Monday, August 8, 2022

Are Greek Island Cruises Worth It

Don't Miss

Romance And Culture Await On A Greek Island Cruise

ARE CRUISES WORTH IT? Greece To Turkey On A European Cruise

Its no wonder the Greek Islands have always been a perennial favorite of travelers. Greece is a magical, romantic destination where you can wander alongside stunning coastlines, explore the ruins of ancient cultures, and dine on fresh Mediterranean cuisine all in one vacation.

On one of our luxury Greek Island cruises, explore far-flung beaches, drift out to sea on catamarans and kayaks, and duck into tiny tavernas where you can eat and drink like a local. From the sun-soaked stone buildings in Santorini to the white-sand beaches that beckon in Mykonos, a Greece cruise is the best way to experience the captivating Greek Islands.

Sporades Islands And Evia

Charming and evergreen, the Sporades islands are situated north of the Cyclades. Largest island Skiathos is a prime destination for summer holidays thanks to its gorgeous sandy beaches and lively nightlife. Scenes from the film Mamma Mia were filmed on Skiathos and Skopelos, which have boosted the popularity of the area.

Not far from the Sporades is Evia the second largest island in Greece, and one of the least known . Its separated from the mainland by a small strait.

Islands: Skiathos, Skyros, Skopelos, Alonnisos, Skyros

Highlights: Skiathos Town. Snorkelling in Alonnisos National Marine Park. The famous beaches of Vromolimnos, Koukounaries and Lalaria on Skiathos. Skopelos Town. Ayios Ioannis Kastri . Dhimosari Gorge and the paradise beaches of Lichadonisia on Evia.

Airports: Skiathos has an international airport. Skyros has a domestic airport.

Best for: Mamma Mia fans, sailors, outdoors lovers and beach bums. Green islands, clear seas, great beaches, cute monasteries, and a smattering of lovely hiking trails. Skyros and Evia are quiet and mostly domestic tourists, alternative types and wild campers.

Need to know: Skiathos and Skopelos are fairly developed and close together easy to hop between them and nearby Alonnisos too.

But the Sporades are difficult to combine with other islands. Ferries to the Sporades are from Volos, which is a 2hr drive from Athens although most agents sell tickets which include the bus to Volos. The ferry to Skyros departs from Evia.

Greek Isles Cruises Travel Tips

  • Enjoy the mainland. While the islands of Greece offer some spectacular adventures, the mainland is also loaded with things to do and is often overlooked
  • Enjoy eating like a local by noticing which restaurants the locals are inhabiting. You will find the best food in these locations. Keep in mind, Greeks eat late, often around 10 pm
  • Punctuality in Greece is not something that is strived for as in other areas of the world. Enjoy the laid-back life and don’t expect super snappy service in restaurants. Enjoy the delays and take it all in!
  • Much of the older generation in Greece is Orthodox and as such will frown upon nudity. We suggest also avoiding churches and monasteries in skimpy clothing.
  • As with all travel, make sure you keep your valuables close to you, especially on crowded transport
  • Levels of English is good throughout the country, but the Greeks love it when you are able to throw in a word or two of Greek

Read Also: Marriott Destinations Cruises

To Cruise Or Not To Cruise The Greek Islands

If you arecoming to Greece this year and you want to seeas much as you can, what better way to see theGreek Islands and the coast of Turkey then togo in style on a cruise ship? But there are some things you should think about. For example do you want to spend all your time on a ship and 5 or 6 hours on an island, or do you want to spend more time on the islands? If you are using a cruise ship as a sort of introduction to Greece for a future trip where you will spend more time on an island or two then I get it. Think of it as getting the appetiser sampler instead of a main meal, so next time you come you will know what you like. If there is a next time.Of course if this is your one and only trip to Greece it would be great if you could do both. Well, actually there is. Fantasy Travel’s Smart Seven allows you to spend three nights on Mykonos and three nights on Santorini and in between you are on a Four Day Cruise that includes Turkey, Patmos, Rhodes and Crete.

