Tena, one of our vacations experts returned from a Windstar Cruise from Istanbul to Athens – here is her summary of the trip!
We departed Toronto on a KLM flight to Amsterdam with a connection to Istanbul.
Istanbul is a BUSY city – with 17 million people residing in this ancient city. It has sprawling neighbourhoods modern home near the airport and then very old homes towards the center of the city. Narrow winding roads with heart-stopping twists and turns.
I stayed at the Innova Sultanamet Hotel in the heart of the Old City. This is a beautiful hotel. It has lots of marble and it was within walking distance of all the major historical attractions. We meet a local guide – Mesut – who asked us what we wanted to see and took us around to the Blue Mosque, the Topkapi Palace, the Hagia Sophia and the Grand Bazaar. Istanbul is a wonderful, fascinating city and Mesut is a superb guide.
We to0k a taxi ride from the hotel for 10 Turkish Lire (about $5.00) and boarded the Wind Spirit sailing ship at 2:00 pm. The ship is small – 148 passengers – and 90 crew. Cabins are roomy, staff was very attentive, food was excellent – great variety that included local treats!
- Day 1 – At sea – relaxed atmosphere sunning on deck
- Day 2 – Kusadasi, Turkey – toured ruins of Ephesus small tour groups – expert guides
- Day 3 – Rhodes, Greece – tour to Lindos and climbed the Acropolis there
- Day 4 – Bodrum, Turkey – did a Culinary Excursion – we were taken to a market in a small village, bought food and then on to another village where the woman teaching the class had her home. We prepared and cooked the food and ate it later in the afternoon. This was our favourite excursion.
- Day 5 – Santorini, Greece – did an island overview excursion – lots of places to shop
- Day 6 – Mykonos, Greece – took a boat ride to another island, Delos to see the birthplace of Apollo – very interesting ruins.
- Day 7 – Athens – toured the New Acropolis Museum and then up to the Acropolis
Our last night we stayed at the Hotel Amalia right across from the National Gardens and near the Greek Parliament Building. I would definitely recommend Wind Star Cruises – particularly for anyone that enjoys an intimate, luxurious vacation. I really enjoyed Istanbul and Turkey in general. The people are warm and friendly. Greece was beautiful!
If you would like more information on Turkey, Istanbul or Windstar Cruises – contact Tena. If you are looking for other great cruise ideas – visit Ellison Travel & Tours’ cruising section of their website!