Cruise with Gorbachev, Condoleezza Rice

Mikhail Gorbachev, former General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the last head of state of the USSR, has another item to add to his illustrious resume: cruise ship entertainer.

Announced Wednesday, The World Leaders Symposium will feature a lineup of power players, scholars, scientists, and political luminaries aboard a 10-night circumnavigation cruise of the Black Sea. Former United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Secretary of Defense William Perry will join Gorbachev aboard Silversea Cruises' Silver Wind as it departs from Istanbul, Turkey on September 4th.

The cruise is organized by the San Francisco-based company World Leaders Travel and will focus on Russia's unique history and cultural influences through a series of lectures and discussions. Topics will range from Russia's relations with the West to the containment of nuclear weapons.

The chartered ship will make calls in Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Georgia, and Turkey, with specially arranged shore excursions at each location. Participants will be invited to do everything from experiencing bazaars and mosques in Istanbul to discussing pipeline politics with local Ukrainian officials. Stops will also be made at Baku's walled Inner City, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Azerbaijan, and the Black Sea resort of Sochi, which is set to host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

Four days prior to the cruise, passengers will meet in Moscow, where participants will spend three nights at a Ritz-Carlton in the Russian capital, and will attend a gala dinner with Gorbachev before flying to Turkey via a chartered jet. Upon the conclusion of the cruise, passengers will again reconvene in Istanbul for two more nights of private events at the Ciragan Palace Kempinski Hotel.

The cruise will be the fifth of its kind. Former symposiums have traveled to Venice and the Dalmatian Coast, China and East Asia, and the Middle East, each showcasing speakers such as Madeleine Albright, George H.W. Bush, and James Baker.

Prices for the 17-day trip start at $23,990 per person, based on double occupancy.

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