Circumnavigation of the Black Sea

October 4, 2016
15 Days
Aboard the Island Sky
100 Guests
From $12,980
Circumnavigation of the Black Sea

Expedition Highlights

  • Archaeological sites, including a cliffside monastery in Turkey and the fabled site of Histria in Romania.
  • Turkey tour, including Istanbul’s historic Sultanahmet District, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as the 17th-century Blue Mosque.
  • Sochi, Russia, a mineral-spring resort community with a subtropical climate and site of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
  • The largest Roman ruins in Bulgaria, the 2nd-century Roman thermae, or public baths.
  • Accommodations aboard our small ship allow us to visit remote ports and hidden gems during our Black Sea tour.

The staff was outstanding—planning, explaining, participating, everything worked out with good humor and flexibility. The excursions provided a variety of experiences; the overall expedition was fun and we learned a lot!

Harold & Sarah N.

Expedition Team

Island Sky

Built in 1992 and recently refurbished, the Island Sky is a comfortable and contemporary expedition vessel. Public spaces include a large lounge, elegant bar with piano, library stocked with fiction and reference books along with a selection of games, and a single-seating dining room. Outside decks feature a bar, spa pool, and a sun deck where meals are served in pleasant weather. All suites feature ocean views, a sitting area, en suite bathroom, large wardrobes, small refrigerator, and television.

Additional Exploration

Pre-voyage extension:
Cappadocia & Istanbul
September 27October 5, 2016
From $4,980

Turkey’s Cappadocia region is a land of striking volcanic terrain marked by thousands of pyramid-shaped rock spires. Throughout the centuries, Cappadocia’s inhabitants have carved their homes and churches in these columns and in caves, creating tunnels and chambers in the rock. This pre-voyage extension highlights the region’s cultural treasures, beautiful vistas, and fascinating history. You will also enjoy additional time to explore Istanbul, Turkey’s magnificent cultural, political, and commercial center.

Gear Up!

  • Alpine Softshell Jacket
Adze Alpine Softshell Jacket

Designed to withstand the ups and downs of the mercury throughout your Black Sea exploration—from a windy cliffside monastery in Turkey to the mineral-spring resort of Sochi, Russia—this moisture-wicking, stretchy-for-comfort, wind-resistant jacket just may be your most-worn piece of travel clothing.

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Beyond the Destination

  • Khinkali and wine

    The Supra - A Georgian Feast of Tradition and Taste

    June 2, 2015

    While sampling the local cuisine is an integral part of any travel experience, you’ll find that partaking in a traditional Georgian supra is much more than time set aside to simply eat.

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    Caviar and vodka

    On Location: Happy Hour on the Black Sea

    April 25, 2015

    Circumnavigation of the Black Sea, 2012

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    Pygmy cormorants

    On Location: Our Black Sea Finale

    April 25, 2015

    Circumnavigation of the Black Sea, 2009

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  • Circumnavigation of the Black Sea

    Circumnavigation of the Black Sea 2014 Field Report

    November 15, 2014

    Saturday, September 20, 2014 - Istanbul, Turkey: Converging in Istanbul, our flights touched down at the busy Ataturk International Airport from many different parts of the world. Seven different nationalities were brought together for the start of our odyssey around the Black Sea, and a happy buzz filled the opulent Pera Palace Hotel.

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    Circumnavigation of the Black Sea

    Circumnavigation of the Black Sea 2013 Field Report

    November 1, 2013

    Thursday & Friday, September 5 & 6, 2013 - Istanbul, Turkey / Embark Island Sky: Welcome to Istanbul! On arrival at the historic Pera Palace Hotel, some of us opted to unwind in the luxury of this newly renovated landmark. Others chose to relax at a nearby hamman, the ultimate Turkish bath experience, or to set out to explore the city.

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    Sumela fresco, Turkey

    Welcome Home to our Black Sea Explorers!

    October 15, 2012

    Kevin Clement was so inspired by his time circumnavigating the Black Sea, he put pen to paper and crafted a poem to remember.


    The Discharge of the Trite Brigade

    The verse that started it all (my contest entry):

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  • European robin

    On Location: The Black Sea

    October 7, 2011

    A palette of white darkening to slate-grey painted the storm clouds around the ship as we steamed in the direction of Yalta, Ukraine. As it turned out, we weren’t the only ones caught out in the driving rain and wind on this particular day in the Black Sea. Some migrant land birds, on their way to wintering grounds far to the south, had found themselves in a bit of a predicament. 

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    Cappadocia, Turkey

    Distinctive Turkey

    January 19, 2010

    Zegrahm's Turkey tour partner was born in the Caucasus Mountains. Having covered every mile of his beloved homeland, Yasar Karadag has educated travelers for over 20 years on its cultural, archaeological, and natural splendors.

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    Istanbul, Turkey

    On Location: Our Black Sea Symphony

    October 20, 2009

    Circumnavigation of the Black Sea, 2009

    When we embark on a voyage, we are most often thrilled with the wonderful visuals and intense learning experiences which a new destination affords. Zegrahm's Black Sea voyage has certainly provided all of these things but is also, almost magically, set to music.

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  • Amasya, Turkey

    On Location: Circumnavigating the Black Sea

    September 24, 2009

    On the Black Sea, history lies in many layers. Jason and the Argonauts rowed these waters searching for the Golden Fleece. Mark Twain explored this sea in the 1800's on the ship, Quaker City, perhaps the first voyage of its kind. We travel though this sea experiencing history, past and present, first-hand.

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    A Trip Down Memory Lane - Traveler Tales from Turkey and Beyond

    September 20, 2009

    In 1960-61 we both seperately joined the Foreign Service/USAID and our first assignments were to Ankara, Turkey. In the spring of 1961 we became acquainted on a trip to Goreme/Cappadocia. As kismet would have it we fell in love and were married in Ankara in 5/62 and our two children were born there.

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    Opera House, Odessa

    On Location: Renovated Odessa Opera House Enchants Ukraine Visitors

    October 3, 2008

    I just returned home after leading two fantastic Circumnavigation of the Black Sea voyages! The Black Sea explorations are ever-changing and each year it seems there are new opportunities. On these recent voyages, for the first time, we were able to visit the famous Odessa Opera House.

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