Remarkable experiences. extraordinary value.

Journey to Istanbul and Ancient Greece

15 Nights featuring Istanbul, Bursa, Troy, Rhodes and Mykonos

Includes: Roundtrip Airfare, Hotel, Tours, Transfers and More!

Start Date: September 8, 2023
(Sailing September 13, 2023)

About This Journey

Step back in time to when chariots and philosophers flourished, art and architecture prospered, and innovation and ideas thrived. Discover the wonders of ancient Greece and the Ottoman Empire, the birthplace of modern society. Start your Journey in Istanbul, a centuries-old city straddling Europe and Asia. Explore its ornate mosques, opulent palaces and towering monuments built during its long history of Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman rule. Take a cruise through the Bosphorus Strait, shop at the Grand Bazaar and sip traditional Turkish coffee while you soak up the city views. Visit the Hagia Sophia, the epitome of Byzantine architecture, then stand in awe at the elaborate tilework of the Blue Mosque. Discover the ancient capital of the Ottoman Empire, Bursa, on a day trip. Visit a 700-year-old village-turned UNESCO World Heritage Site, admire the Green Mosque, covered in turquoise tilework, and enjoy a sampling of local delicacies. From savory foods like meat kebabs, pide and lahmacun (pizza-like dishes) to desserts like Turkish delights and baklava, you’ll not only satisfy your wonders for the ancient world but your palate, too.

Then, embark on your cruise aboard the Azamara Quest to the Greek Isles. Visit Canakkale, Turkey, once the ancient city of Troy, land of myths and legends. Call on ports in beautiful, yet less crowded, Northern Greece and experience its authenticity and rich history. Spend the day in Kavala, “the heart of Eastern Macedonia,” and Thessaloniki, the second-largest and wealthiest city of the Byzantine Empire. Discover Rhodes, with its picturesque beaches and ancient ruins. Explore the Greek islands of Amorgos and Paros—not visited by most other cruise lines—then, relax on the paradise island of Mykonos with its brightly colored blue and white buildings set against a backdrop of azure waters. Many of these seaside villages also offer freshly caught seafood cooked using traditional culinary methods. On this 15-night Journey to antiquity, discover historical marvels, epicurean delights and quaint, coastal towns.

Visits: Istanbul, Bursa, Canakkale (Kepez), Turkey, Kavala, Thessaloniki, Volos, Rhodes, Amorgos, Paros, Mykonos, Greece; Azamara, Cruises; Azamara Quests; SPID 35233

Journey to Istanbul and Ancient Greece

Itinerary

Start Date: September 8, 2023
(Sailing September 13, 2023)

Day Port Arrival Departure
1 Arrive Istanbul – Transfer to Hotel & Welcome Dinner
2 Istanbul – Istanbul City Tour
3 Istanbul – Turkish Culture Tour
4 Istanbul – Tour to Bursa
5 Istanbul – Istanbul City Tour with Bosphorus Cruise
6 Istanbul – Transfer to Port for Embarkation 5:00 PM
7 Canakkale (Kepez), Turkey 8:00 AM 4:00 PM
8 Kavala, Greece 8:00 AM 8:00 PM
9 Thessaloniki, Greece 8:00 AM 8:00 PM
10 Volos, Greece 7:30 AM 8:00 PM
11 At Sea
12 Rhodes, Greece 8:00 AM 10:00 PM
13 Amorgos, Greece 9:30 AM 6:00 PM
14 Paros, Greece 8:00 AM 3:30 PM
14 Mykonos, Greece 8:00 PM
15 Mykonos, Greece 6:00 PM
16 Athens (Piraeus), Greece – Disembarkation and Transfer to Airport 5:00 AM

Interested in the land program without the cruise? Call us for a quote.

Land Program Details

Day 1 – Arrive Istanbul

Upon arrival at the airport you will be transferred to the hotel for check in. After check-in, you’ll have time to get settled in and relax before joining your fellow travelers for a welcome dinner.(D)

Note: if you wish to arrive to Istanbul a day early to relax and get over jetlag before the tour starts, ask your Personal Vacation Manager about the optional hotel extension.

Day 2 – Istanbul

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

After breakfast, meet your guide in the lobby for a sightseeing tour of Istanbul’s highlights. We’ll begin the day at the Roman Hippodrome, where chariot races were a favorite pastime during Roman and Byzantine times. We’ll then head to the Hagia Sophia, considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture. Completed as a Christian cathedral during the Roman empire, it was once the world’s largest interior space. After the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453, it was converted into a mosque. Then, visit the Cistern Basilica, one of several ancient subterranean cathedral-sized reservoirs built beneath the city to store water for its population.

