The Isles of Greece: Istanbul

Voyages to Antiquity on the Aegean Odyssey

When I was invited to host the Voyages to Antiquity cruise The Isles of Greece from Istanbul to Athens with 36 other Canadian passengers, I was delighted and invited my sister Brenda to be my companion. One of the joys of cruising is waking up every morning in a different port. This particular excursion was dedicated to amazing ancient sites, and that made every day an even richer adventure.  We shared many experiences, common interests and lots of laughs with other Zoomers. I kept a diary each night to capture the experience and share with like-minded travelers who never stop being curious about the history and culture of our world. Join me as we begin in Istanbul.


After a seamless flight with Alitalia and a connection in Rome, we land in the cosmopolitan city of Istanbul, where we are whisked to the Grand Hyatt, our home for two nights before we board the Aegean Odyssey.

My sister Brenda and I have already met some of our Canadian cruise companions on the flight. Like us, Marilyn, Elizabeth and Fay are sisters, travelling with their friend Jan.  Elizabeth and Gigi, friends since their days as professors, are also on our flight as well as Ted and Gabriele from Mississauga. We’re all sharing our anticipation for the itinerary ahead of us.

As we drive through the city along the sparkling Bosphorus, I am astonished at the masses of jewel-toned tulips in bloom. Then I remember: those Dutch tulips we all love originally came from Turkey. Having left Canada on April 14th, I know our tulips will be another month making their splashy arrival.

Check-in at the Grand Hyatt is swift and painless, a soothing boon to our jet lag, and the Voyages to Antiquity hospitality desk has already given us tour options for our sojourn in Istanbul. After a fabulous dinner in the hotel dining room of typical Turkish food featuring lentil soup and lamb kebabs, we crawl into bed for a delicious sleep.

Bonnie Baker Cowan travelled on a Voyages to Antiquity cruise called The Isles Of Greece hosted by Exclusive Tours. Read all about her adventures on board the Aegean Odyssey, a modern, slimmed-down cruise ship (only 350 passengers) making its way from Istanbul to Athens by way of Lemnos, Skiathos, Izmir, Delos, Mykonos, Santorini, Crete, Nauplia, and Piraeus.

Live your own adventure. Cruise to Classical Civilizations on a Voyages to Antiquity cruise and discover the art, history and cultures of the ancient world.
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