Crossroads of Empires: Istanbul & the Black Sea Cruise Tour
 
12 DAYS
Star Pride
Istanbul to Istanbul
Departure Date:
Price from $7,299 USD per guest
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Istanbul to Istanbul
The Silk Road ended along the southern shores of the Black Sea, enriching the coast with the diverse cultural influences traders bring. In the north, Russia and the post-revolutionary USSR have dominated the landscape. So while the six countries that encircle the Black Sea all share the same shoreline, they are distinctly unique. Come and see how time and circumstance have molded each, taking a particularly in-depth look at Istanbul at the heart of it all. Snack on hot pretzels in Constanta and kebabs fresh from the grill in Sinop. Discover a miniature Dubrovnik in medieval Nessebar and shades of Las Vegas in Batumi. Devote four full days to exploring Istanbul, and see the Blue Mosque, visit the Ayasofya (formerly Hagia Sophia) Mosque, The Byzantine Hippodrome, Topkapi Palace, Dolmabahce Palace, the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market.  On this cruise tour you’ll see a city that four empires appropriated as their own when they could find none better.

What’s Included
  • •Three nights’ accommodation at Pera Palace Hotel in a Deluxe Golden Horn Room
  • •Daily breakfast at Hotel
  • •Lunch at Hamdi Restaurant
  • •All arrival and departure transfers
  • •Two full days and one half day sightseeing in a luxury air conditioned vehicle with a professional driver.
  • •Licensed professional tour guide in English language
  • •2-hour Bosphorus cruise on a private motor boat
  • •Entrance fees to Byzantine Hippodrome, Topkapi Palace, the Harem Section, •Underground Cistern, Suleymaniye Mosque, Dolmabahce Palace, Ayasofya (formerly Hagia Sophia), Rustem Pasa Mosque
  • •9-day cruise round trip Istanbul
 
Please note:  Bring your hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, insect repellent, and comfortable walking shoes. This tour is not wheelchair accessible and is not suitable for people with mobility issues. Order of sites visited may vary based on availability and dates.
 
voyage map
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Day 1: Arrive in Istanbul
Upon arrival in Istanbul, meet your guide holding a Windstar sign outside of the terminal at the Istanbul Grand Airport and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure. Wander around the neighborhoods close to the hotel. Dinner on your own is suggested at Agatha Restaurant or Orient Terrace in your hotel.
 
(Includes overnight at Pera Palace Hotel)
 
Please note: Optional tours available. VIP Arrival service can be arranged upon request.
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Day 2: Istanbul Full Day of Sightseeing
After breakfast, meet your professional guide at the lobby for your private full day sightseeing. A scenic drive will take you across the Galata Bridge into the heart of Istanbul, where the historic area of Istanbul is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the Byzantine Hippodrome, one of the largest chariot race grounds of the Byzantine Empire. See the Egyptian Obelisk, Serpentine Column, and Constantine Column then on to the Blue Mosque, with its six elegant minarets and exceptional Iznik tile work inside. Next, visit one of the greatest buildings in the world: St Sophia Mosque, built in AD 537 and remained the greatest church in Christendom until 1453. Visit the Underground Cistern measuring roughly 210 feet wide and 420 feet long, with a capacity of 80,000 cubic meters of water. The 336 beautiful columns that support the cistern were salvaged from pagan temples destroyed during the Roman Empire’s conversion to Christianity.  Have lunch on your own at Seasons Restaurant located at the Four Seasons Sultanahmet Hotel. Enter the magnificent Topkapi Palace Museum, located on the promontory between the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. Steps away, visit the Harem section which offers a revealing look into how the sultans of the Ottoman Empire lived in private.  At the end of the day, return to the hotel. Dinner is suggested at Mikla Restaurant (in walking distance).
 
Includes breakfast and overnight at Pera Palace Hotel)
 
