1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. Greece Cruises
  4. Greece Cruise Reviews

25 Greece Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

I was really looking forward for this vacation, but it became terrible after booking this cruise. The ship was small, old and there was really nothing to do onboard. They didn’t even have the pools available to swim. I have been in ... Read More
I was really looking forward for this vacation, but it became terrible after booking this cruise. The ship was small, old and there was really nothing to do onboard. They didn’t even have the pools available to swim. I have been in different cruises before and I figured it was alright since the port destinations would make up for it. I was wrong, the excursions available were very unorganized. Staff was rude and unfriendly. There was no planned activities. Staff was not knowledgeable on instructions. They would announce meeting points at a certain time and they would be late. Food was terrible. Not much to do in she ship. I was traveling with 7 family members and we all felt the same way. I tried expressing my concerns to the cruise staff, but it was a waste of time. They simply didn't care. Never traveling in this cruise line again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We boarded the ship in Piraeus after spending 2 nights in the King George Hotel in Athens, followed by a 2 night land tour to Delphi and Nauplia. This was a very popular cruise: we booked 6 months ahead and there were only 3 cabins left! ... Read More
We boarded the ship in Piraeus after spending 2 nights in the King George Hotel in Athens, followed by a 2 night land tour to Delphi and Nauplia. This was a very popular cruise: we booked 6 months ahead and there were only 3 cabins left! We had an outside cabin on Columbus deck, which was compact but had everything needed for a two week cruise. There are two restaurants on board: the Marco Polo which is open for lunch and dinner, and the Terrace Café, with an inside and outside seating area, which was open for all meals, plus afternoon tea and late night snacks. The food was good and we enjoyed sitting outside for meals when the weather permitted. We often used the Marco Polo restaurant in the evening. Service was professional but could be slow at busy times. The Head Waiter Danny deserves a special mention for keeping things running smoothly. Complimentary wine was served at dinner. We had the same Italian wine served to us every night though which became tedious. Some variety is needed! Most of the shore tours are included in the cost of the cruise, and these had good content and were generally interesting and well organised. We visited several Greek islands where tenders were needed, and this proved challenging for the less able passengers, some of whom chose to stay on board. There were two lecturers on this cruise. The archaeologist was interesting, but the other lecturer's presentation was monotonous, and he tended to overrun his time slots, which was frustrating. Entertainment was provided by the Odyssey Trio, a classical trio who were excellent, and the Cruise Director Richard Sykes, who is a very talented singer and pianist, and a real asset to the company. A jazz singer and pianist were also on board. There was a mix of nationalities on board, with British, Americans, Australians and we were informed that the average age was 72. We enjoyed the cruise apart from the chaos at the British Airways check-in at Athens airport on our return journey. A cruise rep. stationed here to assist passengers would have helped enormously. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Our group of 6 adults cruised the iconic isles cruise it was fantastic from start to finish apart from two nights of rough seas that prevented us docking in Zante but instead we docked in katakolon which was beautiful. Food and drink was ... Read More
Our group of 6 adults cruised the iconic isles cruise it was fantastic from start to finish apart from two nights of rough seas that prevented us docking in Zante but instead we docked in katakolon which was beautiful. Food and drink was excellent something to suit everyone bar staff gr8 and especially the waiter Nikola from serbea who was so good to us throughout the week. Inside cabin was compact but good for us and had everything we needed Reginald was our house keeper and always was so pleasent and friendly. Will definitely be booking again well done TUI.Embarkment and Disembarkment were exceptional smooth and as we were on an evening flight we were able to stay on book with full use of all inclusive facilities until our pick up time,luggage all colour coded and ready for our coach. Only downside was the entertainment got a bit repetitive and we didn't enjoy the comedian at all but still loads more to keep us entertained. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This sailing was incredible from start to finish! The staff were all friendly, helpful, and couldn't do enough for you. The ship was an older classic style yacht, very comfortable but definitely a dated look to it. The cabins were ... Read More
This sailing was incredible from start to finish! The staff were all friendly, helpful, and couldn't do enough for you. The ship was an older classic style yacht, very comfortable but definitely a dated look to it. The cabins were small but comfortable, the beds were a little on the hard side for my taste but were still cozy enough to get a good night's sleep. The food on board was wonderful! The kitchen staff outdid themselves at every meal. I swear we barely ever stopped eating on board, as soon as breakfast was cleared, someone was out offering fresh slices of watermelon, then lunch, then a dish of sorbet on the sun deck, then an amazing dinner and cocktails, definitely overdid it but everything was impeccable. The cruise director was always knowledgeable about our ports, giving us plenty of insight on what to do while in each country (Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece). I do think the excursions could be improved upon though, they only offered a couple excursions in each port, and they were participation based, so if the one you wanted didn't have enough guests, it didn't happen. That being said, the only port I think an excursion is truly necessary is Albania. My favorite stops were Korcula, Kotor, Anti-Paxos and Paxos (Anti-Paxos had the best beach and bluest waters I've ever seen in my life!). I would gladly travel with Variety in the future, and look forward to the day I get to sail with them again! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I decided to book the Greek Mystique cruise as my wife has had surgery recently and really needed to recuperate and recover. After check in at Gatwick we didn't see our luggage again until delivered to our cabin I can not tell you ... Read More
