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Goldring Travel’s 2020 Culinary & Cultural Cruise (Reboot)

Goldring Travel’s Culinary & Cultural Cruise is always something special and this year’s original version sailing through Greece and Turkey, with special events in Santorini, Greece and Istanbul, Turkey was cancelled by the cruise line due to a delay in the ship’s refitting. But when one door closes another opens and, thus, Goldring Travel is pleased to announce the “reboot” of the previously sold-out Goldring Travel 2020 Culinary & Cultural Cruise now sailing on October 4, 2020 for a ten day cruise from Athens, Greece to Istanbul, Turkey on the brand new Regent Seven Seas Splendor.

Due to the unique circumstances caused by COVID-19, let me get some of the burning issues out of the way and which Regent Seven Seas Cruises has agreed to:

  • Deposits are only 50% of what is normally required
  • Final Payment is not due until August 4, 2020; only 60 days prior to departure
  • You are covered by Regent Reassurance if you book by July 31, 2020 so you may cancel your paid in full booking for any reason up to 15 days prior to departure date
  • If you have Regent Seven Seas Future Cruise Credits they may be applied to this sailing
  • You may book this cruise with Regent’s “included” Business Class air or take an air credit; thus eliminating the hassle of separate air, if you like.
  • Regent offers over 52 included shore excursions during this voyage plus upgraded tours
  • All bookings will receive a $1,000 per suite Shipboard Credit
  • All Goldring Travel Special Events are complimentary!
  • If Regent Seven Seas cancels this sailing you will be entitled to choose between a 100% cash refund or a 125% Future Cruise Credit.

OK, with that out of the way, let’s talk about this Culinary & Cultural Cruise! The itinerary remains a wonderful exploration of Greece and Turkey:

Oct 06TueMYKONOS, GREECE8:00 AM6:00 PM
Oct 07WedGYTHION, GREECE 8:00 AM6:00 PM
Oct 11SunRHODES, GREECE8:00 AM6:00 PM

The Regent Seven Seas Splendor is literally the newest luxury cruise ship in the world. Not only does it offer a number of dining venues it has its own Culinary Arts Kitchen, so if you want to further indulge in the “foodie experience” you most certainly will have that opportunity. Here is a video about the ship (about halfway through you can really see the ship):

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmyxS39VZzA&w=560&h=315]

Goldring Travel has arranged two very special Culinary & Cultural Special Events in Santori and Istanbul:

One Experience will be in Istanbul, Turkey and it will have something (a lot actually) for everyone.  Because Istanbul is so large and so diverse, I have made this a full day event…and I mean “a full day”. 

  • We will be picked up at the pier early in the morning by a private yacht accompanied by two guides (cultural and culinary) for a two hour tour (not a Gilligan Island type, of course!) including a delicious traditional Turkish breakfast (with Turkish tea and coffee) as we cruise the Bosporus viewing many historical sites and learning a bit about Turkey’s history and cultures. This will allow you to see many parts of Istanbul normally not seen in a single day. The yacht has beautiful exterior and interior seating, bathroom and plenty of room to both relax and take in the extraordinary views.
Goldring Travel’s Yacht Cruise on the Bosporus in Istanbul, Turkey
  • We will then return to the pier and be picked up in a minibus to visit (with Fast Track – so no lines) the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Yerebtan Sarayi (the underground cisterns…and one of my favorite places in Istanbul).  Even if you have been to these sites before, it has been years, the restoration of Hagia Sophia is well along and these sites are well worth revisiting.
  • Next up is lunch at a wonderful Istanbul restaurant frequented by locals. Here we will not only have a full Goldring Travel culinary experience, but we will enjoy the traditional Turkish raki and Turkish wines.  This will also give you a chance to rest up a bit.
  • After lunch we will head to the Grand Bazaar.  
  • For those of you who want a full shopping experience you will have about 2.5 hours to bargain for rugs, leather, antiques, watches (real or real fakes), etc.
  • For those who wish to experience a Turkish hamam (Turkish Bath) with a complete scrubbing and bubble wash, we will depart the Bazaar after an hour and head to the hamam.
  • Our two groups will then join back together and experience a Sema Ceremony at the Hocapasa Cultural Centre. This is what you may know as the “Whirling Dervishes”, but the spiritual experience is far more than that.  This will last about an hour.
  • We will return to the ship by 8:00 p.m. so you will have time to change and enjoy your dinner and evening onboard the Seven Seas Splendor…or head out to a night on the town! (Packing might also be a good option as it is the last night onboard!)

Note: I would suggest you spend at least two extra days in Istanbul as there is so much more to see and do, including possible visits (on your own) to Topkapi Palace, the Spice Bazaar, the Galata Tower, Taksim Square, the Flower Passage or, possibly, some of the areas such as Ortakoy that we will have cruised by the day before.

The other Goldring Travel Special Event is in Santorini!  I have arranged for a very interesting tour of a good portion of the island…by way of visits to five (5) different unique wineries along with a traditional Greek luncheon with an expert sommelier and guide. During the course of our journey we will be tasting 20 different wines paired with appropriate cheeses and local fare, as well as water. To get you a little familiar here is an article from eRobertParker.com from a few years ago referencing one of the wineries we will visit.

