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Cruise to Greece in 2014?

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Sep 30th, 2010, 08:24 PM
  #1
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Cruise to Greece in 2014?

My husband and I have been bitten by the travel bug and are COMMITTED to making more travel happen in our future! We're thinking ahead so we can save our pennies and stick to a budget, and our current goal is to travel overseas at least every other year (more if we get promotions and raises someday!)

We're thinking about a cruise to Greece in 2014 to enjoy warm weather, fine food and relaxation. We've never been on a cruise before, and we want something laid back, peaceful and not TOO expensive where we can see the beauty of Greece, maybe swim with some dolphins (That's always been a dream of mine!) and enjoy lots of good food and sunshine. We don't need fancy accommodations or lavish amenities, but a little pampering wouldn't kill us. ha ha.

Any recommendations for cruiselines, scheduling (we'll need to go when school is out, as I am a teacher), or anything else? We always appreciate Fodorites' advice!
2Aquilas is offline  
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Oct 1st, 2010, 07:47 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: May 2008
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First, not all cruise lines are equal. Seeing as you have so much time available, why don't you go to cruisecritic.com and read some reviews by people who have done Mediterranean cruises. Get a feel for the difference in cruise lines, itineraries, shore excursions, and the whole cruise experience. I personally believe a person can enjoy their first cruise more if they go prepared, knowing what to expect and what the procedures are (and they do vary by cruise line).
Read the reviews carefully, and notice the weather at various times of the year, how long the cruise was, the age of the person writing the review, their opinion of the food, their comments about on board activities and other cruisers, problems they ran into, and whether they mention the type of pampering and level of luxury you are looking for.
On most cruises you can choose to do as much or as little on board as you wish, as well as choose whatever type of shore excursions you want to do. And if you want to swim with dolphins (for example), you may decide to choose a private tour rather than a ship sponsored tour - the choice is up to you.
You have decide for yourself, based on your age, interests, level of health/mobility, schedule, and budget what would work for you. What I want in a Mediterranean cruise may not necessarily be what you will like. So take the time to read and ask questions at cruisecritic.com.
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Oct 1st, 2010, 08:23 AM
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A cruise is nice, but has limitations. First decide what you want from your travel. If it is sightseeing, look at a cruise as a sampler- a brief look at several places. There is nothing in depth about it. Also there is nothing relaxing about it, if you want to see the sights. There is nothing more relaxing if you want to sit around the ships pool all day. We took a 12 day cruise from Venice-Croatia-Athens-Istanbul-Ephesus-Greek Islands-Olympia-Venice and it was wonderful. I would not do it again. I would choose one or two places and stay for a few days.
I find cruise critic hard to use. It seems very cluttered and hard to find specific info. I relied a lot on Fodors European Cruise Guide and found it helpful - not perfect, but helpful. Also the internet is good.
As to food. You will probably eat most meals on the ship, for economics at least. Generally, the Lido breakfast and lunches are fine, but dinners on the usual lines is about grade A- banquet grade food, at best.
As to cruise lines, read all you can if you want. We have been on Holland America three times and each cruise had its own personality. I.e., the last one had lots of kids on board and while this is ok, it does not reflect the lines image. Lastly, if you want to get the most of port visits, do some home work and try to hire private local guides or decide places that you can visit on your own.
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Oct 1st, 2010, 10:34 AM
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We love cruising and don't want to discourage your plans, but Greece was a dream trip for me years ago. We flew to Athens and stayed for several days and then took a 4-day cruise (Greek cruiseline) from there: Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes, Crete, Kusadasi (Turkey) and Patmos, back to Athens, where we stayed another couple days and flew home. It was a terrific trip and I'll always treasure it. Some people island hop on the ferries and stay a few days each place. It takes some planning but might be another way for you to see Greece.

There are many regular cruises to the Greek Isles and I think researching Cruise Critic is a good idea. You can also go to the websites of individual cruise lines and search for trips to see what they offer. We prefer Princess and they have some good itineraries for what you're looking for.

There are a number of online cruise companies that offer discount cruises. We've used www.cruisesonly.com for cruises to Alaska and the Panama Canal. Don't know if you have Costco in your area, but we've used Costco Travel (by phone) for our last two cruises as they had the lowest prices.

After you have chosen a cruise, you can go to roll calls on Cruise Critic, find your cruise and actually "visit" with fellow passengers. We've done this for the past several cruises we've done and really enjoyed it. Also picked up tips, ideas, etc. Sometimes you can arrange to do shore tours with other passengers to save money. "Meet & Greets" are also planned, so that you can actually meet your fellow passengers. An area of the ship is chosen to hold it, a time set and everyone interested meets there (all planned online before you sail). It's fun.
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Oct 1st, 2010, 12:10 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
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We had your dream that will come true in May. We'll fly to Venice and take a cruise to Greece on NCL.

Start checking out cruises, ships, schedules, prices like you would go on a cruise this or next year. By 2014 you will be a pro in choosing a cruise

I like to start with Expedia where I can pick them by line, by month, by starting city, or pull up all of them and sort by length. Check with CruiseCritic - read the members reviews. Pick a cabin - inside, window, balcony.

Come back here with questions!
Dayenu is offline  
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Sep 10th, 2013, 04:01 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: May 2008
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Hi,
as another alternative you might want to check out alphayachting.com they have cabin cruises on small 50+/- cruise ships/yachts which are a great way to cruise unless you like bigger cruise ships.they have quite a few itineraries to the greek islands.
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Oct 15th, 2013, 02:08 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Giovanna, do you remember the name of the Greek cruiseline you used?
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Oct 15th, 2013, 05:58 AM
  #8
 
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My guess is that Giovanna traveled on a Louis Cruises cruise. This is the company (not Greek actually but Cypriot) that runs a lot of short budget cruises in Greece. There are a couple of other small companies, but Louis is by far the largest, and these cruises can be booked through travel agents in the U.S. or Greece.

I think a short cruise as part of a longer trip to Greece can be fun, but the best way to see Greece is to pick a couple of islands and just go. Ferries are frequent and relatively cheap during the season, and there are so many wonderful islands to see. And then you get to have wonderful Greek food as opposed to the more international cuisine found on ships. If you plan a trip well, you can do an island-based vacation in Greece as cheaply as you can do a cruise.

But swimming with dolphins isn't on the agenda anywhere I know of in the Mediterranean, unless you happen up on some in the wild while you are swimming, and I don't know how common that is.
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