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Former AIDAcara to offer Mediterranean cruises from Sochi, Russia

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Aida Cara

The former AIDAcara, renamed Astoria Grande, a 1,186-passenger ship is set to start operating crusies out of Sochi, Russia in March as part of a new Russian project.

Astoria Grande is so far scheduled to operate four cruises out of Sochi, Russia, with the first a 14-night roundtrip visiting Istanbul, Çanakkale and Çeşme in Turkey, Alexandria in Egypt (with an overnight stay onboard), followed by three more Turkish ports of call: Bodrum, Kuşadası, Istanbul. Three sailing dates are available for this itinerary: March 5, 2022, March 19, 2022, and April 2, 2022.

The second available cruise is a 15-night roundtrip sailing visiting Istanbul, Bodrum, Limassol in Cyprus, Haifa in Israel (with an overnight stay onboard), Alexandria in Egypt, followed by two Turkish ports of call: Kuşadası and Istanbul. For this itinerary, only one sailing date is available: April 16, 2022.

The third cruise is an 11-night roundtrip visiting Batumi in Georgia, Istanbul, Greek islands Mykonos and Santorini, followed by two Turkish ports of call: Kuşadası and Istanbul. Eight sailing dates are available for the route through September 2022, with the first one departing on May 1.

The fourth itinerary is called Legendary Greek Islands and features ports of call in Batumi, Istanbul, Syros, Milos, Santorini, Leros, Patmos, Kuşadası, Kos – depending on the sailing date. The sailings are 11 night-long and, like the others, are roundtrip from Sochi, Russia. Six sailing dates are available through September 2022, with the first one departing on July 17.

Astoria Grande was built in 1996 and is now operated by Russian shipping company Akvilon, registered in Moscow, with after her acquisition from AIDA Cruises, the ship was refurbished at Sefine Shipyard in Turkey.

Akvilon says its goal is “offering entertaining voyages out of Russia’s cruise capital Sochi with cruises that were created specifically for Russia’s most discerning passengers.”

These cruises will operate in countries that don’t require travel visas from Russian residents. Russian-language service and entertainment will be provided onboard.

Edited by John Alwyn-Jones, Cruise Editor

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