How to Plan a Cruise in Greece

How to Plan a Cruise in Greece
Rhodes, Santorini, Athens. These locales, drenched in Mediterranean sun and awash in azure waves, are a vision to experience on a Greek cruise. Greece is a magical destination and a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many people. Cruising the Greek isles is an intimate way of experiencing the charms of this timeless land. Before you go, take the time to plan your Greek cruise.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Cost versus Convenience

Step 1
With many cruise lines offering options for a Greek tour, you first need to examine what the benefits and hindrances are to each particular line. The huge cruise lines are usually cheaper, but a closer look might reveal hidden costs. A mega-ship offers the convenience of more ship-board amenities, but are not designed for the small ports of the Greek islands. Some mega-ships offer stops in Rhodes, but actually set port in Marmaris, Turkey, to save port fees. For the cruiser, that means paying a day boat to tender them to Rhodes. Check with the cruise line and look into the costs of these hidden fees and shore excursions.
Step 2
Many Greek companies offer ships that are designed specifically for the Aegean and the smaller Greek ports. While they might not offer the same ship-board luxuries, the exchange comes in being able to get into the smaller ports, cruise into hidden harbors, and have the benefit of a proprietary ship designed for this trip. Ask your travel agent or research these options online.
Step 3
Once you have decided on what size ship you want, you need to think of what type of cabin you wish to set to sea in. Options include balcony cabins, window cabins, inside cabins and different deck options. The higher the deck, the more expensive the cabin. For those on a budget, inside or below deck cabins offer inexpensive room options, and they do not have views. Deeper pockets have options of the window cabins or upper deck cabins with views and balconies. Also, those prone to motion sickness do better with a window and an upper deck room.
Step 4
Upon booking your cabin, examine shore excursion options. Almost all cruise lines, whether Greek or otherwise, offer the option of booking the shore excursions directly off their website or through their booking agents or excursion desks. If booking through the ship lines, you can expect to pay up to 40 percent more for the tours than booking once on shore. The benefit of paying this excess is if the tour is late getting you back to the ship, the cruise ship will either wait for you or if you miss the ship, will pay to get you to the next port. Booking independently might save money, but if the tour operator is not reputable, is late getting you back to the ship or any other unforeseen accident happens you are on your own to get to the next port.
Step 5
You will want to research what time of year you wish to cruise the isles. Most Greek cruises take place between early spring and late fall with the high season being midsummer. Temperatures while on shore can be hot in summer, but are cooled while at sea by the gentle Aegean breezes. Summer bookings are more expensive than early spring or late summer and early fall. Booking too late can result in fewer shore excursion options as many seasonal tourism businesses begin shutting down toward the end of fall. The same is true for early spring bookings as many tourist operations have not opened yet. Make sure to ask and check with your travel agent or cruise line.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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