When they say "a country close to Russia", a quiet, cozy Greece immediately comes to mind, carefully preserving its age-old traditions. The proximity of cultures and religions, excellent political and economic relations have a positive effect on the flow of tourists from Russia to this European state. On average, more than 1 million Russians visit the country per year, and in the coming years this figure will grow, including due to cruise tourists, experts say.
So far, few people in Russia know that, working in the shadow of the cruise giants, the small Greek company Celestyal Cruises creates a truly unique tourist product - sea voyages in the Eastern Mediterranean with calls to “rare” ports. You can go on such an exclusive voyage almost all year round.
Having become one of the favorite beach and sightseeing destinations in Europe for Russians, Greece is betting on the development of alternative destinations, including through its beautiful islands.
By the way, there are more than 1400 of them in the republic, but only 227 are inhabited.
Each island - like a separate mini-state - has its own laws, traditions and "face". Celestyal Cruises, together with its partner in Russia, the Infoflot Cruise Center, undertook to show tourists some of them along with the "pearls" of Turkey, Cyprus, Egypt and Israel.
Currently, two 10-deck liners of the Greek company are presented on the Russian market - Celestyal Crystal and Celestyal Olympia, each accommodating about 1500 guests. The relatively small dimensions of the ships allow them to enter special places on the planet, in addition, tourists will be able to feel the club atmosphere of relaxation, spend time comfortably in restaurants, casinos, bars, pools and SPA-zones, or keep fit in the gym. Entertainment on board the ships is created in the Greek spirit: master classes in sirtaki, cooking local dishes, national musical evenings.
One of the important distinguishing features of the Celestyal Cruises approach is the all-inclusive format with the purchase of any cruise. The standard package includes the cruise itself, 2-3 excursions, port taxes, gratuities, alcohol and multilingual service on board.
It should be noted that, in partnership with Celestyal Cruises, the Infoflot Cruise Center has launched a new product, perfectly adapted to the Russian market, - combined tours with cruises on the ships of the Greek company.
The product is convenient in that it relieves the tourist from the hassle of organizing recreation. Everything is already included in the tour: direct flight from Moscow, meeting at the airport, accommodation in a 4 * hotel, transfers, buffet, excursion programs. In fact, money can only be taken for pocket money and souvenirs.
“As part of these tours, we form Russian groups. During the entire trip, tourists are accompanied by an employee of Infoflot. In addition, guests of the liner receive an on-board newspaper in Russian, in restaurants - a Russian-language menu. At the moment, you can choose from three tour options,”says Andrey Mikhailovsky, General Director of the Infoflot Cruise Center.
According to him, the tour "Amazing Greece" (first flight - March 23) is designed for 7 days. The first two days of the tour, guests spend in Athens, where they provide accommodation in a 4 * hotel located in the historical part of the city (breakfasts and a Greek dinner with a folklore program are included in the price), a bus tour of Athens (on the second day). The cruise itself starts on the third day. Tourists will visit the bright and cheerful Mykonos, where dozens of pretty bars and cafes are scattered on the shore; the Turkish resort on the Aegean Sea Kusadasi, from where they will go on an excursion to ancient Ephesus; will visit the so-called "island of the Apocalypse" Patmos, and already well-known to Russians Rhodes, Santorini and Heraklion. The tour price includes excursions to Rhodes and Ephesus.
The Aegean Odyssey Tour (first departure - October 27, 2019) is an extended version of the first round. Tourists also fly to Athens, but rest for 9 days, two of which are spent in Istanbul, and will also visit Canakkale (Turkey) and the cozy Greek port town of Volos. The tour price includes excursions to the island. Santorini, Istanbul and Heraklion. From Canakkale, an excursion to the legendary Troy is offered for an additional fee.
Tour "Three Continents" (first departure - December 30, 2019) captures Egypt and Israel. Tour participants fly from Moscow to Athens, from where they arrive by liner to Alexandria. From there, guests are taken to Cairo, where an excursion program is provided. The price, in addition to visiting the pyramids and the Great Sphinx, includes a river walk along the Nile with lunch and entertainment, after which tourists go to Port Said. The program also includes the largest port city in Israel - Ashdod, Cyprus Limassol, Rhodes and Kusadasi.
All return flights to Moscow will also be carried out from Athens.
As part of this program, travel agencies receive a convenient product for sale. Its main advantages: commission up to 15%, online booking on the Infoflot website, package booking (flight, hotel, cruise, transfers and excursions are booked as a single package), handouts for tourists.
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