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Cruising EastSeptember 1, 2008 By: Susan Young Home-Based Travel Agent
Eastern Europe becomes a hot cruising destination
If you've already cruised in Europe and want something new, consider Eastern Europe. Three unique types of cruises in this region—stretching from the former Soviet bloc countries east to the Urals—offer multiple itinerary options:
In northern Europe, Baltic cruises call at Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Russia.
- 2. In southern Europe, eastern Mediterranean or Black Sea cruises feature ports in Bulgaria, Romania, Russia and Ukraine.
- 3. River cruises sail to ports where you may explore destinations in Romania, Bulgaria and beyond. Another popular river itinerary operates between Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Tallinn, Estonia: Tallinn's walled medieval city is a sightseeing gem. Its cobblestoned streets are lined with historic buildings and churches, majestic turrets and the city's signature doors with magnificent decorations.
St. Petersburg: This "Venice of the North" was capital of the Russian Empire for more than 200 years. It's Russia's second-largest city after Moscow and a must for any robust Baltic itinerary. Cruisers typically choose a city tour, perhaps a visit to the Peter and Paul Fortress or a tour of the Hermitage Museum.
Moscow: Explore Moscow on a river cruise or on an ocean cruise that stays for one or more nights at St. Petersburg. Seeing Red Square is a once-in-a-lifetime trip, and you also will admire St. Basil's Cathedral, the Kremlin Armory Museum and Gorky Park.
Budapest: Referred to as the "Paris of the East" at times, this capital city of Hungary is famed for its historic baths and Castle Hill. There are 200 caves under the city with four open for touring. At the Aquincum Museum, you may view 1,900-year-old Roman ruins, including an amphitheater.
Constanta, Romania: The oldest city in Romania, Constanta boasts a Genoese Lighthouse; superb Roman mosaics from the 4th century A.D.; a historic, nouveau-style casino with sea views; the St. Peter & Paul Orthodox Cathedral; and the Great Mahmudiye Mosque.
Yalta, Ukraine: This Black Sea area is famed for its mild climate; Crimean War historical sites; the 19th-century Vorontsov's Palace situated in an 100-acre park; and Livadia Palace, a former palace of the czars where Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin met in the 1945 Yalta Conference.