Join us aboard the MS Island Sky as we explore the shores of the Black Sea, one of the most fascinating and historically rich regions in the world. Our voyage begins in Istanbul and from the Golden Horn follows the Turkish coast to Trabzon (Trebizond) before crossing to Georgia where the richness of its culture reflects the influence of Greeks, Byzantines, Persians, Turks and Mongols. Georgia’s ‘Golden Age’ reached its height between the reigns of David the Builder and his granddaughter Queen Tamara in the 11th and 12th centuries.

From Georgia we follow the coastline to Russia’s premier resort and spa, Sochi. Here the microclimate produces wonderful year round weather and a lush countryside. After a day at sea which will be filled with fascinating lectures by our onboard guest speakers, we reach Odessa, the historic city founded by Catherine the Great at the mouth of the great River Dnieper, following which we arrive in Constanta, Romania, an ancient metropolis and Romania’s largest sea port. Finally we reach Nessebur, a delightful Bulgarian town with a fascinating history before our cruise ends where it all began, in the captivating city of Istanbul.

Such a journey as this would be totally impractical by any means other than a cruise. Whether your interest lies in ancient or military history, architecture, literature, contemporary politics or just in visiting some of the most atmospheric and fascinating places on earth, the Black Sea has a lot to offer. Local guides and our onboard guest speakers will contribute greatly to our enjoyment and understanding of this intriguing corner of the world where East meets West.
Fly by scheduled flight. On arrival transfer to the MS Island Sky and embark in the late afternoon. Moor overnight.
Enjoy a day of exploration in the fascinating city of Istanbul. Choose to either join a full day excursion visiting the Blue Mosque, the Basilica Cistern built during the reign of the Emperor Justinian in the 6th century and the magnificent Byzantine church of Hagia Sophia. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant before spending the afternoon at Topkapi Palace with its recently restored pavilions, harems and treasury. Alternatively join a morning tour which will include a visit to Chora Church for the best Byzantine art, mosaics and frescoes in the city as well as Hagia Sophia before returning to the MS Island Sky for lunch and a free afternoon to explore independently. In your free time you may wish to spend some time at the Grand Bazaar or visit the spice market. Early this evening we will sail along the Bosphorus, heading for the Black Sea.
From the port of Bartin in ancient Paphlagonia, we have a choice of excursions today. The morning tour will include a drive along the coast to nearby Amasra (ancient Sesamus) which is located on a headland in between two bays. We will explore the attractive old town which was founded by the Milesians in the 6th century B.C. and later became an important possession of both Byzantium and Genoa. See the Genoese citadel and learn more about its Greek and Roman past. Alternatively join a full day tour to the UNESCO site of Safranbolu, a preserved Ottoman style town named for its prominence in saffron production. On a walking tour we will visit the market place, the streets where copper makers, iron makers and Turkish delight makers work, the Mosque and a Turkish Hammam all from the time of Suleiman the Magnificent. Our tour will end at a typical Safranbolu house which is now an ethnographical museum. Enjoy lunch in an Ottoman caravanserai before returning to the MS Island Sky and sailing this evening.
Founded by the Greeks in the 7th century B.C. Sinop flourished as a Black Sea port on the caravan route. On a walking tour we will discover this walled city including the 13th century Alaadin Mosque, constructed after the Seljuk conquest of the Sinop Province. The architecture is typical of the Seljuk period consisting of a rectangular plan featuring five domes. A fountain adorns the courtyard, which also contains ancient tombs. In the same period the town saw the construction of Sinop prison to honour the memory of Sultan Keykavus, who conquered Sinop in 1214. During our tour of the old jail which stands behind the ruins of the town’s inner castle, we will learn about the types of crimes committed by the inmates and the conditions they endured here. We will then enjoy some free time to explore. You may wish to visit the Archaeological Museum of Sinop with a collection of objects dating from the Hittite, Hellenistic, Phrygian, Roman and Byzantine periods or the Ethnography Museum. Return to the MS Island Sky for lunch and enjoy a relaxing afternoon cruising.
Trabzon is a gateway to Eastern Turkey and Iran which was founded in the 7th century BC. On our morning excursion we drive through the picturesque mountain scenery to Sumela to see the dramatic Byzantine monastery carved out of a sheer rock face in the Pontic Alps. After lunch onboard we discover the church of Aya Sofia (1200) and the old town of Trabzon, then travel to the outskirts to visit Ataturk’s lovely villa set high on a cliff above the city.
Enjoy a day amongst the sights and sounds of charming Batumi. This morning enjoy a choice of excursions either to the ancient Gonio fortress dating back to the first century AD and the Ethnographic Museum that highlights the varied and fascinating history of the country. Alternatively spend time at the impressive botanical garden ‘Dendrarium’, see the golden statue of Medea before heading to the bustling farmers market. This afternoon enjoy a truly exhilarating private performance of Georgian song and dance by the Adjara State Assembly of Music and Dance.
We have a day to explore delightful Sochi, framed by the Caucasus Mountains and famous for its marvellous climate and health spas. On a morning tour we will visit Dagomy’s tea plantation, the most northerly in the world where we learn about the cultivation processes and challenges before having the chance to enjoy a local brew. Return to the ship for lunch and this afternoon we visit Stalin’s Dacha, built in 1937 as his summer residence it remains intact as it was in Stalin’s time.
Enjoy a day at sea as we cruise to Odessa. Maybe join one of the onboard lectures or relax with a book in the library.
Founded by Catherine the Great in 1794 following the Russian victory over the Turks, Odessa today is a busy port and popular resort. On our tour we will see the famous Promenade Primorsky Boulevard and the Potemkin Steps. This afternoon is free to explore at leisure before we hope to enjoy a concert this evening at the acoustically perfect Opera House (schedules not confirmed until early 2017 when more details will be available). Return to the ship tonight and moor overnight.
We recall Odessa’s former splendour this morning by visiting two of the city’s many mansions. We will begin with the mansion built for Count Pototsky between 1824 and 1828 which now houses the Odessa Fine Arts Museum with a fine collection of Russian and Ukrainian Art. After a short drive you will reach the Gagarin Mansion, designed by Otton in the middle of the 19th century for the nobleman, Prince Gagarin. This now houses the Museum for Russian & Ukraine Literature. Tour the museum before enjoying a superb violin recital in the Golden Hall. Return to the ship for lunch and enjoy a relaxing afternoon at sea.
At breakfast we arrive in Constanta, known as Tomis to the Greeks but named Constanta by the Romans. Choose this morning to stay in Constanta and enjoy a tour to include the excellent Archaeological Museum including a visit to the Treasury to see the gigantic 3rd century Roman Mosaic. Later, stretch your legs with a walk along the Black Sea waterfront promenade. Alternatively join a full day tour to Bucharest. We will explore the main sights of the city and see the boulevards with their decidedly French style. After lunch in a local restaurant we visit the Parliament Palace, the second largest administrative building in the world at 3.77 million square feet and renowned as former dictator Ceausescu’s most infamous creation.
After a morning at sea we will arrive in the ancient town of Nessebur, a delightful place to spend an afternoon. A guided tour of the town will include the 5th century Bishopric, the 12th century St Stephen’s church and some of the traditional-style houses with their overhanging first floors above winding cobbled lanes.
Disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to London or Manchester.

