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Ship: Celestyal Cruises, Celestyal Crystal
Sailing Dates: 28 May 2022 x 7 nights
Destination: Idyllic Cruise – Greek Islands
Itinerary: Athens (Piraeus), Thessaloniki, Kusadasi, Rhodes, Crete (Heraklion), Santorini, Mykonos, Syros, Athens (Piraeus)

Highlights

  • Ephesus Shore Excursion. This shore excursion is included in the fare and consists of a guided tour explaining the history of this ancient city built in the 10th century BC. The Library of Celsus was my favourite part of this ancient city. What’s left of the library is impressive, still standing tall and statues in good condition. I took some great photos here including one standing in front on the stairs. Don’t miss out on this photo opportunity when visiting.
  • Rhodes Shore Excursion. Acropolis of Lindos and the Citadel of the Knights shore excursion is included. It’s a long climb to the top of the hill where the Acropolis of Lindos and the ancient temple of Athena built in 300 BC stands. From above you will have views on St. Pauls Bay which is absolutely breathtaking. Next stop is the Citadel of the Knights, one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe. We walked the beautiful paved streets admiring the Gothic-style buildings and stopped for a halloumi gyros at Pita Fan which was delicious.
  • Crete Shore Excursion. Experience the Cretan countryside and lifestyle shore excursion which is not included in the fare but should not be missed. We visited the traditional village of Stironas where we went to a raki distillery and met the owner who told us about the history of the farm that’s been in his family for generations and how the raki is made. We got to sample some raki, red and white wine along with some customary Greek Food as we watched traditional Greek Dancing.
  • Santorini Shore Excursion. Spectacular Oia Village perched on the caldera rim shore excursion is not included in the fare but another that should not be missed. The views are picture perfect in every direction you look. Our tour guide, showed us through the marble-paved alleys stopping at the best spots for photo opportunities as we explored the town and browsed the boutique shops. The legendary sunset was beautiful and the perfect way to end an afternoon in Santorini.
  • Mykonos includes a late stay. We walked the little narrow laneways spotting bright bougainvillea plants, beautiful white sand stone buildings with different bursts of colour on their doors and windows and friendly cats. We also walked up the hill to see the famous windmills which is a great photo opportunity. In the afternoon we made our way to Elia Beach Club where we swam and laid on the sunbeds enjoying the Mediterranean sun with a few cocktails. We made the most of our late stay and had dinner in town and visited a few bars including some dancing to ABBA.
  • Syros. Our last full-day of our cruise was meant to be the port of Milos but due to weather conditions it was changed to Syros. Syros did not disappoint! It was a beautiful little city to walk around with what felt like no tourists in sight (a more relaxed feeling to Santorini). We also visited Ono, a beach club on the other side of the island. Day beds were only 5 Euro and was the most beautiful setup, it reminded me of a beach club in Tulum.
  • Waking up in a new port every day. With no ‘at sea’ days on this itinerary we truly got to explore the Greek Islands in depth all within 7 nights. The best part about it is you only have to un-pack once!
  • Delicious food onboard. I loved that there were Greek cuisine options onboard. When you dined in the main restaurant (Amalthia Restaurant) there was a little symbol saying ‘Greek Classic Favourite’ next to the Greek dishes. The Greek salad was not on the menu every night in the main dining restaurant but the chef was happy to prepare this for me each night, which I just adored. The specialty restaurant at an additional surcharge offers a Greek 6 course menu including lobster and octopus.
  • Drinks & Select Shore Excursions included. It truly is an affordable way to visit the Greek Islands with the classic drinks package and select shore excursions in Kusadasi and Rhodes already included in the cruise fare.

Top Tips

1. Extend your stay in Athens. There is so much to do and see in Athens – climb to the top of the hill where the Acropolis stands, visit the Panathenaic Stadium where the first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896, dine or grab a drink at one of the rooftop bars with the most stunning view of the Acropolis or have a relaxing day at one of the beach clubs.

2. Upgrade Stateroom. Why not spoil yourself and book a balcony stateroom or suite with balcony which offers a private outdoor space to enjoy sail away or the Mediterranean sunset.

3. Upgrade to premium drinks package. The premium drinks package is worth the upgrade as it includes bottled water, specialty coffee, a range of cocktails and more that is not included in the classic drinks package.

4. Shore Excursions. Book a shore excursion in the ports where the excursions are not included. That way you really get to explore each port and learn the history and culture with a tour guide.

5. Kusadasi. After your included shore excursion to Ephesus, explore the streets of Kusadasi and do some shopping. Finish the day off on a rooftop bar watching the sunset behind the ship as it’s docked in town.

6. Santorini Sunset. If you would like to see the sunset from a rooftop bar or restaurant be sure to pre-book this prior to the cruise for the perfect view.

7. Mykonos includes a late stay. The ship is docked roughly a 10 minute drive from town with a shuttle service available until 1:30am, every half an hour into town. Make the most of the late stay by dining in town and visiting a local bar. The nightlife truly comes alive and the atmosphere is ecstatic.

8. Syros. If the port of Milos is cancelled due to inclement weather, you will visit the town of Syros. The ship docks right in town. Be sure to walk, explore the streets, shops and lookout for the church that sits atop of the hill through the narrow lanes. Pack your swimmers and visit Asteria Beach where you can jump in the crystal clear water off the cement pier, a short walk from the ship.

9. Don’t forget to pack. Good walking shoes – some paths including Ephesus are marble and can be very slippery, European adaptor, camera and charger, white or blue outfit for the themed night, sun cream, hat and swimmers.