Enjoying the Greek Cruise Experience – So Many Islands, So Little Time
There are around 6000 Greek islands! So, it would be impossible to visit them all. But some people have tried. Only 227 are inhabited however so that makes the challenge somewhat possible. To help you get started, many cruise lines have put together fabulous itineraries. Some focus on one area of islands. Others hit the highlights of the most frequented islands. Some are on large cruise lines, other smaller ships or yachts. Here we look at seven unique itineraries that offer cruisers a great introduction to the Greek Islands.
Highlights of the Greek Islands With P&O
This is a seven night cruise with P&O Cruises, that begins at Piraeus, the port of Athens. A must-see city, Athens is the starting point for many Greek island cruises. After some history lessons at the Parthenon, the cruise continues to Crete’s beautiful white sand beach at Souda Bay. History buffs will love visiting Heraklion, the capital city of Crete, home of the Palace of Knossos and the ancient Minoan civilisation.
The cruise continues to the popular island of Santorini with its white and blue houses before moving on to Rhodes. This island has beautiful beaches and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Old Town, offers a well-preserved medieval settlement.
Ionian Island Odyssey — A Relaxing Cruise with Sea Farer Cruises
The Ionian Sea is a part of the Mediterranean Sea and lies between the west coast of Greece and the “shoe” of Italy. The focus of this seven night Sea Farer Cruise is to and enjoy the beauty of nature and see undisturbed coves and villages untouched by the modern world.
The cruise begins in Kefalonica, the sixth largest of the Greek islands. High limestone cliffs touching the azure sea. Just a few stone’s throw from Kefalonia is Ithaca with its mountains and few roads. These factors have helped protect Ithaca and its little city of Vathy from being overrun by big hotels and crowds. Lefkas is known for its hills and tiny coves. Just south of Lefkas is Skorpios, the former home of Aristotle Onassis. Other Sea Farer itineraries include other small islands like Meganissi, Kalamos, and Kastos.
Adriatic Aegean Medley – Best of Two Seas with Princess Cruises
After spending time in Rome and Salerno, your Princess ship arrives at the old city of Kotor in Montenegro along the Adriatic Sea. This city offers amazing 12th century palaces and churches. The next stop is Corfu, which is the second largest islands in the Ionian Group. After exploring the amazing Venetian fortresses and winding lanes, the cruise moves on to Chania, on the northern side of Crete, featuring narrow shopping streets and waterfront restaurants.
Two of Greece’s most famous islands are next on the itinerary. First Mykonos with its beautiful windmills and white-washed walls and then Santorini with its famous main city perched at the top of a high cliff. This 14-day cruise then continues on to Messina, Naples and Barcelona!
The Dalmatian Coast — Cruising the Adriatic Sea on the MV Dream
A world away from the Ionian Sea is the Adriatic Sea with Italy on the west and the Balkan Peninsula on the east. This part of the Mediterranean Sea is full of famous towns and a long history. Dalmatia refers to the east coast of the Balkan peninsula where lies one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area. Dubrovnik is on the itinerary of this MV Dream seven night cruise.
The Dalmatian coast is full of islands and reefs. There is plenty of free time on this cruise so bring your swimming and snorkelling gear. In addition to the overnight stops in Dubrovnik, Makarska, Hvar, the cruise stops at several small islands, beaches, and historic towns. There is also an overnight stay in Korcula, the intriguing birthplace of Marco Polo. Here you’ll have time to explore on your own or join a guided tour.
Classical Greece and Islands of the Aegean – Voyages to Antiquity
This is a 13-night cruise that begins in Athens where you’ll have time to visit the Acropolis, home of the Parthenon. MV Aegean Odyssey is a cruise ship owned and operated by Voyages to Antiquity,. After time spent on the mainland, the cruise departs from Piraeus, the port of Athens. It’s here that your Aegean Sea Odyssey begins, stopping at one of the most well-known Greek Islands, Santorini.
The cruise continues to Heraklion, the capital of Crete. Here you’ll see the Palace of Knossos and other sights dating back to the Minoan civilization. Next is Karpathos, an island that has retained its traditional ways of life. Rhodes offers beaches, medieval streets, a palace and a museum. Nisyros is one of the biggest hydro-thermal volcanoes in the world. Your final islands will be the very popular Mykonos and the nearby deserted yet archaeologically important island of Delos, the birthplace of Achilles.
This is just a sampling of the itineraries that explore the Greek mainland and islands. Perhaps you have a favorite?
Which of the many Greek Islands appeals to you the most? What are you looking for to do and see on your cruise? Do you see yourself relaxing with a book on the deck? Or climbing over rocks to see a mosaic floor that is thousands of years old?