I decided to book the Greek Mystique cruise as my wife has had surgery recently and really needed to recuperate and recover. After check in at Gatwick we didn't see our luggage again until delivered to our cabin I can not tell you how amazing that was not to have to face the hustle and bustle of the airport baggage carousels! I rater enjoyed the main resturaunt as they operate an open seating dining plan so we were able to dine with new people every evening, which when we usually cruise on Seabourn and Azamara we have a fixed table and dining companions for the duration of the cruise -so Marella has hit on a good idea on the occasions where one may be sitted on a dining table with 'cruise snobs'.Which in the past we have had to endure! We are retired although a young 59 and 61, we tend to book 4 cruises per year one for each season. We have one Seabourn and one Azamrara then 2 cheaper options which this year is Marella and Cruise & Maritime to try the other end of the market. The ship Celebration was old as described on CC.reviews,but it was perfectly clean and comfortable. We prefer to have waiter service at meals as my wife isn't always able to stand and queue for periods of time and apart from the very last morning when there was literally not a seat to be had this worked perfectly for us. Our cabin steward was superb so although tips are included we left him cash in an envelope cabin was cleaned and towels replenished twice daily. My wife purchased two Radley handbags which she said were great value. we are not drinkers so didn't opt for the AI Drinks package(due to my wife's medication). We did take excursions which although costly were not exhorbitant but much more importantly safe for my wife's comfort. We ate in Mistrals which was a delight -highly recommended especially drunken prawns delicious! The Ports of call were delightful especially KOTORin Mo ntenegro and sailing out of Dubrovnik at night ! STUNNING. keeping the best till last- just has to be the entertainment. THE showteam were leaving and a new team and Cruise Director was starting the week after we disembarked. They were amazing and the show Africa was wonderful. We really thought it couldn't get any better until Monday when the Guest Act came on to do his show. His name was Christopher Gee and he was superb, my wife laughed so much it was sheer joy to behold.And his comedy impressions were stunning-the thing we could't work out was how can every voice he did be so accurate and yet he even manages to look like each person he takes on. His Tommy Cooper had everyone in stiches, and his Eric Morecambe had us all fighting off a tear at the much loved comedian but the absolute hIghlight was his one man tribute to Dave Allen it was so perfect even down to him holding a whiskey glass with only half a forefinger, his attention to detail was astounding. He recieved a richly deserved standing ovation! The neXt night was his second show and there simply wasn't a seat to be had and extra chairs from the bars were brought in, but the show was totally different Alan Carr/Michael Macintyre/Ozzy/he also did an hilarious BORIS AND Donald Trump had us ill with laughter very up to date you could hear a pin drop and that was after midnight. He was very personable young man and told us he will be on Marella Dream later in the year so we are booking that one too! We love the shows and we don't watch a lot of comedians to be fair- but I just had to post this review as everyone is quick to complain but not always ready to say a big well done Marella for booking a comedian impressionist that did nor offend one single person no un PC material or smut involved just FUNNY!!! The entire ship was talking about him the next day. in all one has to commend Marella ,especially at their price point as I assure you we have got much less from paying 4 times more!!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We participated on a tour with Gate 1 Travel embarking on a 4 nights cruise in the Aegean Sea leaving from Athens Our ship was the Celestyal Olympia we had an unlimited drink package , you cannot order 2 drinks unless you have 2 ... Read More
We participated on a tour with Gate 1 Travel embarking on a 4 nights cruise in the Aegean Sea leaving from Athens Our ship was the Celestyal Olympia we had an unlimited drink package , you cannot order 2 drinks unless you have 2 cards. this includes water and sodas The do not spray your hands with sanitizer before meals or when you re-enter the ships like most. To disembark, the process is fairly fast , but you better have your card out to keep up the pace as there is only 1 line on and off ship. Excursions were good, but they could have picked up the pace a bit. lots of walking, too slow for some. We were at Mykonos and Santorini both at sunset, definitely wish we had more time on Santorini. Overall , I enjoyed the cruise, and the islands visited. I would just want a larger cabin. Married couple or 2 single women Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
The staff and our Itinerary made by our Travel host ( Expo Cruise)were outstanding. Rooms were clean, service was outstanding. Food was great. Everything was handled with great efficiently. I think it helped that the majority ... Read More
The staff and our Itinerary made by our Travel host ( Expo Cruise)were outstanding. Rooms were clean, service was outstanding. Food was great. Everything was handled with great efficiently. I think it helped that the majority of our fellow passengers were a happy, well travelled group. Entertainment on board is fine, but with our travel group we were able to dial it up. The Crew read the group well and adjusted to making fun loving , action pack trip . The food was fresh and good. I would not say a gourmet , but well presented. If you had a special request they did there best to accommodate. We found the all the staff eager to help and learned individual request quickly. The Captain was engaging and available at any time. You could see he was well respected, and his leadership skills were evident thru out. Would most definitely cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
The "Classical Greece" cruise was an ideal way to see the highlights of the Greek Islands and the mainland. Apart from the well-known highlights such as Santorini and Mykonos, the cruise also took us to gems such as Monemvasia ... Read More
The "Classical Greece" cruise was an ideal way to see the highlights of the Greek Islands and the mainland. Apart from the well-known highlights such as Santorini and Mykonos, the cruise also took us to gems such as Monemvasia and Nafplio on the mainland, and less visited places such as Kythira. The service on the ship was always excellent and the food generally delicious. The cabins were also well-equipped. As it was a smaller ship, there were no more than 50 people travelling and therefore an ideal way to meet other passengers. One of the highlights was the 'Greek night' where we had Cretan dancers come on board and they were terrific. The excursions to the ancient sites such as Delos and Knossos were also a highlight and the guides were always excellent. I would highly recommend this cruise to anyone who is interested in experiencing both the beauty and classical history of Greece. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We had a fantastic trip. It's a 49 passenger ship and we had only 15 aboard. The food and service were exceptional. It was a very friendly, casual atmosphere. The cruise director and guide were terrific. The ship is beautiful, ... Read More
We had a fantastic trip. It's a 49 passenger ship and we had only 15 aboard. The food and service were exceptional. It was a very friendly, casual atmosphere. The cruise director and guide were terrific. The ship is beautiful, comfortable and well maintained. We had some problems with rough seas but the captain did a great job of finding alternative ports. My only issue would be the size of the cabin. It was very small, but it is a small ship and we spent very little time in the cabin. We took the Antiquity to Byzantium cruise which I highly recommend. The cruise was focused on history and included visits to Delphi, Olympia and others. The guide had an in depth knowledge of all historical aspects both actual and mythological. Our trip was at the end of the tour season and most of the sites visited were almost empty. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
