The Airlines: What Went Wronga Matt Barrett Editorial
While many of us were playing with our computers the airlines did their best to destroy the travel industry that had served it well for the last half a century. They first limited commissions travel agents could make selling airline tickets and then eliminated commissions altogether forcing agents to add fees or sir-charges to the ticket price just to break even. Meanwhile the airlines offered discounts to people who booked electronically on their system or through the large on-line booking companies whose names we are now all familiar with. People booked on-line not realizing that by saving a few dollars they were putting a large number of travel agents out of business. Just like shopping at Walmarts and then wondering what happened to the little guy who ran the local drugstore.
Anyway if you live in the USA there is an ocean between you and Greece and until they bring back the trans-Atlantic ocean liners, flying is the only way to go so we must make the best of the situation.
Greek Island Cruise Highlights
There is no shortage of unforgettable experiences to be had in Greece. Its seascapes and cityscapes are wondrous, from the mighty ruins of the Acropolis to the buzzing, modern city center of Athens. Visit an olive farm in Crete, or embark on a tour of Mykonos Towns organic wineries. Or, take an intimate, exclusive cooking lesson on how to make local favorites in Santorinis main square, right in the middle of it all.
Greece is a world-renowned destination for history buffs. Stroll through the Acropolis and marvel at human achievement, or visit the Museum of Cycladic Art to study Aegean and Cypriot artifacts. Examine the 400-year-old remains of a town buried under volcanic ash outside of Santorini. Explore the historic forts of Corfu, or hop on a boat ride to Delos, said to be the birthplace of Apollo.
Discover Elafonisi Beach, a paradise of pink, powdery sand and shallow waters off the island of Crete. Take an unforgettable cruise through the impressive Corinth Canal on a shore excursion in Athens. Stand in awe at the base of Mount Olympus, Greeces highest mountain and the fabled home of the Greek gods. In Zakynthos, dont miss a visit to the awe-inspiring Shipwreck Beach, which often tops best-of lists.
Flights To Athens From The Usa And Canada
The easiest way to get to Athens from the USA and Canada is to fly. Actually it is the only way unless you can catch a cruise ship making the transition journey from the Caribbean to the Aegean Sea. If you are coming from the USA there are non-stop flights from New York by Delta Airlines and then a dozen other airlines that you have to connect somewhere in Europe. Starting in the summer Continental flies non-stop from Newark and American flies non-stop from Philadelphia to Athens. Emmirates also have flights from Newark non-stop to Athens. If you are coming from Canada you can fly Canada Air from Toronto and maybe Montreal. There are dozens of ways to fly to Greece and it is just a matter of finding the right flights and connections. What that means is the flights that don’t have layovers that have you waitingfor hoursin an airport between your transatlantic flight to Europe and your short flight to Athens or Thessaloniki.
By the way… check your passport expiration date because if you are American and you have less than 6 months before it expires they may not let you on the plane even if you are only going for 2 weeks. . Also if you are going for more than 3 months and you are non-EU you probably needa visa.
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Princess Cruises: Western Mediterranean Grand Adventure
The Western Mediterranean Grand Adventure offered by Princess Cruises is a 25-day cruise starting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and ending in Rome. The journey begins with seven full days at sea while crossing the Atlantic to Madeira in Portugal. From there, it’s to the British territory of Gibraltar, followed by four ports in Spain Cartagena, the island of Mallorca and Barcelona then to Marseille, a gateway to the region of Provence, France. A day docked at Livorno, Italy, from which you can reach Florence and Pisa, precedes a full day at sea on the way to Greece. The following three days are spent at three different Greek destinations: Katakolon, a fishing village not far from the remarkable ruins of Olympia the isle of Mykonos, famous for its picturesque windmills and Santorini with its dramatic volcanic landscape. Leaving Greece, the ship sails through the longest fjord in Southern Europe to reach Kotor, Montenegro, then returns to Italy for a day in Naples, from which you can venture to Capri and Pompeii, before ultimately landing in Rome.
Oceania Cruises: Waves To Waterways
Oceania’s Waves to Waterways cruise begins in Miami, ends in Venice and calls at 14 countries over 47 days. The initial transatlantic crossing is broken up with a visit to Bermuda. Days 13 to 27 are dedicated to ports in Spain and Portugal. Among them are two of Spain’s Canary Islands three of its Balearic Islands mainland cities including Seville, Valencia and Barcelona and Madeira and Lisbon in Portugal. Numerous French and Italian ports follow, including Saint-Tropez, Marseille and Corsica in France and Portofino, Sardinia, Rome and the Amalfi Coast in Italy. A day on Malta is also featured. One destination in Greece is included Cephalonia in the Ionian Islands. The final days of the cruise are spent in Tirana, Albania Kotor in Montenegro Split in Croatia and finally, Venice, where the journey ends.
