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10 Best Greece Cruises, According to Travel Experts

These are the best Greece cruises for island hopping with ease.

cruises the greek islands

Courtesy of Variety Cruises

With its stunning beaches, rich history, iconic landmarks, and delectable cuisine, a trip to Greece is always a great idea. However, since the nation is home to more than 6,000 islands — some of which are only accessible by boat — your best bet is to explore via cruise. Just take it from Rob Clabbers, Travel + Leisure A-List travel advisor and Q Cruise + Travel founder, who tells T+L that “Greece and the Greek isles are just the perfect destinations to explore by ship” since “a cruise allows you to see more islands and gives you a unique vantage point.” Several of the best Greece cruises also include visits to neighboring countries like Turkey and Italy, for example, which allow travelers to experience several cultures and countries in one action-packed trip. Intrigued? We don’t blame you: Ahead, check out our favorite Greece cruises for every type of traveler, along with itinerary recommendations and expert insight.

Meet the Expert

Rob Clabbers is a T+L A-List travel advisor and founder of Q Cruise + Travel, a Chicago-based travel agency. 

Mary Curry is a T+L A-list travel advisor and small ship specialist.

Kari Dillon is the owner of Marvelous Mouse Travels, an agency specializing in theme park and cruise vacations.

Megan Guinnup is a travel agent with Marvelous Mouse Travels.

Windstar Cruises

Courtesy of Windstar

According to Clabbers, this small luxury cruise line is perfect for those who prefer “a smaller, more casual yacht-style experience.” Per the pro, the onboard vibes are best described as “upscale, but not stuffy or over-the-top.” It’s also worth noting that “each ship offers a water sports platform with kayaks, water trampolines, stand-up paddling, snorkel gear, floating carpets, and other ‘toys’ that are deployed (weather and location permitting, of course) at least once on most Greek itineraries.” 

Itinerary: While you can’t go wrong with any of Windstar’s Greece itineraries, Clabbers is quick to call out the popular Treasures of the Greek Isles voyage, which sets sail each week from May through October. Passengers can visit beloved ports of call like Mykonos and Santorini, along with “lesser-known (and less-crowded!) places like Monemvasia and Patmos.” As part of the experience, guests have the unique opportunity to feast among the ruins in neighboring Turkey as part of the line’s complimentary Evening in Ephesus “after-hours” event, which, per Clabbers, features a decadent five-course dinner accompanied by a chamber orchestra. Speaking of culinary offerings, it’s worth mentioning that Windstar is the official cruise line partner of the esteemed James Beard Foundation, which means you can expect some of the top eats at sea.

Explora Journeys

Courtesy of Explora Cruises

“A new entrant in the luxury travel industry, Explora Journeys offers all the style and comfort of a modern European luxury resort property on its 922-guest yacht-inspired Explora I and, launching later this year, Explora II, ” explains Clabbers. The line has taken the industry by storm, doing away with cliche cruise staples like main dining rooms, large buffets, and notoriously small staterooms. Instead, says Clabbers, guests can choose from a selection of “excellent restaurants that other companies would call specialty restaurants,” as well as “four swimming pools, each with their own vibe,” and all-suite accommodations, some of which boast private plunge pools. Per the pro, it’s worth noting that “Explora Journeys is the first luxury line that offers a dedicated youth activity program and facility year-round;” as such, it’s an excellent option for multi-generational families looking to cruise Greece in style. 

Itinerary: Sailing round-trip from Athens, the aptly named eight-night A Journey from Athens to Athens itinerary includes a mix of popular ports like Mykonos and Santorini, along with hidden-gem locales like Syros, which is famous for its neoclassical architecture, a buzzy main town, and (essentially) crowd-free beaches. The cruise also visits the serene resort town of Marmaris in Turkey before heading to its final port of call, Kos , a gorgeous Greek island known for its sandy beaches, white-washed buildings, and historical sites.

Celebrity Cruises

Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

According to Clabbers, " Celebrity Cruises was launched by a Greek shipping family," so the line has deep ties to — and many officers who hail from — the country. What’s more, he says, "When you visit Greece, they are taking you to their homeland, and it shows in their passion and love of the Hellenic nation." The line offers a range of larger ships and, thus, more options between accommodations (from economical inside rooms to luxurious suites in The Retreat), itineraries, restaurants, and entertainment; as such, Celebrity is "a great option for adults and families who like more activities on their ship." 

Itinerary: The nine-night Best Of Greece itinerary cruises round-trip from Athens on select dates from May to October and takes place aboard the 2,170-passenger Celebrity Infinity , which Clabbers described as one of the line’s “smaller and more seasoned ships.” The first port of call is Santorini, followed by Ephesus in Turkey and Mykonos. “Additionally,” says Clabbers, " Infinity   travels to Volos and Thessaloniki, ports that are not typically visited by large ships.” Kavala, located in the northern part of the country, serves as the final port of call before heading back to Athens. Here, cruisers can enjoy a mix of history, culture, and architecture — plus some seriously stunning landscapes (from lagoons and lakes to wetlands and beaches) along with lush flora and fauna.

Related: What to Know About All 16 Ships in the Celebrity Cruises Fleet

Courtesy of Silversea cruises

Silversea offers a variety of Greece cruise itineraries, and it’s one of few truly luxe all-inclusive cruise lines. Per Clabbers, the 596-passenger Silver Moon offers all-suite accommodations and a classic small-ship feel — complete with excellent meals, beverages, and shore excursions all included in your cruise fare. Speaking of the latter, he says, “The inclusion of shore excursions also makes it easy to dive deeper into Greek culture and culinary experiences.” 

Itinerary: While you can’t go wrong with any of Silversea’s Greek itineraries, Clabbers especially recommends the seven-night Athens to Athens cruise, which “calls on highlights, but adds places like Souda Bay in Crete, Nafplion, Patmos, and Rhodes ,” where he recommends visiting the “temple ruins at Lindos, with views over the Mediterranean, and then walk in the footsteps of the Crusaders in the old town.” The cruise also stops in Nafplion, which, despite its romantic seaside setting and lovely beaches, is yet to be uncovered by most American travelers — for now, at least.

Variety Cruises

According to T+L A-list travel advisor and small ship specialist Mary Curry , this local Greek cruise line offers its own fleet of yachts, most carrying fewer than 50 passengers. Since the ships are so small, says Curry, “you can travel a bit further off the beaten path.” Variety offers a handful of Greece itineraries, including specially themed hiking and wine cruises.

Itinerary: Travelers craving a true off-the-beaten-path experience can book the seven-night Unexplored Greece voyage, which sails round-trip from Athens. The first port of call is Ikira, a tiny island known for its hot springs that also happens to be one of the world’s Blue Zones. Then, it’s off to Patmos, known for its fascinating history and unspoiled beaches, before overnighting in Lipsi, a laid-back isle famous for its gorgeous scenery. On board, guests can taste the destination’s famous wine, Aposperitis. The fun continues in Levintha, inhabited by a single family who raises animals and runs a restaurant where guests can enjoy fresh-caught fish. After, it’s off to Amorgos, where scenic hiking and beautiful beaches abound. The next day, you’ll stop at Panagia Hozoviotissa, a cliffside monastery dating back to the 10th century, before heading to Koufonisia, which boasts majestic caves and rock pools accessible only by boat (thankfully, Variety as you covered). The final stop of the day is the serene island of Iraklia, which offers clear-blue waters ideal for swimming. After remaining here overnight, you’ll head to the final port of call, Serifos, where guests can visit a remote beach, followed by an onboard BBQ feast to refuel before heading to Chora, a fairy-tale village.

Courtesy of Ponant Cruises

This French-owned cruise line offers an impressive fleet of small luxury ships. Additionally, says Curry, “Most cabins have private balconies, and travelers who plan early are rewarded with excellent value for the money.” What’s especially unique about Pontant, explains the pro, is that they “partner with Smithsonian Journeys on select departures to offer an enrichment program of included lectures and shore excursions in each port.”

Itinerary: Curry especially recommends the seven-night Cruising the Greek Islands of the Southern Aegean sailing, which will cruise round-trip from Athens in July and October 2025. The cruise calls on aforementioned spots like Patmos, Rhodes, and Amorgos before visiting Adamas in Milos, a volcanic island teeming with postcard-worthy white-washed towns and breathtakingly beautiful beaches. Adamas itself is a tiny fishing port where colorful boats shimmer against the blue waters. Finally, it’s off to Mykonos and Napflion before finally disembarking in Athens.

Disney Cruise Line

Courtesy of Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line is world-famous for its exciting onboard offerings for children of all ages — including character and superhero meet-and-greets, dining options themed after beloved Disney princesses, and live performances galore — making it a favorite for families hoping for a fun-filled Greece vacation.

Itinerary: "Setting sail aboard the Disney Dream on the seven-night Mediterranean with Greek Isles itinerary is nothing short of magical!" says Megan Guinnup , a travel agent with Marvelous Mouse Travels . Cruising round-trip from Rome, the ship calls on Naples before exploring Greece. In addition to popular ports like Athens and Mykonos, you'll also visit Chania on the island of Crete, which offers a bustling harbor, exquisite architecture, and cobblestone streets that look like they were plucked straight from a (Disney) fairy tale. After exploring each locale, the fun continues back on board, where, per the pro, "there is enchantment everywhere — meeting beloved characters, enjoying deck parties with Mickey and Minnie, and indulging in exquisite cuisine."

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Disney Cruise Ships

Royal Caribbean

Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

This mega-ship line truly has it all: Flashy entertainment and onboard activities — which, depending on the ship, can include everything from water slides to zip lines — and plenty of drinking and dining offerings to appease even the pickiest eaters. Guinnup and Kari Dillon, owner of Marvelous Mouse Travels, recommend setting sail aboard Odyssey of the Seas , which offers several Greek itineraries. "On board," says Guinnup, "There's a plethora of activities to enjoy, from bumper cars and roller skating to exquisite dining and a bionic bar — there's something for everyone!"

Itinerary: The seven-night Greek Isles itinerary sails round-trip from Rome with stops in Santorini, Ephesus, Mykonos, and Naples. Keep in mind that because the ship is so large, Santorini and Mykonos are both tender ports. With that in mind, Dillon recommends springing on The Key, an optional add-on that includes priority tender access so that you can spend as much time as possible on land basking in its beauty.

Virgin Voyages

Courtesy of Virgin Voyages

Richard Branson’s adults-only line has taken the industry by storm with its innovative offerings, including 20-plus restaurants instead of buffets, an onboard tattoo parlor, adult-focused entertainment offerings, and a two-story nightclub.

Itinerary: Dillon especially recommends the seven-night Greek Island Aglow itinerary for travelers seeking a high-energy, adults-only option. She continues, telling T+L, “Not only does this sail to the islands of Santorini and Rhodes, but it [also] has an overnight in Mykonos, which is world-famous for its lively party atmosphere.” As a bonus, the cruise also calls on Bodrum in Turkey, which boasts beautiful beaches, flower-filled cafes, and a bustling nightlife scene.

Celestyal Cruises

Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Greece-based Celesytal Cruises prides itself on offering an authentic Greek vacation experience. Additionally, Celesytal is unique in that it offers year-round Aegean Sea sailings cruising round-trip from Athens and ranging in length from three to 14 nights. On land, Celeystal guests can choose from a selection of the line’s “Authentic Excursions,” which are specially curated, small-group, expert-led experiences designed to take travelers off the beaten path. Options — including walking food tours and pottery-making demos at a local factory — abound, depending on the particular port of call.

Itinerary: The seven-night Idyllic Aegean voyage visits Thessaloniki (which offers an eclectic combination of history, nightlife, and gastronomy), Kuşadası (a popular Turkish resort town), and Heraklion (the capital of Crete) before heading to iconic isles like Santorini and Mykonos, where the ship will remain overnight. Before returning to Athens for disembarkation, you’ll also stop in magnificent Milos.

Best Greece cruises: Top 5 ships sailing the Greek isles

Ashley Kosciolek

From ancient mythology to wine and olives, there's a lot to love about Greece . There's something magical about the contrast between the deep-blue waters of the Aegean Sea and the ancient ruins and white buildings found on the Greek islands.

The best Greece cruises offer a well-rounded mix of islands and key Greece destinations: Athens for its ruins, Santorini for its blue-roofed churches, Mykonos for its shopping and nightlife, and Rhodes for its palace and charming cobblestone streets. You might even luck out and snag a visit to places like Turkey or Montenegro, too.

If you're not sure which ships to consider, here's a list of the best cruises to Greece for different kinds of travelers.

Note: Prices were accurate at the time of publication; they're subject to change without notice.

For more cruise guides, news and tips, sign up for TPG's cruise newsletter .

Best Greek isles cruises for families: Disney Dream

cruises the greek islands

Disney Cruise Line is ideal for families. If a Disney cruise to Greece with kids sounds appealing, Disney Dream is the ship that will take you there.

The vessel isn't the line's newest, but it's also not the oldest, and you'll still find plenty to do on board. The 2,500-passenger ship's small size means it's easy to learn your way around. Even better, Disney Dream is typically more affordable than the line's newest vessels.

Dream offers jaw-dropping entertainment and daily character appearances, which means your children likely won't be bored on the ship. Its magical kids clubs feature a replica of Andy's room from "Toy Story" and the Millennium Falcon's cockpit from "Star Wars." (Expect surprise visits from R2-D2 or a squad of stormtroopers.)

Also, Greece is wrapped in tons of ancient history to spark your family's imagination. For example, in Athens, you might choose to take a guided tour of the Acropolis, followed by a "day in the life of an archaeologist" experience, where you'll search for treasures in a faux archaeological dig.

