To Cruise or not to Cruise Greece

Old Jun 28th, 2018, 06:56 AM
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To Cruise or not to Cruise Greece

Hello! I am hoping get help on deciding to cruise around Greece or just plan a trip by land. I have been to Europe a few times including
France, Belgium, and Amsterdam. My boyfriends family is really big on the whole cruise idea (they have done many times including
the one around Italy) but since I have wanted to see and explore Greece my whole life I don't know if doing the cruise is the best option
to really see everything. The pros I have so far for cruise is the convenience of luggage and cost savings. Any advice would be of great value to me!
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Old Jun 28th, 2018, 07:21 AM
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Well depends - if I had the money to do an upscale cruise to several islands, that would be great. On a larger cruise line, maybe - you would get to see several islands and it is easier as far as luggage but you will be part of "the swarm" getting off the ship. I did several cruises like that and have no regrets. I finally got around to flying to Athens and then heading to an island - Naxos - and that was great too. I actually think it could be cheaper to do it this way but would take more planning on your part. I'm hoping to go again maybe next year - and it will be NOT on a cruise ship. But the logistics of the ferries and packing up and moving every few days do make a cruise an attractive option.
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Old Jun 28th, 2018, 07:32 AM
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Butt if you are on and off a ship for only part of a day, you won’t get the real Greek experience. Taking ferries from island to island with an occassional flight at the start or end is not difficult at all.
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Old Jun 28th, 2018, 07:39 AM
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If you want to visit a number of islands and find a cruise that goes where you want, I think that's more efficient than taking ferries to each of these islands by yourself. BUT you get only a few hours at each port. That might not be enough for you. And you're not staying at a Greek hotel, eating at Greek restaurants, existing among the Greeks. Instead you return to your posh offshore "hotel" which doesn't feel Greek at all.

Plus there's lots to be seen on the Greek mainland, best seen by car.
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Old Jun 28th, 2018, 09:09 AM
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It takes a few days to get the "feel" for an island. Don't shortchange yourself by settling for just the few hours a cruise will allow.
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Old Jun 28th, 2018, 09:19 AM
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When I visited Greece I spent more time on the mainland than on the islands and didn't regret it. I used planes and ferries for the islands I did visit - Crete, Rhodes and Kos. On Rhodes I had to dodge cruise ship crowds and was very glad I wasn't on one of those ships. I did use a tour (Rick Steves) for the Peloponnese, but traveled in northern Greece on my own.
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Old Jun 28th, 2018, 09:21 AM
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Most cruises are like going through a McDonald's Drive Through . . . wait in line until you get to the window . . . get a bag of fast food . . . then leave.

You are better off picking an island or two and spending a few days on each. You'll get a better feel and Greek Experience of what a Greek Island is all about.

Last edited by crazyh; Jun 28th, 2018 at 09:22 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old Jun 28th, 2018, 09:56 AM
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>>> see everything.
You cannot see "everything" using any method. Least of all by cruising with visits reachable from the ports or tender. You can select which ones you want to visit and match against each proposed way to get there.

>>> The pros I have so far for cruise is the convenience of luggage
This is if you are slave to your luggage. You have a control over how much luggage you care to take with you.

>>>cost savings.
This depends on how you framed the "cost" If you framed cost simply as a price tag and don't care what you are getting, then may be.
If you framed the "cost" as the total resource expenditure in relation to what you are getting out, then you might get a radically different picture. You might be paying "less" in terms of price tag, but you can be getting significantly less. Santorini, for example. The boat might say 7 am to 5 pm. But how much time do you really have to spend on the island? This is a tender port with possibility of multiple boats arriving around the same time. You might be at the rim level to start your visit around 9 am after waiting for your turn to get up to the rim level on gondola. I would see a long line of people lining up to get down back to the boat at Fira by 2 pm to catch the 5 pm boat departure. These people might had less than 5 hours total to spend in Santorini. If this kind of visits suit you, a cruise is for you.

Another area people differ in value are the meals. I have several acquaintance whose primary travel method is cruise. Local food has no value to them and they are happy to save money by eating only on board even in Greece. I would consider local meals as one of many things I cannot take home and only can be experienced after significant expenditure of time and money.

You have to decide what are of value to you and choose the means to accomplish them within your constraints.
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Old Jun 28th, 2018, 10:19 AM
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Some people love cruises, and if that's what you want, more power to you. Unfortunately the cruise ships tend to all stop at the same ports, sometimes half-a-dozen at a time. Mykonos and Santorini are the most famous of these cruise ship ports, but cruises are beginning to arrive on Naxos and Milos too (I have seen them on MarineTraffic this summer).

I look at it this way: if you go to an island by ferry you spend a few hours at sea and the rest of the time on the island. If you take a cruise you will spend a few hours on each island and the rest of the time at sea. "You pays your money and you takes your choice" [origin of the saying disputed]. If you enjoy the activities offered on the cruise ship, then you will have a great holiday. What I enjoy most are evenings on the islands, but by then you will be back onboard the cruise ship.
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Old Jun 28th, 2018, 04:01 PM
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Personally, I enjoy an hour or two on the water. After that, I’ve sort of reached the been-there-done-that phase.

And again, my personal opinion is that the delights of travel include walking around in the evening after daytrippers to wherever leave, eating the local cuisine for all my meals, staying in places that aren’t at all like a western hotel / motel room, and seeing the places that I want to see at the pace I want to see.

I think it would be fair to say that I am NOT a good candidate for a cruise! YMMV.
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Old Jun 28th, 2018, 04:15 PM
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Having to return to the ship for meals would be so difficult for me. An important part for travel for me is experiencing local foods.
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Old Jun 29th, 2018, 07:37 AM
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I think if you like cruising than go for it! You get a taste of each island, but we had the same dilemna last year. We decided to just go to the islands and stay there and island hop by ferry. I am so glad that we were not on a cruise schedule and that we got to choose where we wanted to go and what we wanted to do. For us exploring the islands, was part of the experience.
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Old Jun 29th, 2018, 07:59 AM
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Your 2 reasons, as others have indicated, don't hold up when you examine them. (1) Luggage -- if you go as an independent traveller you can travel light! a 20" rollaboard is plenty for 3-4 weeks: washable casual clothing & 2 pairs of shoes max. After all, Greek islands are NOT dress-up places, and you're on the move, so nobody around you knows that you wore that polo shirt 2x last week; it's only on Cruises that "dress-up" and being with the same people all the time requires more clothes. (2) Money savings - it may look like that at first, but when you examine what's not covered, you discovered where cruises make their big bucks -- They charge for Everyhing!! Costly beverages -- shore excursions - internet time - tips tips tips tips. The extras cost a bundle!

Don't let your boyfriend's family strong-arm you. There are many people who don't really like travelling... in the sense of really experiencing another place. They like cruising, with short stops for postcards and shopping, and then back to the comfort of a ship, and being waited on. That's OK, but it's not really travel.
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Old Jun 30th, 2018, 01:57 AM
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I haven't heard of any cases of norovirus on Mediterranean cruises recently, but some of the reports I've read are enough to put me off cruising. Cruise ships are a perfect environment for spreading germs.
Cruise Lines With the Most Virus Outbreaks in 2017
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