Best for: Those who are after a small ship, yacht-style experience; great food, service and out-of-the-way ports
Not for: Those who want a big ship experience, late-night entertainment
Bottom Line: A surprisingly luxurious and intimate way to explore the Greek islands
Running on Waves is a three-masted "barquentine" -- denoting the type of rigging used on the ship -- with all the facilities of a modern sailing vessel. It is built in the style of a classic clipper ship and carries just 49 passengers. It primarily sails on Greek itineraries in the Mediterranean, Aegean and Ionian between April and September, and also sails around Croatia's islands and passages through the Corinth Canal.
There are also themed cruises, such as golf, and short seasonal repositioning cruises that include ports of call. The ship can also be fully chartered.
The result of a five-year construction project involving shipyards in Russia, Poland and Germany, the vessel was launched in 2011 and refitted in 2013, Running on Waves is the sole ship operated by a company of the same name and attracts international passengers from Europe, the U.S., Canada and Australia.
The three-deck ship is decorated in a retro style in keeping with its maritime heritage. Gleaming brass, teak, mahogany and leather fixtures and fittings adorn the cabins and public areas and walls are decorated with nautical paintings by modern-day artists.
With a 2:1 crew to passenger ratio, it offers high service levels in a relaxed atmosphere. Its small size means it can call at small marinas and secluded islands that are inaccessible to larger vessels, where the crew will open up the marina at the back and you can jump off and swim around the ship.
Running on Waves looks and feels more like a yacht, in style, design and atmosphere. Don't expect any big ship amenities -- there's just one dining room, one bar and no late-night entertainment -- except for star gazing. It's very convivial onboard -- you get to know your fellow passengers by the end of the first day and will be swapping emails and phone numbers by the end of the week.
The food is outstanding, served buffet style, with a live cooking station manned by Hotel Manager Robert, who serves up delicious pasta every evening. Service is faultless, fast efficient and intuitive -- with your favourite coffees or cocktails served after the first day without you even asking.
The ship is surprisingly stable for a small ship, but be warned you will feel the motion of the ocean a lot more than you would on a large vessel, so pack some seasickness pills if you are prone.
Every winter the vessel homeports in Cyprus and undergoes an annual refurbishment.
All passengers are required to take a lateral flow test before boarding. There is also a mid-cruise lateral flow test, as per the Greek authorities. Onboard there is no mask wearing or social distancing and the buffet is self-serve.
This was our third cruise and definitely a successful one.