If the kids prefer something sportier, they might enjoy an excursion that takes visitors to the Panathenaic Stadium for a tour and a talk about the first Olympic games of the modern era.

Disney Dream sails five-, seven- and nine-night voyages from $322 per person, per night, for a windowless inside cabin. Some itineraries sail round-trip from Rome, while others cruise one-way between Rome and Barcelona with calls on Athens, Mykonos and other ports in Greece.

Related: Best cruise lines for families

Best adults-only Greece cruises for party animals: Resilient Lady

cruises the greek islands

If you enjoy a lively megaship party atmosphere but you don't want an environment that's overrun with kids, Virgin Voyages ' Resilient Lady will likely be the best Greece cruise option for you.

Although Virgin's Greece itineraries are pretty standard, its onboard experience is what sets it apart in the region.

The adults-only ship combines a casual vibe with a ramped-up nightlife. You'll find passengers dressed like mermaids, crew dressed like drag queens and performers that more accurately represent a cross-section of real life than those whom you'll find on most other lines' vessels.

As part of what just might be the best entertainment at sea , nighttime shows run the gamut from lounge singers and seemingly impromptu atrium dance parties to secret below-deck visits to the "crew bar" for a drink. There's also Scarlet Night — a rave-like pool-deck dance party where everyone wears red.

If that's not wild enough for you, there's also an app that lets you order Champagne to wherever you are on board, free fitness classes that encourage you to dress up in your '80s best and even a tattoo parlor so you can make some bad decisions.

Resilient Lady sails seven-, 10- and 11-night cruises from Athens, starting at $145 per person, per night, for an inside cabin. The voyages feature a mix of stops in Greece (including Santorini and Rhodes and an overnight in Mykonos), Croatia, Turkey and Montenegro, depending on the specific itinerary you choose.

Related: The best adults-only cruises to try if you can't stand being around kids on vacation

Best budget-friendly Greece cruises: Rhapsody of the Seas

cruises the greek islands

Want to check out Greece but have limited funds? Although you'll have to factor in potentially expensive flights to Europe to board, a voyage on Royal Caribbean 's Explorer of the Seas could be right up your alley.

The vessel is one of Royal Caribbean's oldest ships — it debuted in 2000 — but that doesn't mean you won't find fun onboard activities such as trivia, pool games, nightly theater performances, game shows, dancing and live music.

The best part if you're on a budget is the price. You can snag sailings of six, seven or eight nights from just $85 per person, per night, for an inside cabin. These cruises sail either between Rome and Athens or between Barcelona and Athens, or round-trip from Ravenna (the port for Bologna, Italy). Voyages include calls on Athens, Santorini and Mykonos, as well as ports in Cyprus and Turkey.

Related: How to get a deal on a cruise

Best small-ship luxury Greece cruises: Windstar's Wind Star

cruises the greek islands

Windstar Cruises ' namesake, Wind Star, is a 148-passenger masted sailing yacht that offers a special Greek islands experience because it calls on some of the area's smaller ports in addition to Athens.

The ship is great for sailing aficionados. Because of its small size, it can visit smaller ports that larger vessels can't access. (Think Monemvasia, a town carved into rock, and Gythion, where you'll find caves and lovely beaches.)

Also, Wind Star is an upscale ship, which means you'll find elevated dining and service on board. All cabins offer at least one window. When you purchase an all-inclusive fare, Wi-Fi, gratuities and alcohol are rolled into the price.

Among other itineraries, the vessel sails weeklong cruises between Athens and Rome that call on Monemvasia and Gythion in Greece, as well as several ports in Italy. Rates start from $300 per person, per night, for an outside cabin.

Related: The best luxury cruise lines for elegance and exclusivity

Best locally based Greek isles cruises: Celestyal Journey

cruises the greek islands

Celestyal Cruises is a line you don't hear about too often, but it's based in Greece, which means it has a unique perspective on Greek island sailings.

If you're looking for a cruise vacation that's full of local Greek flair, check out the brand's Celestyal Journey. The ship isn't new, but it's new to the line. Following an extensive refurbishment, and its Celestyal debut in late 2023, it's the youngest member of the line's fleet.

Holding about 1,200 passengers, Celestyal Journey is small enough that you'll still receive a personalized experience but large enough to offer a multitude of onboard amenities. Enjoy yourself at the spa and fitness center, eight bars, seven restaurants, a chef's table experience and two pools. The ship offers 630 cabins, including 149 balcony cabins, 120 junior suites and 28 full-fledged suite accommodations.

Itineraries offered by Celestyal Journey range from four to 28 nights, departing from either Athens or Thessaloniki. Most voyages include calls on well-known Greek ports like Santorini, Rhodes and Mykonos, while longer sailings also venture to places in Turkey and Montenegro. Prices start from $89 per person, per night, for an inside cabin.

Bottom line

The best cruises to Greece combine a mix of fascinating destinations with a ship that fits your budget and travel style. If you're still unsure which cruise to choose, check with a knowledgeable cruise travel agent who can help you sort through the options.

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A Greek Island Cruise With The Best Cruise Line

Take a holiday, cruise to Greece, and experience the beauty and magnificence of the Mediterranean for an unforgettable holiday. Explore the mainland and witness ancient history, or travel to the Greek Isles for rich culture and picturesque sun-drenched beaches of the once-powerful empire. Experience lively Santorini as you stroll through its picturesque, winding streets. Explore the island of Mykonos and its famed whitewashed homes and beautiful beaches. Or lose yourself in the deep blue waters of Corfu and its collection of quaint cafes. Historic ruins, Greek Gods and relaxation await you on your Greek cruise with Norwegian.

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New Greek Isles Cruises

WE'RE BACK! Norwegian is Cruising to Greece this Summer

Sail aboard Norwegian Jade as we get ready break free this summer. As part of our first available sailings, experience a 7-day Greek Isles cruise from Athens (Piraeus) to Santorini and its famed blue-domed villages, Corfu’s rolling vineyards, and the islands’ breathtakingly beautiful coastlines. Explore the best of the Greek Isles on this port-intensive itinerary.

New Europe Cruises

NEW! Meet the All-New Norwegian Spirit, Cruising to Greece & Turkey

Every curve. Every view. Every single space — completely reimagined. Our most extensive ship renovation ever, harmonized to offer the best of Norwegian Cruise Line’s exceptional fleet. Every stateroom modernized. Every bar and lounge redesigned. Every dining experience elevated, featuring our new fine Italian restaurant Onda by Scarpetta.

Greek Isles Cruises

Greek Island Cruises From Venice, Athens, Barcelona & Rome

Take in the best of the Greek Isles on a cruise with Norwegian. Sip a glass of ouzo at a charming hillside tavern in Santorini , admiring the whitewashed houses and signature brilliant blue trim that matches perfectly with the Aegean Sea. Witness the one-and-only Acropolis in Athens , a citadel more than 2,500 years old and still a fixture of the city’s skyline. Or simply amble the narrow winding streets of picturesque Mykonos , famous for its scenic beauty. Feel free to go Greek with Norwegian. Opa!

Greek Island Cruises

What to Do on a Cruise to Greece

See dramatic blue waters and tranquil hillside villages in Corfu, Greece . Travel through the volcanic island of Santorini and take pictures of the villages clinging to the sides of the sea cliffs. Work on your tan at the beautiful beaches in Mykonos. Explore the oldest city in Europe and take in art, culture, cuisine, and shopping in Athens. Or experience daily life like a local on our new "Go Local" excursions , where authentic experiences await. It's all Greek on your cruise holiday with Norwegian.

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Corfu, Greece

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Best Greek Isles EXCURSIONS

Cruise to Santorini, Greece and Explore Like a Local with Norwegian

We know the destinations you'll be visiting and what there is to see, do and experience. We offer you a variety of excursions to choose from, in every port you'll visit.

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Go Local - Cretan Village Of Krousonas

Explore the village of Krousonas and engage in activities that will provide an authentic glimpse into daily life....

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Go Local - Traditional Sunday Lunch on the Athenian Riviera

Experience a hands-on lamb roasting class in Kalyvia. Learn techniques, prepare side dishes, and savor a classic Greek meal....

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Go Local - Rhodes Traditional Inland Villages

Soak up the rural atmosphere in several inland villages while tasting classic Greek specialties such as sourdough bread, stuffed grape leaves and ouzo....

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Go Local - A Day in the Country Life of a Corfiot Family

Experience a day on a Corfu farm in Alevropari, learn about country life, tour the farm, pick produce, and enjoy a family lunch....

Greek Isles HOTELS

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Grand Hyatt Athens

Located on the famous Syngrou Avenue, between the cultural centre of the historic city of Athens and the cosmopolitan Athenian Riviera, Grand Hyatt Athens offers the ultimate hospitality experience in a city with a heady mix of history and edginess. Explore the vibrant city of Athens, discover the narrow streets and small buildings of Plaka, and merge into 3.000 years of Greek history whilst visiting the Acropolis Hill.

Amenities include 2 restaurants, an outdoor rooftop pool (seasonal), a spa, a gym, a business centre, and event space for up to 1,000 people. Breakfast, an airport shuttle and valet parking are available.

The hotel offers complimentary shuttle service to the airport. You're also walking distance to the rail station, where it's only 20 minutes to Venice by train.

Distance/ Airport: 25 miles Distance/ Pier: 10 miles

Package includes: Room and room tax Breakfast Bellman gratuities Transfers between Hotel and Pier

Important Note: Accommodations are based on double occupancy per room. Some accommodation will allow triple and quad guests in a room and are subject to availability and surcharge will apply. Additional hotel rooms to accommodate triple and quads may be required, and surcharge will apply.

Read THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT Greek Isles Cruises

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Stroll Through Santorini

Wander through Santorini's iconic blue-domes and white stairs.

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Aerial view of the Greek Isles

Greek Cruises

Greek Isle cruises deliver ancient wonders and once-in-a-lifetime excursions along with some of the bluest water on earth. See ruins from the dawn of democracy, wind down on a beach, and then indulge in fresh Mediterranean fare, all in one day. Our Greek Isle cruises offer a striking balance between popular attractions and seldom-visited ports. Whether you have 7 days, 12 days, or more, you’ll find just the right itinerary in our wide selection. Wander a brilliant-white maze of shops, restaurants, and homes to a breathtaking overlook. Stand in the same place as the greatest thinkers of all time. Sample flavorful cuisine at a taverna you’ll talk about for years to come. From ancient Athens to sun-dappled Mykonos, colorful Chania to the incredible Olympia, find the best Greek Isle cruises right here.

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Highlights from Cruises to Greece

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History & Culture

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Greek Isle Beauty

Explore greek isle ports.

Piraeus (Athens), Greece

Step back in time on your cruise to Greece. Visit the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike, and other ancient ruins. Follow your tour with an open-air dinner in the Plaka neighborhood.

Crete (Souda), Greece

On the northwest coast of the island of Crete, Souda beckons with a romantic Venetian harbor, Old Town’s tangle of streets, and a 500-year-old lighthouse.

Katakolon (Olympia), Greece

The region reveals what it means to be Greek: traditions that go back thousands of years, simple but delicious and healthy cuisine, towering mountains, and crystal blue seas.

Mykonos, Greece

Mykonos is a top choice among the glamourous. Chic tavernas with open terraces line the sea and after the sun dips down, the island sizzles with youthful energy.

Kerkira (Corfu), Greece

Come ashore to Corfu on your Greek Islands cruise, a muse for some of history’s most notable writers. Be inspired with a swim in its azure waters or wander verdant, cypress-dotted hills.

Rhodes, Greece

Even without its immense Helios statue, Rhodes remains one of the most-visited Greek islands with its white-sand beaches, glittering coves and fascinating ruins.

Thira (Santorini), Greece

Santorini has a dizzying array of archeological treasures, sun-bleached villages and world-renowned wines. To top it all, it’s home to one of the most beautiful volcanic calderas in the world.

Gythion (Sparta), Greece

Once the port of ancient Sparta, this lovely fishing town draws its name from gi theon, which means “land of the gods” in Greek. It’s the entryway to the rugged, mountainous realm of the Spartans—the fiercely independent people who rejected foreign rule time and time again.

Kavala (Neapolis), Greece

Northern Greece is often overlooked as a Greek Isle cruise destination, and many will not even have heard of the Macedonian port of Kavála. But the city, and the region it opens into, are both picturesque and culturally important, with a history that encompasses classical times as well as the more modern era.

Mytilene, Nisos Lesbos

Lesbos, Greece is well known for olives and ouzo production, and visitors can see evidence of both everywhere. The island's charms extend beyond those pleasures, though: It’s a beautiful place of open plains, sweeping hills, and sandy beaches with views of Turkey across the water.

Pylos, Greece

Pine-covered hills wrap around the lovely town of Pylos (often referred to as Navarino, its Italian name), in the Messenia region of Greece's Peloponnese. Cobblestoned streets lead down to the harbor, where outdoor cafés overlook the bay. This pleasant scene, however, belies a turbulent history.

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View of the Archaeological Museum of Olympia

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Greek Island Cruises: Best Itineraries, Ports & Cruise Lines!

Posted on Last updated: March 18, 2024

This guide is your ultimate compass to Greek Island cruises, filled with expert tips and tricks to ensure your cruise of the Greek Islands is nothing short of legendary.

Whether you’re a seasoned cruiser or a first-timer eager to feel the embrace of the Mediterranean sun, grab your cruise planner and let’s set sail together into the heart of the Aegean.

Cruise of the Greek Islands

Why Choose a Greek Islands Cruise?

Cruising might often be seen as a luxurious escape, a retreat from the world where your every need is catered to.

