The 2022 Goldring Travel Culinary & Cultural Cruise visiting Turkey, Greece, and Israel on the Windstar Star Legend starts on October 1, 2022, with its exclusive small group limited to no more than 14 guests. (This is not a “joined at the hip” experience as most of the time you will be free to independently tour, dine and socialize as you wish!)
There will be three Private Full Day Culinary & Cultural Experiences: Istanbul, Turkey; Santorini, Greece; and, Haifa, Israel; each one being unique, fun, and, well, experiential. Plus there will be a Private Shopping with the Windstar Executive Chef and at least two Private Onboard Culinary Events!
Before getting into the details, here is the truly fantastic itinerary:
Our Culinary & Cultural journey starts in Istanbul, Turkey. While not included (but Goldring Travel has secured preferential rates), it is recommended that we stay at the AJWA Sultanahmet Hotel which is a hotel steeped in Turkish decor and centrally located in the Old City.
The day before embarking on the Windstar Star Legend (October 1, 2022) there will be a full day Private Culinary & Cultural Event. Departing early in the morning we head to the nearby pier and board our private yacht for a two-hour cruise up the Bosporus to see sites one normally doesn’t experience with culinary and historical experts while enjoying a full Turkish Breakfast.
Returning to the pier we then head to the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Theodosius Cistern, and Hippodrome Square before heading to a fantastic leisurely Turkish Lunch with Turkish Wines and Raki. From there everyone has a choice: Head to the Grand Bazaar for a couple of hours of shopping (Turkish carpets anyone?) or a truly traditional Hammam (Turkish Bath) Experience…and, yes, it takes two hours!
Not done yet, we will then head to the HodjaPasha Cultural Center to experience a Sema Ceremony (the Whirling Dervishes) before heading back to our hotel.
After a leisurely morning independently exploring the Old City, we will head to the Star Legend to begin our cruise. The Star Legend then visits a number of ports in Turkey and Greece, including a magical evening at Ephesus just for the Star Legend’s guests.
We then arrive in beautiful Santorini, Greece where 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 8:00 p.m. depending how the day goes…and how much wine goes!…there will be a little bit of time to visit in Fira before heading back to the ship.
Before you know it we will (subject to the canal’s repairs being finished) transit the ancient – and very cool – Corinth Canal before our late night night arrival in Athens, Greece. While Goldring Travel does not have any special events planned for Athens, we do have an excellent tour company so we can arrange a private or small group tour of Athens if desired.
The second leg of the 2022 Goldring Travel Culinary & Cultural Cruise calls on, among other ports, the islands of Mykonos and Rhodes, Greece; overnighting in Rhodes – which makes some great local dining options available.
After calling on Limmasol, Greece we sail into an entire different cultural and culinary experience: Israel. Our first port is Ashdod, Israel; the gateway port for Jerusalem. This meaningful day may be spent visiting the Old City’s religious sites, wandering the narrow streets, grabbing a falafel or, for me: visiting Yad Vashem – The Holocaust Remembrance Center. With a 3:00 PM departure, and an intense cultural day for many, sailing to our final port is the time for the famous Private Culinary Luncheon where we will revisit the cuisines and wines of our journey…and where the Windstar chefs are given a free-reign to create dishes that our journey inspired.
Our final full day is in Haifa, Israel; the location of our final Private Event. This will be a full and fascinating day as we head to the Golan Heights for a Geopolitical Tour as stand in Israel yet see Syria and Lebanon as we discuss this complicated and difficult topic, which is both modern and ancient. Lightening things up we will travel to a Druze family home where the culture and cuisine of the Druze will be explored. The Druze are a unique religious and ethnic group. Their tradition dates back to the 11th century and incorporates elements of Islam, Hinduism, and even classical Greek philosophy. Finishing up our day will be a visit to a unique and high-quality vineyard to sample some uniquely Israeli wines.
After returning to the ship it will be time to pack, enjoy a last evening aboard the Star Legend and to prepare for an early morning transfer to Tel Aviv for departures back home. Alternatively, for those that wish to spend more time in Jerusalem, or possibly visit Jordan, private arrangements can be made.
This is an extraordinary opportunity to get back to travel and to explore some of the most interesting culinary and cultural places in the world on an intimate ship, with intimate events, and in casual luxury on an all-suite Windstar yacht.
Speaking of all included, you may also have an all-inclusive experience on the Star Legend; one of Windstar’s all-suite power yachts with no more than 312 guests. If you loved the Seabourn triplets, Windstar has made them even better, with new restaurants, expanded spa, and fitness centers, and they are virtually “better than new”. I was recently on the Star Legend’s sistership, the Star Breeze. You can read all about the ship here: Windstar Star Breeze Inaugural: Part Deux – V. Reflections
It is also worth taking a moment to watch this short video on Windstar’s President, Chris Prelog.
Prices start at only $8,759 per person including taxes or $10,023 per person including all taxes, beverages, gratuities, WiFi, and laundry (Per Person, Double Occupancy) Prices for either of the eight-night segments are also available with both options. (All prices are subject to change and availability in any particular category is not guaranteed. This offer may be withdrawn at any time without notice.)
Capacity for this 2022 Goldring Travel Culinary & Cultural Journey is limited and there are only a few openings left. So if you are interested, now is the time to book. (And, of course, if the price goes down I will get you the lower price!) So give me a call, send an email, text, or even WhatsApp.