Sailing The Greek Islands On A Yacht

Best Way to Travel Greek Islands: 7 Day Norwegian Cruise ...

Of course, the best way to see the Greek islands is by sea and sailing on a yacht means you can access tiny coves, bays and marinas that would otherwise be difficult to reach. Plus, you get to spend your days drifting along in the wine-dark sea rather than scrambling to catch buses or taxis.

Sailing trips in the Greek islands have really exploded in popularity of the past few years. Previously the domain of exclusive charters, exploring Greece on a yacht is more accessible now more than ever. There are numerous companies offering sailing experiences where you share the boat or cabin with other travellers.

I love sailing and truly think its the best way to see this beautiful country. But its not for everyone. Its hot and space is at a premium. Yachts vary a lot in comfort and amenities. Best to consider it an adventure. Pack light, stay flexible, and do your research on whats involved before booking.

Cabin charters in Greece:

Also Check: Best Cruise Lines Out Of Miami

What About Booking Accommodation And Transport On The Islands

For booking accommodation, I recommend Booking.com for the largest selection of places. It also has a free cancellation policy. Airbnb also has a lot of great properties in Greece . There are many family-run guesthouses in Greece called domatia which are increasingly using booking platforms.

Of course, you can always do it the traditional way and wait until you get off the ferry.

On popular routes, there will be a crowd of domatia owners jostling for your custom including many that dont have an online presence. During shoulder season this is an excellent opportunity to haggle.

I definitely recommend booking your accommodation in advance if youre travelling during the latter half of July, during August, or over a national holiday. Particularly if youre heading for a really popular island where accommodation is limited.

Finding Treasure In Ermoupoli

We went ashore in Ermoupoli, Syros bustling main town. The streets in heaven may be paved with gold in Ermoupoli, theyre paved with marble. And theyre lined with fantastic boutiques, a real treat for the shoppers in our group, me included. Prices in Mykonos were jaw-dropping and they were even higher in Santorini. But in Ermoupoli, we found some terrific bargains, including a pair of snazzy black leather sandals for 20 euros that fit me perfectly! Score!

I really enjoyed taking a leisurely walk around Ermoupoli. Miaouli Square is a lively park-like spot for people-watching directly in front of the city hall. A must-see is an early painting by El Greco, tucked away inside a tiny church off the main shopping drag. And the beaches on Syros are superb. I fell hard for the Greek beach club concept. You rent a shaded beach bed. Kind, attractive servers bring you food and cocktails. And, when you feel a bit warm, you dip into the Aegean. Its a cycle worth repeating over and over again.

Recommended Reading: Which Cruise Lines Depart From New York

Cruises To Santorini And The Greek Islands

7 reasons not to do a Santorini cruise:

1. You get a very limited amount of time on the island .

2. You only see the island when its densely crowded with other cruise ship passengers .

3. You wont be around to see the sunset, when Santorini is at its most beautiful.

4. You wont have time to do any of the best Santorini tours: a catamaran tour of the caldera, a boat tour to the volcano, a winery tour, a photography tour, a fishing tour.

5. Youll only visit the most crowded and touristy locations on the island and miss out on Santorinis charming traditional villages like Pyrgos, Emporio, and Megalochori.

6. There is only one access point from the cruise ships to the island the old port of Santorini. This tiny port gets absolutely overwhelmed with cruise ship passengers and makes for a terrible introduction to the island.

7. Cruises are floating Petri dishes of disease and illness.

After the shore excursions have returned to the ship and the cruises have departed, Santorini returns to a calmer and more tranquil pace. If you can stay a few nights on the Santorini, youll see a completely different side of the towns, restaurants, and attractions. Its just much more fun, more relaxing, and more beautiful on the island after the cruise ships have sailed away. And if you arrived on this page after watching the absolutely awful Santorini show by Rick Steves just ignore everything that guy recommends about seeing the Greek islands. I bet any local would tell you the same.