However, when it comes to the Greek Islands, cruising becomes more than just luxury; it’s a gateway to a mosaic of experiences that no other form of travel can parallel.

Here’s why a cruise of the Greek Islands should be your next holiday choice:

  • Diverse Island Cultures in One Trip: Each Greek island has its own unique flavor. From the cosmopolitan vibes of Mykonos to the tranquility of Hydra, a cruise allows you to experience a range of cultures, histories, and landscapes within a short time span. Why limit yourself to one, when you can savor many?
  • Convenience and Comfort: Imagine visiting multiple picturesque islands without the hassle of repacking, catching ferries, or checking in and out of hotels. Your cruise ship is not just your transportation but also your comfortable hotel, floating from one paradise to another.
  • Endless Exploration: With scheduled stops, travelers get ample time to explore each island’s gems at their own pace. Whether you prefer organized excursions or wandering around on your own, you’re guaranteed rich experiences at every port of call.
  • Unparalleled Views: There’s nothing like witnessing the majesty of the Greek Islands from the sea. Whether you’re sipping a cocktail during a golden sunset or waking up to the breathtaking coastline, cruising offers views that land-based holidays simply can’t match.
  • All-Inclusive Luxury: Most cruises offer all-inclusive packages that include meals, accommodation, entertainment, and sometimes even excursions. This not only provides great value for money but also ensures a hassle-free vacation.
  • Meet Like-minded Travelers: A cruise is a melting pot of cultures and personalities. It offers a unique opportunity to forge new friendships, share experiences, and create memories with fellow travelers from around the globe.
  • Tailored Experiences: Today’s cruises cater to a wide array of interests. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or an adrenaline-fueled adventure, there’s a Greek Islands cruise tailor-made for you.

In essence, choosing a cruise of the Greek Islands is opting for a blend of discovery, relaxation, and luxury. It’s about embracing the magic of the Mediterranean, where every sunrise brings a new island to explore and every sunset seals the memories of a day well spent.

If the Greek Islands are the jewels of the Aegean, then cruising is your treasure chest, waiting to be opened.

Greek Islands cruise

Choosing the Right Cruise for You

The journey on a cruise of the Greek Islands is sure to be mesmerizing, but the experience can vary greatly depending on the type of cruise you opt for.

Your perfect cruise choice depends on your personal preferences, budget, and what you want to get out of your journey. Let’s navigate the waters and help you find the best fit:

Budget Cruises:

  • Pros: These cruises offer an affordable gateway to the Greek Islands. They generally have basic amenities but still provide a comfortable experience.
  • Cons: Limited onboard activities, fewer dining options, and perhaps fewer stops or shorter times at each port.
  • What to Expect: A no-frills journey that covers popular islands and offers basic onboard entertainment.

Luxury Cruises:

  • Pros: Premium services, gourmet dining experiences, spacious cabins, a plethora of onboard activities, and often exclusive or less crowded ports of call.
  • Cons: A heftier price tag. However, the level of luxury and personal attention can make it worth the investment.
  • What to Expect: A lavish experience with meticulous attention to detail, from room service to curated shore excursions.

Adventure/Specialty Cruises:

  • Pros: Tailored experiences such as sailing adventures, diving expeditions, or historical and cultural tours. Ideal for those with specific interests.
  • Cons: Might not cover all the mainstream islands or activities if they focus on niche experiences.
  • What to Expect: A unique, focused journey catering to a particular interest or theme. For instance, a cruise emphasizing Greek mythology might delve deep into the tales of each island, visiting significant historical sites.

cruising the greek islands

Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Cruise:

  • Duration: From short weekend getaways to extended voyages, how long do you wish to sail?
  • Onboard Facilities: Prioritize your needs, be it spas, fitness centers, gourmet dining, or entertainment options.
  • Ports of Call: Which islands are on your must-visit list? Check the itinerary to ensure your desired destinations are covered.
  • Travel Dates: Some islands are best visited during specific times of the year. Also, consider peak tourist seasons if you prefer a quieter experience.
  • Size of the Ship: Larger ships offer more amenities but might not access smaller ports. Smaller ships provide a more intimate experience and can sail to less frequented islands.
  • Reviews and Recommendations: Past travelers’ experiences can offer invaluable insights. Check reviews, ask for recommendations, and maybe even join online cruise forums.

Remember Your Why:

At the heart of it all, why are you taking this cruise? For relaxation? Adventure? Cultural immersion? Ensure your chosen cruise aligns with your primary reason for traveling.

Selecting the right cruise is akin to setting the stage for your Greek Island adventure. By ensuring the backdrop fits your dream, the ensuing journey can unfold like a well-scripted play, with each day being a scene of awe, wonder, and cherished memories.

Whether you’re cruising on a budget, in the lap of luxury, or on a thematic voyage, a cruise of the Greek Islands will always welcome you with their timeless charm. Just make sure your vessel of choice complements the magic!

greek cruise destinations

Top Greek Islands to Visit

The Greek archipelago is studded with over 6,000 islands and islets, each with its own tale to tell. While it’s impossible to visit them all in a single journey, some islands stand out as must-visit destinations.

Here’s a look at the crème de la crème of the Greek Islands that double as cruise ports , waiting to capture your heart:

Santorini

  • Highlight: Famed for its spellbinding sunsets, caldera views, and iconic blue-domed churches.
  • What to Do: Wander through the charming streets of Oia, visit the ancient ruins of Akrotiri, and sample local wines at cliffside vineyards.

Mykonos

  • Highlight: Known as the party capital of the Greek Islands, it boasts beautiful beaches and a buzzing nightlife.
  • What to Do: Explore the winding streets of Mykonos Town, visit the iconic windmills, and dance the night away at world-renowned beach clubs.
  • Check out our Mykonos cruise port guide !

Crete

  • Highlight: The largest of the Greek Islands, Crete offers a rich tapestry of experiences from history to nature.
  • What to Do: Visit the ancient Minoan palace of Knossos, hike the Samaria Gorge, and relish the island’s culinary delights in traditional tavernas.

Rhodes

  • Highlight: Steeped in history, the island is home to the medieval Old Town of Rhodes, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • What to Do: Stroll the Street of the Knights, explore the Palace of the Grand Master, and relax on the many sun-kissed beaches.

Corfu

  • Highlight: Lush landscapes meet Venetian influence on this Ionian island.
  • What to Do: Roam the charming streets of Corfu Town, visit the Achilleion Palace, and enjoy the vistas from Mount Pantokrator.

Naxos

  • Highlight: A perfect blend of ancient ruins, sandy beaches, and traditional villages.
  • What to Do: Visit the Temple of Apollo’s Portara, explore the old Kastro district, and savor the island’s unique Kitron liqueur.

the cheapest greek island paros

  • Highlight: A balanced mix of traditional Greek charm and modern attractions.
  • What to Do: Visit the Church of Ekatontapiliani in Parikia, explore the picturesque village of Naoussa, and windsurf at the Golden Beach.
  • Check out our Paros guide !

Milos

  • Highlight: Known for its unique volcanic landscapes and myriad of beaches.
  • What to Do: Take a boat tour around the island to discover hidden caves, visit the ancient theater near Tripiti, and relax at the Sarakiniko beach with its moon-like landscapes.

Hydra

  • Highlight: A car-free island that offers an authentic Greek experience.
  • What to Do: Wander through Hydra town, visit historical mansions, and enjoy local art at various galleries.

Kos

  • Highlight: Rich in history with Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman influences.
  • What to Do: Explore the ancient ruins of Agora, visit the Asclepieion sanctuary, and cycle around this bike-friendly island.

Embarking on a cruise through the Greek Islands is akin to opening a book with countless stories. Each island, with its distinct character and allure, offers a new chapter of adventures, awaiting to be etched in your travel memoirs. Whether you’re seeking romance, history, adventure, or relaxation, these islands ensure that your Greek odyssey is nothing short of epic.

Cyclades

Different Types of Greek Island Itineraries

The enchanting Greek Islands beckon with their rich history, stunning landscapes, and crystal-clear waters. With over 200 inhabited islands to explore, cruising is one of the best ways to soak in their allure. But where do you start? There’s an itinerary tailored to every traveler’s desires. Here’s a breakdown of the various cruise of the Greek Islands options to help you navigate your choices:

Iconic Cyclades Circuit:

  • Duration: Typically 7-10 days.
  • Key Stops: Santorini, Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, and Delos.
  • Highlights: Whitewashed buildings, famous sunsets, vibrant nightlife, and archaeological sites like the Sanctuary of Delos.

Historical and Mythological Odyssey:

  • Duration: 7-12 days.
  • Key Stops: Crete, Rhodes, Kos, Delos, and Patmos.
  • Highlights: Visit the ancient Minoan Palace of Knossos, explore the medieval Old Town of Rhodes, and uncover the Cave of the Apocalypse on Patmos.

Dodecanese Delight:

  • Duration: 7 days.
  • Key Stops: Rhodes, Kos, Patmos, Leros, and Symi.
  • Highlights: Rich history, medieval architecture, and azure beaches. Symi’s Neo-Classical mansions and Patmos’ monasteries are a must-see.

Saronic Jewels:

  • Duration: 3-7 days.
  • Key Stops: Hydra, Poros, Aegina, and Spetses.
  • Highlights: Close to Athens, offering quaint towns, car-free Hydra, and the Temple of Aphaia on Aegina.

Ionian Exploration:

  • Duration: 7-10 days.
  • Key Stops: Corfu, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, and Lefkada.
  • Highlights: Lush landscapes, Venetian architecture in Corfu, and the famed Navagio Beach in Zakynthos.

Northern Aegean Adventure:

  • Key Stops: Lesbos, Chios, Samos, and Lemnos.
  • Highlights: Petrified forests, mastic villages in Chios, and rich historical sites.

Relaxed Small-Ship Cruising:

  • Duration: 5-14 days.
  • Key Stops: Varies, but may include lesser-known islands like Folegandros, Sifnos, or Ikaria.
  • Highlights: Smaller vessels allow for a more intimate experience, accessing secluded coves and hidden harbors.

Luxury Yacht Charter:

  • Duration: Customizable, from a weekend to several weeks.
  • Key Stops: Tailored to your preferences.
  • Highlights: A personalized itinerary, private crew, and the luxury of choosing your pace and destinations.

Theme-Based Cruises:

  • Duration: Varies, typically 7-10 days.
  • Key Stops: Depends on the theme, e.g., culinary cruises might focus on islands known for gastronomy.
  • Highlights: Dive deep into specific interests such as Greek mythology, culinary delights, or water sports.

Combination Cruises:

  • Duration: 10-21 days.
  • Key Stops: A mix of Greek Islands with other destinations like Turkey’s coastline.
  • Highlights: Experience a blend of cultures, landscapes, and historical sites, combining the best of multiple regions.

Choosing the right Greek Islands cruise itinerary is all about aligning with your interests, travel style, and duration preferences. Whether you’re looking for history, relaxation, adventure, or gourmet delights, there’s a cruise that’s just right for your odyssey on a cruise of the Greek Islands.

Mediterranean Small Ship Cruises

Small Ship vs. Large Ship

The Greek Islands, with their charming villages, rich history, and shimmering waters, are a paradise for cruise enthusiasts. As you decide on the type of ship to embark on, you’ll notice the choices range from intimate small vessels to grand floating cities. Each has its distinct charm, advantages, and limitations. Here’s a comprehensive comparison to help you make an informed choice:

Small Ship Cruises

Advantages:.

  • Intimate Experience: Smaller guest numbers allow for a more personalized onboard atmosphere.
  • Access to Secluded Ports: Navigate into smaller harbors, anchor in hidden coves, and visit lesser-known islands that large ships can’t reach.
  • Onboard Community: It’s easier to get to know fellow passengers, fostering a sense of camaraderie.
  • Shorter Embarkation/Disembarkation: With fewer passengers, getting on and off the ship is often more streamlined and quicker.
  • Close to Nature: Many small ships have open decks, allowing passengers to be closer to the sea and landscapes.
  • Local and Authentic Experiences: Excursions from small ships often focus on authentic local experiences, diving deeper into the culture and history of places.

Limitations:

  • Fewer Amenities: Smaller ships may not have multiple dining options, theaters, or expansive fitness centers.
  • Varied Stability: They might be more affected by rough seas, which could be an issue for those prone to seasickness.
  • Lesser Entertainment Options: The onboard entertainment may be limited compared to larger vessels.

cruise port st thomas

Large Ship Cruises

  • Abundance of Amenities: From expansive spas, multiple dining options, theaters, and even climbing walls, there’s always something to do.
  • Stability: Larger ships often provide a smoother ride, especially beneficial in rougher waters.
  • Diverse Entertainment: Nightly shows, themed parties, workshops, and more ensure passengers are never bored.
  • Variety of Accommodations: Guests can choose from a range of cabin types, from inside rooms to expansive suites with private balconies.
  • All-Inclusive Packages: Many large ships offer packages that include drinks, Wi-Fi, and even shore excursions.
  • Crowds: Popular activities, dining venues, or excursions can get crowded.
  • Impersonal Experience: With thousands of passengers, the experience might feel less intimate.
  • Limited Access to Smaller Ports: Due to their size, they often dock at larger ports, requiring additional transport or longer travel times to reach specific destinations.
  • Environmental Impact: Larger ships can have a more significant environmental footprint.

Your ideal Greek Islands cruise largely depends on your travel preferences:

  • If you value intimacy, the chance to explore hidden gems, and a close-knit onboard community, small ship cruising might be your best bet.
  • However, if you’re looking for a plethora of onboard activities, entertainment options, and the grandeur of a floating resort, a large ship cruise could be the right choice.