Please note: Modest attire is required; when visiting the Ayasofya Mosque, knees, shoulders and midriffs must be covered and women must cover their head with a scarf, provided at the Mosque. Shoes must be removed and shoe bags will be provided. There is ongoing restoration of the Topkapi Palace, which may result in some exhibits being closed. There are approximately 50 steps to negotiate at the entrance to the underground cistern and a further 50 steps to exit. Professional photography and flash are not allowed. All tours in the old town require considerable walking, as it is closed to traffic. 
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Day 3: Istanbul Full Day of Sightseeing
After breakfast, meet your professional guide at the lobby for your private half day of sightseeing starting with Suleymaniye Mosque situated atop one of the city’s seven hills. Among its innovative construction features were the use of Juniper trees to absorb the shock of earthquakes; 255 pots suspended from the central dome to provide better acoustics and thermal insulation. Continue to the famous Grand Bazaar, where you will explore some of its 64 streets. A variety of Turkish handicrafts, oriental carpets, rare jewels and inexpensive souvenirs are all sold in its small shops. You may also enjoy an optional private carpet weaving session in a collectioner’s gallery. Return to hotel then in late afternoon meet your guide in the lobby for a short drive to the Kabatas pier to embark your motor yacht for a relaxing 2-hour motor yacht cruise along the Bosphorus waterway, from where there are excellent views of the Asiatic and European shores. Magnificent 19th century palaces are dotted along both banks and, as you cruise along, enjoy views of the Dolmabahce Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, and the few remaining towers of the Anadolu Fortress. Passing underneath the Sultan Mehmet Bridge see the Rumeli Fortress. Istanbul has one of the loveliest skylines in the world and is without doubt a city built to be appreciated from the water. A refreshment of coffee, tea or local soft drink and local wine will be served during your cruise.  At the end of the cruise,
dinner is suggested at Sunset Restaurant.
 
(Includes breakfast and  overnight at Pera Palace Hotel)
 
Please note: Modest attire is required; when visiting the Suleymaniye Mosque, knees, shoulders and midriffs must be covered and women must cover their head with a scarf, provided at the mosque. Professional photography and flash are not allowed. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a shawl, or a light jacket. Not suitable for guests using a wheelchair.
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Day 4: Istanbul Sightseeing and Embarkation
After breakfast, check-out and meet your professional guide at the lobby for your private half day of sightseeing. Visit the beautiful Dolmabahce Palace. Stretching over 1,960 feet on the shore of the Bosphorus Strait, the palace stands as a symbol of glamour and decadence of the Ottoman Empire of the 19th century. Your knowledgeable guide will lead you through the Palace, explaining the many sumptuous and magnificent details, boasting 43 large salons, a 4.5 ton Bohemian crystal chandelier and a glass façade that measures over 3,000 feet long.  Take a short drive to visit the Rustem Pasa Mosque, where most of the interior is covered with Iznik tiles of the highest quality. Visit the Spice Bazaar, an exotic trading house for dried herbs, spices and exotic condiments, colorful local produce, fresh cheeses, pickles and other Turkish specialties such as sucuk (chorizo-like sausages) and pastirma (cured beef). There will be ample time to stock up on saffron, Turkish apricots and freshly made Turkish delight.  Lunch will be served at Hamdi Restaurant with traditional Turkish cuisine in a lovely atmosphere and then transfer to the port to embark the yacht.
 
Please note: Modest attire is required; when visiting the Rustem Pasha Mosque, knees, shoulders and midriffs must be covered and women must cover their head with a scarf, provided at the mosque. Professional photography and flash are not allowed.
 