 

Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque Interior

After a decadent lunch, visit the Topkapi Palace before continuing to the Blue Mosque, often considered the symbol of the city. Constructed between 1606 and 1616, it is famous for its richly decorated interior of over 20,000 beautiful blue ceramic Iznik tiles representing over 50 different flower designs. Return to the hotel to give you time to relax and freshen up before an exciting dinner experience. Meet your guide to depart for a cultural show featuring music and dance while eating delicious local favorites. (B,L,D)

 

Day 3 – Istanbul

Colorful pottery

Colorful ceramic vases and porcelain bowls

Grand bazaar

Grand Bazaar in Istanbul

This morning we’ll head to a Turkish rug school where you’ll have a presentation on the traditional techniques used in making the rugs. We will also learn about the history of this product that is so deeply rooted in Turkish culture. Then, we’ll get acquainted with another staple of Turkish society, the Grand Bazaar! Explore one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world as we visit for a tour and lunch. We will then continue to a tile and pottery atelier to learn about Turkey’s rich history with these products. Turkish tiles and ceramics occupy a place of prominence in the history of Islamic art, with its roots tracing as far back as the Uighurs of the 8th and 9th centuries. You’ll get to meet the artisans and discover the secrets to this traditional Turkish trade.

 

Pierre Loti Hill

Golden Horn view from Pierre Loti Hill

We’ll then visit Eyup Ensari Mosque, one of Turkey’s most sacred Islamic sites. First completed in 1458, it was the site of coronation ceremonies for the Ottoman Emperor and, after sustaining earthquake damage, was reconstructed in the 18th century in baroque style. It is also the burial spot of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (Eyup Ensari in Turkish), a close companion and standard-bearer of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. His tomb is Istanbul’s most important Islamic shrine. We’ll then get a breath of fresh air this afternoon as we take a cable car to the top of Pierre Loti Hill where at the café we’ll take in spectacular views of the Golden Horn while sipping traditional Turkish coffee and tea. Back into the city, we’ll venture into bustling Istiklal Caddesi, which translates to Independence Avenue, to take in the sights. This street is Istanbul’s equivalent to Fifth Avenue in New York City or Oxford Street in London. Return to the hotel where you’ll have the remainder of the evening at your leisure. (B, L)

Day 4 – Istanbul

After breakfast, set off for a day trip to Bursa, the ancient capital of the Ottoman Empire. Located between the dramatic Mount Uludag and the Sea of Marmara, Bursa is an ancient city with a colorful history. In addition to the numerous monuments, mosques, colorful houses and public fountains, it is commonly nicknamed “Green Bursa” due to the city’s numerous parks and tree-lined streets. Our first stop will be the 700-year-old Ottoman village of Cumalikizik just outside the city. Set amongst chestnut and fig trees, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Grand Mosque

Grand Mosque (Ulucami)

After a traditional local lunch, we will continue to the center of Bursa for a visit to the Green Mosque, so named for its colorful turquoise tilework. We will then visit the nearby Green Tomb, which was designed by the same architect and is where Ottoman Sultan Mehmed I was laid to rest in 1421. Next, visit the Ulucami Mosque (Grand Mosque), a prominent landmark built in the 14th century which features a remarkable 20 domes and two minarets. After admiring the ancient Ottoman architecture and artwork of these impressive structures, enjoy some free time at an old silk bazaar. As one of the westernmost points along the Silk Road, Bursa is famous for its silk products. Complete our tour with a tasting of local spices and delicacies before returning to Istanbul. (B, L)

Day 5 – Istanbul

Dolmabahce Palace

Dolmabahce Palace

Today’s tour will start at the lavish Dolmabahce Palace. Commissioned by Sultan Abdul Mecit I and completed in 1854, the Ottoman-European style residence rests along the shore of the Bosporus is quite impressive. Its ornate interiors were designed by the same man who did the Paris Opera house—perhaps explaining the theatrical extravagance.

 

 

 

Bosporus straits

Coast of the Bosphorus strait

We will then board a boat and enjoy a relaxing cruise through the Bosphorus strait, taking in beautiful views of the villages along the water and the dramatic landscape of the strait. It is one of the only places in the world where you can capture two continents in the same photo. 65% of Istanbul’s population resides on the European side, with a smaller 35% residing on the Asian side. During your cruise, you’ll see the highlights of Camlica hill, one of the seven hills of Istanbul and the highest point in the city, and Uskudar, once the ancient Greek city of Chrysopolis and now a vibrant neighborhood of Istanbul. Return to the hotel to freshen up, then rejoin the group one last time for a Farewell Dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 6 – Istanbul Embarkation

After breakfast, check out of the hotel and transfer to the port, where you will board the Azamara Quest for a 10-night cruise to the Greek Isles. (B)

Day 7-15 – Cruising onboard the Azamara Quest (see below for cruise highlights)

Day 16 – Athens Disembarkation

Enjoy breakfast onboard, then disembark the Azamara Quest and transfer to the airport for your return flight home. Optional 2-night Athens extension available, see “special offers” section for details.

 For meals not included in your land programs, all hotels chosen include a restaurant on the property where you may relax and enjoy a meal. In addition, your guide is available to make suggestions on nearby dining, shopping or sightseeing.

Port Highlights

Kepez Gateway to Troy and Gallipoli

Kepez – Gateway to Troy and Gallipoli

Canakkale (Kepez), Turkey: While we dock at Kepez—a small seaside town located about two miles away from the larger town of Canakkale—some spectacular day trips on the menu around here.

Join us on an immersive shore excursion to the ancient city of Troy. Once the stuff of mythology, archaeological excavations have brought life to Homer’s Iliad and the tale of Helen, who was won by the legendary Trojan horse.