Remember, the journey is as important as the destination. Whether aboard a quaint sailing yacht or a majestic cruise liner, a cruise of the Greek Islands promise an unforgettable adventure.

greek cruises

Top Cruise Lines for Greek Island Cruises

The Greek Islands are a perennial favorite among travelers, and numerous cruise lines offer voyages through this iconic archipelago. When choosing a cruise line, it’s important to consider the type of experience you’re seeking, be it luxury, adventure, family-focused, or a more intimate sailing. Here’s a comprehensive list of top cruise lines that sail the Greek waters, with a brief overview of what each one offers:

Celebrity Cruises

  • Renowned for its modern luxury, Celebrity offers a blend of stylish staterooms, gourmet cuisine, and a diverse range of excursions. Their ships often feature innovative amenities like the Magic Carpet and rooftop gardens while offering premium upgrades like AquaClass suites !

Royal Caribbean

  • One of the biggest names in cruising, Royal Caribbean boasts a fleet of mega-ships packed with activities, from surf simulators to Broadway-style shows. They have plenty of options to customize your experience from drinking packages to shore excursions. Their itineraries cover popular Greek destinations and offer fun for all ages.
  • Embodying luxury at sea, Seabourn offers all-suite accommodations, fine dining, and personalized service. Their smaller ships provide access to lesser-known Greek locales, ensuring a more intimate experience.

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL)

  • NCL is known for its “Freestyle Cruising,” allowing guests flexibility in dining, entertainment, and onboard activities. Their ships frequent major Greek ports, with a range of shore excursions.

Viking Ocean Cruises

  • Focusing on destination immersion, Viking offers culturally enriching itineraries that delve deep into the history and heritage of the Greek Islands. Their all-inclusive pricing and adult-only policy ensure a serene journey.

MSC Cruises

  • MSC combines Mediterranean flair with modern amenities. Their ships, often featuring Swarovski staircases and expansive pool areas, offer diverse itineraries covering Greece’s major highlights.
  • A boutique cruise line, Azamara is known for its extended port stays and “AzAmazing Evenings”—exclusive cultural events crafted for their guests. They focus on immersive local experiences in the Greek Islands.

Oceania Cruises

  • Catering to the discerning traveler, Oceania offers gourmet culinary programs inspired by Master Chef Jacques Pépin and itineraries that balance well-known and off-the-beaten-path ports.

Windstar Cruises

  • Embracing the charm of yacht cruising, Windstar’s smaller vessels navigate secluded harbors and coves, offering an intimate Greek Island experience. Sail-powered and motorized yachts provide unique voyages.

Celestyal Cruises

  • Specializing in the Aegean, Celestyal offers authentic Greek experiences, from local cuisine onboard to immersive shore excursions. They pride themselves on showcasing the true essence of Greece.

Disney Cruise Line

  • Perfect for families, Disney offers magical experiences onboard, with beloved characters and themed entertainment. Their Greek itineraries ensure adventure and fun for kids and adults alike.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

  • The epitome of luxury, Regent offers all-inclusive cruises with lavish suites, gourmet dining, and curated excursions. Their approach is to provide unmatched elegance at sea.

Whichever line you choose, cruising the Greek Islands is bound to be an unforgettable experience. Consider your preferences—whether they lie in luxury, adventure, family fun, or cultural immersion—and select the cruise line that aligns best with your dream Greek voyage.

cruise packing tips

Packing and Preparation

Embarking on a cruise to the Greek Islands is undeniably thrilling, but it also demands careful planning and preparation. Packing appropriately not only enhances your comfort but also ensures you make the most out of every moment. Let’s help you chart your course to a well-prepared voyage:

Luggage Basics

  • Soft-sided Bags: Many cabins on cruise ships, especially smaller ones, have limited space. Soft-sided bags can be more flexible and easier to store.
  • Luggage Tags: Clearly label your luggage with your name, ship name, cabin number, and contact details. Many cruise lines offer printable luggage tags on their websites.

Clothing Essentials

  • Day Wear: Lightweight and breathable clothing like shorts, t-shirts, sundresses, and tank tops. Remember, the Greek Islands can be warm!
  • Evening Wear: Most cruises have casual dinners, but there might be formal nights. Pack a nice dress or suit for such occasions as some of the top cruise essentials .
  • Swimwear: You’ll be hopping between beaches and the ship’s pool, so multiple swimsuits are essential.
  • Footwear: Comfortable walking shoes for exploring, flip-flops for the beach, and a dressy pair for evenings.
  • Layers: A light sweater or jacket for cooler evenings or breezy boat rides.

packing for a cold cruise

Gadgets and Gear

  • Power Adapter: Greece uses the Europlug (Type C), so ensure you have the right adapter for charging your devices.
  • Portable Charger: Keep your devices powered during long days of exploration.
  • Waterproof Camera/Phone Case: Capture memories without worrying about water damage.
  • Binoculars: Enhance those breathtaking views from the ship’s deck.

Health and Wellness

  • Medication: Pack all essential medications in their original packaging along with a copy of prescriptions. Also, consider a basic first-aid kit.
  • Sun Protection: High SPF sunscreen, lip balm with sunblock, and wide-brimmed hats to protect against the Mediterranean sun.
  • Motion Sickness Remedies: If you’re prone to seasickness, pack remedies like wristbands or over-the-counter medication.

Documents and Essentials

  • Passport and Visas: Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your return date. Check visa requirements if necessary.
  • Cruise Documentation: Print out any tickets, boarding passes, or reservation confirmations.
  • Travel Insurance: Always a good idea, especially for overseas trips. Ensure it covers cruise-specific incidents.

Personal Comfort

  • Beach Bag: For your excursions to the islands, pack a lightweight beach bag with essentials like water, sunscreen, and a good book.
  • Reusable Water Bottle: Stay hydrated and reduce plastic waste.
  • Snorkel Gear: If you’re keen on snorkeling, bring your own gear for a snug fit and hygiene.

cruise accessories

Miscellaneous

  • Local Currency: While many places accept credit cards, it’s wise to have some Euros for smaller establishments or tips.
  • Language Guide: A few basic Greek phrases can enrich your interaction with locals.
  • Guidebook: Dive deeper into the history and attractions of each island with a detailed guidebook.

Remember the Ship’s Etiquette

  • Dress Codes: Some cruise ships have specific dress codes for dining rooms or certain events. Check in advance.
  • Scheduled Activities: If you’ve booked any onboard classes or spa treatments, pack accordingly.

Preparing for your Greek Island cruise might seem daunting, but with a well-thought-out list and a sprinkle of excitement, you’ll be deck-ready in no time. After all, the promise of azure waters, historical wonders, and sun-soaked shores makes every ounce of preparation worth it.

greek cruises

Onboard Tips and Tricks

Stepping aboard a cruise ship, especially if it’s your first time, can feel like entering a new world. There’s a rhythm to life on the waves that’s distinct from any other type of travel. To help you sail smoothly and make the most of your journey, here are some onboard tips and tricks that seasoned cruisers swear by:

Familiarize Yourself with the Ship

  • Ship Map: Upon boarding, you’ll typically be given a map of the ship. Spend some time exploring the vessel, noting the locations of main venues, eateries, and emergency stations.
  • Ship’s Daily Newsletter: Most cruises offer a daily newsletter highlighting the day’s events, special offers, and essential information. Make it your morning read!

Optimize Your Cabin Experience

  • Storage Hacks: Space can be at a premium in cruise cabins. Make use of under-bed storage for luggage, and don’t forget about vertical space with hanging organizers.
  • Magnet Power: Most cabin walls are metal. Bring some magnets to hang daily schedules, reservations, or even photos.
  • Keep it Fresh: Pack a small air freshener or dryer sheets to keep your cabin smelling pleasant.

Titanic vs. Modern cruise ships food

Dining Delights

  • Reservations: If your ship has specialty restaurants, consider booking them early, especially for popular dining times.
  • Room Service: Many cruisers don’t realize that room service is often included in their fare. Enjoy breakfast on your balcony or a midnight snack.

Stay Connected, But Wisely

  • Wi-Fi Packages: If you need internet, check for package deals on day one. However, remember that ship Wi-Fi can be slower and pricier than on land.
  • Offline Apps: Download movies, books, or podcasts for entertainment without needing a constant connection.

Maximize Onboard Entertainment

  • Book in Advance: For popular shows or experiences, it’s wise to reserve a spot early.
  • Check Out Lesser-Known Offerings: Aside from the headline acts, there might be smaller workshops, classes, or performances that can enrich your journey.

Stay Fit and Relaxed

  • Gym at Off-Peak: The ship’s fitness center can get crowded, especially in mornings. Consider working out during port days or in the late afternoon.
  • Spa Deals: Spas often run promotions, especially on port days. Keep an eye out for discounted packages or treatments.

Be Money Smart

  • Monitor Your Account: Most cruises operate on a cashless system, with expenses charged to your room. Regularly review your onboard account to avoid any surprises.
  • Tipping: While many cruises include gratuities in the fare, some don’t. Be aware of the ship’s tipping policy and set aside funds accordingly.

Join Onboard Activities

  • Trivia, Games, and Classes: Participate in onboard activities, from dance classes to art auctions. It’s a great way to meet fellow travelers and have fun.
  • Theme Nights: Many cruises have theme nights like “White Night” or “Pirate Night”. Pack accordingly to join the festivities.
  • Attend the Muster Drill: This mandatory safety drill is crucial. Pay attention and know where your muster station is.
  • Balcony Safety: If you have a balcony cabin, never climb or sit on the railing. Always lock balcony doors when not in use, especially if traveling with children.

Make Friends with the Crew

  • Foster Relationships: The ship’s crew can enhance your journey. From insider tips to exceptional service, a friendly chat can go a long way.
  • Feedback Matters: If someone goes above and beyond, note their name to mention in feedback. Positive reviews can benefit crew members in their careers.

Being on a cruise ship is a blend of relaxation and adventure, all set against the backdrop of the vast sea and exciting ports of call. With these onboard tips and tricks, you’re not just setting sail; you’re embarking on a voyage where every day holds the promise of new delights and discoveries.

greek shore excursions

Greek Island Shore Excursion Tips

Sailing through the Greek Islands is a dreamlike journey, and each port of call holds the promise of new discoveries. Shore excursions are your gateway to these enchanting locales. But how do you make the most of these short visits? Here’s your guide to maximizing and savoring every moment ashore:

Research Before You Dock

  • Itinerary Insight: Familiarize yourself with the islands on your itinerary. Know their highlights, histories, and any unique offerings.
  • Local Events: Festivals, local markets, or special events can greatly enhance your visit. Look up the local calendar before you arrive.

Choosing the Right Excursion

  • Ship-sponsored vs. Independent Tours: Ship-sponsored tours can be pricier but offer the assurance of getting you back on time. Independent tours are often more customizable and might offer a more personal experience.
  • Activity Level: Always check the activity level of an excursion. Whether you’re up for hiking, snorkeling, or a relaxed city tour, pick something that aligns with your energy and interest.

Time Management

  • Know Your Docking Time: Familiarize yourself with the time the ship docks and the departure time.
  • Buffer Time: If you’re on an independent tour, ensure you return to the ship at least an hour before the departure time.

Pack a Day Bag

  • Essentials Only: Pack light with just the essentials – a bottle of water, sunscreen, local currency, a map, and any necessary medications.
  • Documentation: Always carry a photo ID, a copy of your passport, and your cruise ship card.

Local Etiquette and Safety

  • Dress Code: Some religious sites may require modest clothing. Always carry a scarf or a shawl, and wear appropriate attire when visiting monasteries or churches.
  • Stay Alert: Just like any tourist spot, be wary of pickpockets. Keep valuables secure and be cautious in crowded areas.

Savor Local Flavors

  • Local Eateries: Bypass the touristy restaurants and seek out local tavernas or street food joints to experience authentic Greek cuisine.
  • Local Produce: From olives to honey and wine, consider buying local produce as souvenirs.

Consider Mobility

  • Rental Options: If you want to explore at your own pace, consider renting a car, scooter, or bicycle. Ensure you have the required licenses and insurance.
  • Public Transport: Some islands have reliable public transport. Familiarize yourself with bus or ferry schedules.

Stay Connected

  • Wi-Fi Spots: Local cafes or restaurants often offer free Wi-Fi. If staying connected is crucial, research Wi-Fi spots beforehand or consider buying a local SIM card.
  • Emergency Contacts: Always have a list of emergency contacts, including the local embassy, if applicable.

Capture Memories, Respectfully

  • Photography: Always ask for permission before photographing locals. Respect off-limit areas in museums or sacred sites.
  • Engage with Locals: Taking a moment to chat, share, or even just smile can turn a sightseeing tour into a memorable cultural exchange.

Environmental Respect

  • Leave No Trace: Keep the pristine beauty of the Greek Islands intact. Don’t litter, and try to reduce plastic waste by carrying a reusable water bottle.
  • Respect Wildlife: If engaging in marine activities, be mindful of the marine life. Avoid touching or disturbing the natural habitat.

Each Greek island, with its own charm and character, offers a unique world waiting to be explored. Whether you’re meandering through ancient ruins, lounging on sun-kissed beaches, or savoring delectable Greek cuisine, these shore excursion tips ensure that your island adventures are both enjoyable and enriching.

greek food cruise

Greek Cuisine On and Off-Board

Traditional Greek dishes , with their vibrant flavors, fresh ingredients, and rich history, are undoubtedly one of the many highlights of a cruise around the islands. Whether you’re indulging onboard or savoring delicacies ashore, Greek food promises to be an unforgettable part of your journey. Let’s delve into the world of Greek culinary delights:

Foundations of Greek Cuisine

  • Fresh Ingredients: Olive oil, fresh vegetables, herbs, fish, and meats are staples.
  • Mediterranean Diet: Recognized for its health benefits, it emphasizes fresh produce, grains, and lean proteins.