(Includes breakfast and lunch)
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Day 4: Istanbul
Ah, Constantinople, Queen of Cities and the Door to Happiness. Istanbul is the only city in the world built on two continents—Europe and Asia—and its appeal is truly universal. The Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans all ruled their empires from here, leaving behind some of their finest monuments and a fascinating blend of cultures. Visit the harem at Topkapi Palace, where the clatter of silver soles once warned concubines of the approaching sultan. Admire the Iznik tiles and stained glass windows of the Blue Mosque, and the mystical light bathing the nave of Hagia Sofia. Shop the Grand Bazaar for a coffee cezve, magic lamp, embroidered slippers, or hand-woven kilim. Temper a tiny cup of potent Turkish coffee with bites of sweet lokum (Turkish delight). 
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Day 5: Nessebar
The terracotta rooftops come into sight as we approach Nessebar. The Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is easy to cover by foot, tidily contained on a 24-acre island connected by a narrow isthmus to the mainland. Take a walk and you’ll see medieval churches everywhere you look, along with19th century wooden houses with drying fish strung from their roofs. Further inland, glimpse the quickly vanishing lifestyle of Bulgaria’s rural villages, and sample warm Bulgarian hospitality.
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Day 6: Constanta (Bucharest)
You’ll have time to explore this fascinating country as we extend our stay into the evening hours. The resort town of Constanta offers beaches, history, and fine wine. Head inland to the beautiful city of Bucharest, once known as “Little Paris,” where you may visit the vast and famous home of both houses of the Romanian Parliament, widely known as the Palace of the People. Don’t miss the chance to watch the locals playing chess in beautiful Cismigiu Gardens.
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Day 7: Odessa
You can credit Catherine the Great with this sparkling city, designed by the finest European architects in the late 18th century. With its eclectic architectural styles and immigrants from diverse cultures, Odessa has a unique vibe. Walk the Potemkin Steps, said to bring good luck to those who go up and down them in bare feet, and stroll the beautiful tree-lined paths in the heart of the city.
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Day 9: Sochi
The port that was host of the 2014 Winter Olympics is also notable for its 20th century neoclassical buildings including the Winter Theatre. Things to do in Sochi include the 19th century Arboretum and Sochinskiy National Park for endangered species.
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Day 10: Batumi
This popular port and resort town on the Black Sea is full of quirky architecture and sculptures. Walk along the beach promenade and the piazza for some entertaining street art and murals and find the freshest produce and home-made products at the local market. Go up to the top of the 427-foot (130 meter)-high Alphabetic Tower with a seaside observation deck.
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Day 11: Sinop
One of the prettiest towns on the Black Sea coast, the walled city of Sinop perches on a promontory overlooking the harbor. It’s one of the oldest cities in the region, and thanks to its strategic location, it’s changed hands many times since the 7th century B.C. Sinop Castle, for instance, was built by the Greeks in the 7th century B.C. then later used by the Romans, Byzantines, and Seljukians. Catch up on local history at the Ethnography and Archaeological Museums. Or get a sense of daily life at the market and shop for a hand-carved meerschaum pipe, traditional nautical wood carvings, or a Turkish puzzle ring.
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Day 12: Istanbul
Ah, Constantinople, Queen of Cities and the Door to Happiness. Istanbul is the only city in the world built on two continents—Europe and Asia—and its appeal is truly universal. The Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans all ruled their empires from here, leaving behind some of their finest monuments and a fascinating blend of cultures. Visit the harem at Topkapi Palace, where the clatter of silver soles once warned concubines of the approaching sultan. Admire the Iznik tiles and stained glass windows of the Blue Mosque, and the mystical light bathing the nave of Hagia Sofia. Shop the Grand Bazaar for a coffee cezve, magic lamp, embroidered slippers, or hand-woven kilim. Temper a tiny cup of potent Turkish coffee with bites of sweet lokum (Turkish delight). 
VIEW THE JOURNEY
Day 13: Istanbul
Ah, Constantinople, Queen of Cities and the Door to Happiness. Istanbul is the only city in the world built on two continents—Europe and Asia—and its appeal is truly universal. The Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans all ruled their empires from here, leaving behind some of their finest monuments and a fascinating blend of cultures. Visit the harem at Topkapi Palace, where the clatter of silver soles once warned concubines of the approaching sultan. Admire the Iznik tiles and stained glass windows of the Blue Mosque, and the mystical light bathing the nave of Hagia Sofia. Shop the Grand Bazaar for a coffee cezve, magic lamp, embroidered slippers, or hand-woven kilim. Temper a tiny cup of potent Turkish coffee with bites of sweet lokum (Turkish delight). 
Popular Highlights
Blue Mosque
Visit the historic area of Istanbul, a UNESCO site and count the 6 elegant minarets of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul
 
Bran Castle
Constanta is your lovely gateway to Bucharest and Dracula’s Castle
Dolmabahce Palace
Cruising the Bosphorus will reveal the beautiful Dolmabahce Palace, encompassing 1,960 feet of the shore.
Nessebar
Tour UNESCO-listed Old Town in Nessebar
Topkapi Palace
Peruse the exhibits of  Topkapi Palace including the imperial collections of the Ottoman Empire
 
