Greek island cruises are exquisite vacations of luxury, mythology, and beauty. But cruising the islands of Greece is more than just a simple getaway, it is a voyage into the rich past of this stunning Mediterranean region.
When to Take Greek Island Cruises
The gorgeous scenery of the Greek Islands is beautiful throughout the year, and major cruise lines offer different voyages year-round. The greatest number of sailings are scheduled in the summer months, however, typically between April and October. Passengers who prefer a temperate climate may want to avoid the height of summer in July and August, when temperatures routinely reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
The majority of cruises visiting the Greek Islands are 3-14 nights long, though most voyages are at least a week. Even longer voyages are apt to include other destinations such as Italy or Turkey, with both roundtrip and one-way options. Many world cruises also include stops in Greece during the Mediterranean portions of their itineraries.
All major cruise lines visit the Greek Islands, including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Norwegian, Celebrity, and Holland America. Many luxury lines offer Greek sailings as well, such as Seabourn, Silversea, and Radisson.
Passengers interested in a more intimate cruise experience may want to consider Windstar Cruises or any of the small European lines that specialize in Mediterranean voyages and the Greek Islands. For complete listings of which cruise lines currently offer Greek Island cruises, consult an experienced travel agent.
Embarkation Ports for Greek Island Cruises
Depending on the length of the cruise and whether it is one-way or roundtrip, passengers have their choice of embarkation ports. The most popular beginning points for Greek cruises include:
- Venice, Italy
- Genoa, Italy
- Rome, Italy
- Barcelona, Spain
- Athens, Greece
For cruises that begin and end in different countries, be sure to investigate any paperwork and documentation requirements such as passports, customs, and other necessities before setting sail.
Ports of Call in Greece
With dozens of potential ports of call, Greek island itineraries can vary widely. Many cruise lines attempt to alternate large, well-known ports of call with more isolated destinations, and longer cruises on smaller ships have the option to visit more remote locations. Before choosing a cruise based solely on ports of call, however, passengers should consider how long the ship is docked at that port: because Greece has such a rich and varied history, it may be better to explore fewer ports in more depth rather than visit so many that none can be thoroughly appreciated.
Some of the more popular destinations for Greek island cruises include:
- Rhodes: Believed to have been the home of the gigantic Colossus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Rhodes still offers stunning gothic architecture for today's visitors.
- Mykonos: The distinctive cottages, domed churches, and windmills of Mykonos epitomize both contemporary and traditional Grecian architecture.
- Athens: Home to the famed Acropolis and other ancient ruins, this popular destination is widely considered to be the cradle of western civilization.
- Santorini: Dramatic one thousand foot cliffs are among the highlights of this volcanic island, where many archeological sites continually reveal ancient Grecian culture. Furthermore, the island's rich soil allows it to produce some of the region's most notable wines.
- Corfu: This small destination in the Ionian Sea is one of the more temperate Greek islands, and its dozens of private, hidden beaches will tempt passengers to both sunbathing and watersports.
- Delos: Near Mykonos, this port is often offered as a shore excursion from the larger island, though its temples and monuments make it well worth the visit.
- Katakolos: The home of the first Olympic Games in 776 BC, the highlight of this island is the revered Temple of Zeus.
No matter which ports of call are included on any given itinerary, there are dozens of shopping, historical, and cultural tours to delight travelers and give them a glimpse of this vibrant nation.
From ancient temples and mythology to modern architecture and sumptuous shopping, Greek island cruises offer many fascinating diversions for passengers of all ages and interests along with the convenience of island hopping without additional travel arrangements. Available year-round, this Mediterranean destination is rapidly growing in popularity and continues to delight even repeat visitors.