Greek Island Cruises
Relax under the Mediterranean sun!
Why Greek Islands cruises?
Known for beautiful beaches, cliff-side towns and mostly temperate climates with luminous white-washed buildings and vibrantly blue-domed churches like the colors of the Greek flag. Greek Island cruises are intriguing, captivating and historically ripe with points of interest that are steeped in mythical lore and some of the most amazing ancient architectural ruins on Earth.
A Greek Island cruise offers white sandy beaches nestled among spectacular towns perched high above the shoreline plus magnificent antiquities, ancient ruins of civilizations to explore and plenty of low cost shopping. And lets not forget the delight of enjoying a well-prepared Mediterranean meal al fresco with a warm breeze at your back. Cruising the Greek islands is a feast for the eyes, the soul and the palate that is well worth considering for your next voyage.
Greek Island Cruises - A place of myths and legends.
Greek Island cruises are offered by a myriad of cruise ships both large and small through the year. When choosing a Greek Island cruise you need to ask yourself a few questions like do you prefer have the Mediterranean scenery as the backdrop to a cruise that is predominantly interesting in the luxury and pampering of big ship cruises or if you'd like to be able to sail on a small Greek Island cruise offering a more intimate experience of the actual Islands themselves.
Large cruise ships can't directly dock at popular ports on a Greek Island cruise because of their size so a lot of time is spent on water taxis back and forth to visit these spectacular islands which means less time to explore and enjoy the local culture, cuisine and sights. And with larger cruise ships it takes longer to get on and off the ship itself because of the enormous amount of passengers all trying to get in shore visits. Some of the more popular large ship cruise lines that offer Greek Island cruises are Celebrity, Holland America, Royal Caribbean and Disney. Large ship cruises will usually touch on two or three Greek Island ports briefly with more focus on larger ports like Athens, Istanbul or Venice.
Smaller ships, however, may not have all the bells and whistles of the big boys but get you closer to the islands themselves, allowing for more shore time to truly enjoy a Greek Island cruise, by exploring each individually different island along the way instead of just one or two ports like the large ship cruises. Smaller Greek Island cruise ships also offer a more intimate environment that tends to be more casual and relaxed. When booking a small ship Greek Island cruise it is best to contact local Greek travel agencies that know the area and will be able to help you choose the perfect cruise to fit your wants and desires. But there are plenty of cruise lines that offer small ship itineraries with Greek Island cruise destinations like Azamara Cruise Lines, Silversea Cruise Lines and Regent Seven Seas to name a few.
The prime time for Greek Island cruises is May through October with July and August being the hottest and most busiest probably because a lot of families are vacationing for their summer break with the kids. Most Greek Island cruises last around 7 days, but there are plenty of itineraries on both small ships and large ships, that last 14 days or longer. A Greek Island cruise planned during the spring or fall months offers the best weather and smaller crowds. Summer Greek Island cruises will afford higher temperatures and lots more tourists. Winter weather involves rain and temperatures in the 50s-60s, and though the weather is the worst during this time of year for a Greek Island cruise, it is becoming increasingly popular among travelers because there are less crowds and the prices are considerably lower. But for anyone considering a winter Greek Island cruise be advised that on shore facilities might be short-staffed and amenities like island ferries or local tour guides might be non-existent or sparsely available.
Popular Greek Island cruise destinations.
Greek Island cruises, whether on a big ship or small ship, are epic adventures in culture, history and fun in the sun. It is said that the cruising the Greek isles is much like cruising the Caribbean with each island having its own charm, personality and allure. There are three islands that stand out on a Greek island cruise that should definitely be considered when planning a cruise to this region, and they are:
A Greek isnand cruise to Santorini: Considered cruising to one of the best sail away ports in the world. Santorini greets you with beauty as well as a a geology lesson, since you will be docking in a caldera that was created by a volcano that erupted on this island around 1500 BC. The volcanic eruption caused the center of Santorini to collapse over 1,000 feet creating this magnificent caldera that gives a look into the layers of rock on the tall cliffs of the island. You'll also notice the white-washed buildings lining the edge of the caldera cliff, which at first glance, appears to be covered in snow.
Greek island cruise excursions on Santorini include taking a trip up to the capital city of Fira via a donkey, cable car or walking to enjoy; and bus tour that takes Oia, a quaint mountain village and artist colony, for a wine tour which ends back in Fira for open air eating overlooking the sea below; or you can take a tour of Akrotiri, and ancient archaeological site from the Minoan period which had been perfectly preserved under a layer of volcanic ash for over 3,600 years.
Greek island cruise to Rhodes: With it's rich history and spectacular beaches, Rhodes, is a must see for anyone taking a Greek island Cruise. Rhodes was the home of the Knights of St. John that fled Jerusalem back in the 13th Century and is also home to the ruins of a magnificent partially restored acropolis overlooking the sea and the village of Lindos which sits at it's base. Rhodes was also the home of the Colossus of Rhodes, which was a massive statue erected honoring the Greek god Helius and celebrating Rhodes' victory over the ruler of Cyprus, which is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Popular Greek island cruise excursions are a 45-minute bus ride to Lindos for a walk up to the 400-foot acropolis the overlooks the village (donkeys are also available for those less inclined to make the hike on foot); Old Town Rhodes has literally hundreds of shops and restaurants where you can purchase gold and silver jewelry, lace, furs, leather and more at great prices; visit The Palace of the Grand Masters, an early 14th century medieval castle, that was built by the Knights of Rhodes and is one of the few examples of Gothic architecture in Greece (unfortunately those seeking out a glimpse of the Colossus of Rhodes will be disappointed as this ancient statue has been gone for centuries); or spend the day out in the sun enjoying the nearby picture-perfect beaches of this island.
Mykonos Greek Island Cruise: This island is known for it's party reputation (during summer months) set amongst a landscape of white-washed homes and cobblestone streets. Unfortunately Mykonos doesn't have any historical ruins, but it's charmingly quaint streets are full of artisan shops, cafes and famous beaches for travelers to enjoy. But if you truly need an ancient architecture fix you can take a quick shore excursion over to the island of Delos which was once the commercial and religious hub of the Aegean. Mykonos is also well known for it's spectacular diving reputation.
There are a good amount of points of interest when taking a Greek island cruise to Mykonos. Great photo opportunities like the churches and windmills that are scattered around this beautiful Geek island, the functioning Armenistis Lighthouse that serves as a testament to Mykonos' maritime history, or a visit Little Venice, rows of old fishing houses along the coastline that have basements with direct access to the sea, where some homes have been converted into bars, cafes, galleries and little shops. Little Venice is also known as the most romantic spot on the island that attracts many tourists and artists at sunset to enjoy and paint the picturesque scene of it's coastline.