Ukraine Cruises

Cruising in Ukraine

Despite its political problems and the current alert by the UK government against travelling to eastern Ukraine and the Crimea, this is still a country that rewards the visitor many times over. Colourful and rich in tradition, with a beautiful Black Sea coast that enjoys a warm climate similar to the south of France, it offers a friendly welcome and much to see and do for the cruise ship passenger, whether disembarking at the port of Odessa on the west coast or Yalta at the southern tip of the Crimean peninsular.

Odessa is Ukraine’s largest sea port, an elegant city with an architectural style ranging between the classical and Baroque to Art Nouveau, with a smattering of onion domes and modernism. The general impression is of an elegant, cultured, pastel coloured city, where you can spend a day touring the sights, the shops, the pavement cafés and leafy parks, or enjoy its beaches that offer all you would expect of one of the country’s popular seaside resorts. One of the city’s most visited attractions is the famous Potemkin Steps, leading from the port up to Primorsky Boulevard, which is a good starting point for a city tour, taking in the various palaces, the Opera House, Uspensky Cathedral and the Pushkin Museum.

Arriving in Yalta, you will immediately be struck by the beauty of its setting: a lovely white city built around the curve of its bay, encircled by craggy, forested mountains, and which climbs up into the trees, fields and vineyards of the lower slopes. Right next to the cruise terminal, the mile-long promenade offers an interesting range of shops, cafés and restaurants, where you can easily spend a pleasant and leisurely morning before exploring farther from the sea. It can be a steep climb up to the centre of the city, which is easily accessible by bus or taxi from the port. Yalta was a playground for Russia’s aristocracy since the late 18th century, and here you’ll find a fascinating mix of palaces and villas and elegant shopping streets.

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