The Gallipoli Peninsula is the site of the ill-fated WWI Allied campaign resulting in the deaths of over 130,000 soldiers. A battle particularly poignant for Turkey, Australia, and New Zealand, Gallipoli is home to dozens of memorials, cemeteries, and museums, in a beautiful, emotional setting.

 

Kavala, Greece

Kavala, Greece

Kavala, Greece: The first thing you’ll notice when you arrive in Kavala is the Byzantine castle built in 1425 that sits like a crown atop the city. The second thing you might notice is just how beautiful the scene before you is. Whitewashed, red-roofed buildings sit nestled amongst high stonewalls, with the azure-blue Aegean Sea lapping on the shore.

Now Kavala may be a little off the beaten path, but locals have long treasured the city’s fantastic beaches—and Ammolofoi Beach is one of the most popular in the area. Fine sand and clear, shallow waters mean there is a straw-thatched umbrella calling your name, perfect for watching the sights, without having to fight the holiday crowds.

If you’re looking for a different kind of sightseeing, walk to the top of the castle or wander the streets of the colorful Panagia old quarter for plenty of shops and to get up close and personal with the massive aqueduct, Kamares (it’s kind of hard to miss!).

 

Thessaloniki, Greece

Thessaloniki, Greece

Thessaloniki, Greece: As the second-biggest city in Greece and the second-most important city of the Byzantine Empire, the word “second” is often used to describe Thessaloniki, but we’re here to tell you: Thessaloniki is anything but second-rate!

The energy in this ancient cultural capital is palpable—especially in the vibrant downtown that was rebuilt in a spectacular Byzantine style after a devastating fire in the early 1900s. And this second chance at urban planning resulted in a city built around Aristotelous Square, which acts as a gateway for the surrounding neighborhoods.

In addition to Thessaloniki’s many Roman, Ottoman, and Sephardic Jewish structures, you’ll find numerous notable Paleochristian and Byzantine monuments. In fact, a staggering 15 of them have been recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

 

Argonauts ship, Volos, Greece

Argonauts ship, Volos, Greece

Volos, Greece: The city where Jason and his Argonauts set sail on a quest for the Golden Fleece, Volos combines the allure of the sea with mystical charms and mythical legends. Not only is it considered one of the country’s prettiest cities, but it’s also believed to be the birthplace of Centaurs.

Follow Argonauts Avenue on the seafront to find a replica of the infamous Argo that has been painstakingly recreated based on historical texts. The many yachts and colorful fishing boats along the way are sure to capture your imagination and fuel daydreams of your own epic journeys.

Volos is famed for its fish tavernas so be sure to try dishes like freshly caught calamari which pairs perfectly with the local anise-flavored spirit tsipouro (not to be confused with ouzo).

 

Rhodes, Greece

Rhodes, Greece

Rhodes, Greece: The island of Rhodes offers a stunning combination of sea, sand, and sights. (How’s that for alliteration?) And with more than 300 days of sunshine per year and over 10,000 years of history, we think you’ll find plenty to tickle your fancy here.

First on your agenda should be the picture-perfect city of Rhodes, one of the best-preserved medieval cities in all of Europe. With its combination of sandstone buildings, cobblestoned Street of the Knights, and charming turreted buildings, it’s no wonder this is such a popular UNESCO World Heritage Site.

And speaking of wonders, next up on your magical history tour is the Rhodes waterfront where once stood the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Although the nearly 100’ statue of the Greek god of sun, Helios, was destroyed in an earthquake around 250 BC, you can imagine what it must have been like to arrive in this harbor thousands of years ago.

 

Amorgos, Greece Beach

Amorgos, Greece Beach

Amorgos, Greece: Rocky cliffs that drop off into impossibly clear water. Tiny churches that hold centuries of stories. Beaches of soft sand and smooth pebbles few travelers have ever set foot on. Each Greek Isle offers its own bit of wonder, but Amorgos? It’s especially captivating.

The easternmost of the Cyclades, Amorgos has been inhabited since ancient times, though in some places, seems as if it hasn’t been since. Minoan tombs and towers dot the countryside, shipwrecks teeter on secluded beaches, and massive monasteries with few residents emerge from rock faces.

But don’t let all that untouched natural beauty fool you. You’ll find whitewashed villages on the island that are the very picture of Greek island life. We dock in the village of Katapola with its beachside tavernas, and the charming town of Chora can’t be missed. It’s a short drive, but if you’re up for an hour-long hike, you’ll be richly rewarded with fresh spring water, the scent of thyme growing along the trail, and the view as you approach Chora that is said to look like a swallow’s nest set in the hillside. In town, bright blue, red, and green shutters, intricate church bell cut-outs, and brilliant bougainvillea abound, while pebbly Anna Beach and the imposing Hozoviotissa Monastery are close by.

 

Traditional Windmills of Paros, Greece

Traditional Windmills of Paros, Greece

Paros, Greece: Charming Paros is part of the Cyclades, perhaps the most popular region in all the Greek isles. Sure, its island counterparts Mykonos and Santorini may be more well known, but Paros has attractions all its distinctly own (not the least of which is fewer crowds).

