This was a cruise of the Greek isles out of Athens. There were just 99 passengers on this cruise which meant you got to know just about everyone. There was one major problem during the cruise with most of the culinary staff testing positive for Covid the second day of the cruise. The restaurant were closed for the remainder of the cruise with a buffet set up and served in the main lobby of the ship. This was not a problem for us, and Windstar gave us a choice of a generous future cruise credit or a reimbursement for the Covid problem. Cabins are small but well designed. The service from the staff was very good. We have now sailed on a Windstar yacht style ship and this motor-sail yacht. I probably prefer the yacht style ship because the cabins are larger and the ship has more amenities. But the Greek isles seem to call for sails as a way to see the islands. Two things stood out as an exceptional experience on this cruise. The best part of the cruise was the special dinner at the ruins of Ephesus at night in Kusadasi, Turkey. This is an exclusive Windstar event and one that we will remember forever. The other memorable event was the BBQ on the deck. If I did this cruise again, I would go in late April, early May or late September because of the summer heat. This was an enjoyable cruise, and the crew handled the Covid situation as well as could be expected.
The cabin was small but well designed. The bed was comfortable. I knew from the beginning that quarters would not be the same as on a larger ship. We chose this ship for the experience.
Flew into Athens a few days early on our own. We toured the Acropolis, the Plaka district, Ancient Agora and other sites. Don't miss the changing of the guard at the Greek Parliament. Stayed at the Hotel Grande Bretagne which was a superb hotel. Be at the attractions when they open unless you want long waits to get in.
Our favorite port with the ruins of Ephesus the highlight of this trip. The special dinner event is one to remember. We took the private tour option on Kusadasi, and it was worth the money. The only thing we did not like at Kusadasi was a strong sell at the end of our tour at a Persian rug business. Do not let the tour guide steer you into one of these shops unless you do have a desire to purchase a Persian rug.
We took a walking tour on Mykonos. This is highly recommended to do with a guide because it is easy to get lost in the winding streets designed to confuse invaders.
Santorini was underwhelming, but it is one of those iconic locations on most everyone's "must visit" list. Santorini was hot and crowded. There were not that many "blue domed" buildings, but we did the tourist thing and got our photograph. Take the cable car down. Trust me, you don't want to ride a donkey or walk down. We enjoyed a gelato on the patio of a cafe overlooking the water.
We took the tour to the UNESCO archaeological sites, but I think we would have enjoyed walking around the town at the port better. There was a fortress and several museums that looked interesting. The architecture in the town is as good as the UNESCO sites.
Visited the Cave of the Apocalypse, Monastery of St. John and the Windmills of Patmos. Be aware that photographs are not allowed at the Cave of the Apocalypse or the Monastery of St. John. We took the private tour option, but the regular tour would have been just as good.