Must-Try Dishes

  • Moussaka: A delectable layered dish made of eggplant, minced meat, and béchamel sauce.
  • Pastitsio: Often referred to as Greek lasagna, it comprises layers of pasta, meat, and creamy sauce.
  • Dolmadakia: Grape leaves stuffed with rice and herbs.
  • Spanakopita: Spinach pie made of phyllo pastry filled with spinach and feta cheese.

Savoring Seafood

  • Grilled Octopus: A favorite appetizer, often served with olive oil and vinegar.
  • Calamari: Fried squid rings, best enjoyed with a squeeze of lemon.
  • Saganaki Shrimp: Shrimp cooked in a tomato-based sauce with feta cheese.

Sweet Temptations

  • Baklava: Sweet pastry made of layers of filo filled with nuts and sweetened with syrup.
  • Loukoumades: Deep-fried dough balls drizzled with honey and sprinkled with cinnamon.
  • Koulourakia: Butter cookies often twisted in various shapes, perfect with Greek coffee.

Drink Like a Local

  • Ouzo: An iconic anise-flavored liqueur, often served with a splash of water.
  • Retsina: A unique white or rosé wine with a distinct pine flavor.
  • Metaxa: A blended wine and brandy with a sweet taste.

Street Food and Casual Bites

  • Souvlaki: Skewered and grilled meat, often wrapped in pita with tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki sauce.
  • Gyros: Rotisserie meat, typically pork or chicken, served in pita bread with toppings.
  • Tiropita: Cheese pie made with phyllo pastry and a variety of cheeses.

Exploring Local Tavernas Off the Ship

  • Ambience: Experience the genuine warmth and hospitality of the Greek people in traditional family-run tavernas.
  • Fresh Produce: Look for places that emphasize local and seasonal ingredients. The closer to the sea, the fresher the seafood!

Tips for Dining Ashore

  • Meal Times: Greeks typically have lunch between 2-4 pm and dinner after 9 pm. Adjust your schedule to enjoy a bustling local ambiance.
  • Tipping: It’s customary to leave a tip of around 5-10% in restaurants, rounded up to the nearest Euro for smaller bills.

Culinary Experiences to Seek

  • Cooking Classes: Learn the art of Greek cooking firsthand. Many islands offer classes where you can cook and then savor your creations.
  • Wine Tastings: Explore local vineyards or wine bars to taste the rich variety of Greek wines.
  • Olive Oil Tours: Dive deep into the world of olive oil, from tree to bottle.

Greek cuisine is a tapestry of flavors, textures, and aromas, reflecting the country’s rich history and cultural influences. Whether you’re indulging in a feast onboard or exploring the culinary landscape ashore, every bite tells a story. So, let your palate set sail on its own Greek odyssey, and “Kali Orexi” (Bon Appétit)!

Messina cruise ship

Potential Challenges on Greek Islands Cruises

Every adventure comes with its set of challenges, and cruising the Greek Islands is no exception. While the allure of the Aegean’s shimmering waters and the rich tapestry of Greek culture are undeniable, it’s essential to be prepared for any hiccups along the way. Here’s a guide to potential challenges and expert advice to navigate them smoothly:

  • Preventative Measures: Consider over-the-counter motion sickness medications or patches. Consult your doctor before your trip.
  • Cabin Selection: Cabins in the middle of the ship at a lower level tend to feel less movement.
  • Ginger and Green Apples: These natural remedies are known to help alleviate nausea.
  • Off-Peak Visits: Plan your shore excursions early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid peak tourist times.
  • Explore Lesser-Known Gems: Instead of the main attractions, delve into hidden spots or less-visited islands for a more authentic experience.
  • Learn Basic Phrases: A few Greek words like “Efharisto” (Thank you) can go a long way.
  • Translation Apps: Modern translation apps can assist in real-time conversations.
  • Sun Protection: Always wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. Reapply sunscreen regularly.
  • Stay Hydrated: Carry a water bottle and drink frequently, especially if indulging in local wines or spirits.
  • Research in Advance: Familiarize yourself with local transportation options and schedules.
  • Rent Wisely: If renting a car or scooter, ensure you’re comfortable with local driving habits and have the necessary licenses.
  • Stay Flexible: Weather or other unforeseen circumstances might lead to changes. Embrace the new plan, and explore alternative activities.
  • Travel Insurance: Consider purchasing travel insurance that covers cancellations or changes.
  • Respect Local Customs: Dress modestly at religious sites and be aware of local customs or traditions.
  • Stay Informed: Research or ask onboard staff about any cultural norms for each island.
  • Wi-Fi Access: While the ship might offer Wi-Fi, it could be slower or pricier. Some ports might have cafes with free Wi-Fi.
  • Offline Mode: Download maps, guides, or translation apps for offline use.
  • Local Currency: While many places accept credit cards, it’s always good to have some Euros on hand, especially for small purchases.
  • Notify Your Bank: Inform your bank about your travel plans to avoid any card blockages due to suspicious international activity.
  • Overpacking:
  • Pack Smart: Focus on versatile clothing items that can be mixed and matched. Remember, cruise cabins can be compact.
  • Laundry Services: Many cruise ships offer laundry services, allowing you to pack lighter and freshen up your clothes during the trip.

Every journey comes with its own set of challenges, but they’re often the stories we remember and laugh about later. Embracing these challenges and being prepared can enrich your experience. With these tips in hand, you’re not just prepared for your Greek Islands cruise; you’re ready to make it an adventure of a lifetime!

Setting Sail on a Cruise of the Greek Islands

The sun-kissed shores of the Greek Islands have beckoned travelers for centuries. From the mesmerizing sunsets of Santorini to the historical wonders of Crete, and from the glamorous nightlife of Mykonos to the tranquil beaches of Ikaria, these islands promise a diverse and unforgettable experience.

Choosing to explore this archipelago by sea is, without a doubt, a decision filled with the promise of adventure. Whether you sail aboard a luxurious mega-ship equipped with every conceivable amenity or opt for the intimate charm of a small vessel, the essence of the islands remains unchanged. They offer a perfect blend of history, culture, gastronomy, and natural beauty.

Our comprehensive guide on cruises of the Greek Islands has aimed to equip you with insights, from selecting the right itinerary and ship to diving into the delectable Greek cuisine and embracing sustainable tourism. But remember, beyond the preparation and planning, the heart of travel lies in the unexpected moments: a serendipitous encounter with a local, the first bite of a freshly baked spanakopita, or the gentle rhythm of waves lapping against a secluded shore.

As you set sail on your fun cruise , let the winds of the Aegean guide you. Allow yourself to be immersed in the stories, flavors, and landscapes of the Greek Islands. Every island has a tale to tell, a song to sing, and a dance to share.

So, hoist the sails, chart your course, and embark on a journey of discovery. The cruise of the Greek Islands await, timeless and enchanting. May your voyage be filled with sunlit days, starry nights, and memories that last a lifetime. Safe travels and happy cruising! 🚢

FAQs on Cruise of the Greek Islands

Embarking on a cruise to the Greek Islands is an exciting adventure, and naturally, many questions may arise as you prepare for your voyage. To aid in your planning, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions and their answers:

When is the best time to cruise the Greek Islands?

  • The ideal time is during the shoulder seasons of late spring (May and early June) and early fall (September and early October) when the weather is pleasant, the crowds are fewer, and the seas are calm.

Do I need a visa to cruise the Greek Islands?

  • Depending on your nationality, you might need a Schengen visa to enter Greece. However, many cruise lines often handle the process for their passengers during port stops. It’s essential to check with your cruise operator and the official Greek consulate website.

What currency is used in the Greek Islands?

  • Greece uses the Euro (€). While most places accept credit cards, it’s a good idea to have some cash on hand, especially in smaller villages.

Is English widely spoken?

  • Yes, English is widely spoken in tourist areas, and cruise staff are typically multilingual. However, it’s always appreciated when visitors learn a few basic Greek phrases.

How much should I budget for shore excursions?

  • Costs can vary widely based on the type of activity, duration, and exclusivity. Budgeting between €50 to €200 per excursion is a good starting point, but always check with your cruise operator for specific prices.

Is Wi-Fi available onboard?

  • Most modern cruise ships offer Wi-Fi, but the speed, reliability, and costs can vary. Some luxury cruises may include it in their package, while others might charge extra.

Is the water safe to drink?

  • Onboard the cruise, the tap water is generally safe to drink. On the islands, it’s advisable to drink bottled water, especially on smaller or more remote islands.

Can I customize my shore excursions?

  • While many cruise lines offer a range of excursions, some travelers opt for private tours or self-guided adventures. It’s essential to ensure you return to the ship on time, as the ship won’t wait for latecomers.

What type of power outlets are used on the ship?

  • This varies by cruise line. Many ships use North American standard 110V outlets, while others might have European 220V outlets. It’s advisable to bring a universal adapter.

What’s the dress code onboard?

  • During the day, casual attire is acceptable. In the evenings, especially for dinners and events, a smart-casual dress code is typical. Some cruises may have gala nights where formal attire is expected.

Do I need to tip onboard?

  • Many cruise lines include gratuities in their fare, distributing them among the crew. However, if you receive exceptional service, additional tipping is at your discretion. Always check your cruise’s specific tipping policy.

Are the Greek Islands safe for travelers?

  • Yes, the Greek Islands are generally safe for travelers. As with any destination, it’s essential to stay aware of your surroundings and exercise standard precautions, especially in crowded areas.

How do I handle seasickness?

  • While modern cruise ships are designed for stability, if you’re prone to seasickness, it’s advisable to book a cabin in the middle of the ship and on a lower deck. Over-the-counter medications, wristbands, and ginger supplements can also help. If you’re feeling unwell, contact the ship’s medical center.

Are cruises suitable for families with children?

  • Absolutely! Many cruise lines cater to families and offer kid-friendly activities, clubs, and babysitting services. However, it’s essential to check the ship’s amenities and age-appropriate activities beforehand.

Are there any age or mobility restrictions for shore excursions?

  • Some excursions may have age, health, or mobility restrictions, especially those that involve physical activities like hiking or water sports. It’s crucial to check with the cruise line before booking.

Can I bring my own alcohol onboard?

  • Most cruise lines have policies regarding bringing alcohol onboard. Some allow a limited quantity, while others may charge a corkage fee. Always consult the cruise line’s alcohol policy before departure.

Do I need travel insurance?

  • While not always mandatory, travel insurance is highly recommended. It can cover unexpected incidents, medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and lost baggage.

How can I stay connected with home while cruising?

  • Aside from onboard Wi-Fi, many ports and cities in the Greek Islands offer local SIM cards or mobile hotspots. Remember to check roaming charges with your home carrier.

What’s the food like onboard? Can they cater to dietary restrictions?

  • Cruise ships typically offer a wide range of cuisines, from local Greek dishes to international favorites. Most ships can cater to dietary restrictions, but it’s best to notify the cruise line in advance.

Are there onboard medical facilities?

  • Yes, larger cruise ships are equipped with medical facilities and staffed with qualified medical professionals to handle emergencies and general health concerns.

Do I need to bring any specific documentation?

  • Aside from your passport and any necessary visas, bring your cruise tickets, travel insurance documents, and any other relevant travel or medical documentation.

Can I extend my stay in Greece after the cruise?

  • Certainly! Many travelers choose to extend their vacation either before or after the cruise. Ensure you have the necessary visa allowances and accommodations booked.

What if I miss the ship at a port?

  • It’s crucial to return to the ship on time, as they adhere to tight schedules. If you miss the departure, you’ll be responsible for your own transportation to the next port or back home.

Is there a limit to how much I can shop or bring back from the islands?

  • Each country has its customs regulations. It’s essential to be aware of any duty-free allowances or restricted items when shopping abroad.

Remember, preparation is the key to a stress-free vacation. While the above FAQs should help answer most queries, it’s always a good idea to consult with your chosen cruise line or a travel agent for specific details tailored to your trip. Enjoy the enchanting world of the Greek Islands and happy cruising! 🌊🌺🛳️

Greek Island Glow

7-NIGHT ROUND-TRIP SAILING FROM ATHENS

The glittering and glamorous Greek Isle

Sail from Athens to the most idyllic Greek Isles in the Med — like Santorini, Rhodes, and Bodrum (Turkey). With an overnight in the glamorous hot spot of Mykonos, you can immerse yourself in the quiet charm of the island and attend those world-famous beach club parties.

Greek Island Glow • 7 Nights

Sailing on Resilient Lady

  Day 1

Piraeus (Athens)

Departs at 06:00 PM, All aboard 2 hrs before departure

  Day 2

09:00 AM - 09:00 PM, local time

  Day 3

09:00 AM - 06:00 PM, local time

  Day 4

08:00 AM - 08:00 PM, local time

  Day 5

  Day 6

Arrives at 09:00 AM

  Day 7

Departs at 02:00 PM

  Day 8

Arrives at 06:30 AM. Please allow up to an hour for the Gangway to open to disembark

The Virgin Voyages Experience

From captivating coasts to laid-back island vibes, the exclusively adult cruise vacation of your dreams is here.

Piraeus: a modern gateway to Athens’ past

Athens' largest passenger port, Piraeus is a bustling portal into a world-leading archaeological playground celebrating a rich and glorious past.

Hassle-free embarkation

Pre-upload your travel docs to the Virgin Voyages app, get Ready to Sail before leaving home, and make boarding a (sea)breeze in just a few minutes.