While cruises from the U.S. to Greece are desirable, they are limited in number and availability and call at only one to three destinations in Greece. If visiting ports in Greece is a priority for you, consider flying to Europe to pick up one of the many available cruises with more comprehensive arrays of Greek islands and mainland ports in their itineraries.
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Traveling From The Us
There are few airlines that offer non-stop flights between the USA and Athens however, many offer one or two stop over flights. The following are the main airline companies that fly to Athens:
Delta Airlines offers direct flights from New York-JFK to Athens up to once or twice a day during peak season .
Since March 2017, Emirates has included non-stop flights between Newark and Athens and operate all year round.
During the summer months, American Airlines also offers daily flights from Philadelphia to Athens.
Why Are Cruise Ships Heading To Greece
Well, for starters, besides opening to tourists, Greece is among the first countries in the world to allow cruise ships to sail its waters, which is great news for companies that have kept their ships still for over a year. And, according to cruise industry insiders, people want to sail.
At the same time, in an attempt to re-ignite interest and restore trust, cruise companies are not only offering flexible payment, refund, and booking options, they have also slashed prices and are offering free rebooking for departures in 2022.
For some, traveling or taking a cruise sounds risky, particularly in view of the COVID-19 developments. For Greece however, which relies heavily on tourism, reopening to travelers is critical and cruise companies are welcoming the decision to allow their ships to service out of the country.
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At the same time, Greece welcomes the interest and arrival of global cruise giants after repeated efforts in the past few years to establish Greek ports as homeports, which would significantly increase revenue generated by passengers.
That said, at least two of the worlds leading cruise companies will be homeporting from Greece this year for the first time.
Greece has traditionallytogether with Italy and Spainbeen among the top three destinations for cruise travel in Europe.
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What Is The Best Time To Go On A Greek Islands Cruise
The cruise season to the Greek Islands usually runs from late April to October. Some guests prefer to start their cruise early in the season to avoid the higher temperatures of July and August. A regular summer day can easily hit up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sailing in October is less busy, and you can enjoy pleasant weather ideal for walking, hiking, and sightseeing. The water will not be as warm for swimming, but the Greek beaches and the ancient sites wont be as packed.
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
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Grand Africa And Mediterranean Voyage
The 62-night Grand Africa and Mediterranean Voyage aboard Holland America Line’s Prinsendam sails round-trip from Fort Lauderdale. The cruise makes stops on several islands in the Caribbean before visiting ports along the coast of Africa and Europe. The Prinsendam visits several ports in the Mediterranean, including Athens, then Spain and Portugal before heading back to Fort Lauderdale. The cruise ends with seven consecutive nights at sea.
When Is The Best Time To Go To The Greek Isles
Summer is the most popular time to visit Greece, with warm weather perfect for sunbathing and cooling off in the island’s surrounding deep blue waters. June through September is peak season, with July and August seeing the most frequent sailings. During these times, it can get very hot, with temperatures reaching into the 90s , so much sure to stay hydrated and pack light, cool clothes.
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What Cruise Lines Go To The Greek Isles
Once reserved for the elite class, the Greek Islands are now frequented by ships big and small. Which line to choose depends largely on which islands you’d like to visit the smaller the ship, the more hard-to-reach islands passengers can visit. These lines sail to Greece regularly, with a range of ports of call:
- Royal Caribbean Cruises: Often departing from Civitavecchia, Italy, Royal Caribbean’s Greek Isles cruises make stops in Katakolon, Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini. Shore excursions on these itineraries include a visit to the Agriturismo Magna Grecia Farm and a hike up Santorini’s famous Nea Kameni volcano.
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises: Sail with Regent to Greece from Barcelona on a Grand Mediterranean Cruise or round trip from Athens on a Majestic Greek Isles sailing. Regent visits Greek ports like Khios, Volos, Katakolon and Athens. Voyages are seven or more nights, with many including ports in Spain and Italy as well.
- Windstar Cruises: For yacht-style cruising and visits to less regularly trafficked ports, Windstar is a top choice. On an Athens to Athens voyage, Windstar travelers will visit nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites and stop in less-crowded ports like Nafplio and Patmos.
Amazing Foods Of Crete
With some 35 million olive trees and wine presses dating as far back as 1500 BC, its no wonder that the gastronomy of Crete is so special and tasty. Crete produces a third of all the olive oil in Greece, and 90 percent of it is extra virgin. The islands unique biodiversity includes myriad native wild herbs and greens.