The very definition of the term “picturesque”, Paros’ town of Parikia welcomes you with its landmark windmill, whitewashed homes with blue painted doors, and gardens of oranges and pomegranates. Meander along the cobblestone streets and soak in the laid-back atmosphere at a harborside taverna.

Paros is one of the oldest wine-making regions in the Mediterranean, so sip on a glass of something refreshing like Retsina, a traditional white wine infused with pine resin.

 

Mykonos, Greece

Mykonos, Greece

Mykonos, Greece: Mykonos looks like a scene straight from a postcard: whiter-than-white houses with brilliant blue shutters, vibrant bougainvillea, and a beautiful blue harbor drenched in warm sunlight. Iconic 16th-century Venetian windmills stand in a row, their paddles spinning in the wind, and the district of Little Venice, which rises like a brightly colored wall coming out of the sea.

But beneath the idyllic scenery, Mykonos is vibrant and cosmopolitan, with a penchant for all-night parties and hedonistic good times. By day, stroll along the maze-like cobblestone streets (originally designed to thwart pirate attacks), exploring artists’ shops and enjoying a glass or two of ouzo.

As soon as the sun goes down, it’s time to let loose. Known as “the Ibiza of Greece”, Mykonos has a serious party scene that’s not for the faint of heart.

 

Journey to Istanbul and Ancient Greece

Inclusions

  • Roundtrip international airfare, transfers and baggage handling
  • 5-night pre-cruise land program in Istanbul
    • Istanbul, Turkey:5-night hotel stay
      • Welcome dinner
      • Full-day city tour
      • Full-day Turkish culture tour
      • Full-day tour to Bursa
      • Full-day city tour with Bosphorus cruise
  • Tour Leader throughout pre-cruise land program and Local Tour Hosts during included tours
  • Most meals while on tour (see itinerary highlights) and all meals while onboard
  • 10-night sailing aboard the Azamara Quest
    • Amenities included during your Azamara cruise:
      • AzAmazing Evenings℠ event
      • Select standard spirits, international beers and wines
      • Gratuities
      • Bottle water, soft drinks, specialty coffees and teas
      • Self-service laundry
      • Shuttle service to and from port communities where available
      • Concierge services for personal guidance and reservations
      • Much more!
      • Special Offer—Ends 10/31: Receive up to $300 Onboard Credit per stateroom. Call for details!

Journey to Istanbul and Ancient Greece

What to Expect

Pacing

Most days during the land portion will include full-day tours. The overall pace is rather quick, as there is much to see in these regions, however there is a healthy mix of both visits to historical sites and time to enjoy the landscape and scenery. Most days include two meals, allowing the third meal to be at your leisure. All hotels will have a restaurant on property where you may dine, then have the rest of the evening to relax. If you wish to go out, your guide is available to make suggestions for nearby dining.

During the cruise you will have a mix of relaxing days at sea and exciting days on land to explore the port cities. You may choose from optional shore excursions, which will allow for cultural immersion, exotic meals and numerous activities.

Physical Activity

The land portion of the trip should be considered active and includes a considerable amount of walking. Enrichment Journeys will do everything in our power to ensure comfort through our third-party providers, including air-conditioned buses and comfortable accommodations where applicable. However, some areas cannot be accessed by coach, so our drivers will get you as close to sites as is legally allowed. Sensible, rubber-soled walking shoes are strongly recommended. Historical sites often do not have elevators, escalators, or ramps due to the age of the building/structure. Steps can be steep and uneven. Wheelchair access at many sites is limited to extremely limited. Based on crowds and traffic, order of visits may be changed. A fold-up wheelchair may be able to be stored on the bus but requires prior arrangements. Guests must be able to transfer from their chair to the transportation.  Guides/drivers are not allowed to lift or push wheelchairs, so guests requiring physical assistance must travel with a companion who can assist. Motorized wheelchairs and scooters cannot be accommodated on this group program. For the cruise portion of the trip, passengers will board and leave the ship up stairways and gangways, and you may have to walk a moderate distance to transfer to train, bus and car stations. Time spent on the road and traveling can be long, so you will need to be prepared for stretches of downtime in between destinations.

Cultural Focus

On this Enrichment Journey you will visit an old Ottoman village, tour opulent palaces, learn about the local production of carpets and pottery,shop at the Grand Bazaar, and hear stories of daily life. You will visit breathtaking natural wonders and visit historical monuments. You will encounter dishes and ingredients typical to the region that you may not have encountered before, and you will be introduced to local artistry of the region. Enrichment Journeys encourages an open mind when in unique situations and meeting people abroad. Sometimes the attractions, beaches, and cities themselves can be crowded, especially while on the cruise.

Unique Factors

While visiting Istanbul, the call to prayer will quickly replace your need to look at your watch. Heard five times a day, this is when the faithful go to pray, and tourists should wait outside. During visits to Mosques, no shorts or sleeveless shirts on either men or women. At the most popular mosques in Istanbul, attendants may provide cloths to wrap around legs or shoulders during your visit if your clothing is too informal. Shoes are also to be removed before entering.If you have special needs or physical limitations, you will need to check in with your personal vacation manager before booking the trip. The temperature can vary between day and night, so pack accordingly with items that can be layered. Some guests may wish to have a light sweater or windbreaker with them.