The most surprising part about our outside cabin was the large window. The cabin was specious with two single beds that could be made into a double.The water in the shower was always hot. The cabin attendant was excellent - friendly and ... Read More
The most surprising part about our outside cabin was the large window. The cabin was specious with two single beds that could be made into a double.The water in the shower was always hot. The cabin attendant was excellent - friendly and efficient. The food was excellent! It was delicious with many choices of main meals, vegetables and salads.My husband is celiac and the staff was aware of his dietary restrictions and could easily accommodate his needs, even bringing him his own meals. When a mishap happened with a glass of wine, I was immediately presented with another glass and a bottle of champagne! The tours were well organized, especially the ones to Ephesus (Turkey) and Crete. We arrived a bit late at Mykonos and Santorini, as it was almost sundown. Initially I was reluctant to go on a cruise due to the huge size of the ships but this one was just right with about 800 passengers. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
I personally loved this cruise! The crew were excellent, the entertainment was great, the excursions were great too. I loved everything about the cruise. We had an Olive Oil thematic. This meant a few interesting presentations by an ... Read More
I personally loved this cruise! The crew were excellent, the entertainment was great, the excursions were great too. I loved everything about the cruise. We had an Olive Oil thematic. This meant a few interesting presentations by an olive oil expert (GAEA) , a food blogger (https://www.facebook.com/cookandfeel.gr/?pnref=lhc) and an archaeologist that worked on olives too. All three were amazing at what they did and it made for an interesting and informative. Of course that also meant food tastings that were excellent. Then every night we had a dance troupe (Cirque Fantastic) that always gave an amazing show, with a different theme every night. I'm not even a fan of these shows but they kept me coming back every night. The excursions were great too. You have a few that you can do without the cruise excursions, and a few that you really need the guide to get the full experience. The crew were very helpful in showing us what what on each excursion so we could make our minds about which to take. The animation crew were just phenomenal, and less obvious but the entire support staff did a wonderful job. The ship is smaller and older that a luxury cruise would offer, but I didn't care much for that, what I remember are the great experiences we had on board and at all the stops. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We wanted to see the Greek islands. We scheduled to leave out of Istanbul but the State Department warning level got too high and Viking was on top of it. They handled all changes to the itinerary very well including resets of the plane ... Read More
We wanted to see the Greek islands. We scheduled to leave out of Istanbul but the State Department warning level got too high and Viking was on top of it. They handled all changes to the itinerary very well including resets of the plane transportation. To compensate for the loss of some Turkish port stops, additional Greek and Adriatic ports were substituted along with the usual excursion/tour at each port. We only opted for an optional tour once (in Athens) as the included tours were excellent and covered much in each port. The Viking Sea is of course one of the new ships with under 1000 customers and therefor none of the stress of the larger ships (need to be someplace doing something at all times). Only the Sanorini tour suffered from an excess of people on other tours spoiling the experience. The accommodations were very good although to combat people like me leaving the slider deck door open all the time the off switch to the air conditioner is tied to it. The food was very well prepared with many choices. All staff was friendly and professional. Over 20 years ago I observed the staff response at a Ritz Carlton to each acknowledgement of them (thank you) to be "my pleasure". Likewise for Viking. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We were looking for a small ship cruise tour in the Greek islands to celebrate my mothers birthday plus my wedding anniversary. We were referred to Variety Cruises by american friends who cruised in Costa Rica with the company two years ... Read More
We were looking for a small ship cruise tour in the Greek islands to celebrate my mothers birthday plus my wedding anniversary. We were referred to Variety Cruises by american friends who cruised in Costa Rica with the company two years ago, so we knew where to look at. The number of our "group" counted almost 35 family members, friends, extended family, so we ended up looking at chartering a whole yacht owned by Variety Cruises, called Harmony G. It instantly seemed like a good fit, a boutique ship with 20 cabins, modern interiors, and great exterior areas including a large sundeck, and a swimming platform. We were proposed a classical greece route, a good combination of famous islands and of some tiny ones too. Crew onboard felt like family after day 2, and all of us enjoyed being treated like royalty, and we often visited the bridge during navigation hours and chatted with the captain and officers. Food was delicious, BBQ lunches and dinners were the highlight of the cruise. All meals were served outdoors as we like, some of us also enjoyed some meals at the indoor dining room which also provided great views of the islands we were docked at every day. I couldnt fault any area of the ship, cabins were spacious and had ample storage space. Would travel on this ship again and again. our home away from home for a whole week! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Cruise report – Le Lyrial 2nd to 16th August 2016 Greek islands by John Lombard Commandant Rémi Genevaz is an old hand who practically built Le Lyrial as he was involved in the planning right from the beginning. He is a big ... Read More
Cruise report – Le Lyrial 2nd to 16th August 2016 Greek islands by John Lombard Commandant Rémi Genevaz is an old hand who practically built Le Lyrial as he was involved in the planning right from the beginning. He is a big advocate for this newest of the Ponant cruise ships (launched May 2015) which has all the latest technology and wins environmental prizes for being the least polluting etc. Dep Dubrovnik Tues 2nd August - Tonight, we docked in the Dubrovnik harbour not far from the old town after slipping away from Gruz at about 6.30pm. The evening started with the usual introduction by the Commandant followed by Tin, our Hong Kong born French/English speaking cruise director, taking us through all the staff and then the whole ship got involved in the compulsory safety procedure. Dinner in the 2nd deck à la carte restaurant with its usual magnificent food, small but tasty serves, and pleasant wines, followed by a show that had five modern ballet dancers. It was excellent, in fact much better than either of us had expected. But we still felt the need to adjourn to the 6th deck bar for a nightcap whiskey… Wed 3rd August – Early 7.30am start for an excursion, a 4 ½ hour boat trip around the Dubrovnik Riviera including a swim in a cove, and visits to beaches, caves and little islands but there was very little historical interest in the tour and there wasn’t much explanation. A bit disappointing. After a splendid lunch on board (note: discipline is needed but it’s hard…), we sailed at 1pm. Then, for two hours we visited the