I just got back from my first cruise, ever! I must say I gained a better insight into the cruising industry than ever before and I have a better understanding of why travelers choose sea over air or land.
It was a surprising and spontaneous decision made couple of weeks ago, but I do not regret it one bit!
The cruise was for 7 days around the Greek Islands with Variety Cruises, I was on board Harmony V with Joseph as my cruise coordinator (he is amazing by the way – just look how happy he is on the donkey).
I am not sure where to start but perhaps I should start on how I got there from Iceland. Lufthansa has been offering some great deals to and from Athens and the cheapest flights I found were 350 EUR back and forth with a short stop in Frankfurt, Germany. We had three pre-and one post nights in Athens which gave us plenty of time to explore what Athens has to offer.
We stayed at Grekotel Athena Pallas hotel which is just a 10-minute walking distance (two minute cab ride) from the main shopping street and square.
For my first three days, I got acquainted with the city. I hired a driver for a day (with my spouse of course) and he took us all over the city so we got to see and do a lot more in one day than normally by regular transport. I got a multi site ticket which gave access to 7 archelogical locations around the city, including Acropolis. This was totally worth it in my opinion, since we got to see so many things in one day. Thomas Dawson wrote some great info about the tickets, what they offer and where to get them.
Now back to the Cruise which is what I wanted to tell you about. We were greeted at the pier by the staff and Joseph, my spouse and I were immediately recognized as the Icelanders. I wonder why? not really though since my spouse looks like a Viking bear as someone named him once.
Here is a map of where we went during our 7 days at sea.
This was a spectacular way to experience Greece, I embarked on tiny and non crowded islands (some with no cars, just donkeys and bicycles). There are many things to see and do at each location.
Since my spouse and I where in Crete and Santorini in 2004 we decided to rent a buggy in Santorini instead of joining the excursion on land and wow! It gave us a whole different view of the island. Some incredible views and not too hot since the wind was in our faces the whole time. I must admit I really needed a shower once we were on board, my face towel looked like it had been playing make up remover with all the dust from my face and bod
In Monemvassia we went up to the fort and hiked all the way to the top and the view was just amazing.
You cannot see the medieval town from here, it just looks like a giant rock!
This is me at the top – just look at that smile! It was burning hot though and thankfully I had a shawl with me to cover up my shoulders and prevent some serious sun burns.
This is the view from the top! The hike was really worth it and did not take as long as I thought it would.
Greece has some wonderful UNESCO heritage sites worth visiting as well such as Acropolis, Delphi, Mycenae and Tiryns, Delos the mythical birthplace of Apollo and his twin sister Artemis and more. Knossos however is not part of it an never will since a large par of it is restored ruins and not enough originals.
Now, if you do not have the funds for a cruise around the islands you can always take the small boats to take you around and go island hopping and stay at hostels or other sort of budget accommodations.