Transportation

While on tour:

Istanbul to Bursa: 2.5-hour coach transfer

Please note that these times are approximate and only reflect the transportation time. Our trip may be longer due to stops for sightseeing along the way.

International Airfare:

Included international airfare is from select airports only. To inquire about a different airport, please contact your Personal Vacation Manager.

Enrichment Journeys is committed to providing remarkable experiences at extraordinary value. As a result, airlines and routes are selected to maximize that value and may involve multiple stops and extended layovers versus non-stop or direct flights. Passengers wishing to utilize specific carriers, direct/non-stop flights, Business Class upgrades, or to extend their time in any of our beginning or ending destination cities may do so by contacting Enrichment Journeys and inquiring about the Custom Airfare Program. There is a $50 per person charge for this service, however this charge will be applied toward any flights or upgrades you choose to purchase. The $50 charge must be paid prior to receiving a custom air quote.

Journey to Istanbul and Ancient Greece

Special Offer—Ends 10/31: Receive up to $300 Onboard Credit per stateroom. Call for details!

Journey to Istanbul and Ancient Greece

1-night Istanbul Extension (pre-cruise)

Want an extra day to adjust to the new time zone? With this optional extension, you will arrive in Istanbul a day early and have one extra day to relax at the hotel before the tour starts. Note: tours are not included. Price of $185 per person(based on double occupancy) includes:

  • 1-night hotel accommodations in Istanbul with daily breakfast
  • Private transfer from airport to hotel

2-night Athens Extension (post-cruise)

Although everyone on the Enrichment Journey will disembark the Azamara Quest in Athens, the itinerary does not include any time in the city. With this optional extension, you will stay for 2 nights in Athens after your cruise, giving you time to explore the city on your own before flying home. Note: tours are not included. Price of $450 per person (based on double occupancy) includes:

  • 2-night hotel accommodations in Athens with daily breakfast
  • Private transfer from ship to hotel and hotel to airport

Journey to Istanbul and Ancient Greece

Dates & Prices
09/08/2023 Retail Value EJ Price Savings Per Person Single Rates
Obstructed – Oceanview (8) $8,665 $6,499 $2,166 CALL FOR DETAILS
Veranda (V3) $9,199 $6,899 $2,300 CALL FOR DETAILS
Veranda Plus (P3) $9,465 $7,099 $2,366 CALL FOR DETAILS
Suite CALL TODAY TO REQUEST A QUOTE

Prices are in USD and are based on double occupancy.

Interested in the land program without the cruise? Pricing including Airfare is $4,199 per person.

Air Add-Ons
City Add-On City Add-On City Add-On
Atlanta $350 Houston Intercontinental $300 Philadelphia $250
Boston $250 John F. Kennedy $0 Phoenix $400
Denver $400 Los Angeles $400 San Diego $400
Dallas-Ft. Worth $300 Orlando $350 Seattle $400
Newark $150 Miami $300 San Francisco $400
Washington – Dulles $250 Chicago $300 Tampa $350
– Business Class Air Available on Request
– Additional Gateways Available on Request
– Air Add-On Rates are subject to change without notice. While we try to include the most common airports by default, we have many clients coming from different parts of the country. If you desire air from an unlisted airport, you must first reserve your Enrichment Journey with one of the listed airports as your default gateway and then ask, or have your Travel Agent ask, Enrichment Journeys to provide a quote for your preferred gateway.

All prices on our website and e-Journey Travel Guide are subject to change without notice. While we make every effort to provide you the most accurate and up-to-date information, occasionally, a trip or pricing category may be misprinted or unavailable at the time of booking. In the event of an incorrect price due to typographical, photographic, or technical error, or error in pricing information received from our suppliers, we retain the right to correct the price and to refuse or cancel any bookings placed at the incorrect price. In addition, all offers, prices, and conditions of sale may be subject to change without notice including tours, included features, highlights, minimum or maximum stays, itinerary, times in port, and/or other conditions/restrictions.

Journey to Istanbul and Ancient Greece

The following hotel list is preliminary and subject to change. Although we contract for hotels a year or more in advance, unforeseen circumstances do occasionally require a change of hotel. Should it be necessary to change a hotel, one of equal quality or value will be substituted and you will receive confirmed hotel information with your final itinerary.

Accommodations
Barcelo Istanbul

Kocatepe Mah Abdulhak Hamit Cad No 25 Beyoglu . 34437 Istanbul Turkey

Telephone: +90 212 377 45 45

The hotel Barceló Istanbul is completely renovated, and is located in the heart of the city, next to one of the most elegant districts in Istanbul, in the emblematic Taksim Square. Surrounded by a wide variety of restaurants, shops and businesses, its location allows guests to be absorbed by the vibrant streets of the country’s historical, cultural and financial capital.

