Last updated: 06 February, 2024
Layers of history, majestic old port cities and above all, glimpses into a world once closed to the outside, are all reasons for the revival of the Black Sea as a culture-packed cruise destination.
You’ll usually embark in Istanbul for the scenic sailing along the narrow Bosphorus to the mouth of the Black Sea. Other highlights include the grand, baroque boulevards of Odessa and pretty Nessebar in Bulgaria, peppered with medieval orthodox churches and clinging to a rocky island connected to the mainland by an isthmus.
The Georgian port of Batumi, with its waterfront of futuristic glass towers, lies against a backdrop of the hazy, green Caucasus mountains. From Sochi, you can visit Stalin’s dacha, the holiday home where the dictator would summer, eerily preserved as it was until his death in 1953.
Some cruises also incorporate the Sea of Marmara, calling at Canakkale for Troy, or Mudanya for trips to Bursa, the original Ottoman capital.
Editor: despite Russia’s illegal and heinous invasion of Ukraine, we’ve left Russian content in our guides. There’s no reason you can’t add Russia to your travel bucket list for future visits. The war, and Putin, won’t last forever, and then we hope you go back. There are many innocent Russian people, whose livelihoods depend on tourism, suffering greatly too from the actions of this evil man and his cronies.