There are several choices when it comes to taking a cruise around the Greek Islands. There are the cruise liners from the well known international companies, there are the smaller local companies with ships carrying around 800 passengers, the small motor yachts or sailing ships and finally the romantic ‘ferry’ type boats that are used for island hopping; ideal for those with more time. Cruises in the region take in many famous ports of call and some go further a field to Turkey, Egypt and Israel. These cruises generally operate in the spring and summer months between April and October.
- Many of these islands are very small and if you choose one of the larger ships you will spend longer disembarking as this must be done by the smaller tender boats. When you do arrive on shore many of the ships passengers will be there too, probably not the quiet sleepy fishing village you had always imagined.
- When choosing your itinerary be sure to check where you will be docking, your itinerary may say Rhodes but you may find that you dock in Marmaris, Turkey has cheaper docking fees and its quite a trip from here to visit Rhodes.
- If the ‘real’ Greece is what you want to see why not choose a smaller vessel. On theses cruises you can sail into the port and visit some of the more traditional areas rich in history as well as being able to stroll in the streets rather than be squashed by the hoards.
Ports of Call
On a typical 7 day classical Greece cruise you would sail from Athens and the port of Piraeus and head for the island of Delos. Spend the morning at one of the most important and extensive archaeological sites in Greece as well as the mythological birthplace of Apollo and Atemis. In the afternoon set sail for Mykonos one of the most cosmopolitan islands in the Cyclades, famous for its nightlife, sandy beaches and location for the film ‘Shirley Valentine. Your next port of call is the volcanic island of Santorini. The island is extremely popular with tourists due to the magnificent views from the cliffs overlooking the submerged caldera and the photo opportunities of the traditional white houses with their bright blue paintwork. Following a night at sea you will find yourself in Rethymnon, Crete. From here you can visit the city, its beaches or go further inland to Knossos the largest Bronze Age Palace site on Crete. The site is particular interesting for archeologists as it contains some very detailed frescos and a very well preserved throne room. In the afternoon set sail for Kythira the most undeveloped of the Ionian Islands. Here you see the real Greece, deserted beaches, traditional lifestyles and (one of) the alleged birth places of Aphrodite, the goddess of Love.
There are many other islands to explore, some quiet and unspoilt, others the destination for hundreds of tourists during the summer season, but whatever your image of Greece; you will be able to find that dream somewhere.