magnificent gulf of Kotor bay. It reminded me a bit of the fjords of Norway of last year. Only a ship the small size of Le Lyrial could get into it and it was spectacular. At 7pm the Commandant’s welcome cocktail party followed by a gala dinner with caviar, shrimps, dorade, fillet of beef, chocolate mousse, plus their usual array of wine. What’s not to like? The cocktail was in the open air at the back of Deck 6 with copious quantities of Veuve Cliquot (I kid you not…). Thursday 4th August - When we woke, we were at anchor just off Paxos, part of the smallest group of Ionian islands. Paxos is an island of endless olive groves, and the neighbouring Anti-Paxos island is virtually one large vineyard. Lazy morning on board till lunch (fresh Paxos oysters and mussels) followed by a four-hour excursion circumnavigating Paxos visiting caves, including one where Poseidon, God of the sea, hid his mistress Amfitriti, daughter of King Aheron. Excellent Greek guide filled us in on the history. Stopped at tiny village of Lakka for a snack of olives, fresh bread, tomatoes, potato salad and a glass of wine or beer. Just what we needed before a slap-up dinner on board. Friday 5th August - We woke as we were dropping anchor just off the very attractive island of Zakynthos. An early rise at 6.30am to catch a 7.45am tender to the port where we had a four-hour bus ride with three stops around the island. The first inhabitants arrived here about 6,000 BC. Our bus tour included the top of the island for a precarious above-view of the famous Navagio Beach which has a reputation of being the most beautiful beach in the whole of Greece. It is only accessible by sea but cruise ships are now barred for environmental reasons. There is also a wreck on the beach that was supposedly a smuggler’s boat carrying illegal cigarettes that was shipwrecked in a storm. Lunch on board included local fresh prawns as we sailed. At about 10pm, we entered the Corinth Canal that cuts through mainland Greece. There are no locks, it is 6.4 kilometres in length and only 21.4 metres wide at its base, making it impassable for most modern ships. It was completed in 1893 and going through at night is awesome because it is so narrow and it’s dark. We had two pilots, fore and aft, and we crept along at a snail’s pace. The Commandant decided it was such a significant crossing we were all served Veuve Cliquot champagne or Ouzo on deck while we passed through. It was quite an experience. Saturday 6th August - At 8am we dropped anchor just off the port of Hydra (derived from the Greek word for water). It is a glorious sight from the ship, it is a tiny island separated from the Peloponnese by a thin strip of water and there are no motor vehicles allowed. Donkeys, pedal bikes, and water taxies are the main form of transport or else by foot. We booked for a 2 ½ hour walking tour that started at 9am while it was still cool-ish… we had our English-speaking Greek woman guide from yesterday who is a walking encyclopaedia of information. It is a classic example of one of the small Greek islands that are barred to the big cruise ships. At 4pm to 6pm, we were invited to swim in the crystal-clear waters off the back of Le Lyrial… this was sensational. Three Zodiacs roped off an area about 50m x 50m. Dozens of people took advantage and it was great fun. Again, to me the most remarkable thing about swimming in the Aegean Sea is how easy it is to float. The salt levels are very high so it is dead easy just to lie back in the water in a very buoyant way. Sunday 7th August - we had to get up early for a 7am breakfast as our tender taking us to Delos left at 8am. This uninhabited island was one of the many highlights. According to Greek mythology, Delos was the birth place of Apollo and his twin sister Artemis. But in its heyday, Delos was the greatest commercial centre in the whole world! It has been called the Wall Street of the ancient world. It was a free port from 2nd century BC to 2nd century AD. Rich merchants, bankers and ship owners from around the world settled here attracting many builders, artists and craftspeople who built luxurious houses with rich frescoes and marble floors. Today, it is an archaeological gold mine and researchers are still working away finding all sorts of evidence of life in a former age. The streets are laid out beautifully and it is not hard to imagine the houses, the markets, the shops and bustling crowds all around. We enjoyed a three hour walk around with Ioanna, our English-speaking Greek guide, who makes history interesting. We could have spent much longer here. But the program meant we had to go to nearby Mykonos which, thanks to Tom Hanks and other celebrities buying property here, has become a tourist mecca. It is very beautiful but not at all well maintained. The result: massive crowds, exorbitant prices, and a lot of junk in the shops. Monday 8th August - We pulled up at 7am at the northern island of Lesbos which had been much in the news over the past year as a destination for thousands of Syrian refugees, many of whom drowned at sea. But the policeman at the harbor of Petra said the flow had stopped now. The main source of income on the island is olive oil which is of very high quality and sardines that they export all over the world. Our excursion took in panoramic views from Molyvos castle above the town of Petra. But the highlight of our tour was a visit to the historic Limonos Monastery which dates to the 16th century founded by a local St Ignatius. It has a significant collection of manuscripts dating back to the 9th century. The main church in the inner courtyard is a magnificent building but women are absolutely forbidden to enter! The ban is causing some heartache at the EU headquarters in Brussels where such discrimination against women is not allowed. But nobody is making any effort at the monastery to do anything about it! At 7pm, the Commandant hosted a farewell cocktail around the deck 6 swimming pool. More bloody Veuve Cliquot, naturally, followed by another gala dinner! Hard to believe we’ll be starting our second week-long cruise on board tomorrow night… Tuesday 9th August – We arrived in Piraeus early for the change-over day for a lot of people, most leaving, a few like us staying, and new arrivals this afternoon. We hired a taxi for four hours to take us to the Acropolis, then to the Museum where we had a very welcome beer and a sandwich and back at the port. The Acropolis defies description, it was absolutely stunning. It was hot, there were millions of tourists, but the sheer beauty and enormity of the whole enterprise just had us gob-smacked. We walked to the top and even the bloody tourists, their guides, and their cameras couldn’t dampen the experience. The museum is relatively new and contains an amazing collection of statues and memorabilia from the Acropolis. A great trip. We sailed overnight back to Lesbos. Wednesday 9th August - Beautiful morning – again - back in Petra where at a civilised hour of about 9am we were taken ashore to do a long bus ride for a special tour to the petrified forest museum which was spectacular. This is a unique geological phenomenon: about 20-million years ago the region was covered with dense sub-tropical vegetation with trees that reached incredible heights like the Sequoia trees in the US as well as conifers, pines, oaks and cinnamon trees. Today, they are all petrified because of the presence of sediments from a volcano. We visited the museum built in 1994 to study, collate, research, conserve and protect the petrified forest which is a Greek national heritage. The only downside is that it is such a long way from Petra although the drive