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Hagia Sophia in Istanbul

Black Sea Odyssey

Istanbul - Istanbul - Example 13 Day Cruise aboard Le Bougainville
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Board Le Bougainville on this 13-day cruise to explore the highlights of the Black Sea. Set sail from Istanbul, one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in Turkey, and cruise toward Nessebar, where you'll find millennia of art and architecture encompassing Greek and Byzantine occupation. Continue to Varna, a jewel of Bulgaria's coast, and Odessa, the "Pearl of the Black Sea," to spend your days wandering historic streets lined with ornate architecture. Cruise onward to Sochi, Russia, and Batumi, Georgia, both cities full of ancient history and surrounded by natural beauty. Return to Turkish shores with stops in Trabzon, Samsun, and Bartin before returning to Istanbul. 
Ruins of Byzantine church in Nesebar, BulgariaWander through Odessa's streetsRugs of TurkeyInterior image of the Blue Mosque.Historical Shipyard in TurkeyAncient ruins in UkraineTry traditional local cuisinesHagia Sophia in Istanbul
Highlights
  • Explore coasts of Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, and Georgia
  • Explore the ancient city of Nessebar and the city of Safranbolu
  • Visit Odessa, known as the "Pearl of the Black Sea"
  • Stop in ports of call on the Russian and Georgian coasts
Places Visited
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed
0

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Istanbul, Turkey | Embark

Embark on the Le Bougainville at the port of Istanbul.

Located on the Bosphorus, Istanbul is one of the most beautiful of all Turkish cities. Named Byzantium when founded by the Greeks, and then Constantinople under the Roman Empire, this city is steeped in history and, for this reason, is a listed UNESCO World Heritage site. Located on Sultanahmet hill, the great Blue Mosque, the mysterious Hagia Sophia and the vast Topkapi palace and its countless mosaics, dominate the Marmara Sea. In the Beyazit district, the Grand Bazaar allows discovering elegant covered passages. A little further away, the delicate aroma of loukoum and spices will draw the visitors’ attention at the Egyptian Bazaar.

Day 2: Nessebar

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Built on a peninsula on the southwest coast overlooking the Black sea, the town of Nessebar possesses an age-old history. Founded by the Greeks and then colonized by the Romans and the Ottomans, it is a listed UNESCO World Heritage site. You can ramble in the historical district without worrying about cars because the area is fully pedestrian. As you mosey through the streets, look out for the houses with wooden corbels, and, in the squares, admire the Byzantine sanctuaries and their astonishing multi-colored adornments, like Saint-Paraskevi church. The Archaeological Museum has a very rich collection of ancient vestiges. Don’t forget to try the local specialty, touloumbitchki dipped in syrup.

Day 3: Varna

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Sometimes called “the marine capital of Bulgaria”, Varna stands on the shores of the Black Sea, offering a perfect blend of historical visits and relaxation on its long, white-sand beaches. Now a major Bulgarian port, the city was founded in the 6th century BC by the Greeks, before being taken by the Thracians 150 years later. After being conquered by Alexander of Macedon in the 4th century, it became Roman. Later, it was fought over by the Byzantines and Bulgarians before belonging permanently to the latter. Wander through the city’s streets to discover its architectural wonders: the Varna Opera House, the Dormition of the Mother of God Cathedral, the Roman baths, and the highly popular sea garden. Varna is also home to many museums such as the archaeological museum, the naval museum, the park-museum of the Battle of Varna, and the city art gallery.

Day 4-5: Odessa, Ukraine

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Odessa is the third most populous city of Ukraine. It is a major tourism center, transport hub and seaport located on the northwestern shore of the Black Sea. 

Day 6: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness center. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

Day 7: Sochi, Russia

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Between the Black Sea and the Caucasus Mountains, Sochi enjoys an exceptional natural setting on the “Russian Riviera”. Internationally known since hosting the Olympic Games in 2014, the pearl of the Black Sea can be discovered through the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Archangel Michael, Arts Square, the Winter Theatre, and the famous Matsesta spa. A trip to Sochi is also an opportunity to go into the surrounding mountains that overlook its pebble beaches to visit Stalin’s secret dacha. Left as it was and hidden amongst huge pine trees, the grey-green structure is perfectly camouflaged in the forest, as per the wishes of the former ruler of the USSR. A little further on, the secrets of the Russian tea plantations are unveiled in a rolling landscape of prairies and subtropical forests on the slopes of Mount Armyanka. Before leaving the city, don’t forget to visit the Olympic Park facilities.

Day 8: Batumi, Georgia

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Like many Black Sea cities, Batumi has successively been Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and under Russian and then Soviet control until the dissolution of the USSSR in 1991. Gonio Fortress, a few kilometers from the city, is a testament to this rich history and was home to the different civilizations that occupied the region. Take a walk through Batumi’s old town center to discover its most famous monuments: Piazza Square, Saint Nicholas Church, Europe Square, the Statue of Medea, the colonnades on the boulevard, the Alphabetic Tower, and the Ali and Nino monument. Located on a promontory overlooking the Black Sea, the Batumi Botanical Garden, the second largest in the world, is well worth seeing.