According to leading Greek nutritionist Stefanos Pertsemlides, While the Cretan diet does not differentiate much from the Greek/Mediterranean diet, what is unusual is the very wide variety of ingredients that Crete asthis is quite unique, especially for an island. In fact, the term Mediterranean diet is based on the Cretan diet of the early 1950s, he adds, when a very important study revealed the Cretan diet to be a protective factor against cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Whether you feast on herb-suffused Cretan pork sausage, chicken souvlaki marinated in yogurt and garlic, or dakos, a kind of bread rusk with chopped tomatoes, drizzled with soft cheese and sprinkled with olive oil, Cretan cooking and its myriad traditional meze, or small appetizer plates, will leave you hungry for more. Excellent restaurants include Ferryman in Elounda Peskesi in Heraklion and Portes and Ta Chalkina in Chania. But even the humblest taverna in Crete turns out tempting dishes youll probably want to text home about.
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Cruise Travel: How Will It Work
So how will cruise travel in the Mediterranean be carried out post-COVID? Cruise companies insist that travel at sea is perhaps the safest and cleanest option due to the stringent safety, health, and sanitation protocols already in place on board even before the emergence of the virus.
The companies have, for the past year, followed the recommendations of safety and health experts and have expanded their existing protocols with additional layers of protection.
Some companies accept only vaccinated passengers , others are requesting a negative PCR test result 72 hours before embarkation, and a number of companies will be requesting that those under 18 test negative before boarding.
If you do decide to take a cruise this summer this is what you should expect: you can enjoy onboard amenities, eat only served meals at the ships dozens of restaurants, and enjoy drinks at the bars. You can also participate in cultural activities and sports on board.
One major change, however, is that you cant disembark at any port on your own unless youre traveling on a vaccinated-only cruise. Instead, this years visits to the shore will be organized exclusively by the cruise company, which has also tested vendors, guides, drivers, and service providers at the ports of call in order to ensure safety on board and limit the possibility of infection.
Additionally, you should have in mind that:
Things You Need To Know When Planning A Cruise To The Greek Islands
Few places are as photographed and fantasized about as the Greek Islands.
You can visit Santorinis whitewashed houses and their blue domes perched high atop the steep cliffs, witness the incredible history of the Acropolis of Athens, or stroll around the cobblestone alleyways of romantic Mykonos.
That said, traveling the Greek Islands can be daunting: There are flights to secure, hotels to book, boat reservations to makeand that doesnt even begin to count your meals, entertainment and the like. Cruising the islands can take much of that guesswork out of the equation, and our local Expedia Cruises travel agents will ensure you maximize your time and money, so you can focus on enjoying the experience.
Here are a few of the most asked questions answered about planning your cruise to the Greek Islands:
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What Its Like Cruising In Greece Right Now
Ive been to Mykonos in previous years when at times you could hardly walk the narrow streets because they were so clogged with tourists, but that was not the case on this trip. There was no jostling to get into designer shops or tables at oceanfront restaurants. And you could pause and take photos of the picturesque, white-washed houses, windmills, and blue-domed churches without being photobombed.
Avoid the summer and you will also avoid the Mykonos crowds.
In Rhodes, my brother and I toured rooms at the Palace of the Grand Masters, built by the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, which occupied Rhodes from 1309 to 1523, with only a handful of other visitors in sight. On some summer days, with the normal gaggles of tourists, the place is so crowded that you cant even see the mosaic floors.
There is also the fall advantage that locals, recovering from the typically busy summer season, are getting back to their lives. Folks we encountered were universally welcoming and openly expressed gratitude that we had chosen to travel to Greece.
Hike to the towering Palamidi Fortress on Nafplion in the comfort of cooler fall weather.
Greek Isles Cruise Highlights
Pack comfortable shoes and a bathing suit: of Greece’s many draws, you cannot miss relaxing on the beaches of Mykonos and Santorini or hiking up to historical gems like the Acropolis. Other must-sees include ruins like the Parthenon, Ancient Mycenae, and Mystras. In Athens, the and the Acropolis Museum showcase Greek treasures preserved from the earliest centuries of Western civilization. For shopping, stroll through Plaka, a historical neighborhood in Athens, or Monastiraki.
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Up Close And Personal To The Very Best Of Greece And The Greek Islands Cruise Vacations
Its easy to fall under an eternal spell of romanticism during a cruise vacation in Greece and the Greek islands. The eastern reaches of the eastern Mediterranean were the crossroads of many influential civilizations of antiquity from Phoenicians to Mycenaeans to Athenians and still more, as historic sites bear witness throughout the islands of the Dodecanese chain. From the majesty of the Acropolis in Athens to the beauty of picture-perfect islands such as Mykonos and Patmos, Greece and the Greek islands cruise Vacation is an all-time classic destination that appeals to every sense. No other country has given the world so much cultural heritage. The countrys lauded history and multifaceted architecture blend with incredible natural settings in port cities like Kavala and Volos a spellbinding gateway to the otherworldly landscapes of Meteora in Thessaly, the lunar-like rocks of Sarakiniko Beach and blue-domed churches of Santorini.