Odessa

Splendid neo-classical buildings
Famous cinematographic steps
The majestic City Hall

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Odessa

The legacy of Catherine the Great

An MSC cruise of the Mediterranean is an excellent opportunity for exploring Odessa. During your vacation in Ukraine, you can visit this city on the shores of the Black Sea founded by Katherine the Great in 1794.

Located in an inlet between the mouths of the rivers Dnestr and Dnepr, once the port of a Greek colony (it was the ancient Odessos), it has many interesting features. When you set ashore from your cruise ship you can take a walk to the famous steps seen in Ejzenstejn’s film The Battleship Potemkin.

It was in Odessa that the people’s revolt broke out in 1905, supported by the mutinied crew of the battleship. The steps were designed by Francesco Boffo in 1825 and they’re so long that many people use the funicular alongside it. Originally there were 200 steps but today there are eight less as these have been incorporated in the pavement of the Prymors'ka vul. The city has wide, regularly laid out roads, intersecting at right angles and extends all the way to the sea; the atmosphere is more Mediterranean than Russian.

There are some splendid neo-classical buildings such as: Vorontsov, Potocki, Shidlovsky, Czarnomski (in Bershad) and the same Town Hall of Odessa, on the seafront. To get to know the many artist who lived here, whether they wanted to or not (like Isaak E. Babel, Aleksandr Sergeevič Puškin, who was exiled here for a year and whose home is now a museum, Anna Akhmatova or the duo Ilf and Petrov), visit the Literature Museum.

The city’s original centre, dominated by an ancient fortress, is found in the park named after Taras G. Sevcenko (Ukrainian poet and humanist). An interesting site to visit are the catacombs, of katakombi of Odessa: 100 kms of tunnels dug out in the 18th century by smugglers, revolutionaries and partisans. Also very attractive are the outskirts or the beaches of Odessa, like Arcadia and its famous seaside resorts, Lanzheron or Malibu (all along the urban seafront).

Must see places in Odessa

  • Opera House

    Opera House

  • The famous Potemkin Stairs

    The famous Potemkin Stairs

  • Primorsky Boulevard

    Primorsky Boulevard

Discover our excursions

4 results found

Download the cruise excursions programme (PDF)
  • CITY TOUR & CATACOMBS 4 hours

    CITY TOUR

    ODE03

    As the fifth-largest metropolis in Ukraine, a major seaport and the proud owner of a long and venerable history dating back to medieval times, the city of Odessa has much to offer and is certainly worth a visit. Part one of the tour will see you leave the pier and set off to discover the best of Odessa on foot. You will follow a route that will take you down Prymorsky Boulevard, home to some of the city’s most important buildings and landmarks, including the monument to Duc de Richelieu and the famous Potemkin Stairs – a giant staircase designed to appear either longer or shorter depending on the perspective from which it is viewed. A photo stop will be made near the late 19th-century Odessa Opera House, an architectural masterpiece of Vienna Baroque style. Part two of the tour will see you board a modern coach for an approx. 1-hour drive to the village of Nerubayskoe and the famous catacombs, which were created as a result of stone mining and stretch beneath the city for more than 3,000 kilometres. After paying the catacombs and the museum a visit, your return journey to Odessa will provide more appealing views to enjoy as you pass picturesque villages, vast wheat fields and lush vineyards, all of which go to illustrate why Ukraine is also nicknamed “The Bread Basket of Europe”. Please note: we suggest bringing comfortable shoes and a jacket for the visit to the catacombs. This tour is not suitable for guests who are claustrophobic, have walking difficulties or use a wheelchair.
    • Limited seats

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      4 h

  • CITY TOUR & SHOPPING approx. 3.5 hours

    CITY TOUR

    ODE02

    Teaming a chance to see the sights of Odessa with time to indulge in some enjoyable retail therapy is not only a winning combination, but also what you can expect from this half-day tour. You will begin with a walk down Odessa’s main boulevard, with views of the Potemkin Staircase, Pushkin’s Monument and the magnificent exterior of the Opera House to savour along the way. Moving on to Sobornaya Square, you’ll then have some time to visit the Transfiguration Cathedral and browse for a souvenir before you head for the pedestrian zone of Deribasovskaya Street, one of Odessa’s main thoroughfares. This is where you will find any number of boutiques and larger stores amid leafy parks and green spaces. Explore the area and make your purchases at your leisure, after which you will stroll back to the port and your ship. Please note: this tour is not suitable for guests with walking difficulties or using a wheelchair.
    • Shopping