through the hills is spectacular. Another Commandant’s cocktail party tonight followed by another gala dinner… sigh… Thursday 11th August - We arrived in the port of Syros island early in the morning. This is an amazing town, utterly beautiful white-washed houses snuggling in a bay. Syros is the administrative centre for the whole Cyclades islands group. In the 5th century BC, the Phoenicians occupied Syros and it was a major commercial sea port. In 1770, the Russians won the island in a battle with the Turks and took just about everything of value. But it fell back into the hands of the Turks after three years. When the Greek revolution started in 1821, Syros was under French protection because more than 50% of the population were Roman Catholic. Syros is so far the most stunningly beautiful place we have visited, today it is a thriving town that sees huge ferry boats come in several times a day. But it is the streets and town centre that are of major interest. We had a walking tour with Ioanna, our guide, which took us first to the local archaeological museum which had a couple of new discoveries the director was very excited about. Then we walked up the hill to the Greek Orthodox church of St Nicholas, the patron and protector of the island’s seafarers, followed by the Catholic church which is almost exactly like any Greek Orthodox church with its masses of icons. But what is interesting here is an icon by Domenicos Theotokopolous better known to the world as El Greco which showed for the first time that the lad had started his career as an icon painter. After lunch, we went back into town alone and unescorted and walked to the top of a nearby hill to another church. It was a gruelling climb over hundreds of steps. We favoured the most direct route which is also the toughest. Some of the old women and a couple of old men watching us go past were amazed we were tackling the steps when they kept pointing out a perfectly good cobbled roadway which of course was extremely twisty and therefore twice as long. No matter, we got to the top in good condition considering the heat. One of the significant aspects of these Cycladic islands is the amount of marble about the place. Syros has marble footpaths and marble streets. There is marble everywhere you look. One of the guides said the local joke is that marble is cheaper than wood. There is certainly a lot more of it than wood. Friday 12th August - We sailed from Syros at 4am arriving in Paros at 7am; another beautifully sun-drenched port of white-washed houses. This is a very popular island among the Athenian wealthy who have weekend homes whereas Mykonos is home to the international wealthy. By 8.30am we were being loaded into tenders for a four-hour walking and bus tour of the island. We went by bus first to a beautiful mountain village of Lefkes, stopping on the way to admire the massive trunks of 1000-year-old olive trees that are still producing fruit. We wandered around the tiny narrow streets of the village. Next we arrived at the fishing village of Naoussa with dozens of boats. We walked again to see the Byzantine church of Ekatontapyliani, the lady of the hundred doors, one of the greatest of early Christian monuments in Greece built in the 6th century. Saturday 13th August - Another very short sail to the nearby island of Amorgos. We left Paros at 4am and arrived at Amorgos at 6am. It is another of the Cycladic group first inhabited around 3300BC. The island is stunning. The capital in the hills is Chora, a winding labyrinth of whitewashed houses, shops, and bars with windmills alongside. But the real purpose was to visit the spectacular Byzantine Monastery Moni Panagias Chozoviotissas which looks as if it has been stuck on the side of a cliff face. It is a huge fortress built into the rock and you wonder how on earth they built little paths to get up there let alone the monastery itself. And you wonder why on earth you would even consider this as a suitable position. The monastery houses a so-called miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary in a tiny chapel. The building itself is reached by climbing a very steep 269 steps up 300-m and you don’t want to suffer from vertigo – or claustrophobia when you get into the monastery. There are eight floors but the rooms are no more than 5-m in width although we saw only two. There are very strict rules about men and women having to cover up their knees, shoulders and arms. There are only three resident monks but in the daytime an army of guards keeps us well-dressed! Sunday 14th August - We sailed at 10pm last night and reached the remote tiny island of Symi which stands between Rhodes and Turkey. It is a rocky barren island that owes its early success to its sponge diving fleet and boat building industry which once launched 500 ships a year. There was no excursion planned, so we did our own. This is now the most beautiful island we’ve seen! The port is bustling, a myriad of houses of subtle colours that blend easily into the steep hills around it. We decided to explore the upper part of the town and that meant climbing 500 steps in the heat. We then decided to take a mini-bus to the other side of the island to see a 6th century monastery – that didn’t involve any climbing. The bus ride took about 40 mins and was nail-biting in parts because the roads over the high mountains with stunning views were very narrow and there was a lot of traffic which involved several times reversing quite a distance to allow other vehicles and bikes to pass. But once there, the village was very beautiful. Almost nobody about, just a couple of cafes and a tavern where we adjourned for lunch. We went to the monastery which is spectacular, intricate woodwork surrounding a mass of icons, wonderful wall and ceiling paintings. We head out tonight for our last full day at Patmos. Monday 15th August - We sailed last night at 10pm for our last port of call Patmos in the eastern Aegean, a mountainous small rocky island in the Dodecanese group with lots of pretty coves. It is a Christian mecca because of the St John monastery. It is here that allegedly St John the evangelist wrote the book of Revelations, the last chapter of the new Testament which was, according to legend, revealed to John and he instructed a colleague to write it all down in Greek. There are only about 15 monks still living and working there and the one who kept an eye on us was very strict about men and women taking off their hats as well as insisting everybody’s knees, shoulders and arms were properly covered up. After wandering around there for about an hour, we were taken to the Apocalypse cave which is where St John had his revelation. This afternoon is basically packing up, getting debriefed about disembarkment tomorrow, the captain’s farewell cocktail party tonight (back on the Veuve Cliquot) and the gala dinner. We are asked to have our bags ready for pick up at 8am tomorrow as we will be off the boat by 9am! Then it’s going to be Athens for two nights before back to Geneva. Comments: Le Lyrial was a very happy ship, all the staff and crew seem to enjoy their work. Nothing is ever too much trouble or everything seems possible. The passengers are about 70% francophone but all the announcements, excursions, and protocols are in both English and French. Everybody on board is bi-lingual. Not speaking or understanding French is not a disadvantage. The age group depends on the tour. Our cruise to the Norwegian fjords last year were mostly our age, no children. The Greek islands tours had more families (August holidays) and the ship had a kids’ club with staff to look after the little darlings. They didn’t inhibit our enjoyment