Access to Ephesus

Uncover two millennia's worth of history in what is already Europe's most complete classical metropolis, with 80% of the city yet to be unearthed.

Mykonos overnight

Cultured days, one epic night — with over 24hrs in Mykonos, you'll experience it all plus fill up on dreamy views, feta cheese, and laid-back vibes.

The places you'll go

Bright blue skies, sand-fringed shores, and a bustling street art scene — few places are as colorful as this ever-evolving city.

From the hills of Oia to the Caldera coast, this island is known for its fiery, orange and pick sunsets and postcard-worthy beaches.

Where the Byzantine Empire meets modern cultural ingenuity — this gorgeous island truly is hot spot for artists and artist-lovers alike.

Boasting Aegean character from its ancient ruins to its flower-filled cafes, Bodrum is the ultimate spot for a seaside getaway.

Known for its hip beach clubs and electric nightlife, this famous Greek Isle has a notably quiet side, too — and it's truly spectacular.

We have even more in our curated catalog.

An ocean of opportunities calling your name.

There’s nothing more liberating than having the freedom of charting your own course. No pre-assigned seating, no fixed schedules, no limited options, no nonsense — just a shipload of opportunities to rejuvenate your body and transform your soul.

WANDERLUST SATISFIED

We’re making waves from the Caribbean to the Med, the Adriatic to the Red, and everywhere in between across 4 continents. Join us on an unparalleled journey of relaxation and indulgence, and discover the things — and the people — that make each destination so special. Because we didn’t build a cruise, we created a voyage.   Get a delicious taste of the modern romance of sailing that only a Virgin brand could pull off.

Book Now. Pay Monthly.

A flexible, pay-over-time solution, up to $375 in value, add a splash for your bash, limited-time cruise deals.

You deserve a vacation. And you deserve a deal. So we’re making both of those things happen. Wave goodbye to your routine and start planning an exclusively adult experience at sea.

Rest Your Head

These are the spots you might be calling home. Whether you prefer coffee (or cocktails) overlooking the waves, or waking up late in your own cocoon, we're holding space for you.

Always Included Luxury

We’ve taken care of all the details — so all you have to do is kick back and have the relaxing vacation you deserve. Everything below is included.

From refined dining to relaxed casual, all of our 20+ eateries featuring menus curated by Michelin star chefs are yours to enjoy.

Soft Drinks & Water

Stay hydrated with still and sparkling water, non-pressed juices, sodas, teas and even drip coffee.

Browse, post, and stay connected with wifi — whenever you want, and wherever you are on the ship.

We've taken care (of taking care) of your servers, so we cover the gratuities for your onboard experiences.

Group Fitness Classes

Yoga, meditation, cycling, HIIT classes, and more — all your group fitness classes are covered.

Shows & Entertainment

Developed by the world’s most-talked-about producers and artists, you have a ticket to all of our awe-inspiring shows.

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Greek Island Cruises From Athens 2024

Book Now & Save

A Greek island cruise is probably the best way to explore the Mediterranean. Visit different places of Greece and Turkey, while you relax and have fun at the same time. We offer all inclusive cruises starting from Athens: 3, 4 & 7 day cruises to the Greek islands.

Our Top Cruises for 2024

4 Day Greek Island Cruise

  • 4 Day Greek Island Cruise

Iconic Aegean / Departing from Athens

4 Days to Athens, Mykonos, Kusadasi, Patmos, Rhodes, Crete & Santorini

From $430 $516

7 Day Mediterranean Cruise

  • 7 Day Mediterranean Cruise

Idyllic Aegean / Departing from Athens

7 Days to Athens, Thessaloniki, Kusadasi, Rhodes, Crete, Santorini, Mykonos & Milos

From $760 $912

3 Continents Cruise

7 Day 3 Continents Cruise

3 Continents / Departing from Athens

7 Days to Athens, Cairo, Ashdod, Limassol, Rhodes, Kusadasi & Santorini

14 Day Mediterranean Cruise

14 Day Mediterranean Cruise

Departing from Athens

14 Days to Greece, Turkey, Israel, Egypt & Cyprus

From $1350 $1620

Destinations

The great variety of our 3, 4 and 7 day Greece cruises with Celestyal Cruises, will give you the opportunity to visit the most magnificent destinations.

Capital of Greece, cradle of democracy, birthplace of Western Civilization. Athens is a vibrant city where old and new coexist. The majestic Parthenon rises above the city, its ancient glory still visible in the timeworn stone, and the National Archaeological Museum holds countless treasures from Athens' Golden Age.

It is the most breathtaking of all the Greek Islands. The town of Fira with white-washed houses, narrow streets, open-air cafes and glittering boutiques cling to steep cliffs is accesible by cable-car or mule. The village of Oia is a "must", an inspiration to all artists with numerous art galleries and spectacular views.

Here you will find beautiful beaches, chic boutiques and elegant nightclubs. Beneath its sophisticated surface lies a quite essential Greek island. Hundreds of tiny chapels dot this blue and white-washed island with its beautiful windmills. Find a table on the waterfront and bask in the serenity of sunset over its picturesque harbor.

Heraklion, Crete

Heraklion is the capital of Crete and its principal commercial port is just three miles away from the fantastic ruins of the Palace of Knossos. Discovered in 1899 by Sir Arthur Evans and partially reconstructed, the eleborate Palace is believed to be the mythical Labyrinth of King Minos and the seat of ancient Minoan culture.

The beautiful "Island of Roses" has a rich and varied history. A mix of modern and medieval, fascinates and impresses each visitor. On a hill above the charming town of Lindos rises an ancient acropolis dedicated to the goddess Athena. Below lies the bay of St.Paul where the apostle landed during his voyages.

It is very often called as "The Jerusalem of the Aegean Sea", is known as the site of the apocalyptic Revelations of St.John the Divine, written here during his exile from the Roman Empire. The cave where he lived is near the site of the Monastery of St.John, built on one of the island`s highest points and houses priceless manuscripts in its Treasury.

Explore Greece with the Best Greek Island Cruises

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Shore Excursions for each cruise destination

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3 Shore Excursions

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5 Shore Excursions

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The Best Greek Island Cruise Itinerary (9 Cruises You Can’t Resist)

Girls Who Travel | Greek island cruise itinerary

Greece is one of the most popular travel destinations from tourists all over the world. There is no shortage of amazing things to see and experience, including exploring the ancient ruins, relaxing by the stunning beaches, dining on fresh Mediterranean dishes, and so much more. The Greek islands are especially unique in their beauty. Each island has its own unique landscape and scenery, and going on a Greek Island cruise is the best way to experience everything that this magical country has to offer. This Greek island cruise itinerary covers the best and most popular spots.

This post contains affiliate links. This means we make a small commission at no cost to you if you click through and make a purchase. All prices listed are accurate at time of publication. 

Greek Island Cruise Itinerary

Girls Who Travel | Greek island cruise itinerary

Day 1 – Athens

Your Greek island cruise will most likely start in Athens. Greece’s capital, the birthplace of democracy, has much to offer for the curious traveler. Once the seat of the powerful empire, Athens is dotted with many landmarks dating back as far as the 5th century BC. Take a guided tour of the Acropolis , one of the most iconic sights in the world., and stop at the Acropolis Museum afterwards. See the Parthenon, dating back to 447 BC. Join a mythological tour . The tales of heroes and gods are captivating to say the least! If you are a fan of Greek mythology, don’t miss seeing the Temple of Poseidon . Explore the Erechtheion, a temple dedicated to Athena and Poseidon. The Temple of of Hephaestus and the Temple of Athena Nike shouldn’t be missed. There are also numerous fantastic museums to be discovered. The Museum of Cycladic Art, the National Archaeological Museum, the Benaki Museum, and many more are a great way to escape the heat and learn a thing or two about the ancient world. There’s so much to do and see, it’s well worth to spend a day or two in this ancient city before you head off to your Greek island cruise. If you are pressed on time, a half day sightseeing tour ensures you’ll hit most major sights. A a visit to Athens in winter is a good idea to escape the summer crowds, and many cruises run year round.

Day 2 – Thessaloniki

While Thessaloniki is part of the mainland, you will find that most every Greek island cruise itinerary includes Greece’s second largest city as a port of call. And there are many good reasons for that. Greece’s cultural capital has it all: a vibrant cultural life, with plenty of festivals and events, as well as must-see ancient ruins. On top of that, Thessaloniki features the most amazing street food! Plan to include the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in your shore excursions. Thessaloniki has a whooping 15 of them! The area around Tsimiski Street provides ample opportunity for shopping, no matter if you are looking for famous brands or local handicrafts. Keep your eyes open for bags, clothing, and jewelry from independent Greek designers. Those are unique souvenirs that’ll always remind you of your adventures in the Aegean Sea. Explore the ancient world in one of the many museums. Literally every single period in history is represented in a museum. While cruise ships generally offer everything from a 24 hour pizza buffet to fine dining, save some room for Thessaloniki’s famous street food.  Put a Pita Gyro sandwich on the menu, followed by kataifi or baklava. If you want to go all out, book an open markets food tasting tour . City sightseeing is made easy by the hop on hop off bus . Another great option to hit all the major sights is a classic city private tour . Looking for adventure? Head to the home of the Gods for an Olympus canyoning course !

Day 3 – Mykonos

Girls Who Travel | Greek island cruise itinerary

It’s day 3 and finally the cruise ships are venturing out into the open waters of the Aegean Sea! Mykonos is widely known as a party island, but there’s more to it. For one, it’s an excellent spot to go scuba diving. Find out if that’s one of the shore excursions your cruise ship offers, or book your own scuba diving adventure . Santorini and Mykonos both have fantastic beaches. Psarou beach, Ornos beach, Platys Gialos beach, Paraga beach, and Elia beach are just a few of the available options. The seven white windmills, Mykonos’ landmark, are not to be missed and can be reached with a short walk. Matogianni Street is the place to go for shopping and dining. If you feel like visiting another UNESCO World Heritage Site, take a half day Delos tour . This little island is knows as the birthplace of the twin gods Apollo and Artemis, and it is perfect for immersing yourself in mythology on your Greek island cruise. One day is a short time to explore everything Mykonos has to offer, but you definitely need to check out Alefkandra, known as Little Venice. Small alleys, paved with dark marble, are flanked by the typical white houses you see everywhere on your Greek island hopping cruises. The waterfront is lined with beautiful little restaurants where you can dine seaside with stunning views of the Aegean Sea, witnessing a Mediterranean sunset over the famous windmills. If doing this all by yourself sounds like too much work, book a private tour of the island ! Another very relaxing option would be to book a tour and wine tasting in Mykonian Land .

Day 4 – Rhodes

Rhodes is one of the most popular islands and will most certainly be part of any Greece cruise you book. Known as ‘Knights’ island’, it boasts incredible medieval architecture and is especially famous for it’s Old Town, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. While booking shore excursions is fun, on Rhodes you can easily venture out on your own and have a good time. Spend the day strolling through Old Town, Europe’s largest medieval city, and once upon a time home to one of the seven wonders of ancient times: the Colossus of Rhodes. Enjoy the architectural beauty, visit one of the many churches, and eat tasty Greek food. The highlight of Old Town is the Palace of the Grand Master, built in the 14th century. One can never get enough of the architecture of ancient times. We count the Acropolis of Lindos among the places you have to include in your Greek islands itinerary. It’s easy to book a day trip to Lindos , or take a high speed boat to get there and explore on your own. In need of R&R? Agios Pavlos Beach and Saint Paul’s Bay are the ideal places. One very special thing to see on Rhodes is the Petaloudes, the Valley of the Butterflies . The best time to visit is between June and August. One unique on the water activity is the 3 hour yellow semi submarine swimming cruise with drinks included ! If you prefer taking a tour, but the shore excursions were sold out, book a this 1 day Rhodes Island tour with olive oil, honey, wine tasting experience & lunch .

Day 5 – Santorini

Girls Who Travel | Greek island cruise itinerary

Depending on which Greek island cruise itinerary you choose, your next port of call could be Santorini. Known for its volcanic beaches and renowned wine making, it’s a Greek island that should be part of every Greece cruise. Its rugged landscape, caused by a volcanic eruption in the 16th century BC, holds a special kind of beauty. Around the main islands lie several volcanic islets, and Nea Kameni even has an active volcano. Book a boat tour of the volcano , visit two islets only accessible by boat, with a chance to hike to the crater of the active volcano. A walk to Skaros Rock is also great exercise. It’s a popular spot for hiking and taking Insta-worthy pics! Walk along the edge of the caldera, all the way from  Oia to Imerovigli to Fira and enjoy mesmerizing views of the Aegean Sea. The small village of Oia is most famous for sunset watchers, but it’s beautiful and extremely photogenic during the daytime, too. See a Venetian Castle! The castle of Akrotiri, located in the village of Akrotiri, is well-preserved. You could even book a full day Santorini highlights and Venetian castles tour . Cliff jumping at Ammoudi Bay is ideal for those seeking the ultimate adrenaline rush. Last but not least, go wine tasting ! Be aware that both Santorini and Mykonos can get very crowded during the high season.

