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Judy Nussbaum

Boca Raton, Florida Travel Agent

Cruising in Style from Lisbon to Istanbul

One of my specialties is luxury cruising, so I have experienced a lot of wonderful cruises. For sheer luxury and variety of ports, one of my favorites was a two-week Seabourn Cruises journey from Lisbon to Istanbul. Seabourn is a master of making you feel special. By the time we’d been on the ship for a day, almost every crew member knew us by name, and the wait staff already knew our favorite snacks and drinks. Another nice thing about Seabourn is that all the cabins are ocean-view suites. They are extremely comfortable and spacious with walk-in closets and indulgent bathrooms.  

For a small ship, it offered a surprising number of dining choices, including an al fresco restaurant, a formal dining room, and The Grill by Thomas Keller. Making the ship feel more like a club than a cruise ship, guests dine when, where and with whom they choose, so passengers quickly get to know each other. Because the ships are small, they can go places that larger ships cannot, and in some areas, the ship opens a water-sports platform offering kayaks, snorkels and other water toys.   

We visited a new port almost every day and planned some very special experiences. In Marseilles, we hired a car and driver to take us to Provence for the day, stopping at small towns and wonderful markets to shop for lavender, lovely scarves and crafts. The cruise also stopped along the French and Italian Rivieras.  

Cruising through the Greek Islands was amazing; there is no easy way to see so many islands on one trip except on a cruise. I was excited to see Cephalonia, a sleepy island that was the setting for the World War II movie “Captain Corelli's Mandolin” starring Nicolas Cage. Much livelier and more developed, Mykonos is a picture-perfect port. We strolled through the pretty white-washed town to its iconic windmills, stopping to shop for chic, locally made clothes, and hand-crafted jewelry. 

The cruise ended in Istanbul, which straddles two continents. It is quite spread out, so we hired a private guide, who also kept us from being hassled by vendors and translated for us at the Grand Bazaar. Following the advice I give clients, I had researched prices of expensive items I might buy in the U.S. so I could negotiate meaningfully. A highlight was visiting a park where families were relaxing on their day off. It gave me a very different view of Turkish life, and it was lovely.  

I send many clients on Seabourn Cruises, but each line has its advantages. Some offer lower price points; others are larger with more on-board activities. I stay current on the latest offerings and can help guide you to the right ship and itinerary for your luxury cruise and help you arrange the best experiences in each port that you visit.  

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