Day 9: Trabzon, Turkey

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The cultural and historical capital of the Black Sea region, located in the north of Anatolia, Trabzon has an important historical heritage. Founded in the 7th century BC by the Milesians, the city was dominated in turns by the Romans, the Goths, and the Ottomans: all these different populations, kingdoms and empires have shaped this city’s very particular atmosphere. Not far from here, Altindere Valley National Park is renowned for its immense oak and conifer forests and is home to the ancient Sumela Monastery, nestled 1,200 meters high at the foot of an impressive cliff.

Day 10: Samsun, Turkey

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The biggest city in the Black Sea region, Samsun lies on the coast of Turkey. This modern, industrial city is home to 75 archaeological sites that can be interesting to visit. It gives access to one of the most beautiful cities in Asia Minor: the city of crown princes, Amasya, sitting on the banks of the green river (Yeşil Irmak). Its magnificent Ottoman houses lining the narrow left bank, tucked between the river and the rocky outcrop, are sure to captivate you.

Day 11: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness center. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique, or to meet the onboard photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest, and entertainment.

Day 12: Bartin, Turkey

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Located on the edge of the Black Sea in Turkey, Bartin is the prefecture of the eponymous province. It is surrounded by the Zonguldak provinces in the west, Karabük to the south, Kastamonu to the east, and faces the Black Sea to the north. It is the gateway to the mythical Safranbolu, a former caravan station that has preserved its typically Ottoman architecture and is now listed as World Heritage by UNESCO. It is also close to Amasra, a small, utterly charming seaside town.

Day 13: Istanbul, Turkey | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
After breakfast at the ship, disembark at Istanbul.

Ship/Hotel

Le Bougainville

Le Bougainville Ship
Le Bougainville
Le Bouganville Restaurant

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$9,040
Cabin
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Deluxe Stateroom
Area: 19 m² Capacity: up to 2 passengers per cabin 4m² Private balcony; King-size bed or twin beds
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 4
Area: 19 m² Capacity: up to 2 passengers per cabin 4m² private balcony; King-size bed or twin beds
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 5
Area: 19 m² Capacity: up to 2 passengers per cabin 4m² private balcony; King-size bed or twin beds
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 6
Area: 19 m² Capacity: up to 2 passengers per cabin 4m² private balcony; King-size bed or twin beds
Cabin
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Deluxe Suite
Capacity: up to 2 passengers per cabin 6m² private balcony
Cabin
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Prestige Suite Deck 5
Area: 38 m² 8m² private balcony King-size bed or twin beds
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Prestige Suite Deck 6
Area: 38 m² 8m² private balcony King-size bed or twin beds
Cabin
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Privilege Suite
Area: 32 m² Capacity: up to 4 passengers per cabin 8m² private balcony; King-size bed or twin beds
Cabin
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Grand Deluxe Suite
Area: 45 m² Capacity: up to 2 passengers per cabin 30m² private balcony; King-size bed or twin beds
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Owner's Suite
Area: 45 m² Capacity: up to 2 passengers per cabin 30m² private balcony; King-size bed or twin beds

Notes

*Rates are capacity controlled and are subject to change without notice.

Cruise fares are per person and include the following:
  • All meals while on board the ship 
  • Captain’s welcome cocktail and gala dinner
  • Gratuities to onboard crew, local guides and drivers
  • “Open Bar” (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands...list available upon request)
  • Evening entertainment and events
  • 24h room service (special selection)
  • English-speaking lecturer 
  • Water sports activities (except scuba diving) using the ship’s equipment, when permitted by local authorities and confirmed by ship Master according to safety and sea conditions onsite
  • Highly experienced bilingual (French-English) Expedition team 
  • Park entry fees into protected areas
  • Free and unlimited Wi-Fi (Internet access may be slower or in some situations interrupted, depending on certain geographic locations or other circumstances beyond our control).
Cruise fares do not include:
  • Any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones mentioned
  • Pre or post-cruise programs, overland programs, or shore excursions mentioned
  • Visa expenses and/or immigration reciprocity taxes if applicable
  • Luggage handling
  • Optional Spa package to be booked prior to your departure
  • Beverages other than the ones mentioned
  • Laundry services, hair salon, and à la carte Spa treatments
  • Personal expenses, on board medical consultations, and drug prescriptions
  • Cancellation/luggage/assistance/repatriation/medical insurance(s)
Please Note:

Ports of call, visited sites, outings and landings will depend on weather conditions, position of ice, winds and the state of the sea. These can force a change of plans at any time. The Captain and the Expedition Leader may at any time cancel or stop any activity, or even modify the itinerary. The final itinerary will be confirmed by the Captain, who will take into account the touristic quality of the sites and above all, the safety of the passengers. His decision will be based on advice from experts and authorities.

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