25 Night Cruise sailing from Istanbul to Villefranche aboard Aegean Odyssey. Hotel stays pre-cruise in Istanbul.
MV AEGEAN ODYSSEY is a premium class ship that was rebuilt to cater for cruising in the coastal waters of the central and eastern Mediterranean. The vessel provides the best features of a mid-size ship such as passenger space, a choice of restaurants and stability in inclement weather.
Originally a vessel carrying up to 570 passengers, Aegean Odyssey’s new configuration includes generously-sized suites, junior suites and staterooms with balconies. She now carries an average of 350 passengers. By creating these new staterooms we have added a dimension of spaciousness to the vessel and this has enabled us to create a special level of accommodation entitled “Balcony Class”.
Classically elegant, but far from stuffy and formal, Aegean Odyssey has been designed to offer the sophisticated traveller every comfort at sea.
She offers the personal service and intimate surroundings of a small ship, has the ability to visit ports that are too small for larger vessels, and navigate around the scenic islands of the Adriatic and Mediterranean.
Highlights of this cruise:
Two very contrasting destinations top-and-tail this cruise. You set off from one of the most fascinating cities in the world, Istanbul. Located at the nexus of Europe and Asia, Istanbul’s strategic location has made it the center of many great civilizations and this means it is blessed with a remarkable number of iconic buildings including the Topkapi Palace, the Hagia Sophia and the Sultan Ahmed Camii (Blue) Mosque.
From here you set sail for a trip to the very best that Greece and the Greek Islands have to offer. You will call at the charming island of Patmos, visit the magnificent Byzantine treasures of Thessalonica and Arta, and explore the wonders of classical Athens including, of course, the Acropolis. Then some of the greatest cities in Europe take center stage with visits to Ravenna, Urbino, Venice, Rome and Florence. You will also visit one of antiquity’s greatest sites, Pompeii, before sailing to the magical South of France: the Provençal city of Avignon, famous for its bridge and Papal Palace, the world’s largest Gothic building.
Istanbul is Europe’s most populous city (the world’s 4th largest city proper and 20th largest urban area) and Turkey’s cultural and financial center. The city covers 27 districts of the Istanbul province. It is located on the Bosphorus Strait, and encompasses the natural harbor known as the Golden Horn, in the northwest of the country.
Part of Istanbul’s great attraction is its unique position on two continents, divided by the Bosphorus. Most of the population live on the European side; the Asian sector is reached via the high-level Bosphorus Bridge, the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge or by ferry. With 13 million inhabitants Istanbul offers all the excitement of a cosmopolitan city. Its numerous monuments, mosques and museums, plus the famous Grand Bazaar, make it one of the world’s great destinations.
The port of Piraeus is one of the last old-style Mediterranean ports from where you can catch ferries to all of the Greek islands and travel a short distance to Greece’s capital city Athens.
In the heart of the city lies the ancient Plaka district, with its honeycomb of streets, little shops – and tavernas that come alive at night. Situated on the north and east slopes of the Acropolis, it is rich with historic sites, such as ancient monuments and churches. Within Athens there are eight large hills, including the Acropolis, and on the outskirts, Mount Parnitha, Mount Pendeli and Mount Hymettos surround the city. A trip to Athens’ most famous tourist attraction, the impressive Parthenon built on the Acropolis around 2,500 years ago, will be memorable to say the least.
There are an extraordinary number of historic tourist sights in Athens and many of these are known world-wide. Some of the top Athens attractions include the Agora – a grand, ruined Roman building, Hadrian’s Arch – originally the city gate linking the Roman quarters with original town of Athens and the stunning Dionysos Theatre – the world’s oldest theatre where many great plays have been performed over the years.
The city of Venice sits at the top of the Adriatic Sea in the north east corner of Italy. It is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The city sits on 118 small islands in the Venetian Lagoon – a salt marsh. In the 12th century Venice became a city state and its location at the top of the Adriatic made it a key naval and commercial centre as well as a flourishing art centre.
Modern Venice is stunning and retains the wonderful history of this unique city. It is a city of museums, galleries, piazzas, palaces, churches and more. One visit isn’t enough to see all that Venice has to offer but visitors should try and see the Basilica San Marco and San Marco Square, the Doges Palace and the Gallerie dell’Accademia which houses some of Italy’s finest art treasures.
Rome is one of the most popular cities in the world and is a history lesson in itself. Key sites include the Vatican City, The Forum, the Colosseum and the ruins of the Circus Maximus. There are many museums and art galleries, with works by Raphael, Bottecelli, Pinturicchio and Belini and many more.
The Vatican City has many spectacular buildings and churches to visit principle amongst which is the Sistine Chapel with its Michelangelo ceiling. It is the world’s smallest independent sovereign state and also features St. Peter’s Basilica was built over 1,500 years ago the Vatican Library hand the Vatican Garden.
Modern Rome is a city of restaurants, open piazza’s, wonderful shopping and more.
Villefranche is a small beach resort and residential town in the Alpes-Maritimes département. Situated on the French Riviera, it is hidden among wooded slopes, above the crystalline waters of the Côte d’Azure. The town itself is delightful, with medieval chapels and an impressive hilltop fortress built by the Duke of Savoy in 1560. And, just up the coast are the luxuries of Nice, and the extravagance of Monte Carlo.
Villefrance also offers excellent cafes and restaurants, a coarse sandy beach much favoured over Nice’s stony bay and the very nice old town, vieille ville. The Citadelle st Elme dates back to antiquity and the town offers easy access to the millionaires peninsula of St Jean Cap Ferat.