On a Holland America Line cruise, explore Turkey, a country that for millennia has straddled East and West, Christianity and Islam, independence and invasion. Experience Istanbul’s magnificent Sophia Museum, Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque. Visit (Kusadasi) Ephesus, where one of the earliest Christian churches took root. Spend a day cruising the Dardanelles between the Sea of Marmara and the Aegean, one of the world’s most strategically important waterways. Relax on a sunny beach in Marmaris, once a safe haven for Alexander the Great.


In Partnership With

Cruising The Dardanelles

On the far northwest coast of Turkey, the 60-kilometer-long (37-mile-long) Dardanelles divides the continents of Europe and Asia, and is the sole waterway between the Aegean and Marmara seas and beyond to the Black Sea. For this reason, the Dardanelles has, for millennia, been a strategic gateway for both the shipping trade and military campaigns to Istanbul and the Black Sea region. Cutting off trade and supplies through the Dardanelles has been a winning strategy for many civilizations—the Greeks, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans, British, Russians and the Turks—all of whom have fought to gain power and control over this narrow strait.
In Partnership With

Evening cruising Stromboli Volcano

One of eight Lipari Islands off the north coast of Sicily, tiny Stromboli is the most active—in that it is home to the second-most-active volcano on Earth, one that's been erupting continuously for more than 2,000 years. Most visitors who cruise around the island have a singular focus: the volcano. It perfectly matches one’s image of the legendary geographical feature—cone-shaped, topped by a fiery crater that spews fountains of glowing red lava, and best seen at night. Despite being an active-volcanic island, Stromboli has two settlements: Stromboli Town in the island’s northeastern corner and smaller Ginostra on its west coast. 

In Partnership With

Scenic cruising Bosporus

The Bosporus Strait ebbs and flows through the heart of Istanbul, its presence lending the city an added vitality. As the only means of passage between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea and a gateway for trade to the Aegean and Mediterranean seas, the 31-kilometer (19-mile) strait has been the lifeline for Istanbul since ancient gods ruled the Earth. These days, the gods look on from above as passengers aboard modern-day cruise liners, cargo ships and commuter ferries sail along and across the Bosporus, stirring both the vestiges of Istanbul’s past and the strait’s modern vibe as one of the world’s busiest shipping and transportation routes, one that divides Europe and Asia.
In Partnership With

Marmaris, Turkey

Once a sleepy fishing village, Marmaris transformed into a tourism hotspot in the 1980s, catering to everyone from backpackers to hedonistic partygoers. Scratch the surface, though, and you'll discover the history, people, landscape and unique ecosystem of the area. The landscape—the natural harbor and the mountainous Marmaris National Park, as well as the town's proximity to the Aegean and Mediterranean seas—sustained Marmaris as an ancient trading port and safe haven for history's greatest armies. Today the old town is where you'll find the Grand Bazaar, museums, and most restaurants lined up by the superyachts and Turkish gulets (wooden sailboats) of the encircling marina.
In Partnership With

Sinop, Turkey

Sinop’s soaring stone fortifications are the first sight for visitors to the city. Perched on Turkey's Boztepe Peninsula in the Black Sea, its protected harbor has been coveted by some of the world's greatest empires. Local legend suggests the city was named after an Amazon queen and inhabited by her band of warrior women. Later, the Roman and Byzantine empires held the fort until the Seljuks invaded in the 13th century, followed two centuries later by the Ottomans. Today, the history of these empires and the buildings they left behind—along with Sinop’s natural beauty—draw travelers exploring Turkey's Black Sea coast.
In Partnership With

Trabzon, Turkey

Strategically located on Turkey's eastern Black Sea coast, Trabzon is a fascinating destination. Founded in 756 B.C.E. by the Milesians and later ruled by the Roman and Byzantine empires, Trebizond (as it was known) flourished as a center for trade along the ancient Silk Road. The city's reign as the capital of the Empire of Trebizond (1204–1461 C.E.) ended when the Ottomans conquered the city. Many of the Greek Orthodox churches were then converted to mosques. All these influences can still be seen in Trabzon today where noteworthy sights include the 4th-century Sumela Monastery (closed for renovations until 2017) and the 13th-century Hagia Sophia.