I have been lurking many years, occasionally, asking a question or answering one, but reading through trip reports voraciously and using much of the information. I have delighted in your love of travel, helpfulness and humor. I have so many favorites including Bobthenavigator with his love of Italy and of his wife. Thank you! I know so many of you have much more detailed advice, but I still had some experiences to share. I am venturing into my first trip report, be gentle with me!
First about us. We are a couple in our late 50s, celebrating our 30th anniversary. This was our 7th trip to Europe but the 1st in 27 years without our children. We knew we wanted to go to Greece and delayed our trip until May to take advantage of the weather. We had about 12 days and thought we'd fly into Athens, ferry to Santorini and 1 other island, and head back to Athens for a few days and the flight home. I am usually geographically savvy, and thought , OK about an hour ferry ride to Santorini, let me check on that. Whaaat !?! 5-8 hours! Time to reconsider.
During our planning, some friends took a 12 day cruise that stopped on 3 greek islands. We are not really cruisers. We went on one to the Caribbean as a family reunion and it was great for our 10- 80 year old age spread with all of the acivities. However, in July, the boat was over run with children and on the days at sea, the public areas were wall to wall people. It had the energy of caged animals in a zoo. We did not want to do that again for just the 2 of us. But I thought I might just check on some smaller ship options, and it was amazing! There was a 7 day cruise from Venice, to Dubrovnik, to Kotor, to Corfu, to Zaykynos, to Santorini to Athens. We had always thought a Venice and Croatia combination trip were on our list but here was a chance to do both! The ship was scheduled to leave Santorini at 7pm the last night and arrive in Athens at 6am so we inquired about disembarking in Santorini and they told us no problem. Others recommended flying between the islands, duh....of, course, but it was too late, this was our trip!
We are lucky have airline mileage for the flights and Starwood points for hotels so not too much planning was involved there. We love the smaller, quaint hotels but with the Euro exchange rate and Venice being such an expensive city, we were thrilled to get 2 nights at the Westin Europa. We had to take what free airline tickets we could get so that ended up being through London with a change of airports and 6 hours on the ground. Rough but it put us in Venice at 8:30 pm and for body time adjustment, it was great! We broke down and reserved the water taxi for 99 euros because we were afraid with the bridges, the dark and being so tired we would have a very difficult time. That was one of our favorite memories! We sat in the covered cabin of our gorgeous wood speedboat during the open water segment of our trip, feeling like we were in a James Bond movie, but as we turned onto a smaller canal and slowed down, we stood outside on this perfect evening and took in the magic and shared a kiss! We savored the silence and sights and we were delivered right to their dock. St. Maria of Salute was lit up across the Grand Canal and we literally giggled. Bellissima!
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Trip to Venice and Athens, with a cruise through Croatia and Greece