My wife and I will be taking a trip to Greece in May 2008. We have 4 days reserved for the islands. We want to use night cruises to travel to and back from the islands. What islands can be reached by a night cruise and what islands can you return from using a night cruise? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
I think any plan to visit more than two islands in four days is over ambitious. I'd select just one island and really enjoy it to the full.
Another aspect to consider, and this is most important, is that the ferries are at the mercy of the weather. If the sea is too rough for a crossing, that is that. No ferries sail. So what seems like a perfectly possible itinerary right now can turn into mission impossible in May.
Island hopping is somthing that is best done on impulse, it's very easy and lots of fun.
I agree with the statement above about keeping it to two islands. The image of "island hopping" and even ferries is more romantic than practical. Further, you need to consider two islands that are on the same line or route. As for overnight ferries, the only practical ones would be the long hauls, Santorini, Crete, Rhodes, Samos, etc. and then only if you have no stop between there and Athens. For long legs though, I now prefer flying, Aegean Air offers very reasonable flights. If I were to recommend a first time popular experience, then pick the main route through the Cyclades, stopping at one island (could be Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, or one of a few others) and Santorini. Ferries would only be a few hours each on the way down, then fly or overnight ferry back to Athens (Pireaus). For May, you could also skip the reservation thing and just hop a ferry and find a room when you get there, or use a good travel guide for phone numbers and call before you board the ferry.
There are few islands that have overnight ferries ... Crete is one; you embark at 9 pm, arrive 6 am in Souda bay outside Chania, one of the loveliest towns in all of Greece. You can spend 2 days there, get car and drive west to Lovely beaches and back & take another overnight ferry back to Athens.
However, Crete is not one of those "blue & white" islands you see on the calendars -- i.e. Santorini, Naxos, Paros, Sifnos, Mykonos. None of those have overnight ferries scheduled because the timing is not quite right -- ferries land in the middle of the nite.
I think you need to do some more research and find out more before you can make good choices. Buy a guide book.
James, I see Easy Cruise as sort of a night ferry. It sails at night or in the early morning hours and you can sleep comfortably in cabin with a private bath, arriving usually around noon.The cost for 2 people in a cabin (for room and transportation,no food) is about $67 a night in May for a 4 night cruise.I think it's quite the deal.
James - check out easycruise. They go to a different island each day you spend the entire afternoon and overnight on each island then they move on to the next. They are not as much at the mercy of the weather they stay on schedule. You get a cabin, decks with a hot tub, dj in the evening, meals if you want. So much better than any ferry and they are even priced better. We just came back from a 7 night cruise and are booked for next September for 10 nights.
As someone else here has mentioned, I highly recommend that you check out Matt Barrett's webstie. I am also planning to visit Greece in late May, early June 2008. I have spent alot of time on that site, lots of good info. If you only have 4 days do not try to do more than two islands. If time is going to be an issue, consider flying instead of ferries.
I agree too. Four days isn't very much time. I would just go to Santorini and if you really need to see another island - go to Naxos or Milos.
It takes a whole nite to reach Crete. The ferry leaves at about 9PM from Pireus and gets to Crete early in the morning.
UPDATE FROM JAMES: My wife and I are going over the advice already posted and will hope to get back to the wall asap. The holiday season is very busy for us since I'm a minister and I have many additional duties this time of the year. PLEASE FORGIVE me for not posting. I will get back to the wall just after Christmas.
To all graffiti wall folks!
Thanks for your help. We are using Matt's website and are planning on taking Easy Cruise. Does anyone have any thoughts about the meal package on Easy Cruise? Is it like airplane food or is it edible? Is it buffet style or do they give you small portions? Any thoughts? Have a great day!
I have just a few minutes so I thought I would update everyone on our current plans. After looking over the tips everyone has given us, we have decided to join an organized tour of the islands. We are leaning toward EasyCruise which will get us to Poros, Mykonos, Paros, and Sifnos. Except for Poros, you end up staying about 11 touring hours @ each island (noon up to 11 p.m. which is our bedtime). The boat travels in the early morning hours. It looks like basic affordable accomodations. After arrival we would do our own tour of the island. Another possibility is Louis Cruise Line. The only problem I see with Louis is the limited amount of time on each island (4 hours). What do you think? Any ideas? Your help is appreciated! Merry Christmas!
Matt Barrett's website is super for ideas on Greek travel. Thanks for the tip!
If we do end up going with EasyCruise in order to get to the islands, the only cruise that matches our arrival/departure dates is the one that goes to Poros, Mykonos, Paros, and Sifnos. Any thoughts on these islands?
Would you go with the Easycruise meal plan? Is there a way around having to take the meal plan?
Activities on the boat?
Your help is appreciated!