Will Royal Caribbean soon be visiting Odessa, Ukraine?
Royal Caribbean’s Vice President, Craig Milan, has been talking to the Vice Major of Odessa Elena Pavlova to try and negotiate the possibility of cruise ships making regular visits during their 2014 voyages.
Feedback from the occasional visits has been very encouraging, with guests enjoying the chance to enjoy what Odessa has to offer. The city appears ready to boost its tourism and Royal Caribbean could offer from 2 to 4 thousand passengers per visit.
Odessa is the fourth largest city in the Ukraine and being a warm water port – one where the water does not freeze – it would be available all year round! In fact for around 4 months of the year, the water never falls below around 68° and this has encouraged the growth of tourism in the city. The city itself sits on a terrace above the harbor, and it is accessed by the famous Potemkin Steps. These steps form an amazing optical illusion from either the top or bottom. They are a series of steps and wide concrete landings but from the top you are unable to see any steps and from the bottom, you cannot see any landings. Alongside it runs a funicular which may be well worth the money on the upwards journey!
The architecture around Odessa includes a grand Renaissance period opera and theatre building, finished in 1887 and its popularity with the Russian aristocracy as a year round retreat led to the fantastic buildings that you see today. Odessa is famous for its beautiful tree lined avenues and large public areas. The old town shows its history as a centre of trade for the Russian Empire, and many of the grand houses date back to the period before the Soviets took over. A wander down Deribasovskaya Street gives you a real feel for the city, with colourful pedestrian areas that have street markets in the summer and early autumn. A walk back along the Primorskiy Boulevard will take you back to the top of the Potemkin Steps.
As it is located on the coast, when you get away from the harbor itself, there is a large popular coastal area called Arkadia Beach. This is a favourite with both the locals and also holidaymakers, and is unusual in the Ukraine as it is a sandy beach, whereas most others are stone and pebbles.
In addition to Odessa, Royal Caribbean is also looking at the ports of Yalta and Sevastopol as well to further extend their available ports in this area.