at any stage. It is a significant Ponant advantage that they operate an open bar system which means all drinks at all meals and in all bars are included in your ticket. The only exceptions are if you order a premium drink (a Johnny Walker Blue label whiskey, for example), you pay. But everything else is on the house. This means not having to worry about a bar tab at the end of the trip, nor having to shout a drink for your new best friend. The cabins are all external and most have a small balcony. Unless you take a suite, the cabins are what I would call compact, they’re certainly not spacious but we found them all right; the beds are very comfortable and the showers excellent. There is a free mini-bar and an ice bucket that can be filled up in the bar. They provide you with a whole range of free toiletries. There are three bars, one on the third floor that’s open 24/7, one on the 6th bar that’s only open at certain times of the day, and an open air one on the 7th deck again only open at certain hours and not at all in cold weather. There’s also a fully-equipped theatre that they use for lectures, classical piano recitals, movies etc. The food is excellent and enticing. Being French, there are two full-time pastry chefs. In fact, there is an army of chefs. And they will basically cook anything you want. There is room service at all times although we have never used it. There are two restaurants on all Ponant ships: the 6th deck buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and the 2nd deck à la carte restaurant that serves a buffet breakfast and lunch but a menu dinner where they prefer you don’t wear shorts or thongs! On our cruise, the 6th deck was very popular for dinner because you could eat under the stars and bookings were essential. If you didn’t book by breakfast, you didn’t get a table. The excursions are an extra, but they’re not compulsory and they are very varied but always interesting. Some require a degree of fitness and/or agility. But staying on board can be just as relaxing. Our view of the excursion is that they are bucket-list excuses and you/we are never likely to get another chance. There is an excellent library on the 6th deck. There is no casino and no flashing lights disco although on the 7th deck open air bar there was nightly music which people could dance to. That certainly didn’t operate in the Arctic Circle last year… The reception desk is open 24/7 and there is a fulltime doctor and nurse who usually take it in turns to accompany the excursions. Ponant runs an excellent loyalty scheme and although these back-to-back cruises were only our second and third trips, we were upgraded because we had made reservations for our fourth cruise next year which qualifies us for Admiral status. This gave us free laundry throughout (invaluable on a hot weather cruise), four hours each of us for each week (ie a total of 16 hours) free WiFi use, plus we got 400 Euros worth of discounts on our excursions. We met other passengers who were on their 12th and 15th cruises which qualified them for Grand Admiral status! Not sure what they get for that but it would be considerable. Maybe Veuve Cliquot on tap… We’re very much looking forward to our next cruise, a 17-day cruise in August 2017 under the title of Ultima Thule, the Horizontal Everest, which goes from Kangerluassaq in Greenland all through the Baffin sea around the east coast of Canada to Straeling island, the northernmost point reached by the Vikings. Only a year to wait… and we are eagerly anticipating the announcement of cruises for 2018 when we will have a certain significant celebration. Finally, the secret to Ponant cruises in our experience is to book early to get the full discount of 30%... and the best cabins. And this is the link to a blog with photographs written about the cruise by my wife Jean Lombard: http://taxidotle.blogspot.com/ Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
My husband has always wanted to go to Greece. Vantage offered the perfect trip. The Harmony G is operated by Variety staff and crew but charted by Vantage for this voyage. The Variety staff and crew are all very professional and ... Read More
My husband has always wanted to go to Greece. Vantage offered the perfect trip. The Harmony G is operated by Variety staff and crew but charted by Vantage for this voyage. The Variety staff and crew are all very professional and provided excellent service. The Cruise Director, Laura Giannola, was employed by Vantage - she made the trip so special with her love and passion for Greece and it's rich history. She really loves to travel on the Harmony G and that meant a lot to us (my husband is a boat captain). The ship was decorated nicely and appeared to have been recently renovated. The lounge was roomy and the bar was staffed at appropriate time. Drinks were reasonable and available upon request if no one was behind the bar. The dining area was a bit on the small side but Thanos made it work. Topside was my favorite place and had plenty of fresh air, beautiful views, lounge chairs and cushioned seating - it was never off limits. All meals onboard were excellent and the service was fast and courteous thanks to Thanos, the manager. The port of embarkation was Athens (Port of Pireaus). The first night was at a hotel with a beautiful rooftop pool and view of the Acropolis in the center of Athens (Divani Caravel); dinner at the hotel was included. The next morning we toured the Acropolis Museum and the Plaka district before boarding the Harmony G around 2pm. Vantage provided a lovely coach and luggage assistance. After time to unpack we had our safety briefing in the lounge followed by a port talk & history lecture by Laura. Afterward, we ate our first of many fabulous dinners by Thanos and staff in the "cozy" dinning room. Port-of-call #1 - Nafplion. The breakfast was lovely and ample. We visited the archaeological site of Mycenae (very interesting); stopped at a pottery shop and learned how to make clay men; then back to the town of Nafplion where we had lot's of time to explore. We rode the ship's bicycles to the beach for a swim in the crystal clear Aegean Sea. Later that afternoon, my husband rented a scooter and I climbed the 1,000 steps to the Palamidi Castle (I enter as I didn't have the 8 euro in cash) - spectacular views of the town just the same. We ate an elegant dinner then went back into town and strolled around. Port #2 - Monemvasia. The Gibraltar of Greece - or so they say. Right out of a fairy tale. The old city is one of the most picturesque places I have been. We took a trip to a family-owned olive orchard. We learned the process of making olive oil and had a traditional Greek lunch outside. We returned to ship and captain allowed us to swim from the back of the ship - it was perfect conditions. My husband and I took the bikes again and rode all over Monemvasia. Breakfast and dinner onboard - fabulous as usual. We left early because it was a long sail to Crete. Port #3 - Rethimnon, Crete. Early breakfast then we took a 90-minute coach ride to the town of Chania. I had been before so we walked out to the lighthouse instead of shopping. We had until 3am to return to the ship so we rented a scooter drove all over this charming beach town and finally chose to dine at a local restaurant. We ate at the restaurant Alana; recommended by the scooter rental agent - it was frequented by a lot of tourists but still very good. Back onboard around midnight. Port #4 - Heraklion, Crete. Breakfast then a trip to Knossoss Palace - this day it was very hot and there was little shade so my memories aren't as pleasant. This night was the Greek dance show onboard - it was