Greek Isles Celebrity Constellation Cruise

Greek Islands cruises Cost analysis cruises versus land vacation. Canadians Living In Italy

Other worth exploring cruise in the Greek islands, famous Greek Isles Celebrity Constellation Cruise takes you to European Seas in less than 10 nights. It brings innumerable experience for you to remember in the lifetime.

Itinerary: Planned for 10 nights, this itinerary is compact yet great to explore the luxuries of Celebrity Constellation ship. This cruise covers Venice Split Mykonos Athens Rhodes Santorin and Katakolon therefore guests truly enjoy their lifetime cruising experiences.

Best Time to Sail: August to September

A cruise trip planned for 12 nights, Italy & Greek Isles Cruise covers many European destinations through the Celebrity Reflection ship. Considered a popular one in the Greek island cruises, this cruise offers ample luxuriousness experience to the guests besides other at sea entertainment options.

Best Time to Sail: Sep to October

Itinerary: This cruise only itinerary of 12 days package covers the destinations like Barcelona Palma De Mallorca Sicily Mykonos Athens Santorini Rhodes and Valletta as memorable cruise experience.

Also Check: What Cruise Lines Sail Out Of Baltimore

Buying Your Ferry Tickets

If you want to buy your tickets in advance, or just check the ferry schedules, you can use the Ferryhopper website or app to purchase electronic tickets.

If youre already in Greece, you can buy ferry tickets from any travel agent.

This is approximately every third shop front in some parts of Athens. Its not really worth shopping around, youll pay pretty much the same everywhere as prices are regulated by the government. Travel agents will add on at most a couple of euros commission, and quite often none at all, so thats the most youll be able to get the tickets down.

If you know exactly which ferry you can also book directly on some ferry websites. The websites are of varying quality but special offers can sometimes be found.

Some of the smallest local routes arent online and youll have to check locally.

Reality #: Greek Food Is Simply Delicious

My husband and I ate many of our lunches off the ship at local tavernas and beach clubs. The flow of the meals was similar a series of mezzes were presented followed by a main dish with a sweet treat to close the meal. That sweet treat was often slices of locally grown watermelon. Did you know they grow watermelon in Greece? Me neither. The mezzes always included a traditional Greek salad featuring feta and tomatoes. Youve never truly tasted a tomato until youve had one in Greece. When I came home, I looked at my backyard garden and sighed, knowing my produce would never taste the same.

On board Celestyal, we ate our dinners in the main dining room. The daily menus featured Greek specialties every night. Try as I might, I butchered the pronunciation mightily when I ordered them, but the friendly servers never seemed to mind. When Ive visited Greek restaurants in NY, Ive stuck to familiar favorites like stuffed grape leaves. Because of my cruise experience, I have the courage to try something new on my next visit!

Read Also: What Month Is The Best Time To Cruise To Alaska

Santorini Cruises What To Know

Large cruise ships in the Santorini caldera great to look at, but cruises are a lousy way to experience Santorini. Please, if you come to Santorini dont do it on a cruise.

This is what visiting the island is like when you come to Santorini on a cruise: You walk around the busiest parts of the island as part of a large group. Youve got limited time and can only see a few spots in Fira and Oia.

Heres one of the large tour groups from a cruise. Are you in group 20?

Maybe youre in group 22?

Or maybe its 32? Regardless: this sucks.

Yay, you get your own sticker. Thanks, but no thanks.

This looks fun: waiting for the cable car ride back to the cruise port.

This is just a small part of the line it can stretch far back and around a corner. Occasionally cruise passengers will be left behind on the island because they cant get back to the ship in time. They then have to arrange their own transportation to another island to meet-up with the cruise. Certainly this is rare, but its always in the back of your mind: what time is it? we cant miss our departure time.

Oia is a great town, but everyone staying on the island knows: dont go mid-day because its packed with tours from the cruise ships.