Azamara Quest

Cruise Line: Azamara

Azamara Club Cruises provides guests with unparalleled service: the finest dining at sea, a glorious spa and wellness experience, and innovations such as Destination Immersion®, making it one of the world’s top up-market cruise lines. With the hallmark of longer stays, more overnights and night touring, Azamara will not only take you to awe-inspiring destinations but also give you more time to fall in love with them.

Amenities Included

  • AzAmazing Evenings℠ event
  • Select standard spirits, international beers and wines
  • Gratuities
  • Bottled water, soft drinks, specialty coffees and teas
  • Self-service laundry
  • Shuttle service to and from port communities where available
  • Concierge services for personal guidance and reservations

Ship: Azamara Quest

Like her sister ships, the sturdy Azamara Quest is a mid-sized beauty with a deck plan well-suited to the needs of modern voyagers. You’ll never feel crowded in the comfortable social spaces of our bars, restaurants, lounges, casinos and Cabaret. Nor will you feel like a sardine jammed in around the pool, where the attentive staff is always ready to offer complimentary bottled water, soft drink or fresh towel. Staterooms feature modern amenities, furnishings, and European linens. And one of the greatest features of this ship is the high percentage of staterooms with Verandas. There’s nothing better than opening your door to the fresh sea air and views. Azamara’s friendly ships are an altogether wonderful place to call your home away from home!

Journey to Istanbul and Ancient Greece

Before You Go

Money Matters

How you handle your currency and financials while on the trip is up to you. Some people prefer to exchange all their money in advance, while others will rely solely on credit cards. Consider calling your bank ahead of time to make them aware of your international travel, especially when using cards or withdrawing money.

ATM Machines

These are often readily available, especially in major cities. Some will charge fees on top of what your hometown bank may charge for using ATMs abroad. Look for well-marked machines that have the Visa or MasterCard symbols.

Foreign Banks

Currency can be exchanged at most banks, if needed. Ask a local host or tour manager if there is a nearby bank that is open.

Credit Cards

During your trip, you’ll find that most major credit cards are accepted. Call your specific card issuer ahead of time to find out its limitations and benefits overseas.

Incidentals

Do be aware that some additional charges for mini-bars, laundry and room service will not be included in the tour package. Plan accordingly for these extra charges.

Packing Guidelines

Pack as simply as possible for easy transfers and customs screenings. Check with your domestic and international carriers regarding baggage guidelines, allowances, and check for additional fees. All bags will be screened before boarding flights and the cruise ship.

What to pack

Basics and layers are key to a comfortable Journey. Be sure to check the weather in the destinations you will visit, and pack accordingly. There are always unpredictable variables as well, so make sure you have one sturdy jacket and an outfit for a formal occasion too, just in case.

Here are a few key items to take on your trip:

  • Raincoat/poncho
  • Hooded jacket/fleece pullover
  • Pants with pockets
  • Skirt with pockets
  • Hat with visor & sunscreen/bug spray
  • Warm socks
  • Sturdy sandals
  • Practical shoes for walking/easy hiking
  • Extra pair of prescription sunglasses and/or glasses (if needed)
  • Camera(s)

Have back-ups for everything to avoid disappointment. Charge batteries in advance and bring extra film or digital memory cards. If bringing a high-end camera, consider investing in insurance to protect your asset.

Luggage Screening Process

To pass through screening, have liquids either in small containers and bagged, or in checked luggage. All valuables necessary for the trip should be on your person at all times, if possible. This includes medications and documentation. We recommend one main bag and a carry-on, per airline guidelines for weight and size.

Labeling

Have all your bags labeled with your name and address clearly marked. Add something to you luggage that is recognizable in the event your bags are misplaced. You may also consider marking your bags with “Enrichment Journeys” for efficiency.

Carry-on items

In many countries, including the US, large liquid containers are not allowed in carry-ons. On the way back into The States, food or agriculture items are prohibited. If you have questions about a certain item, visit www.tsa.gov for a list of items that cannot be packed.

Airport transfers

Airport transfers are included as part of your Enrichment Journey. Local representatives will advise you of the departure time from your hotel the night before departure. Generally speaking, arrangements have been made to have you at the airport approximately three hours in advance of departure, though this may vary depending on local circumstances. At the end of the cruise, an airport transfer will also be provided. Please advise your Personal Vacation Manager if you do not require transfer arrangements at the time of booking your Journey.

Cell phones

Some cell phones will work overseas, but incur additional charges for the use. Choose whether you would like to add an international plan by calling your carrier, or consider purchasing a pay-as-you-go phone overseas. However, in some destinations, many smartphones and tablets can pick up wireless Internet for free.

Protecting the Value of Your Travel Investment

Enrichment Journeys offers a comprehensive travel insurance package you can purchase alongside your trip. It eases the mind and lets you cancel your trip for a covered reason up until the departure date with a full refund of the Journey.

The insurance covers a wide variety of incidents, including travel delay, emergency medical services, and even baggage delay. You will also receive a pre-existing medical conditions waiver if travel insurance is purchased within 14 days of your initial deposit. For a full list of coverage provided, visit the FAQ section of the website.

