Some tips about ferries and cruises through the Greek Islands

The possibility of sailing on cruises around the Greek islands and discovering different Greek merits, historical monuments, churches, beaches, archaeological ruins, parks, tasting typical foods, is a very seductive proposal and also challenging.

The challenge is to decide on the itinerary and on what to see or do before such a huge and varied offer of attractions. The dilemma is, in short, to call at several ports (cruise ships do not dock at all the ports of all the Greek islands), in a single trip and at full speed, accumulate images and sensations in a fascinating itinerary.

Check out this amazing Cruise package that connects the Greek islands with the Turkish coast plus Delphi and Meteoras! Click here.

Practical advice on cruises around the Greek islands

It is possible to enjoy every single stop at a port of call and turn your experience into a memorable one if you follow certain guidelines.

You can visit a number of the Greek islands in the two cruises that sail in the beautiful Greek seas. The main company is Celestyal Cruises that departs from the Piraeus port in Athens. The main drawback is these cruises only run from mid-March to early November (during the Greek spring and summer period).

In order to climb on board a cruise ship to visit the Greek islands it is important to make your reservation in advance, especially during the high season. Tickets are purchased through this agency, Greca Travel. Cruise routes skirt peninsular Greece and reach the closest islands, usually several of the Cyclades (and connections to the Turkish coast are also made). There are also routes between Rhodes, in the Dodecanese, and Samos, in the extreme south of the Northeastern Aegean.

Ask Greca Travel for the cruise ship plan. The elaborate layout, in which all the cabin numbers are shown, may seem overwhelming at first, but at a closer look you will see all the services available on each deck and, in this way, you can decide where you would prefer your cabin to be assigned. For example, you would not like being near the kitchen or next to the engine room if you preferred some peace and quiet. Generally, the cabins have two beds or four in some cases. Those in the central zone are the most economical, while the cabins on higher decks as well as the outside cabins are more expensive.

The full board meal package is overtly colored indicating that it includes unlimited meal options. The food is of high quality and is displayed according to the following program: early morning coffee, breakfast, mid-morning buffet, lunch, snacks (or afternoon tea), dinner and midnight buffet.

While Greek islands may be perfectly explored on a cruise from March to November, the best time to embark on such a cruise is from mid-May to the end of June. At this time of the year the days are mild, sometimes hot and dry, and the sea water is heated by the rays of the sun. Mid-summer nights are ideal for dining al fresco on cruise ship buffets.

Spring is the perfect time to explore the cities, and in addition, there is much less influx of tourists at this time than in the summer. If you are not keen on large crowds, and the beaches are not on your agenda, April and May are a good time to visit the country. The carnival season and Greek Easter, with its processions, lamb dishes and red eggs, are the highlight of the season!


The slow and fast ferries that sail through the waters of the Greek islands

Apart from cruise ships, ferries also sail to the Greek islands.  They do not depart, though, to all destinations every day, while their service may be suspended as soon as bad weather sets in.  Some are slow and, except for when the sea is calm, they are not advisable for those prone to sea sickness.

Generally, there are slow and fast ferries. The slow ones cover the main routes, and in the summer both the "small and fast" ferries operate between the Greek islands. Local slow ferries, regardless of size, are subject to normal fares, and tickets can also be purchased through this agency, Greca Travel. In general, Greca recommends slow ferries since, being the first contact with the Aegean Sea, the trip is more enjoyable this way (you can be on deck sipping your cool drink, taking photos, etc.; something that on fast ferries you cannot do for security reasons).

All in all, you must also pay close attention to the destinations you intend to visit. If you want to travel from Athens to Mykonos, for example, the ferry does not usually reach the final destination directly, but it first calls at port in Syros and Tinos and then arrives in Mykonos. However, by taking these ferries you will avoid the hassle of using the mainland ports time and again.

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