We will arrive in Santorini at 8:00 AM and take a tender to the Cable Car up to the town of Fira. There you will have about an hour to wander (or you can stay on the ship a bit longer) before we meet our sommelier and guide for our journey inland and south to the most prolific wine growing region of Santorini. The wineries have been selected due to their uniqueness rather than necessarily their notoriety as they range from cool caverns to spectacular views to one that combines an art gallery in a modern setting.  Our luncheon will be at one of the oldest vineyards on Santorini which has grown over the years into one of the largest and most diverse wineries, including Vinsanto…which, if you were part of Goldring Travel’s 2018 Culinary & Cultural Cruise, you have already enjoyed.

This will be a full day.  But as the ship does not depart until 6:00 p.m. depending how the day goes…and how much wine goes!…there may be a little bit of time to visit in Fira before heading back to the ship.

While I am sure I will be able to arrange some more informal onboard experiences, the rest of the itinerary lends itself to both exciting history and laid back “being Greek”.

To highlight just a few of the other ports:

Kusadasi, Turkey is the port that leads to Ephesus, one of the most complete Roman cities…and one of my favorite places to revisit as there is so much to see and learn (and with the expected reduced crowds, an even better experience). One of Regent’s included tours will give you a nice overview of Ephesus including the Terrace Houses while another one also visits Sirince (pronounced Syrinjay); know for its fruit wines and handicrafts, among others. And, of course, Kusadasi has a huge bazaar for the ultimate in shopping experiences.

Esphesus, Turkey at night

Mykonos, Greece is an exciting or sleepy town with great beaches and bars or quaint little tavernas. Personally I love pulling up to table overlooking the harbor, people watching and enjoying a Greek salad followed by some local fish and a nice bottle of Greek wine. You can, as an alternative, use one of your free or upgraded tours to head to Elia Beach to parasail, party or just enjoy the sand.

Rhodes, Greece is a fun port with much to do, see, eat and enjoy in the Old Town. You can simply wander about or enjoy a Regent culinary experience, including a cooking lesson. There are some great restaurants, as well, hidden in the back of the town.

I am also able to offer you excellent pre-cruise tours and transfers in Athens, Greece not only visiting the Acropolis, but also trips to, for example, Corinth. In addition, I have a number of suggestions for hotels in Athens, so please let me know if you are interested. 

  • I am able to offer you, with my compliments, Buffet Breakfast each morning, Afternoon Tea once during your stay, complimentary WiFi, plus an upgrade upon arrival/early check-in/late checkout (all if available) at both the Grand Bretagne and the King George hotels, which sit right next to each other.  (Note: These are both Marriot properties, so if you have points this is a great option, but you will not receive my amenities.)
  • Another option is an longtime favorite of mine, St. George Lycabettus, which is not as luxurious, but has incredible views of the Acropolis from your balcony room and a number of local restaurants within walking distance.  I will probably stay there (not decided) and have a local Greek dinner in the area. Anyone wanting to join me would be more than welcome.

Istanbul, Turkey as many fantastic hotels ranging from the ultra-luxury branded hotels to wonderful boutique hotels. If you are looking for an incredible luxury experience there is only one Ciragan Palace located right on the Bosporus. It literally has a Turkish palace as part of the property! I am able to offer you, with my compliments, a buffet(?) breakfast for two daily at Laledan Restaurant, a $100 food & beverage OR spa treatment credit per room, per stay (excludes in-room dining) and complimentary Wi-Fi.

If you would like a post-cruise tour of, say Topaki Palace, or other areas of Istanbul (including the Asian side) and/or transfers, they can easily be arranged.

On a more personal note, I am so ready to get back to traveling, exploring the world, meeting new people and delving into cultures and cuisine. Greece and Turkey are two countries that have made significant efforts to open their borders to international travel and have a history of welcoming guests. I, personally, am quite comfortable traveling through both of these countries, but it is a personal decision that everyone needs to make for themselves.

Interested? Give me a call, drop me an email or send me a Facebook message!

US: (877) 2GO-LUXURY (877-246-5898)
UK: 020 8133 3450
AUS: (07) 3102 4685
Everywhere Else: +1 530 562 9232

The Fine Print: Due to the current situation, this year’s Culinary & Cultural Cruise is subject to sufficient participation. Goldring Travel reserves the right to cancel this Culinary & Cultural Cruise, in its sole discretion, if there is insufficient participation or for any other reason. Please note that COVID-19 exists as does the potential for contracting it and becoming seriously ill. While reasonable effort will be made by Goldring Travel to reduce a client’s exposure by providing hand sanitizer and facemasks as well as operating each special event with the various guidelines that may be in effect at the time (which may require some modification of the descriptions noted herein) in mind, we are working with international companies and different approaches and, of course, each individual’s behaviors. By booking with Goldring Travel you acknowledge and accept that Goldring Travel will not be liable should you become ill from COVID-19 or any other disease or infection. If you would like more information from the World Health Organization, please visit this site.

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