This is the Santorini you get to experience when you stay on the island and enjoy it at your own pace.

Get up early and there are more donkeys on the streets than people.

A quiet breakfast view in Imerovigli.

Greek Isles Cruises Highlights

Travel review: Greek Island cruise
  • Incredible views from the cruise ship of some of the various architecture around the islands and mainland
  • Visit various wineries and taste some of the most incredible vintages that you will find anywhere
  • Visit Athens, Sparta, Santorini, and Mykonos and enjoy the various beaches that keep tourists coming each year
  • Enjoy the tepid crystal waters of the Aegean
  • Indulge in some of the most unique and delicious food that you will not find anywhere else
  • Learn about the histories and mythological tales from the locals and tour guides
  • Partake in some of the excursions that are offered to have a much more immersive experience into the culture of the area
  • Enjoy the benefits of having an all-inclusive ship so that you never have to worry about hotel accommodations during your trip
  • Enjoy any of our onboard activities so that the fun can start before your arrival at any of our destinations
  • The Greece Cruise is one of the most cost-efficient ways of visiting and touring Greece and the islands

Also Check: What Cruise Lines Depart From Galveston

Cruise Excursions In Greece

I’m taking a cruise through Italy, Greece and Turkey and was wondering if it’s worth it to sign up for the excursions they provide or if I could just take the Rick Steves book with me and wing it on my own. Some of the stops are longer , while others are shorter . I’m worried about using my time wisely, but also about the quality of the experience – how backdoor can it be if I’m getting off a bus with 50 other cruisers. Anyone taken one of these excursions and regretted it? Or not taken one and wished they had?

We are also taking a similar cruise with Costa cruise lines on the Atlantica. We will probably take the excursions because it makes the best use of your time, unless someone knows a private tour guide and that would be the way to go. When are you sailing? I also heard that we do not need visas for Turkey or Egypt IF we do an excursion through the cruise line.

We are also taking a similar cruise with Costa cruise lines on the Atlantica. We will probably take the excursions because it makes the best use of your time, unless someone knows a private tour guide and that would be the way to go. When are you sailing? I also heard that we do not need visas for Turkey or Egypt IF we do an excursion through the cruise line.

Expectation #: Mykonos And Santorini Are The Perfect Greek Islands

For years Ive wanted to book a villa on either of the rock stars of the Greek islands Santorini and Mykonos and spend a week soaking up the sun and exploring the tavernas, beaches and sights. In pictures, it always seems so perfect and lovely the charming windmills in Little Venice and Santorinis blue domed churches. Id take leisurely walks, snap a million pics and enjoy romantic sunset dinners.

Read Also: Are Cruises Leaving From Puerto Rico

Tours From Cruise Ships

Many cruise companies discourage the use of taxi and limo companies for private tours in destinations like Rhodes, Athens, Crete, Santorini and places in Turkey. Whether this is to ‘protect’ the passenger or because the cruise ships themselves offer tours I don’t know . I do know that you can get excellent service from taxi companies which offer personalized tours, many of whom charge by the trip and not by the person. These tours are like having a local host show you around the islands, towns and cities that they know. Instead of eating in some giant tourist trap that accommodates the dozens of people who take the bus tours, you can go to small tavernas where the locals eat, on quietstreets or on the sea.

These are some drivers I recommend:

In Athens of course there isGeorge the Famous Taxi Driver who is now something of an international hero for his tours of Athens, the mainland and his ability to get customers from the boats to the airport or hotels comfortably and quickly. George, like the other drivers listed here is non-smoking, English-speaking, knowlegable and drives a very comfortable air-conditioned Mercedes.For groups of more than 4 there is his son Dennis, in the photo above, with his beautiful luxury Mercedes limo that seats 7 plus the driver. For even larger groups there is son Billy with their Mercedes Bus able to seat 12 people. You can e-mail them at

More articles

Popular Articles