a lot of fun but Heraklion itself was a larger city with large cruise ships. I wasn't thrilled because it didn't have the charm of the other ports. Port #5 - Santorini. We anchored here. Breakfast onboard then we all hopped on a tender to shore. It was a bit windy but nothing bad. We visited Fira then took the optional tour to Oia - Wow! This is not to be missed. The optional tour included a tour & lunch at a local winery in Fira before continuing on to Oia - oh for more time in Oia. I'm glad I opted into this - Oia is where all the famous photographs of Greece are taken. It was magical. We took the cable car back down to the landing and the tender back to the ship for another great dinner onboard. Port #6 - Mykonos. We were in Mykonos for only a few hours and the captain remained in port despite growing wind conditions. The town of Mykonos is a lively town with a lot of young tourists. We were there very early so there was little evidence of the night before party. The island is just as picturesque as Santorini but it is flatter and has it's own personality. The trip out of Mykonos (left at noon) and back to Athens was rough so we were rock'n & roll'n for several hours - passengers & crew were ill until it calmed down. Only of few of us were up and about - but still a bit lethargic. The Harmony G only makes about 10 knots so she can't outrun the weather very well. It didn't last too long and dinner was served on calm seas. Final port - Back in Athens (Pireaus). Last night onboard was in Athens. After breakfast we packed up and headed out to the Acropolis very early to beat the crowds & the heat (good idea). Laura gave the premium tour and then we headed back to the Plaka district for more shopping. We checked back into the Divani Caravel for the last night of the base cruise package. We opted for the Athens extension so we explored the city for two more nights. My experience was OUTSTANDING and a trip that will stand out as one of my favorites. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
The following people gave excellent service over and above. Ahmed, waiter,Fenimo Chief wine steward, Arturo waiter, Winefredo waiter, Narvine waiter. Javier waiter, Panagiotis waiter, Sebeeraj Wine steward extrodinaire, Juan greeter at ... Read More
The following people gave excellent service over and above. Ahmed, waiter,Fenimo Chief wine steward, Arturo waiter, Winefredo waiter, Narvine waiter. Javier waiter, Panagiotis waiter, Sebeeraj Wine steward extrodinaire, Juan greeter at the door always with a smile.and Ronnie (had a band after wait staff duties) who was a great Elvis impersonator. These people made the cruise so enjoyable along with many others whose name I did not get. The service was exceptionable. the food fantastic and the ship was always very clean!! I did not get the names of the room stewards memorized but Marie and Josee looked after my cabin and it was always immaculate with towel animals every day, I would say the crew including bartenders, waiters the people on the desk. the people who sold the drink packages were knowledgeable and helpful and you could not pass anyone without getting a smile and a greeting of good morning or good evening. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This cruise was an add-on to a tour of Italy and Greece. Like other readers, I had read some bad reviews of the Olympia and the cruise itself. However, I did not find this to be the case. The staff were always courteous and polite while ... Read More
This cruise was an add-on to a tour of Italy and Greece. Like other readers, I had read some bad reviews of the Olympia and the cruise itself. However, I did not find this to be the case. The staff were always courteous and polite while we were on board. The meals in the main dining room were fresh and the presentation of the food was excellent. This was a three-day cruise of several Greek islands (we didn't go to Turkey with the rest of the passengers because we had students with us and our tour company sent us to another Greek island instead). We were in one of the cabins with two single beds and a shower. Everything in our cabin was neat and clean. The beds were made daily and we had all the amenities provided. I especially enjoyed interacting with the staff members and learning something about their personal lives. At dinner, we were seated with people from other countries who spoke only a little English or none at all. I found this interesting as we communicated as best we could on topics such as US politics and the places we had traveled before boarding the ship. I understand this ship isn't the most modern but it suited our needs well. We weren't on the ship that much during the day because we were exploring the islands. I went on several excursions and enjoyed all of them, especially Patmos. Our guides were very courteous and knowledgeable. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
I chose this cruise because of the included Brandenburg Sing-at -sea choral experience, which was very enjoyable. I hope it will be repeated. The two days in Athens, the departure city! got us off to an excellent start being ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the included Brandenburg Sing-at -sea choral experience, which was very enjoyable. I hope it will be repeated. The two days in Athens, the departure city! got us off to an excellent start being interesting and educational. From first boarding the the ship to disembarkation in Venice at the end, I l enjoyed it greatly. I have nothing but praise for the dining and its superb cuisine, the service, the helpfulness and friendliness of the crew and the excellent maintain and of the cabin accommodation and public areas. In general, I found the air conditioning colder than comfortable however and, along with others, reported it. It was often colder than outdoors and jackets were needed. The excursions were well chosen and carried out though the local guides overwhelmed us with continuous talk. There's only so much information one can absorb. I will certainly repeat the experience and will most certainly book with Voyages to Antiquity again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
The previous reviews of the Olympia mostly held true. Although the ship is about 35 years old, it is well maintained. I would just like to add a couple of comments. We had an outside cabin number 3063 on deck 3 (Hermes). It was just as ... Read More
The previous reviews of the Olympia mostly held true. Although the ship is about 35 years old, it is well maintained. I would just like to add a couple of comments. We had an outside cabin number 3063 on deck 3 (Hermes). It was just as expected. The cabin size was adequate, but the shower was very tiny. Our suitcases did not fit under the beds, so we had to store them elsewhere in the cabin. The cabin stewards were very good. The food was unexceptional, not quite as good as on our previous river cruise in Germany. The reception staff who were in charge of billing were very inflexible. For example on the last night before disembarking I had a small bar bill that I wanted to pay in cash. I was not permitted to do so, and it was automatically charged to my credit card. To sum up the cabin and cruise were good value, but not a premium service. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was a cruise booked for a group of 42 of us. The ship was smaller than most cruise ships and therefore, much more movement than expected (6 floors). Our cabin was located above the motor, 5th from the back, and all items were ... Read More