Potempkin Stairs
With a later day in Odessa there’ll be time to visit the famous beaches and the grand Primorsky Boulevard promenade and climb the Potemkin Stairs.
Sinop
From the top of Sinop Castle appreciate the panoramic views of the Black Sea
The Windstar Life
The Windstar staff-to-guest ratio is 1:1.5, and it shows.The moment you board you’ll feel it: an ever-attentive crew at your service, providing you with what you want and need, when you want and need it.
Cooking Demonstrations
Open Bridge
Friendly and Relaxed Atmosphere
Local and Live Performances
Signature Sail Away
Crew Talent Show
Enjoy regionally inspired treatments at World Spa by Windstar
Take In The Sun
Complimentary 24 Hour Room Service
Relax at the Pool or Hot Tub
Relax With A Morning Yoga Session
Genuine and Thoughtful Crew
Signature Onboard Barbecue
Shopping With The Chef
Watersports Platform
Accommodations & Pricing
This all-suite ship will complete renovation as part of the $250 Million Star Plus Initiative to provide more of what our guests love.
Star Porthole Suite
Star Porthole Suite
These rooms represent a nod to the sailing tradition of porthole windows. And while sailors might have had cramped quarters, your 277 square foot stateroom is wonderfully spacious and furnished with all the modern amenities and comforts of home.
$7,299 per guest
Ocean View Suite
Ocean View Suite
Stylish comfort and ocean views welcome you in 277 square feet. Your queen bed (which can be separated as twins if you prefer) features luxurious Egyptian cotton linens. Enjoy a luxurious soak in your full-size tub or an invigorating shower, then wrap up in your waffle-weave robe and slippers, savor a treat from the fresh fruit bowl, or simply stretch out and enjoy the fresh flowers.
$7,599 per guest
Ocean View Suite 1
Ocean View Suite 1
Stylish comfort and ocean views welcome you in 277 square feet. Your queen bed (which can be separated as twins if you prefer) features luxurious Egyptian cotton linens. Enjoy a luxurious soak in your full-size tub or an invigorating shower, then wrap up in your waffle-weave robe and slippers, savor a treat from the fresh fruit bowl, or simply stretch out and enjoy the fresh flowers.
$7,699 per guest
Star Ocean View Suite 1
Star Ocean View Suite 1
As soon as you walk through the door, you’re greeted with an open living area for a more welcoming entrance. Drift off to sleep by the window in your queen bed as you watch the same stars that sailors used to navigate the seas hundreds of years ago.
$7,799 per guest
Ocean View Suite 2
Ocean View Suite 2
Stylish comfort and ocean views welcome you in 277 square feet. Your queen bed (which can be separated as twins if you prefer) features luxurious Egyptian cotton linens. Enjoy a luxurious soak in your full-size tub or an invigorating shower, then wrap up in your waffle-weave robe and slippers, savor a treat from the fresh fruit bowl, or simply stretch out and enjoy the fresh flowers.
$7,999 per guest
Ocean View Suite 3
Ocean View Suite 3
Stylish comfort and ocean views welcome you in 277 square feet. Your queen bed (which can be separated as twins if you prefer) features luxurious Egyptian cotton linens. Enjoy a luxurious soak in your full-size tub or an invigorating shower, then wrap up in your waffle-weave robe and slippers, savor a treat from the fresh fruit bowl, or simply stretch out and enjoy the fresh flowers.
$8,199 per guest
Balcony Suite
Balcony Suite
Stylish comfort and ocean views welcome you in 277 square feet. Your queen bed (which can be separated as twins if you prefer) features luxurious Egyptian cotton linens. Enjoy a luxurious soak in your full-size tub or an invigorating shower, then wrap up in your waffle-weave robe and slippers, savor a treat from the fresh fruit bowl, or simply stretch out and enjoy the fresh flowers.
$8,799 per guest
Star Balcony Suite
Star Balcony Suite
As soon as you walk through the door, you’re greeted with an open living area for a more welcoming entrance. Drift off to sleep by the window in your queen bed as you watch the same stars that sailors used to navigate the seas hundreds of years ago.
$8,999 per guest
Balcony Suite 1
Balcony Suite 1
Stylish comfort and ocean views welcome you in 277 square feet. Your queen bed (which can be separated as twins if you prefer) features luxurious Egyptian cotton linens. Enjoy a luxurious soak in your full-size tub or an invigorating shower, then wrap up in your waffle-weave robe and slippers, savor a treat from the fresh fruit bowl, or simply stretch out and enjoy the fresh flowers.
$9,099 per guest
Star Balcony Suite 1
Star Balcony Suite 1
As soon as you walk through the door, you’re greeted with an open living area for a more welcoming entrance. Drift off to sleep by the window in your queen bed as you watch the same stars that sailors used to navigate the seas hundreds of years ago.
$9,299 per guest
Deluxe Suite
Deluxe Suite
Brand new Deluxe Suites welcome you with 468 square feet of casually elegant living space and an ocean viewing French balcony. All these suites feature 3rd berths, and a sleep-inducing queen bed easily converted to twins.
$10,699 per guest
Classic Suite
Classic Suite
Relax in 400 to 530 spacious square feet. Your living area offers beautiful views from the forward-facing window and French doors onto your private veranda. Two spacious closets give you plenty of room to unpack.
$11,799 per guest
Owner's Suite
Owner's Suite
With 575 square feet, your Owner’s Suite offers separate living room and dining areas. A veranda, two flat-screen TVs and DVD players, and a full master bath and separate powder room indulge you in spacious comfort. 
$13,099 per guest
Guaranteed Suite** (chosen by Windstar)
Guaranteed Suite** (chosen by Windstar)
Guaranteed Suite** (chosen by Windstar)
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Guaranteed Balcony Suite** (chosen by Windstar)
Guaranteed Balcony Suite** (chosen by Windstar)
Guaranteed Balcony Suite** (chosen by Windstar)
Call For Availability
Star Pride
Carrying only 312 guests, Star Pride still tucks into small ports like Le Lavandou and Wrangell or narrow waterways like the Corinth and Keil Canal. We can’t wait to welcome you onboard for your next 180 degree from ordinary adventure! Learn more about the newly renovated ship and the $250 Million Star Plus Initiative.
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