Day 6 – Crete

Crete can lay claims to many titles: it’s the largest of the Greek islands, it was home to Europe’s first advanced civilization, the Minoan, which led it to be known as ‘the cradle of Western civilization’, and it has more archaeological sites than you can possibly see during a one day stop on your Greece cruise. So – what should you do with the limited time you have? If you do one thing on Crete, it should be a visit to Knossos and the Cave of Zeus . Knossos is not just the name of a palace, but also of the city surrounding it. It is Crete’s most important site. The cave of Zeus is a Minoan sacred cave, dating back to ancient times. For those seeking to gain a deeper understanding of those long ago civilizations, a stop at Heraklion Archaeological Museum is recommended. Depending on your fitness level, the 8.9 mile hike at Samaria Gorge is fun and rewarding. Chania’s Venetian Harbour is one of Crete’s most significant historical landmarks, and absolutely stunning. Sense a theme on this Greek islands itinerary? A lot of Venetian influences! It’s a beautiful area for a stroll, and you can go see the restored lighthouse and the Firka Fortress. Going to the beach in Crete is an experience you’ll never forget, because as it so happens, Elafonisi Beach is one of the top 10 beaches in the world! The sand is a mind-blowing pink, and the hue of the color changes depending on weather and tides. After all this activity you will surely be hungry. Go on a food tasting tour and stuff yourself with all the Greek delicacies. Or take a full day wine and olive oil tour and discover Crete’s specialties.

Day 7 – Hydra

Hydra is car free! No clogged roads, no traffic, no angry drivers honking… sounds like paradise. There are little tours available on this Greek island, so make sure to check and see if your cruise ships offer shore excursions. If they do not, don’t worry. There’s still plenty to do. It’s an amazing place to go scuba diving. Underwater caves and reefs can be seen in the crystal-clear waters of the Aegean Sea. Hiking is also a very popular activity, and there are several trails of varying difficulty which are generally well marked. Itching to see the sights? Visit the Bastions, the Monastery of Prophet Elias, the Monastery of Agia Efpraxia, the Church of the Assumption, or one of the museums.

Day 8 – Corfu

Girls Who Travel | Greek island cruise itinerary

The luscious Greek island of Corfu is mostly known for its beaches. Because it is so tiny it got the nickname ‘Mouse Island’, but it makes up for it with an abundance of vegetation. Olive trees and cypresses abound, and the lush vegetation creates a home for many small animals. The most beautiful area is undoubtedly Paleokastritsa Beach. The views are stunning, the waters cool and crystal clear, and there are many shops and restaurants to entertain you throughout the day. Unfortunately none of this is a secret, and Paleokastritsa Beach can get VERY busy. Avoiding the crowds is simply not an option. The good news? There’s a number of beaches on this Greek island that are more hidden and thus more quiet. Try Rovinia, Arkoudilas, Giali, Kerasia, or Gialiskari for a more serene experience. For the full experience, book a private and customizable half-day or full-day Corfu tour . Another great option covering all important sights is a hop on hop off bus tour . Other excellent tours available are a full-day boat tour of Paxos Antipaxos Blue Caves , an adventure quad ATV safari for an added adrenaline kick, The Governor Olive mill tour with olive oil tasting , and mini cruise around the coastline of Corfu town with a pirate ship .

Best Greek Island Cruises

Girls Who Travel | Greek island cruise itinerary

Now that you know the best places to visit and what makes each Greek island unique, you need to find out how to get there. Here we feature cruise lines offering a Greek island cruise itinerary. We’ll point out what they offer, where they go, and how much each cruise costs.

1. Norwegian Cruise Lines

Norwegian offers several fantastic options to cruise the Greek islands . Leaving from Athens you can combine your Greek island cruise with a quick visit to Turkey and Italy, or even France. Some of their cruises even spend additional days in Egypt! On board their ships you have the options to go basic and save your $$$ for fun at the ports of call, or indulge and book a stateroom with 24-hour butler service, exclusive sundeck, private hot tub, and many, many more extras. Once you made yourself at home, explore the ships. Onboard shopping generally includes gift shops, duty free shops, and even an art gallery! And you won’t go hungry, either. There are many complimentary restaurants, ranging from an Irish Pub (which comes highly recommended) to an Asian restaurant. If you want a little extra, there are several restaurants who serve food a la carte, and, of course, room service for a cozy evening in your stateroom. And talking about cozy: book a well deserved spa treatment at the on board spa! During time spent sailing to one of the next ports of call, enjoy activities on board: Perspectives Photography Studio, a basketball/volleyball/tennis court, a fitness center, the pool, the spa thermal suite, a card room, jade casino, the video arcade, a cigar lounge, the Entourage Teen Club, Splash Academy for kids, an internet café, a jogging and walking track, a library, and a chapel. After a relaxing day at one of the beautiful Greek island beaches, get ready for entertainment. The Norwegian Jade features everything from magical evenings to comedy shows and breathtaking acrobatics. Shore excursions are offered for every stop, including exploring a village in Crete, a trip to Knossos, wine tasting in Crete, an outing to see the innovative solar and wind installations on Tilos, Rhodes, highlights of Bodrum, and many more. Note that this cruise is port intensive, with no sea days in between to relax. While there is plenty of entertainment and activity on board, there’s a good chance that in the evening you’ll just want some R&R, which the pool and spa are perfect for.

2. Windstar Cruises

Windstar Cruises offers small ship cruises with all the amenities. There are several advantages to small ship cruises: they are a lot less crowded, offering a more intimate experience. If you are traveling solo, you will easily make friends. They offer a unique onboard experience, and smaller cruise ships can go places off limits to big ones, which is reflected in the following 9 day itinerary. This Windstar Cruises experience is also geared towards those wanting to see more than just Greece. Some of their cruises cover Greece exclusively, while others also stop in Italy, France, and even Spain. Their small ships will make this a much more relaxed experience. The Star Pride, for example, only carries 312 guests and is all about luxury. All accommodations are suites, and your only choice is to go all inclusive or not. The suites all have ocean view, queen or twin beds, a full-size bath tub, and they offer bathrobes and slippers, as well as fresh fruit bowls and fresh flowers to make you feel comfy and at home. These private yacht style cruises will not disappoint. There’s a fitness center and a spa, and a whirlpool to relax in, but since you are on the Aegean Sea, why not try out water sports? You have the choice between kayaking, sail-boarding, even water skiing, and, of course, swimming, and it’s all included. Also included are all meals, and all non-alcoholic beverages. Live music is provided in the lounge after dinner. Best of all? Because this is a private yachts style cruise, you are more than welcome to visit the captain on the bridge! Get the best views and learn a thing or two about operating a ship. Well thought out shore excursions are provided at every port of call on your Italy and Greece cruise.

3. Holland America Line

The Holland America Line offers a fabulous cruises that include not just Greece, but also Croatia ! Split in particular is a must for all fans of Game of Thrones. Dining options on board the Oosterdam included in your fare are the Dining Room, the Lido Market, the Dive-In, and…drum rolls please…. 24 hour room service! No need to hang with the crowds if you don’t feel like it after a long day in your port of call. If those don’t hit the spot, you’ll find 3 more options at an additional cost. There’s plenty of entertainment on board to keep you occupied, either after a day of sightseeing or on your days at sea. Work out in the fitness center, win a buck at the casino, enjoy R&R at the spa, listen to music on the World Stage, or get competitive in the family game room. Club Hal is great fun for kids. A variety of shore excursions is available, and you’ll receive all that information once you booked your Greece cruise.

4. Star Clipper

For the most unique of all Greek island hopping cruises , you need to look at Star Clipper and its beautiful ships. They are modern clipper ships, beautifully designed to safely sail 166 passengers through the Aegean Sea and beyond. Leave from the world’s most romantic city (Venice) to explore Croatia, Montenegro, and finally Greece. A cruise on the Star Clipper ships is unique in many ways. You’ll get plenty of time for rest and relaxation, and an authentic experience sailing the Aegean Sea, powered by nothing but the wind. And you will do this in utter comfort. Staterooms are available in 6 categories, plus an owners cabin. Category 1 is a deluxe deck cabin, featuring your own whirlpool and a minibar. Category 2 is a large outside cabin. Category 3 is a regular outside cabin. Category 4 is an outside cabin with an extra fold down bunk with a ladder. Category 5 can be an inside or outside cabin and features an extra fold down bunk with a ladder. Category 6 is an inside cabin, which is much smaller than the other options. The owners cabin is the crème de la crème of accommodations on all Star Clipper ships. It’s a deluxe outside cabin, featuring a sitting area, minibar, and a whirlpool. It’s also the largest available cabin. Rather than having a large assortment of restaurants like the big cruise ships, there’s one place to eat. But do not be concerned, food is treated as a culinary art on the Star Clipper ships! Feel free to dress casually. Another thing that’s simply amazing on this cruise is the entertainment. Local performers are invited onto the ship to give you the most authentic experience. if you are so inclined you can even pick up a few basic nautical skills! Climb the mast up to the crow’s nest for the best views, or relax in the netting at the bow, watching the waves and looking for dolphins. Water sports of all kinds are available for you to try out.

5. Disney Cruise Line

Dream about a Greece cruise onboard a Disney ship . It doesn’t matter if you have kids or not, a Disney cruise is magical for all ages. In its 2021 World’s Best Awards, Travel and Leisure voted Disney Cruise Line the No. 1 mega-ship ocean cruise line. What better way to explore Santorini and Mykonos, and other exciting ports of call? Leave from the eternal city, Rome, stop in Naples, and head over to the Greek islands. The Disney ships can make your accommodation dreams come true. You can choose a standard or deluxe inside stateroom. Staterooms with ocean view include the deluxe or the deluxe family options. Staterooms with a balcony are also available: a deluxe family ocean view stateroom with verandah, a deluxe ocean view stateroom with verandah, or a deluxe ocean view stateroom with navigator’s verandah (a smaller verandah than the regular one). If you want to go all out and have the most luxurious Greece cruise possible, book one of the available suites. The concierge royal suite with verandah, the concierge one bedroom suite with verandah, or the concierge family ocean view stateroom with verandah will leave you wanting for nothing. Ah, the dining. There’s magic to be had everywhere on a Disney cruise, and the dining is no exception. Included in the price of your cruise are the Animator’s Palate, the Royal Palace, the Enchanted Garden, Cabanas, Flo’s Café, and room service. On top of that you can get complimentary soft serve ice cream at Eye Scream Treats and Frozone Treats. For extra $$$ you can eat Italian food at Palo, French Cuisine at Remy, have coffee and pastries at Vista Café, get popcorn and candy at Preludes, or smoothies and specialty drinks at Eye Scream Treats and Frozone Treats. Onboard shopping is available and includes everything from a photo studio to a gallery, a sweets shop, and a boutique. The Disney ships offer so much entertainment, you might be hard pressed to pry yourself away from it all and go to shore. There are bars, clubs, and lounges, even a teen club and a video game arcade. There’s a spa for adults and even a special spa for teens! Get your hair style all freshened up at the barber shop and hair salon. Stay in shape at the fitness center, join an exercise class, walk on the outdoor walking and jogging track, or book an hour with a personal trainer. But wait, there’s more, a whole sports deck (Goofy’s sports deck!), and there’s so much fun to be had: there’s a basketball court, a mini-soccer pitch, ping pong and foosball, a digital sports simulator, Goofy’s mini golf, a golf simulator and packages for an additional fee, and shuffleboard. Oh, and don’t forget the 5 different pools, with lots of water fun, and four infinity hot tubs. In case this wasn’t enough leisure for you yet, there are plenty of shows you can see, from Broadway style shows to comedy and magicians, and there are two movie theaters, one of which is poolside. There are parties and theme nights, live music and dancing, contests and tournaments. And all this doesn’t even include all the entertainment and activities for kids. Boredom is not an option. Shore excursions, known as port adventures at Disney, are available at all ports of call. You can not go wrong with a Disney cruise.

9. Princess Cruises

For those who would like to combine their Greece cruise with the best the Mediterranean has to offer, a cruise on a Princess ship is a great deal. With Princess Cruises, you can count on modern amenities for a very affordable price. They offer several options from different exciting European ports. Just like on most other big cruise ships, accommodations include inside staterooms, ocean view staterooms, staterooms with a balcony, and suites. To ensure the ultimate comfort, Princess has invested in luxury beds on this ship, making sure you get the rest you need for your busy schedule. There are plenty of dining options available. Included in the price of your cruise are Dine My Way, World Fresh Marketplace, International Café, Slice Pizzeria, Gigi’s Pizzeria, and Salty Dog Grill. Specialty dining is available at Crown Grill, Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria, The Salty Dog Gastropub, Gelato. and Ocean Terrace Seafood Bar. Your sea days can be filled with rest and relaxation, or a variety of activities. From the top deck, you can indulge in stargazing. Other activities are inspired by Discovery Channel hit shows, such as Shark Week, Finding Bigfoot, Deadliest Catch and others. The crew of the Enchanted Princess also puts on a festival from the region you are sailing to, and offers other destination themed activities. Princess, in partnership with Discovery, offers very special shore excursions. They are all small group tours, focused on immersive once in a lifetime experiences.

Are you excited for your trip? Pick up one of our 25 best books about Greece before you go!

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Jenny grew up in Germany. All she ever wanted out of life was to leave and have adventures. Jenny always traveled as much as the budget would allow, and when she met her husband traveling became a full-time thing. You can follow Jenny on her blog and Facebook.

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Find secluded Greek island coves on a beach-hopping boat tour of pint-sized Paxos

Perfect for beach-hopping, Paxos brings some of Greece’s most secluded coves within reach.

Leaning over the edge of the boat, I sink my hands below the surface. The midday sun is reflecting on the crests of the waves, and I can hear the hypnotic lapping of the sea meeting the cliffs. Otherwise, all is quiet.    

Leaning over the edge of the boat, I sink my hands below the surface. The midday sun is reflecting on the crests of the waves, and I can hear the hypnotic lapping of the sea meeting the cliffs. Otherwise, all is quiet.

It’s not surprising to hear that on Paxos, a seven-mile by two-and-a-half mile island off the south coast of Corfu, boats, just like the one George Lychnos remembers, were once used for everything from furniture removal to emergency services. While the road network has improved over recent decades — you can now drive the length of Paxos in just 20 minutes — the steep, winding route of the asphalt still reduces even the most laissez-faire drivers to sweat.  