Medical Issues and Handicaps

As with any extensive trip abroad, our excursions with Enrichment Journeys will require some physical capabilities, including transfers from cruise ships, walking on cobblestone streets and navigating through some busy cities with guides. Although we encourage all types of travelers to join us, we do ask you are aware of your own physical limitations. Unfortunately, we cannot provide individual care to those who may have walkers, wheelchairs or other aids. Enrichment Journeys also cannot accommodate pregnant women past their six month gestation period. Please speak with one of our Personal Vacation Managers to see if certain itineraries are suitable for you and your needs. We are happy to suggest other viable options for you that are more accessible.

Per the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, travelers have the right to be reasonably accommodated in terms of tours in public situations. However, the laws do not apply for trips and outside the United States. So you must let Enrichment Journeys know ahead of time of any physical limitations, including information added to our questionnaire that needs to be filled out by all passengers. Failure to inform Enrichment Journeys of these limitations could result in refusal to participate, whether it be at the airport through the airline, on board the ship or at the accommodations booked.

If you have any sort of prescription medication, this should be a number one priority in packing. Bring extra, just in case. A small medical kit is also advisable for quick access to remedy minor aches and pains.

Briefing sessions

A local host or tour manager will be happy to guide you through the trip and answer all of your questions. Upon arrival to your destination, an Enrichment Journeys representative will meet with the group and go over items such as the daily schedule, weather and local customs.

Hotels

All hotels booked by Enrichment Journeys are held to a high standard of comfort and quality, in accordance to international accommodation standards and rating systems. However, each accommodation varies so you may experience various types of properties throughout your excursions.

Journey to Istanbul and Ancient Greece

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Journey to Istanbul and Ancient Greece

Regional Information

Travel documentation

Have your passport and visas ready and available at all checkpoints. Scan and copy these documents to print out. It is recommended that you e-mail a copy to yourself and someone back home in the event these documents are misplaced. Also, it may be worth bringing an international ID or license.

Passport and Visa

To travel internationally, you must have a passport in good condition, and it must be valid for at least 6 months after the last day of your trip. Visa requirements change frequently and for various reasons. As a result, our Personal Vacation Managers are not always able to provide visa information, and you should not rely on the information provided below to be the most current and accurate. The best way to obtain up-to-date information regarding visa requirements is to visit the official US government website for Americans traveling abroad, Travel.State.Gov, (Canadian citizens should visit https://travel.gc.ca/, for all other countries please visit your government website or local embassy), which details specific information on the countries you would like to visit, including visa requirements.

You may also use a third-party visa service, such as CIBTvisas. These services require an additional service fee but make the process of applying for a visa much simpler.

Note: as of August 2022, U.S. and Canadian passport holders traveling to Europe’s Schengen Zone may have to obtain an electronic travel authorization (ETIAS) for travel in 2023. US citizens will have to apply for an ETIAS prior to their travel towards Europe, in order to be allowed to enter the territory. More information can be found at https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/etias/

Vaccinations

Vaccinations are recommended to protect one’s health from preventable diseases abroad. It is always good to have routine vaccinations up to date when traveling for ailments such as chickenpox, measles, and the flu shot. Use your own discretion when deciding on what vaccinations to have based on your preferences and personal medical history. During your Enrichment Journeys tour, the utmost care will be taken with prepared food, atmosphere and other elements, so the likelihood of contracting diseases is scarce.

For a list of recommended vaccinations based on destination, visit https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel or feel free to contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention directly at 1-800-232-4636.

Electric Current

You will need an adaptor for some parts of your trip. To see what the plugs will look like at your destination, visit https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/ and click on each country from the right menu.

You may also need to use a converter. Most countries outside of North and Central America use 220-240 V, whereas the U.S. and Canada use 110 V. However, most chargers these days have a box that will act as a converter so that it can be used in all countries around the world. If your charger box says “Input: 100–240V, 50/60 Hz” then you do NOT need to use a converter (but you may still need an adaptor so that the plugs fit in the socket).

Some hotels may have two and three-pronged outlets to use for various appliances. Ship cabins also have outlets for you to use with their converter. However, we recommend having at least one or two adaptors with you, as we cannot guarantee that all hotels will be able to accommodate this.

Local Currency

Greece uses the Euro (€), currency code EUR

Turkey uses the Turkish lira (₺), currency code TRY

Please visit https://www.oanda.com/currency/converter/  for the current exchange rate.

How you handle your currency and financials while on the trip is up to you. Some people prefer to exchange all their money in advance, while others will rely solely on credit cards. We suggest having at least some local currency with you during the trip, at least enough to take a taxi if needed. Consider calling your bank ahead of time to make them aware of your international travel, especially when using cards or withdrawing money.

Tipping Guidelines

Tipping is always appreciated but not always required. Expect several instances throughout the hospitality industry that allow for tipping. Have small bills ready for hotel staff, boat crew, restaurant servers, drivers, guides, and baggage handlers. If you have a meal outside the itinerary or hire a resident driver, a few dollars in the local currency is customary.

Gratuities are included for group meals, at hotels, and at airports. The host, guide, or tour manager can be tipped roughly $8.00-$12.00 USD per person, per day. Drivers can be tipped $5 USD per person, per day. Onboard the ship, gratuities are already included when sailing with Azamara Cruises.

