definitely recommended, as it houses a massive Soviet submarine base that is now open for tourists. For those with a taste for older history, Balaklava is also famous for its Genoese port and, of course, the Battle of Balaclava and the Charge of the Light Brigade
Russia is also a popular Black Sea destination, for domestic and foreign holidaymakers. The biggest city is Sochi, which will soon become incredibly well known, as it is to host the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. If you like a bit of danger, then perhaps a visit to Abkhazia, one of the two enclaves over which Russia and Georgia fought a brief war in 2008, would be of interest. Or, further south, a visit to the Georgian port of Batumi, which is popular among regional tourists but has not so far been discovered by many Western tourist.
To the South of the Black Sea is, of course, Turkey. It’s Black Sea Coast benefits from a mild climate, although the water is not really warm in the same way as the Mediterranean to the West. The major city on the north coast of Turkey is Trabzon, but we recommend a trip instead to Sinop, or Amasa, both of which have beautiful fortresses.
Bulgaria and Romania are both overlooked Black Sea destinations, but probably shouldn’t be. Bulgaria isn’t all about Varna, the popular tourist resort that has been rather over-run by low cost British tourists in recent years. We can really recommend a trip to Sozopol, in the South of Bulgaria. According to legend it was founded by Greek colonists in 610BC and, although no architecture from the period remains it is still a flourishing port.
Black Sea Cruise Companies
If you want to book a Black Sea Cruise in 2011, there are a number of tour operators that you can choose from, both large and small.
P&O – Perhaps best known in England for their cross-chanel ferry service, P&O are actually a major player in the cruise market. They offer cruises to Yalta and Odessa in Ukraine and Nessebur in Bulgaria.
Thomson – Again, another large UK-based operator, Thomson offer a number of cruises to the Eastern Mediterranean and to the Black Sea.
IGLU Cruise – Offer cruises that stop off at many destinations around the Black Sea. Their shore excursions include visits to Stalin’s Dacha, and Russian Tea tasting tours, as well as excursions to Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey.
Russian Cruise Company – Although this company specialises in the Russian cruise market – particularly Russian River Cruises – they also offer a number of cruises that take in part of the Black Sea. They differ from the major operators in that their cruises take you not only around the Black Sea but inland, along a Dnieper River Cruise to Kiev.
Note: Siberian Light is in no way associated with any of the companies listed above, and makes no recommendations as to which would make a good choice for your Black Sea Cruises 2011. Always take care when booking travel overseas, as we can take no responsibility for the performance of these companies.