Cheryl Scremin | Flight Centre Independent | Home Based Travel Agent
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Cheryl Scremin

604 290 2895

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Posted on: Thursday July 27, 2017
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WINDSTAR CRUISES BLACK SEA CRUISE

In May 2015, I was fortunate enough to earn a spot on a Windstar Cruises fam-trip to the Black Sea on the Star Pride.  We boarded the ship in the wonderful city of Istanbul--which I covered in my Blog titled Paris and Istanbul.  The Star Pride is one of Windstar's yachts.  She weighs 9975 tons, is 440' long, and carries 212 passengers and 140 crew members.  The crew was truly outstanding and so was the food.  Definitely the best meals I've enjoyed on any cruise!  Dress is resort casual, so no formal nights on this ship.  



The cabins are beautifully appointed and very spacious.


Our first port was the beautiful town of Amasra, Turkey.  This ancient walled-city is a UNESCO Heritage Site and simply stunning.







Or next port was Odessa, Ukraine.  This is a wonderful city, similar to Paris and Istanbul, with sidewalk cafes everywhere you look.  I had a bit of a surprise that morning when I went out on my balcony to have a look at the city.  A large hawk had somehow landed on the balcony next to mine and was unable to get out again. At first I worried that it was due to a wing injury but it turned out he couldn't fly away because his wing span was too big!  Luckily my brave cabin steward was able to capture the bird and lift him over the balcony to freedom!




The highlight of this port was our private performance by the Ukrainian Ballet at the Odessa Opera and Ballet Theater.  This stunning theater was built in 1887 and is regarded as one of the world's finest opera houses.







It seems "locks of love" are popping up all over the world these days, but Odessa appears to have a good plan to handle them. Unlike in Paris where they have been removed due to the unexpected weight they are adding to the bridges, Odessa has created a stand-alone place for people to pledge their love.



Our next port was Constanta, Bulgaria.  This city is the closest port city to Bucharest so we elected to take a (very long!) day trip to Bucharest.  Honestly, if I'd known it was really going to take more than 3.5 hours each way--not the 90 minutes we were told--I would not have gone, however it was a great day and such an interesting city that I was very glad I did!  And the countryside was beautiful on the way.

One of the more interesting facts about Bucharest is that apparently there are almost as many cars as people.  Pretty much everyone owns a car but there are not many parking lots, so it's amazing to see the cars parked absolutely everywhere!

The Palace of Parliament is the world's largest civilian building, and the 2nd largest building in the world, after the Pentagon.



We also toured the Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum.  It contains 272 authentic peasant farms showcasing traditional Romanian village life.  Rather than turn a single village into a heritage site as is commonly done, this museum has transported the dwellngs from around the country and resurrected them on the museum 100,000s.m. grounds so they are all in one place.



Our next port was Varna, Bulgaria.  Varna is known as a beach destination so we thought we'd live like a local and spend the day relaxing at the beach. 


 

Our last port was Nessebar, Bulgaria which is another UNESCO World Heritage walled-city.  I purchased a Church Museum pass but in hindsight it wasn't really necessary because they weren't all open to the public.  Better to just pay for 1 or 2 and focus on those as the churches were all very similar.








All in all, it was a fantastic cruise to some truly amazing places that I wouldn't hesitate to visit again.  Unfortunately there is a perception that Ukraine in particular is unsafe right now but the conflict is far from Odessa and it's perfectly safe.  

After we disembarked in Istanbul, we had a perfect view of our little ship from our hotel.  Big ship, little ship!


Name:
Cheryl Scremin

Location:
Surrey, British Columbia

Contact Number:
604 290 2895

Alternate Number:
778 783 4158

Email:
cheryl.scremin@fcitravel.ca

About Cheryl:

I run my personal travel business in partnership with a company known throughout Canada for wonderful travel experiences at amazing prices - Flight Centre


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CONTACT INFO
  • phone 604 290 2895
  • Alternate Number: 778 783 4158
  • email cheryl.scremin@fcitravel.ca
  • web flightcentreindependent.ca/CherylScremin
  • address Surrey, British Columbia, Canada