The Eastern Mediterranean itinerary usually includes Venice, Valletta, Athens and Istanbul. The departure port is Savona. It is one of the major ports in northern Italy on the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean cruises are quite affordable. Sometimes, with discounts, certain cruise operators may offer the Eastern Mediterranean package for about eight hundred dollars a person for an eleven day cruise. Major cruise operators have started expanding their cruise routes to give more choice options and variety to their sail itineraries.
The Eastern Mediterranean cruise is more popular than the western one which includes Spain, France, Portugal and Monte Carlo. These cruises can be booked throughout the year. This is good news for those people who cannot take holidays during the conventional Christmas and New Year period. When you take a Mediterranean cruise during the summer, you have to remember that certain parts of Europe and West Asia tend to get quite hot. Some of the renowned cruise operators for the Eastern Mediterranean Cruises are the AVC (America’s Vacation Center), Azamara Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Oceania Cruises, MSC Cruises, Windstar Cruises and Costa Cruises.
The Eastern Mediterranean Cruise begins from Savona. The first port of call is Venice. The Venetian Lagoon is made up of over one hundred islands which are linked by a chain of canals, making Venice a unique city in the world. It is the heart of the Italian culture and a haven for romantic cruisers. You have to take a ride on the Gondola to make your day magical. The atmosphere at St. Mark’s Square is quite lively. The rooms of the Doge’s Palace will fascinate you. You cannot miss the sight at the Bridge of Sighs. You can also take a walk on the cobble-stoned paths of this interesting city that floats. Another famous site here is the St. Mark’s Basilica. The interior holds beautiful mosaics and statues.
Next stop is Valletta in Malta, an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. Valletta is the capital city of Malta and is an exciting port of call. Malta is spread across seven islands situated to the South of Sicily with its ancient Grand Harbor. Valletta’s history dates back to almost seven thousand years. The tourists can take a peek into the city’s past by visiting the Byzantine temples which are even more ancient than the Pyramids of Egypt and the Stonehenge of England.
The Maltese islands became an independent republic in 1974. Tourism and trade have developed since then. October is a busy month for Valletta as more than seventy five thousand visitors come to Malta as a cruise destination. In a year, more than half a million people visit this city.
The voyage then continues to Athens as its next destination. People will take in this ancient city with complete awe as it is sighted. No Mediterranean cruise is complete without a call to Athens and the Greek Islands. It is a city where the past does meet the present. Many people regard it as the birthplace of the western civilized world. From Valletta to Athens, you pass the glorious islands of Corfu, Mykonos, Patmos, Rhodes and Santorini. You can take a guided tour of the Acropolis in Athens. It is the ancient citadel. You can also visit the ancient Agora and Hephaisteion.
The Eastern Mediterranean Cruise sails from Athens to Istanbul after you soak in the power of the Greek art and architecture. Istanbul is another great city of antiquity where the west meets the east, making it an important cultural seat of the Orient. This is the concluding port of call on this Mediterranean-Aegean odyssey. Noteworthy places of interest here are the sixth century Byzantine Cathedral of Hagia Sophia, the Blue Masjid, the Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar.
Visitors are interested in the bargain collections at the Grand Bazaar. This is the largest covered market that you will find anywhere in the world. It has over four thousand shops and cafeterias. There are sixty five streets here. The seventeenth century Blue Masjid (Mosque) is probably the most distinct Masjid in the world. Its interior will display over thirty shades of blue. The Topkapi Palace is a remnant of the architecture of the Ottoman Empire, built by its Sultans and is a famous attraction.
Istanbul has always remained a big attraction city for cruises and each year the number of tourists coming in to Istanbul is increasing in the past few years. For many centuries, Istanbul, known earlier as Constantinople, has been a center of attraction in the Bosphorus Strait. It was the capital of the Roman Empire in the East. The great capital cities of Europe looked like mere villages when compared with Constantinople. You will find the confluence of Europe and Asia here. There are mixed cultures in Istanbul of the Asians, the Persians and the Turks.
The renowned classic Eastern Mediterranean Cruise concludes at Istanbul. You just cannot get tired of the Mediterranean Sea and its valuable ports.
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