But boating around Paxos is as much about fun as it is practicality. Summer days on this Ionian island are mostly spent dropping anchor at whichever cove of clear water takes your fancy, stretching out beneath the sun on the deck and diving in to cool off. Renting boats like this, whether solo or with a skipper, is something you can do on smaller stretches of some other Greek islands, but the size of Paxos means you can circle it at a leisurely pace in three hours. The abundance of beaches (“over 50, below 100,” says George) also gives you the chance to beach-hop between many of Greece’s most beautiful coves in a day.

We leave the 100-year-old San Sebastian in the distance, speeding around the island alongside hillsides covered in a green patchwork of towering pines and low, wide trees, their branches heavy with olives. “Paxos is covered in olive trees,” says George over the roar of the motor. “There are around 500,000 of them. But in summer, they’re too hard to pick — just look at those hills! We can’t be bothered.”  

boat in harbour with exterior of old building in background

George is the owner of Villa Kiki near the capital Gaios, on the southeast coast, where tavernas serve souvlaki in Venetian buildings with peeling shutters. The next day, George takes me on a tour of the island, again by boat.

Skimming across the water clockwise along the island’s east coast, we pass modest cottages with sea views and modern homes worthy of Grand Designs — glassy structures that blend in with the surrounding forest. Soon, we’re coasting beside the holiday home of the Agnelli family, owners of Juventus football club. A lone man plucks clams from the rocks beside it.  

Close to here, in the harbour of Mongonissi village on the island’s southern tip, we speed past sailing boats and superyachts, and a jack russell bounding into the shallows to fetch his ball. A short while later, we stop at Erimitis beach, where the neon-blue sea meets creamy pebbles, and the cliffs slowly shift to rose-gold with the sunset.  

The next day, I hop in my hire car to explore the northern tip of the island and another harbour town, Lakka, where I arrive to find the yachties heading in from their sailboats. It’s here that I meet 25-year-old Kostas Pappas, who, with his floppy hair and gentle manner, has become one of the most sought-after sea captains on the island.

I join him on one of his rigid inflatable boats. Handing me a glass of chilled rosé, he heads for some of his favourite swimming spots — each one empty but for us. At Avlaki 2 beach, which is barely wide enough for a couple of towels, I dive in and float on my back. Nothing beats entering the water from a boat: it’s exhilarating at first, then serene. At Lakkos beach, in the north, the pebbled shore is lined with olive and cypress trees, no other boats in sight.

Back at Villa Kiki that evening, I ask George what he plans to do over winter, when the travellers have left and the boats are empty. “Maybe then we’ll pick our olives,” he says, with a smile. “Picking olives on Paxos is like going to the therapist for a session. It makes you feel good.” He may be right. But I’d say any time here on Paxos is good for me.

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Dreaming of the Aegean? Here are the 8 best cities to visit in Greece

Greece is full of enriching experiences. When you visit this sunny country on our Greece tours , you’ll find the echoes of ancient civilizations, stroll along picturesque beaches, and explore bustling cities teeming with art and energy. “From sea level to the high mountains and back, Greece is such a beautiful and diverse country,” said traveler Doug, who joined us on our A Week in Ancient Greece: Athens, Delphi & Olympia tour .

Discovering everything Greece has to offer is a dream, and you can visit many of our favorite archaeological sites, villages, and cities in Greece all on one tour. Ready to marvel at whitewashed buildings, warm culture, and glorious cuisine? Here are eight of the best cities to visit in Greece when you join us on our Grand Tour of Greece: Athens, Corfu & Santorini .

Jump ahead to... Thessaloniki Meteora Corfu Delphi Athens Santorini Crete Olympia

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4 money-saving strategies I used to cruise the Greek Islands with my family for a week for just $1,700

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  • My family's cruise cost less than $1,700 for a week visiting several islands in Greece and Turkey.
  • Because our trip was in October, it was much cheaper than a trip during peak travel season.
  • We booked over a year early — if prices drop, you can typically change your booking for the lower price.

Because my two kids (ages 12 and 14) attend a school that uses a modified, year-round schedule, they get two weeks off for fall break in October of each year.

Since fall is a great time to travel to the Caribbean or Europe due to pleasant weather and off-peak rates, we typically plan a trip for the entire break to new destinations around the world.

This year's fall break was no different, as my husband and I took our girls to Athens, Greece for several days before embarking on a seven-night Greek Islands cruise on the MSC Musica. The total cost for an interior cabin came out to just under $1,632 including the cruise fare, a "free drinks and WiFi" package and port taxes and fees.

We scored an incredible deal for a cruise that left Athens and visited the islands of Mykonos; Rhodes and Santorini in Greece; the island of Cyprus; and Kuşadası, Turkey, which is known for its proximity to the ancient ruins of Ephesus.

My family loves cruising because it's affordable and fun, and because we get to visit new destinations all the time. Saving money on each cruise we book also frees up cash in our travel budget to take more trips in the future.

Cruising is a fairly affordable way to travel as a family to begin with, but it can be an even better deal with some planning, especially if you avoid the most common cruise spending traps .

Cruise travel insurance is a good way to make sure you get the most out of the money you spend. It also helps to use points from a travel rewards credit card to help cover part of the cost. I take four steps to get the best value.

1. Travel on off peak dates

While cruising Europe can definitely be expensive, the highest cruise fares are definitely found during the summer months of June through August. We cruised out of Athens in the middle of October this year, which was the absolute end of the cruise season for destinations like Mykonos and Santorini. In fact, you'll find a lot fewer Greek islands cruises taking place in November or December, or any time after that until the next spring.

Just like other types of travel, cruising off-peak comes with lighter crowds and lower costs. We paid a lot less for our cruise cabin by traveling in October, and we also got excellent weather since the temperature was in the high 70s each day of the trip.

2. Pay for an interior cabin

Some newer cruise ships have all kinds of cabins and suites to choose from, but the MSC Musica is an older cruise ship that has standard interior cabins, sea view cabins, balcony cabins and basic suite options. Either way, interior cabins are always the least expensive, and they are often roomier and nicer than you might think.

Our cruise ship was around half empty. This led to MSC Cruises upgrading the cabin to a balcony cabin even though we paid for an interior room.

This is never guaranteed to happen and it probably won't in the future if we banked on it, but I still saved big by opting for the least expensive room on the ship when I booked.

3. Compare cruise lines and itineraries

Make sure to compare cruise lines and itineraries before you book a cruise. After all, cruise fares can vary by season, based on specific dates, and around whatever sales are going on at the time. While you can shop around for cruises and compare prices on each line's website, the website Vacations To Go is a great place to compare multiple itineraries, ships and cruise lines all in one place.

We found that MSC Cruises had the best price in October for the trip we wanted to take, and we also saved 5% for being part of the MSC Voyagers Club cruise loyalty program.

4. Book early

Finally, booking early is always the best way to save money on a cruise. Booking ahead means you can lock in the cabin you want with a deposit, and you can typically call the cruise line to change your booking if the price goes down until a few months before departure.

Cruise lines also offer their best incentives to get people to book cruises a year out or even sooner. Because we booked our fall break cruise almost a year ahead of time, we each got a $50 on-board credit to spend and a free drinks and WiFi package included.

4 money-saving strategies I used to cruise the Greek Islands with my family for a week for just $1,700

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River Cruise on Luxurious Radisson Boat

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River Cruise on Luxurious Radisson Boat

Equipped with ice-breaking technology, these huge fancy yachts are the only river cruisers running all year around. The round trip journey takes two and a half hours and floats past all the big sights like the White House, Novodevichy monastery and the Kremlin. There’s a large open air observation deck up top, while the main body of the ship houses a restaurant with a dance floor for a romantic post dinner dance. For a particularly romantic experience take one of the evening boats and admire the bright lights of the city skyline at night.

The most relaxing and picturesque tour that Moscow can offer: a great way to see the city center and its main attractions. This is a perfect alternative to exploring the city by car, if you only have time to do sightseeing during weekday rush hours.

Your English-speaking guide is eager to share every bit of their knowledge about the surrounding landscape, the architecture and historical details.

We conduct Moscow river tour on Radisson Flotilla boats all year around!  It’s warm inside during winter months, while there’s air conditioning during hot summer days. You may also treat yourself to drinks, lunch or dinner on board (drinks and food are not included in tour price).

The cost of an excursion with a personal guide for 1 person

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Greek Island Cruises

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Romance and culture await on a Greek Island cruise

It’s 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.

Greek Island Cruise Highlights

Once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

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 Town’s organic wineries. Or, take an intimate, exclusive cooking lesson on how to make local favorites in Santorini’s main square, right in the middle of it all.

Ancient History

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.

Natural Wonders

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, Greece’s highest mountain and the fabled home of the Greek gods. In Zakynthos, don’t miss a visit to the awe-inspiring Shipwreck Beach, which often tops best-of lists.

Featured Ports

Santorini, Greece

Travelers flock to Santorini for its cobalt-roofed homes, friendly locals, and fine local wine. On this crescent-shaped island, soak up the sun at black-sand beaches like Perissa, or spend a day at the Santorini Caldera, one of the only places in the world to see submerged remnants of an erupted volcano. Sample Greek wines at family-owned wineries dotting the Aegean coast, and take the time to marvel at the incredible panoramas all around you.

Mykonos, Greece

Mykonos is the quintessential Mediterranean beach destination. Choose your favorite to spend the day on, or book a sailing excursion to go beach hopping. Take a day trip beyond Mykonos to the nearby island of Delos, an uninhabited archeological site said to be the birthplace of Greek gods. Experience an authentic side of the island with a home-cooking class, where you’ll sample and prepare delicious local specialties.

Athens, Greece

To visit the capital of Greece is to take a trip back in time, whether you’re exploring the narrow streets of the Plaka District or hiking the Acropolis for well-earned views of the Parthenon. After a day of exploration, pop into a taverna for Mediterranean meze and a cold beer.

Greek Island Cruise Itineraries

Explore the wonders of Greece on 7- to 12-night itineraries available year round. Along with ports of call in the country’s best destinations, our cruises to Greece also include stops in Turkey, Italy, Malta, and beyond. You’ll depart from Rome, Athens, or Barcelona, making it easy to extend your vacation in one of these stunning cities before or after your cruise.

Itineraries

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Corfu, Greece

Chania (Souda), Crete, Greece

Olympia (Katakolon), Greece

Rhodes, Greece

Hydra, Greece

Set Sail on a Greek Island Cruise with Celebrity

Before you ride a donkey to the top of Santorini Island, before you stare in awe at the Acropolis, and before you lose track of time on a warm Mediterranean beach with a cocktail in hand, your journey on board one of our luxury cruise ships is all part of the unforgettable experience. 

Your vacation begins the moment you step on board. Discover the unparalleled service, delectable culinary creations, innovative venues, thrilling performances, and indulgent wellness treatments that take your vacation from good to extraordinary. You’ve never seen Greece like this before.

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The Solovetsky Islands – the world heritage site

No comments · Posted by Sergei Rzhevsky in Culture , Photos , Travel

The Solovetsky Islands (also known as Solovki) is an archipelago in the White Sea (total area is about 347 sq km) in the Arkhangelsk region . It consists of 6 large and about 100 small islands ( Google Maps location of the largest island).

The archipelago, including five-kilometer area of the White Sea, is the protected area – Federal State Institution “Solovetsky state historical-architectural and natural museum-reserve.” Photos by Dmitry Mordolff

The Solovetsky Islands, Arkhangelsk region, Russia photo 1

The main attraction of the islands is the Solovetsky Monastery founded in 1420-1430’s. Under Soviet rule the monastery was used as the country’s first special purpose prison camp. In 1990, the monastery was returned to the church. In 1992, the Solovetsky historical and cultural complex was declared World Heritage Site.

The Solovetsky Islands, Arkhangelsk region, Russia photo 2

Regular flights to the Solovetsky Islands are made from Arkhangelsk , from Moscow (airport “Sheremetyevo-1” with a transfer to another plane in Arkhangelsk), and from Petrozavodsk .

Also there are cruise lines. Every year, twice a month, from June to August, ships “Mamin-Sibiryak” and “Belinsky” go on a cruise from Moscow to Solovki and back.

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    Featured cruises to the Greek Islands. With labyrinth-like streets, tavernas within touching distance of the sea, and time unfurling at its own unhurried pace, the Greek Islands are a cruise away. Dip your toes into warm shallows in secluded coves and admire blue-shuttered houses, cloaked in colourful flowers.

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    Greece Cyclades Small Ship Cruise 2024. Athens - Poros - Polýaigos/Folegandros - Santorini - Antiparos/Paros - Delos/Mykonos - Syros - Kythnos - Athens. 7 Nights. From $2,695 pp. Cruise for 8 days and 7 nights, visiting the island jewels of the Cyclades while sailing on a small, yacht-like ship that offers comfort and old-style ...

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    The beautiful Greece and Greek Isles cruise ports, from the in-progress archaeological digs at Delos to the Old Towns of Crete and Rhodes, the Greek Islands are brimming with history. And while it's wonderful to explore the past, the beaches of Mykonos and the architecture of Santorini and Athens are just a few of the many pleasures that await you.

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    Top Cruise Lines for Greek Island Cruises The Greek Islands are a perennial favorite among travelers, and numerous cruise lines offer voyages through this iconic archipelago. When choosing a cruise line, it's important to consider the type of experience you're seeking, be it luxury, adventure, family-focused, or a more intimate sailing.

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  27. The Solovetsky Islands

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