We literally booked this mini cruise last minute. The price was just too good to ignore. After checking the prices for tickets and hotels, (our plan was to visit 2 to 3 isles ), taking this cruise was basically our solution for saving money. I would like to focus on our experience in Santorini island, a place that was the center of our interest from the start. Before booking the cruise, the plan was to stay there for at least 2 nights, but the cruise ship would only stay there from early morning till shortly after the sunset. We were so looking forward to seeing this island, and get some cool fotos, but we had to deside if we were going to book a tour from the boat, or see it ourselves. It looked like we had 3 options. First option was to book a tour offered by the cruise ship. We wanted some privacy, so being on a bus with 40 more people, was not a good solution for us. Second option was to book online one private tour just for us. We checked online Tripadvisor, for local companies. That would be a good way to see the island, and most of the tour providers offered also a guide. The problem was that we couldn't find anything affordable for 2 people. The best offer we got was 400 euro. It would get cheaper if shared, but it was just me and my wife, so...Third option would be to rent something. i checked the prices online, and they were quite cheap. After a little research on travel forums, i found out that this was a very popular way to get around. Sure, it's better to have a driver and just enjoy the ride, but that was way out of budget for us...Conclution : we Desided to go on and rent a car in Santorini! Booked online with Santorini-rent-a-car.com and agreed to meet them in Fira. You should know that unless you book a tour with the cruise company, the old port of Fira is where they take you ( with small tender boats ). We had to take the cable car up, which was a great experience. Someone was waiting at the cable cars exit and walked with us to a nearby parking where the car was. That was it! We were finally ready to start our exploration! We went directly to Akrotiri. I have been longing to see the excavavation site, and the red beach. This area took us more to explore than planned as we stopped every five minutes to take pictures. The excavations were worth our visit, and the red beach was simply out of this world. We had an early lunch at Cave Nicholas tavern, a cave tavern right on the water, just too good to be described in just a few words. Now we had to harry if we were to see as many places as possible for the rest of our day. We drove to Pyrgos village. It took us about an hour to see the old part of the village, which was quite good. Typical traditional village similar to other cycladic villages except from the amazing views. We continued to Imerovigli. That is further up north than Fira. We walked all the way to Skaros and enjoyed the amazing view. (this is the highest cliff of Santorini ). We then continued north to the famous village of Oia. We knew that it would be very busy, as everyone was talking about it on the boat. Luckily we somehow arrived probably between groups, so the area was not as full as excpected. We enjoyed a slow walk along the main stone paved alley on the cliff. Seeing the view of the rest of the island, the cliffs, the sea and the volcanic islets, made me understand why this place is so famous. It would be great if we could stay for the sunset, but we had to return to Fira. We left Fira as our last stop, as we anyway had to return there in order to return to the boat. We returned our rental car to the guy that was waiting for us as we agreed at the parking. We still had an hour and a half to explore Fira, before taking the cable car down to the old port. We walked alond the narrow alleys, full of all kind of shops, enjoyed the amazing view, and had a quick cup of coffee. Exhausted but sutisfied we returned to the boat. We had one more stop before returning to Athens. If you are going on a cruise to Santorini in the future, you should definitely see Oia, Fira, and Akrotiri. A day is hardly enough to see everything, but the good thing is that distances are short, and if the roads are not too busy, you can see quite a few places before you go.
Very clean, pleasant. Good quality of towels and amenities.
A tiny little port where you get with small tender boats . A cable car will take you on top where is Fira, the maintown of Santorini. A magical little place..