A Black Sea cruise is the meeting of East and West. This warm, welcoming inland sea is home to Turkey, Russia, Georgia, the Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria
1. Black Sea Treasures
Setting off from Athens, this trip throws in a Greek island (Syros) and Kusadasi (for the ruins of Ephesus), plus Sochi, Yalta, Sevastopol and Odessa. The 12-day Black Sea Treasures cruise from Oceania Cruises (oceaniacruises.com; 0845 505 1920) departs 29 May 2014, and costs from £2,236 including flights.
2. Crimean Discovery
This cruise, a round trip from the Turkish resort Marmaris, visits Mykonos then calls at Istanbul, as well as Sevastopol and Constanta. The seven-night Crimean Discovery cruise from Thomson (thomson.co.uk; 0871 231 4691) departs 2 June 2014 and costs from £936 including flights and tips.
3. Black Sea
This round trip from Genoa reaches Yalta and Odessa, calls at Constanta and Istanbul, and includes Naples, Civitavecchia and Piraeus. The 12-night Black Sea cruise from MSC Cruises (msccruises.co.uk; 0844 561 1955) departs 8/20 April, 2/14 May 2014, and costs from £599 cruise only, £849 with flights.
4. Heart of the Black Sea
Fred. Olsen’s old-school ship Balmoral is a perfect vessel in which to visit Odessa and Sevastopol. The 28-night To The Heart of the Black Sea cruise (fredolsencruises.com; 0845 485 7516) departs 14 June 2014, and costs from £2,499.
5. Black Sea & Crimean Coasts
A special visit here is to Nessebar in Bulgaria, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Constanta, Yalta and Odessa as well as Greece and Slovenia feature on the voyage from Athens to Venice. The 11-day Black Sea & Crimean Coasts cruise from Princess (princess.com; 0845 075 0031) departs 8 October 2014, and costs from £2,217, including flights.
6. Black Sea from Istanbul
This round trip from Istanbul gives you the chance to soak up the Black Sea atmosphere to the full, with overnight stays in both Sochi and Odessa, and there are also days in Sevastopol, Yalta and Burgas with beaches and a wealth of Roman and Byzantine history. The 11-night Black Sea cruise from Celebrity (celebritycruises.co.uk; 0844 493 2043) departs 14 October 2014, and costs from £1,509, including flights.
7. Black Sea Panorama
On this cruise there’s an exclusive visit to Georgia, as well as the Ukraine highlights and a good smattering of Turkey, including Trabzon, a Silk Road hub. The 15-day Black Sea Panorama cruise from Swan Hellenic (swanhellenic.com; 0844 488 1050) departs 27 August 2014, and costs from £3,275 including flights, excursions and tips.
8. Black Sea & Turkish Splendours
Queen Victoria makes her way from Southampton to the far corners of the Black Sea. The 24-night Black Sea and Turkish Splendours cruise from Cunard (cunard.co.uk; 0843 374 2224) departs 14 September 2014, and costs from £2,549.
9. Black Sea Adventure
Along with Ukraine and Sochi this cruise includes Novorossiysk, Russia’s leading Black Sea port, and Feodosiya, a Ukrainian tourist resort. The 15-day Black Sea Adventure cruise from Voyages of Discovery (voyagesofdiscovery.co.uk; 0844 488 0902) departs 8 October 2014, and costs from £2,289 including flights, excursions and tips.
10. Istanbul, Black Sea & Greece
This voyage goes to Odessa, Yalta and the Med. The Istanbul, Black Sea & Greece cruise (pocruises.com; 0843 374 0111) departs 1 September 2014, and costs from £2,499.
Images © Celebrity Cruises/iStock/Marholev/Mlenny