Magellan Deck (Forward)

£ 5895 GBP pp
Magellan Deck (Forward)
Suites measure approximately 21m2. Beds can be configured as twin or double and there is a divider between the seating and bed area. Suites feature a walk-in wardrobe, sofa, coffee table, arm-chair, vanity table with large mirror and stool, bedside lamps, full length dressing mirror, hairdryer, television, electronic safe, air-conditioning and refrigerator.

Magellan Suite

£ 6095 GBP pp
Magellan Suite
Suites measure approximately 21.35m2. The beds can be configured as twin or double and there is a divider between the seating and bed area. Suites feature a walk-in wardrobe, sofa, coffee table, arm-chair, vanity table with large mirror and stool, bedside lamps, full length dressing mirror, hairdryer, television, electronic safe, air-conditioning and refrigerator.

Columbus Deck Superior

£ 6395 GBP pp
Columbus Deck Superior
Suites measure approximately 22 m2. Beds can be configured as twin or double and there is a divider between the seating and bed area. Suites feature a walk-in wardrobe, sofa, coffee table, arm-chair, vanity table with large mirror and stool, bedside lamps, full length dressing mirror, hairdryer, television, electronic safe, air-conditioning and refrigerator.

Marco Polo Deck Premium

£ 6795 GBP pp
Marco Polo Deck Premium
Suites measure approximately 20.9m2. The beds can be configured as twin or double and there is a divider between the seating and bed area. Suites feature a large wardrobe, sofa, coffee table, arm-chair, vanity table with large mirror and stool, bedside lamps, full length dressing mirror, hairdryer, television, electronic safe, air-conditioning and refrigerator.

Marco Polo Deck Corner Suite

£ 6995 GBP pp
Marco Polo Deck Corner Suite
Suites measure approximately 22m2. Beds can be configured as twin or double and there is a divider between the seating and bed area. These suites have two windows, one at the front and one at the side. Suites feature a large wardrobe, sofa, coffee table, arm-chair, vanity table with large mirror and stool, bedside lamps, full length dressing mirror, hairdryer, television, electronic safe, air-conditioning and refrigerator.

Erikson Deck Deluxe Balcony

£ 7895 GBP pp
Erikson Deck Deluxe Balcony
Suites measure approximately 20.9m2 with an extra 4 m2 for the balcony. Beds can be configured as twin or double. Suites feature a large wardrobe, sofa, coffee table, arm-chair, vanity table with large mirror and stool, bedside lamps, full length dressing mirror, hairdryer, television, electronic safe, air-conditioning and refrigerator.