For more information about when and how much to tip in each country, feel free to speak with your tour guide at the start of your Journey. A good reference for international tipping is https://www.cntraveler.com/stories/2008-11-11/etiquette-101-tipping-guide.

Time Differences

Please be aware that you may be crossing through several time zones throughout your Journey. To view a time zone map, visit https://m.worldtimezone.com/m-index12.php.

Climate

With the tour covering various regions, you will most likely come in contact with warm and/or cool weather, occasional rain, wind and/or damp environments. Check the weather online before departing for an up-to-date look at the conditions in major destinations.

Many countries outside of North America use Celsius. Here is a °C to °F quick reference guide:
-5° C = 23° F    5° C = 41° F    15° C = 59° F   25° C = 77° F   35° C = 95°
0° C = 32° F   10° C = 50° F   20° C = 68° F   30° C = 86° F   40° C = 104°

High/Low Temperatures in Fahrenheit:

JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Athens 53/44 54/44 57/47 64/52 71/59 80/67 82/71 82/71 77/66 70/60 62/53 56/47
Istanbul 48/37 49/38 54/41 62/47 71/56 80/64 85/69 84/69 77/62 68/55 59/47 51/41

Practice the Local Language

Knowing a few phrases in the local vernacular can be a wonderful way to connect with people and feel immersed in the culture. Here are some keywords and phrases:

Turkey: Turkish

  • Merhaba: Hello
  • Evet: Yes
  • Hayir: No
  • Teşekkürederim: Thank you
  • Özürdilerim: Excuse me

Visit https://www.17-minute-world-languages.com/en/turkish/ for more phrases with sound.

Greece: Greek

  • Γεια σας (YAHsahss): Hello
  • Τικάνετε (Tee KAH-neh-teh?): How are you?
  • Μάλιστα (MAH-li-sta): Yes
  • Όχι (OH-hee): No
  • Χάρηκα (HA-ree-ka): Nice to meet you
  • Παρακαλώ (Pah-rah-kah-LOH): Please
  • Ευχαριστώ (Ef-hah-rees-TOH): Thank you
  • Συγγνώμη (See-GHNO-mee): Excuse me
  • Βοήθεια! (Voh-EE-thee-yah!): Help!
  • Θέλω να πάωστην παραλία (Thelo-na pow-stiparalia): I want to go to the beach.

Visit https://www.17-minute-world-languages.com/en/greek/ for more phrases with sound.

Fun Facts

Check out these interesting facts about the destinations you will visit on your Journey.

Turkey

  • Turkey is one of the world’s largest hazelnut exporters.
  • Tulips were introduced to Europe by traders (especially Dutch traders) from Turkey in the 16th The word “tulip” comes from the Turkish word for turban, tulbent.
  • Turkey is slightly larger than the state of Texas.
  • The ancient city of Troy is located in modern-day Turkey, now calledÇanakkale (a port of call on your cruise).

Greece

  • There are 10.7 million people in Greece, with its capital city of Athens hosting roughly three million residents.
  • Athens was the capital of Ancient Greece and the birthplace of democracy.
  • About 80% of Greece is mountainous and 50% is covered by forests.
  • There are about 3000 islands, only a few hundred of which are inhabited.
  • Ancient Greece is said to have laid the foundation for Western civilization, having a large influence on the Roman Empire and European culture.
  • Many Greek structures such as doors, windowsills, furniture, and church domes are painted a turquoise blue, especially in the Cyclades Islands. It is used because of an ancient belief that this shade of blue keeps evil away.

Recommended Reading List

Vacation should be easy, peaceful and, most of all, completely stress-free. Let us handle the details, so you can sit back, relax and curl up with a good book as you count down the days to your next Journey! We’ve compiled the following list of books and movies to introduce you to the destinations you are about to visit.

Books

  • Greece: Iliad by Homer
  • Greece: The Summer of My Greek Taverna: A Memoir by Tom Stone
  • Turkey: Istanbul: The Imperial City by John Freely
  • Turkey: Istanbul: City of Majesty at the Crossroads of the World by Thomas F. Madden
  • Turkey: My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk

Travel Guides

Films

  • Greece: Mamma Mia! (2008)
  • Greece: 300 (2006)
  • Greece: Troy (2004)
  • Turkey: From Russia with Love (1963)
  • Turkey: A Touch of Spice (2003)
  • Turkey: Topkapi (1964)
  • Turkey: The Accidental Spy (2001)
  • Turkey: Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul (2005)

Journey to Istanbul and Ancient Greece

eJourney Guide

Receive your personalized eJourney Guide today!
Simply fill out the form below and your eJourney Guide will be on its way via email.
Your easy-to-read, printable PDF-formatted eJourney Guide makes it convenient to review and plan your next world-class Journey with us!

It contains a wealth of valuable travel information including:
  • Detailed Destination Information
  • Day-by-Day Itinerary
  • Preparing for Your Trip
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Local Cultural Information
  • Recommended Readings
  • And so much more!
Don’t delay! Your Journey’s availability may be limited.

As always, our friendly and dependable Personal Vacation Managers are committed to assisting you every step of the way.

Feel free to call us at:
888-546-8617

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