Setting sail from Athens (Piraeus)
Athens is a city awash with historical and cultural significance. Towering over the city are the gleaming columns of the Parthenon, surely one of the most iconic sights in the whole of Europe. And yet Athens is much more than an open air museum; this is a dynamic, bustling metropolis, and a place where history is still very much unfolding. For all its faults, the Greek capital possesses an energy and an optimism that are manifest in everything from the burgeoning art scene to the restaurants and bars that continue to pop up on a regular basis.
Once you have seen the essentials, explore further afield and you will immediately escape the tourist crowds. Visit Kerameikos cemetery, for example, or Mount Lycabettus.
Greece’s bustling second city has a rich history, shaped by Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman rule, and was once home to a large Jewish community. Sadly many of Thessaloniki’s historic buildings were destroyed by a fire in 1917, but the famous White Tower survives, along with the city’s vibrant, multicultural spirit.
Kavala has a rich history dating back nearly 3,000 years, and was known in antiquity as Neapolis. Many of the city’s most interesting sights were built by the Ottomans, including the aqueduct of Suleyman the Magnificent and the beautiful Imaret, a former religious school.
Constanta, Romania’s largest Black Sea port, is not the most attractive city in the world, but it does have some interesting history; founded by the Greeks over 2,500 years ago, the city was home to the Roman poet Ovid after he was exiled here by the Emperor Augustus in 8 AD.
Founded by Catherine the Great in 1794, the sunny port of Odessa has a rich and storied history as a cosmopolitan playground for Russian high society, reflected in the city’s gloriously faded neoclassical architecture. Famous sights include the Potemkin Steps, so called after featuring in the classic 1925 film ‘Battleship Potemkin’.
Basking on the Black Sea coast is Varna, Bulgaria’s cosmopolitan third city. It’s a pleasant place to explore, with charming Baroque architecture and some interesting Roman remains, and it’s also easy to take a day trip out to one of the nearby beach resorts.
Istanbul is the place where East meets West, where Asia Minor reaches out across the Bosphorus and almost touches Europe, and the city remains a bristling, bustling cultural melting pot, the skyline dotted with magnificent minarets and domes.
Çanakkale occupies a key strategic location guarding the Dardanelles, at the meeting point of the Aegean and the Sea of Marmara. This region of Turkey is full of historical interest, including the battlefields of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign and the ruins of ancient Troy.
The Turkish port of Kusadasi is the gateway to Ephesus, one of the most spectacular archaeological sites in the Eastern Mediterranean. This was the Roman capital of Asia Minor, and the remains constitute the most complete classical city in Europe.
Saint John is said to have written the Book of Revelations in a cave on Patmos, and today the spot is marked by the hillside Monastery of the Apocalypse. As well as spirituality, the island is known for its beaches and upmarket vibe, with a scattering of stylish restaurants and bars.
Arriving in Athens (Piraeus)
Obviously don’t miss the Acropolis, nor the new adjacent museum, where space has pointedly been left for the frieze we call the Elgin Marbles – it is really excellent. Then take time to stroll on the hills and slopes around the outcrop.
Your home from home
The Azamara Journey, Quest & Pursuit are excellent small ships that offer a welcoming and relaxed club-like atmosphere.
What we love
This trio of sister ships are focused on providing destination immersion by spending as much time in port as possible with itineraries designed to include overnight stays and late evening departures. Enjoy more time to discover the local culture and when back on board relax and enjoy a vibrant array of inclusions.
|Crew:||408 International staff|
|Style:||Relaxed club-like atmosphere|
|Year built:||Journey & Quest 2000, Pursuit 2001|
|Last refurbished:||Journey & Quest 2016, Pursuit 2018|
|Cruising speed:||18.5 knots|
Tailor-make your trip
Extend your stay in Athens
At Mundy, we have long been hunting for the perfect Athenian hotel - our favourite so far is the Electra Palace in Plaka.
Excursions from Athens
Delphi is an absolute must – you’ll need a full day though, it’s quite a drive.