This was a cruise booked for a group of 42 of us. The ship was smaller than most cruise ships and therefore, much more movement than expected (6 floors). Our cabin was located above the motor, 5th from the back, and all items were vibrating on the table as we sailed. I had to sleep with my head at the foot of the bed. The food was so sub par, there were times when the food would actually run out and the "cattle drive" was complete with pushing and shoving. One "nice" meal in which my husband opted for the extra $13 euro for Surf and Turf, resulted in an inedible lobster that was colored brown and unknown time residing in the freezer. The service was sub-par as it appeared that all staff was new, as they did not know much about what they were serving or what options were available. The staff appeared to be unhappy and although some of them made an effort, it appeared that they had been treated so poorly, they were afraid to ask a manager any question, proposed by a customer. We were told that it was a converted German Battle ship and therefore, if required could move faster in the water to reach a destination before other cruise ships. Based on this statement, I should have expected a "military boot camp" experience. The prior month, I had travelled on a Missionary Trip to the jungles in Peru, these accommodations were similar without the joy that accompanies serving. Of our pretty large group, this was a first cruise for many and for those, it was their last cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
The Rhapsody of the Seas is showing its age. But so is it's crew. Compared to newer designs, Rhapsody of the Seas doesn't feel large enough for the capacity it holds. But beyond that, other gripes emerge. The food in the main ... Read More
The Rhapsody of the Seas is showing its age. But so is it's crew. Compared to newer designs, Rhapsody of the Seas doesn't feel large enough for the capacity it holds. But beyond that, other gripes emerge. The food in the main dining room being of worse quality than the Windjammer buffet doesn't bode well for RCL. The crew tries hard but there are limitations. The saving grace for our cruise was the destinations themselves,. I've been on other cruise ships whose itinerary was repeated for me and we enjoyed ourselves on board. That would not be the case on the Rhapsody. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
I recently had the pleasure of sailing with Variety on the PanOrama II in July of this year with a group of friends 23 strong. We began our trip with an overnight stay, arranged through Variety, in Athens at the Herodian Hotel. The hotel ... Read More
I recently had the pleasure of sailing with Variety on the PanOrama II in July of this year with a group of friends 23 strong. We began our trip with an overnight stay, arranged through Variety, in Athens at the Herodian Hotel. The hotel is 5 stars: the staff was very accommodating in securing our luggage when we arrived at 11 AM and the rooms were not ready. Then onto the ship and we began our wonderful trip. The ship can accommodate 49, there were only 29 on board, our group of 23 and 6 others who quickly became part of our group. The ship was lovely, the cabins were very comfortable and the bathroom were quite spacious for a small cruise ship. The staff was wonderful and could not do enough for us. All requests were met with a smile and service. Sonny, the bartender, was the best. Joseph, the tour director, did a great job with the excursions, especially when the weather did not allow up to sail to Mykonos and we spent two nights docked in Syros. Joseph took us on a tour of the waterfront, explained the history of the island and pointed us in the right direction for a wonderful stay on the little known island. The food on board was great both in volume and quality. The daily home made butter cookies were a personal favorite. All in all, I would highly recommend Variety Cruises! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Rude, disorganized staff. Nothing to do on board. Luckily, the itinerary was port heavy, so we were able to get off the ship as much as possible. Terrible cruise experience.
Rude, disorganized staff. Nothing to do on board. Luckily, the itinerary was port heavy, so we were able to get off the ship as much as possible. Terrible cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
45 minutes out of Athens the steering broke...we waited 4 hours to be repaired. The trip did not follow our written itinerary. The linens are very old and mismatched. The towels, especially face cloths were stained. The ... Read More
45 minutes out of Athens the steering broke...we waited 4 hours to be repaired. The trip did not follow our written itinerary. The linens are very old and mismatched. The towels, especially face cloths were stained. The carpeting throughout the boat is dirty. (This was mentioned to the person in charge). The toilet backed up first day, our friends needed a complete new commode during the first 3 days-who is in charge of operations? The shower regularly has rusty water. The crew are a very nice group of people who tried their best to meet our needs. The A/C in our cabin was very good. The food was fair to good. At the buffets the food was never hot. (This was mentioned to the person in charge). This tour is marketed by ODESSEYS UNLIMITED as a Luxury Yacht. It is by no means a luxury yacht. Very misrepresented. When you begin a cruise like we did it is very disappointing and disconcerting to think that you can break down because the 'joy stick steering broke'. Where's the quality control and inspections???? Where is the cleanliness of towels and linens- things don't last forever-it's time for new items. WHERE IS ODESSEYS UNLIMITED INSPECTION OF WHAT THEY SELL? This boat needs a new plumbing system, and a refurbishment throughout. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Our first experience with Seabourn was in 2009. Our Norwegian vessel was docked near a Seabourn ship. Seeing how the Seabourn guests were welcomed aboard was an eye opener. In 2014, we took a deep breath and book the Greek Islands ... Read More
Our first experience with Seabourn was in 2009. Our Norwegian vessel was docked near a Seabourn ship. Seeing how the Seabourn guests were welcomed aboard was an eye opener. In 2014, we took a deep breath and book the Greek Islands cruise on the Sojourn. A big step for us, but we wanted the all inclusive experience. i don't have the time or patience to attempt a complete review, but I confess to being a true believer in the Seabourn experience. I will never forget the staff members standing in front of the gangway cheering and applauding us as we came on board! So cool. We loved our cabin! It was big, luxurious, had a walk in closet and a bathtub. The veranda was big and private, and there was a table and chairs for in room dining in style. The staff were amazing. The first day I stopped by the Pool deck bar for a cocktail. The next day as I walked by the same bar, the bartender asked if I wanted the same cocktail I had previously ordered. Every one seemed to know our names. All the facilities were first rate, and the food was fabulous. The chef hosted an event where he made a fabulous paella in front of us while he chatted away about Seabourn, food, and his life experiences. We got to attend a shore event in the ruins of Ephesus where we were seated outside the coliseum and fed wine and snacks while being entertained by a string quartet...on the house. Seabourn gave us the cruise experience of a lifetime. Worth every penny. If you are considering stepping up from the more popular big ship cruises, we encourage you to consider going all the way to the finest...Seabourn. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click