If you are looking for an intimate, immersive and authentic Greek experience based on the water look no further than Variety Cruises Jewels of the Cyclades trip aboard the charming and enchanting Galileo.
Pulling into Piraeus port in our taxi, prior to embarking the Galileo, we coasted by many proud vessels of varying size and description from mega yachts to small sailboats, to sun seeking gin palaces, all alluring and attractive to seafarers in their own way. But I have to say nothing in the Port that day caught the eye quite like the Galileo. A steel hulled, wooden, three masted motor sailer, reminiscent of a romantic sailing era now passed. The Galileo shines with charisma and filled us with a sense of adventure as we boarded to embark on our 7 night sailing taking in the Jewels of the Cyclades.
We were part of a nearly capacity filling collection of 44 other guests of varying nationalities and ages, all interesting and like-minded travelers. My wife and I are younger than most people we get to sail with but on this trip there were also other young people and even some Honey Mooners! But regardless of age everybody on-board quickly made acquaintances and joined the atmosphere of familial hospitality set by the those who captain and crew this fine vessel.
The welcome drinks, that followed the most brief and succinct safety drill I have ever witnessed, flowed with great generosity as we set sail into the late afternoon sun for our first port of call. The dinner that night was very enjoyable and the service and sense of fun and adventure set by the staff got everybody buzzing in the dining room on the first night. Really, the atmosphere was remarkable, not like anything we have experienced before. Relaxed, laid back and warm whilst still remaining highly professional and dedicated.
That night we slept like babies in our wooden paneled cabin in the ancient Port of Epidaurus. The Weather had changed so we had to make a slight deviation to the itinerary, which for us made for a spontaneous and exciting alteration to the first night. We got to wander around this lovely port after dinner, late into the night and really immerse ourselves in the atmosphere of our chosen destination. We came to see and experience Greece and we were grateful to spend many nights in port, enjoying the destinations at our own pace and not having to rush back to set sail before we had experienced enough. I'll say it again, if you want to experience Greece authentically aboard a charming vessel, look no further than this trip aboard the Galileo.
The week that followed was really made up of much of the same magic moments. The experience was so flexible and fluid and there was not one announcement made over the PA system after the first night, so we really felt like we were on-board a friends yacht, travelling with this small group who felt like family . The ambiance is relaxed and friendly and nothing is too much trouble. Getting on and off the ship could not be simpler and we never pulled into port with another sizable vessel, it was always just us and the locals save for Mykonos and Santorini but that is to be expected . We were taken right into the hearts of many ports, and stayed throughout the night tasting local specialties and talking to friendly local people.
When it came to get off The Galileo a week later back in Piraeus we were slightly melancholic to be leaving the experience behind as both the crew and our fellow travelers all felt to be close friends. We have kept in touch with many of the people we met on this trip, we have only been back two weeks and have had various correspondence and communications and we have to say we miss it so much we are thinking of going back in July to do the whole thing over again with a new group of travelers but the same faces that we miss that became our friends: The crew of the Galileo!