Explorer Owners Balcony

£ 8095 GBP pp
Explorer Owners Balcony
Suites measure approximately 22m2 with an extra 8m2 for the balcony. Beds can be configured as twin or double and there is a divider between the seating and bed area. Suites feature a large wardrobe, sofa, coffee table, arm-chair, vanity table with large mirror and stool, bedside lamps, full-length dressing mirror, hairdryer, television, electronic safe, air-conditioning and refrigerator

Magellan Suite Sole

£ 9145 GBP pp
Magellan Suite Sole
Suites measure approximately 21.35m2. The beds can be configured as twin or double and there is a divider between the seating and bed area. Suites feature a walk-in wardrobe, sofa, coffee table, arm-chair, vanity table with large mirror and stool, bedside lamps, full length dressing mirror, hairdryer, television, electronic safe, air-conditioning and refrigerator.

Columbus Deck Superior Sole

£ 9595 GBP pp
Columbus Deck Superior Sole
Suites measure approximately 22 m2. Beds can be configured as twin or double and there is a divider between the seating and bed area. Suites feature a walk-in wardrobe, sofa, coffee table, arm-chair, vanity table with large mirror and stool, bedside lamps, full length dressing mirror, hairdryer, television, electronic safe, air-conditioning and refrigerator.

Island Sky

Vessel Type:  Luxury Small Ship

Length:  90 metres

Passenger Capacity:  116 

Built:  1992 / refurbished 2010

With a maximum passenger capacity of only 116, a vessel of her size is capable of carrying many more but instead the MS Island Sky has the benefit of unusually large suites, luxuriously appointed public areas and spacious outside decks.

On board there is a high ratio of crew to passengers. Our friendly crew of 75 are mainly Filipino and Eastern European and our Scandinavian captains are experienced mariners, having been in service aboard large 2000 plus passenger vessels and who now prefer a less frantic life aboard a small ship.   If, like them and us, you prefer a more peaceful life at sea, you will find the MS Island Sky the perfect ship. When choosing the vessel for your next voyage of discovery, you can select a ship with endless entertainment and impersonal service or come with us where peace, high quality service and attention to detail are the order of the day. We promise there will be no organised entertainment, fancy dress, deck games or any of the usual big ship experiences. The atmosphere on board is more akin to a private yacht or country hotel. A little music in the lounge or bar after dinner, guest speakers, informative port briefings from our cruise director and of course good food which may be enjoyed leisurely in the attractive dining room. After a day ashore you will return to the comfort and peace of a well run and exceedingly comfortable ship.

Your Suite
Onboard there are 57 exceptionally spacious and well designed suites. All feature a sitting room area and some have private balconies. The feeling of luxury is enhanced by the wood panelling and brass, which predominates throughout the vessel conveying the atmosphere of a private yacht. The passenger accommodation is arranged over five decks and all suites have outside views. Each affords considerable comfort with en-suite bathroom featuring marble-topped vanity unit with sink and walk-in shower, large wardrobes, dressing table with large mirror and stool and excellent storage. There is a mini-fridge, flat screen television with inbuilt DVD player which can also play CDs and a telephone in each suite. Bottled water, towelling dressing gowns and slippers are also provided for your comfort. Other facilities include a programmable electronic safe, hairdryer, assorted toiletries and individually controlled air-conditioning and heating. The suites on each deck have their own colour theme. Soft hues and blended tones enhance the traditional maritime style making the passenger accommodation an inviting and relaxing place to be.

Your Space
The spacious and finely decorated public rooms include a large lounge where daily briefings and talks will be provided throughout the voyage and an elegant bar where a pianist plays periodically throughout the day. The bar also features a 24-hour tea and coffee station. The onboard library is the perfect place to relax with a book and is stocked with reference books pertaining to the places the vessel is visiting along with a selection of games and two computers with internet access. Daily newspapers and magazines are also placed in the library depending on local availability. There is also WI-FI access throughout the vessel. Outside there is a rear sun deck where meals are served in warm weather under shade, a bar and comfortable deck furniture for sun bathing or relaxing with a book. On the top deck there is a Jacuzzi and further observation and sun deck. There is also a small hairdressers on board with appointments made on request.

Your Dining
Another benefit of a small ship is the quality of the cuisine. With only one sitting and a maximum of just over 100 passengers, the galley is able to provide delicious meals. Where possible and when it meets his high standards, the chef will obtain local produce in markets or buy the catch of the day from a passing fishing boat. Such purchases enhance the well stocked larders and bring a local touch to the varied menus.

Cabin layout for Island Sky
Island Sky

Island SkyIsland Sky

Luxury Expedition Luxury Expedition

13 Days from
£ 5895 GBP pp

Highlights

• Enjoy a day amongst the sights and sounds of charming Batumi.

• Enjoy a day of exploration in the fascinating city of Istanbul.

• Discover Odessa - founded by Catherine the Great in 1794 following the Russian victory over the Turks.

• Explore Constanta, known as Tomis to the Greeks but named Constanta by the Romans.

or call us on

NZ Freephone
0800 945 3327

AUS Freephone
1800 107 715

to help you make your reservation

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