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      4 h

  • CITY TOUR approx. 4 hours

    CITY TOUR

    ODE01

    Situated on the shores of the Black Sea in the south of Ukraine, the beautiful city of Odessa is a feast for the eyes, one with which this pleasurable tour of its main sights intends to familiarise you. A walk along Odessa’s main promenade will reveal wonderful views of the Potemkin Staircase, Pushkin’s Monument and the gloriously ornate exterior of the Opera House. Next up is a visit to the Odessa Art Museum, home to a fabulous collection of Ukrainian and Russian paintings, after which a short stop is scheduled in the Arcadia district, the city’s main nightlife hub with a whole host of cafés and restaurants. Last up on the must-see itinerary is Shevchenko Park for a chance to enjoy and photograph the stunning views over the Black Sea. This enjoyable exploration of Odessa then comes to a close with your return to the ship. Please note: this tour is not suitable for guests with walking difficulties or using a wheelchair.
      • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Moderate

      • Duration
        3:30 h

    • ODESSA NOBLE PALACES 4 hours

      CULTURE AND HISTORY

      ODE04

      Do not miss this great chance to explore the historical city of Odessa and its beautiful old buildings on a sightseeing tour dedicated to showing you the main attractions of the old town and palaces associated with two of its most famous noblemen: Count Leo Tolstoy and Prince Gagarin. One of these is the Odessa House of Scientists, a former residence of a cousin of Count Tolstoy, the world-famous author of War and Peace. The Baroque-style architecture of this 18th-/19th-century building is not just a remarkable sight on the outside, but is just as resplendent on the inside with features such as marble and gold decorations and furniture upholstered in Chinese silk. The tour then continues on to the former mid-19th-century mansion of Prince Gagarin, but which now houses the Museum for Russian & Ukrainian Literature with manuscripts and personal belongings of Pushkin, Bunin, Brodsky as well as other notable writers and poets. A special violin recital in the Golden Hall of the mansion will then follow – accompanied by a glass of chilled bubbly. A final stop at Odessa’s magnificent Opera House rounds off your tour before you head back to the pier and your ship. Please note: this tour is not suitable for guests with walking difficulties or using a wheelchair.
      • Drink included

      • Limited seats

      • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Moderate

      • Duration
        4 h

    The excursions in the programme above are intended to provide MSC Guests with an idea of the different tours that can be arranged in each port of call; this programme is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise.
    Shore excursions programs and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.

     

    Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.

    Ukraine

    A country in continuous transformation

    A country in continuous transformation

    The second-largest country in Europe, Ukraine has not always had clearly defined frontiers and has spent large tracts of its history under foreign rule. Even today the issue of “Ukrainianness” is viewed differently by people living in different regions of the country: Ukrainians living in Kyiv and the east may well speak the Russian language at home and on the streets, while those living in L’viv and the west speak Ukrainian in all social situations and are enormously proud of the fact.

    Despite being a country of large distances and time-consuming travel, Ukraine is not as far away as you might think, and its three key cities are well worth fitting into a wider European trip. Ukraine’s fast-paced capital Kyiv offers a fascinating insight on a country in the throes of transformation, with chic boutiques and slick bars sprouting up along broad, cobbled boulevards. Glittering church domes and steeples show off the city’s medieval glories.

    One of Europe’s great Mediterranean cities, and a stop-off on your cruise to Ukraine, Odessa exudes a sense of Tsarist-Empire grandeur, while its bars and beaches provide a vibrant hedonistic edge. In total contrast is the western city of L’viv, a Central European city that looks like an estranged cousin of Vienna or Prague, and has the cultural attractions and café life to match.