Greek Cruise Info
General Cruise FAQ – Greece
What ports are included in a Greek cruising itinerary?
Central Greece is not a stand-alone cruise destination but is instead part of the greater Eastern Mediterranean cruising region. This area encompasses the Greek Isles, Croatia and Eastern Italy, as well as parts of Turkey, Ukraine and Russia. A Greek cruise could see you visit a number of these areas but the three major ports within the region are Piraeus (Athens), Venice and Istanbul.
When is the Greek cruise season?
The peak season for cruise travel to Greece occurs from May through to November, although the best months to visit are May, June, early July, September and early October. The weeks between July 20 and August 20 are the busiest of the year for tourists an this translates to higher prices and crowds (and as any seasoned cruiser knows, time ashore is precious and the last thing you want is to spend it all in queues!)
What clothing should I pack when traveling to Greece?
If you've taken heed of the last question then it is most likely that you'll be traveling to Greece in the warmer months, so lightweight summer items, as well as hats and sunglasses, are a must. With that said, you can't set your watch to a weather forecast so sweatshirts and light jackets might come in handy for cooler evenings or unexpected rainy turns.
Different cruise companies have different regulations and guidelines for on-board attire but, generally, shorts and jandals are usually not permitted in the dining room or lounges after about 6pm, so bring some smart casual clothes for these times. Suit jackets for men and cocktail dresses for women are also encouraged for formal events – plus, it's fun to get dressed up now and again!
Is Greece an expensive destination?
Greece uses the Euro as currency and, as such, shares a reputation with its fellow European countries for being an expensive travel destination – however, this is not really the case. Although the exchange rate will see you pocketing around 73 Euro Cents for each of your New Zeland Dollars, the average price of goods and services in Greece is nowhere near as outrageous as many people think. Also, bear in mind that many complaints about price are in reference to things like accommodation and meals and, given that both these things are included in your cruise package already, this shouldn't really effect you.
By doing some research beforehand and avoiding obvious tourist traps you will end up spending a lot less money than you think.
What are some popular activities and attractions in Greece?
With its heady combination of history, culture, cuisine and coastlines, Greece caters to a variety of tastes and interests. The downside of this is that it's impossible to see and do everything in the one trip, so when planning your itinerary it's important to remember what you want in a holiday – is it new knowledge and experiences or a taste of the “sun'n'fun” Mediterranean lifestyle?
For those seeking the former, a day in Athens (home to the Parthenon, Acropolis, the Agora Market and the National Archaeological Museum) is a must. Guided tours of Istanbul are also popular with those who have always wanted to witness the beauty of the historic Blue Mosque and byzantine architecture of St Sophia.
Croatia is an increasingly popular cruise destination as it's a great walking city with a vibrant cafe scene, cultural and historic attractions such as the 14th-century Franciscan Monastery and stunning swimming beaches to boot.
Speaking of beaches - those in the aforementioned “sun'n'fun” category will love the Greek Isles. With their sand-washed villages, passionate locals and azure waters, the islands of Santorini, Rhodes, Corfu, Samos and Mykonos simply ooze glamour.
What are the advantages of taking organised shore excursions in Greece
Many of the activities mentioned above are offered by independent local operators, however, there are many advantages in booking shore excursions directly with your cruise line. The main reasons for choosing this option are:
Quality: cruise companies are familiar with all ports and will only associate themselves with the most reputable local agencies.
Variety: Tours chosen by the cruise company are designed to offer you a mix of the most popular and interesting attractions in each ports.
Service and convenience: When you book through the cruise company the work is done for you – all you need to do is show up and have a great time. By having your tours organized on-board, you can best maximize your time in port and also ensure that you get back to the ship on time!
Safety: The safety and security of passengers is the prime consideration when cruise companies are developing and operating tour programs.
Value: Shore excursions are regularly monitored to ensure quality and value for money.
If you need to fly a long distance to reach your port of departure, it may be a good idea to travel to there at least one or two days before you set sail. This will give you time to rest and get oriented before boarding the ship. Most cruise lines offer pre-cruise hotel packages.
One point that many travelers forget is that religious centers and monasteries quite often do not allow men with shorts and women with trousers, mini skirts, or shorts to enter. Many of these places often supply cover-up for those caught short but it could be helpful to carry a shawl or something similar
A number of different cruise lines travel through this area – from huge, “floating resort” liners to smaller, more refined ships. Do your research and choose the vessel that is best suited to your plans and tastes. For example: Large ships tend to have more on board activities and are great for families, while smaller ones are more intimate and able to explore out-of-the-way islands and bays.