Europe - Eastern Mediterranean cruise ports

Mykonos, Greece, photo">

The narrow passageways of Mykonos are a twisted maze of whitewashed houses, miniature churches, lazy windmills, and tiny cafes serving up Greek specialties. Sample the freshest squid or lobster just snatched from the blue Aegean Sea, or shop for typical flokati rugs.

Cruises to Mykonos, Greece
Santorini, Greece, photo">

With its steep volcanic flanks looming straight up from the sea, and the tiny white village of Thira clinging high atop the cliffs, Santorini is perhaps the most breathtaking and legendary of all the Greek Isles. To the south is Akrotiri, where recent Minoan excavations support the theories that Santorini might be the fabled lost continent of Atlantis.

Cruises to Santorini, Greece
Dubrovnik, Croatia, photo">

Dubrovnik, a Croatian port, is considered the most beautiful city on the Dalmatian coast. Dubrovnik sits high on a cliff overlooking the sea, and is nestled in the shadow of Mount Srdj. The walls of the city are one of its landmarks, and many structures from the medieval era remain standing, despite the many battles fought in Dubrovnik throughout history.

Cruises to Dubrovnik, Croatia
Kotor, Montenegro, photo">

This natural harbor on the Adriatic coast of Montenegro was an important artistic and commercial center with famous masonry and iconography schools in the Middle Ages. A large number of its monuments, among which four Romanesque churches and the town walls, were heavily damaged by an earthquake in 1979 but the town is now completely restored.

Cruises to Kotor, Montenegro
Corfu, Greece, photo">

Though once ruled by Venetian doges, Turkish sultans and French invaders, today's Corfiot citizen is as Greek as they come. Marvel at the 17th-century icons in St. George's Church, the medieval Palace of Phrourio or the 19th-century Achilleion Palace. The greenest of the Greek Isles, Corfu also boasts thriving vineyards and olive orchards among its rugged mountains.

Cruises to Corfu, Greece
Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey, photo">

This charming, picturesque resort where Antony and Cleopatra used to vacation is best known as the port for the ancients ruins of Ephesus - one of the world's most wondrous archaeological sites. Explorations should include such masterpieces as the Great Amphitheatre, where St. Paul addressed the Ephesians, the Library of Celsus, and the temples of Athena and Apollo - all connected by marble streets rutted by the wheels of countless chariots.

Cruises to Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey
Katakolon (Olympia), Greece, photo">

Katakolon is your gateway to Olympia, where the ancient Greeks flocked every four years for more than a millennium to celebrate the sacred games dedicated to Zeus. Visit the ruins of the Sanctuary, with its athletic quadrangles, stadium-temples and treasuries; then browse in the modern Archaeological Museum, a treasure house of Archaic, Classical and Roman sculptures, including the famous Niki "Winged Victory."

Cruises to Katakolon (Olympia), Greece
Rhodes, Greece, photo">

Legend has it that Apollo blessed this isle with sunshine and beauty. True to the myths, the "Island of Roses" is rich in magnificent scenery and umbrella-lined beaches. Take an excursion to Lindos, where high on a hill rises an ancient acropolis dedicated to the goddess Athena. You will also want to see the medieval Old Town, once home to the Crusading Knights of St. John, and tour the Grand Master's Palace, an Italian restoration famed for its superb mosaic floors.

Cruises to Rhodes, Greece
Istanbul, Turkey, photo">

Once called Constantinople, the former capital of the Byzantine Empire is the only city in the world to straddle two continents: Europe and Asia. This is the Golden Horn, the door between East and West, and your first vision of its domes and minarets is unforgetable. Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and Sultan treasures in Topkapi Palace await - as does the Grand Bazaar, laden with carpets, beaten brass and spices from afar.

Cruises to Istanbul, Turkey